When you’re a new or small business, trust is a vital component in establishing a reputation for your brand, and cultivating relationships with your customers.
As a new, or smaller business it can be difficult to persuade first time visitors to try your products or services if there is no evidence to support your business claims of authenticity, legitimacy or even quality.
The good news is that there are ways to counteract this, and we’ve listed six easy ways to begin building trust in your business that can be implemented almost immediately for any business – from new to small and established.
1. Social proof
One of the most effective and easiest ways to establish trust with potential customers or clients is to display social proof. Social proof can take the form of reviews or ratings, and is an indicator to new users that your service is reputable because others have used your product or services and had good experiences.
Studies show that up to 70% of potential users automatically trust reviews, despite them being from people they might not even know. To make the most of this, sign up for a service such as TrustPilot to acquire ratings from existing customers, or implement a review section on your website and make it easily navigable.
2. Video Testimonials
Video testimonials are rated the highest converting creative that can be used in pay-per-click or display advertising. Why? Because just like reviews, people trust other people and a video format allows for the establishment of a personal connection, which automatically forms trust.
When this is combined with your potential customers or consumers hearing this from an identifiable third party, it can be an effective way to nurture assurity and engage interest.
For any video testimonial, make sure it is filmed in high quality and in a quiet, neutral environment. Testimonials that are badly filmed, pixelated and take place in the middle of the street will have the exact opposite effect as they will lose credibility.
Make sure too that your customer outlays their experience, from the problem they had, to how your business solved it, to why your business is so great. This helps the customer journey resonate with others thinking of doing the same.
3. Professional website design
In this predominantly digital era, a website is the first thing your new or potential customers will visit when researching you, or finding you online through an advert.
Long hailed as the best free form of advertising, a good, easily navigable and professional looking website can assure visitors that your brand is reputable and encourage them to undertake your services or buy your products.
A bad website that is unresponsive, difficult to find information from or looks poorly built will result in no customers and high bounce rates as consumer worries will not be eased.
To create a good website, work with a professional designer, or if this is out of your budget there are free options available online that can put a good looking website together in minutes. Just remember to maximise white space, create a brand theme and style, and make it easy to find important information quickly.
4. Trust badges
Trust badges are another form of social proof. These take the form of seals that are placed on your website that can instill trust in new customers. Whilst trust badges were mostly displayed only in the checkout process, badges such as those of a professional accreditation have been shown to be effective conversion rate tools when placed on the home page.
Trust badges can take any form, from payment providers such as mastercard and VISA, to professional accreditations or certificates from industry leaders within your sector, to even TrustPilot or other organisations that offer a third party rating service.
These badges signify to website visitors that your business or service is legitimate and assures them that if they were to share any data, it would be collected securely and not compromised. If these are available to you, implement them where appropriate throughout your website. If you have professional certificates, display those badges proudly on the home page for further trust in your businesses quality.
5. Produce valuable content
Another way to build trust with your customers is to establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry. One way to achieve this is through the creation of content, from blogs to professional whitepapers or guides, or even across social media.
Producing content that your customer automatically receives value from, such as answering a common question related to their problem, or doing an in-depth guide of a particular area of your industry can initiate trust through your business being proven in its knowledge.
The best way to undertake this is to create a content marketing strategy. These can include content or social calendars, and can help you to formulate ideas as to what you would like to talk about, with the aim of delivering value to your audience in exchange for them developing a relationship with you and your brand.
6. Audience interaction
Finally, a social media presence allows for a new or small business to have a wealth of opportunity to directly reach – and talk to – its target audience. Whilst this is initially great for being able to proudly display and advertise your brand, it’s also worthwhile taking the time to engage the audience you’re advertising to in the form of interactive content.
On platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, there are a variety of ways that business can start conversations with their customers. Some of these tools include polls, quizzes, and Q&A’s. Reaching out and starting conversations with new or prospective customers works in the same way as content marketing: It gives businesses the chance to establish trust by curating a relationship through being reachable, accountable, knowledgeable and valuable.
Consider setting up social media profiles for your business immediately, or enlist in small business marketing services. Make sure regular polls, quizzes, or opportunities to share thoughts or content are scheduled into any content calendar. Over time, your following will grow and you could see boosts to your conversion rates as potential users place trust in your brand.
Without trust, even the best looking website or well designed logo will fail to convert. Visitors must be assured of a business’s abilities and know that if they buy a product or service, that they will encounter a genuine and good experience.
Andy Stephens is the co-founder of Dandy Marketing, a transparent, approachable, affordable Digital Marketing Agency who help Small & Medium Sized Businesses to grow through honest, cost effective marketing.