In the business world, trust is an elusive concept—you know it when you have it, but it’s tricky to define. One thing’s for sure though; you’ll suffer if your audience or your customers do not have trust in your business. Fortunately, there are relatively easy ways to build credibility with your audience, and over the long term, better credibility results in a better bottom line.
Research by Stanford University has shown that one of the most important factors in building credibility online is to show that you are a real company, not a fly by night scam of any kind. By far the easiest way to do this instantly is to ensure that you publish a physical address on your website, even if you’re a small business working from home.
If you do work from offices or business premises, include some photos of these on your website. Even if you are a one man band working from home, use your real name, your real photo and give enough personal information about yourself that online customers feel that you are a real person.
Be Proud of Your Expertise
Another easy way to build credibility is to showcase your expertise and credentials. If you or your business has won any awards, make sure this is prominent information on the site. If you’re in an industry where your credentials and qualifications matter, feature them too. For example, if you are particularly good at creating videos, tell people about that.
Add photographs and profiles of key staff that stress their experience and expertise, as well as showing their personalities. List key clients you have worked with, contracts you have won, or important orders placed with you. It all helps to show that past customers have trusted you, so others can do the same.
Make It Easy to Get in Touch
Make your contact details prominent on your site, and ensure that all customer contacts, through whichever channel, are answered promptly and professionally. If you say you will respond within 4 hours (or whatever time frame) then make sure you stick to it. For email addresses, consider using a branded address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org) rather than a free Gmail or Outlook account that anyone could set up.
Share Valuable and Useful Information
A key strategy for building credibility is to establish yourself or your company as an expert in your field. To do this, create useful content that will help your visitors, and curate useful content from elsewhere to share with them, too. If customers begin to recognize that your site always has something useful, important, or interesting to tell them, this will automatically increase your credibility.
Guest Blog and Guest Post
Another excellent way to increase credibility is to guest blog on other sites. You may need to get creative with finding angles that are relevant to both your customers and your target site’s demographic, but guest posting is a terrific way to boost traffic to your site on the one hand, and to get your name known as an expert on the other.
Share Customer and Client Testimonials
Be sure to ask for testimonials from each and every client or customer you have. Share a selection of these prominently on your site, preferably from a wide range of different customers. Testimonials are one of the best forms of “social proof”—the notion that we always feel more encouraged to do what we believe others are already doing—in this case buying your products or services.
Improving your credibility with your customer base is not difficult if you try to see things through your customers’ eyes. Make yourself useful (providing and sharing content), make yourself seem honest and trustworthy (contact details, address), make the most of your expertise (profiles, awards) and make yourself seem like the hottest thing in town (testimonials) and you will get an excellent head start on building a credible business which can only increase in success.