If consumers mistrust your brand, they will not give you their personal information on a landing page. They may browse your store but they will abandon their carts. And ultimately, they will choose a competitor over you.
So, how can companies become more trusted?
When speaking about creating a trusted brand, most consultants recommend changing your company culture. Some call it "living your purpose."
Most often, it requires dramatic shifts in how you manage employees, customer service, and even operations.
Or change perceptions
There are many consultants who can advise you on creating a more authentic company. I focus on perceptions, namely (a) measuring how likely your website is to inspire trust, and (b) fixing it if it fails to inspire trust.
Fixing perceptions involves, first a foremost, having a good brand.
Have a good brand
If you are in a low-trust industry, branding can make you stand out as different. Even if your industry is trusted, good branding will help you seem more authentic and believable To have a strong brand, you need several elements.
A clear promise
Your brand is built around the benefits or experience you promise to your customers. Customers need to understand what they are buying and how they will feel when they use it. A strong brand is never about buying a widget; it is always about buying the best solution to a problem or a desirable experience.
A strong USP
This relates to your brand promise. USP is your "unique selling proposition." It defines who I am selling to, the benefit I am selling, and how this benefit is different from and better than competitors'.
A compatible purpose
Your company mission, values, and history should reflect your promise. You may need be creative when telling this part of your story, particularly your company history.
An appropriate voice
Your brand's voice, or style, should suit both your company and your audience. The right personality of your brand will help engage the right customers.
A memorable visual identity
Visual identity includes your logo, color palette, and graphic design style. Your visual identity should complement your brand voice. It should be consistent across channels.
Choose the right pricing
It is important to reframe costs for tightwad consumer. Instead of asking for $1200, ask for $100 a month.
However, neuroscience shows most people prefer to make one bundled transaction rather than buy separate upgrades. Bundling products or services can help you achieve higher conversions; this is commonly done in the car industry with upgrade packages.
Now more than ever, people will access your website on a mobile device. Your site needs to be responsive and it needs to load in under three seconds. To achieve a fast load time, you may need to simplify your design and remove unnecessary images and icons, as they create additional calls and thus require additional time.
Fifty-eight percent of consumers trust branded websites. But far more – 70% – trust online reviews. This means you should incorporate online reviews into your web content whenever possible. Friends and family are (no surprise) the source of the most trusted reviews.
Videos can improve search engine rankings, attract new leads, and improve conversions. They are great for explaining complex projects. They improve trust in your brand because seeing is believing.
Create believable writing
It's important to establish your credibility and expertise. Credibility can take many forms, including academic credentials and length of experience.
When you ask consumers to take an action, provide a reason for them to take that action. Even though decisions are processed emotionally, people need to have reasons for doing things. This is why urgency has an impact on conversions; it provides a reason to act now.
Don't say product X doubled revenue. Say it increased revenue by 158% for 1,000 customers. People are more likely to believe specific claims, even if you offer no proof for them.
Copywriting that includes and addresses negative arguments is more persuasive. Researchers have found that when flaws are brought up and dealt with, readers find the copy to be more convincing. The way you do this is important. Write from the viewpoint of the customer: "You may be wondering about...." not "This product may seem..."
In line with social proof, testimonials are an important piece of your website content. Testimonials can draw attention to noteworthy clients. They can highlight areas of your company worth bragging about. They can highlight key aspects of your sales message. Testimonials can even be called out by using them as headlines.
Displaying client logos are a form of testimonials.
People make buying decisions based on emotion, not logic.
University of Southern California professor of neuroscience Antonio Damasio has shown that people with a damaged pre-frontal cortex (the brain area responsible for emotion) have cannot make decisions, even if they know the pros and cons.
People have to need what you are selling, but more importantly, they have to want it. This is where emotional selling comes in.
One way to connect with readers is to make them feel like they belong to an exclusive group. This does not work equally well all customer audiences or products.
Company-centric copy uses "we," "us," and "our." It talks about things from the company's point of view. The problem is, most consumers don't care about the company's viewpoint. They care about solving their own problems.
Customer-centric copy allows you to write about yourself as long as it is within the framework of helping your customers. There will be a bigger emphasis on "you," "your," and "yourself.
Your specific style (voice) will depend on your brand and your audience. Readers complain about the overuse of jargon more than anything else. Jargon can be useful as a shortcut, but often terms are meaningless to readers.
Direct, human copywriting converts better than formal writing. Be aware you can go too far with this. Don't pretend to be the customer's friend and cross boundaries; it can backfire.
The average person has a 7-8th grade reading level. So it's important to write simply. Shorter paragraphs are easier to read, especially online.
Verbs not adjectives
Use active sentences with verbs. Strings of adjectives wind up reading like fluff. They do very little do increase your believability. Sometimes, adjectives are used to good effect. This is mainly in romance-style copy – copy used to sell experiences like travel and food. Adjectives can also be useful when selling fashion brands. But, nine times out of 10, verbs trump adjectives.
Using "a small $5 fee" instead of "a $5 fee" in a signup increased conversions more than 20%. Links that say "click me" get clicked more often because there is no hesitating; the link spells out the desired action.
"You," "free," "because," "instantly," "new," "miss out" are classic power words used to boost conversions.
For tightwads (approximately 25% of consumers) bargain words like "bonus," "price break," and "last chance" help grease conversions.
Prospects are driven by curiosity to read past email subject lines and post titles. Choose words like "insider," "top secret." and "unexplained."
People want convenient, no-stress solutions, so appeal to their slothful natures with words like "ridiculously simple," "fail-proof," "uncomplicated, and of course "easy."
Then there are desire words like "mouthwatering," "tantalizing," "crave," and "exotic" that make a product or product seem more appealing.
You can also use ego-gratification words like "successful," "savvy," "sophisticated." and "awe-inspiring."
Rant words stir up anger and mobilize consumers on your side against an entity or situation. Rants words include "abuse," "greedy," "ruthless," and many other descriptors.
Fear is one of the strongest human emotions. People are more afraid to lose something they have than to miss out on getting something twice as good. Fear words include "risky," "scary," and many more.
Finally, there are trust words. Trust is really what you want to build in any sort of marketing. Trust words include:
No questions asked
No strings attached
Try before you buy
Rule of thumb: someone besides the writer needs to proof and edit the copy. It's impossible to find every mistake in your own copy. And mistakes do have an impact on trust and credibility.