Establishing Online Credibility
by: Tony L. Callahan
Credibility is a key ingredient for any successful business venture. Building
and enhancing the credibility of the product you offer is an ongoing and
full-time effort. So how can busy online entrepreneurs add building credibility
to all the other responsibilities they are trying to juggle?
Why not make sure the web site you use works as hard as you do to establish
credibility? Let's look at elements that can be built into a well designed
web site to enhance credibility in the eyes of your potential customers.
Nothing beats a solid, believable guarantee for building credibility online.
It may be hard to believe but the buying via the Internet is still unfamiliar,
and uncomfortable, territory for the majority of people. It is up to you,
the business owner, to put their minds at ease. One way to do this would
be to offer an unconditional, 100% money back guarantee. Include the cost
of shipping and handling in your guarantee. By assuming all of the risk,
you will earn instant credibility points with most potential customers.
Even the best guarantee won't help establish credibility if the potential
customer can not contact you. Post accurate contact information on your
web site and make it easy to find. Provide as many methods of contact
as possible, do not simply post a link to an email address. For maximum
credibility, post the complete mailing address, phone number (preferably
a toll free number), and email addresses for customer's to use if they
feel the need to contact you.
Testimonials are the Internet equivalent of word of mouth advertising.
They can be very effective tools for building credibility provided they
are believable. To get quality testimonials, ask your past customers for
their opinions. Obtain their permission to use their word and names as
part of your advertising. Do not use celebrity endorsements, most people
assume these are paid endorsements.
A Brief Bio
Familiarity is one of the most effective tools for building credibility
on the Internet. But how do you establish familiarity in a faceless, impersonal
medium like the 'Net? Simple, tell people about yourself. Post a page
that provides a thumbnail sketch that describes who you are. Be sure to
include personal data as well as professional credentials. Place your
photo on the page so people can put a face with your name. Creating familiarity
will impart another level of credibility for you and, by extension, for
the product you represent.
Nearly everyone recognizes the need to conduct secure exchanges of information
via the Internet. Most web site designers automatically build security
features into the parts of a web site where information is exchanged.
Unfortunately, most users of the 'Net don't understand that these precautions
are being taken on their behalf. Emphasize the fact that transactions
from your web site are secure. Place statements to this effect prominently
in any location where personal information is requested. Letting your
customers know that you recognize their security concerns will add credibility
to your site.
Most reputable web businesses have established privacy policies to protect
the information provided by their customers. Make certain your customers
where personal information is requested. Be sure the policy clearly spells
out if the customers information will be shared with any other businesses.
A good resource for more information related to privacy policies may be
found at: http://www.privacyalliance.org
To maintain the credibility
these element help to build it is necessary to deliver on the assurances
each element provides. Be sure to update policies and contact information
regularly. Follow through on all guarantees promptly and cheerfully. Review
the security procedures on a regular basis to be certain they are still
adequate for the task. With proper implementation and due diligence, each
of these elements will establish and add to your online credibility.
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L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with
more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of
his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote.
He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of
tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions.
To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Linksfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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