Do you know what attribute kills conversions? The one thing that can destroy a potential customer’s consideration of your brand? The one main thing that most people overlook when designing a website?
It’s not the product or service, the price point, or how cool your site is that determines whether someone purchases from you or hires you. It’s whether they TRUST that you will deliver, often literally.
This is all about the consumer’s buying process. While it may seem like a mystery, it’s really not. The fact is trust sells. You can have a beautifully optimized landing page with amazing consumer-centric copy and stunning imagery that is easy to navigate. A website that creates a whole bunch of micro yes’s, and all it takes is one element that makes the visitor question if you are trustworthy and poof. You just lost a customer.
What is trust and why is it so important to businesses?
People get scammed all the time. Whether it’s by an Instagram ad selling a cool product, or a local service provider that takes advantage of you. It’s not that people want to be skeptical, it’s just a sad truth that today you have to be skeptical.
This can be a hard truth to grasp for the business owner that has never had any kind of intention of scamming anyone. If you’re not trying to hide something then why would you even think that you need to make sure it doesn’t look like you are?
When most people visit your website they don’t know a thing about you. They may try to gather as much info as they can by checking out your website, your social media profiles, and Google reviews. But even then, it’s very little information to determine if they can trust you.
How many horror stories have you heard over the years about a car mechanic that ripped someone off, a construction company that cut corners or didn’t show, a car dealership that covered up a car’s issues, an e-commerce store that never sent the product, and won’t return the money?
It happens every day. And most businesses don’t even think in terms of building trust.
But again, trust is the single most important factor that people consider when choosing a product or service.
I got a crash course in this recently working on a project for a supplement company. This is a space that is full of shady products and even shadier companies. Crazy claims, not being transparent with ingredients, trying to loop customers into auto-billing that’s next to impossible to cancel, and money-back guarantees that are not honored.
So when I took this project on I had to really get even more intense about building trust.
Why is trust so important within your website design?
All it takes is one thing to feel off to a visitor and they’re gone. It’s not like there is a lack of other options for whatever you offer. They can easily just go and find one that has a solid trust factor built into their website design.
When visitors trust that you can solve their problem but also that you will not take advantage of them conversions go up. Simple as that. Some industries have to work harder than others. Supplements, car dealers, insurance companies, and lawyers are just a few that have a real uphill battle to establish trust.
What are the top 14 Ways To Build Trust on Your Website?
Reviews are the cornerstone of trust. 95% of people read reviews before making a purchase and 72% won’t take a buying action until they’ve read reviews. This is true for every industry. Whether someone is hiring a plumber, deciding where to go for dinner, and especially when someone is looking to purchase something online. the more expensive the purchase the more reviews we read.
But it’s not that simple.
These must be real reviews from real people. It’s interesting because people can tell when reviews aren’t authentic even if they’re convincing-looking reviews. Authenticity is so important to building trust.
The sweet spot for reviews is a 4.3-4.7 out of 5 stars. Why? Because any higher we get skeptical. Are they real? Did they purposefully try to prevent bad reviews? Who knows? But 82% of customers actually seek out negative reviews. I know I do. I want to know what the worst experience someone has had is. Sometimes it’s minor and sometimes it really makes the user question the purchase altogether.
Any lower and it looks like your product or service sucks.
But it’s not just that reviews are important, the kind of reviews and how they’re presented is important. If you just pop reviews you’ve gotten onto your website it will have a minimal effect. Adding an image and a link or embed of the actual review boosts trust. A video review is even better.
Professional association logos
Badges build trust. Having badges for the BBB, industry-specific associations, and the like really help to build trust. Join those associations and slap those badges on your website.
Well written content
Your content plays a large role in building trust. And this is multifaceted.
First, the quality of your content is important. Well-written well-structured content helps to build trust and establish authority.
