Using stories to generate trust

I write and talk a lot about how to generate trust online. It’s important – if people don’t trust you, they don’t buy from you.

Today though, I want to tell you about a conversation I had recently. It was during a meeting with Adam Hillier, a photographer who will be taking photos for a client of mine, in preparation for their new website.

We were talking about how to generate trust and convey your expertise effectively online. We got onto the subject of stories, and how effective they are at conveying expertise, building a rapport with users and generating trust.

Stories? Huh?

Adam told the story of a particularly challenging photo shoot he had done with a young boy who suffers from Autism. The shoot went badly wrong, with the noise from the camera/flash really upsetting the boy. But Adam, being as he says, a determined character, didn’t give up there! Learning from mistakes from the first shoot, they gave it another go, changed the approach entirely and ended up with some fantastic photographs.

Adam didn’t just tell me this – he told the story on his website (you can read it here). Although when face-to-face, we often tell each other stories without even realising it, when it comes to the web, we often think we suddenly need to be all formal and boring.

Think about what this story conveys about Adam:

  • It shows personality
  • It starts to create a rapport with readers/potential clients
  • It starts to convey the skillset/experience Adam has

Compare this with a standard ‘Our Services’ page – outlining the fact that ‘we are experienced and able to shoot brilliant photographs in difficult or unusual situations’. Good and necessary in its place, but the story is so much more emotive!

So the action point for today: spend some time thinking about what stories you have to tell. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it has to be something ultra-amazing – rather, something that will interest, engage and convey the right messages.

More than anything – be genuine. Think about how you would talk and tell the story if you were talking to a friend or colleague face to face.

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