4 Ways to Earn Customer Trust Online When You Are a New Business or Starting Out Online

Article by Matt Priem
Published 23 May, 2020

Imagine visiting a new website for the first time. You know nothing about the company, the quality of its services, or if they can help you. That’s the starting point for most customers when they search for tradies online.

People generally know what they want/need, i.e. need a plumber, need to fix a leaking tap etc. However, they rarely know who will help them. So most people will pick between the top 3 options fed to them by google after typing in what they need.  

This is all good and well, however, even if you are in the top 3 google options, consumers still need to trust you. If you’re a new business or new to the online world, this is tricky. 

Most people will want to be convinced you’re the answer to their problem, so typically they’ll search for reviews from past customers and/or look on your site for previous work etc. These actions are undertaken with the intention of looking for any proof they can find that your business will meet their needs. 

Unfortunately for you, these resources won’t be there as you are brand new as a business, or new to the online world. 

So how do you compete with established businesses and gain trust and work over your competitors? I have listed 4 main techniques on how to best stand out when you’re new in the game. 

Focus on who you are

If you don’t have any good photos of previous work or any nice imagery that can be used as evidence that you know what you’re doing, you can share your story. It’s a very Aussie thing to do to talk yourself down, however, you need to pump the brakes on that for now. 

What you lack in photos, you can make up with words. It’s generally effective to build an emotional connection with potential customers by sharing small bits of information about yourself. As a small business, you are your brand in a way.

You can discuss:

  • How long you’ve worked in the industry
  • How many projects you have completed
  • Qualifications
  • Why you do what you do
  • What motivates you
  • What you do best 

This will put a story to your business rather than just being a list of services connected to a faceless site. 

It’s even better if you can add a photo of yourself and team members, so the site seems less manufactured and more real. It’s also a great way to put a face to a business. These two steps help build the kind of emotional connection with customers that only small businesses can. 

Make yourself available 

You need to make sure potential clients know what you offer and how to contact you. Take away any barriers they have of reaching you where possible. We suggest adding your phone number and email to the very top of your webpage. 

In addition to this, customers who are unsure about your company or what you offer may reach out to you through several different methods, including your site’s contact form (here’s how to make a great one) and via social media (here’s which one to choose).

They may want to know about a high-level cost per measurement/job type, when you’re next free for a quote or other specific product information if they are far enough down the buying path.

It’s important to answer these inquiries as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider who would you trust and likely employ more: a company that responds within 12 hours with a full answer to your question, or one that takes three days to deliver a four-word answer?

People will see past what your site lacks in the short term if you are reliable in your communication. Speed is particularly important in today’s age, where instant gratification has made consumer demands more urgent. But people can appreciate that during working hours, tradies may be on the job and not able to respond immediately.

Because of this, if possible, consider creating a FAQ page on your site and pointing the customer in that direction in case their questions can be answered there, rather than them having to wait for your response. 

Use an FAQ page

A strong frequently asked questions (FAQ) page can help a lot and keep the potential client moving through to the quote request/engagement period. 

It can answer user questions about your service, allow you to demonstrate your expertise, provide product information, and show customers how you run your business.

FAQ pages are often written with the intention to inform users, overcome objections, and alleviate any qualms about going with you as the business of choice. 

Take this example from RACV. Every question is asked in the voice of the customer, and each answer gives a detailed explanation, contact number on who to call or refers visitors to other parts of the site (e.g. the terms and conditions) to learn more.

Provide detailed product information

The more customers know about what service they’re about to buy, the more likely they are to go ahead and pay you for it. We are naturally scared of what we don’t know and when most people are looking to engage a tradie, they will ask for more than one quote.  

We live in the age of information, so it doesn’t take very long to search for different products, materials or services and compare them.

We’re not suggesting you list every skew of product you use or every single service you have provided in the past, but where possible we suggest you do as much as you can to remove grey areas in what you can do and how you do it.

Some things to consider adding to your service descriptions include:

  • Strong list (6 or more) exact services you can provide
  • Product ingredients/manufacturing materials you use
  • Warranty information of materials used (where relevant)
  • High level turn around times for project types (in days or weeks if possible)

In summary, for a consumer to trust and pay you, whilst you can’t beat experience and having a lot of reviews online, you can still focus on what you can control in the short term until you can build up word of mouth and online reviews, with images to match.

Do this by providing a lot of relevant information about yourself and services, responding quickly to enquiries with current information and making the most of a FAQ page to keep the client interested. These are all great steps that will help in the short term until you build up your project and testimonial list.

If you need a hand with any of the above then feel free to contact us below and we can get you some more customers and help you compete with the more well-established businesses in your industry.

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