When someone has to trust you online, the usual elements of a face-to-face interaction viz body language, the relief of seeing a person in front of you and other nuances cease to exist.

How do they know if you’re telling the truth or not.

There are a couple things you can do to establish credibility through website.

Here we go.

Third-party awards

It’s at times funny how people call their blogs award-winning as if it’s an Academy award they just won. Despite that, displaying awards awarded by third-parties can do a world of good to boost confidence of visitors to your site. Trade magazines, blog and website aggregators and so on are good candidates.

It’s a hallmark of trust based on the review of someone who’s is in no way associated with your brand.

Whether it be small-business or a blog, awards imbibe a sense of trust that’s hard to replicate. And assures to a new visitor that the man behind the show is somewhat trustworthy.

It’s something that most of your competition won’t have, gives you instant credibility and sets you in a league of your own.

Use customer reviews

80 to 90% of buyers look for and read customer reviews prior to making a purchase.

This is one of the reasons why review aggregator sites like Yelp, Yext and YellowPages are so popular.

By seeing what others say about you they’re getting a primer on you which is the foundation of trust.

You can ask people to leave reviews or source reviews on Yelp to your site with a widget.

It informs of your site’s transparency and tells that you’re not afraid to use your brand image.

Display certified trust seals.

Trust seals can be an easy to engender trust. Anyone who accesses your site for the first time needs some proof for establishing credibility. Baymard Institute’s survey of 2500 websites led to the conclusion that Norton trust seals are the most recognized and trusted seals of the lot.

These stamps of approval satisfy a basic concern. How protective your site is and if their information is going to be safe.

Reputation management

Reputation management is an essential tenet to building credibility. A site with poor rep or one whose founders are associated with fraud won’t be trusted. Poor reviews of the site featuring along the brand name put a dent to the site’s reputation.

Content marketing is one way you could answer critics and tell them your story written with your hands.

Feature thoughtful, leadership content that educates and builds a strong basis for your site.

Personality in brand communication.

The personality of your site should seep through brand communication that is often done. Be it Pinterest, Instagram or other social media channels ensure that that your personality reflects through the statements made online.

Interactions can be taken to a much more personalized level to achieve this.

Be transparent

If you are transparent in your dealings and seem that way on your website, there’s little reason for others not to trust you.

If you’re selling a consumable, a food item, list all ingredients that go into it, even including details about where you source the ingredients from.

For a SaaS startup there are more than a few ways to be transparent. For instance, you could talk about the salaries of the CEO and main players in the company like Buffer does.

Here’s what I am talking about:

 

Buffer started by displaying salaries to top brass, then included additional metrics like equity breakdown and revenue.

 

Still others choose to share their entire journey of growth, detailing each failure and success they had on the way. An example is WpCurve.

Encourage conversations from others- customers and potential customers

 

An open-ended platform that invites customer conversations can go a long way in building rapport. Do this by ensuring that it’s easy for customers to get in touch with you.

Another thing to do is make your share buttons, opt-in forms, colors, language you use to contact and converse on your blog and emails is inviting.

Still if engagement lacks get a third party to review your engagement metrics and form of communication and see if it can be improved. Take feedback from existing customers on your content and see what you can come up with.

Each business needs a particular approach towards this and this isn’t the easiest of things to achieve but it can be done. Here are a few examples:

One of my favorite examples of this happened at Rackspace, the managed hosting and cloud computing company. An employee on the phone with a customer during a marathon troubleshooting session heard the customer tell someone in the background that they were getting hungry.

As she tells it, ‘So I put them on hold, and I ordered them a pizza. About 30 minutes later we were still on the phone, and there was a knock on their door. I told them to go answer it because it was pizza! They were so excited.

Another policy at CDBaby went this way:

“A fun one was I had a policy that “changes need pizza.” The reason for this is because every time a new album came into the store, it would take about 45 minutes of work to lay it on the scanner, scan the album art, photoshop it, drop the CD into the bin, rip it fully and then take the little clips, and do all the stuff, and fix their bio.

And every now and then, somebody would contact us two weeks later and say, “Uhhhh, can I change my choice? I want to send you a different album art cover, or I want to change the way my tracks are done.”

And I would say, “Alright no problem, just send us a pizza.”

And they would say, “What?”

I’d say, “Yeah. Look we’re happy to do it, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass. We’re going to have to go out to the warehouse and find your CD. If you don’t mind, just send us a pizza and we’re happy to do it.”

And they’d say, “You’re serious.”

“Yeah, serious. Here’s the phone number of the local pizzeria, they know us, just tell them you want to buy CD Baby a pizza. They already know our favourite pizza, so you just call them up with your credit card, say I want to get CD Baby a pizza. The pizza shows up, we’ll do anything you want.”

The real point was, this is humanizing. I think too many of us start businesses and you want it to look big, and you start to say things on your website, like “we” instead of “I”. Even though it is just you. We try to do these things to make it look corporate. But when you do these things to humanize it and remind people that it’s just a real person back here — we’re just real people with a lot of work, so get us a pizza, we’ll do it — People loved that. I mean seriously, I would overhear this at conferences.

“Oh my god dude, you have to sign up to CD Baby.”

“Why?”

“Dude, they changed my album because I sent them a pizza.”

“No way.”

“Yeah, way. You gotta sign up.”

 

Don’t make over the moon claims

Theranos and its beleaguered CEO Elizabeth Holmes made dozens of claims regarding their company chiefly the ability to discover hundreds of diseases with a sample of blood.

When it came to the pudding there was none. The product didn’t live up to a single claim.

Word to the wise. Don’t make claims that you can’t back up and whatever claims you do make, back them up with enough proof.

Tell what you can’t do

If your software is good at monitoring links but not great at finding them from scratch, be honest and tell that. Don’t build and promote a false story.

Don’t promote distrust

In a conversion rate optimization case study, I read few months ago, including the statement that “We will never spam you” below the opt-in box decreased the number of people who signed up.

This could have had been a true statement but given that on the internet its easy to distrust and even easier to sell data, including a sentence of that manner sowed seeds of distrust and brought back old memories of trust on sale.

What do you think of our methods to instantly establish credibility online? Know anything more.