I want you to ask yourself one simple question about your website:
What do your visitors need to believe about you before they contact you?
This simple question can spark a torrent of ideas to improve the trustworthiness of your website. Having a trustworthy website will lead to a higher conversion rate. In this blog I’m going to list 18 effective strategies for increasing your trust. I will also rate each strategy on a difficulty scale easy (takes <1 hour), medium (takes 1 – 4 hours) and difficult (takes 5+ hours). For all of these difficulty levels, I’m going to assume the you are proficient in HTML, CSS and WordPress.
That said, let’s again ask ourselves:
What do users need to believe about me before they contact me?
Steve’s Top 18 Online Trust Accelerators:
1.) Create video testimonials featuring your clients [rating: difficult]
Reading reviews on Google and Yelp do great things for trust, actually seeing real clients that give you a testimonial on camera is even more powerful! If your clients are remote and video testimonials will be hard to come by try adding a video of your staff demonstrating how your company is different and what unique benefits you offer to your customers.
2.) Highlight any press that you have received [rating: easy]
Has your company been featured in publications? Include the logos of these authoritative sites on your homepage. Better yet include a brief quote if the press was very positive. Make sure the logos are high-res and are placed thoughtfully, not just randomly on your website.
3.) Focus on benefits rather than features, then go a step beyond [rating: medium]
A standard rule of advertising 101 is to sell products based on their benefits to the customer, rather than just explaining the features. Let’s say for example a business that’s selling high speed internet services, that company should opt for copy like, “download a 4 GB movie in 5 minutes” as opposed to, “50 megabit connection over fiber optic network.” Most people will relate to the benefits more than the features. Also, take this a step further by writing copy for a variety of personas. Let’s say you have an audience of gamers, you can frame your copy a little differently: “Play uninterrupted League of Legends during peak hours”.
4.) If you offer a guarantee, state it in your call-to-action [rating: easy]
Guarantees can be very powerful sales tools. Earn the trust of your audience by avoiding big sweeping promises. I have seen calls-to-action like “achieve more youthful looking skin in 30 days or your money back guaranteed.” This is a more reliable promise than something very specific like, “eliminate every last wrinkle within 30 days or your money back guaranteed.”
5.) Address the unique needs of your customer [rating: medium]
Often times, potential customers will arrive at a site and think: “Hey, you seem to be doing really well for your clients, but I’m a bit different. Your services may not work for me.” It’s important to address those types of concerns by talking about atypical clients and industries. Let’s take the example of a rhinoplasty surgeon. It would be important for them to call attention to the fact that the doctor has operated on Asian patients, African American patients (since the procedure is fundamentally different), men, women, etc. Otherwise some patients will be left wondering if your services will be a fit for them.
6.) Mention your clients and industries throughout your copy [rating: medium]
Don’t just say that you’ve worked with some of the biggest agencies in North America, name them! The more specific you are, the more people will trust you and what you say about them. Naming your clients gives you more proof when people consider you against another company.
7.) Talk about how your services will help them beat their competitors! [rating: easy]
It’s helpful to appeal to the customer’s competitive instincts. By demonstrating to your audience that you’re on their side and will help them beat their competition, you’ll have a better chance of earning their trust and loyalty. Creating a “we’re in it together” mentality can be beneficial for building a healthy client relationship.
8.) Create “Role Performance” make some a better… [rating: medium]
I read a really great marketing quote the other day, it went something like: “People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.” This ties in perfectly to “Role Performance.” Show your prospects that you can help them be better at what they do. Maybe that means helping them become a more successful dentist or get their work done in half the time, with half the effort. Showing someone how your product or service can “make them a better version of themselves” can pay off huge dividends and create a nearly unbreakable trust. A trust that’s so deep that you become an integral part of the way your client operates.
9.) Show how you’ve gone above and beyond for clients [rating: medium]
Sure it’s great to tell people about what a great value they’ll get, but it’s even better to give explicit examples of what you’ve done for clients. Your main goal here is to showcase the trusting relationship you have built up with your clients. You want to make your prospect think: “I want the same thing!” So be sure you do this across a variety of industries you work with with as well as size of client, and use discretion here if you don’t want to seem too small.
