by Edward M. Yang
The latest news to rock the sporting world is the apparent
online girlfriend hoax of Notre Dame Heisman finalist Manti
For those that aren’t familiar with the story, linebacker Manti
Te’o is an extremely popular linebacker for the Notre Dame
football team. Te’o finished second in votes for the Heisman
Trophy, and played in the BCS Championship game against
It came out recently that the story about Te’o’s girlfriend that
he met online who supposedly died was a complete fake.
Now the race is on in the press to find out more details in
this bizarre story. The part that has everyone wondering is if
Te’o is the victim or the hoaxer? The more we find out, the
stranger the entire thing seems.
Many people are incredulous that Te’o could have fallen in
love with someone online that he’s never seen or even
But in today’s world, with so much being done online, it’s really
not as crazy as it sounds.
Firecracker PR started up in 2004, back when outsourcing to
virtual companies was still in its infancy. Even then, we had no
problems landing new clients who had never even seen me,
and signed contracts purely on the basis of our website and a
conversation on the phone with me.
Today, we have clients who have been with us for many years
and have never met us. I use contractors for eight years that I’ve
never seen and maybe only spoken to on the phone a couple
This means that the trust your business projects online is more
important than ever. It could literally mean the difference between
a big sale and a lost sale. This is especially important for companies
that aren’t selling a physical product in a retail environment.
Here are six practical steps for you to immediately increase
the trust factor of your business:
1. Create regular press releases and generate media coverage.
If a visitor goes to your website and sees a “Press & News” section
that has a press release every couple of months and some news stories
in the media, they will be significantly reassured that you are legit
and not likely to fold up shop.
Similarly, if they Google your business name and see news stories
pop up about your company, that’s a huge benefit.
But imagine if you wanted to do business with a company and
suddenly have had no news or press releases in over a year. Does
that give you confidence? Or worse yet, there’s no news about
them at all, even though the company’s been around for 5 years.
2. Use testimonials. They work for everything from infomercials
on TV, to infomarketing in email, to selling enterprise software
or services on your website.
Testimonials are social proof that you can deliver what you promise.
They are extremely powerful. It’s as simple as just asking your
customers for permission to get testimonials. If they don’t have
time, ask if you can write something on their behalf and just have
them approve it. In my experience, almost no customers refuse.
3. Don’t skimp on web design. Often your website is going to be
the only thing that a prospect will have to base their initial impression
on. And subconsciously, if your website is old, clunky and ugly, they
will assume (rightly or wrongly) the same about your company and
Conversely, a sharp, crisp, clean, modern website can project
an image that makes you larger than you actually are.
A great website doesn’t have to break the bank at all these days.
Most new sites use WordPress templates that have been tweaked.
The total cost to redesign your site could be done for under $5,000.
Check out these following sites for some WordPress templates:
4. Use awards, association affiliations and other indicators on your
website. These could include a Better Business Bureau seal (requires
a monthly subscription), an industry icon, a security (like Verisign)
icon, an American Business Awards logo (or any other award). Basically
these all signal to your prospect that you are not only legit, you
5. Get Google to like you. The trustworthiness of your website
isn’t just important to humans, they are one of the top key factors
to Google these days. In fact, for SEO purposes, having a trustworthy
website will go a long way towards helping you rank high for target
keywords over your competitors.
Read this awesome post by Brian Dean at Backlinko on this subject:
6. Disseminate content. Imagine a prospect Googles your business
name and sees a video on Youtube, a Powerpoint on Slideshare,
a PDF report on some other site, articles you’ve written on various
websites and maybe even an infographic you created.
How much would that prove to the customer that you aren’t just
trustworthy, you are the leader in the industry?
Content marketing might seem like a drag, but just get started.
Do a little day by day.
Following these 6 steps will drastically increase the level of trust
your online presence generates!
Need some help with any of these steps? Contact Firecracker today
and let’s chat: http://www.firecrackerpr.com/about-us-contact-us/
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