The wise Tim Ash, author of “Landing Page Optimization,” says that “common sense dictates that you cannot build a relationship without trust. If you want to convince your visitors to put even a bit of emotional (or financial) investment into your brand, company or products, you must first gain that faith.” I couldn’t agree more.
To kick off this three-part series, I will focus on the most important thing you can do to improve landing page conversion rates: Build trust with your visitors. Unfortunately, you have to do that without ever getting the chance to meet them face-to-face, look them eye or shake their hand. In fact, very few traditional trust-building activities involved in building a relationship are available to marketers in an online transaction.
Fortunately, the human brain loves shortcuts, giving marketers the opportunity to build trust without completing these typical activities. So we’ll focus on these shortcuts (or online handshakes, if you will) that we can use to build trust online by approaching your landing page from four angles: appearance, transactional assurances, messaging and humanizing.
This may seem a bit biased since I am a graphic designer, but a great design can do wonders for your credibility. When a visitor first lands on your page, you have roughly five seconds to impress them, and, contrary to the proverbial phrase, your visitors will judge a book by its cover (aka your landing page). A good design can be the factor that keeps them on your site. The more expensive and professional your page looks, the more people are going to believe you are reputable and professional.
Don’t Overcrowd Your Design
A trustworthy landing page is one that gives your users only the information they need to help them decide what’s the right choice and no more. If a design or piece of content does not directly support the conversion action, ditch it. It’ll leave you with a landing page that is legible, clean and easy to navigate.
Adding brand logos of security companies like Norton, McAfee, TRUSTe or Verisign above the fold is another classic trust-building technique. Great Aunt Susie may not know exactly what these companies do, but for those who care, knowing your site is hacker-safe and secure will make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Be warned: You should only use relevant and well known brands and be strategic with placement. Including secured payment logos on the first page of a multi-step buying process or an unknown security company seal may actually cause anxiety rather than reassurance.
Show that You Care About User Privacy
If your landing page’s purpose is to increase subscribers, include information about how frequently you’ll write, that you won’t spam or sell their email address (specifically to farmersonly.com) and that they can opt-out anytime. Even a short sentence saying that you will never give your users’ email addresses away will increase trust and, as a result, conversions.
If your landing page asks users to buy from you, add information about forms of payment accepted, delivery methods, return policies or if you offer a money back guarantee. Include policies that explain exactly what they should expect. Don’t leave them guessing.
Testimonials, Reviews and Ratings
Reviews, testimonials and ratings give your potential customer social proof. Use social proof to show people that your product or service is quality. Track customer opinions about your products or services online (try Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, etc.) or ask them to review the product with specificity.
Also add client photos in the testimonials to show they came from a real person. If users can relate to the person in the testimonial, they’ll trust your product.
That being said, never write fake reviews, they are easy to spot and a fake testimonial will only lead you to shadiness and ruin.
Despite the millions of dollars Proactiv spends on celebrity endorsements, I can’t say I’ve ever been persuaded by it, not even once. Instead of grabbing a testimonial from somebody just because they’re popular, it’s important to select someone who will be perceived as a relevant expert or is an authority figure in your target customers’ industry whom they already trust.
These people don’t necessarily need to be household names. They just need to be people that most of your consumers believe cannot be easily bought and who can be easily verified as trustworthy with a quick Google search.
The Bandwagon Mentality
Being a part of the crowd is comforting. All of the people who were there first are like a big warm blanket supporting your decision, confirming you’re making the right choice. Adding numbers, especially impressive ones, to your landing page can help you to build trust with users. For example, when a visitor sees that you have 15,000 subscribers, they assume that if that many subscribers see value in your content, they shouldn’t hesitate to subscribe.
Similar to the point above, the number of social shares for your product is an indicator of user trust and interest. Use social media share counts to build trust on your landing page. Showcase your Facebook page likes or Twitter followers and mentions to show you have a community behind you. However, there is no point of showcasing a small number of followers; you may have to build up your community first.
The Halo Effect
The “halo effect” is people’s tendency to form a positive impression of something because it is associated with something else that they know and like.
You can take advantage of this in three ways:
First, you should mention any press coverage your company, products or services have received. Back in the day, if someone mentioned you in a newspaper or on TV, you’d generate lots of public interest. It’s the same on the internet. Find out which websites appeal to your target audience and work to get mentioned on them. Then you can use phrases like “featured on X” and use their logos to boost your landing page trust.
Second, use the method of co-branding. By co-branding something like a webinar or a white paper with a more well-known brand, you are able to use their established trust by affiliation. Include the partner logo on your landing page to increase your credibility – particularly if they are an important brand themselves.
Third, include your clients logos. If a big name company trusts you and your product or service, why shouldn’t they?
Brand and Message Consistency
If your banner ad, landing page and destination site don’t carry the same design and messaging, your visitor may think they’ve made a wrong turn. Ensure that your visual design, content style and tone are consistent in all of your online promotions. In particular, is it the same from banner to landing page? Don’t change the color palette, imagery or typography from one to the other, and be sure to repeat the original core message from ad to landing page.
Avoid Gimmicky Sales Tactics and Jargon
People don’t like to feel like they’re getting sold to. No matter how much you feel the need to use the “buy now,” “best deal ever,” “limited-time offer” and “top product in the market” type language, it really doesn’t offer any value to your users. People are starting to learn to see through the hype and understand when you are telling the truth. If you want to gain their trust, educate them. Don’t promise anything you know you can’t deliver, and don’t try too hard to sell. It’s better to position yourself as an expert and showcase your work to encourage people to draw their own conclusions.
Use Verifiable Facts
In the age of comparison shopping and online research, bold claims about your product or service may cause your visitor to question its validity. Shoppers know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So if what you are promising isn’t really true, leave it out, because you will get caught and word will spread.
This seems like a no-brainer, right? Treat your customers how you would like to be treated. Don’t use gimmicks or shady asterisk exceptions on deals or betray the trust that you’ve worked so hard to build up.
A great example comes from UX Movement:
Say you found a great deal that said “buy one, get one free” on your favorite cookies. You go to the store ready to stock up your shelves, but find out that this offer is only valid every second Thursday of the month. You leave feeling disappointed and deceived. The same applies to your landing page. If your call-to-action says “Download Now,” don’t redirect users to a page where they need to create an account to download the content.
Include Easy-to-find Contact Information
What if your landing page doesn’t answer all your visitors’ questions and they want to know more? Make it easy for them to contact you. Display your telephone number or add a visible contact form that tells them you’re there to help. By simply having a phone number, it tells visitors you are a legitimate company and there are real people at the end of the line. It can also be a good fallback for people who aren’t comfortable with online transactions but like your offer.
Show That You Are a Real Company
People buy from other people. Make them feel like they know you – include your company phone number, address, a picture of you or your team to put a human face behind the website, give more information about you and your company, infuse your copy with personality and even add mission statement if you believe it is true and adds value. This will show people that you are a real human being, not a nasty spam robot, and build your landing page trust.
Trust is something that takes a while to build up but is truly worth a fortune. These tips will start you well on your way to building landing page trust. The more your customers and visitors believe you to be credible, the more your conversion rates will reflect it.
Try any or all of the above recommendations to increase the credibility of your landing pages for your next campaign. Share your results below or tweet ‘em @JennyKnizner. I’d love to read about them.