The Internet is a community. Or, really, countless small communities.
Many have commented on a general disengagement from community in America over the last several decades. The Internet, however, has provided a distinct reversal of this trend. People on the web can engage more easily than ever.
As a business, what does this mean for you?
The loss of mom-and-pop stores, the neighborhood shop, the small local business, has been much lamented. But on the Internet, your business can fill this role. It can be the hub of a local community, with the added bonus that your customers aren’t necessarily restricted by geographical location.
The key to filling this role is establishing trust. Doing this is crucial anyway to achieving conversions – who, after all, is going to give their money to a website they don’t trust? But establishing a high level of trust can turn your business into the place from which everyone feels good about buying.
a clean, pleasant, easy-to-navigate website goes a long way. Just like a store, if your website is a nice place to hang out, people will. If it’s unpleasant, they’re going to leave quickly. After all, they can probably find what they need somewhere else in mere seconds.
Make sure your copy is well-written and informative. Know what you’re talking about. Know what your customers want to hear. Share your knowledge and experience. Edit and proofread! Typos, misspellings, and bad grammar are definite trust-killers.
This can be tricky. You don’t want to be too down-homey – this can easily come off as unprofessional. But you do bring a unique set of experiences and perspective to your industry, and this is a big part of what sets you apart from your competitors. Find a way to communicate it. Social media like Facebook and Twitter can be great tools for this.
Testimonials & Endorsements –
Genuine, honest testimonials from satisfied customers go a long way toward establishing trust. Endorsements from the Better Business Bureau or other industry-specific certifying agencies are equally important.
No pop-ups. –
Ever. Even of your own content. Just don’t do it.
Ways to Pay –
Some people still aren’t comfortable providing their credit card online. Give them other options – PayPal and a phone number. Provide secure payment options and let users know about your commitment to security. And clearly state your return and guarantee policies.
Contact Information –
Make it easy to find on your site. Use a real address, not a PO Box. Give a phone number, and answer it during normal business hours. Return messages promptly. Potential customers want to know that you really exist. They want to deal with real people.
In short, make your visitors feel welcome, secure, and that they are dealing with real, friendly, and knowledgeable people. Good, reliable SEO, including social media management, combined with professional web design, can provide these elements to get your business the web presence it needs for success.