First impressions count. It’s been tested that initial visitors to your website will form an instant impression of your landing page within one second once viewing it. This is almost as quick as how ‘mind and eye’ visual processing occurs in the brain, so it can be considered an automatic instantaneous reflex response.
So without any form of online trust, we would all be consigned to a community where we examine everyone’s movements and actions with suspicion, as well as assume they everyone is working just for their own purpose. But because of the number of unrelated social interactions that we have with complete strangers on a daily basis, we learn to extend some type of ‘first impression’ trust on a regular basis.
When dealing with complete strangers in the ‘real world,’ we react to their appearance as well as body language to discern levels of trust. But when we are online, we’re at a complete disadvantage. Almost anyone now can easily and quickly create a landing page or a free blog and instantly act as a wide assortment of businesses. On top of that, we are also often barraged by the media about the various new scams out there that are perpetrated online.
So we have no choice other than to put our guards up. As online marketers, it becomes a lot more difficult to demand any type of credibility as compared to ‘brick-and-mortar’ businesses. It takes a second for a completely new visitor to: see your site, evaluate it, value your proposition, and then it’s ‘Stay or Scram.”
4 Steps On How To Build Trust Online
1.) The Appearance Of The Site
Again, first impressions count. Remember the one second rule, that’s all it takes for anyone to form an opinion. If they last that first initial reaction, then it extends to an overview glimpse of the landing page above the fold, which will impact if they decide to stay longer, or even take the required conversion action, or not.
Don’t Lose Your Visitor Based On Your Site’s Appearance
In the outside world, everyone prefers a well-dressed, well groomed and spoken job candidate. That’s also the case in our attempts to put forth a good ‘first impression’ on a first date. The same applies for online sites.
• Professionalism Of Site Design
Regardless of your intended audience or what your business purpose is, the home or landing page’s design should be professionally executed. It should appeal visually, as well as function properly. All the the colors, the fonts and graphic elements should contribute into a single unified theme.
• Eye Candy Neatness
A cluttered page is your worst enemy. Whether it’s visual, or just too much long winded text copy. Less is always more. Precisely edit everything on the landing page until it is striped to its bare essence, and has a natural feel to it that instantly portrays your message. Give your landing page the room to breathe.
• Clarity & Organization
If you have too many choices on the initial landing page, it can be confusing and paralyzing. Also, a page that’s disorganized will increase your visitor’s cognitive load time, and then forces them to try to figure out how to digest the cluttered information. So the rule is” “Don’t Make Them Think”.
2.) Trust Assurances During Transactions
Will your visitor feel like they will get ‘Spammed,’ once they enter their e-mail address into a form? Will the goods purchased even be delivered at all, let alone be on time? Will their identity be secure and not be stolen?
These questions, regardless of how established a site is, are always on the mind when anyone is required to pay first before receiving the product.
The best way to relieve these ‘Point of Action’ based anxieties, is to solve them before they arise. The mechanics that you set forth on the ‘Conversion Action’ matters a great deal. So regardless if your are attempting to collect an e-mail address for your mailing list, or having someone purchase an item off your site, instant reassurances before they arise are needed before and during the transaction.
• Show The Forms Of Payments Accepted Along With Delivery And Shipment
On the majority e-commerce sites with a catalog, they usually only show the forms of payment accepted and their return policies. This is usually after the checkout process has begun. What needs to be done is that these details must be shown before the payment process. They should be prominently displayed above the fold of every page. The same on the delivery and shipping details and methods.
• Data Security & Privacy
Your website must be certified “Safe” by outside sources and experts, when it comes to your ability to protect the users data. So show your ‘Privacy Policies,’ as well as ‘Computer Security’ trust-mark logos from well-known recognizable vendors. This will assure that you are protecting their data properly.
• Guarantees, Warranties & Policies
At times, the transaction itself may not be the issue. It’s often what happens after the purchase, is what most concerns people. So if you prominently display your: Guarantees, Warranties and your return policies, you should be able to relieve most of the worry. A visual ‘Seal’ logo should also be displayed to draw attention to these important features.
3.) Media And Brand Recognition
Your visitors if they are new, most likely have not heard of your site or brand. So unless you happen to represent a world renown consumer company, they have no clue who you are. They have absolutely no idea what your product or service represents.
• Reviews & Awards
There are a lot of products, as well as services that has won awards or have been reviewed by prominent industry publications. Using ‘Award’ logos or ‘Reviewed by,’ if available, can work effectively well.
• Paid Celebrity or Spokesman Endorsements
Paid endorsements can convey a sense of trust, or at the very least, be able to transfer the celebrity or the spokesman to the product in question.
• Marquee Clients Using Your Product
Using prominent client pictures or logos, with their permission, or at the very least, a list of prominent clients using or endorsing your product or service, will create powerful proof and legitimacy. They usually confer an implicit ‘halo’ effect.
• In The Media
The media are always experts at self-promotion. So if you’re associated with any of them, it should create a sense of notoriety on your site. At times, media outlets can be loosely defined as ‘bloggers’ or authority sites in your specific niche.
Keep in mind that there may be several caveats if you are using expert or media logos. Make sure that they always appear ‘Above the Fold’ (so your visitor doesn’t have to scroll down), or be shown at the ‘Call to Action,’ and not anywhere below or after it. This is done to provide context for the copy on the page.
4.) ‘Peer To Peer’ Social Consensus
We always follow people that are similar to us, or someone we like. For example, if our circle of friends or acquaintances refer us to a new musical band, we are more than likely to listen to them. So those who we consider our peers, will always exert an extremely strong influence on us.
Compliance By Demonstrating ‘Social Based Proof’
There are 2 preconditions for social proof to be effective:
1) There must be a significant number of people who has decided to take similar action and,
2) These people must be as similar to who we are as possible.
• Objective Numbers
“How many” should be demonstrated by showing how many people has actually bought, started a free trial, or downloaded a product. The number should be cumulative, starting from the inception of a product or business. Make sure that you spell out the digits (e.g: “Over 100,000 Downloads”). Use large visible fonts to draw the desired attention.
• Social Likeness
Make sure you create some type of affinity by demonstrating that those who are also taking action, are similar to them. This can be accomplished by choosing appropriate colors, similar graphics and editorial tone, allowing your new visitors to feel at home. You can also display a large number of legitimate detailed testimonials or comments, that discusses common situations that’s faced by similar people.
Gaining trust is an extremely critical factor to transactional success, particularly in a ‘faceless’ online environment. If you build on these pillars of trust that’s outlined, you should have better success for improved conversions.