The world has gone through an online revolution over the last twenty years. We have seen consumers change their buying habits as technology has developed. Now we all carry a mobile computer in our smart phones and can access instant information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This has resulted in buying habits changing with over 19% of retail sales in the UK being online and 9% in the USA, which is 560,747 million dollars of e-commerce sales. This is estimated to rise to over 700,500 million dollars by 2022. So, any business that is looking on operate in this new instant data economy needs to understand how to establish their business as appealing to their potential market place.
The first element to understand is that potential clients today have more choice than at any other time. The internet has enabled everyone to have access to a much wider pool of potential suppliers than just a retail outlet locally. They can google information to find out information on products, services and your reputation. So, these are all elements that you need to consider and then build them up and protect them in order to thrive in todays online world.
Here is my top ten recommendations on what you can do, to build trust and your reputation.
1, Build a website
One of the first things that a potential client will do is google you and they will want to see a professional, current and informative website.
2, Extended Validation SSL Certificate
Before the visitor clicks on a google search result, they are getting trust signals and information about your company. Firstly, a browser provides information on the security and safety of a site. It will check that you site has a current SSL certificate and if you have an Extended Validation SSL Certificate it will display a green address bar on supported browsers that gives an added visual assurance that you have a secure and safe site. Which can not only help with click through but also conversion.
3, Be Contactable
There is nothing that stops me from buying from a potential supplier quicker than them not providing easy ways to contact them including a telephone number to a non-premium number.
So, put clear contact details on your website and all marketing material. I also suggest offering live chat, as this also shows that the company is contactable and wants to support its clients. This is particularly useful if clients might need assistance in completing any complicated booking forms, such as placing an order with an international courier service.
You should show that you are a live business, by also having social signals that tell search engines and potential clients that you are a live company. This involves building a Facebook page, where you can post articles on current events at your business. You use twitter and Instagram as additional sites that can be very good social signals of an active company.
5, Use an independent review site
Use an independent review service that is google approved and can automate the request of reviews from your clients. This is so powerful, as the reviews are collected by an independent third party website, reader will trust them more. You are also able to promote your best reviews on all of your product and or service website pages, social media and marketing material. These reviews can help you to get a better conversion rate and is especially valuable on check out pages. These review scores will also be displayed by Google automatically against any paid for Adwords results displayed, helping with trust and click through. Always reply to your reviews, as it shows competency even if the information is not instantly available to answer the query fully.
6, Add Rich Snippets
Use Rich Snippets to mark up your review score on your website pages. These are bits of code that tell search engines additional information about the page and site. If you advise your review score in rich snippets, google will display gold stars next to your organic search results if it is high enough and the reviews have been gathered on google or a trusted partner.
This will help with clients again knowing that you are highly trusted and also with click through and conversion rates.
7, Provide Photos of your team on your website
People like to know who they are dealing with, and in an age where many people hide behind a keyboard, publish photos of your team, with their biographies. Ensure that everyone has linked in profiles and link to them. It all builds trust and gives the images of professionalism to a visitor learning about your business.
8, Have a mobile friendly website
Each year the number of mobile searches for products and services continues to grow, so ensure that anyone doing research on your business, finds the information they need, on any device that they use.
9, Add Useful Guides
Add guides and reference material for your products and services to your blog. Not only does this help to position you as an expert in your field but you are also able to ask other websites to link and promote your content. When other trusted websites link to your site, the search engines their ranking of your website is increased.
10, Deliver on your promises
You can only gather great reviews, and promote them if clients are happy with the quality of the services and products you supply. So always provide accurate information, prompt responses and over deliver. For example give accurate transit times, and if you are sending a parcel to USA ensure that you provide the tracking number and carrier details to enable your client to be informed and happy the service provided.
With the availability of information about products and services, being only a few keystrokes away, we are all competing in a more informed marketplace. Establishing and maintaining your reputation has never been more important than it is now. As trust is now a critical element in gaining sales in the modern world. But is not just having good products and a good name, but knowing how to promote and prove them to your potential clients that is important. I hope that this article has given you some ideas on how you can do this.