One of the primary roadblocks of selling online is trust. If you gain the trust of your audience, you have a greater chance of making a sale. Conversely, if you swing and miss, you’ll be faced with an uphill battle.
If you could improve your trust factor, how much impact would it have on your bottom line? How would it change the way your target audience sees your business?
My experience shows that the more trust you gain, the more money you earn. For this reason, fostering a trustworthy environment is of utmost importance. The high cost of lost trust is not something you want to risk.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you better pull out all the stops.
Your landing page can make or break your business. Here are five questions to help determine the trust factor of your landing page:
Are You Injecting Personality Into Your Landing Page?
When you meet somebody in person, you have the opportunity to “prove yourself” in a variety of ways. From the way you dress to the way you speak, everything matters.
The same doesn’t hold true online, as there is no face to face contact. It all comes down to the way you present your information.
First and foremost, before you look at anything else, you must review your landing page for personality.
When somebody visits your landing page, they will make a quick decision on whether or not to stay or go. Here’s what happens:
- A visitor feels good about what they see, and is willing to stick around to learn more.
- Something puts the person off, such as a lack of personality, thus chasing him or her away.
Here’s my idea of a landing page with a strong personality:
From a “personality perspective,” here is why Startup Weekend is a winner:
- A tagline that gets to the point. This is the equivalent of a face to face introduction. “No Talk, All Action. Launch a Startup in 54 Hours.” Visitors don’t have to read on to learn more. The tagline is clear, to the point, and most importantly, builds trust within a matter of seconds.
- A more detailed explanation. Would you stop talking to somebody after an initial greeting? Of course not. After the hook, it is time to provide more information. The Startup Weekend landing page adds more personality with two lines of text. This includes more details on the program, as well as a link to an “about” page.
There are many ways to inject personality into a landing page, and Startup Weekend has mastered a successful approach.
Have You Included Images of “Real Life” People on Your Landing Page?
As noted, one of the biggest complaints of the Internet is the lack of human interaction. But when there’s a sense that a human touch is behind a landing page, trust is more easily earned.
This study, led by renowned social psychologist John Bargh, examines the impact of the internet on social life.
When selling online, you miss out on the opportunity to connect with somebody on a personal level. But this doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Using images of “real life” people can benefit a landing page in two ways:
- Improve the trustworthiness
- Connect your consumers with the human element behind a product or service
The right image will communicate trust, but the wrong image could have a negative impact.
When choosing images of people, here are three variables to A/B test on your landing page:
- Stock photo or the real thing. It’s often easier to find a stock photo that works on your landing page, but this may or may not work depending on your audience. This case study by VWO shows that photos of real people can improve your conversion rate. While not detailed in the study, it is likely related to the way people identify with others “in their shoes.” Always test to see which type of photo resonates with your own users.
- Facial expressions. A smiling face may work on some landing pages, but could be a red flag on another. The only way to know which facial expression generates the best results, in terms of trust and conversion, is to test, test, and test some more.
- One person or a group? Just the same as facial expressions, there is a lot of gray area when it comes to how many faces to include in a photo. From a trust perspective, there may not be much of a difference. From a conversion perspective, it is best to test a variety of photos, both groups and individual, to determine which produces the best results.
There aren’t many days that go by when I don’t see or hear an advertisement for Nutrisystem. No matter how you feel about their product, you can’t argue that the company has built a high level of trust. And not just by hiring the likes of Marie Osmond and Dan Marino.
The Nutrisystem landing page builds trust in many ways, including its “front and center” photo of a smiling Marie Osmond:
Even if you’re not a fan of Marie Osmond, there is no denying that a smiling face has helped Nutrisystem gain the trust of its audience and contributed to their 2013 revenue of $358.1 million.
Does Your Landing Page Validate Yourself to the Audience?
Some people visit your landing page with a history. They could have been duped in the past. They could have enjoyed their experience with another company. Either way, you have the responsibility of proving yourself and validating a user’s belief in your company.
Here is a word of advice: treat every visitor to your landing page as if they are having their first interaction with your company.
