The topic of building trust online seems to be a hot and upcoming issue that many entrepreneurs are starting to become aware of.
In our increasingly digital world, it’s becoming harder and harder to tell our audience that we are someone they can trust and who knows what they’re talking about.
That’s why building trust online is so important as a business. If your potential customer doesn’t sense they can trust you to provide the quality or expertise they’re looking for, they can—and will—immediately click away onto your competitor’s site.
Here are my 5 must-do’s to build your audience’s trust and confidence in your business!
1) HAVE A PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE.
In today’s day and age, having a website is essential to growing your business.
If you don’t have a website, your customers don’t know where to find you. Worse, they may think you’re not even open for business.
Think of your website as your digital storefront. You want it to be easy to find, have an “open” sign hanging on the door, and be an inviting space where people can not only see what you do but also get a feel for the quality of your business.
That’s why I added the word “professional” to tip #1. As much as we say not to do it, we humans do judge books by their covers.
And in order to stay competitive in today’s crowded markets, an unprofessional-looking website will tell your audience, “I don’t know what I’m doing and my products or services aren’t really worth your money.”
I know that’s not true of your business, so I encourage you to invest in a website that reflects the quality of what you have to offer. (Because I know what you offer is worth it!).
If you can’t afford a professional website yet, save up for one! It is not only worth it, it’s an essential for your business.
If you must DIY it for the time being, keep your design clean and minimal. Clean and minimal screams quality and value (think about the clothing racks in a designer store vs a mass retail shop), and it’s a design that can grow and flex over time.
2) SHARE YOUR SECRETS.
This is a big one that I not only hear others preach daily, but I’ve also bought services and products myself from businesses that do this!
The best way to build trust online is to give your secrets away. (Or, if you’re a product-based business or a non-profit, give away helpful resources).
Giving your secrets away before asking for anything in return tells your audience you genuinely want to help them succeed and that you know what you’re talking about.
None of us want to be friends with people who are constantly asking us for our time or resources without ever offering theirs in return. The same thing is true in business: your audience wants to do business with someone they know truly cares about them and is willing to do whatever they can to meet their needs.
Contrary to what it may seem, this will actually increase your sales because your audience now trusts you to be the #1 go-to and because nobody can do it quite like you can!
Your business isn’t just what you sell or offer; all of your personal expertise and experience goes into it as well. While you can give your secrets away, you can’t give away your expertise and experience.
So get sharin’!
3) SHOW SOME PERSONALITY.
If your business is not showing personality, it is not memorable to your audience.
Did you know it takes up to 6 interactions with your brand before your audience starts to remember and recognize it?
If you’re not giving them something to remember, it might take you even more than that.
If your audience can’t remember your business, when they need your product or service, they’ll turn to a business they can remember. Yikes!
But not only does showing personality make you memorable, it makes you human.
It breaks down the walls of formality and fakeness and says, “I’m willing to invite you into my story.” It allows your audience to feel connected to your business on a personal level.
And when your audience feels connected to your business, they’ll remember you, trust you, and want to do business with you!
Showing personality doesn’t have to mean bold, flashy, or colorful. Whether you’re a boutique or a law firm, share your heart, share why you do what you do, and try to find ways to stand out while being true to your brand identity.
4) UNDERSTAND AND SPEAK TO YOUR AUDIENCE’S NEEDS.
Building trust online is all about connection. It’s not only presenting a professional, quality image through a clean website—it’s about that something deeper, that personal and emotional connection with your audience.
That’s why this point is a big one.
By understanding what your audience needs, you are letting them know you have their best interests at heart.
It says you care, you are interested in seeing the deeper concerns, hopes, or fears they have, and you’re the right person to help.
If you’re not telling your audience how you can help them, then they won’t know.
When I rebranded the amazing non-profit organization Love Made Visible, I helped them do exactly this with a simple shift in their messaging.
Love Made Visible helps children in need both locally and across the globe. Now that’s a mission everyone can get behind and have compassion for! They didn’t need to tell people why they should care about helping these kids. Instead, we tapped into their audience’s intrinsic desire to help kids in need.
We shifted their messaging from “we can change the world, help us” to “you can change the world, let us help you”.
Now their audience doesn’t have to ask how they can get involved or how to take the first step in making a difference. Love Made Visible has extended a hand, spoken to their desire to help, and said, “We know you want to help end suffering, let us show you how.”
5) INVEST IN QUALITY DESIGN.
A few weeks ago, I came home to a bright pink paper hanger on my front door handle.
It was an ad for housecleaning services. I kept that hanger and it’s still on my desk right now!
Why? I wasn’t looking for professional cleaning help (though the amount of corgi hair on my floor would beg otherwise).
The design was so clean, easy-to-read, and professional that I thought, if I ever need these services, these are the folks I’m gonna call.
This simple door hanger communicated this was a professional business that was worth the quality they were advertising, and because they invested in professional design, their ad stood out to me and became one I was interested in doing business with—even though I wasn’t even looking for this service!
This must-do tip circles back #1 and #3—building trust with professional design communicates quality and makes your business memorable to your audience.
Remember what I said under #3 about it taking up to 6 interactions with your brand before people start to recognize it?
Because this door hanger caught my eye, it will definitely take less than 5 more interactions for me to remember this business.
If your marketing graphics are all over the board, are generic, and are inconsistent, at best it will probably take your audience more than those 6 interactions to remember you. At worst? Even when they do remember you, they won’t think you offer quality products or services. Remember, we humans do judge books by their covers. I know what you have to offer is worth it, so make sure your audience knows it, too!
If you’re ready to build trust online with a professional website, logo, or ongoing design services, check out my services page to see if we’re a good fit. You can schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation to learn how I can specifically help you!