Search Google for the phrase “content is king” and you’ll receive about 800,000,000 results, with many citing Bill Gates as coining the phrase in an article written in 1996. At the time, he was referring to information on the Internet and presenting a case for paid content providers. Even in 1996, the early days of the Internet, Gates understood its power:
“If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”
Today we are overwhelmed with information. Sifting through data is our mission now. We want relevant material. When companies manipulate us to click on their site link when the information we are searching for is not easily found, or totally irrelevant, we become frustrated. We’re looking for products, services and information from sources we can trust. But as product or service providers, how do we convey trust?
Trust is Absolute
The amount of information you provide your customers is key. People want enough information to make an intelligent decision. For example, if you sell products, don’t just repeat what the manufacturer states; create your own descriptions. Provide great pictures, and reviews from customers. The more unique and personal the information, the more trust you gain.
One of my favorite shopping sites is Zappos. I don’t believe you have to be a large company in order to incorporate some of the information they provide about their products. For instance, Zappos gives the dimensions of their models. This is great information if you’re shopping online, and another way of helping customers make an informed buying decision. They also have video demonstrations for many of their shoe offerings.
Watching someone hold a shoe, demonstrate its flexibility, and give their personal review of the shoe is considerable for the customer, and just one more bit of information that sets you apart from the competition. They also make it easy for returns if the item does not fit.
What your website content should convey is a level of expertise. Your knowledge and the amount of information you share will translate to trust for your customers. We all want to work/shop with people we trust. Be sure to display your products and services prominately on your website. Make sure your site is always evolving. The great thing about a website, is the ability to update information. For example, if you don’t have the resources to do a product demonstration on all of your products, produce a feature product demo.
Your online presence should be a reflection of your philosophy. Be upfront about your expectations, and show clear ways of communicating with your prospective clients. Make sure your return and refund policy is clearly stated. The last thing your customers want are surprises. Give site visitors valuable information about your products and services, and this will translate to trust and ultimately new customers.