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6 10 Reasons Why People Don’t Trust Your Website

Portrait of a young angry man on bright concrete background

Let’s face it, most of us are skeptical when we visit a business website for the first time.

We inherently distrust information on the Internet – unless it comes from trusted sources. It’s just the way it is.

This is why it is essential for your small business website to convince new visitors that you are trustworthy and why you are the company they should choose.

On the other hand, your ideal clients are less likely to trust you if:

You don’t have a detailed About Us Page

The About Us page is one of the most sought out pages of a website. When consumers arrive at your site, they want to know who you are and get to know your business’s “story.” This is your opportunity to introduce yourself, your business and your team while letting your customer know why they can’t live without your product or service. Jeff Haden provides some great tips on how to improve your About Us page.

You don’t have a Head Shot or Team Photos

Posting a photo of your actual team develops a sense of confidence that will encourage a customer to buy from you. Without these kinds of photos, consumers may lose confidence in a website. Your goal is to create a Know Like Trust website, and including yours and your team’s headshots will greatly improve the trust factor of your site.

You don’t have a Telephone Number Listed

When you display a phone number on your website it means you are accessible. When no telephone number is present, on the other hand, it can look like you are hiding something.  And who do I call if there is a problem with the purchase? For local businesses, having a local area code (as opposed to an 800 number) adds trust as well.

You don’t have a Physical Contact Address Listed

As with your phone number, a physical address adds many layers of trust to your website.   People want to know you are a real, physical entity and displaying a physical address appears way more trustworthy than an anonymous contact form. Furthermore, a physical address is both an on-page and off-page SEO ranking factor. Google likes to see a physical address clearly listed on your website, preferably in the footer of each web page. Your address is also an off-page local SEO ranking factor.

You don’t have any Certifications, Association or Trust Badges

Adding trust badges, association badges and certifications to your website provide reassurance for potential customers that you are a credible business. There are countless badge options to consider, from payment and security to membership associations. The more you have present (which are only available if you meet specific standards) the more trustworthy your website will become.

Some organizations to think about using include business association sites like the BBB and your local chambers, charity and volunteer sites your business is associated with, as well as website security badges that come along with services from TRUSTe, McAfee, VeriSign.

You don’t have any Testimonials or Reviews

The power of a testimonial is found in its objectivity. This means that someone outside of the brand is doing the talking, so the credibility is MUCH higher. A 2013 study by Dimensional Research concluded that 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews – that is pretty much all of us. You should make it a priority to include customer reviews on your website and research more on how to get clients to leave a Google maps review to improve your local SEO visibility.

You don’t provide any Client, Portfolio or Case Study Information

You need to prove that you can deliver on the promises you are making. In addition to publishing testimonials from clients, show off your portfolio and publish a case study. Each of these components will prove that you can back up the claims you are making to offer superior products or services. This provides a consumer with tangible proof.

You don’t Blog

According to BlogHer, 81% of U.S. consumers trust advice and information that is published on blogs. Also, when you blog regularly, customers will see that you know the business and that you are providing valuable and actionable information they can use. Blogging makes you an authority and people trust authorities.

If you have yet to create any content that shows you are an authority, it can be hard to convince consumers you are a trustworthy source of information. Publish blog content, create an eBook, produce podcasts and show people what you know to build your own creditability.  Blogging is also an important SEO ranking factor. John Jantsch provides a great list of the 7 most important SEO factors for bloggers.

You don’t Participate in Social Media

Being able to maintain an active presence on social media is essential. This means that you are engaging with the fans and followers who like or share your content. Social media is considered a two-way street and if you don’t participate in the conversation, then it can cause customers to lose trust in what you do and offer. They may even begin to believe you don’t care about their input or feedback.

You don’t have a Decent, Mobile Friendly Web Design

According to a Stanford University study, 80% of people judge the credibility of a company by its website design. Whoa! Something to really think about if you have a cheap WordPress theme, a GoDaddy web-builder website or something that was slapped together by your nephew. Most businesses take their websites for granted and have unknowingly lost a lot of business, especially lost referral business.

With over 50% of Internet searches made on mobile devices, you simply must have a mobile friendly website. Your website looks SUPER dated if users have to pinch and zoom to view content on your site. Pound for pound, the condition and quality of your website is probably the most important website trust factor.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.

phil-singleton.jpgPhil Singleton is a self-described ‘SEO grunt’ obsessed with tweaking websites for search engine optimization and conversions, and creating WordPress SEO & PPC plugins. He owns & operates Kansas City Web Design and Kansas City SEO. Phil is co-author author of the Amazon best-seller The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Local Lead Generation (2015), and author of the Amazon best-selling Kindle eBook How To Hire A Web Designer: And Not Get Burned By Another Agency (2015).  Visit his latest website at https://digitalprowebdesign.com or connect with Phil Singleton on LinkedIn.

