Stream of consciousness SEO

July 24, 2009

But what about credibility?

Filed under: Building trust,Uncategorized — proseotalk @ 3:48 am
Tags: , , , ,

Well might you ask – over the years the catchwords of professionalism, credibility and reputation have all been very important in corporate communications in particular.

The words passion, dynamism, excitement, connection, engagement and fun seem a lot way away from the often stuffy world of corporate speak.

But finally companies are coming to realise that what readers/viewers connect with is real people – connecting the way real people connect.

Which is not through carefully selected sentences from the corporate phrase book. Stilted, formal, corporate brand speak that endeavours to never be personal, never be “inappropriate”.

But in reality, that kind of word-smithing takes the reader so far away from the humanity that should be behind it … if they even stick with it long enough to get the point.

Chances are that today’s readers will simply scan the words, not even try to understand, and move right along to something more engaging.

Because there is always something more engaging – be it a viral video, a i can haz cheezburger image, the next tweet popping up on the screen … or your competition, who have somehow managed to capture the essence of what they have to offer in a way that is far more dynamic and interesting than your approach.

So how do we build trust?

Ok, so if you shouldn’t be building reputation and trust through stuffy language, stilted layouts and anonymous photo library images, how do you do it?

Your potential clients need to know that other people have used your products and services, and that they got a good result. They were happy with your service and would recommend you to their friends, family and associates.

We are all very familiar with this formula by now. Amazon.com  and eBay were among the very first e-commerce sites to make it popular. It is the new democracy – the equalizer, particularly on the auction sites, where the opportunity exists to provide mutual feedback.

Whatever the structure, users of a service and consumers of a product now have the opportunity to share their experience with the whole world, but especially other potential consumers of that same product or service.

(Actually marketers have been using testimonials for many years, but the web makes it possible for those recommendations to be read by a massive audience, and for readers to dig down and find out much more about the recommenders than ever before.)

Which is great.

Especially great for you if what you are offering is up to scratch.

  • So let’s assume that it is (and if it’s not, you are making your best efforts to get that issue sorted asap) … customer feedback, testimonials and case studies on your website are a great place to start building that trust.
  • Awards for excellence, innovation, success are also great – make sure you have them up there. And if you don’t have any, think about entering ones in your industry sector.
  • Stories from local media about your business doing well are also great ways to share a third party view of your company. Make sure you include a News section that not only has room for your own press releases, but also has room for you to put up any media mentions.
  • Links to and from your site from other reputable sites are also valuable ways to build trust by association.

I am sure you can think of other ways to build trust on your site – pictures of your products/services being used in the real world; feedback widgets like Trip Advisor that give travellers the chance to give feedback on hospitality providers around the world; forums and blogs with commenting facilities and the chance to offer real time customer service through the net. So many different ways to demonstrate that people trust you, buy from you and come back again for more of your products and services.

Of course you don’t have to use them all, and you don’t have to put them all on your site right from day one. But there is a great selection here of ideas to get you started and give you something to work towards.

So tell me, if your site is already up and running – how do you build trust?

Karen

Blog at WordPress.com.