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When I purchase something from a web site I first check who is behind this site. If there is no contact information or anything about the owner of the site or his/her company I move on.
Unfortunately the Internet attracts some people who are dishonest and prey upon unsuspecting people to make quick money for themselves.
Therefore your web site must put your visitor immediately at ease and convey honesty and integrity about it.
Here are 7 essential ways of building customers' trust:
1. Provide contact information - visitors will easily become frustrated if they have a question to resolve but can't contact you. At least place an email address or contact form on your web site. Some people prefer to talk to a real person rather than use electronic communication so provide a telephone number and even a real address not a P.O. Box number. Answering one or 2 customer question may be enough to win his or her trust before purchasing from your site.
2. Create an "About Us" page - here you can tell a little about yourself and/or your company. Another nice touch is to include a photo of yourself. The more you can establish a personal bond with your potential buyer, the greater your chances of success.
3. Include Testimonials - testimonials is a wonderful way to showcase your product, establish credibility, and improve sales. It takes some work to get them but it is well worth it in the long run.
Here's how to get a testimonial from your customers:
a) If you have a service oriented business, then ask for a testimonial after you have completed the work for them. This is because you are still fresh in their minds and they still have a desire to thank you for the excellent work you completed.
b) If you are selling a product i.e. e-book or software, ask for a testimonial after they have paid for the product. Send a reminder to them 1 or 2 weeks later.
You may even provide an extra incentive by giving away a copy of your product in return for a testimonial.
c) Make sure the testimonial is verifiable - ask them to include their contact information such as an email address or web site address. You may even ask for a small photo to go along with what they have written. Don't just make up a testimonial as this will look false and unprofessional.
d) Testing- try different ways to introduce your testimonials. Sprinkle them throughout your web site content as shown on http://www.isitebuild.com then link to the rest of them on another page. You may also want to strategically place them in your sales letters (http://www.isitebuild.com/web-site-promotion), emails or promotional materials associated with your business.
4. Be courteous - often customers can't communicate exactly what they have in mind because they don't have your expertise. Try to clarify what your product or service will do for them to make their life easier. If you put their fears at ease you will have a happy customer.
5. Use secure transaction - someone sending you his or her credit card number, home address, or other personal information should be able to do so through a secure link from his or her browser to your server. Make sure you use Secure Socket Links or 3rd Party Verification in all information transaction that involve sensitive data.
6. Accept refunds - always accept reasonable return and refund requests. Deal with them promptly and professionally, no matter how the customer acts towards you during the process. It may be a hassle, but this instills a lot of trust. A customer's biggest fear is that he/she may not receive what he wants or may not be able to return it.
7. Provide a guarantee - if you provide a guarantee for your product or service it will place your customer's mind at ease. The longer the guarantee the better. If you have a service oriented business, you might include a statement such as:
"We will work with you until you are satisfied"
If selling a product you may say something like:
"If for any reason you are not satisfied with this product, I will offer you a 90 day money-back guarantee".
Online transaction and communication can be impersonal because you don't meet your customers face to face. If you follow the points mentioned above, it will quell their fears and allow you to make more sales based on the credibility and trust you have established from your web site.
Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of http://www.iSiteBuild.com - Affordable Web Site Design and Web Hosting. Subscribe to his "Marketing Tips" newsletter for more original articles.
Read more of his in-depth articles at: http://www.isitebuild.com/articles
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