Businesses aren’t launched: they’re built. The same can be said of reputations. No matter how alluring your brand may be, without the testimonials and reviews to back it up shoppers are likely to be distrustful in the beginning.
Don’t take it personally. Their skepticism has nothing to do with you as an owner, your awesome product line or even your mission. It has everything to do with their past.
Every day consumers are confronted with endless “opportunities” (demands) to give of their time and attention. Your job? To combat their cognitive overwhelm and show them you have more than their wallets as the end goal.
But your business wasn’t built in a day and their trust won’t be either.
It’s a challenge every new upstart has to overcome, and these six strategies will help you earn customer trust so you can start earning a living.
By candidly connecting with potential prospects, you’re more likely to attract those with similar values.
1. Authenticate Your About Us Page. Your "About Us" page is likely a new customer’s first stop on their purchase journey. This is your chance to put your most genuine foot forward. Take time to fully explain the whats and whys driving your company culture. Speak to your mission statement. Introduce the human side of your brand. By candidly connecting with potential prospects, you’re more likely to attract those with similar values. These are the values they’ll be looking to support when they, eventually, give you their business.
Last month we told you how to write an "About Us" page that drives sales. To recap, make sure it:
- Tells the story of how your business came to be
- Shares the driving causes and purpose behind your brand
- Humanizes your brand by giving your founders a face
- Calls visitors to action and offers additional insights through data visualization, explainer videos, etc.
Your products and services may not be inherently unique. The people and purpose behind them? Now that’s a different story. Don’t shy away from sharing it. It’s WHO you are that ultimately determines WHY a customer would buy from you, even if you don’t yet have the sales to back it up.
This is your chance to alleviate any purchasing anxieties ahead of time.
2. Develop Full-scale FAQs. What if you could start building trust on your site with two or three sentences? Would you do it? A well-crafted FAQ page does just that. Bonus: it can also improve your store’s SEO in the process!
Start by anticipating then explicitly addressing challenges, questions or even outright objections. This is your chance to alleviate any purchasing anxieties ahead of time.
Good FAQ pages also:
- Restate important information from your About Us and homepage (“We’re a family-owned and -operated business.”)
- Make it easy to access product and service information, especially as it impacts the consumer (“All our materials are locally- and ethically-sourced”)
- Display certifications or licenses that add credibility (“100% certified organic”)
- Answer questions about how you’re distinct from competitors (“One of a kind pieces handmade with love in Austin, Texas”)
While you’re crafting your robust frequently asked questions, take some time to consult your customer services team. See which issues they’re spending the most time on. Or, if it’s just you, look through emails you’ve gotten and pick out themes you’re seeing. You can also ask a third party to look through your online store and weigh in. Chances are if one person has questions others will, too.
Giving a glimpse of the people and places present in your day-to-day make your company instantly more relatable.
3. Show Behind the Scenes Footage. Sometimes, earning a customer’s trust is as easy as letting them peer behind the curtain. Though polished, your brand alone may feel unapproachable. Giving a glimpse of the people and places present in your day-to-day make your company instantly more relatable. This type of transparency also creates an intimacy that can help spark connection and deepen relationships with your potential customers.
Done right, sharing BTS moments to your social media feeds or website can personify your products, feature your fun side and help you connect on a person-to-person level. Don’t shy away from sharing your trials and tribulations either. We’re all human, which means we all make mistakes. Show that you can rise to the challenge, meet it, and come out the other side – not that you’re perfect and never falter.
Here are a few popular behind the scenes moments you may want to capture and share with your prospects:
- Work family. Show the bond between you and your team. You don’t spend eight plus hours a day together and not end up loving one another at least a little bit.
- Make ‘em laugh. Having a friendly handstand competition between meetings? Hit the record button!
- How it’s made. Whether it be proper product videos or a part of the process you craft by hand, most people will be curious about how your wares came into being.
- Grand tour. Give them a virtual tour of the office or your production space. Even if you’re building a new space or don’t have it totally put together, before and after shots are reliable engagement generators.
Need some pointers to help you create great videos? Check out this guide.
If a customer sees obvious grammatical errors and misspellings it instantly calls your credibility into question.
- Hire a copy editor. No matter how you slice it typos are a no-go. They tell would be customers, investors and even employees that you don’t care about your business.
Think about it: if a customer sees obvious grammatical errors and misspellings it instantly calls your credibility into question. If you don’t catch and correct the small things how can you be trusted with the big ones? They may even determine that your sloppy copy is the precursor to sloppy products and services.
But let’s face it: even if you read something a thousand times, you still might not catch everything.
Many merchants chose to hire a copywriter or copy editor to grammar police their content. These pros can comb and correct your site down to the last semicolon. Don’t have the budget to bring one on? Free chrome extensions like Grammarly can help catch unobvious errors.
Risk-free returns show you prioritize their satisfaction above your bottom line.
- Highlight No-Risk Returns. Offering full refunds on returns is a great way to put indecisive buyers at ease.
It’s first and foremost a commitment to customer service. Risk-free returns show you prioritize their satisfaction above your bottom line. They also say you have full faith in your products and know they’re worth taking a chance on. The more confidence you have in the items you sell, the more confidence you’ll inspire in your buyers.
When writing or generating your return policy, make sure it’s both clear and considerate. Advertise it in several places on your site, including within the product description itself and as separate page linked within your header and/or footer.
Next, try to remove as many obstacles from the buying process as you can. Little things like including a prepaid return label with the package can go a long way. You want returns to be as easy as possible, so don’t forget to include pre-printed instructions on how to send products back to you. These two things alone can help decrease your abandon cart rates and drive sales.
Make sure to say a word or two about how long the entire process takes. The swifter you can get the money back in their accounts, the more likely they are to shop with you again.
Trials allow future customers to test drive your offerings in a stress-free environment.
- Offer Free Trials and Samples. If you give it away they will come.
Some products, like food or cosmetics, can be easily repackaged into smaller containers. Show customers how irresistible even micro quantities can be, and they’re more likely to pay in full once it runs out.
For service-based businesses try trials. They allow future customers to test drive your offerings in a stress-free environment. This engenders familiarity, which is closely associated with trust.
The trick here is to ensure the samplers eventually become the consumer or at least help promote your brand. If you’re short on testimonials, ask for a review in exchange for some of your product.
Want to reach a specific market segment? Influencer marketing can do wonders for a newly minted ecommerce store.
You could also go for sheer numbers, distributing freebies at conferences, trade shows or other in-person events. Just make sure they know how to find you online when they’re ready to buy.
To recap: you can build a website, you can build a storefront, but it’s businesses built on trust that ultimately make it passed the launch pad.
Put these into practice and watch your customer base, and belief, grow in kind. Trust us!