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How to gain trust from your online customers

How to gain trust from your online customers
We're pretty intelligent creatures, but we all have areas of predictability. From advertising that engages us, to visual and behavioural cues, we've put together a list of tactics that let users know that you're worth their time.

Published: 30 Jul, 2015

How to gain trust from your online customers

Visuals go a long way

If something looks good, it really helps the buyer's decision.

Of course, that's not to say that all well presented products or services are necessarily going to provide a positive experience, but if you have got something worth selling, why sell yourself short by not using great visuals to portray that quality?

When it comes to your website, a clean and easy to use user interface (UI) is very important when it comes to converting potential users to customers, or convincing them that your product, service, and business is trust worthy.

A positive browsing experience is extremely important in an age where people will go online first to assess your business.

So when you're thinking about your new website, or looking at your current digital assets, ask yourself if the following elements accurately portray the quality of your offering: 

  • Design - is it modern? Does it align with your brand voice? Is it easy to use and does it provide a clean / uncluttered experience for the user?
  • Imagery - do your digital assets truly represent what your business is about? Are you using stock photography – if so, have you tried considering getting professional photographs taken instead? Users can often see right through those smiling business professionals sitting around the meeting table, which isn't an actual representation of your brand, its people and environment.  

Highlight your case studies

Social proof is one of the quickest ways of building user trust, and case studies go a step further by showcasing how your business offered a solution with real results to your customer. This area on your site requires more user investment, as case studies are mini stories, but the payoff is well worth it.  

Make sure your case studies are are honest and validated. A good case study relies on the narrative, as they help readers identify with the subject and imagine the product in their own life.

Use the traditional story-telling format by stating the problem, how you helped, and the positive results.

Show how many people use your product/service

If you have recognisable brands that are using your product or service, then leverage it!

When a user sees a notable brand is using what you’re selling, then they will be happy to. Make sure that those customers are happy for you to use them as examples, as sometimes it may come under an NDA or other legal agreement where you are not allowed to mention your previous business interactions in a public space.

Even if you don't have a household name brand that's worked with you in the past, don't stress - just be honest with your users and let them know who your customers are.

As long as they're real then you automatically create the ability for your users to do just a little bit of research and see what types of businesses you've done work for before.

Reduce risk

Giving a product or service away may be one of the oldest tactics for creating trust, but remains effective.

Giving people the opportunity to try out your offering risk-free is an excellent way to gain trust. This act shows transparency, something users look for when they evaluate your brand and website. 

If you can give a user a small but valuable taste of what you offer, then that gives them an experience in which they can assess the trustworthiness of your brand.

Sometimes that is just not possible, especially if your business is primarily service-based, but that doesn't mean you can't give them something for nothing. Do you have a newsletter that you send out to your customers? Why not offer users the ability to sign-up for free? Or if you sell products online, why not offer X$ off their first purchase if they sign up for said emails? If you are selling software, a demo or free trial helps as well.

This act not only builds trust but builds brand identity and gives the user the opportunity to refer your brand to others. Perhaps even offer you a testimonial!

Showcase testimonials

These are simple, honest notes of feedback. 

A testimonial should be short, to the point, and should speak positively about why you are trustworthy. It should always include the person and the business they are from, and you should of course have their permission to use it as part of your marketing collateral.

Also consider using video instead of a written testimonial, because then your users can be absolutely sure that what is being said is coming directly from your client!

Trust is something you should never trick your users into. Avoid exaggerating and hyping your product, because we educated and savvy creatures are critical thinkers, and will expose your trickery in the worst way.

In any effort to gain user trust, promote transparency and always give users the invitation to learn more about your brand.