In the digital marketing world, there’s plenty of talk about engagement, conversations, personalization and relationships. These are goals for brands that want to establish a solid foundation.
But a key goal for a business is rarely highlighted: it’s getting people to trust you. Many of the leading brands have strong franchises because consumers trust them. People trust Apple to deliver well-designed, high-quality products. People trust CostCo because they offer good prices and treat their employees well. People trust my accountant, Brian Teeney, because he’s honest.
Brands looking to succeed need people to trust them. This is particularly important and challenging for startups that have little or no track records. If a brand can begin to earn someone’s trust, it is it easier to turn them into customers and advocates.
In a digital world, how do brands establish trust with their Websites?
At a high-level, brands need to have potential customers make these statements:
I trust that product or service meets my needs: This needs to happen right away given it’s an instant gratification world. A Website needs to communicate in seconds what a company does and how it delivers. There are opportunities to be creative and clever but not if means being obtuse or making people think too much. It’s a digital sniff test. If a Website fails, the potential customer quickly moves on.
I trust you have done the work before: It can be as simple as displaying client logos on different pages: homepage, About, Clients and How We Work. No one wants to be first or feel like they’re not in good company. Customers want to know that other companies have used a product or service. Case studies or success stories are great ways to showcase the work done for clients.
I trust that your people have the experience to help me: People like buying from people. It means putting the spotlight on your people – their photos and, at the very least, their titles. The more adventurous can include details about their hobbies, interests and professional experience. Not showing your people or making it difficult to find them is a mistake.
I trust your customers like what you do: Yes, testimonials can be unbelievable and over the top but they are effective. The quotes come from people, even if they have been coached, encouraged or love a company so much that they’re happy to deliver accolades.
I trust you’re committed to being a partner and valuable resource: In an ideal world, brands build relationships with customers. Even after someone has become a customer, they continue to deliver top-notch customer service, regularly engage and share insight and resources using case studies, eBooks and via social media.
Trusted is earned but the process starts early. When a brand works to establish trust, it kicks off the customer journey in the right way. Once a customer trusts a brand, it is the foundation for a long and healthy relationship.
More: Check out this blog post on ConversionXL by Alex Birkett on about “Nine Website Credibility Killers.”
If you’re looking to jump-start your startup marketing, I can help you make it happen – everything from messaging and brand positioning to strategic planning and content development. I published a book, Storytelling for Startups, that provides strategic and tactical guidance to entrepreneurs looking to embrace the power of story-driven marketing.