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How to build trust online

How to build trust online

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?

We have more advice on how to build trust online in our blog or you could schedule a free 20 minute consultation call and discuss it with us.

What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

WordPress powers 34% of the internet. If you think about the millions of websites out there, that’s a LOT of websites!

So what is WordPress and why is it so popular? WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS), with thousands of pre-made themes and more than 50,000 plugins. That means it’s free, easy to use, super powerful and you can do just about anything with it.

Here are a couple of questions we often get about WordPress that’ll explain it a little more:

What does open-sourced mean?

Open source programs are free or very low cost and developed by teams of people, often on a volunteer basis.

What is a Content Management System CMS?

A CMS is software designed to make it easier for people who aren’t developers to create and manage a website without having to learn to code.

Is it actually free?

While the WordPress software is free, you still need to pay for someone to host your website as you would with a traditional (code) website. There are also free and paid themes and plugins – so you can choose options to suit your budget.

Isn’t it only for blogging?

No, not anymore. It may have started out that way but has progressed way beyond being a simple blogging platform.

What are themes and how do they work?

Think of it this way, WordPress is a plain vanilla sponge cake and a theme provides the delicious icing and toppings for the cake. WordPress themes provide a template to define the appearance of the site. Themes define things like the color scheme, layout and font choices.

What are plugins and do I need them?

Plugins are like the apps you have on your phone. They extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress website. So it all depends on what you want to do with your site. For example Woocommerce is a plugin that is added to WordPress to convert a normal site into an online store.

Do I need to know how to code to use WordPress?

Not at all, but it can be helpful if you do. When it comes to WordPress, even coders don’t need to code.

I’ve heard that WordPress is bad for SEO is this true?

No it’s not true. If it were you wouldn’t see any WordPress sites on your Google search results page. WordPress on its own doesn’t optimise for SEO but there are plugins that do. The plugins actually make it simpler – no need to remember things like tags and image alt text when you can optimise all the various SEO elements in one place. 

Hopefully this has answered some of the questions you had about WordPress.
Now do you understand why it’s so popular?

Would you like to learn how to create your own WordPress website?

Do you think email marketing is dead?

Do you think email marketing is dead?

I’m sure you’ve heard that email marketing is dead, I know I definitely have. “No one uses email anymore”, right.  Well recent reports that email marketing is dead are “fake news”. Email marketing is very much alive.

There are many ways to reach your prospective customers. Think about where people spend their time, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.  While these are all very effective channels to use in your marketing toolbox, none are as effective as email marketing.

Based on 2018 data, email marketing is still ranked as the most effective marketing channel, outpacing social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing.

Here are some email stats for 2019:

  • the number of global email users is at 3.7 billion users (Statista, 2019)
  • with 293 billion emails sent and received each day (Statista, 2019).
  • mobile opens accounted for 46% of emails opened
  • 35% of business professionals check their email on a mobile device 
  • 99% of email users check their email every day 
  • and in case you think email is for old people – 73% of millennials prefer to have businesses communicate with them via email

So why is email marketing effective?

Users are in control. Unlike social media posts or banner ads, email users opt-in to receive your emails. This means they’re more likely to a) Notice and b) Show interest in your email when it arrives in their inbox.

It’s targeted and personal. With segmented email lists you can send emails based on the specific needs and interests of your customers. Personalised messages for each customer can lead to higher conversion rates.

It’s important to do it right

Getting your emails into someone’s inbox is like being invited into their home. If they ask you to take your shoes off at the door, you might think they’re a bit odd – but you’d take your shoes off. It’s all about showing respect.

Here’s a checklist for you to follow to make sure you are doing it right:
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First get people to opt-in

There are lots of ways to get people to opt-in to your email list. You could give away a freebie in exchange for their email address or simply offer a newsletter. You get to choose which is the best incentive for your business. It is however important to have a clear purpose when asking for an address.

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Make sure you live up to their expectations

Make sure you send out great content and if you promised to send one email per week make sure you do that. You’re there to engage customers and make sales so it’s a good idea to think in advance about your sales pitches. You don’t want to surprise them with a pitch out of the blue, so include subtle pitches in your regular content, then build up to a full blown one.

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Segment and send targeted emails

For example, with segmentation, you can send an email to those who didn’t open your last email and ask them why. Or email those that showed interest with a second pitch. You can also do some split test messaging with different groups to refine your sales pitch.

So how do you feel about email marketing now? If you’ve been ignoring it, now might be time to re-evaluate your strategy and get started. It doesn’t have to be too complicated.

Have some fun with the Creative Type quiz

Have some fun with the Creative Type quiz

What do you think about personality tests? Like “Which Game of Thrones character are you” or “Which Modern Disney Princess Are You?” They are fun right (aside from the dodgy data farming practices – but that’s a another blog post). How about the more serious personality tests like the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram tests? It can be interesting to learn a little bit about yourself and how you appear to the rest of the world.

My Creative Type

Well, whether you’re a creative or not, you’ll love Adobe’s Creative Types test. Developed by Adobe in partnership with Anyways Creative and writer Carolyn Gregoire. It’s based on psychological research and assesses “basic habits and tendencies…how you think, how you act, how you see the world”.

