“99% of B2B buying is about covering your butt,” say the authors of a Mediative study of 3,000 business buyers. This isn’t very surprising (remember the insanely successful tagline – ‘Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM?’). Risk reduction – reducing your prospects’ perceived risks of buying your products or services – is an important part of closing any B2B sale.
When it comes to digital marketing, this means that you have to increase your website’s credibility and trustworthiness in order to attract leads. B2B buyers want to demonstrate good judgement by recommending good companies.
Imagine if a buyer (whom you already knows and knows you) recommends your company to her boss, who then goes on to your website and checks it out. And what would her boss think of her if he sees a sprawling mess of outdated design?
You see how there’s a reputational risk to your buyer? Now, do you think your buyer doesn’t know that? How likely then is a recommendation from her?
A website visit is typically part of a buyer’s information search. If the buyer doesn’t believe or like what she sees, don’t think that you will get a chance to change her mind later because she’s probably not even going to contact you.
Highly credible websites have a high value of perceived trustworthiness and expertise. We’d like to share with you how you can increase your website’s credibility.
How to Increase Your Website’s Credibility
1) Your website design must look professional. Web users are more sophisticated today than ever. According to a study conducted by Consumer Web Watch, 46.1% of a website’s credibility stem from its its design.
A website has to be professionally designed and visually appealing to your target market. Anything less just screams ‘amateurish’, regardless of how big your business is offline. Go for a clean layout and avoid anything trendy (unless you want to redesign your website every year).
Good design also extends to the images you upload to your website. Make sure they are well-taken with good lighting.
2) Show that you have worked with clients similar with your prospects. This is where you can leverage how you segment your clients. For example, at CLOUDROCK we serve what we call Firestarters and Icebergs (or Fire and Ice, as we like to call them internally) segments.
Not only does this help us focus our marketing efforts, it also proves to our potential customers that we have served clients that are in similar business conditions (or possess similar risk factors) as them. So if our prospect falls into either the Fire (new startups who want to build a solid foundation to launch their digital marketing efforts) or Ice (established offline businesses wanting to leverage that success online) segments, they know that we’ve worked with similar companies, understand the challenges they face and can help them build a digital presence.
3) Show that there’s a real organisation behind your website. Your prospects want to know that there are real, human people behind your website. This is an especially big concern in Malaysia, where every businessperson who has been around for a while has been bitten by fly-by-night companies.
Upload images of your office, factories and staff. Even better, have a ‘Staff Bio’ page that helps build rapport with your prospects. If your CEO or marketing manager can write well, have them blog regularly using their real names.
4) Ensure your branding is consistent. Your branding elements must be consistent not only within your website, but across all your marketing channels. Inconsistent branding creates dissonance and harms your credibility.
On that note, get a professionally designed logo. It sounds basic, but many in our space still use logos that look like they have been designed in Microsoft Paint by their 15 year-old niece.
5) Highlight the expertise of your organisation and show proof of it when possible. Think of ways how you can highlight expertise of your company. You can publish a case study, publicize your speaking engagements or have your subject matter experts (SME) write articles that help your clients solve a common problem that’s related to your offering. If they can’t write well, hire a writer to ghostwrite for them. This is much more credible than just saying ‘We provide the highest quality products and services’. Does that tagline even have any more meaning?
6) Make your site easy to use – and useful. Your prospect must be able to easily find the information they are looking for. Keep your navigation simple and intuitive. It should also contain information that your prospects value. Keep the corporate-speak to a minimum, and produce content that helps them make a more informed decision.
7) Use social proof such as testimonials, quotes and references. Every marketer knows that word-of-mouth is a powerful force. But hoping to grow your business with word-of-mouth can take a long time.
Adding testimonials to your website is a great way to speed things up. Ask your best customers to recommend your products and services. Include their photos, name and job title to show that the testimonials came from real people. And don’t settle for one-liners. Encourage your customers to be more specific. For an even greater boost to your credibility, map those testimonials to common objections that your prospects have.
8) Completely eliminate all spelling, typographical and grammar errors. If your company isn’t careful with your own assets, how can your prospects be sure you’ll be careful with theirs? Spelling and grammatical errors make you look a bit silly, not to mention that they may be costing you tons of sales.
9) Ensure everything in your website works. Broken links, graphics and forms are frustrating to a visitor. The most common culprit is broken links. It might be time-consuming to manually check these, so consider using a tool such as Screaming Frog or the easy-to-use Chrome extension, Check My Links.
10) Inform your visitors of your affiliations. Do you belong to a trade organisation or professional group? Place their logo or badge on your website. Your prospects know that such organisations will do some form of background check, so at the very least you’re telling them you’ve met those minimum requirements. If both of you and your prospect belong to the same group, then you instantly create a point of commonality.
11) Keep your website updated and current. Don’t let your website get stale! It implies that you’re lazy or you don’t care. Your visitors won’t know if the information they’re reading is still valid or out-of-date. Imagine a prospect recommending a product on your website to their boss, only to find out later that you’re no longer offering it. That would make them lose face, which we know is a potential deal-breaker here.
Your business will go through changes and it should be reflected in your website. Start a blog and call it ‘Updates’ or ‘Latest News’ and publicize your sales promotions there. Or get new hires to write a blog post as part of your onboarding process.
12) Make your information easily verifiable. Hyperbole such as saying your company has the best products in the world cannot be verified. I don’t know about you, but I usually tune them out. Well, it actually makes me feel that you would say anything to just to get my business.
Make all your claims easy to verify. If your product won an award, link to the official page that lists the winners. If you make a claim or share a statistic, link to the source information.
13) Show how you contribute to your community. Are you sponsoring a charity or local soccer team? Write about it on your website (without going overboard, of course). I don’t know about everyone else, but I do like to see companies giving back to their community.
We’re also pretty sure those organisations wouldn’t mind writing a kind word or two for you as well. For a bonus SEO boost, ask them for a link to your website.
14) Answer emails promptly. Getting an enquiry from a prospect is just the first step towards closing the sale. You wouldn’t want your prospect’s first contact to be a negative experience, would you? Tell them that you will reply to their enquiry within a specific time frame. And stick to it! You might even want to make it a metric that you track regularly.
Increase Website Credibility Today
Credibility is a crucial aspect for a B2B website. A credible website will attract more leads and help shorten the length of your sales cycle. You want your prospects coming away from the visit and thinking, ‘Hey, they look reliable and professional.’
Did we miss anything out? Let us know if you have any more suggestions!
Need help creating that credible, revenue-generating website? Contact us now and let’s get you started.
Download our E-Book if you want to find out how to turn your website into your best salesperson!