Your company’s website can be the best tool for drawing prospects and for converting those prospects to customers. But, making the most of your website requires more than just good search engine optimization, inbound links and social media shares. Once those visitors arrive on your site, you must give them a reason to do business with you—a reason that goes beyond the product or service you have to offer. Effective online marketing requires that you build trust and establish credibility.
Establishing Credibility through Content
One key step toward establishing trust with your website visitors comes through offering content that is valuable to your prospects, builds your expertise and conveys the message that you understand their concerns and want to help. To produce content that builds credibility:
- Know your target market and tailor your content to their questions and concerns;
- Offer valuable information, not just content directly geared toward sales; and
- Go a little beyond the information your prospects will be expecting.
For example, if you’re running a resort hotel, you’ll obviously want to offer content describing the property and amenities. But if you also offer well-constructed, useful content about the local area, transportation, packing and travel tips and the like, you’ll show your prospective visitors that you care about their needs and know how to take care of them.
Likewise, if you’re selling home repair materials, include information about how to use your tools on your website, along with general tips about do-it-yourself home repairs, finding the best materials, safety issues and energy savings.
Build Trust with Testimonials
Demonstrating your expertise is a powerful tool, but nothing gives your visitors confidence like hearing from satisfied customers. Testimonials allow your prospects to see that you’ve delivered a positive experience to people just like them, whether you’re offering an airline flight or a software package.
Cultivate testimonials in a variety of ways to increase the number of responses you’ll receive. A few of the most common means of drawing this kind of feedback include:
- Asking for feedback on your website;
- Distributing comment cards onsite; and
- Emailing survey links to current and past customers.
You may also obtain testimonials by checking your reviews on sites such as Yelp and following up to request permission to quote the reviewer. Wherever you get your testimonials, be sure to obtain permission and comply with any regulatory restrictions in your industry before publishing testimonials.
Building Credibility from the Outside
Of course, building trust with your prospects doesn’t begin and end with your company website. In a later post, I’ll talk about some of the outside factors that impact your credibility and help build your expertise and create trust, such as cultivating online reviews and having your content shared by trusted authorities in your industry.
Every element of your web presence, on your site, in your social media accounts and on third-party sites, should work together to present a consistent image of your company as someone your prospects can rely on.