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Building Credibility Online

By Dawn Gray Copyright © 2004

What is the #1 reason people don't buy online? They don't believe you. Maybe your product sounds too good to be true. Maybe it's your price. It doesn't matter. You must build authority, justification and credibility for yourself, your business and your product in every sales message you present.

The internet is a mass of fraud, get-rich-quick schemes, and honest businesses trying to make a dime. A website could be there today and gone tomorrow, and in this economy, it's not just the bad guys that will be gone tomorrow! It's the real world intensified, and you can't look the business owner in the eye to see if they're lying.

Just last week, a large, respected chain of furniture stores went bankrupt in my area. Many customers purchased furniture with cash to take advantage of huge discounts. The furniture was never delivered, and they will have a hard time getting their money back through the bankruptcy process. If it could happen to the SawMill, how much more likely is it to happen to an online furniture store?

Credit cards have partially come to the rescue with their insurance offer for card holders, but who wants to go through the hassle of getting their money back from the credit card company?

The sad truth is that building authority and credibility for yourself, your business and your products is now harder than ever, especially online. And it has never been more essential.

Take a second look at your home page. It has your company name. It explains what you do. But does it establish your authority in your industry? Does it explain why you can offer your extraordinary products at such an awesome price? Does it establish your credibility as a real business that will honor its agreements and send a quality product on time?

Unfortunately, for 99% of the websites out there, the answer is no. There is no attempt anywhere to address these issues. Not in advertising. Not on the home page, and not even in the information about each product. The only place you can find a good example is in expert copywriters' work.

As my example, I will use, "How to Write A Book On Anything in 14 Days or Less... Guaranteed!", a sales letter for a course book by Steve Manning. You can read the sales letter in its entirety here.

You have to admit the idea of just anyone being able to write a book in 14 days or less by using a few simple techniques sounds a little too good to be true. That means Steve Manning has to work extra hard to convince you he is an authority on writing and has discovered some valuable techniques that speed up the writing process.

The second paragraph after "Dear Professional" is: "It’s the information that got rave reviews from professionals throughout North America, the New Jersey State Bar Association, Association of Independent Consultants, National Speakers Association, MENSA, Association of Image Consultants International, and professionals literally all over the world (from Australia to India to Africa to England and virtually every province and state in North America)."

Do you see how this establishes credibility right from the beginning? Your website should do the same.

After a few testimonials (which also help establish credibility), the letter goes on to say, "After more than a decade of research, more than a decade of finding, evolving, creating, and developing these strategies - strategies that many of my clients are using right now - I've encountered some amazing truths that I'll share with you right now."

This establishes Steve Manning's authority, but he doesn't rest there. There are paragraphs throughout the letter expanding on that credibility and authority.

Without credibility and authority, Steve Manning could never sell a course for $297, no matter how exciting the subject matter seemed. Instead, his sales letter convinced me to buy the course AND become an affiliate so I could share the opportunity to own it with you.

Review your website today and add credentials, testimonials and any other information you can think of to establish your business' credibility and authority. Your accountant will thank you.

Happy marketing!

About the Author:

Dawn Gray can help you drive more traffic to your website. For other great articles on website promotion or personal help promoting your website, visit her website at

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