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Amanda Clark

4 Criteria: Does Your Written Content Instill Consumer Trust?

Amanda Clark
4 Criteria: Does Your Written Content Instill Consumer Trust?

Online merchants have long known that trust is a prickly issue—and that no matter how commonplace and pervasive e-commerce becomes, consumers still have some jitters. Whether they’re considering an order from your e-commerce store or debating whether to call your plumbing company after finding you on Google, you’ve got to do something to show that you’re legitimate and trustworthy.

There are various ways to accomplish this, many of which are by now tried and true: Google reviews, guaranties, customer testimonials and accolades/awards can all help garner that elusive quality of trust.

But even without those things, a company website needs to convey a certain level of reputability. And that can be accomplished through something as plain and as decidedly non-flashy as written Web content.

How can the writing on a website build consumer confidence and trust? There are a few techniques that tend to work wonders.

Prove that you understand the consumer pain points.

Your product or service should address a specific problem or provide a specific benefit. This is where you can show that you have empathy with your consumer—zeroing in on the specific pain point or benefit that the consumer is looking to tackle. Make sure that written content establishes shared values before you move on to promoting your brand.

Show that you keep up with the trends in your industry.

Thought leadership and authority can go a long way toward building respect; after all, if consumers are going to give you their money, they have to know that you’re good at what you do, that you know what you’re talking about. Make sure your content reflects the current state of your industry, of the technology you use, and so on.

Be candid about limitations.

Your product isn’t for everyone — and by acknowledging that openly, you show yourself to be honest and straight-shooting. For instance, you may be selling an accounting software suite that’s really only useful for businesses of 50 employees or less; why not be blunt about that in your content?

Make your content understandable.

It’s a common mistake to effectively hide behind jargon and needlessly technical language. As you describe what you do and what your company can offer, avoid the temptation to be too wordy or convoluted. Have enough confidence to write simply and directly.

Remember that your goal isn’t just to grab attention or to get people to know about your brand — so avoid gimmicks. Just write solid, down-to-earth content that emphasizes the value you can deliver. That’s what will help your customers to trust you.

Which brands do you think do these things well? Let us know in the comments!

Amanda E. Clark is CEO and Editor-in-Chief at Grammar Chic, Inc. You can follow her company on Twitter.

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