by Susan Solov
“Make hundreds of dollars a week just by stuffing envelopes.”
Remember that tiny ad that used to run regularly in virtually every newspaper’s classified ad section?
I suppose a fair number of people answered the ad, otherwise they would have gone extinct quite quickly. However, most of us didn’t take the bait. Why? Because we didn’t have any trust in it.
Trust may be the single most important foundational element in a business relationship, and with so many business relationships starting from the Internet today, knowing how to build trust with customers and prospects via the digital media is essential for success.
This means that not only do you need to communicate how your product or service solves the problems your prospects are having; you need to establish trust with them as well. Here are four strategies you should use.
You probably know the objections prospects have to buying your product or service. Address those head-on in your marketing materials and on your website. The more honest and forthright you can be when you take on possible objections, the more your prospects will notice and appreciate it.
Use social proof
Testimonials and reviews are a great way to build trust. However, there are a lot of companies on the Internet that fake testimonials. Be sure yours are legitimate. It’s great if you can use a customer’s full name and picture and even say a little about the product or service that your customer used. In other words, make it into a mini-case study rather than a one-sentence quote.
Using a third-party review app gives your reviews a higher level of legitimacy. When they can be identified as actual buyers, their reviews carry a lot more weight with prospects.
Getting influencers on board is a major trend today. There is even a growing movement of using “micro-influencers” – individuals who are recognized authorities in smaller niches.
If you’re a local business, think about who would be good influencers in your community. If you owned a sporting goods store, making a donation to a local team and posting a thank-you note from a respected coach would help build trust and esteem.
You don’t have to get the endorsement of an influencer whose last name is Kardashian!
Your ‘About Us’ page
The About Us or About Me page on websites is always one of the most-read pages. That alone should tell you how important it is to build trust with customers and prospects – they are looking for reasons to trust you!
Sadly, many businesses use this page as a sales page. They tell how dedicated they are to providing the best widgets or widget repair service in the world. It’s wiser to take a more personal approach. Let your customers and prospects see you and your team as real people. Talk about hobbies, families, and other interests. Talk about why you started your business and your vision for the future.
Start to build trust with customers now
Are you doing everything I’ve outlined here? If not, you need to get busy. These are not difficult steps to take, but if you’ve dropped the ball on any of them, you are undoubtedly losing some business.
Finally, although I’ve concentrated on the image you present on the Internet, these principles apply to print media as well.
Trust me on that.
About Susan Solovic
An Internet pioneer, Solovic was the CEO and co-founder of one of the first video-based Internet sites, a company she grew from its infancy to a million dollar plus entity. In 2006, she accepted the Stevie Award (the Oscar’s of business) on behalf of the company for the Most Innovative Company under 100 employees; that same year the company was voted the Best Investment Opportunity at a Venture Forum in the Silicon Valley.
A media personality, Solovic is a former small business contributor for ABC News and hosted a syndicated radio program, It’s Your Biz. She appears regularly as a small business expert on Fox Business, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal’s “Lunch Break”, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and many other stations across the country. She hosted her own PBS special called Reinvent Yourself Now: Become Self-Reliant in an Unpredictable World. In addition to television and radio appearances, Solovic is a featured blogger on numerous sites, including Constant Contact, Entrepreneur, AT&T Business Circle, FoxBusiness.com, MasterCard, Intuit, The Pulse of IT (HP) and Samsung.
For more information about Susan, visit http://www.susansolovic.com/about/