A look at how to gain the trust of new visitors to your website, improve your conversions and make more money!
If you want to make money online, at some point you are going to have sell something (either directly, or as an affiliate). It goes without saying really.
The transaction could involve a physical product, a virtual product or a service, but sales are sales and to make money you will need to convince your visitors that they should trust your advice/expertise and part with their hard earned cash. By definition, for you to have more money, someone else has to have less of it (at least for a while!).
So how do you go about building that trust?
Well, firstly let’s take a look at a traditional sales/marketing process, where you have real world contact with your ‘prospects’ and see which elements can be replicated/adapted for a virtual environment.
Showing That You Are A Real, Friendly Human Being With Feelings…
There is a lot to be said for looking someone in the eye when you are doing business. A friendly handshake, a warm smile.
If you walk into a shop and take a liking to the salesperson you will probably be more inclined to buy from them right?
With online marketing you don’t have the luxury of real world contact, so how can you get across that you are a warm, friendly, approachable guy or girl..?
A good place to start is your profile pic.
This should be consistent across all your content and social media – with google+, facebook, twitter and linkedin being the most important social platforms.
I always think it is a good idea to have your picture at the top of your content/articles (including guest posts if possible). It is the first step in reassuring new visitors that you are a real person, offering personal opinion and genuine advice.
It’s probably also a good idea for that profile picture to be a nice big smiling headshot (before you say anything I know mine isn’t!).
Make sure you register a gravatar with the same picture, so that any comments you post on other sites will have the same happy, smiling mug shot.
Your About Page
Your ‘About’ page is one of the most important pages on your site. In fact it’s probably second only to the home page in terms of importance.
If a visitor is interested in your initial content/sales message, it is more often than not the first place they will click before deciding whether to carry on with the process.
There is a skill to writing the perfect about page, and it is a topic that is worthy of it’s own article, but here are a few quick tips on how to tailor it to build trust and increase conversions.
Get A Bit Of ‘You’ Into Your About Page
Your about page is… about you… so get across a bit of your personality in there. Don’t just make it a boring, robotic sales pitch.
By all mean, list your areas of expertise, qualifications etc, but try and also hint at what makes you tick. What motivates and inspires you? Why you love doing what you do?
You want to come across as professional and authoritative, but also warm and engaging. Oh, and make sure you have another lovely big smiling photo on there…
Get A Bit Of ‘Me’ Into Your About Page
The ‘me’ here is your visitor/prospect. What’s in this for them? What will they learn from you? That is why they are on your site after all!
The best about pages will balance the ‘You’ and ‘Me’.
For more reading on creating a great about page I recommend the following articles: –
- How To Write A Killer About Page (by Amy Lynn Andrews)
- Are You Making These 7 Mistakes With Your About Page (by Sonia Simone)
- 12 Of The Best About Pages (by Ramsay Taplin) – in fact, while you are at it check out Ramsay’s own about page, which is actually titled ‘About Me And You’!
Your Social Media
Beyond your own site, there’s a good chance that a new visitor seeking to satisfy themselves that you are a ‘real person’ will want to check out your social media profiles.
Again, I could go on about this all day, but here are a few quick tips for using your social media to build the trust of new visitors/readers.
- Maintain an active presence on all the major social platforms
- Be consistent (same photo/branding etc)
- Respond to tweets/facebook comments etc promptly
- Fill in a proper profile
- Don’t just self promote – tweet/retweet interesting content from other bloggers/webmasters in your community
- Include occasional personal tweets/comments (again showing you are a real person with a life outside of the internet!)
- Some humour is good (but don’t go overboard…)
Make sure links to your social media profiles are clearly displayed on your site.
Be Warm With Your Writing
You can’t shake someone by the hand online, you can’t offer them a coffee and a jaffa cake, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make them feel welcome.
Your copy should be warm, friendly and engaging; whether you are writing an introduction for your homepage or an in depth article on a product.
Talk to your readers directly.
Write in the first (I) and second person (you).
Colour your writing with anecdotes and personal experiences.
Add life with punctuation; exclamation marks, question marks (asking questions directly to your readers is always good), the odd smiley face (ok, grammar police, I know that’s not really punctuation) and my personal favourite the dot dot dot…
For me, perfect copy should make your reader feel that you are there in the room with them and even better, almost like they are talking to an old friend, however…
Don’t Be Overly Familiar
No-one likes an overly pushy salesman and there is a fine line between friendly copy and being overly familiar.
