We live in an increasingly technology driven society, meaning that websites have become the first point of call for anyone hoping to gain more information- hands up those who head to Google when there is a pressing question that needs an answer? For customers wishing to find out more about the services on offer, visiting a business’ website for the first time will leave a lasting impression.
Thereby, it is important to ensure a good first impression as it can mean the start of a working relationship which is sure to benefit both the customer and the business itself. Aside from the design of the website and the content provided, it is integral to ensure that the website instils trust as this will ensure that the online presence of the website positively impacts the business and its image in general.
Establishing trust within a business and a brand (for a customer) is important above all else. This can at times be difficult, especially for those just starting out. So, we decided on these different methods in which any business owner can promote their business successfully whilst building a strong relationship with the customer.
Above all, it is important to have an ‘open book’ mentality, and this should be applicable not just to your website, but your business in general. Customers appreciate transparency and honesty, and so information should always be clearly explained with no hidden costs/meanings/surprises that could pop up later. By doing this, the business owner is setting a precedent for their company and is putting into writing everything that the business stands for, which can then be used as a point of reference later.
To promote transparency, a website should first be written clearly and succinctly so that everybody visiting the site understands exactly what is being talked about, with minimal jargon and complex language. Keeping things simple creates a sense of trust demonstrating that everyone is on the same wavelength. Furthermore, the majority of customers research online before buying, and with numerous websites competing for business, it is crucial that your website stands out for the right reasons.
Your website should clearly promote the services on offer, including information regarding pricing and anything else that might be applicable. It is also critical to ensure that anyone who visits the website can navigate it with ease and that it is completely up to date with no broken links or errors on the site itself. If a customer can access all the information that they need easily, they are much less likely to visit a competing website!
Arguably, the most effective way to ensure customer trust is the inclusion of external proof on a website, such as including examples of accreditations to reiterate the positive, trustworthy reputation that the business wants to emulate. By including endorsements and feedback from neutral outsiders like customers and experts, anyone interested/visiting the website will immediately get a better idea of the company and can read testimonials from satisfied customers and respected experts, thereby further strengthening the positive image of the business.
As well as transparency, it is very important to try and build up a strong online presence that demonstrates the personality of the business which customers can identify with. This is often overlooked by businesses, but as well as clear facts and figures, it is integral to try and ensure that the customer can identify with the business. The inclusion of pages such as an ‘about me’ page which includes pictures of those working for the company can be incredibly beneficial, as they demonstrate that the company is not faceless which can help potential customers to feel at more comfortable and at ease. It is also useful to include pages such as ‘FAQ’ and an online blog as those visiting the site can then gain advice and an insight into the business immediately, thus further strengthening the relationship between client and customer.
Likeability is an important part of any business and can be a major selling point, and therefore something else to consider is how you market your business over social media as this can further help to build a strong overall brand and online presence. In an age where social media stars utilise social media platforms to make their millions, businesses must equally use these platforms to further personalise their brand and extend their reach as far as possible.
Using social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are useful as they promote a sense of personality and authority: anyone interested in the business is more likely to follow the CEO/the company account if they have a lot of followers and are aware of the different social media platforms compared to someone who does not. Having a following ensures a strong identity as well as an air of credibility, thereby a large following would allude to the idea that the business is successful and involvement with the business would be a good, solid idea.
What does this mean?
Overall, it would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of a good website, and the impact that this can have on your business and its image. A site that can fully demonstrate the extensive services you offer whilst remaining personable and relatable, will instil confidence in customers and curiosity to find out more. A thorough, comprehensive website will ensure that the relationship improves and that the reputation of the company follows in the same guise.
By Ella Duffy
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