It goes without saying that you cannot change your landing page for every visitor. You have to consider your entire audience, and it is never a bad thing to focus on experience, expertise, and past accomplishments.
What do you offer that your competition does not? What can you say that will immediately move a person to the edge of their seat? You can’t say everything on your landing page, so narrow your focus and include content that will improve your trust factor.
Check out the Edgar Snyder & Associates landing page. What do you see?
There are a few ways the firm proves its worth, including this passage:
“If so, you need a law firm with a proven track record of success. You need experienced attorneys who have helped thousands of clients get the money they deserve. You need answers to your questions, and you need legal help you can trust.”
And here are the details that build trust:
- A link to a webpage that lists the firm’s past settlements (with big numbers).
- The use of terms and phrases such as “experienced” and “get the money.”
When it comes to your landing page, words are more than words. You only have so much space available on your landing page. With more than 50 percent of visitors spending less than 15 seconds on a given website, time is at a premium as well.
Is Your Landing Page Providing Social Proof?
The psychology of social proof is more powerful than many people believe. Fast Company examined this phenomenon and also outlined five examples of social proof:
- Expert social proof
- Celebrity social proof
- User social proof
- ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ social proof
- ’Wisdom of Your Friends’ social proof
Social proof has been a powerful trust building tool for many years. This has translated well to the online world, primarily in the form of testimonials.
This is nothing new. TechCrunch published a piece entitled “Social Proof Is The New Marketing” in November 2011. More than three years later, this remains a strong way to market, sell, and build trust.
Before we examine a landing page that is using social proof to build trust, here is a statistic from Search Engine Journal that will open your eyes:
“Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.”
If there was ever a statistic that shows the power of social proof, this is it.
ZenPayroll is a prime example of a company using social proof to improve the trust factor of its landing page. Here is what visitors see:
Due to the location of the text, the eyes of the reader are naturally drawn to this quote from a satisfied customer:
“I haven’t seen a government form since I switched to ZenPayroll and I used to drown in them from the other services…”
I don’t know for sure why ZenPayroll selected this quote, but I would assume the following:
- It resonates with potential users who are overwhelmed by too many forms.
- It shows that customers have tried other services first, but have since settled on them.
But I don’t have social proof? This is a common excuse, but not one that should hold you down. Gather social proof by:
- Asking past customers to provide testimonials.
- Ask friends to try your product or service for free, in exchange for honest feedback.
- Seek out an audience online that is willing to provide feedback.
Do You Consider Your Landing Page a Solid Resource?
Try as you might, you won’t fool most of your readers. Transparency and addressing concerns beforehand is a big key to your success.
At this point, you understand the importance of injecting personality, using images, validating yourself, and providing social proof. Along with all this, your landing page should be considered a solid resource.
Even if somebody doesn’t make a purchase, you want them to leave your website with as much information on your company as possible.
Hootsuite is a great example of this. Here is the first thing a visitor will see:
The title tells the visitor what the service offers. The tagline goes on to provide both “expertise” and “social proof” as a means of building trust.
With so much more to say and so many other ways to sell its service, it would have been silly for the company to stop there. Here is what you see next:
This is where the company ramps things up in terms of being a resource. In addition to a passage with details of its features, a chart explains the two user levels.
And finally, Hootsuite kicks it up one more notch:
If a visitor makes it this far, they are interested in learning more. The team at Hootsuite realizes this and doesn’t come up short in providing additional resources that address any questions or concerns immediately.
You can learn a lot from the Hootsuite landing page, but if only one thing “sticks” let it be this: turning your landing page into a resource for your product or service builds trust through transparency and clarity.
Conclusion: Use These Questions to Help Form A/B Tests
This is a lot of information to take in, but determining the trust factor of your landing page is essential to the long-term success and stability of your company.
By answering the five questions above, while also learning from your audience, you’ll be on your way to hypothesizing new A/B tests for your landing page and optimizing across the business. Here are a few A/B tests to start you off in the right direction.