How do you earn customersʼ trust? It’s an important topic – if not one of the most important topics – you’ll ever have to think about as a business owner and marketer. Why? Because without trust, there are no sales.
Why is it important to build trust with customers?
“Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.”Seth Godin
The bottom line is: If a customer doesn’t or isn’t able to trust you, then he’s not going to buy from you.
That’s why the subject of earning and continually building trust is important for all businesses, at all stages, all the time.
Without trust, a business will remain stagnant at best and crumble at worst.
What is customer trust?
When you’re just starting out, it can be frustrating how everything feels like a catch-22. You need to spend money to make money. You need to have existing customers to get new customers.
Don’t let that discourage you because these suggestions on how to earn customersʼ trust can be implemented by just about any business, including newcomers with a modest budget.
In this context, when we talk about trust, we’re usually referring to two distinct aspects that go hand-in-hand:
- How trustworthy you are as a business
- The perceived (and actual) trustworthiness of your website
Cybersecurity and personal data / privacy are hot topics these days and rightfully so because these issues matter to each and every one of us. Being a marketer shouldn’t change that.
Let’s first take a look at what you can do to improve your website’s trustworthiness and build trust with customers.
How to build trust with online customers
Invest in an SSL Certificate
These days, an SSL certificate is a must-have for just about every website. Not having one can brand your website as unsecured in search engines and even encourage visitors to “go back to safety”.
But it is even more important to invest in an SSL certificate if your website uses contact forms, collects information, or accepts online payments.
SSL security is “standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser.”
As an added benefit, search engines will look upon your SSL-secured website more favourably. In other words: this is a way to improve your search engine performance.
Offer trusted payment options
Offering trusted online payment solutions reduces usersʼ perceived risk when interacting or transacting with your website. The result is that they’re more likely to proceed with the checkout and make a purchase.
This is particularly relevant to e-commerce sites, SaaS, and subscription services but can also be applied to certain service providers, e.g. booking platforms, tour operators, and other similar services.
You might also like: Small business e-commerce: Why is no one buying from my online store?
Be transparent and ask permission
Treat your customers the way you’d like to be treated. That means:
- Be open and honest about the information you collect via your website and how you use it.
- Don’t spam those who’ve been gracious enough to give you their contact data or who initiated contact with you.
- If you have a newsletter or send out any promotional mails, make sure you’ve received permission – that is the person has opted in – to receive your marketing materials.
Earning customers’ trust
Now that you have a starting point on how to improve your website’s trustworthiness, let’s look into how you can show potential and existing customers that your business as a whole can be trusted.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep
When you’re trying to land a sale, you might be tempted to get ahead of yourself and make unrealistic promises that you know you can’t keep.
Don’t do it.
The better approach is to underpromise then exceed expectations. In other words don’t exaggerate; be realistic with what you can and can’t do as well as what you are offering.
Take the time to blog
Blogging is one way you can build relationships with prospects. When you take the time to create or collate useful and relevant content for your readers, you’re showing them that:
- You are serious about what you do
- You’re invested in your audience
- Your business is in it for the long haul
You might also like: Business blogging: How your small business benefits
Give prospects the information they need
If you’re an e-commerce site, a great way to build trust with prospects is to:
- Provide accurate product descriptions. Give prospects the information they need to reach a decision about making the purchase.
- Where applicable, include real customersʼ reviews.
- Offer a great return policy and make sure prospects are aware of it.
- Make it easy for prospects / customers to find answers to their most pertinent questions. If everything is straightforward and clear then they’re more likely to buy from you. You can do this through an FAQ page or section.
Provide Outstanding Customer Service
Whether you’re a one-man show or a large corporation, invest in the quality of your customer service.
- Be available (pre- and post-sales), be genuinely helpful, pleasant to talk to, and always be prompt.
- Communicate with your customers. Where applicable, keep them up-to-date and in the loop. Don’t leave them hanging.
- Treat prospects and customers like the real people they are and not just another sale.
These are just a few suggestions. Notice how they’re very simple, very common-sense suggestions? It’s essentially about treating others the way you would want to be treated
What are some other approaches you’ve taken to earn your customersʼ trust?
Regardless of your business or industry, remember: The best way to earn and keep your customersʼ trust is by being a responsible marketer and business.
Last update: August 5, 2020