Article

Establishing Credibility To Increase Online Leads And Sales

September 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ali Amirrezvani - Also by this author

‘Virtual’ shopping is convenient and fruitful for both sellers and consumers, but it does have its drawbacks. In the past few years, we have seen an explosion of fraudulent online sellers who scam the public with faulty or completely misleading products and services. The crime of identity theft is also on the rise, making consumers very reluctant to share personal information online. So how can you inspire confidence in your Web site and make it clear that you are a reputable company? Following are some tips:

Invest in Your Domain Name

If you don’t have your own domain, you are running the chance that your customers will assume that you are not a credible company. You must also be willing to invest in professional Web hosting. Web sites hosted on free servers are not taken seriously; customers will take their business elsewhere.

Be Transparent

Provide visitors with your complete contact information. The information should include your physical address (not just a postal box), along with a personal or professional biography, a complete description of your company and the basics: your name, phone number and e-mail address. An effective extra touch is to include photographs of your salespeople and service people, along with personalized e-mail addresses ([email protected] instead of [email protected]). This will help ensure your customers know that they are speaking with ‘real’ people, and they will feel more confident in dealing with your company.

Privacy is Key

Internet users are concerned with their privacy, and you should be too. Create a page on your Web site called Privacy. This is the place where you let your visitors know how you will be using the information you collect. Answer the following questions on your privacy page: How do you plan to use this information? Is the information sold or shared with a third party? Why do you collect e-mail addresses? Why do you track their IP address? Do you have security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of information under your control? If so, let your visitors know. It is also important to let visitors know how they can opt out of your mailing list. Customers will become annoyed if they continually receive information they don’t want and can’t figure out how to stop the onslaught.

Share Your Successes

A great way to build credibility is to showcase your successes through testimonials or case studies. Most satisfied customers are happy to share their experiences. Soliciting testimonials can also be a great way to pinpoint your product or service missteps; customers will let you know if they were disappointed, giving you a chance to correct any problems. With each case study and testimonial, be sure to include the customer’s name and Web address

Showcase Positive Coverage

Along the same lines as posting case studies and testimonials, be sure to include any media coverage you’ve had. Have you been written up in print or featured on radio or television? Most people assume that if you’ve enjoyed media coverage, you’re not only legitimate but outstanding in your field. Maybe you hold an annual toy drive around the holidays your local media covers; let your customers know! Not only will this information inspire confidence in your company, but it will also show that you give back to your community.

Actively Seek Questions and Feedback

Your customers will have questions about your dealership; make it easy for them to ask. Make sure you have a prominently displayed ‘Contact Us’ link on every page so that when a customer sends a question or comment, your sales or service staff are notified immediately. Rapid response time is the key to insuring that potential customers don’t jump to a competitor’s Web site.

Your Web site can be an effective generator of leads and sales – as long as you take into account the wants and needs of your potential customers. Remember that visitors to your Web site want to trust that you are legitimate; make it easy for them by following these tips. There are many companies in the automotive space who can help you to design and run an effective and credible Web site. Seek them out to boost online leads and sales.

Vol 3, Issue 4

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