Yes, love at first sight happens but you can’t count on that in business. People have been hurt by bad decisions in the past so if your approach is “hi, now give me all this information even though we just met,” you may be losing conversions before you even start. Think about it like this, if I was writing about relationships and said your first move is to ask them to marry you, I’m guessing you would probably think I was the worst relationship “expert” on the planet. Isn’t that what you are doing by expecting customers to trust you at first glance?
Think of building customer trust as building a relationship. You meet, you have a few things in common, you go out on a date and you see where this may lead. They need to trust you and that you have their interests at heart. Bringing that back to a customer relationship. You meet, (they visit your website), you have a few things in common (you have a solution to what they are looking for), you go out on a date (a point of contact) and you see where this may lead.
How have you started to gain that trust? What problems are you solving for them? What are the advantages of doing business with you? Do you have their interests at heart? These are just a few of the points that should be addressed right on the homepage and above the “fold.”
I would start with addressing the solution. The idea is that the customer needs to know that they are in the right place and you need to let them know that in about 4 to 6 seconds. That’s just about how long it took you to read that last sentence. Yeah, that quick! Your message needs to be concise and specific otherwise you lost them. Is this hard? No. If you know your audience, you should be able to do it.
Once you convinced them that they are in the right place, the next part is to start gaining their trust. Look at the text on your homepage, if you have more “we” than “you” in the text, it is time for a rewrite. Going back to the dating analogy, if your date only talks about their self, I am sure your reaction is going to be “check please.” The same holds true for your website. Talk about them, ask questions and address concerns. All this starts to form a relationship and in the end, builds trust with your visitor.
Give them something to explore. Let them know more about you. They need to know if you are the right fit for them. If you have case studies, put them on the web for visitors to read. I like case studies better than testimonials because, unlike testimonials, they have a problem and a solution attached to them. They also could address an issue that the visitor has and because you solved it for someone else then there is a good chance you can solve it for them.
Finally, the visitor may not be ready for a relationship but rather they may want to just be friends. You should give them that opportunity. Have a eNewsletter sign-up on your site that is prominent but easily ignored if they wish. I think the pop-up variety is fine as long as they aren’t bombarded the first second they come to the site. The important part of this is to let them know what they will be receiving and how often. Set the expectation and let them decide.
Like dating, customer acquisition is a process. Putting your best foot forward and really showing your good side will only help the process along. Show them that you are interested and understand their needs. Like any relationship, it needs to start off on solid ground and grow as trust is gained between each party involved. Once you gained that trust, you have gained that customer.