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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Establishing Credibility for Your Business, Part II

Stanford’s Guidelines to Web Credibility:

Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.

Showing that your web site is for a legitimate organization will boost the site’s credibility. The easiest way to do this is by listing a physical address. Other features can also help, such as posting a photo of your offices or listing a membership with the chamber of commerce.

Showing that your organization is legitimate goes right to credibility. If you can provide your visitors a significant amount of credibility, you’ll find people more willing to purchase your product or services. Establishing credibility, at least initially–you’ll have to do the hard long-term work by not violating whatever credibility is perceived of you–is relatively simple, requiring a few small things that are worth their overall investment.

Contact Information: Make sure your site contains as much contact information you can provide. Phone, email, physical address, fax, etc. Many businesses rely on contact forms and forgo the written contact information. This is a mistake.

Professional Affiliations: Letting people know of the organizations you belong to such as Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau can go a long way to establish your credibility. If you’re not a member of either, I recommend that you become one. The BBB in particular allows you to place a logo and link on your site so visitors can view your BBB profile. People trust the BBB, and while membership has it’s price, the credibility it provides your business is definitely worth the fee.

Articles: Writing and distributing articles about your industry on line (and linking to them from your website) is a great confidence builder. If your visitors see that your information has been published in online ezines and other industry newsletters, they can see that your credibility extends to others in the industry, and is not just part of a smoke and mirrors campaign.

Answering Phones and E-Mail: Nothing destroys credibility faster than phone messages or emails going un-returned. If you wait even a day to respond to a phone call or email chances are the inquiry has already been answered by a competitor and the sale decision already sealed. Having a live person answer the phone does wonders as well, rather than allowing the phone to go to voice mail. Even one-man, part time businesses can portray a significant amount of credibility along these lines by hiring an answering service to take messages. But again, every chance you get, return those calls.

The first step to making a sale is to convey confidence in your organization. Let people know you are a legitimate business intent on meeting their every need quickly, efficiently and professionally.

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