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The Two Biggest Factors Influencing Online Sales: Trust and Authority

By Business.com Editorial Staff
Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: October 23, 2017
Photo credit: Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock

Having a website is not enough. To earn customers' business, you need to assure them that your business can be trusted. Fortunately, no matter what your budget is, here are five tips to convey trust.

Your website is key to how you present yourself, both as an individual and as a company. No matter how small or new your website is, whether you have zero funding and are working from your bedroom, you can make yourself seem bigger and more authoritative through some clever trust signals. The key to increasing user engagement and conversions is by developing trust and authority. Here's how.

Show consumers you are a real business

To demonstrate to customers that you are a real business, add a strong header and footer to your website. Showing your business's physical address and offices, and displaying your company's phone number portrays that you a genuine company – not a random call center in the third world.

Similarly, to show legitimacy, add an About Us page and a Contact Us page. If you peruse other websites, you'll notice that within the footer, you will regularly see things like terms and conditions as well as a data protection and privacy policy. Read some of these policies and create your own to add to your website. This demonstrates that you care about the law and the legal requirements to run your business, and visitors to your site will pick up on this. Conversely, removing these policies from your website instantly diminishes your authority and customer trust, so they are essential things to add.

Display trust logos

By adding trust logos to your website, you can piggyback off the authority of more reputable companies. This includes adding the logos of:

  • Governing bodies or regulators (with their permission)
  • Where you have been featured (news, magazines)
  • Partner companies (well-known brands)

As a very basic measure, posting icons for your various social media pages is useful so users can click through and see that you are proactive and, again, a real company. LinkedIn is a must for most businesses as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you sell consumer goods, Pinterest is a must.

One of the most effective ways to convey trust is displaying positive reviews from established reviews companies on your website. While you can generate your own case studies and reviews, you will see improved results using the likes of Trustpilot, Feefo, Reviews.co.uk and TripAdvisor (if you work in hospitality).

Add security

If you require customers to enter their personal information in order to apply or get a quote, adding a level of security is important. Purchasing an SSL certificate for your website is available from your web host and makes the website show as https Secure in the browser bar, giving you that extra bit of trust.

Similarly, adding words like "Secure" next to any online form can give customers peace of mind. Other phrases, such as "We will not share your data," or "No third-party marketing," also put people at ease from thinking their details might be shared with multiple companies.

Use trust slogans

Some simple slogans displayed on your website can do wonders to earn trust and engage users. Savvy shoppers today are critical of who they work with or place orders through. Adding two or three slogans or facts on your homepage can go a long way in securing customer trust. Some examples of slogan you could use include the following:

  • As seen on TV
  • Over 30 years of experience
  • Founded in 1989
  • Over £100 million funded so far
  • Rated 9 out 10 on Trustpilot

Sign up for Google Business

If you have a new business and are taking time to rank on Google's searches, consider signing up for Google Business. This is free to do and requires verification with a postcard sent to your business office. Once complete, it generally shows up first on Google for your brand name and includes your address, phone number and website URL. Overall, the process takes two to three weeks from the time you apply online to when your listing is live.

Good examples of trust and authority

National Debt ReliefThis is one of the biggest private companies that help with consumer debt in the U.S. Notice the use of the secure server (in the browser bar), mention of awards, use of Trustpilot and the slogan "Trusted by Our Clients." For debt sufferers who may have been burned inputting their details on other websites, this is a site that uses several elements to convey a sense of trust to consumers.

Uncle Buck:  In the short-term loans industry, Uncle Buck has an SSL certificate, a list of trust logos and real reviews from customers from Trustpilot.



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