As you are building your business, trust and credibility are two of the most important building blocks when it comes to the eventual success of your business. Of course, they are not instant. You need to build them.
The importance of trust for small business owners
When it comes to doing business online, many people don’t feel quite as comfortable as they do in a bricks-and-mortar business where they can see the seller face to face. Many people who start the process of purchasing something online don’t actually follow through to the end of the process. The biggest driver of their not completing the process is a fear that some of their personal information is not secure and will be stolen. Because of those concerns, online businesses are losing revenue in a lot of instances. Hopefully, the more time goes on and the more apparent it becomes that the Internet is here to stay and, if anything, it is gaining more and more of a foothold, the more comfortable people will be with conducting business transactions online. One good way to combat this is to make sure that you and your business have an extremely strong foundation when it comes to trust and credibility. The more you interact with people online and show them that you are a human being just like them, the more they will ultimately trust you and find you to be credible.
Trust in the short and long term
Trust is a constant when it comes to successful businesses. However, the way that your trustworthiness presents itself can change (or evolve) over time. One thing that is for sure is that in order for a business to succeed, you, as the business owner, must be trustworthy and credible. Without those qualities, your business doesn’t have a chance at succeeding. One thing that is very important to understand and to take seriously is the idea that you and your business must continually be presenting a fresh image of what you represent. Your core values will not change but your image will. You constantly need to attract people to your offerings and they will respond to your web presence and the appeal that it has for them personally. It is very important to think about your business’s image online from your potential and actual clients perspectives. If you have a beautiful image that doesn’t really affect any of your visitors online, what good will it do your business? Another strong contributor to your trustworthiness is your business’s connection to social media. When people visit a business’s website, if they see that the business is connected to well-known social media channels, they may be more inclined to feel comfortable about you and what you represent. When it comes to the content that you are sharing online, keeping it fresh is critical to your success.
The consumers’ key deciding factors
Of course, you would think that the obvious answer is price. Location will probably factor into the purchasing decision as well. Above everything else, people need to feel that they can trust that you and your business are legitimate. if your website appears shady (for lack of a better term) in any way, they won’t buy anything from you. Would you? That all goes back to trustworthiness and credibility. Some other factors that strengthen the trust and credibility are testimonials, case studies, and white papers. It is very important that you remember that what is being said about you and your business can’t be said by you if you want to carry any weight. The more that you have of that type of information, the stronger your reputation will be.
Critical information on your website to prove trustworthiness and credibility
The important sections that people need to see when connecting to your website are the About Us page, information about people who work for you (including educational background, work experience, etc), and testimonials. When it comes to testimonials, the authors of the testimonials cannot be anonymous. There must be names and positions attached to them. Otherwise, it may be perceived that you have invented the testimonials yourself. On the About Us page, you need to give a background of your business, information (of a somewhat personal nature) that makes your visitors believe your authenticity, specific information about where you are located, and a professional-looking photo of yourself and possibly your staff.
What not to do
In all relationships (in life and in business), trustworthiness and credibility are key components to success. Nobody wants to connect with a person who doesn’t possess those qualities. Remember that when you first start out in business, you don’t have either. Once you have gained trust and credibility, you will have a definite edge over your competition. At that point, your business will flourish and will keep on flourishing.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).