Any business that markets and sells their products and services online knows how important website traffic is. But when visitors don’t lead to conversions, it’s often a sign that something is wrong.
Sure, any number of factors could be keeping the visitor from pulling the trigger, but let’s assume that your product or service is a match for what they want. What else could be holding them back?
That something is likely a lack of trust signals.
What are trust signals?
Trust signals are indicators that a visitor uses to determine that they can trust your website (and your company).
That could mean knowing you’re a legitimate seller instead of a scammer, or believing you’ll properly care for them when they spend their money with you.
Proving these things and gaining that trust requires that your website be reliable and have plenty of trust signals. It’s not enough to simply say ‘trust us, we’re legitimate’. A scammer could do that, too.
Good trust signals prove your legitimacy and reliability without a doubt.
How Trust Signals Convert Visitors
Aside from demonstrating that your website is authentic and non-malicious, trust signals convert visitors in two main ways.
Firstly, they show that you understand your users and their needs. Instead of asking your customers to check review websites or similar external sources, trust signals allow you to prove that you’ve put in the work to personally show customers why they should choose you.
Second, trust signals convert visitors by kickstarting the process of building a strong customer-business relationship. They give you a chance to show how reliable your company is. This incentivizes customers to trust you and work towards a lasting relationship with your business.
7 Types of Trust Signals and How to Use Them
If you’re looking to add more trust signals to your website, you’re in the right place. Here are eight of the most useful trust signals and how to include them on your own site.
1. Security Certifications and Policies
One of the biggest trust signals you can incorporate into your online shop is security certifications. The clearer you are about your policies towards safety, the more trustworthy your company comes across.
Some of the top certifications and policies are:
SSL — Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL for short, is a security protocol that uses encryption to help protect the privacy of all parties involved in communications via the internet. In other words, it’s a policy that tells customers you encrypt any conversations with them.
Badges — Many countries, regions, and even industries have specific badges you can get by meeting their security requirements. These then show your site visitors that your website is compliant with the regulations that the badge represents.
Certifications — Much like badges, certifications act as visual proof of your company’s legitimacy. They demonstrate to anyone who visits your website that you’ve put in the effort to meet the certification’s high standards of security.
Terms of Service — Of course, not everyone is going to read your terms of service. However, that doesn’t mean you should give it anything less than your best. Terms of service act as a professional boundary, legal protection, and a trust signal all in one. They tell your customers exactly how your products can be used, and what your intentions were behind creating them. Detailed ToS pages represent effort and care, which are also trust signals.
2. Professional Design and Branding
A poorly-designed website is a red flag to most people, and so is inconsistent or sloppy branding. That’s why you need a strong, consistent brand voice and design throughout your website. If customers can recognize your company’s website by its design alone, that’s a good sign you’re sending out appropriate trust signals.
If parts of your website don’t look like they belong where they are, customers will wonder whether those parts are real and legitimate.
Instead, focus on delivering one message throughout your content. This makes for a stronger brand identity while sending out more powerful trust signals.
3. Secure Payment Methods
You’re asking for your customers’ money, and you want to make sure they feel comfortable giving it to you. This is why secure payment methods are a must for trust signals.
PCI DSS Certification — A PCI DSS certification proves that you’ll handle customers’ payment details and transactions completely securely. Customers can make payments in peace when they see you have it.
Invoicing System — On top of using accounting software for retail business, you’ll want to send out professional and automated invoices that look and feel authentic. They should be easy to read, well-crafted, and sent to the right people. With the right software, you’ll also be able to customize your invoices and maintain brand consistency..
4. Social Proof
Customers need to know they can trust you based on more than your word. That’s why this trust signal is so important – it proves to them that others have used and loved your services in the past. It also helps them get a feel for how others respond to your product, and the impact it makes.
Social proof may take the form of any of the following features, all of which should be easily viewable on your website.
Customer Ratings — When visitors see that your products have been rated by past buyers, they’ll be more inclined to trust that you’re a legitimate seller. This especially applies when you include non-five-star reviews, as visitors know those won’t be faked.
Product/service Reviews — It’s also valuable to show visitors the actual words of past customers. This is why it’s important to include real customer reviews, which will give your leads a good idea of how your customers feel about you and your products.
Testimonials — Likewise, you’ll want to include customer testimonials wherever you can. These are given for free, and as such can’t be motivated by anything but genuine love for your products. That’s a major trust signal.
5. Industry Awards
Have you earned any awards that set you apart within your industry? If you have, you’ll want to make sure any site visitors know this, as it helps you show that you’ve earned your place within the industry.
Also, awards can be cross-checked on the awarding body’s website. That helps further prove your legitimacy and authenticity, which means creating a stronger trust signal.
At the same time, an industry award acts as proof of your excellence. This tells customers that aside from being able to trust your company, they can trust in the quality of the products or services you provide.
6. High-Quality Content
Scammers and unreliable websites are out to earn money quickly by essentially stealing it from honest customers. That means they rarely have the time to make sure their content is top-quality and engaging for readers.
You can send out trust signals by doing the opposite.
For example, take a look at this guide on Making Tax Digital Software. It provides actionable advice that is beneficial to the reader. The aim is not to hard sell the software, but to inform readers of how the new regulations will impact them, and how they can stay compliant.
By creating high-quality content, you establish your company as a credible expert that cares about educating readers and understands their pain points. This engages visitors, builds trust in your brand, and helps develop loyal customers.
7. Complete Product/Service Descriptions
This is particularly useful in proving you’re not a scammer. Website owners that put in the time to provide detailed, complete descriptions of the products they offer generally seem more reliable, simply for the effort that proper descriptions call for.
An excellent description should do all of the following:
- Explain exactly what a product or service does and how it benefits the user
- Describe how to use the product
- Pique the reader’s interest from the start, so they keep reading
- Entice the reader into trying the product out
You’ll know a description is complete when it acts as a subtle part of your overall marketing strategy.
Site visitors need to know they can trust your company before they make a purchase. Otherwise, they’ll stay as visitors, and never become new conversions or eventual loyal customers.
That’s why you’ve got to create trust signals that help build this kind of strong relationship between your business and its customers.
Proving that you’re trustworthy is more important each year, as more scams and fraud schemes crop up. You can set yourself apart from the crowd, and from hackers, by using trust signals to make sure any site visitors immediately know you’re legitimate.
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