When people first navigate to a website, studies have shown that businesses have about 6 seconds to create a positive impression with users. Visitors will spend about 200 milliseconds (yes, milliseconds!) looking at the color, density and layout of the site and decide if they think it is up to snuff. From there, users will spend less than 3 seconds "inspecting" a website. This includes looking at the content, grammar, assets and anything else on the website that they might find interesting. Another 3 seconds is then spent interacting with the website - clicking on links to see if there is anything useful on the site. At the end of this 6 second process, users will form an opinion about whether they find the site trustworthy or not. This is an extremely small window of time to convince users that your website is one that they can trust purchasing from - so what kind of trust factors can you include to promote your reliability as a business? More importantly, what kind of actual value do the assets on your webpage have?
1. TestimonialsConsumers ultimately begin trusting businesses through recommendations from peers, experts, and friends. Testimonials are most credible when attributed to a real person. Adding a name, face, or voice creates a legitimate source that customers can identify. Authentic testimonials that are featured on your website can also be properly leveraged across multiple marketing channels, such as social media or email marketing, which can also be powerful trust builders for any business. Additional tools like rating scales and comment sections allow customers to leave honest reviews. Reponses from real people give prospective clients a glimpse into the customer experience and can help encourage undecided potential customers to convert. Applying testimonials can result in increased conversion rates and customer satisfaction. When watch retailer Express Watches found out that their users were concerned about not getting the best price, quality, or security, the company immediately took steps to minimize these fears. Initially, they tried to simply address these concerns, but they didn't see much of an increase in sales. As a result, they decided to integrate a customer testimonial for each product.
2. DesignYour website is the first point of contact for many potential customers. This means it is responsible for the first impression that a user has about your business. A clean design that looks professional lets visitors know that your business is legitimate and not just a fly-by-night operation that could eventually disappear from existence. Design is a trust factor that helps establish credibility even before they interact with your site. If your business doesn't bother investing in a professional looking website, users will look elsewhere for a similar product or service. Part of designing a professional looking website is remembering that the user experience is paramount when trying to build trust. If a visitor has to search far and wide on your site to find information, they will likely get frustrated and try to find the same service or product elsewhere. People never want to work harder than they have to, so create a website that is easy to navigate and attuned to the user experience. What is the actual value of making sure that your website's design is professional and has clear navigation? In the case of fitness site Daily Burn, formerly known as Gyminee, it was incredibly valuable. While they had a professional looking site that established trust with their customers, the navigation was so cluttered that many people were getting irritated and navigating out of their conversion funnel. In order to remedy this, Gyminee reduced the number of navigation options on their website to make it a clearer, more streamlined process.
3. Business InformationProviding contact information, like a phone number or a business address, shows that you have actual office space with real employees. This is another great way to build trust with customers. List your physical address, phone number, and e-mail on the contact page to allow visitors to easily access your business information. Knowing that they can talk to an actual human being if they run into any issues can reassure consumers and allay fears of inadequate quality or service. Another great information asset is to show that you are actively hiring to grow your business. Continually searching for the highest quality employees adds credibility. It proves you are a business that will be around for the long-term and that people are applying for a company they trust. One of the best ways to provide business information is to spend time creating an "About Us" page that is descriptive and visually stimulating. Showing the names and faces of employees personalizes your company and allows users to get an idea of how things are being run behind the scenes. Be honest with your customers and you will instill a sense of trust in them that will make them navigate from your "About Us" page to the product or service you are trying to sell. What kind of value does providing business information provide? For Tomedes, a translation service company, it meant changing the copy on their "About Us" page to be more attention grabbing and honest about the services provided. They were able to increase their overall conversion rates by 13%. Why was this change so effective? The team over at Tomedes took the time to go through their site analytics reports and noticed that a lot of site abandonment was taking place on the "About Us" page. As a result, this is where they focused on making trust-building changes.
4. Awards and CertificationsAnother effective trust factor is certificates and awards that show you are a respected business with notable achievements. This helps users feel more secure when browsing your website and filling out personal information about themselves. Even if your business is only asking for something as simple as an e-mail address, adding trust elements will increase the likelihood of a user providing that information. Blue Fountain Media conducted a test for our "Request a Quote" form which users see when they contact us for a quote about our services. The original form had a picture of a lock and simply stated: "Your information will not be shared with any 3rd parties under any circumstances." For the variation form, we replaced this message with a VeriSign Trusted business seal in the same location. The difference it created for us was mammoth - form fills from organic, non-branded search traffic improved by 81%. The addition of a certified logo helped increase user trust where simply saying "trust us" was not as effective. This made a significant difference in getting new visitors to convert who had been previously been unwilling to do so.
5. Case StudiesCase studies are a great way to attract attention to the work you've done by providing quantifiable results instead of just telling people how good your product or service is. This is particularly useful for businesses that sell services because it shows potential customers how valuable your work has been for clients who have purchased it. Blue Fountain Media's case studies show detailed results and positive analytics surrounding the work that we've completed.
6. Social MediaSocial media can be one of the best trust building tools for companies. Not only can you talk directly to existing customers, but you also show prospective customers that you have a responsive company that will promptly address any user needs or concerns. Also, having social media indicator buttons next to any sharable articles, shows that people are interacting with the content you publish. When they share your articles, current and potential consumers know that they can trust and engage with you on a regular basis.
Guarantees are often thought of as gimmicky techniques that are shamelessly used to get people to buy a product or service. However, when done correctly, return, delivery, and satisfaction guarantees can go a long way towards building potential customer trust. These promises can help consumers feel confident purchasing from you.
A great way to provide a satisfaction guarantee is to give users a free trial of your product. While this may seem like a dangerous idea because it could minimize the amount of people that will ultimately buy the product, free trials are actually a good way to spread brand awareness and increase your customer base.
An example comes from GetResponse, an email marketing platform. They had offered a free trial for their service, but purposely hid it from their front page. Instead, the "Buy Now" CTA was prominently displayed because they were concerned that free trials might negatively affect the amount of signups for their paid version. However, adding a free trial button on the homepage next to the "Buy Now" option helped increase the number of free accounts by a staggering 158.60%.