 

9 5 Ways to Make Trust Your Most Important Marketing Asset

trust

There was a time when all you had to do to land a sale was to look good and say all the right things. If it turned out that some of those things you promised didn’t always materialize, no big deal, move on and find someone new.

Today, buyers have access to information and tools that leave every business exposed to a much closer version of the truth.

If you screw up now – and don’t honor your promise – you may find an entire highly indexed YouTube channel dedicated to your suckiness.

Trust has always mattered, but I believe it is perhaps the most important long-term marker of success and businesses need to acknowledge trust building and amplification as an essential marketing tactic.

The thing is, you know what to do – the online world and all these new tools often get people thinking they need to do things in ways that don’t fit who they are – use your instincts, they’re probably better than you think.

Trust building must be seen as one of the intentional goals of your message, content, promise, promotion, delivery, follow through, and measurement.

When today’s buyer is considering a purchase, they certainly need to know that you’re an option and they certainly need to like what they see when they start checking you out. Ultimately, however, they must trust that you can deliver and they will Google you, test you and ask about you in their social networks before checking that box or even setting a meeting.

Below are five considerations when it comes to building a strong case for trust.

Your rep on the street

What others say about you reveals a great deal. There are some businesses that live and die today on the reviews from customers. This is an area that you must pay attention to. Reviews impact SEO and they provide some measure of proof that you do what you say.

This is no longer about simply doing good work, you must intend to mine the glowing reviews of your customers and show appreciation for every kind word said about you as part of the trust signals that are now a plainly public part of the mix.

Who you hang out with

Social networks reveal more about you than you might know. Your connections to other connections create subtle hints about who knows you and who you (theoretically) hang out with.

How you connect, how you add value, and how you show up in these networks sends important trust signals.

Who you partner with, who you collaborate with, and who you mastermind with are all part of the trust puzzle – but is it intentional?

What you do and say

My parents would on occasion access the age-old parental standby – “do as I say, not as I do” when questioned on some finer point of advice. So much of what we do as a business is public today. A prospect can effectively check you out and even engage to some extent without your knowledge.

People are watching how you interact on Twitter, how you provide service, how you respond to a negative Yelp review and even how market and promote yourself.

I get the cobbler’s children syndrome, but if your business is not a shining example of the point of view and service you’re asking your prospects to embrace, there’s probably going to be a trust disconnect at some point.

Ease of use

This one is a big bucket. You can do and say all the right things, nail your value proposition and promote scores of reviews from raving fans, but if the first thing a customer faces is a hoop jumping circus, all that trust building you worked so hard on will be for naught.

Convenience has become a value proposition and we just want things to work the way we think or have grown accustomed to them working.

At least once a quarter go through the process of becoming a customer with a customer and go over and above to understand how they actually experience your business.

Proof

One of the greatest challenges for business just getting started is they can offer no proof or existing customers getting great results. Funny thing is very few business focus on this element enough.

One of the greatest ways to garner trust is to offer proof of results. If a prospect can see documented results from someone that has their very same issue it gets much easier to imagine getting that same result for their business.

You must work very hard at measuring, reviewing and documenting the tangible results of your work on behalf of your clients if you want to demonstrate the ultimate trust marker.

Building trust as a marketing asset isn’t about making things up that allow you to look and sound good, it’s about amplifying the fact that you can be trusted to perform as promised and that you value your reputation so highly you make room in your crowded days to cherish how your customers experience your business.

6 Are There Any Real Mentors Left?

Marketing podcast with Ken Blanchard

Peter Drucker

photo credit: Jeff McNeill via photopin cc

I feel like I’m reaching this funny crossroads in my business life. See, I’ve owned my own business for over 25 years and during the course of that span I’ve benefited from the inspiration of many mentors.

I was always struck by the fact that the people I chose as mentors seemed to understand the responsibility and maybe even sense of duty that came with the fact that I elevated them to such a high level of trust.

As I reflected on this post it became clear that my very first mentor was my father. I suppose most parents are viewed this way at some point whether they know it or not. As I watch him now fumble to even get his shoes laced, I know I still have something to learn from him.

When I started my business, people like Peter Drucker, Harvey MacKay, Tom Peters and Ken Blanchard shaped my thinking and that of my generation in so many ways. Most are still alive but not actively mentoring the next generation.

And that’s the crossroads part I guess – as I look behind me I no longer see the legions of mentors who helped me get ahead and as I look forward I don’t fully understand my role in doing the same for the next and the next.

