In websites, what looks good isn’t necessarily what works best. Any page which aims to complete an action (such as a lead, sale or download) needs to have the right elements in place to persuade the user to proceed. One of the most important features, as explained by Tim Ash (author of Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions), is trust. Why should a user invest time or money in our service? How can we make a user trust our brand?
We need to realize that trust must be established immediately – Our users will create a perception of our brand within the first few seconds of viewing the site.
Tim Ash talked about the 4 pillars of building instant trust – What elements does your page need to convince the user your site is trustworthy?
The first thing users will notice about your site is its appearance. Your visitors immediately judge the quality of your service or products based on how professional your website looks. In a street, companies might have small offices or huge building and that difference in size is immediately visible. Online, however, all companies are equal. It is easily possible to make a small office company look ten times bigger than one which employs thousands just by creating a really clean and neat design.
Although it’s fairly obvious, having a well design site should be the first step to gaining your users trust. Explaining how to create a professional design is beyond the scope of this article; just keep in mind your message needs to be clear and instant.
If you site sells products and services, then you need to persuade your users that your site is safe to buy from. Unless you happen to be Amazon or eBay, this might not be that easy.
- First off, put your trust symbols above the fold if possible. You need your users to see your site is hacker safe and secure – Don’t make your users look for them – Make them as obvious as possible.
- You should also display the forms of payment accepted and delivery methods early on. The more you have, the more users will think you’re an established online seller.
- Thirdly, include some text for data security and privacy. Even a short sentence saying you will never give their email away will increase trust and as a result, conversions.
- If possible, you should offer your visitors a money back guarantee. What’s better than telling your users you’re so confident they’ll enjoy your product that you’re willing to give them all their money back if they don’t? Include policies that explains exactly what they should expect. Don’t leave them guessing.
Would you rather buy from a site that has been approved by Microsoft, rather than one that has been approved by nobody? Of course! You need to borrow trust from better known brands to give your users peace of mind. If your site is associated with another more popular one, that site will be transferring part of its authority to yours.
How can you achieve this?
- Include reviews and awards you got from other sites.
- Mention any partners you have – The more you have, the more established you will seem.
- Have you ever been mentioned in the media? Include it. I’m sure you’ve all seen the “As seen on…” in adverts. The whole point of including this is to make your site seem really popular.
- Probably the most important of them all – Do you have any famous clients? Mention them in your clients list. Knowing that established companies are already using your site can increase conversions tremendously.
Consensus of Peers
In everyday life, when we know that our peers are doing something, we are much more likely to feel comfortable also doing it. This is just the way our brain works. If I know that thousands of users just like me are already buying off your site, then I will be much more willing to do the same.
Include social proof that other users are using this service; add social media feeds to show people talking about your service and tell your users just how often your site is used by similar users. Booking.com does this perfectly by showing the last time a booking for a hotel was made. This makes you feel like there must be tons of users just like you who are booking online. The result? You are much more likely to book online yourself.
There’s absolutely no doubt trust has a huge effect on a website’s conversion rate. Obviously, the bigger your company gets, the easier it will be to convince your users they should choose you. Initially, however, there is still a lot you can do to help your visitors feel at ease. Start with a professional looking website, add your transaction assurances and slowly start working on authority and consensus of peers.