Contributed by James White, homeyimprovements.com
When companies spend time building an online brand identity, what they are really doing is setting out to establish trust, and credibility is an important part of the equation. Without it, businesses cannot expect to generate leads, increase sales, or improve referrals and conversion rates.
There is perhaps no other industry in which first impressions count more than in real estate, and as your website continues to play an important role as the customer’s first point of contact, it must come across as trustworthy and knowledgeable.
How exactly are you to do that?
While you can appeal to any of the four types of credibility in a general sense, more specifically, you’ll need to address the foundations of your website if you’re to build an authoritative site. Here’s what you need to know.
Promote Positive Customer Testimonials
In any industry, testimonials can be used to generate trust and are powerful motivators in spurring a potentially interested customer into action. The trick is to show diversity in what you let others see and in most cases, a mix of opinions paints your business in the best possible light.
Better still for local REALTORS®, creating a visual customer map, as Renewal by Andersen has done (see below), in addition to maintaining a great testimonial page promotes a feeling of interconnectedness and helps to shape expectations around the consumer experience. To them, doing business with a company like this looks promising because so many other people have used them.
Include Key Elements in Your About Page
One of the most important components in promoting credibility is the About Us page, and it works to great effect when the firm’s value and mission statements are presented.
For example, the about page for the real estate company Triple Crown Corp. clearly conveys the aspirations and direction of the business. Potential customers will take comfort to know that the REALTOR’s® end goal isn’t to make money, but to provide excellent services for their customers.
Include Authoritative Buttons
If you belong to a professional network of businesses or are an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, make sure to display this information in a prominent position somewhere on your website. The reason such designations work so strongly is because they convey credibility at a glance, letting potential customers know they’re in safe hands and in good company.
Advertize Your Availability
Consumers expect a human presence behind the virtual one – it really is as simple as that. As a business that aims to be competitive, your priorities should be to your target demographic and this means you need to be reachable. It’s well known that the single biggest financial decision for the majority of people is the decision to purchase a property, residential or otherwise. If you can show that you’re available to answer any questions or concerns, customers are much more likely to select your company when conducting their research.
It goes without saying that you’ll need to follow through with sound business practices and respond promptly or risk losing credibility. For most people, having a query or email go unanswered for over 24 hours is enough to negatively impact their perception of a business.
Emphasize Thought Leadership Through Blogging
There are generally considered to be three steps to becoming a thought leader, and these have everything to do with injecting an expert point of view and providing truly helpful information to your potential clients. Providing valuable information through blogging or producing white papers opens opportunities for your website to earn links, which will help you rank higher in the search results.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that trust takes a long time to build, but can be broken in an instant. If you take the time to implement a few of these credibility tips, you’ll be able to increase positive customer perceptions and set yourself up for future success.