Is Your B2B Website Inspiring Trust?

Is Your B2B Website Inspiring Trust?
Michele Linn - Thu Oct 15, 2009 @ 01:26AM
Comments: 15

TrustI've been doing a number of competitive analyses for clients, which means I've been spending a lot of time looking at websites. As I discern the the basics about each company, I also realize that, for right or wrong, I make quick judgments regarding how formidable a competitor each company is.

Of course, this got me thinking: what is it about companies' websites that make some seem more powerful and legitimate than others? What is it that makes me -- and your potential buyers -- trust one company more than another when viewing a website? Here are the things that make an impact on me.

Is the website professionally designed?
The first thing that catches my eye is (obviously) the design of the site. If it looks like it was thrown together, you immediately lose credibility with me. It's as simple as that.

Are others using the products successfully?
As a prospect, one of the things that makes me feel good about a product or service to is to see that others have had success it, and there is no better way to do that than through case studies and quotes. If you have an extensive list of clients, that helps, too. Not only should you have case studies on your site, but make them easy to find.

Can I understand what you do?
I often talk about writing for your ideal reader. People want to understand what you do without trying too hard. But, having a clearly-written website also inspires trust with me as it gives me the feeling that you a) know your business and, b) haven't simply repurposed existing content to go on your website.

Can I understand how you're different?
If there is one thing I think many websites fail to do, it is clearly telling the reader why their solution is unique. When a company has a good handle on this and presents it well, it makes me trust them because I feel like they understand the market (and the need of the reader to understand this.) As a suggestion, if you have an FAQ section (which I highly recommend), it's effective to include the question, "How is XYZ unique?"

Is it easy for me to contact you?
You would think that having contact info on a website would be a given, but this isn't my experience. . . . or Seth Godin's, either. In a post he wrote recently, Godin lamented that six out of eight websites he visited hid their email address and used a form instead. If readers can't contact you directly (preferably in multiple ways), they likely question, "Who is that man behind the curtain?" which plants a seed of doubt.

Is the information current?
We've all seen this on websites: "Come visit us at XYZ event," with a date that passed months ago. Boom! You just lost credibility with me. If you can't keep your website updated, it makes me wonder how much attention you are paying to other parts of your business.

Do you have a lot of relevant content?
I love seeing lots of content on websites (and not just because I'm always on the lookout for great content examples). To me, a body of different and well done content signals that the company is active in the space and really wants to educate prospects. There are lots of reasons to develop content, but it certainly develops trust.

Have you been in the business awhile?
For many, there is comfort in knowing that a company has been around for awhile and has lots of clients. If you have a lot of experience, make sure to tout the number of years in business and the number of customers you have. It likely won't make the sale, but it won't hurt, either.

These are the elements that are important to me, but I'd love to learn what you think it critical. What inspires trust with you?

Related posts:

Read more Savvy B2B posts by Michele.

Comments: 15

Comments

1. Jonathan Kranz  |  my website   |   Thu Oct 15, 2009 @ 03:04AM

Good pointers, all. Point of view matters, too. Sites that are narcissistic -- all about the company, it's products and "mission" -- turn me off. I stay at sites that can reflect and articulate MY concerns.

2. Larry Kunz  |  my website   |   Thu Oct 15, 2009 @ 11:22AM

Thanks, Michele. This is a really good article. I have to echo Jonathan's point: I like sites where I feel the writers are talking to me, not to themselves. It's similar to what you wrote under "Can I understand what you do?" but it goes beyond that.

3. Michele Linn  |  my website   |   Fri Oct 16, 2009 @ 04:04AM

Jonathan and Larry,

What a great point. I definitely have an affinity when I feel like the writers are talking to me, not at me. Having that conversational tone really inspires trust. Thanks for the addition and for stopping by!

4. Peter Mann  |  my website   |   Thu Oct 29, 2009 @ 12:08AM

"Is it easy for me to contact you?" you say - yet where on your website are such minor details your street address (even where in the world you are), phone number and e-contact? "Is the information current?" you ask - yet your newest press release is almost seven months old. "Have you been in the business awhile?" is another unanswered question on your site.

Can't fault the sentiments in your piece - sorry girls, but it's a shame that you don't practise what you preach.

Regards,

Peter Mann
Buzz Associates Limited
45 East Hatley
Sandy
Cambridgeshire
SG19 3JA

T 01767 651115
F 01767 651115
M 07840 538814

E peter@buzzassociates.co.uk
W www.buzzassociates.co.uk

Producing persuasive marketing, copywriting,
graphic design, PR + a lot more that sells.

5. Michele Linn  |  my website   |   Thu Oct 29, 2009 @ 08:53AM

Peter, Thanks for weighing in. You make some good points, but, to be clear, the advice in my post was geared toward business web sites, not collaborative blogs like Savvy B2B Marketing.

However, your comment raises some interesting questions about what level of information is expected in this type of situation. For instance, here’s one difference that jumps out at me: on blogs, readers are most concerned with current (and relevant) blog posts and not things like press releases.

To quickly answer your questions: we are six independent marketers who hail from the Boston, Kansas City, and Detroit areas. You can learn more about our work experience and access our individual emails etc here: http://www.savvyb2bmarketing.com/home/about_us.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!.

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