What is the first thing you do when you want to check something? You Google it, right. Well that is exactly what people are going to do when they want to check your business out. Then if they find your business online, how do they know they can trust you? Do you make them feel comfortable enough to buy what you’re selling?
Just like a personal relationship, building trust online is a gradual process. The basic needs of a visitor must be met before you can expect them to hand over their credit card details. Similar to Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, the Neilson Norman Group has created a pyramid of trust that applies to online trust needs. Site visitor relationships progress through 5 levels of commitment. Starting at the bottom, and only progressing upward once the trust needs of the lower level have been met.
So how can you build trust online?
It starts with you providing value and being helpful. Ever experienced an overeager salesperson who ambushes you the minute you walk into a new shop? How did that make you feel? Probably more like walking back out the door rather than buying something. The biggest mistake most businesses make is focussing on attracting visitors, and then not providing any value to them. If your site is credible and provides your visitors with exactly what they are looking for, you’ll establish trust.
Consistency is important. Consistently providing value builds more and more trust. Eventually they trust you enough to hand over their personal information.
Provide social proof. Your site visitors will always trust other customers more than you. They know that you’re always going to portray yourself in the best light. Whereas other customers are likely to be unbiased. Customer reviews or testimonials are very powerful. They help convince your site visitors that you are trustworthy.
Direct contact. Engage directly and consistently with your audience on social media. If you have a WordPress site, allow people to comment on your blogs. Allowing for continuous dialogue establishes trust.
If you focus on satisfying the basic levels of the pyramid of trust before asking people to buy, your customers are more likely to buy from you. So how are you going to build trust in your business?