Trust is the currency of the Internet. Without it, you cannot expect Internet users to share information, purchase products, communicate or collaborate with you. Unless you have a very well known established brand, you will need to build trust. Here are three ways you can do just that…
This is the first of several posts about the importance of trust and strategies you can use to engender trust in the online world. As I have said before regarding Internet marketing, it all begins with the website.
Before I get into specific strategies, let me state once again that “website conversions” do not happen without a certain degree of trust on the part of the website visitor. Trust is the foundation of all successful relationships. Trust means that we have confidence that the person or organization is honest, reliable and has integrity.
For an online transaction, trust means that we have confidence in the organization and its ability to deliver what it promises, all the while protecting the privacy of the information we provide.
Trust is earned during the course of a relationship. If your visitors already have a relationship from previous online or offline visits and transactions, it becomes easier for them to trust you and take action. That assumes, of course, that the earlier transactions were perceived as positive and the user was satisfied with the experience. Satisfied customers become loyal customers.
Let’s look at it another way. It all begins with trust. Without some trust on the part of the user, you cannot deliver for them and earn their satisfaction. Without satisfied customers, you cannot develop loyal customers. Trust is the basis for your relationship with your targeted market segment. Without trust, there are no clients or customers.
You can think of it as a “process” that will help assure the success of your online efforts. Building trust is the first thing we need to do as part of this process that leads to successful outcomes for our online marketing efforts.
"Online Trust" comes into play at the first encounter between an Internet user and your online marketing activities. You will never have the opportunity to satisfy an online visitor without being able to create enough trust in their mind to make it easier for that person to take a risk, take your advice, provide their personal information or purchase something from you. Trust is what mitigates Risk!
Once the consumer has had a satisfying transaction with you, the trust needed for future interactions with your Internet marketing efforts should not be a problem. Notice I said "satisfying” transaction. The more satisfying transactions you have with a customer, the more trust you build with that customer. Likewise, an unsatisfied customer will be less likely to trust you in future encounters.
In the next three posts I want to address three things that you can do in your website’s overall design that can produce trust in the mind of Internet users the first time they visit your website.
Established brands that are household names already have a degree of trust associated with them. After all, brands are about trust. They are a guarantee of expectations fulfilled.
For other organizations, you must use what we know about the consumer to create enough initial trust to make it easier for them to take the actions we seek.
What strategies and design elements can you use to build "initial trust” during the first encounter that will enable the visitor to take the actions we want?
Whether that favored action is to take advice, provide personal information, make a phone call, or purchase something, they all involve taking a risk in the minds of the consumer.
Remember that creating trust is the reassurance the user needs. It is a separate process in the mind of the consumer of determining their desire for your product or service. While the two are intertwined in the visitor’s mind, they are separate processes. I can want what you are selling, but I might not trust you to deliver it or support it after the sale.
Perceived value of your offering is important. The relationship of value to risk is a subject for another day. For now, it is all about trust.
How do we create trust on a website for a first time visitor?
The Three Legged Stool for establishing initial trust that I will discuss in my future posts include:
- Perceived Risk
- Site Quality
They are all very important in creating enough initial trust to get the maximum number of visitors to take the actions we seek (conversion). The higher the conversion rate, the more successful you become.
In my next post I will discussed the impact of “perceived risk” on trust.