10.) Adding testimonials with social-proof [rating: medium]
Testimonials are great, but if you can add someone’s LinkedIn profile or better yet an actual tweet where the person praised your services it can increase conversion rate and build a lot of instant trust. If you’re having trouble getting reviews, you can see what’s positive on Google+, Yelp, or whatever else is applicable to your business and copy and paste the review on to your site. Just be sure to link back to the original source. On the TechWyse homepage you’ll noticed that we have a button that says “Read reviews about TechWyse Internet Marketing.” It doesn’t get too much more authentic than that!
11.) On your services and pricing page, make sure to list what they’ll get [rating: medium]
Most companies neglect to do this, especially if your services are highly customized and specialized. You can imagine how this would be difficult to do for a plastic surgeon, but with a little forethought it can be done.
12.) If you can, create a competitor comparison chart [rating: difficult]
This is another one that will be tough to do, many software vendors, electronic products do this, I’ve also seen home security companies do this. Comparison charts can help build trust — especially when the competitors you mention don’t have comparison charts of their own!
13.) Giveaway useful information on your site for immediate gratification [rating: difficult]
When you do this, you’ll earn trust by giving away free information that your prospect can start using today. It will also lead prospects to wonder: “if this company [you] gives this info away for free, then the expertise they charge for must really be valuable.” Just make sure that what you do giveaway, e.g. a white paper, is valuable and contains a call-to-action so they can easily contact you. This entire blog is an example of something TechWyse is giving away to build trust!
14.) Speed up the loading time of your website. [rating: difficult]
The minute a person clicks your website from a search engine they expect the site to load in under 3 seconds (this number varies according to the age and savvy of the users). Run your site through Google Page Speed Insights to get an idea of how your site performs on mobile and desktop. The tool will give you a bunch of recommendations on how to fix this. Usually the main problem will be oversized images, but there can be a host of other problems that slow down your site. A fast site gives the impression that you care about the user experience and that you’ve designed the site to give the user what he/she is looking for.
15.) Display social media icons and social proof [rating: easy]
I know what you’re thinking: “I have social media buttons, done!” I see so many sore excuses for social media buttons, either they are tiny, out of date (with old icons), they’re placed way down in the footer or all of the above. Make them prominent, put them in your header. If you have a decent following, show how many people like your Facebook Page. All of this lends itself to social proof and earns trust. Merely an active presence is enough to convince someone to buy from you, especially when you’re competitors do not have a social media presence.
16.) Start a blog and blog regularly [setup: difficult, maintenance: easy]
A blog does great things for your SEO, but it also does great things to establish trust — especially if you’re a newly established company. Let me paint a picture for you. It was last year and I was in the market for a pair of headphones. I found the pair I wanted at several different eCommerce stores ranging from Amazon, to brick and mortar stores I’ve visited, to exclusively online retailers. Since I knew exactly the pair I wanted, price was a determining factor, but I was faced with a dilemma. The store that had the cheapest price was brand new (I looked them up and the domain age was fewer than 6 months). I tried calling them, but all I got was an answering machine. But I was still tempted by this company because I stood to save $100. I struggled with this, until ultimately I found that they had a blog with recent posts, and for that reason only, I ordered from them. This will happen more than you think!
17.) Limit stock photography of people [rating: medium]
Stock photography is sometimes a necessary evil. Try to avoid pictures of people with fake smiles or people who are too overenthusiastic. If possible, use images of real people from your company if you can get decent image quality. Try renting some lights and using an SLR camera, better yet, hire a photographer. On our website, we have some images of actual staff members and we also use our mascot Tim (his name is also an acronym for TechWyse Internet Marketing). With this blend, we’ve been able to eliminate the use of stock photography of people on our website and increase trust by doing so.
18.) Make sure your website and social profiles look professional [rating: difficult]
There’s nothing worse than a site with broken images, misaligned text, funky colours and broken links. Do me a favour, pretend for a second your website is a person, and that person is applying for a job at your company. Would you hire them? Did they comb their hair? Did they dress well? Were they on-time?
Ask the same question of your website: does the header have all the info your clients need? Does the design look integrated? Is your website fast?
It’s interesting when you look at it this way. Most of these tips won’t do you any good, if your website doesn’t look good compared to your competitors, let alone all the well-designed social media, entertainment and news sites people are accustomed to.
If your website doesn’t pass the “hire me” test, I hate to say it, but you’re likely only to attract low-quality clientele. On the other hand, if you take the time to invest in a new website and incorporate these trust accelerators you’ll begin attracting high quality leads at a higher conversion rate.