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The Internet is the great business equalizer. Small companies can have as big or bigger impact than a big company. Your size is very hard to detect. Unfortunately, this has been leveraged by spammers and scam artists. Incidents of Internet and financial services fraud are almost a daily headline.
Naturally this creates fear and anxiousness in trusting a financial service company operating online. The fortunate thing is that it is not reducing the number of finance leads and Web inquiries. However, it can make it hard to convert these Web customers.
Here are 7 simple things you can do to build credibility and trust online.
1. Professional Website – Regardless of the type of finance lead you are talking to they’re going to check out your website. You need to be presenting a professional image.
There is a reason that brick and mortar banks are often big and opulent structures–they’re giving their customers a sense of strength and stability.
Your website should be doing the same thing for your online customers.
2. About Us – I’m amazed at how many financial websites are missing this fundamental trust builder. Let your customers know who you are and why you want to help them. Without this you look like the latest anonymous scoundrel ready to fleece them.
3. Contact Us – Like the About Us page this is a page to build trust and credibility. Don’t miss the real point of this page–they want to make sure you’re real, not necessarily write you a letter. Therefore, the most important part of the page is a physical address. Especially for a finance company, people want the feeling that there is brick and mortar behind their transaction, even if it is in a different state.
4. Associations and Certifications – I have mixed opinions on this topic. Professional associations and certificates have long been the strong trust-builders–third party endorsements. However, more recently they have become centerpieces of scams and frauds. Fraudsters have often scammed their way into or created their own credentials and littered their websites with “trust me” badges.
My recommendation is to keep it simple. Pick one or two strong organizations that consumers can identify, like the Better Business Bureau or a highly visible industry association like TASC. This will make your certification and membership more credible. The other nice thing about the bigger organizations is that they typically have a very active PR and lobbying effort–giving you lots of mainstream press to point your customers to for legitimacy.
5. Testimonials – Good old fashioned customer endorsements are probably one of the best trust enhancers. Even if the customers don’t know these happy customers they get a sense that you are doing your job.
One of the new opportunities to put some real juice behind testimonials are videos. The old quotes and first names trick is one thing, but real people talking about their experience on video is a whole new level.
6. Education – Teaching is the new selling. Especially as financial products get more and more complex. Being the resource for consumers is a surefire way to get the sale.
Education is a simple way to implement lead nurturing for your online customers. These Internet customer naturally are shoppers and researchers. If every time they research a topic you are the source then you win.
7. Trust Building – At the end of the day, getting online customers over fear of your Internet-based approach is all about trust building. You need to assemble a process and resources that methodically build that mountain of trust for your business.