How to Build Trust in Your Website: A Guide for Business Owners and Marketers

Jacqueline Caldwell - Proofly blog author
Jacqueline Caldwell

February 23, 2022 | 7,925 views | 10 min. read time

As a business owner, marketer or both, you know the value of trust. Trust is the glue that holds relationships together and the oil that smoothes interactions. It’s what your customers (or potential customers) see when they look at you. How much trust they have in you as a business or brand will determine whether they continue to do business with you or move on to someone else. We know how important trust is because we hear it from our customers again and again. Whether it’s about a broken promise, unanswered emails, an unfriendly website or some other issue, trust is almost always involved. As such, trust is also one of the most important things we need to keep in mind as marketers. When coming up with new ideas for marketing campaigns or working on old ones that didn’t quite live up to expectations, thinking about how they might impact trust — positively or negatively — will go a long way towards making sure we hit the mark every time.

What is trust?

Trust, on the most basic level, is the expectation that someone or something will keep its promises. In business, this mainly means that customers trust you to do what you say you’ll do. Perhaps businesses in general have gotten a bad reputation for not living up to their promises, but the fact is that a lack of trust between a company and its customers can destroy a brand. This is because, in today’s world, business isn’t just about providing products or services. It’s about being a brand that people recognize and know. And that means that business is also about being human. It’s about connecting with people on an emotional level, as well as making promises that you’ll keep.

Why is trust important?

As we’ve already seen, trust is what holds relationships together. In business, though, trust isn’t enough on its own to ensure a thriving, healthy relationship. You need to keep the trust you’ve built, too. If you build trust with your customers, but don’t keep that trust, they’ll move on to someone who will keep their promises. That’s not only a loss for you, but a loss for the customers who were once loyal to you. Ending relationships with customers isn’t easy, but it’s something you have to be willing to do if people lose trust in you. In fact, it’s one of the only ways to really end the relationship.

How can Social Proof help gaining trust?

Social Proof is the idea that people will be more likely to trust you if they see that other people trust you, too. It’s a basic instinct to want to follow the herd, and it’s why testimonials, ratings and reviews on websites are so effective. Seeing other customers say that they love a product or service, or that they’re happy with the way a business treats them, can help potential customers feel more comfortable buying from that brand. Social Proof can take many forms, including positive ratings, reviews and testimonials. Most social networks also have some sort of trust badge that you can display to show that you’re trustworthy. You can use Proofly to add ratings, reviews, testimonials and more to your website in a few clicks.

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The cost of a lack of trust

If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. Without trust, customers are less likely to purchase from you, less likely to refer you, less likely to come back and less likely to share their experiences with others. In other words, you’ll have fewer clients and less revenue. And if you lose trust, it’s really difficult to get it back. You have to work extra hard to prove to customers that you’re trustworthy again. So, if you’ve lost trust, you’ll need to take steps to repair that trust. In fact, you’ll have to prove to customers that you’ve changed — or that you’re a different company altogether — if you want them to trust you again.

3 actions that build trust

Put your promises in writing. Got a promise you want to keep? Make it concrete by writing it down. This can be as simple as writing a blog post, or creating a page on your website. Whatever it is, put it in writing so you’re held accountable to it. Because you’ve put it in writing, you can’t back away from it — not easily, anyway.

Be consistent One of the biggest ways to loose trust is to be inconsistent in your actions, or in meeting orders or deadlines. If you say that something will happen on a certain date, or something will be delivered by a certain date, keep that promise — even when it’s hard to do so. When you’re consistent, customers know what to expect, and can feel more confident in your business.

Be transparent Customers are more confident when they can see the inner workings of a business. They want to know who you are, what you stand for, and how you make decisions. You don’t have to share private information, but you can share more about the company, your employees, and how you do business.

2 actions that repair broken trust

Apologize If you’ve lost trust, the first step is to apologize. You don’t have to grovel or beg forgiveness, but you do need to be sincere. Apologizing is about more than just putting the trust back into your relationship with individual customers. It’s about re-establishing that trust for all of your customers. As long as you’re sincere, an apology will show customers that you’re human, and that you’re willing to admit that you made a mistake. It also proves that you care about those mistakes and want to make amends.

Keep your promises Once you’ve apologized, the next step is to keep your promises. Even if you’re only trying to make amends with one customer, keep promises you’ve made to that person. Make sure that every promise you make is fulfilled, and you’ll go a long way towards regaining trust.

Bottom line

The bottom line is that trust is important, and a lack of trust can cripple a business. That’s why it’s important to build trust, and then keep that trust. Building trust takes time, but you can speed up the process by following these three best practices: put your promises in writing, be consistent, and be transparent. Once you’ve built trust, it’s important to keep that trust by apologizing when you make a mistake, and keeping your promises — even the small ones.

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