Increase Sales by Building Credibility
By Shelley Lowery
The Internet has opened a whole New World of information and opportunity for all of us. However, it has also created a breeding ground for scam artists. For this reason, many Internet users are very reluctant to share their personal information and order products online.
As an Internet entrepreneur, it is your personal responsibility to ensure that your visitors feel very comfortable with you and your website. In order to gain your visitor's trust and confidence, you must build your credibility.
In order to establish credibility, you must be willing to invest in your own domain name and professional web hosting. Websites hosted on free servers are not taken seriously and will suffer a serious loss of business. Your visitors may feel that if you don't have your own domain, you may not be a credible company. They'll simply take their business elsewhere.
Provide your visitors with your complete contact information. This information should include your "real" postal address and not a Post Office box number. A business that hides behind a PO box loses credibility. It's perfectly acceptable to use a PO box as long as you also include your postal address.
Create a page to add to your website called "about" and include all of the following:
- A personal or professional biography
- A photograph of yourself
- A complete description of you and/or your company
- Your website and/or company objectives
- Your name, address, phone number and email address
It is very important that you include an "about" page, especially if you're selling a product or service. You must do everything in your power to put your visitor's mind at ease.
Internet users are becoming more and more concerned with their privacy. Create a page on your website called "privacy" and let your visitors know exactly how you will be using the information you collect.
This page should include all of the following:
- How do you plan on using their information?
- Is their information sold or shared with a third party?
- Why do you collect their email address and how will it be used?
- Why do you track their IP address?
- Let your visitors know that you're not responsible for the privacy issues of any outside websites you may be linking to.
- Why do you use order forms and what do you do with the information acquired?
- Do you run contests and what do you do with the information?
- Do you have a discussion forum or message board? Let your visitors know that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and they should exercise caution.
- Do you have security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under your control? If so, let your visitors know.
- Let your visitors know how they can opt out of your mailing lists.
- Provide your visitors with your contact information, should they have any questions in regard to your privacy statement.
Another great way to build your credibility is to display your customer testimonials. Include your customer's name, email address and web address with each unsolicited testimonial to increase believability.
You can find a nice script that will rotate your testimonials each day here: http://willmaster.com/master/dailycontent/index.shtml
Money Back Guarantee
To further increase your credibility, you must completely remove your potential customers' risk. Provide them with a solid, no risk, money back guarantee. This will put their mind at ease by building their confidence in you and your product. In addition, you must honor ALL refund requests in a timely manner with complete professionalism.
No matter what you're selling or how great your product is, you will receive refund requests. It's just a part of doing business. Don't take it personally or try to argue the point with your customers, simply give them a refund. You may be surprised to learn that the customers who ask for a refund may purchase other products from you in the future.
Many times, potential customers will have questions in regard to your products and services. Create a page on your website called "feedback" and place a form on this page to enable your visitors to contact you. It is very important that you answer these questions as quickly as possible. Your personal response to your potential customers can literally determine whether or not you're going to make a sale.
A feedback form will also enable you to gather testimonials and receive suggestions to assist you in improving your website, products or services.
If you're processing your customers' orders online, you must place your order form on a secure server. This will protect your customers' personal information, while at the same time, provides them with added confidence in placing an order with you. In addition, make sure you let your visitors know that their information will be processed on a secure server.
By taking the time to build your credibility with your visitors, you will increase your Internet sales considerably.
Copyright © Shelley Lowery 2001.
About the Author: Shelley Lowery is the author of Ebook Starter - A complete ebook design kit. Subscribe to Etips, for a wealth of quality information to assist you in Web Design, Internet Marketing & Ecommerce. All new subscribers receive a free copy of the highly acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies." http://www.web-source.net/cgi-bin/t.cgi?l=bl1