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Last updated: July 2017
(This is one of a series of articles, the first of which is here.)
What if your visitors don’t trust you? Sometimes, visitors don’t proceed because they aren’t persuaded that your company is any good.
This is usually because your website lacks relevant trust signals. There simply isn’t enough proof that the visitors should use you.
What kind of proof should you add? There are tens—maybe hundreds—of ways to show trust and credibility. Some of them are particularly suited to certain types of businesses, but most businesses benefit from the following:
Visitors are greatly influenced by the size and success of companies. For daFlores, Latin America’s largest network of florists, we gained a 44% uplift in sales by highlighting how many Facebook fans the company had.
In one experiment for a software company, we grew sales by over 20% by creating a page that linked to hundreds of customer reviews. (We gathered the reviews by surveying the client’s customers.) The visitors were persuaded by hearing the experiences of people like themselves.The following image shows how car-dealership Carvana took a bold approach to publishing reviews:
Buyers are much more likely to believe your claims if you support them with hard data.
As we discuss elsewhere, guarantees don’t just reduce the buyer’s risk; they also act as a form of proof. A good guarantee tacitly promises that your business will be harmed if it doesn’t honor its claims. It effectively says, “Our promise must be true. Otherwise we wouldn’t be in business.”
Over the years, we have paired several of our clients with celebrity figureheads. Most of the celebrities allow their image to be used in return for a fixed fee for a specific duration. In one case, the celebrity was happy to do it for free, because she was a fan of the company. Before you commit to a deal, though, run an A/B-test to measure how the celebrity affects conversions. One of our clients had a celebrity figurehead whose presence actually reduced sales. The client’s branding agency hadn’t carried out A/B-tests (we’ve yet to see one that does), and so was oblivious that they had caused such damage.
Sometimes, the best way to prove something is to demonstrate it.
In the case study about how we grew Crazy Egg’s conversion rate by 363%, our winning landing page featured some of Crazy Egg’s prestigious clients. Similarly, when we made over $1 million for Moz, one of our winning pages had the following headline, which incorporated the names of some of Moz’s prestigious clients: “When eBay, Disney and Marriott need SEO help, here’s what they do….”
Trust is more important in some industries than others. Visitors to health-and-fitness companies and to financial institutions tend to be particularly concerned about trust—because choosing an unsuitable company could be calamitous.
The world already contains a vast amount of proof of your company’s merits, much of which you probably take for granted. Across the web, there will be a lot of content that would persuade your visitors if only they were to see it. Search for reviews of your company, testimonials, positive PR, etc., and you’ll probably find that only a fraction of this proof ever gets seen by your visitors—either because it’s not on your website, or because it’s tucked away in the corner of a dusty “About Us” page.
Make sure your visitors see this proof, by incorporating the best of it into your most-visited pages.
We have helped one of our clients, TopCashback, to win the FastTrack100 award three times in a row.
TopCashback’s homepage features many types of proof:
Combined, these elements are enough to convince the most skeptical of visitors that TopCashback is trustworthy and authoritative.
Beyond proof magnets lies proof investment. Once you understand what would persuade your visitors, then you should spend time, money and ingenuity acquiring those things. For example…
This illustrates an important point: Conversion is not an afterthought. Conversion is identifying what type of company your visitors would ideally love to do business with … and then becoming that company. This approach goes to the core of your business. It means that your customer research determines the direction in which your company grows.
As it should.
Hence, the company’s product strategy and marketing strategy should be led by its conversion team.
Just because visitors trust your website doesn’t mean they have found a product that they trust. A visitor may be happy to use your online pharmacy, but they still need to be persuaded of the efficacy of a particular drug.
A visitor may lack trust for several reasons:
In such cases, your job is to persuade the visitor of the merits of the product, but not at the expense of eroding their trust in your company. For example, Amazon explains the benefits and credibility of its products, but retains its trusted-advisor status by including impartial customer reviews.
The same types of proof that were effective for building trust in your company (see above) are equally effective at building trust in a product.
Just be aware that “lack of trust in your company” and “lack of trust in the product” are two separate problems. Both must be solved before a customer will place an order.
1. We have already grown companies just like yours. (We have helped to grow clients in 37 countries in 11 languages.) So wherever you are in the world, if you’d like us to work on your website—to dramatically increase its profits—then claim your FREE website strategy session. On this free phone consultation, one of our experts will discuss your conversion goals and suggest strategies to double your sales.
2. If you’d like to learn conversion for free, go to our “Learning Zone” page, where you can download templates of million-dollar winning pages. Or, if you’d like us to build your company’s in-house capabilities (not for free), then contact us and we’ll discuss your requirements.
3. If you’d like to work for us—or see why our team members love working for us—then see our “Careers” pages.
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