When it comes to shopping online, people are skeptical of smaller businesses and sites. Too many have been burned while buying products online, whether they never received an eBay product they won in an auction, were mislead with inaccurate product descriptions or photos, or just being straight up scammed.

So, as part of marketing your products or services, you need to convince consumers to trust you. Simply saying you are a business and having a website isn’t enough. You have to show that you are a real business, prove you are trustworthy, and that you are safe to do business with. Here are some tips to build trust with potential customers.

Have A Clean and Modern Website

Nothing raises a consumer’s suspicions faster than a poorly designed website. Someone who comes across a site stuck in the 90’s might assume the company is out of business, or at least not in touch with the current world. A poorly managed one, full of broken links, annoying ads, and difficult interface will make consumers think it might be a scam. Bad websites lead to bad impressions, which encourages people to make negative assumptions.

When designing (or redesigning) your site, focus on a clean, simple, and streamlined look. Look to major websites and corporations for examples and inspiration. They have simple designs, straightforward color palettes, easy to identify call to action buttons, and are well maintained. Having a professional looking website demonstrates to consumers you are serious about your business and are worthy of their trust.

In addition to this, running and updating a blog on a regular basis can give your business personality and come across more human. A great blog will also set you up as an expert in the eyes of consumers, another way they’ll come to trust you more.

Keeping Their Info Safe

A major concern for doing business online is personal information being stolen or misused. Cyber crimes are constantly increasing, with more and more victims every year. In addition to that, people are wary of giving out their personal email in case a business sells their info to others because they don’t want spam.

A big part of consumers trusting you is reassurance that you’ll never sell their info and that your site is protected from hackers. Somewhere on your site, have a privacy disclosure, telling them you’ll keep their information private and secured. If customers create an account on your site, require them to follow the best password practices so they know you care about their security.

When it comes time to purchase, do all you can to make them feel comfortable. If you utilize a specific type of security software, tell them. Does your site have a security certification? It better on the purchasing page. Offer consumers multiple different ways to make a purchase, from using a credit card directly on your site, or utilize third party tools and sites like PayPal or Amazon.

Customer Service That Actually Helps

People are slow to trust companies, but are more likely to trust other people. That’s why your customer service is important. If a potential customer reaches out with questions, looking for more information, or just wants to learn more about the business, you should be responding as fast as possible. The longer it takes to get back with them, the less trust you earn.

In addition to getting back fast, they should focus on going above and beyond in everything. Customer service should be an experience they enjoy, not a two line email giving the basics. Your customer service reps should come across as real people who love to help. They should have personality, follow up on emails, give opinions and insights from working at the business, and be easily accessible.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

People heavily value the opinions of others who went through the same process. That’s why 88% of consumers are influenced by reviews when making a purchase. You need customer reviews on social media, third party review sites, and even on your own website.

Having a good variety of reviews is important to being viewed as a trustworthy business. The easiest, and most common, is a simple ranking review, like “5 out of 5 stars” or “10 out of 10.” The more valuable reviews though are when customers go in depth about the product. If somebody truly enjoyed their experience, their enthusiasm will show in these reviews, positively affect other consumers. Especially in a world of mediocre and average products, several glowing recommendations can make a world of difference.

Benefits of Consumer Trust

Outside of encouraging customers to make a purchase, putting an emphasis on building trust can make a huge difference in your business. The biggest benefit is that you’ll build brand loyalty among customers. That means customers will come back to you time and time again because they know they can trust you, instead of risking it with other companies. They’ll also leave you positive reviews, tell their friends about you, and support you during harder times. These are the types of people that will share your business on social media and become some of your biggest promoters.

Do you have some suggestions on how to build trust among consumers? What hasn’t worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments below.

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