About the test

The test is only 15 questions long and some of the questions are quite quirky, such as “I’d rather be in a cocoon or a beehive?”. It is visually fun and interactive and there are interesting animations between each question that coincide with the answer you give. Personalities are mapped across three broad metrics, including basic temperament, thinking style, and action style. These metrics measure how introverted or extroverted you are, whether you’re driven by intellect or emotion, and if your activities are driven by ideas or action.

Once you are done you are assigned one of the 8 types of creatives: the Artist, the Thinker, the Adventurer, the Maker, the Producer, the Dreamer, the Innovator, and the Visionary. It’ll help you to understand not only your own creative style, but who you are best suited to working with.So, whether this test is “legitimate” or not, it really is a fun and interactive way to learn a little bit about yourself.

If you want to spend a fun couple of minutes finding out which of these eight types describes you best, head over to the My Creative Type website and take the test.

I’m a Dreamer, what type of creative are you?

Do you tell stories?

Do you tell stories?

If you are of a certain age I am sure the words “It’s not inside it’s on top!” will mean something to you. Yes, it’s the famous line from the 80’s Cremora ad and even if you weren’t around in the 80’s you’ve probably heard your parents refer to it or have seen it on Youtube. Why was this ad so successful? Because it tells a story, a story that makes us laugh, which is one the most powerful ways to engage an audience.

We all love stories. Growing up, it’s how we learn important lessons. In the past, fairy tales and fables taught us memorable life lessons and now children learn these from one of the most influential story tellers ever, Disney.  Stories capture our attention from the beginning to the very end and this makes it an incredibly powerful content marketing tool.

Here’s an example of the power of story telling – we’re selling a pen for Fathers on Father’s Day.

“This pen is the best one on the market, it’s refillable with any size or colour ink refill and it has a twist-action mechanism that smoothly retracts the pen tips. “

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“Inspired by radar invisible technology used in state-of-the-art military aircraft and originally crafted in 1963, the precise engineering of the barrel and internal mechanisms, allow the nib to disappear completely when not in use. A dependable and trusted writing instrument that has withstood the test of time. “

Would you be more interested in the first one or the James Bond-spy gadget sounding one?

So how can you use story telling in your business? Consider it a way to add more meaning to the information you want to provide your customers. The features and advantages of your product are important, so you want to present them in a way that your potential customers understand them without having to read dry facts, features and product descriptions.

Share a real customer experience.

We all like to hear about other people’s experiences of a product/service before buying. Telling customer stories gives potential customers more than just features and facts – it allows them to understand why they need your product/service.

Highlight your uniqueness.

Your products/services may have unique features, but the thing that will really distinguish you from your competitors is your story. Make it messy, human and relatable and your audience will remember your brand and think of it whenever they need the services or products you offer.

Don’t be sales-ey.

When you’re just sharing an experience and subtly promoting your brand through a story, you’re leaving the decision in your customers hands. Customers will be much happier to make a purchase when they feel like they are the ones in control.

You can use these tips to tell your stories through images, videos, or blog posts. How are you using story telling in your business?

Does your startup business really need a Facebook page?

Does your startup business really need a Facebook page?

Cheryl, used to promote her vegan pre-made meals via a Facebook business page. She’d post frequently – inspirational quotes, tips on where to eat out as a vegan and some of her own vegan recipes, but surprisingly, out of her 1000+ followers, only 4 or 5 would like or interact with her posts. How frustrating! Were people ignoring her posts? She did a bit of research and discovered that her followers weren’t ignoring her posts, they weren’t even getting to see them.

You’ve started a business, done all the hard work in getting your product/service ready to sell and the next step is to get your product seen by prospective customers. Can you get away with creating a Facebook page for your business instead of DIY-ing or paying for a website? In the past using Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms was essential to starting a business, but things may have changed. Buffer and BuzzSumo analysed 43 million Facebook posts and discovered some surprising facts about Facebook business pages.

Overall FB page engagement declined by more than 50% over the last 18 months

Why the decline? Well, there has been a 24% increase in the number of posts by the world’s top brands. This means 20,000 more pieces of content being posted … every day. And being top brands, they can pay people to create top-quality content so not only has the volume of content increased, but the quality of the content too. In addition to this, Facebook has updated the News Feed algorithm to favour content from family and friends over business page content. So not only is there less space in your followers news feed, but there is also lots more top quality content to compete with. Yikes!

With that said, there are still plenty of small businesses who have effective social media strategies that benefit from social media. They do however tend to have deep pockets for social media budgets and social media savvy employees to run their accounts. But if your small business is not among them, well, businesses can and do succeed without actively marketing on social media.

So, what did Cheryl, end up doing? She started a website with a blog and instead of posting content on FB she posted it on her blog. She also signed up for a health expo and attended a few vegan seminars and managed to source a number of new contacts that way – contacts who all got added to her email list. She started growing a healthy email list and kept in regular touch with her customers via weekly email newsletters and received a massive boost in repeat business.

To wrap up, if you aren’t yet ready to create a social media presence for your business, there are still a few things you should do.

 

  • Set up Alerts to monitor what people are saying about your brand in social media – the two best options are Google Alerts, and Social Mention
  • Respond to comments when it’s appropriate
  • Make sure people can find you and get in touch online, a simple contact form on a website/landing page will do
So, what do you think, is social media and Facebook in particular still a tool you are using or intend to use? If so let us know why in the comments below – we’d love too hear your take on it.