There’s a single aspect to digital marketing that can make or break your online presence: trust.
The internet is a beautiful thing. It's undeniably useful when you’re shopping around for just about anything. Unfortunately, it can also be incredibly impersonal. It isn’t like going into a store, where you immediately get a sense of what to expect from things as general as the displays and the authenticity of salesperson’s smile, right down to details like the condition of the carpets and the lack of paper towels in the bathroom.
These are all aspects of a physical location that contribute to the ultimate decision about whether or not you’ll shop here. After all, if you can’t be trusted to put paper towel in your bathrooms for your clients, should I really be trusting you with control over my accounting/supply orders/house cleaning/utilities/etc.?
In the digital world, trust is absolutely critical for businesses. Your potential clients aren’t facing you, speaking to you, or seeing your products and services up close for themselves. They don't just want to see what you're offering; they want to see exactly what to expect, because expectations are the basis for trust.
So, how do I generate trust through my website content?
Think of your website like a physical storefront, and then treat it like that.
Of course, it all needs to work together; the design, functionality, and ease of use of your website are important for establishing trust. But we’re copy writers, not website designers, so we’ll stick to what we know and tell you about the (very often) overlooked aspect of setting up a website, which can easily win the trust of your leads. That is, of course, content!
There are three ways your content can help gain trust from your leads:
Branding is all about consistency. If your brand is flighty and all over the place, people will make a few assumptions (probably without even knowing they’ve made them).
You’re flighty; you change your mind quickly, and it’s likely you’re not very dependable.
You haven’t thought the business through, which means your services and products could be as disorganized as your branding, which leads to the thought that perhaps…
You are not a legitimate business, or you’re just looking to make a quick buck.
When you think about the link between brand consistency and trust, think about email scams. When you open an email from a bank saying you need to verify your account information, what do you scan that email for before deciding if it’s legit?
Even if you don’t expressly know what's off about the branding, there are subtle hints to cue you in to a scam. It might be visual, like incorrect colours on a logo, but more often than not, it’s the content that’s most telling. Inconsistently capitalized subject lines, incorrect spelling and grammar, or language inconsistent with the company or industry supposedly behind the email are easy ways to pinpoint a scam.
Consistency in your content will tell your leads you’re 100% legit. You should always:
Use the same style and tone throughout your website. If your brand is about having fun, then have fun on every single page. If it’s sarcastically witty, make that shine through in everything from your titles to your contact information. Better yet, keep it consistent throughout all your communications – that way, when you email a lead, they’ll be familiar with your brand and recognize (and trust!) the source of that email.
Use the same wording to describe your business throughout your website. Check out this post to learn about how a Word Wheel can help you create consistencyin your brand’s word choices.
Be authentic, because you can’t achieve consistency if you aren’t being true to your brand.
2. Clean, Error-Free Copy
This aspect of content is pretty straightforward, and it’s what most of Fine Point's clients are looking for when they contact us. However, it’s not the most important component of gaining trust.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s critical to have error-free, grammatically correct, and perfectly punctuated copy on your website. The difference between being intelligent and sounding intelligent in writing is a distinction people won’t bother to make when they’re looking through your website. You could be a rocket scientist, but if you can’t present yourself that way on your website, it doesn’t matter, because no one is going to buy a rocket from your website.
Going back to priorities, though – trust (and sales) are not gained by appropriately placed commas. They’re gained through the following point, which is what our clients are always most pleasantly surprised by when they receive their content drafts:
3. A Story
Let’s say you have a secret that you just have to tell someone. It’s a big secret, and you want to make sure it doesn’t get around. Are you going to tell your most trusted friend, or a person you just met today?
You’re going to tell your trusted friend. Why? Because there’s history there. Expectations. A STORY. You know how this situation is going to play out, because you’ve seen it before.
Telling a story on your website creates history, which in turn creates trust. It tells clients and leads that you’ve done this before, you’ve done it a specific way, the reasons you’ve done it, and why you’re going to continue to do it (and do it well!)
If you’re saying, “but I just started my business; I don’t have a story to tell.” Well… that’s simply not true. Everyone has a history. Everyone has a reason they’re doing what they’re doing. Even if a business is brand new, youare behind it, and you have a history. Until your business has a history, your story is the story of your business.
Don’t forget about other people’s stories. You don’t operate in a vacuum, and stories from your clients are branches of your own story. Reviews, testimonials, case studies, client scenarios… all of these help tell your story through someone else’s eyes. Now your leads don’t have to trust you at all; they can trust your previous and current clients!
Is your website generating trust from your leads? If you aren’t sure, or you need some direction, give us a call! We’re always happy to help!