How to build rapport through your website

Michael Gabrian

by Michael Gabrian on 05/19/2017

How do we build rapport with people? Typically, a relationship will be stronger when both parties have some sort of common ground or interests. It doesn't stop there though. There are tons of things that play into building trust. So meeting new people and creating relationships can be nerve-racking. How do we behave? What should we say?

It's pretty much the same when someone comes to your website. Your goal is the create a relationship so that they'll convert into a lead. You want them to arrive and choose you to work with and to do so, you'll need to build some rapport. Let's talk about how we can build rapport through our websites.

“Who you are is speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fundamentals

Building rapport through your website

Humans are naturally judgmental creatures. This is why first impressions are so important. If you mess it up, your visitor will have this almost concrete perception of your brand and site. This also means that if you really impress them, you're set.

A beautiful design is lovely, but it will only take you so far. It takes tests and continuous improvement to know how to engage with visitors. Arming yourself with persona research will definitely help, but what are some other ways to really build rapport and trust through your website?

Let's talk about some of the details in your design.

  • Stock photos come with a pretty bad stigma these days. They come across as impersonal and you'll lose your genuine feel. 
  • People like to talk and work with people. Having a team page with real photos give your company a face. It's a way to make things a bit more personal. 
  • Include examples of social proof; case studies, logos your audience might know, testimonials. Anything that could inspire confidence that you actually could help them solve their problems. 

Using the basics of good communication

There are tons of psychological principles behind attraction and how to be a more engaging conversationalist. So think of your site's journey like a conversation with your visitor. They will put in some effort, you need to put in some effort, and if there is no common ground or one party is creating a bit of friction, the experience isn't going to go well. The difference in this case is that you're the one that suffers.

Typically, we attempt to hold these characteristics:

  • Be happy and helpful, not needy
  • Treat the visitor like a friend
  • Always follow up with some degree of personalization, like using their first name in an email
  • In the words of Stephen Corey, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” We should avoid this so our visitors feel that we truly do understand them.

I've written about journey driven design before, which focuses on creating several paths from the point of landing on your site to converting. If your visitor lands on your site to learn about new design methods, are you going to try to lead them to another page about another unrelated service you offer? Gosh no! Think of how that would go in a regular conversation. Be happy, be helpful, and lead them to another article on a related topic. Boom, you're now the expert of your industry.

To conclude:

From the moment a visitor finds their way to your site, all the way to the point where they leave or convert, you want to build rapport with them. You want them to leave feeling better or more educated than they did when they arrived. The best way to do this is through optimizing your visitors journey though your site.