Webmaster tips & trix   contact | privacylink partnersfree website content
Home » Articles » Web writing

» Affiliate programs
» SE optimization
» Miscellaneous
» Newsletters & E-zines
» Promotion
» Web design
» Usability
» Domain names
» Create income
» Web writing
» Hosting
» Guerrilla marketing
» Accessibility
» Web credibility
» Data recovery

» Archive


Special articles

» Google tools/services
» Yahoo! tools/services

Be credible to be incredible

Along with the increasing population of new online businesses, as well as the recent wave of "dotbombs" and online scams, the competitive nature of the Internet will simply make the need to establish credibility an even more important issue. And in order to establish it, one must *communicate* it.

To a potential customer visiting your website for the first time, your company may have little or no believability because you may be totally unknown to your prospect. Therefore, you only have but a fleeting moment to build credibility -- or, at least, to give ample reason for them to allow you to do so.

The search for credibility is part of human nature. Not only do we need to feel safe and secure, but we are also social animals. We need to be with other people in order to thrive and survive. All of these are fundamental, human needs. Anything new, or faceless, is risky at best.

Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow illustrates these core desires with his famous hierarchy of human motives, which he developed in the 1960s. Maslow states that the foundation of all human needs consists of survival needs, followed by safety needs. More importantly, next in that hierarchy is the need for social interaction (e.g., love, affection and belonging).

Like it or not, the web can never change that.

The fact that we are advancing technologically and the business process is fast becoming almost entirely automated will parallel the need for a more human approach. Today, we see that need being increasingly filled through things such as specialization (niche marketing), personalization (including customization) and interaction (live customer service).

Due to the lack of human interaction on the Internet and the uncertainty of our economic times, people are demanding greater credibility from online businesses -- and that demand will only increase over time. Therefore, communicating this credibility and building relationships with your prospects will become pivotal elements in your online success.

For example, research conducted in January, 2001 by NDP Group, a firm specializing in consumer purchasing and behavior, found that search engine listings overwhelmingly outperformed banner and tile ads (i.e., button or box ads) almost 2 to 1 in terms of clickthroughs. But one interesting result indicated that 55% of all purchases originate from search engine traffic -- as opposed to only 9% from banners and 7% from tiles.

According to Brent Winters of http://www.marketposition.com/, "We (could interpret the statistic in) that search listings, untainted by advertising dollars in the mind of the consuming public, kick the stuffing out of traditional commercial paid- for ads such as banners." I agree. For a copy of the study, visit http://www.goto.com/d/about/advertisers/slab.jhtml.

There are many other ways to build credibility, namely:

  • Consistency throughout the website;
  • Testimonials from satisfied customers;
  • Strong guarantees, or some kind of risk reversal;
  • Professional looks, content and color scheme;
  • A company identity, logo and product pictures;
  • Superior customer service;
  • Third party endorsements;

For example, an inconsistent site (such as one that changes from page to page in color, theme or tone, even structure), or one that carries a myriad of banner ads and affiliate links, will seldom be credible at face value. (Our resident website reviewer, Ralph Hilliard, calls them "affiliate junkies." The "less is more" paradigm applies, here. The more focused you are, the more hits and affiliate sales you will generate.)

Moreover, testimonials from unsatisfied customers wouldn't hurt -- although, they must be presented strategically and professionally. Marketer Linda Cox, who's witty and somewhat controversial, achieves this brilliantly on her site. Visit http://www.lindacox.com/feedback.htm for an illustration.

In addition, using testimonials and endorsements from people whose judgment others value is also an effective approach. For example, if a well-known celebrity, opinion leader or "center-of-influence" not only says something positive about your product but also gives you the ability to reprint it, by all means, use it. Having someone who's respected by others refer or praise your site grants almost instant credibility.

People think in pictures, not in words or numbers. So as far as pictures go, use them. Product shots, staff photos and even pictures of customers, all optimize for quick downloading, can add a great deal of credibility to your site.

If your site offers a service, even if it's free, add a logo representing the benefits of your offering. If possible, add a picture of you or your staff in the process of providing the service. Take a look at how direct marketer Dan Kennedy does it at http://www.dankennedy.com/sched.html.

If it's software, add screenshots. If it's an ebook, add a three-dimensional shot of the book cover. If it's information, add a picture that represents the gist of the content. Take a look at how Advertising Age does it (where pictures accompany every news headline) at http://adage.com/news_and_features/.

Nevertheless, these may be the final steps in getting many stubborn prospects to commit to your product. But the first step, however, is building a relationship with your prospects. Although your goal may be to put your business on autopilot, you must always remember that you are dealing with people.

There are many new websites, fly-by-night businesses and get- rich-quick schemes on the web, so anything "new" or faceless will likely be questionable in the very least. Therefore, it goes without saying that your Internet marketing strategy must also include the use of relationship-building tools -- such as ezines, online communities, message boards and so on.

