Image by Jhayne via Flickr.

Image by Jhayne via Flickr.

Scenario: You’re looking for a brain surgeon. Doctor X has 20 years of experience, hundreds of successful surgeries and a squeaky clean record. Doctor Y graduated from medical school last week. Who would you choose for your operation?

Although online shopping isn’t necessarily brain surgery, customers online are often wary when it comes to trying out new products or brands – regardless of how well qualified the people behind those brands are. For this reason, today’s companies must prove their expertise and experience in order to establish trust with hesitant buyers.

So what’s a budding business to do?

Today’s companies must prove their expertise and experience in order to establish trust.

Expert content

For the most part, today’s online shoppers are searching for products with scrutiny, often holding out for brands they can trust. That trust can be established through experience, and experience is best relayed through content.

The term “expert content” is much more than a marketing buzzword. Genuine experts have no shortage of valuable stories to tell that show off hard-earned experience. Once it’s time to put pen to paper, consider content that:

  • involves first-hand experiences and/or research (Example: A seasoned restaurant manager details the five most commonly overlooked health code violations and how to avoid them.)
  • examines the state of your industry and how it’s changing (Example: A local bookstore owner details how she’s managed to keep her doors open in the face of online retailers such as Amazon.)
  • discusses current events or recent industry developments (Example: An internet marketer examines the impact of Vine and its effects on the landscape of YouTube.)

Prove it

If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?

Okay, maybe not. Keep in mind that just about any business on the block can call itself an “industry expert” without much consequence.

The most powerful praise for your business often comes from others (think review sites such as Yelp). If you have any success stories or testimonials, put them on display and let them shine.

Also use static content such as your “About” page to provide a personal, detailed history of what you’ve done. The digital marketing company Moz provides a shining example of such a page, with a detailed explanation of what the company stands for, its history and biographies of its team members.

The inbound marketing firm Moz tells its brand story with an infographic.

The inbound marketing firm Moz tells its brand story with an infographic.

The bottom line

The web may be a fast-paced environment, but it still takes time to build trust. And while there is no silver bullet, you can help convince potential customers by putting your experience and expertise into full view. The transparency of today’s digital landscape means it matters more than ever.