(reprinted with permission from Your Virtual Insurance newsletter, issue 09-03-01
Published by SellingwithTechnology.com)
If you want to instill customer loyalty, first build trust. Employ some common sense approaches
at your Web site. Ensure that your infrastructure is reliable, responsive, secure and effective. Visitors should
feel welcome, not intimidated. The “easy-to-use, multichannel communications tools” you deploy at
your site should operate as advertised.
Trust is built slowly over time. Each interaction provides greater strength for the foundation
of a long-lasting and trusting relationship. Consumers will appreciate your efforts which will, in turn, enhance
their trust in your operation and increase their loyalty to your products and services.
Trust fosters loyalty; loyalty breeds customer retention; retention leads to success.
A TRUSTING WEBSITE
Here are five simple, but very powerful, things you can do to help prospective customers
trust your website’s marketing.
Tell readers about yourself – Include yourself in everything you do on-line. People want
to know who is behind the sales letter, the Web site, the product line, and the offered
service. Supply prospective customers with lots of details about you,your business, and
how your business got started. Let readers know why you do what you do. Putting yourself
into your marketing gives your on-line advertising a human touch. When readers feel they
know you, they begin to trust you.
Give full details about your offer – Don’t leave people guessing about what you’re
selling. Rather than reading through five pages to find out what you’re up to, the vast
majority of readers will click away if they think you are trying to confuse them or have
something to hide. Tell people right from the very beginning what you are selling.
Stay away from cliched marketing – Start your on-line marketing with a headline that
outlines the most enticing details of your offer. Then quickly fill in the rest of the
basics. After that you can include full information for the reader that wants all the
facts she can get.
Include a free offer or a guarantee to reduce the risk of buying – It’s hard not to
trust a company that stands behind their products and services.
Supply prospective customers with more traditional ways of contacting you – Give phone
numbers, regular mailing addresses, and include the names of principal members of your
company. This reassures customers that you are a “real” company and your claims can be trusted.
CONTINUING THE TRUSTING CONVERSATION
But, once they have visited your website, you will want to maintain contact with them and
continue building a trusting relationship. One of the most effective ways to do this is by distributing an
email newsletter on a regular basis.
Savvy marketers know that it takes more than an online equivalent of the printed company
newsletter to attract and keep subscribers. Online readers want advice, tips, hints and other information of
value. Successful companies are smart enough to give it to them.
One of the more obvious benefits of an e-mail newsletter is that it keeps your company in
front of prospects on a regular basis, increasing the chance that they’ll think of you when they’re ready to buy.
What are the secrets to a successful newsletter that extends a trusting relationship? First,
provide information of value. Not coincidentally, this is where most newsletters fail. A monthly highlight
reel of your company’s press releases, product updates, and trade show schedule won’t attract many subscribers
beyond your most loyal customers.
In the end, few things are as valuable to a business as customer trust. The dilemma facing
marketers today is how to develop trust in a digital marketplace rather than in their predigital beginnings.
Learning to trust without the assurance of face-to-face contact is tough. We must learn to trust without the
crutch of up-close scratch-and-sniff physical intimacy. Digital trust can be developed by marketers who pay
attention to the fears engendered by the medium.