Three Reasons Why Trust Matters Online

Last Updated Mar 4, 2008 12:11 AM EST

Trust image by �I�ËOGone are the days that a local hardware store built its foundations upon local trust by word of mouth. No longer do you have to know the first name of your clients or take them out for a game of golf. Today, transactions are done online -- sometimes even without the need for you to talk one-on-one. It's efficient, it saves you time, but does the Internet mean that you no longer need to build trust as a business? Not at all. Here are three reasons why.

  1. People are more and more skeptical online than they've ever been. The good news of online advertising is that it's cheaper and more efficient. You can also track sales much easier than you did with direct mail or TV spots. But do people really trust online ads? Yes and no. User generated online media is among the highest trusted of sources (half of consumers trust these sites, which include blogs, review pages, and social bookmarking sites). On the flip-side, though, online banner ads are the second least-trusted ads (only 1 in 4 trust such ads). Building trust with consumers starts with opening up the platform to the consumers and allowing them to speak for the products themselves. Consumer opinions posted online are the third most trusted source of consumer information.

  2. Google Loves Trust. Search engines eat up a trustworthy domain. Behind all the voodoo magic of their algorithms you'll find a basic common denominator among successful sites. They are all trusted organizations or businesses. Trust matters online because without it you won't get ranked well in search results.

  3. "Word of Mouth" is no longer done by "Mouth." Word of mouth advertising used to be the creme-de-la-creme of marketing. Every business knew that it was the most effective form of marketing, but trust was an important part of building that network of mouthpieces. Now these mouthpieces aren't carried by mouth, but trust is just as -- if not more -- important in gaining the credibility that makes someone endorse your brand. Social networking, viral marketing, green campaigns -- now the secret is in the mix, and the mix is all delivered online. More than ever, consumers have the power in deciding who to trust and who not to trust.

Trust image by �I�ËO [cc, 2.0]