As a local service area business, your goal is to find new customers and grow your business. Digital marketing efforts like local SEO and paid ads can help you find new customers, but you still need to convince them that you are the best option for their needs.
This is when conversion optimization comes into play. Building upon existing traffic, you can get more customers by finding ways to improve your brand’s trustworthiness online.
Why is it important to build trust online?
Local businesses who provide a service have unique hurdles to clear before each sale. A potential customer must:
- Believe that you are a real company
- Think you provide the service that they need
- Conclude that you are the best option
- Trust you enough to invite you onto their property or into your home
In short, service area businesses must build enough trust online to convince a potential customer that they are making the right choice by spending their hard-earned money with you.
4 Ways to Build Online Trust for Your Service Area Business
Here are some of the proven ways to build trust online for a local service area business.
1. About & Team Pages
One of the easiest ways to start building trust online is by properly introducing who you are to your customers. People want to know who they are hiring to come do work in or around their home. Show them that you are a team of honest, hard working people who are worthy of their trust. You can do this by having a great About or Our Team page.
Your About page should introduce your company and your passion for your work. It’s a great place to capture your company’s values, culture, and community involvement. Include photos of your team, images of your distinctive trucks, or a company overview video.
Whether you add it to your About page or create a separate Our Team page, you should highlight your employees and leaders. If you see high turnover in staff, this can be difficult to get headshots of everyone; you can opt for headshots of your leadership or customer-facing sales staff.
2. Trust Symbols
Trust symbols are the ever-present icons in our life that inspire confidence in a brand, service, or website. These symbols convey authority, competency, and a level of professionalism that’s hard to replicate with written content. As a service area business, you have several types of trust symbols to incorporate in your marketing materials and website.
Has your company won an award for being a great place to work? Are you one of the faster growing companies in your community or industry? People want to work with a company that is on the up and up and treats their team well.
Local & Regional Memberships
Most local businesses are members of their city’s Chamber of Commerce and business organization. In addition, you may have a membership with local or regional industry groups. Highlight this on your website to show you are connected to like-minded businesses in your region.
Has your company been certified by your industry’s governing body? Do you have team members who have extensive training? Featuring these on your site show that your team has industry-leading expertise in a way that your local competition may not be able to claim.
3. Case Studies
For most local businesses, content marketing is not the best approach. So how do you add more relevant content to your site? Case studies.
Case studies are a great way to provide local or industry specific content to your website, as well as show that your company is competent and good at what you do. Follow a simple formula for writing case studies: 1. What was your customer’s problem/goal? 2. How did your company help? 3. What was the customer’s response?
Service industries that feature dramatic changes - like home remodeling and landscaping - are a perfect fit for case studies. Make sure you invest in proper before & after photos and add plenty of descriptive text about the project, the location, and the service(s) you performed.
Case studies also work well for other types of service area businesses; you just need to find the relevant information to highlight. Solar installers can showcase how much money their solar panels are saving a business or homeowner. A cleaning company can talk about how much time they are saving their customers. Energy efficiency and air quality can be the pillars of a HVAC company’s case study.
4. Social Proof
Most people don’t want to be the first to hire your company. They want to know that you’ve worked with others and that you’ve done amazing work for them. As a service area business, you can leverage the power of social proof to convert more of your audience into customers.
Any established reputation management plan should include gathering 1st-party reviews. Make sure you are properly featuring these reviews on your site to build trust for your brand and services. Add relevant customer reviews to your homepage, service pages, and paid landing pages for quality social proof on your site.
Wisdom of the Crowd
If you’ve been in the business for years, you likely have hundreds or thousands of satisfied customers. While you might not be able to get reviews from them all, you can still use sheer numbers to show your experience and capabilities to potential customers. Company stats and service area maps with pins are two great ways to highlight the wisdom of the crowd.
Depending on your industry, there is likely a website out there that offers customer review awards. Home Advisor, Houzz, and Angie’s List are some of the most popular within the home improvement industries.
If you are a dealer or installer of a specific brand, you may qualify for recognition within your industry. These awards usually depend on volume of sales, quality of work, customer reviews, and additional training.
By becoming a certified dealer/installer or achieving a certain level of recognition, you may have access to co-op marketing dollars, more prominent visibility on their website, and better pricing. On your end, you can highlight your elite level on your website and across your marketing efforts as a way to distinguish yourself from your competition.
Every city or region has local awards, readers rankings, or “Best of” recognitions. Usually run by a local newspaper, lifestyle magazine, or business journal, these awards are based on popularity and public votes.
Find the awards that matter most to you and mobilize your audience to vote for you. Boosted Facebook ads and emails are great ways to ask your audience to vote.
Winning one award is great, but winning multiple awards - or winning the same award year after year - is a powerful way to significantly build brand awareness and trust. And once the awards are announced, be sure to prominently feature them on your website.
Start Building Trust With Your Potential Customers
Building trust is another step in the move towards Brand Building that Local U has been championing. It is not only good for the consumer; it is also important for search optimization, as Google wants to serve results that are relevant and trustworthy.
Take some time to find ways you can build trust on your website; it will go a long way to optimizing the traffic you currently have and convert more customers.
About Brandon Schmidt
Brandon Schmidt is Director of Digital Strategy at YDOP, an internet marketing company in Lancaster, PA. YDOP helps businesses reach their localized markets through local SEO, website design & development, digital advertising, video marketing, and conversion optimization.