It isn’t enough just to establish a web presence, it must be done in the right way or it can hurt you more than it helps. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that the biggest issue most online merchants deal with is “trust.” People who buy products online buy from websites that they feel they can trust with both their information, and to deliver what they promise. Fortunately there are numerous ways to build trust and they start on your own website.
Have an About Page
Your about page should be more than just a couple of sentences about the company. This is where you get to brag a little. Talk about how long you’ve been in business, awards that you’ve received, and your mission statement. In addition, include bios and photographs of the key people along with links to social media such as Google Plus or LinkedIn. Doing this also helps from an SEO perspective as Google spiders the information and cross-references, it connecting the names associated with particular industries. It’s also a good idea to have a link to press releases or other media if you don’t have a specific page just for it.
I see so many companies make the mistake of just putting a contact form on their contact page and leaving it at that. Many people simply will not fill out a contact form, so you are missing out on a lot of potential clients right off the bat. Some people want to know that they can pick up the phone and speak to a real person. ALWAYS display your phone number prominently on every page in addition to your contact page. If you have a physical location, put a Google Maps display on the page as well.
I know that a lot of business owners say that the reason they don’t put an actual email address on the page is due to SPAM. This may have been true in the “Wild West Days” of the internet but the fact of the matter is that you aren’t going to get hit with tons of SPAM, especially if you have a properly optimized SPAM filter for your email account. The benefits from not alienating potential customers far outweigh the possible annoyances you may encounter.
In addition to having the information specifically on your contact page, you should also include it at the top of every page so that people don’t have to search for the information. You want to make it as easy as possible for clients and customers to reach out to you, otherwise they will go to your competition.
While lack of social media hasn’t reached a make or break mentality yet, it is well on its way. Many people are apprehensive if they can’t find a company on social media. In addition, if a company has social media and isn’t very active on it this can be a negative as well. You want to stay on top of your social media and reply to people who are making comments, retweeting on Twitter and so on. This is especially effective for local businesses as well, because it allows them to use Facebook to communicate to local customers and encourage them to visit their local business.
If you’re still not entirely sold, try doing a Google search for “trust selling” and see what comes up. What you’ll quickly realize is that trust is essential to any successful business, and especially if that company sells online.