For instance, ezines are multiplying on the Internet because they are formidable tools in developing relationships with people. They help to establish your expertise and reputation, or at least that your website is credible and solid.

Ultimately, credibility is an vital component of operating and growing an online business. Be credible with Internet visitors and you'll be incredible with Internet sales.

About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill." See http://SuccessDoctor.com/ now!

Latest articles

» Change your mind about an eBay bid?
We have all made choices in life that two seconds later we know we should take back. Especially when there is money involved this can become a problem.

» A simple way to create 7 effective autoresponder messages
Email is the Net's most powerful marketing tool. And autoresponders are the best idea yet for marketing with email.

» 7 ways to drive laser-targeted traffic to your website
Getting people who matter to see one’s website is a difficult undertaking if he tries to consider the fact that there are rivals everywhere waiting to pin him down.

» Website valuation: Why standard website pricing methods will emerge
The market of buying and selling developed websites is becoming more and more liquid each day.

» One way links are better than reciprocal links
You probably know by now that where your website ranks in the search engine rankings dramatically affects how many visitors you have to your site. Did you also know that you can change where your site is ranked by being proactive and getting as many one way links to your site as possible?

» How to make visitors stay at your website
The very first thing which you should provide the visitors with is some free interesting reading material.

» How to make your visitors click your ads
Here is a simple solution; Convert your banner advertisement to look like a text advertisement!

» Offline advertising should be a part of your online strategy
Day by day, online business has become more & more complicated and competitive.

» How to sell traffic
Selling the traffic arriving at your site is a good method to increase profits from your portal.

» Make money from online auctions
Online auctions have the best benefit of a vast platform. Your product is viewed by loads of people & hence there is more possibility of finding a suitable bidder.

» Groupware explained in easy terms
Groupware is a term used frequently to describe collaborative software. Groupware is application software that integrates work on a single project by several concurrent users at separated random workstations.

» Timely back up can save you from disasters
Few things which people often back up are e-mail addresses, bank records, photographs, personal records, software’s, music etc.

» Why should one go for autoresponders
Autoresponders are programs which get automatically executed in particular situations.

» Become your own boss - Start your own online business today
A survey conducted by SBA states that two third of new business survives at least two year and about forty four percent survives at least four year.

» Express your thoughts - Creating your own blog!
What exactly is a blog? Technically speaking it is a journal or a newsletter which is regularly updated and can be used by any one.

» Pop-up ads - To be or not to be?
According to a study conducted by the Bunnyfoot University, “The Efficacy of Pop-ups and the Resulting Effect on Brands” Internet users feel harangues and harassed by pop-up ads.

» Why content is king on the Internet
The advantages that Internet holds over the rest of the other communication mediums should not wasted because of the inability to find a comprehensive plan that will bind all these faculties together.

» 10 niche marketing tips
In our increasingly driven consumer economies, the average customer is bombarded by choices. With increased saturation of the market, companies look towards niche marketing to search new, ever-evolving and sophisticated consumers.

» Using free traffic exchange
These days internet has emerged as both, a market and hub for marketing. Unlike the ‘brick and mortar’ world where large manufacturers manage to squeeze out the market bases of smaller companies, the internet provides haven like the free traffic exchange.

» Ten ways to drive traffic to your website
Developing a web site and then letting it grow is like planting a tree and then nurturing it.

» Marketing through keyword articles
One of the most effective tools of Internet marketing is the use of keyword articles.

» Want to make money online? Market a service to businesses
Don walked across the street from his house to mine to announce he had finally retired. "But I'm not ready for the golf course," he said. "I want to make a living on the Internet. What can I sell?"

» Web site design mistakes - Database parameters in URLs
Creating a web site takes thought, planning and execution. Unfortunately, many designs are dead in the water before they are even published as far as search engine optimization is concerned. Whatever you do, avoid these critical mistakes.

» Alexa Toolbar - The ultimate internet tool
There are numerous tools available on the Internet to assist online businesses. A valuable tool that you should use is the Alexa Toolbar. Even better, this tool is free.

» Web site design mistakes
Some wise human once said "Learn from the mistakes of others. There isn't nearly enough time to make them all yourself." Hence this article. Here are five of the most annoying and common web design mistakes.

» Abandonment - Why visitors don't turn into customers
Every good Internet business understands the value of conversions versus hits received. Far too often, businesses become fixated on the hits they are receiving instead of monitoring their hit to sale conversion rate.

» Creative search engine optimization - A case study
Search engine optimization this and search engine optimization that. You read and hear about it all day, but what about your site?

Tools & services to enhance your online business

» Site Build It!
Over 100,000 small businesses of all kinds outperform larger, well-financed competitors. Read about this all-in-one site-building-hosting-marketing system of tools that delivers results.

» Secrets To Their Success
Take a private tour of two "Mom & Pop" web sites every month that earn $100,000+ a year... and discover the exact step-by-step strategies they have personally used to generate these massive profits.