Of all your brand collateral, your website is likely to be the first point of contact between you and your potential customers or clients. And even if it’s not the first, it’s where people interested in learning more about your business go to do so. Establishing trust is arguably your site’s most important job.
The site design is a big part of looking credible. It should display your logo prominently, include contact information, make it clear what you do, have an About page, and otherwise obviously represent a real business. Privacy, shipping, and return policies add legitimacy as well. Your website should also have indicators that your website is secure, such as SSL certification. This is especially important if you collect any personal information or take online payments.
Beyond that, avoiding overly salesy or spammy copy is important. So are omitting gaudy flashing graphics, avoiding excessive use of all caps or exclamation points, limiting the number of fonts used, using color smartly, and generally excluding other tacky or unprofessional elements.
Creating a content-rich website is another great way to establish trust. It shows you invest in helping your visitors, generously share your knowledge, and have authority and experience in your industry.
But then there are other, more specific trust signals to include on various pages of your website. These are reassuring to potential buyers and go a long way toward giving your brand credibility. You don’t want to clutter your site with too many trust signals, but incorporating them here and there help people on your pages develop some trust.
Here are six major types of trust signals you could use on your website:
Brief quotations from your existing clients or customers are powerful trust signals. It’s important that they be attributed to real people, though (and from real businesses if you’re B2B); the public is very wary of fake testimonials. Some brands choose to create a dedicated page for these, while others display different ones around the content on various pages.
If your customers love what you sell, let them tell people! Consumers value user reviews immensely, but again, they are wary of fakes. Never add fake reviews, as it’s unethical and they’re often much more obvious than you realize. Also, don’t delete negative reviews; people expect to see them. The public easily overlooks a bad review offset by far more positive ones. Thank people for their positive reviews and calmly, professionally respond to negative ones to show you’re focused on customer satisfaction.
Memberships and Certifications
If you’re a member of any trade organizations or other official groups for your industry or location, display their logos on your website. Similarly, if you have verification or certification from government agencies, industry associations, or other body, display the logo or other mark. Consumers find it quite reassuring if you’re involved with other groups or vetted by professionals.
Social Media Accounts
These days, people are more inclined to trust a brand that uses social media and that has engaged followings. Place links to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other social media pages. But stick to sites you actually use, and use well. Links to inactive or overly promotional pages won’t do you any good, and usually make you look less appealing. Spend time growing and engaging your following on certain sites and invite your visitors to connect with you there.
First-Time Offers or Guarantees
These are age-old marketing tactics that still work well in the digital era. Offering first-time customers something for free shows you have faith in your products or services. The same goes for risk-free guarantees that promise their money back if the buyer isn’t satisfied. Make it clear to people that you stand behind the quality of what you sell and that you’re dedicated to customer service, and you instantly become a more trustworthy brand.
Professional photography can be a considerable expense for a small business, but it’s often a smart investment in building brand credibility on your website. People get peace of mind from seeing your products. If you’re a speaker, coach, trainer, author, or other personal brand, pictures of yourself in action are also reassuring. But if you’re not going to spring for professional photography, it’s probably best to skip this trust signal, as low-quality images easily backfire in this respect.
Trusted Brands Are Successful Brands
Building trust is essential to succeeding and growing. It’s one of the biggest initial hurdles any brand has to get past in winning new customers or clients. Your website is on the front line, so make sure enough attention is paid to making your site look credible. The above trust signals are effective tools for this purpose. Once people trust you, they’ll be loyal to you and tell others about you.