3 Strategies for SMB's to Build Trust with Consumers Online

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There are few things more important than trust. Discover tips on how small medium businesses can instill trust in their customers online.

There are few things more important than trust. When customers give you their personal information, along with their payment details, they are taking an action based on a trust in your brand or service.

With more than $158 lost per record in instances where hacking results in the loss of sensitive customer records, according to IBM, trust becomes increasingly relevant.

Creating strong security protocols and enforcing those standards across your entire organization is critical for long-term growth and prosperity. Below we’ll take a look at some strategies your SMB can use to build and reinforce trust with consumers in virtually any market.

Related Article: Make It Work: How to Fix 5 Common Online Marketing Strategy Mistakes

1. Focus on Evoking Emotional Reactions to Your Marketing

Consumers love to feel loved. We live in the digital age where the majority of communication involves a smartphone, tablet or computer. When a brand manages to reach through the digital nature of communication and strike an emotional chord, consumers feel connected to that brand.

Connection is one of the key components of trust. According to an article published by Entrepreneur.com, trusted brands like Coca-Cola have one thing in common: "Everything they do is inspired by this idea of, how do we promote, develop and create happiness?" A sense of contentment and joy can trigger a sale more easily than logic. Humans are emotional creatures. Find a way to tap into that emotional core with a genuine message. Your sales team will thank you.

2. Reinforce a Consumer’s Sense of Security

The vast majority of consumers feel safe conducting business online. For E-commerce sites, it’s increasingly important that their web presence complies with industry norms. For example, according to Ecassoc, “The top thing to look for in an online retailer is SSL certification or anti-virus protection, but SSL is ideal. This tells you that hackers can’t get at your credit card or PayPal details and your identity is protected.”

Companies need to invest in the costs associated with providing a current SSL certificate. Other trust indicators can include site badges that show endorsements from respected site security leaders. For example, Norton and GoDaddy both offer website security endorsements for subscribers to their platforms. These third-party endorsements offer consumers a sense of security when interacting with your site.

Related Article:Dominate Your Niche: 5 Online Marketing Trends to Leverage

In addition to SSL certificates and trusted site badges, your company needs to focus on responding and resolving customer complaints quickly. When issues do arise, nothing restores trust faster than quick and comprehensive responses to customer concerns. This means that your customer service team needs to both have the ability and the power to fix issues and provide a total customer solution.

When customers pick up the phone, send a message, or complete a transaction online, there is an opportunity to earn trust. Don’t let the opportunity be wasted with low-security websites and poor customer service.

3. Follow Up and Inspire

After a customer makes a purpose, many brands forget that the customer ever existed. This is a fatal mistake. In my company, I noticed that 40 percent of our sales resulted from repeat customers. By focusing our team on curating follow-up emails that inquired about the customer’s experience with our product, I found that we experienced a major boost in revenue.

When customers feel like they’re genuinely cared for, both before, during and after the sale, follow-up orders are placed. In fact, some of my customers tell me they don’t even consider looking elsewhere. We’ve proven ourselves and we’ve shown that we care about our customers as human beings.

But, here’s the problem. According to Brevet, “80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting. Forty-four percent of sales reps give up after one follow-up.” Prospects lead busy lives. Between social media, emails and the million other fires that need to be put out over the course of a week, it’s easy for customers to lose focus. Your sales team can never lose focus.

In a respectful, but focused manner, your team needs to follow up with consumers at every stage of the sale. This will result in relationships being built and a sense of trust being established. The strongest performing members of your sales team will have the ability to identify opportunities for your customers and find solutions to those opportunities before presenting them to your customer.

Related Article: How to Build a Strong Online Marketing Strategy from Day One

Show customers you care by inspiring them to find a way to use your product or service. Follow-up on a regular basis, because chances are they’ll forget all about your product or service without personal attention. Create a site that reinforces your trustworthiness and create marketing campaigns that evoke an emotional connection to your brand.

Mastering these simple strategies will seriously improve sales and your bottom line.

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