If there’s a dazzling, all-encompassing one that hits you in the face, you better get it right, something that’s more important now than ever is this: confidence. If trust is the new money, then your reputation is the bank account. In the new world, your clients have the same information overload as you, but they also have limitless options from countless competitors, honest (sometimes) but conflicting sources, and access to the opinions of other clients. Your choice is difficult. If you have their trust, you have your business. Period.
There are several things you can do to build and maintain the trust of your customers. The most obvious is to build a good product and deliver on your promises. Assuming you already have it covered (and it’s better), we’ve found some hidden gems that are a little less obvious, but no less powerful.
Tip 1: reviews, customer and expert testimonials
The first thing to understand is that when a potential customer meets you for the first time, they don’t trust you, and with each passing day, the information overload and cynicism increase. However, there is a trust that is growing at an exponential rate, and that is trust between clients.
The most influential trust mechanism is having an anonymous product rating similar to what you would see on Amazon or Best Buy. Buyers know that anyone who posts a product review has nothing to gain from that post. I don’t know about you, but when I see a rating of 2 or less from a decent number of people, I don’t even bother to review the product.
Now there is a trap, a GIANT trap, for this method. Other than building a fantastic product, you have almost no control over what is said about you.
Food to go: Create an amazing product. If not, check it out and make it one. You should be doing that anyway. You can’t hide the truth for long these days.
The next best method is to provide your visitor with lots of testimonials from satisfied and expert clients. In this case, you have a level of control over the content, but it won’t have the same resonance with customers as an anonymous rating. This is because most of the time you are the one asking for the feedback; Simply put, even if it’s in your client’s own words, it doesn’t look “real.”
Expert testimonials also go a long way in establishing customer trust. If you can get a Maven, expert, guru, or celebrity in your niche to say nice things about you, buyers’ decision to trust you is much easier. They will automatically associate with you the feeling they have for that person / company.
Tip 2: Website Design and Marketing Materials
Would you have a brick and mortar business in poor condition in a poor part of town? Probably not. If your website is your business, then you need to take some time to focus on how your site looks. Take the time to ensure that your website presentation is clean, elegant, user-friendly, and professional. Imagine that your website is a real physical store. Would customers want to go there?
The second factor is that the elegant design of a site, banner, postcard, report connotes professionalism. With today’s inexpensive tools and outsourcing options, creating a professional-grade site, brochure, or video isn’t really that difficult or expensive. Nothing says this company is a startup more than an amateur-looking web page, full of broken links and misspellings, or a poorly-edited and coded video.
Tip 3: physical location and business phone
A physical location makes you real. Your customers want to make sure you actually have the products to deliver, especially when it comes to larger purchases. After all, if you have a fancy website as mentioned above, you may well be able to run your business from your living room. However, that is not something that will make your clients feel comfortable.
Now suppose you run your business from your living room. Okay, we all have to start somewhere. If that’s the case, I recommend that you use a service like Mailboxes Etc, or the UPS store but NOT a PO box. The advantage of ETC or UPS mailboxes is that your mailbox has the address of a Suite number in a real address.
Also, for phone service, try Vonage. I’ve had a few ISP-related service issues with them, but most of the people I talk to don’t have any issues and are very happy with the product. One of the key benefits of vonage is that it has the built-in ability to configure multiple mailboxes and routing capabilities. While annoying, it sounds more professional to listen to a voice-controlled options system than a fuzzy message recorded on tape on your machine at home. As a bonus, you can configure it to forward your voice messages to your email account with the audio as a small attachment.
Tip 4: brand establishment
Having a strong brand and strong brand recognition is the holy grail of trust. There’s a reason the Nike “swoosh” alone is valued at $ 5 billion. It makes whatever product you place yourself on instantly reliable, and in turn instantly salable. That’s because you know what it means, you know the company that makes it, and you know you don’t need to waste your precious time having to determine if it’s worth talking to them in the first place.
Now we can’t all be a multi-million dollar company, but you can follow the same brand rules. Put your logo and your brand EVERYWHERE. Every page, every blog post, every product, every email, every partner page, every everything. The more places your customer sees your brand, the better. It also has the impact of associating your brand with the person or place where you saw it. The second implication is that, in a customer’s mind, if it appears everywhere, it obviously has to be established.
Tip 5: trusted affiliations and logos
If you have any way to partner with an established brand, jump on the bandwagon! Leveraging another trusted brand is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to build trust. Have you worked with a trusted brand? Have you ever contributed or been interviewed for a magazine? If so, post it prominently. Who would you trust? The new kid or the kid who’s been featured on Forbes or partnered with Microsoft.
Other common trust items include the “Hacker Safe” designation, “Verisign Certificates” and the ubiquitous Better Business Bureau Stamp.
Tip 6 Product warranty and return policy
There is no question that you should have a strong warranty and a generous return policy for your product. These should be formal and prominent on your site. It’s not uncommon to see a 30-day full refund (often a 100% refund AND they keep the bonuses free) on every information product you see. On a similar note, the cancellation rate on introductory priced continuity programs is very, very high. It is not uncommon to see a 50% cancellation rate after a trial period ends. Be prepared, it is just the nature of this market and not necessarily a reflection of your product.
To build trust, the warranty and return policies for your products must be fair, firm, and prompt. If you receive a refund request, please process it immediately, always within the established deadline and sooner if possible. Without exceptions.
Your customers are very concerned about their privacy and do not want their personal information (not even their email address) to be sold to the highest bidder. While the smartest customers will often have “junk” email addresses that they often use for subscription lists, a large portion of visitors, especially new visitors, will use their primary email address.