Can I trust you? How do I know that you're trustworthy? Does it matter? Yes, it really does - you can't build a business without building trust.
Few of us are ready to pay good money for something that we're not certain of, or don't trust. We may seem to happily hand over our cash for goods and services online but in our sub-conscious we're constantly asking ourselves questions.
Is this really as good as it looks? Is it worth the money? Is the company genuine? Is it too good to be true? How do I know this will live up to my expectations? If I pay now, will my money be safe?
Tourism business owners often ask me how they can make their website or social media more effective, to generate more revenue. There are lots of different ways to do that but one aspect is often forgotten.
You need to build trust. People will only visit you and stay with you if they believe what you say online. They need to be convinced, and building trust is part of the sales process. Quite often people are on the point of buying from you but there's something almost indiscernible in the way. Building trust helps get you over the final hurdle to a sale.
Here are some tips to help you build trust:
We ask questions to find out more, and to reassure ourselves that we're making the right decision. If we're looking online for something, it's harder to ask questions directly so we expect to see all the information we need clearly laid out for us. When we don't see it, or when we need more reassurance, we go to other sites such as TripAdvisor. That's when we often get side-tracked and forget to go back to the original site. One of the most common web mistakes I see is not providing enough information. So long as you layer the information (most important info at the top of the page, less important a click away), and break it up with cross-headings and sub-titles, you'll build trust without overwhelming people with information.
This is one of the most important things you can do to create trust and build your business. Keep a consistent style through out your website, and use the same colours and fonts in everything you do. Think about your public communications - are they consistent, do they build trust? If you post on social media once in a blue moon, and then do a flurry of posts or post about a load of different and random topics not relating to your business, you won't build trust.
If you send out an irregular newsletter and don't say in advance that it's intended to be irregular, you won't build trust. I find that it's much easier to be consistent if I set a day/time when I'm going to do something and let others know, and then deliver as I promised. So for example, I send out a mailing to tourism businesses every Tuesday. Over time, those businesses start to notice that this is something I do every Tuesday, and hopefully they'll trust me and be ready to use my advice.
Be an expert
There is masses of information available on the internet but we increasingly turn to people we trust rather than faceless organisations. You can very easily build a reputation as a local expert by creating content about your local area. This will help build your search engine rankings as well as helping visitors to trust you.
Be real, be visible and have two way conversations
We all want to buy from real people we trust. But it's hard to trust some one if we don't know who they are! Have you got information about you, your business ethos, your interests on your website? When people talk about you on social media do you respond? Do you share their posts and encourage conversations?
Use social proof
We are much more likely to believe recommendations from people we think are like us. Social proof can be very powerful - look out for more information about this in next week's blog.
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Please note: all articles are copyrighted Susan Briggs