Seven sure-fire ways to build instant trust for your digital brand

Successful billionaire, Warren Buffett, once said: “It takes 20
year to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” This axiom has never
been more relevant than it is today, with Google and BYOD everywhere allowing people to make judgment calls via a quick keyword search and a five second
glance at your storefront or homepage. In fact, in the
age of technology, one may maintain that digital trust can be gained or lost in
just a few seconds. As mobile devices become a primary research tool for
prospects and buyers alike, the first ‘trust imprint’ you communicate could
make or break your digital brand.

While this fact may seem obvious, I often find that what should be
common sense in the ‘bricks and mortar’ part of the economy gets lost in the
journey to deliver high-impact,  visually-compelling brand experiences. In the
pursuit of looking good, marketers are not paying strategic attention to the
most fundamental premise of marketing: Buyers won’t purchase anything unless
they trust you first. Time and again, from small, private firms to giant
conglomerates, companies forget that in order to be ‘trusted’ and accelerate
the purchasing consideration process, the market must believe you are
‘trustworthy’.

Don’t believe it? Take your digital brand for a test ride,
and see how your brand can benefit from the following sure-fire methods of
accelerating your target audience’s cognitive processing.

  1. Post the logos or names of your top clients in a prominent
    portion of your web site or digital storefront. Buyers are more likely to
    accelerate their purchase decision if they see that larger companies than
    theirs, or of the same ilk have purchase your products or services.
  2. Don’t invent new ‘lines of business’ or ‘product categories’
    that are not widely accepted and been pre-tested for your target audience. For
    example, if you provide strategic consulting services and came up with the
    acronym “SCS” but your target buyer is simply looking for management consultants, chances are that they will skip to the next available choice.
  3. Don’t sacrifice clarity for ‘over-branding’. Many companies
    over-brand by using their homepage or storefront to make a strong branding
    statement with a striking visual and a bold headline that captures about 75% of
    the ‘screen real estate’. While creating strong resonance through prominent branding
    is critical, B2B buyers use logic to filter out ‘advertising noise’. If you want
    to be trusted enough so they click to the next link, maintain a 60/40 balance
    between making bold statement and arresting design visuals (60%). Craft the navigation
    and user experience to be both intuitive and easy to follow with clear content
    that directs the user where they want to go.
  4. Place your corporate HQ address on the front of the site. Every
    so often, users seek to validate your legitimacy and when they only see an
    email form or an email and a telephone number, they may assume something is
    fishy.
  5. Prominently display recognized industry association
    membership icons & logos to instantly convey your corporate citizenship in
    your community of expertise. 
  6. The leadership page isn’t optional- Many corporations feel
    apprehensive about displaying their key managers’ biographies of the company
    for public consumption. Yet, in my experience, it is one the most frequently
    visited page with our B2B clients, as buyers and prospects seek validation that
    you are a ‘safe choice’ to do business with. Leadership profiles are a great
    opportunity to show off your managers and instantly relate credibility and
    human trust. Obviously, don’t use the mug shot from your last police encounter
    or the company picnic. Make sure the profile shots are consistent and
    professional to create a seamless, positive impression. Preferably link their
    bio to their LinkedIn profile.
  7. Create high-reputation backlinks to your web
    site. This SEO best practice assists with establishing credibility within the
    Google search algorithms so that your business is on the first search results
    page when users are searching terms relating to your business. Establishing
    backlinks which link to other credible sites such as large businesses, news
    sites, and trade publications vicariously lend credibility to your own site.

Naturally, my recommendations could also be
reverse-engineered to produce a recipe for disaster.  There are times when con artists use some of the
‘build trust’ techniques to market false endorsements of various products. However,
if your brand is ‘for real’, this should not be of concern. These tactics serve
as a strategic component that assists and reinforces your larger business
goals.

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