Building Trust with Your Audience Online: 9 Ways
By , posted on June 13, 2014

The web can be shady place. Between annoying pop-ups, data breaches, spam, and other shenanigans, plenty of Internet companies and websites have exploited the web to make a quick buck off Internet users. No wonder so many people distrust online businesses. And this is a huge shame because they’re ruining things for trustworthy companies such as yours.

Fortunately, there are a number of action steps you can take to counter the distrust that users may have about your company. Here’s a roundup of what they are, along with tips on how to implement them correctly:

 

Post reviews or testimonials

Collect reviews or testimonials from your happy customers then display them on your website. Send them a quick email upon the completion of a project (or after they’ve tried out your product) so it’s still fresh in their mind.

You can further incentivize them to do so by linking back to their website once the testimonial is published.

And if your clients are too busy to send over a testimonial, offer to write it yourself, then send it to them for approval.

 

Add social proof

Testimonials and reviews are powerful trust triggers, but if you want to go even further, you can pull comments directly from your social accounts to further validate their authenticity. Consider taking a screenshot of raving Facebook posts and tweets about your brand and publish them on your website. Also be sure to add a link to the original post so visitors can check them out for themselves. (You might even gain some new fans and followers out of it!)

 

Include logos of reputable websites or companies

Have you ever published an article on reputable blogs or publications? Be sure to add their logos on to your website by putting them under an “As seen in” section. Having them on your site can go a long way in building credibility and authority, which in turn can help users trust you more.

Be sure to add a link to the actual articles. Again, this further validates their authenticity and shows people that you’re someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Speaking of logos, do the same thing for the companies that you work with. These businesses don’t even have to be particularly huge (especially if you’re targeting small businesses). The logos–along with a link to each company’s homepage–would suffice.

 

Have great design

Badly designed websites bring up a lot of trust red flags with users. It tells them that your company isn’t professional or lacks the budget (or good sense) to hire a designer. Prevent that by creating a tasteful site that’s easy to navigate.

And don’t worry, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for good design. There are plenty of free and inexpensive WordPress themes out there, so be sure to scour the web for anything you can use on your website.

Need something custom made? You can find good designers for less through platforms such as Elance or Freelancer.com.

 

Be sure your contact info is complete

What do people see when they head to your “Contact” page? Do they see a generic [email protected] address? A form? Or do you have a physical address and phone number listed on there? When it comes to listing your contact info, the more the better.

Visitors tend to trust you more if see that you have an offline presence (i.e. physical address + phone) and email addresses for different departments (i.e. [email protected], [email protected], etc.)

In addition to building trust, multiple contact channels makes things more organized for both you and your customers. Having specific email addresses for instance, will help ensure that the right messages will go to the right people, as opposed to just having one generic address.

This also earns you points with your customers. People appreciate having multiple options for communication and support. Some users prefer sending questions via email, while others would rather pick up the phone. Having all those channels covered makes thing more convenient and will result in happier customers.

 

Put up actual photos of team members

Humanize your company by showing off the faces of your team members.  People put more trust in individuals that they can put a face on.

Not only that, but taking this step will pave the way for more engagement (and hopefully leads and sales). Posting actual photos of people who work in your company makes your business look more approachable so users will be more inclined to connect with you.

 

Include data and statistics

Back up your company’s claims by citing data and statistics. For instance, if you provide online marketing services, then you can include stats pertaining to the number of leads or revenue that your clients can expect from you (ex: “Our clients have seen a 20% increase in revenue”)

One caveat though: Make sure that you can actually back up the numbers that you’re throwing out there. Always have the necessary graphs and analytics to demonstrate your results.

 

Post regular updates

An outdated website is another factor that can raise red flags with potential customers. They might think that you’re not committed enough to keep people in the loop, or worse—they might assume that you’re no longer in business.

Prevent that by publishing regular updates. If you run a blog, see to it that something new is posted at least twice a month. Don’t have time to maintain a blog? Then don’t put one on your site to begin with. No blog is better than an outdated one.

 

Deliver on your promises

Don’t let your testimonials, statistics, or content write checks your business can’t cash. For example, if your site is claiming that you can save clients 10 hours of work per week, you have to be sure that you can actually deliver on that promise. Failing to do so not only destroys the trust of the customer, but it can ruin your reputation in your industry as well.

 

Your turn

Do you have any other tips for gaining and keeping the trust of your users? We’d love to hear from you. Share them in the comments!