Trust and Brand Value

Have you ever visited a webshop to make a purchase for something we needed and left because you just did not trust the business? The product looked good. The price was right. But something stopped you from coming to a transaction and that something was a lack of trust.

Trusting-like-a-child

The Value of Trust in becoming a Brand

In order to induce visitors to fill out a lead form of make a purchase in a webshop first trust has to be established with the visitor. A first time visitor wanting to make a purchase or leave his contact details will be looking for signs that the website will fulfill his expectations.

The visitor will only leave his money with a website he trusts. Trust has to be won initially, when a visitor finds our website for the first time. Trust has then to be kept up. The customer’s expectations must be met, so he will come back and make a repeat purchase. Repeat purchases are what makes an online campaign profitable. If we analyze the marketing cost of a a keyword phrase, there are many keywords looking unprofitable if we do not realize the value of the customer coming back repeatedly and making purchase on the phone or by email. This is why it is unwise to pay too much attention to web analytics data and to measure the revenue of a channel as a whole. If we manage to deliver more to the customer than he expected the customer may not just come back, but also recommend our business to others. We then gain business by worth of mouth, which from the point of view of Return On Investment has the highest return.

To recapitulate:

1. win the visitors trust

2. meet his expectations

3. induce the customer to recommend your business to his friends and partners.

A marketing campaign, whether online or offline becomes profitable when we reach 3. Look at it this way. A competitor who manages his campaign from web analytics data will ignore many important search terms,because he is not recouping his investment on those keywords.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

The barricade we have to overcome is the visitor’s Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). The visitor is uncertain that if he leaves his money the expected product is not delivered¬† or does not meet his expectations.

How to overcome the FUD-factor?

In order to overcome the FUD-factor we have to present ourselves as objectively as possible to the visitor. First we can start write an extensive “about us” page, with who we are, the owner or manager, employees with pictures, a place where the customer can visit our shop or office. Also it is nice to explain what our vision is. Why is it a good idea to become our partner?

Describe in detail to the customer what the product looks like, when it will be delivered, what additional charges to expect. Show the customer our Terms and Conditions, so the serious visitor has the possibility to be convinced of our reliablity. Although only about two to five percent of our visitors will read the “about us” page and our Ts & Cs the percentage of those who read them who will make a purchase is very high.

Because people expect us to oversell ourselves it is a good idea to invest in external validation of our business. An excellent external validator is an online review. By asking our customers for a review and displaying reviews on our websites we establish trust. Our customers can see how good we are and what issues we have. External reviews make us look real.

Overdeliver

Finally, when the visitor decides to make a purchase, we have to make sure that his expectations are exceeded. Our customer service should be very good, if anything goes wrong, the customer should find us quickly and generously putting things right. There should be suffiicient customer service and account managers to engage dissapointed customers and we should make it part of our everyday business practice to feel the customers pulse and to check UNINTRUSIVELY whether his expectations were met.

Becoming a brand

When we built up a customer base of partners who trust us, who are delighted to have done business with us, who recommend us to their friends and partners we have become a brand. We are a business with ther reputation that we deliver what we promise and then some and customers keep coming back. We achieve this by looking further than online, by emphasising good customer service and treating customers right the foundation of our business.

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