A pet hate of mine is when I get spammy, unsolicited affiliate marketing emails that start ‘hey buddy’ or end ‘talk soon’. The talk soon one particularly irks me as I have taken to replying to the odd one (I know that the email probably doesn’t even go anywhere…) asking to explain how they got my email address.
Needless to say I never receive a reply.
Be friendly and warm, but also remain professional.
So, while there is no substitute for face to face contact, you can still tailor your content in a way that gets across your personality and helps to build trust.
Let’s look at some other ways you can build trust on your site.
Blow Your Own Trumpet
Ok, no-one likes a show off, but at the end of the day you have to shout about your achievements a bit.
If you have 10,000 email subscribers, then tell your visitors!
As social animals we like to follow the crowd a bit and will feel safer in giving over our details if there are a lot of people who have done so in the past.
I don’t have 10,000 email subscribers (yet…), but as soon as I do I’ll definitely be putting a big shiny box about it somewhere on my site!
Before reading on, why not help me on my way by quickly signing up…
As Featured In
If your site has received good coverage on other high profile sites/media then be sure to tell your readers.
Put a box somewhere saying ‘As featured in…’ with the logos of the sites that you’ve appeared on.
If you get regular coverage you’ll probably want to have a dedicated PR/press page where you link to your past coverage. This will also help you to get more coverage in the future!
Make It Easy For Visitors To Contact You
Make sure your contact details are easy to find. It’s often a good idea to include your address in the footer of each page (this will also help with local SEO).
And Respond To Emails Promptly…
Potential customers will often send an email enquiry before purchasing your product or service, so make sure you respond to all email enquiries promptly and professionally.
If you say you will respond to all emails within 24 hours on your site, then make sure you do!
Some Trust Building Tips For Bloggers
Here are some trust building tips, which apply specifically to blogging.
Response To Your Comments
Show that you care about your readers opinions by taking the time to respond to your comments. Even if it is just a quick thank you!
Admit To Making Mistakes…
It’s ok to admit to making mistakes sometimes, we are all human and nobody gets it right all the time.
For example, I recently ran an outreach experiment and made a couple of bloopers (the biggest being forgetting about Thanksgiving and Black Friday).
…But Explain How You Learned From Them!
When you do make mistakes, explain how you learned from them as this will help your readers to avoid making the same ones.
You have gone through the pain so your readers won’t have to!
Some Tips For eCommerce Sites
And here are some trust building tips for eCommerce sites…
Include Customer Reviews On Product Pages
If you are selling a product then you are naturally going to talk it up, so including additional genuine customer reviews (and making it easy for visitors to add their own) is a good way to build trust and help with sales.
This will also help with your eCommerce site’s SEO!
Reassure Your Visitors That Your Site Is Secure
Make sure your checkout pages are protected by SSL and put a badge on your checkout pages telling visitors that your site is secure.
After Sales Information
Make sure you have pages for: –
- Returns policy
- Shipping information
and that these pages are easy to find!
Summing It All Up…
Gaining the trust of your visitors and building a rapport is one of the absolute keys to successful internet marketing (in fact, marketing in general). Here’s a quick bullet point list of what we have covered.
- Use a consistent profile photo
- Write an engaging, professional about page
- Make sure your about page is about both you and your visitors
- Be active on social media
- Write your copy in a warm, engaging style
- Write in the first and second person whenever possible
- Colour your copy with anecdotes, personal experience and punctuation
- But don’t be overly familiar!
- Display any impressive social proof (number of subcsribers etc)
- Display prominent features (media mentions etc)
- Make it easy for visitors to contact you
- Respond to emails promptly
- Respond to comments (blogging)
- Admit to making mistakes (blogging)
- But explain how you have learned from them (blogging)
- Include customer reviews (eCommerce)
- Reassure visitors that your site is secure (eCommerce)
- Include easy to find after sales information (eCommerce)
Hopefully the above will help you to tailor your own content/site/social media to build this trust and make more sales!
If you have any additional tips on building trust you would like to share, or questions then please leave a comment below (I will of course reply!) and for loads more internet marketing and money making tips sign up for my free email newsletter below.