Today, people like Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson and Dan Pink have stepped into the shoes of the trusted minds for the next generation, but I wonder if they see themselves as mentors?

I wonder if I see myself as a mentor, if I’ve done the things to earn that kind of trust from those that read my words and hear me speak? Do you consider yourself a mentor? Do you consider the fleeting value of trust each and every day?

I don’t have many answers today, just some things to think about.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the chance to interview one of my mentors – one who certainly fits into the class of someone who could be slowing down but shows little sign of it (actually a lesson in itself.)

Ken Blanchard is the author of over 50 books, including the One Minute Manager and most recently, Trust Works!: Four Keys to Building Lasting Relationships, written with Cynthia Olmstead and Martha Lawrence.

So, two question today I guess: 1) Who are your mentors and why? 2) Who are you mentoring and why?

47 Marketing Is Most Certainly Not Dead

There’s a renewed meme going around these days about marketing being dead somehow. Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain – the reports of the death of marketing are greatly exaggerated.

photo credit: trawets1 via photo pin cc

Look, the landscape in marketing has been rapidly shifting over the last ten years and mostly because consumers now have the ability to better control, block and share the messages they consume. I’ll grant you that bad marketing is dead, lame marketing is dead, one way marketing is dead, broadcast marketing is dead, shouting is dead, and ignoring your customers is dead.

The thing is, these things have always been dead, but it used to be that if you pushed enough money at them you could make them work a little.

Two articles in the last year, both titled Marketing Is Dead, (dead 1 and dead 2) seem to suggest that all of a sudden educating prospects, building communities, and exchanging value is, first and foremost, not marketing and, this is the amusing part, somehow a new concept.

I find it most ironic that dead 1 was written by an executive of a book publishing company – an industry on the brink of extinction due to a seeming unwillingness to keep up with this new world of marketing he describes.

The success of most every business book in the last ten years is due in large part to the author’s platform or ability to use the forms of marketing that this industry executive has now chronicled in his own successful book. So, I’m at a complete loss as to how he concludes marketing is dead.

The second, dead 2, was published in the Harvard Business Review and for proper context on the irony of this one I’ll turn to my friend Mitch Joel.

This is the kind of talk that comes from people that have never really understood what marketing is. They find in social networks where they can generate lots of fans or they can build a readership for their blog, but crossing the chasm to where you turn that tribe into paying customers most certainly takes marketing by the boatload.

In my first book, Duct Tape Marketing, again ironically published by the publishing company I alluded to above, I shared a definition of marketing as – getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.

That’s what marketing is and always will be.

I meet on a quarterly basis with some of the most brilliant marketers in the world and I’m here to tell you marketing is not dead. These folks understand, and always have, the power of building a tribe, but they further understand how to turn that relationship into millions and millions of dollars of revenue and it’s a science.

There’s no question that marketers still playing the old game with the old tools are now finding their careers and businesses in peril.

But, there’s a strong and vibrant army of marketers that have always learned and adapted to each impending change. These are the people that have long understood the value of blogging, have long understood the value of educational content, have long understood how to integrate social with email, have long understood how to segment and match leads, and have long understood it’s all about the community.

Now, you can use the science and art of marketing for evil or for good, but suggesting that marketing is dead is one of the most naive claims I’ve ever heard.

22 7 Steps To Sure Fire Marketing Success

Here’s my take on business.

Every business is simply a set of systems and marketing just happens to be the most important of these systems.

Few business owners have trouble thinking in terms of business systems for things like building their product, paying the bills, providing a service, hiring an employee – all the operations kind of things.

When it comes to marketing, however, all systems thinking comes to a halt, because “that’s a creative art,” that vexes even the most seasoned entrepreneur types.

Fact is, marketing is indeed a business system and approaching and operating it as such helps to remove any and all mystery about its function in your business and allows you to create consistent, predictable results from the operation of your marketing system.

Below are the seven elements that make the creation of your personalized marketing system a snap.

1) Commit to Strategy Before Tactics

Until you can narrowly define the exact person, business or problem that constitutes your ideal client and uncover a way to communicate a truly unique point of differentiation to said ideal client, your business will fall prey to the marketing tactic of the week syndrome.

When you have a clear sketch of who you must attract and a clear message that allows you to communicate why your product or service produces greater value than every other option, you don’t have a marketing strategy.

Do not pass go until your business possesses an authentic marketing strategy. Once you do, you then must commit to using that strategy as the filter for every marketing decision that follows – including product/service mix, pricing, identity elements, customer service and hiring. You can find more on my approach to marketing strategy here.

2) Map Your Marketing HourglassTM

The marketing funnel approach of loading lots of leads into a marketing process aimed at squeezing a few through the small end is fundamentally broken these days.

