you haven't noticed, it's crazy out there. Dot-coms
dropping right and left. Word that investors are keeping
their wallets in their pockets. NASDAQ dancing a limbo to
a pole that's getting lower and lower. You gotta figure
this stuff is going through your customers' minds when
they come to your site. There they are, sitting at their
keyboards and monitors, wondering whether or not you are
going to be the next bomb. It's not a situation that
inspires confidence - nor does it inspire buying behavior!
And that’s on top of the security concerns many of your
potential customers still have.
lack credibility, your prospects simply won’t buy from
you. So, what are you doing to help your customers to know
you're the sort of company they want to do business with?
How are you soothing their very real and very
should know by now online sales are here to stay. What
we're seeing is just a pretty intense shake-out period.
(See my article, “Dont Let the Pendulum Hit You in the
And despite it, more folks are buying online now than ever
before. So you want to do everything in your power a) to
stay afloat (duh!) and b) to encourage folks to buy from
you over your competition. One very important way you do
this is to establish your credibility. Here are a few
ideas to get you started, so when customers land on your
site, they get right away that you are honest,
trustworthy, reputable and credible.
needs to be available, not just on the home page but
throughout the site. Folks find it reassuring to know
there's an actual phone number or an actual address
associated with your business. Sure, it's a basic tenet of
Customer Service 101 so people can get help (and know you
care enough about them to offer help), but it is also an
indication of your credibility. Even if no one ever calls!
dead give-away that compromises your credibility pertains
to managing what insiders call "the freshness
factor." Have you still got that seasonal content
up there four months after the fact? Is your most recent
press release a year old? Do you tell people when
content has been updated? It might seem trivial, but folks
are put off when you can't be bothered to keep your site
current. It tends to suggest you can't be bothered to
treat them promptly and well. And it also means they
can’t be confident what they’re reading and seeing
even applies anymore.
are another indication of your credibility. Is your
uncompromising? Do you have guarantees? You do, right? But
are they, again, accessible, clear, simple, and
uncompromising or do they read like they were written by a
lawyer intent on making sure none of your customers can
ever actually use them? How are you going to service a
product that has a problem? Will you ship on time, and
what will you do if you can’t? Will you accept exchanges
and refunds? How complicated is that for your customers?
What can you say that will assure them you deliver on your
another big component of credibility has to do with your credentials,
and I don't mean the ones that get framed and hung on
walls or listed on resumes. I mean the ones that
demonstrate to your customers that you get the job done in
a way that not just satisfies but delights them. Personal
testimonials are one of the easiest ways to
communicate this to your prospects. Seeing that other
folks were blown away by your service or product is an
enormous boost to your credibility. Another useful
testimonial, if you can get one, is from a well-known
public figure, and there’s also the “implied”
testimonial in a statement such as, “Our bowling ball
used by more professionals than any other.”1
over and above all these specific examples, you must make
sure the entire tone of your site focuses on your
customers, not you. Use language that let's them know they
come first. As a matter of fact, my friends at Future Now
have just developed a great new free tool to guide your
efforts in that direction. Check it out at
you make the effort to build credibility, your customers
are going to feel a lot better about taking the plunge,
and that's going to make everyone happy!
a great discussion on this subject, see "How to
Establish Credibility with Your Customers." Sam
Robbins. Web Gold Electronic Newsletter, vol. 3, #26,
October 13, 2000. <http://www.bizpromo.com>.