It can be easy for potential customers to distrust web-based information about your company – the web is so anonymous and impersonal! But there are ways to instill consumer confidence through web platforms. If you know the importance of each factor, you can go a long way towards building credibility on the web.
Keep it real
Use your real name and contact info. You’ll notice that at the beginning of each blog entry my full name appears – Jennifer Ray. That’s no accident! I want people to know that I’m proud to associate myself with my company. Don’t just list a generic email address, like “firstname.lastname@example.org”, or have an anonymous form to fill out in a comment section. If you must have a form, at least give it a purpose.
If you give people a way to contact you, make sure you’re answering your phone, listening to messages, and checking emails! Make sure all important contacts get a personal follow-up.
Many people look at peer reviews before buying a product (the availability of information on the web makes it easy to investigate your company). Include customer testimonials on your website. If you see a negative review online (via Yelp, Google, etc.), respond to it! Likewise, if someone personally contacts you with a negative experience, address them personally. Always provide a comment, correction, or apology to negative (or lukewarm) reviews. This lets people know you’re listening.
Don’t try to write a doctoral thesis on your site (or your blog). Keep things short, sweet, and easy to understand. The best way I’ve found is to read back over what I’ve written and say it aloud: if it doesn’t sound natural to say it, it won’t read well either!
Especially for B2B markets, networking is everything! Does your potential partner have a LinkedIn page? So should you! Make sure your management team has current & complete bios on whatever web outlet your potential associate uses. Key members of your company should also have bios & pictures on your website.
What’s it like behind the scenes of your business? What’s it like to do business with you? Make your company trustworthy by being transparent – create web content (blog, videos, etc.) that showcase a customer’s experience with your whole process, from finding the right company (yours) to purchasing your product/service. Use your employees, customers, and partners to add unique voices to your story. Potential clients want to see that you pay attention to details, and that their needs are important to you.
If you’re paying attention to where your target market is on the web, and what they want to see, you’re creating targeted content. Blogs, videos, constant status updates – these all raise awareness of your brand and drive traffic your way. Link with other businesses in your industry by ReTweeting, linking to their sites, commenting on their blogs, or subscribing to their news feeds.
Though the web can seem like an impersonal place, it’s the perfect platform for your company to raise awareness and instill customer confidence. Honestly, it all comes down to three words: keep it real!