Yes, you still need to get in front of prospects, but the greatest source of lead generation these days is a happy customer. The idea behind the hourglass shape is that as you gain a customer you immediately go about intentionally turning that customer into a referral champion.

You accomplish this by mapping out all the products, services and processes required to move a prospect through the seven phases of the Marketing Hourglass: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer.

Simply take a high level look at your business today and map out all of the current and potential touchpoints opportunities your have with prospects and clients and fill the gaps with marketing driven experiences. You can find more on the Marketing Hourglass here.

3) Create a Content Road Map

The term content conjures up a great deal of frustration with business owners, mainly because it’s vague enough to be misinterpreted and cited by experts enough to create exhaustion.

The idea of content in marketing isn’t simply a generic way to refer to your need to blog, it’s a strategic approach to creating the assets your business needs to communicate strategy and facilitate lead generation and conversion.

With that description in mind, you need to view your approach to content creation much like a publisher armed with an annual table of contents, otherwise known as a list of important keyword search phrases.

Your content creation plan must be very intentional and must be installed as an ongoing practice instead of viewed as a one-time event. Your plan must include provisions for content that builds trust, content that educates, customer generated content, other people’s content and content that converts. You can find a deeper discussion of these five types of content here.

4) Build a Total Web Presence

No longer is it enough to build a Website and expect to compete these days. Prospects, even those that are looking to do business locally, turn to search engines to find every kind of business and solve every kind of problem.

Today’s marketers need to approach the Web with an eye on creating the largest presence possible in order to stand out, or merely show up, when a prospect goes hunting for a solution.

Building an online listening station, optimizing brand assets in sharing services, claiming valuable social and local network real estate, participating in ratings and review sites, and maximizing social media activity are the foundational elements of total web presence building.
This is how you begin to make your content strategy pay. This is how you begin to activate the know, like and trust elements of your Marketing Hourglass.

5) Mix and Match Your Lead Generation

Active lead generation comes about through multiple touches initiated through multiple channels.

There is rarely one dependable way to generate all of the leads a business might require to meet objectives. It’s the careful blending of advertising, public relations and systematic referral generation that creates the repetition, credibility and control needed to get a prospect motivated enough to pick up the phone or schedule an appointment.

The key to making this blended approach work, however, is the commitment to valuable, education-based content distribution. Advertising that promotes content gets viewed, a referral made by way of content gets action, and PR generated by way of content gets shared.

6) Orchestrate a Lead Conversion Process

If you’ve followed the steps outlined so far in this system, your prospects aren’t really sold so much as they become ready to buy. In order to continue the experience your marketing has promised to date you must also give intentional marketing driven consideration to the steps in your lead conversion process.

What is your systematic response when a prospect requests more information? What is your systematic method for communicating how you deliver value? What is your plan to nurture leads in your hourglass? How will you orient a new customer? What is your plan for measuring the results a customer actually received?

A fully developed lead conversion process doesn’t consider a sale complete until the customer receives the expected result.

7) Live by the Calendar

The basic premise behind the notion of a system is continuous operation. You can’t build a marketing system and hope to be done at some point.

There are elements that you may build and use continuously, but the fact is that operating your marketing system must become habit.

You must map out a year’s worth of projects, campaigns and processes and break each month into a theme, each project into weekly action steps and each day into right marketing activity.

By creating a marketing vision that is scheduled and calendared you create the framework that allows everyone in the organization to participate and see in very tangible ways the path that the organization, and perhaps more specifically the marketing system, is intended to trod.

11 Content As an Essential Strategy

I’m pretty sure you’re sick of folks like me telling you that content is king and that you must produce reams of it in order to compete these days, so I won’t put you through any more of that kind of silly talk.

What I will say is that people today have come to expect to find information about any product, service, company, individual, cause or challenge they face by simply turning to the search engine of their choice. So, if they’re not finding content that you’ve produced that provides them that information, even if someone referred them directly to you, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t be worthy of their trust.

I guess I am going to tell you that you’ve got to commit to content production, but you’ve got to make it a part of your overall strategy and you’ve got to produce content with an eye on doing two things – educating and building trust.

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1 Know, Like, and Trust – You need them all to make the sale

Too many small business owners focus most of their attention on single event lead generation promotions.

The most effective lead generation comes from the careful combination of many tactics, but I have found that no lead generation strategy is complete until it weaves the use of advertising (know), public relations (like), and referrals (trust) around a unified message or brand.

It is the momentum and cumulative impact of presenting your message in each of these arenas that eventually allows you to cut through the clutter and become the provider of choice to a market.

Each area is equally important to your overall success and each area must receive the attention needed to let your market know you are serious about earning their business.

So, how does your current lead generation system measure up?