Build Trust with Your Customers Online – 7 Ways

Trust. It’s vital to the success of any relationship—your personal relationships and the relationship you have with your customers and potential customers.

Similarly, just as trust must be established, built, and grown in personal relationships, it must be built, grown, and developed in business relationships too.

This might not be easy – but not so challenging – if you get to see and talk to your customers all the time. However, it can seem very challenging if you do a lot of your business online.

Yet, it is not impossible to build trust with customers online. You just need to know how it’s done.

There are important components that must be included in every website if you do business online, to inspire – and grow – trust between your business and customers.

You must start building trust with potential customer the minute they hit your website, and continue with that pact through every interaction they have with you. Online, you’ve got under three minutes to do this. That’s why the goal of building trust must be front and center of everything the customer will see and do.

Below are seven different ways a website can develop trust between your business and potential customers or clients right away and throughout the relationship.

1. Your website should use trust seals and be secured with an SSL certificate.

There are several different examples trust seals available today. You can find many options and nearly all the reputable ones, help build trust. These can come from organizations or associations of which you are a member, media outlets you or your business has appeared on or in, or even external sources you contract with to certify things like your products, testimonials, etc.

But perhaps the most important trust seal for online businesses – or businesses with a strong online business component – is the seal you can get if your site has an SSL certificate. This is because an SSL certificate is more than just a seal. Instead, it’s also a method that secures the entire website, including customer data if the site performs transactions or gathers and stores information of any kind. The seal is simply a demonstration of this significant layer of protection your website affords when it has an SSL.

2. Your website should have a Privacy Policy that is comprehensive and easy to find.

A Privacy Policy is critical for trust. It tells your visitors – potential customers and customers – that you value the security of their information. It also tells them how you will protect their information, initially and for the long haul.

A Privacy Policy is a pretty standard requirement for websites these days. For example, it’s commonly thought that Google gives preferential search placement to websites with privacy policies on their site. Similarly, not having a Privacy Policy might hurt your search ranking performance.

In addition to merely having a Privacy Policy, however, you must also make sure it can be found on your site and in your site map. Thus, be sure to link it somewhere—either in your main menu or at minimum, in the footer of your website.

3. You must also have Terms & Conditions for your website and those should be easily-found too.

The Terms & Conditions you put on your website, just as the name implies, gives visitors their rights and responsibilities for using your site. Just having your Terms & Conditions on your website – even if no one ever reads them – is a big trust-builder. This is another pretty standard website requirement these days.

Furthermore, as with a Privacy Policy, having your Terms & Conditions on your website, easily located, is also a requirement for many things like Google AdWords, Facebook apps, etc. before you can use their services.

4. Your website navigation should be easy to find and easy to follow.

Per experts, search engine ranking today is also impacted by how user-friendly its navigation is. The search engines want the traffic pattern to be easy to follow for a positive user experience.

Yet, this is also important for building trust with the user. Your customers should not feel like anything is being hidden from them on your site and they should be able to find everything they need to find quickly and easily. A streamlined navigation scheme is critical to this aspect. It also helps visitors to stay on your site longer since they don’t have to hunt for the things they want to find.

5. Website contact information should be visible on the home page and not hard to find or access from any page on the website.

This is a significant part of building trust with your customers and is also an important part of lead generation itself. Furthermore, Google’s “structured data” requires that contact information including name of business, business address, business phone, and email (or link to form that sends through an email) be on the home page at minimum. The contact page should also be linked in the navigation and there should be an easy way to get to it there from multiple places on the site and each page.

6. You should have an “About Us” page that shares your business ‘story’ with your customers and seeks to build a real relationship with your audience.

The “About Us” page is usually the one on a website that gets visited the most. This is because potential customers want to learn “who” you are—why they should like and want to do business with you. Every business has a story—a personality and a tale to tell. Make sure yours can be found here.

Also, make sure this “About Us” page shares your core values, as well as the principles your business was founded on and seeks to convey to others. Think of this page as your elevator pitch—a page that sums up why your customers should do business with you and how you will provide value.

7. Your site should have “proof” of your trustworthiness, from others

You can ask / tell your customers to trust you all day long. And maybe they will and maybe they won’t. On the other hand, if they can see real proof of your trustworthiness through the eyes of others – who have learned you are worthy of that trust through personal experience – that does so much more.

You should always be actively working on ways to get your customers to give your business reviews via your website, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc. Then, these should always be displayed prominently on your website. These reviews are a big factor in search engine ranking too. Thus, they do double-duty for you, making them even more consequential.

Sure, it can be harder to build trust online than in person…

But it’s not impossible. With just a little directed effort – and using the tips above – you should be able to expand and grow that trust in no time.