I was surfing… as you do… and came across this useful article from SEO Book. It is an interesting fact that along with Estate agents many people just don’t like or trust online marketers. Just last night I had a conversation with a potential new client who commented that I seemed ‘normal’. Now the definition of what is normal is for the subject of a totally different blog post.


Yes I have ups and downs. I get worried if our clients are having a tough time. Some potential clients I turn away because we really can’t help them. I have a family. I go to parties. I often drink one more glass of Chardonnay than I should. I am lucky enough to work in a business I love and yet I too count down the sleeps to our special holidays in Turkey. We share bits of our life that help you make a decision about whether we are people you want to work with… Could not resist sharing this as we will be there a week today 🙂


Holidays at P and M's place


This content is not about whether you trust Sharon and I enough to listen and act on our advice or employ us as your web marketing company, it is more to stimulate your thoughts on the perceptions your clients have about you.


This article will give you some tips about how to build trust with your online audience. Please note it is not about telling everyone when you have fish and chips in Arnside or the minutia of your day.


So in this, sometimes shallow online world. How do you build trust with your potential new clients. The team at SEO book have written a great article that shares some insights on how to build trust online, aka Seth Godin’s genius advice. So grab yourself a cuppa and a notepad and enjoy!


Do You Trust Me- Blog Post From SEO Book


Well, you might – if you knew what a trustworthy guy I am 🙂


But I know that’s nowhere good enough. I know I would need to earn it.


“Do I trust you?” is a question your web visitors are probably asking themselves right now.


Do they trust your title tag description and snippet enough to click the link? If they click the link, and land on your site, do the trust you enough to stay? Do they trust you enough to click deeper into your site? Do they trust you enough to hand over their email address, or their credit card details?


If your site ranks well but visitors don’t trust it, is your search marketing campaign broken? Blowing an opportunity to form a trust relationship, which can be broken in less than a few seconds online, earns nothing but a click-back.


Webmasters need to establish trust quickly in order to get people to take the next step.


I’m Trustworthy!


All webmasters look to establish trust. We intuitively know that in order to convince someone else of something, they first need to trust us. No webmaster would want to project an air of untrustworthiness, although some mistakenly do, by overlooking a few simple steps.


If you have an existing site, or you are planning a new one, consider undertaking an audit of trust factors.


Your visitors will want to know….


1. Who Am I Dealing With?


This is especially important online, because there is little context to our interaction.


If we walk into a doctors office, we may see medical equipment, and nurses, and qualifications on the wall. It provides us with sufficient context to establish a level of trust that this person is likely a qualified doctor who knows what she is doing. The environment gives us a pretty good idea of who we are dealing with.


Not so online.


A web site, especially a website that is previously unknown to us, provides little in the way of context. Anonymity can lend an air of the mysterious, but it doesn’t do much to help establish trust.


Let visitors know who they are dealing with. This doesn’t necessarily involve telling them your life story, or showing them a photo of you and the kids, although that can work well for personalized forms of marketing.


If you don’t already have them, consider adding staff photos and position details, detailed company description and history, and ensure address and contact details are prominently displayed. If you have a physical location, show it. Provide a map. The tech-savvy will likely want to see you on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, too.


This point is obvious, I know. Most webmasters do it. Audit your site to see if you provides visitors a clear idea of who they are dealing with.


2. Overcome Fear


There is fear in new engagements.


Not spine tingling fear. Just a low level fear of the new. Your visitors may fear your site is wasting their time. They may fear they might be ripped off. They may fear you won’t deliver on the promise made explicit in your title tag and heading.


Look at ways to counter fear of the new.


The familiar carries less fear than the unfamiliar. Obviously, if you’ve already established a reputation, then you will already be familiar to your visitors, and therefore likely appear more trustworthy that someone a visitor doesn’t know.


But search marketing is often focused on attracting the new visitor, so an established reputation may not be something we can rely on. This is why it can be good idea to leverage reputation from elsewhere.


For example, a commonly used tactic is the “As Seen In…” references used by sites such asForSaleByOwner.com. Whilst also providing credibility by association, it is also a means of leveraging the trust in those brands with which the visitor is already familiar.



3. Will This Work For Me?


There’s more to relevance than matching a keyword. How will your solution work for your visitor? How do you know what is really relevant to them when all you have for a clue is a keyword phrase?


This is easier said than done. You need to get inside their head. You need to know their questions and objections and be able to answer them. If people feel you care about solving their problems, they are more likely to trust you.


But how?


Listening. Being clear about what problem you’re going to solve. Is it a real problem, or an imagined one? Look for opportunities to have your visitor define their problem in their own terms, using surveys, visitor tracking, market research (i.e. the language they use in forums, on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, et al)


The best sites seem to know exactly what you are thinking. They reflect you, back at you.





This can be underlined with your copy. Use “you” as opposed to “I”. Look how many times “you” has been used in this copy.



This is a very effective selling technique, because your visitors really don’t care about you, they care about them.


4. Deliver


We’ve dealt with superficial areas, most of which can just as easily be abused by the manipulative and deceitful as used properly by the honest and trustworthy.


Trust also a process. People will judge you by your actions.


  • Tell them what you’ll do.
  • Do it.
  • Tell them you’ve done it.


Does your website demonstrate this? One good way to show process is by using a case study. You outline the problem. Show how you planned to solve it. Then you show that you solved it. For extra points, show how happy people were with the outcome.


Offer free trials, where possible. Offer free downloads. Look for tangible ways to prove you do what you say you do.


Once a visitor has engaged your services, ensure your process is transparent, communicated and you do what you said you’d do.


5. What Will Everyone Else Think?


This is related to fear.


Will I be ridiculed for choosing your service? Made to feel stupid? There was a saying in the IT industry that “no one got fired for buying IBM”. It wasn’t that IBM was necessarily a better provider, it was that many people used them, so there was perceived strength in numbers of the tried and true.
People tend to go where other people are. Can you provide similar social validation?


Customer references are a great way to provide social validation. If the customers are from companies with which your visitor is already familiar, all the better. Faces. Lot’s of happy faces provide social validation.


Also include the number of people who use, or have used, your service.

In summary:


  • Have you let people know who they are dealing with?
  • Have you made reference to the familiar?
  • Have you addressed their needs in their own terms?
  • Have you included references and case studies?
  • Have you done what you’d said you’d do?


PS: Thanks to Seth Godin for the inspiration, off who’s post I’m riffing 🙂


It’s Denise again. Hope you enjoyed this . If you are a spam bot that leaves stupid comments please dont bother. This morning I mass deleted 378 of you. However if you are a ‘normal” person please leave your insights and comments. Please share this, Tweet it and generally tell people who might be bothered.


Must dash as I have a new campaign to write for a client. Have a conversation about talking to some students at Liverpool University. Then tonight, get a hair cut, make Italian trifle for Ruth’s party and my legendary garlic dip, speak to my sister, set up the new ipod ( Hooray for super Matt at lakes computer consultants who moved 10567 tracks to a new PC :-)), try my shorts on again, decide I need some new ones, walk the dog and mow the lawn!





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About the Author:

Denise Oyston
Denise Oyston is the CEO of Super Fast Recruitment, who specialise in helping recruitment and staffing organisations globally to attract candidates, clients and talent, through their online training programmes and service delivery. Denise has 27 years’ experience in sales and marketing and is a ghost writer for many well-known names in the recruitment sector and with her business partner, Sharon Newey, is the creator of Dominate Your Sector. This is the premier marketing training programme for business owners and their marketers.