How Your Business Can Build Trust with Online Customers

by | Last updated Mar 19, 2024 | Digital Marketing

Read Time: 4 min read

Summary: TL;DR: Strengthening customer relationships through authentic marketing is key for online business success. Be accessible by optimizing online presence and website for easy customer interaction. Transparency builds trust, with 94% of customers loyal to transparent companies. Acknowledge mistakes promptly to maintain trust and address criticism constructively. Prioritize customer needs in marketing, sales, and service to enhance user experience and build trust. Analyze website metrics for improvements like ADA compliance, mobile optimization, and effective calls to action. Patagonia's response to criticism vs. Forever 21's lack of change showcases the impact of transparency. By focusing on customer trust and engagement, businesses can attract and retain customers effectively.

When marketing your business online, one of your primary goals should be strengthening relationships with your customers. By focusing on authentic marketing, you can cultivate trust and form good relationships with your customers, which can help improve your brand’s overall reputation and even attract new customers. Here are a few simple ways you can start building trust with your online audience.

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Be Accessible

It shouldn’t be difficult for your customers to find and interact with your business online—and if it is, customers may be less likely to trust you when they need a specific product or service.

Customers should be able to find your business in local search results, social media platforms, and local business listings. Make sure that you’ve set up your Google Business Profile and included your address, phone number, business hours, and business categories. If you haven’t already, you should also set up a Meta Business Profile, where you can create Facebook and Instagram accounts for your brand. And you’ll want to list your business with local business directories like Yelp, FourSquare, and Bing Places.

Accessibility for customers doesn’t just stop with your business being visible online, though. It also means ensuring that customers can access your website without difficulty. If your business website isn’t ADA compliant, you’ll need to make adjustments so that customers with disabilities aren’t hindered from using your website and accessing helpful information. This can also help build trust with your customer base.

Be Transparent

Transparency is a critical aspect of building customer trust. 94% of customers are loyal to companies that are transparent about their values and show a strong sense of purpose, and 62% of consumers are attracted to companies that demonstrate ethical values and authenticity.

Whether you’re creating company-wide initiatives, doing volunteer work in your community, donating funds to organizations, or releasing statements supporting causes that you care about, showing what your business values can help you connect with current and potential customers who care about the same things.

Transparency can also be showing the people behind your business. Consider adding a team page on your website where you highlight the people who make your business great. Or making contact information for your customer service team easy to locate on your website and social media profiles. You might also craft social media posts around your workplace culture. These are all ways you can get customers to relate to you.

Acknowledge Your Mistakes

Immediately responding to mistakes and committing to fixing them is crucial for maintaining customer trust. If you refuse to take responsibility for your actions or ignore feedback from your customers, it’ll be difficult to strengthen relationships with your customers online.

Responding to negative reviews—as well as any negative emails, website contact form submissions, and direct messages on social—is a good place to start. When customers have a bad experience with your product or service and share that experience online, the worst thing you can do is ignore them. It shows both the customer experiencing the issue and any future customers that your business doesn’t care. Take the time to address customer feedback and work toward solutions that maintain good relationships.

Another way you can build trust with customers is by addressing criticism and making an effort to change. For example, when Patagonia—which has one of the best brand reputations in the U.S.—was facing criticism for ties to forced labor and human rights abuses in their Chinese textile factories, they pledged to stop sourcing cotton from China. On the flip side, Forever 21 ignored calls from customers who wanted them to switch to sustainable fashion. The lack of change on this front, coupled with unaddressed negative user experiences on their website, led to the company filing bankruptcy and closing hundreds of stores.

Always Keep the Customer in Mind

By genuinely paying attention to the needs and wants of your customers and putting them at the forefront of your digital marketing efforts, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to build customer trust.

Because most customers are drawn to businesses through marketing, sales, and customer service, the user experience within these avenues should be crafted specifically for the customer. Think about your website and how it functions for users. Is it easy to navigate? Do you provide helpful guidance for customers looking for answers to questions, products/services, or contact information? Are they getting stuck anywhere?

Simply taking the time to review your website metrics and heat maps can help you get an idea of where website improvements are needed for customer interactions. ADA compliance is, of course, one of those improvements. But others may be mobile optimization, better navigation through website breadcrumbs, and effective calls to action.

Want to grow your business online? Hurrdat Marketing can take your online presence to the next level with digital marketing services like SEO, content marketing, web design, and social media marketing. Contact us today!

Stefanie Vanderbeek


Stefanie is a Content Strategist at Hurrdat. She is the primary author on the Local Search Fuel blog. She specializes in long-form digital content, website SEO, and competitive keyword research for small and local businesses. To better optimize blog content for search engine ranking, she uses a variety of AI tools.

Stefanie lives in Omaha, NE, and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Journalism in Advertising and Public Relations in 2021. In her free time, Stefanie can be found singing with her professional vocal jazz group, researching video game lore, watching anime, or traveling.

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