Building Digital Trust

If you’re not internet-savvy then the online world can be a scary place. For many it’s an entirely different language, and there’s the ability for those who understand the internet to deceive and manipulate people for their own gains. Often this is through various types of fraud and scam e-commerce sites. When launching a business online, it’s vital to build trust quickly, and also, from the outset, give consumers signals which demonstrate that you are a legitimate brand.

Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews, and testimonials are one of the easiest ways of demonstrating that you are real, and dedicated to a long term customer relationship.

To get the most value out of your reviews, integrate snippets of them onto your website and use schema markup to allow them to appear in the SERPs:

  • Snippets – Design a widget with some of your best reviews which are regularly updated to be included on products and services pages. This should help people who are undecided on converting to see your reputation. If you’re a travel business or destination, TripAdvisor has some great extras you can plug into your site which has the added bonus of the TripAdvisor branding for double the trust factor.
  • Schema – On individual product pages, if you’ve collected multiple reviews then you can include additional code which will help rich snippets appear in the search results. For example:
    The Schema site has a full-list of all the forms of structured data which you could use on your site to improve your CTR by appearing more trustworthy within the SERPs.However, reviews take time to collect and build up before they are trusted, which means you need to look to build trust with other methods too to help accelerate your brand’s progress.
  • Google Reviews- If you collect enough Google reviews then they will appear on Google maps and in the knowledge graph for your brand. This will improve your click through rate and help people trust in the brand. This article talks through in-depth how to encourage Google Reviews and the impact they can have on your brand.

Be Present

When you begin to build an online presence, one of the biggest ways to gain trust is to ensure that you can be seen active on multiple channels. This helps people to believe in the individuals behind the business name and will reassure them that should they have questions or problems arise, that they will be answered.

Instead of focusing on creating profiles across every channel, create profiles on channels which you can commit to keeping updated and engaging with people on. It is then a matter of creating a consistent brand across all of the assets you use, both on social media and on your site. If you’re starting out then a tool like Emblem will help to provide colours and typography, as well as give you a set of guidelines for the different people working on all these channels.

The upkeep of your social channels and the relationship between them and your website should help them to appear in brand search too. This provides more Named Entity Recognition for your brand, allowing Google and individuals to see the business as a true, trustworthy entity.

Competitor Analysis

When consumers are approaching your brand, they’re doing so in the context of multiple other brands in the market and competition. This means not only do they need to trust you, but they need to trust you the most in relation to the other available options. When investigating competitors, there are a couple of factors to consider that you will be compared on:

  • Available Information – If consumers typically struggle to pick between brands or select a product, then it’s likely the sites within that sector will include much more narrative on their site. This may be information to reassure customers of their brand choice or to provide additional detail on the product specification. It’s important to match the level of useful content available to seem as genuine as your competition.
  • Price – In a market where customers are particularly price sensitive it can be tempting to opt for the lowest price when you join the market. But this is not always the best policy. If you’re significantly lower than the other online competition then people may not trust the brand for its quality or service as they will suspect savings and sacrifices being made somewhere.
  • Familiarity – Some brands are disruptors when they join the market, they completely rejuvenate the way in which people interact with the brand and the process of purchasing. However, for each of these brands, there are also hundreds which are just adding products/services or a new option to consumers. If you’re not about to revolutionise the buying process, then you need to make sure there is some familiarity to consumers for the method of purchasing and browsing your site. This will inspire trust and tailor the site to the audience better.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Whilst you can go the extra mile to stand out and really build trust, it’s also important not to forget the basics. That includes:

  • Address on the website
  • Telephone number – geographical one if possible
  • Terms and conditions
  • Privacy policy
  • About us page with real people
  • If a start up, bit about why you started it, what was the trigger, identified need, poor customer service in existing

This is really about demonstrating that you’re a real business, with genuine individuals behind the brand who will be able to respond to you.

Trust is not an easy thing to build for a brand, but once you have it, if you deliver high-quality customer service then you will secure brand loyalty and repeat custom. It is because of this that it is so important to invest the time and effort into creating this relationship with consumers from the first interaction with your brand. The barriers to entry in online business are becoming increasingly low, which means that brand is becoming the factor upon which we compete for the most. This rapidly growing importance makes the trust in your brand a factor which you simply cannot ignore.

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Hannah Thorpe

About Hannah Thorpe

Hannah Thorpe is a Director at White.net, with 3 years’ experience in content marketing and technical SEO so far. White.net is a digital marketing agency which works across SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Digital PR.