Would you trust this man?

Picture this: You’re walking through New York City at night. You pass a dark doorway. A man calls to you from inside. He says, “Come here. Don’t worry, you can trust me.” Do you trust him (just because he says you can)? Or do you run away like your heels are on fire?

In website land, trust works the same way. People don’t give it to you because you tell them to. Are your clients doing the website equivalent of the scary guy in the doorway? Here’s an example: Your client wants a website that will make his/her business look legit, qualified and trustworthy.

You create an awesome design. Then, the client sends you their self-written copy. Right there on the homepage, it says something like:

• “You can trust us”
• “Quality you can trust”
• “Trusted service since 2003”

Poof. All of your hard design work has instantly been squelched. The site looks legit, but it says, “Be wary.” We all want our clients to trust us. But trust is so much bigger than this! It can’t be acquired this easily, through a word or a sentence. Trust needs to be earned.

The point?
Instead of saying, “I want you to trust me,” your client can achieve trust by showing why he/she is trustworthy, and then letting the audience make up their own minds. Here are some tips for your client…

Good websites show trustworthiness by:

  • Using a real, genuine voice
  • Understanding the audience’s needs, showing they “get it”
  • Giving examples and testimonials to show good service
  • Doing what they say they’ll do
  • Showing proof of good treatment and strong results
  • Treating readers like equals
  • Providing as much information as is needed, there is no “mystery” involved
  • Making themselves accessible

Think about your audience. Get inside their heads, and ask yourself:

  • What would make me feel comfortable with this person or business?
  • What would demonstrate their expertise?
  • Why would I want to trust them with my business?
  • Then, write your words directly for that audience member.

Are your clients being scary doorway people? Please stop them. If you can’t, convince them to give me 30 no-charge minutes, and I will.


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