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The Birth of a Successful Internet Business : Part Nine of Ten -- Developing Your Credibility

Author: Shelley Lowery

An important part of building a successful Internet business, is developing your credibility.

Although the Internet has opened a whole New World of opportunity for all of us, it has also created a breeding ground for scam artists. Internet users are very reluctant to order online and share their personal information. For this reason, you must take every opportunity to build your credibility.

-> Domain Name

The first step in establishing a credible Internet business, is to invest in a domain name. This will instantly convey to your visitors that you take your business very seriously.

Websites hosted on free servers are not taken seriously and will suffer a serious loss of business. Your visitors may feel that if you don't have your own domain, you may not be a credible company. They'll simply take their business elsewhere.

-> Contact Information

It is very important that you provide your visitors with your complete contact information. This information should include your "real" postal address and not a Post Office box number. A business that hides behind a PO box loses credibility. It's perfectly acceptable to use a PO box as long as you also include your postal address.

A great way to display your information is to create an "About" page. Your "About" page should include all of the following:

• A personal or professional biography

• A photograph of yourself

• A complete description of you and/or your company

• Your website and/or company objectives

• Your name, address, phone number and email address

An "About" page is a very important part of building your credibility -- especially if you're selling a product or service. You must do everything in your power to put your potential customers' mind at ease.

-> Privacy Statement

A credible business should let their visitors know exactly what their policies are in regard to the personal information they collect.

A great way to disclose your policies is to create a "Privacy" page. Your "Privacy" page should include all of the following that apply:

• How do you plan on using your visitors' information?

• Is your visitors' information sold or shared with a third party?

• Why do you collect your visitors' email address and how will it be used?

• Why do you track your visitors' IP address?

• Let your visitors know that you're not responsible for the privacy issues of any outside websites you may be linking to.

• Do you run contests and what do you do with the information?

• Do you have a discussion forum or message board? Let your visitors know that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and caution should be taken.

• Do you have security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under your control? If so, let your visitors know.

• Let your visitors know how they can opt out of your mailing lists.

• Provide your visitors with your contact information, should they have any questions in regard to your privacy policies.

-> Testimonials

A great way to convey your credibility to your potential customers is to display customer testimonials. Your testimonials should include your customers' name and web address. In addition, try to avoid using testimonials that you have to ask for. For example, instead of using a testimonial like this:

"John is a great web designer and I have been very happy with his services."

Display unsolicited testimonials like this:

"John, your web design services are absolutely fantastic! My sales increased 200% the first day! Thank you so much for providing such an exceptional service."

Can you see the difference? The second testimonial is much more believable and will have a much greater impact on your potential customers.

Make sure you always ask permission to use your customers' words prior to displaying their testimonial.

You can find a nice script that will rotate your testimonials each day here: http://willmaster.com/master/dailycontent/index.shtml

-> Money Back Guarantee

In order to put your potential customers' mind at ease, you must completely remove their risk. Provide them with a solid, no risk, money back guarantee. This will not only build your credibility and put their mind at ease, but it will also build their confidence in you and your product. In addition, you must honor ALL refund requests in a timely manner with complete professionalism.

No matter what you're selling or how great your product is, you will receive refund requests. It's just a part of doing business. Don't take it personally or try to argue the point with your customers -- simply give them a refund. You may be surprised to learn that the customers who ask for a refund may purchase other products from you in the future.

-> Feedback

Many times, your potential customers will have questions in regard to your products and services. To further build your credibility, provide your potential customers with an easy way to contact you. Create a page on your website called "feedback." Place a form on this page to enable your visitors to contact you.

It is very important that you answer any questions you may receive as quickly as possible. Your personal response to your potential customers can literally determine whether or not you're going to make a sale.

A feedback form will also enable you to gather testimonials and receive suggestions to assist you in improving your website, products or services.

-> Secure Server

If you're processing your customers' orders online, you must place your order form on a secure server. This will protect your customers' personal information, while at the same time, provides them with added confidence in placing an order with you. In addition, make sure you let your visitors know that their information will be processed on a secure server.

-> Share Your Expertise

Another great way to develop your credibility is to share your expertise. You can do this in a number of ways including:

• Writing Articles

• Providing Free Tutorials

• Offering Free Courses

• Writing Reports

• Distributing Free Ebooks

• Publishing an Ezine

Sharing your expertise will enable you to promote yourself as an expert in your field. Not only will it assist your potential customers, but it will also develop your credibility.

By taking the time to build your credibility with your potential customers, you will increase your Internet sales considerably.

Copyright Shelley Lowery

About the Author:

Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, "Web Design Mastery" ( www.webdesignmastery.com ) and "eBook Starter - Give Your eBooks the look and feel of a REAL book" ( www.ebookstarter.com )

Visit www.Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription to eTips and receive a copy of Shelley's acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies."

You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print, in your ebook, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author bylines are included.

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