Trust: Simple Ways to Build Trust on Your Website and Trust Points

Trust strengthens the relationship between you, your company, your products and services, and your target audience. It is especially important online where most product research, selection, and sales take place with very little human interaction.

Building confidence = Reducing Friction

Trust is the online equivalent to Teflon — it can reduce friction in the buying process and eliminate speedbumps and hesitation during signup and checkout. During your most recent online purchase, did any of these questions pop into your head?

  • When I click this brightly colored button to add myself to this website’s mailing list, do I trust the company will not begin to fill my inbox with SPAM instantly?
  • When I click this enticing looking BUY NOW button to pay for the items in my shopping cart, will I actually get them?
  • How long will it REALLY take for the product or service I am about to purchase to arrive?
  • Wait, why does shipping and handling cost twice as much as the product – was that ‘sale’ price really a good deal?
  • Will I receive what I ordered, or a cheap knock-off?
  • Will the product or service live up to my expectations?
  • It’s not clear from the product photo or description whether the item includes [x], how do I find out before I confirm my purchase?
  • If something goes wrong with my order, who do I contact? How do I reach a human? Will a human answer the phone? Will a human reply to my email?
  • Is this a real company? Where are they located?
  • Are they active on social media? If not, why not? What are they hiding from?
  • What are other customers saying about the product or service and the company? About after sales support?

The more significant the purchase amount, the bigger the hesitation when the customer is presented with the Call to Action – SIGN UP, BUY NOW, CLICK HERE. This is the conversion point, where trust becomes the most critical factor and can make the difference between completing a sale or losing a customer to the competition. Building trust is about more than trusting the product or service and the functionality it provides. It’s about making the customer feel like she’s getting value for her money, and she’s going to get what she’s paying for. It’s about believing that you understand her problem, and trusting that your product or service provides the best solution to solve it. How does the information on your current website convince your target audience to trust you? Why will your customer believe that you will deliver on the promise your call-to-action draws attention to?

Understand the problem, building trust points

Building trust starts with ensuring the customer knows you understand her problem. It gets stronger by reinforcing it with supporting information. If you were going to tally up the supporting information you provide on your website, allocating one ‘trust point’ for each segment of information that increases trust in your product or service, you could create a simple ‘trust score’ for your product or service information as a reference or baseline. In general, you should aim to have a minimum of three to five trust points supporting each product or service. More trust points equal less friction in the sales and signup process. Trust points can be product or service specific, or company-wide. A few common ways to establish trust, and build up your trust point score, include:

  • Clear, direct problem statement: state the customer’s problem in clear, simple language using common search engine keywords – this shows that you know what the customer is looking for
  • Simple solution demo: demonstrate how your product or service solves the customer’s problem using photos, videos, and step-by-step instructions – show how easy it is to use your product or service, or how great it looks from multiple angles
  • Staff experts with names and faces: show that the product or service-focused geniuses in your organization are real people – faces and names of experts on your team can increase confidence by reducing the ambiguity of shopping online
  • Competitive analysis and comparisons: including details that highlight how your product or service does a better job at solving the problem than your competition eliminates the need for customers to visit your competitor’s website and shows them you have addressed some of their concerns in advance
  • Instant downloads and takeaways: case studies and white papers that focus on specific benefits show how your product or service has helped other customers, just like your target audience
  • Customer testimonials and celebrity or expert endorsements: explain the benefits of your product or service in your customer’s own words
  • Guarantee or warranty: increase confidence that you stand behind your product or service
  • Industry standards: show how your product or services meets or exceeds industry standards for quality, durability, efficiency, etc.
  • Easy to find contact details: show that you are available and ready to support your customers
  • Rapid enquiry response from a real person: shows that you are attentive to your target audience’s needs
  • A mailing address: shows that you are anchored in reality
  • A telephone number (toll-free if possible): indicates that you can be reached if there are questions before purchase or problems after purchase
  • A picture of your office or retail or office building: shows that you are a real company
  • A map showing location: shows that you are big enough to pay rent somewhere
  • Links to active blog and social media accounts with recent posts: shows that you are active online and paying attention to your target audience
  • Online reviews: shows what previous customers have said about you, gives you a chance to respond to criticism; the way you handle complaints in public is as meaningful as having a good quantity of positive reviews
  • Online booking form: for service-based businesses, shows your availability and willingness/ability to accommodate new customers
  • Customer service / pre-sales chat: shows that you are open for online business, paying attention, there for your customers when they need you

You’re only as good as the browsing, signup or buying experience your customer had the last time she visited your website.

A great product can be destroyed by bad customer service or a difficult purchasing experience.

Bad news, bad reviews, bad experiences travel like wildfire online.

Include multiple ‘trust points’

The trust section of your lean web canvas should include more than ‘trust point.’ Each ‘trust point’ serves to strengthen the customer’s confidence in you, your company and your product or service. Each of the ‘trust points’ can also reinforce other trust points.

  • For example, a customer testimonial could mention a money back guarantee that convinced her to try your product instead of a competitor’s product

As an exercise, review the ‘common ways to establish trust’ noted above and think about the trust points you could include on your website to increase confidence in your products and services.

  • How will your ‘trust points’ highlight the benefits or your product or service?
  • How will your ‘trust points’ relate to each other.

Continue by reading through the following questions, jotting down ideas in bullet form, and tallying up trust points for one of your main products or services. You can also use our Lean Web Canvas Online Tool to assist you in the process:

  1. Review the current text, images, and videos for one main or popular product or service on your website. Is the information you provide presented in a way that shows your target audience you understand the problem she is trying to solve? How could it be improved to make it easier to understand and more obvious? Does it use common search keywords?
  2. Are the benefits your product or service provides clearly stated, along with how you outdo your competitors? (features, price, quality, service level)
  3. Do you make it easy to find and read one or more expert endorsements or case studies that back up claims you make in your product or service description?
  4. Do you provide proof that your product meets the industry standard quality (or other) standards you describe?
  5. Do you provide multiple, high-quality photos showing different views (front, side, top, bottom), styles and options for your product?
  6. Do you provide one or more videos that demonstrate the benefits and features you mention in the text on your website?
  7. Do you include detailed information on how to use your product or service?
  8. Do your testimonials address specific benefits and concerns that customers may have?
  9. Do you offer a money back guarantee or a free trial?
  10. How can you convincingly improve and communicate your ‘trust points’ in as few words as possible?

For more help, try our Lean Web Canvas:

If you have difficulty answering any of the questions, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes — think like your target audience – and consider a recent experience you’ve had making a similar search or online purchase, both good and bad.

  • Why do you trust a particular company to deliver vs. one that you don’t trust?

Use your own experience to help identify how your customers may be feeling when trying to sign up or complete a purchase on your website.

  • What helped you decide to complete the purchase?
  • What increased your trust in the company or brand?
  • Did anything the website presented influence how you perceived it or its products?
  • How can you apply your experience in making purchases online to strengthen your customer’s trust in your business, products, and services?

When a customer trusts your company, she is more likely to trust the products you offer and share information about her purchases with friends, which helps you develop brand loyalty and increase sales. We are now at the half-way point to completing a Lean Web Canvas!

Next Steps

Keep on reading to learn about defining your Deliverable, and the Channels you will use to increase visits your website.

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