Trust Signals Lead to Online Sales
31 Jan 2012
Do you have a ‘guy’?
You know. A mechanic, repairman or contractor that does all of your work, otherwise known as ‘your guy’? Every so often your close friend or family member will mention some sort of problem in their life.
Most of the time it’s car trouble or an air conditioning unit on the fritz in the middle of summer. The owner simply doesn’t know what to do or where to take the faulty machine for service.
More often than not we have a solution by way of ‘our guy’. He’s the person we trust to do the work right, on time and under budget. ‘Your guy’ has your trust and you don’t think for a second that he’ll rip you off.
That trust is a major part of ‘your guy’s’ sales.
That trusted mechanic gets new leads just because you tell others. The Internet has trust signals that work for websites in much the same way. Internet shoppers subconsciously react to those signals, making them more likely to be interested in your product or service.
Internet Trust Signals
There are a lot of different trust signals that you can use online. Here’s a list of common trust signals that work:
Direct Contact Details
Make sure that your website has avenues for communication. Nothing pushes people away faster than not being able to ask any questions. Having an email address, contact form, phone number and additional resources puts consumers at ease.
Users like to feel supported throughout their purchase processes even when they don’t have questions. Whether they use them or not, contact details establish trust.
Up-to-date Social Media Accounts
Some businesses run social media pages and accounts in addition to their website. This gives the user a platform for social interactions with your business. Give those users frequent updates and useful posts and the trust they have for your business will grow.
Activity is key.
If you’re going into social media make sure you do it consistently. Mismanaged accounts with no activity can become a distrust signal before long. Show your audience you’re always hanging out online.
Quick Response Times
If you wanted to speak to someone overseas a few hundred years ago you had to write a letter and send it by boat. One sent message and one response could take months. These days we can send and respond in the blink of an eye but strangely enough that doesn’t always happen.
We’ve all be in the position before. An online item has piqued our interest and we want to buy, we just have a few questions before we finalize our transaction. An email is sent and then the waiting begins. Sales are like water. They follow the path of least resistance. Be vigiliant. Be available.
Live Chat Options
Having a 24 hour phone number or a quick chat option on your website isn’t the easiest system to manage but it is a massive trust signal.
If shoppers get the impression that they can call you just as easily as their friend or next-door neighbour 24 hours a day they tend to part with their money more easily. Users don’t want to buy from a faceless entity.
Trust Icons & Logos
There are certain logos that you just trust when you see them. The pink ribbon synonymous with conquering cancer or the universal symbol of the red cross are two prime examples. When we see those icons we automatically trust the event or people associated to that logo.
Logos and icons can work the same way on your website. Security trademarks and Better Business Bureau ratings help drive sales. If your business is respected by the business community at large that respect and trust will trickle down to the people doing the purchasing.
Affiliation & Partners
Having connections to other successful businesses in and outside of your industry lends trust to your online business. The more affiliates and partners that trust you to do business the more likely an online shopper is to make a purchase.
Business History & Reputation
The way you operate is a big part of how much your business is trusted. Make sure that you treat people with respect and process their requests in a professional manner. Nothing ruins a business faster than bad word-of-mouth. It puts off potential customers and doesn’t encourage repeat business.
Show your potential customers you aren’t a lawless neanderthal. You’ve got some rules, regulations and standards of your own. Publish those standards online and show people there is structure to your business processes.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are even more ways to show customers they can trust you online.
Do your customers trust you? What do you do to establish trust during online transactions? And what trust signals does your website employ? Let us know and we’ll add the good ones to the list.
And here’s some links to other information that will help drive traffic and sales to your online business.