Grammar is huge. Typos and improper punctuation reflect poorly on your brand and your trust factor will take a hit. Proofread the hell out of your website content. Run through a program like Grammarly and then read it out loud to make sure it reads well.
You vs. We is where it’s at. Think of it in relation to a conversation with a person. When a person is all about them you don’t feel like a part of the conversation. Now think about most website content. It’s all about we we we. I see it all the time. When you do this your brand comes off as one of THOSE people that just talk about themselves. By changing the narrative to “you” based content you open up a whole new world. Visitors can relate when you mirror their pain points. They can imagine themselves using your product or service because you help guide them there through your content.
A modern responsive design
It’s hard to trust a bad website. And most scammy websites are poorly designed. Bad layout, poor user experience, or even just an outdated non-mobile responsive design makes you look like you don’t care. And if you don’t care enough about the presentation of your business then how is a potential customer supposed to have faith that you are competent and reliable?
Every website should have a phone number, email address, and address if applicable. If there’s no basic transparency what would the rest of the customer experience look like? If there’s a problem, how do they contact you? You’re not doing your business any favors by not having your contact info easy to find.
Website structure that aligns with the buying process
A website that clearly seems to understand your pain point or desire for visiting and then mirrors that back to you creates trust. Why? We trust those that seem to understand us and those that address our concerns. As an example, let’s say you’re hiring a moving company. When you land on a moving company website that addresses that it’s a stressful time and throughout the content and structure works to show why you understand their worries and how you make the process easy, you will have trust that they are competent.
Social Media accounts serve a lot of different functions. And yes, trust is one of them. Social media can build trust by showing a different side of your brand. It’s a great place to show your authority, share the inner workings, show the team, etc. It also provides another point of contact and some people really prefer to FB message or shoot a DM on Instagram to ask questions. So be social, and monitor your messages.
Guarantees or free trials
Guarantees and free trials create peace of mind. They are a great way to build trust. Add some guarantee badges to your website. Or start off with a free trial to show that you are truly confident about your product or service. By offering a guarantee you reduce a major hesitation point. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve tried or bought because I was curious about it and saw a money-back guarantee and thought why not.
Concrete verifiable information
Show your numbers and your age if they are significant. Obviously, this doesn’t work for a new business. In that case, you need to put extra work into the other trust factors. But if you’ve been in business for years, put that out there. Have you served hundreds or thousands of clients? Sold a ton of products? Give those concrete numbers. Build that trust. If your a painting company that’s painted thousands of homes, get that exact number and put it front and center. If you’ve painted that many houses you must know what you’re doing. And if that many people have hired you, well you must do a good job. Think like a consumer.
Let’s face it, most awards these days are paid for. Or at least require some kind of fee. But they still work. People love seeing awards. Even if they’ve never heard of the group giving them. It builds trust and confidence in your brand.
Case studies & portfolios
Show actual results. If you’re a dentist, show before and afters. The same goes for a personal trainer. If you are a car detailer show the results. If you are an investment company show what you did to build somebody’s wealth. You don’t have to show the person or company the case study is from, but allow the visitor to imagine those results and you will add more trust.
Show the team
Many people can’t stand not seeing the team. We all like to be able to see the face of the owner or the person we’ll be dealing with. To read a little bio about them. The more we learn about the people behind a company the more we feel like we know them. And the more we feel like we know them the more we can trust them.
Websites are a great mix of content and imagery. And the imagery is one of the most misunderstood trust factors. Bad stock images do nothing to differentiate you, and the more you look like everyone else the less trust a potential customer will have towards you. The ideal is to have completely unique brand imagery that along with the content tells a story.
Press mentions & companies you’ve worked with
If you’ve been featured in a big publication or if you’ve worked with recognizable companies you should place these logos strategically on your website. It doesn’t matter if you got the coverage through a HARO pitch or a Press Release, showing you’ve appeared in something notable, or have worked with a well-known brand gives you credibility and can be a factor that sways a customer in favor of your business.