How To Use Trust Symbols to Increase Conversions on a Brand New Website

By , December 28th, 2010 in Conversion | 81 comments
This is a guest post. The author’s opinions are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect the views of Unbounce. (But there’s a fairly decent chance that we agree with what they’re saying).
Today’s post is the second guest post by Kevin Kaiser from Surety Bonds.

Your website is still in its infancy. The New York Times has yet to write a feature about you and Forbes didn’t include you on one of their best-of lists.

This does not mean your website can’t be trusted. In fact, there are a number of creative ways to maintain a reputation of honesty and credibility even as a fledgling site that hasn’t garnered national attention. With some basic online security practices and a pinch of creativity, trust symbols will run rampant on your site.

Trust symbold for conversion
Trust me. I know what I’m doing. Honest. Image source (http://firstrung.co.uk/dbimgs/knife%20thrower.jpg)

Tip 1: Get some security

Security symbols are important on your website

Source: http://www.cultofmac.com/amid-the-hype-iphone-backlash-building/2211

Adding a secure socket layer (SSL) to your website is a great start. Even though online stores often use SSLs, they can be applied to any website. SSLs actually act as a way to ensure a website’s identity via a third party, which would be the issuer of the SSL certificate.

Verisign, GeoTrust and Webnet77 are popular certificate issuers. Any personal information—such as addresses or credit card numbers—gets encrypted so only the sender (customer) and receiver (web master) can see it.

Website owners add even more protection with services like Hacker Safe or eTrust. The former focuses more on payment card information (PCI) scanning. Hacker Safe checks servers to find possible breaches in security that could affect the transmission of customers’ information or purchases.

eTrust certifies websites after examining them and making them responsible for privacy and customer protection. Either service lets you flaunt a logo on your site to tell customers you’re secure. And conversion tests have consistently shown the more security and trust symbols you place near the point of purchase (or “submit”) increases your conversion rate.

Simply, you can’t have too many security indicators on the site. From https to the little badges that ride in your sidebar.

Tip 2: Share your knowledge

Matt Damon unintentionally sharing his knowledge
Matt Damon knew everything but didn’t want to share it publicly. You should do the opposite and show off your merits.

If you run a site or company, chances are you know something others don’t.

You’re an expert.

How can that help? Well, don’t save all that goodness just for your own website.

Write guest posts for niche blogs or sites that are trusted and reputable in your industry. On your site, you can then share your post. Guest posts allow you to bolster your reputation, but they also help you increase search engine results. The more your website is mentioned on other sites, the better.

And if you can write for some fairly prominent blogs, it’s not just the mentions that will come home to roost. Sites like About.com or a niche blog like Mashable are worthy of their own “As Seen On” quotes on your website.

CNN’s iReport is a one of my favorite places to take a new site and include it in a story. iReport lets any individual create a news story (video is the preferred medium) and upload it to CNN. It doesn’t matter who you are – I saw one on there for Sanford Brown this morning, right next to one for Great Cruise Deals – clearly, the platform is open if you can get cruise deals mentioned!

Tip 3: Solicit reviews

If people love you, shout about it!

Boosting customer confidence isn’t easy. But customers listen to each other, and they take other people’s reviews to heart. So don’t feel uncomfortable asking loyal, pleased customers to exercise word of mouth. Then boast reviews from Yelp, Glassdoor or even the Better Business Bureau on your website.

It doesn’t cost anything to participate on most review sites (although the BBB does carry a fee). But it certainly allows a new site owner or young company to add some third-party recognition and discussion around their name or brand. Site visitors know and trust Yelp and sites like Glassdoor because they’ve seen them numerous times before, and look to them as a known forum for reading other’s evaluations of a business. Simply being featured on these sites hints at a certain level of legitimacy.

No matter what strategies you employ, corroborating your honesty is a must for a startup website. People want to work with a trusted website. Make it known that you’re reliable and secure to help your site flourish.

What have you done to make your landing page or website more trustworthy?

Tell us in the comments below…

Kevin Kaiser


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About The Author

Photo of Kevin Kaiser

Kevin is the online marketing director for SuretyBonds.com, managing search engine optimization and conversion optimization. He has also been involved in other online marketing campaigns with other companies that have been named Inc. 500 companies including Plus1 Marketing (2009) and Mortgage Research Center (2007). When not at the office, he enjoys trying new foods, traveling, and running cross country.
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Comments

  1. Oli Gardner says:

    Great post Kevin. A really big fan of tips like the ones you expose in #2 and #3.

    Getting those instant trust indicators (such as “as seen in the NY Times”) can be costly and time consuming and all new companies ask themselves how to achieve this.

    Having some techniques to get some other options in place while you wait for the grand slam is a great tactic and your tips are appreciated.

    It would be great to see some example sites showing these types of endorsement if you have any.

    • Kevin Kaiser says:

      Thanks for having me on again Oli!
      As far as examples, I’d like to think my site (www.suretybonds.com) does a good job as following my post here. Especially #2.
      I think you guys here at Unbounce also do a great job at these ‘trust factors’. You’re ‘who’s using Unbounce?’ section does a great job at this as many already trusted and established brands are listed. And also, for someone with a blog, adding a badge from a trusted source like AdAge is a great idea like done here. People know that it must be a good site/blog right from the start.

    • Kevin Kaiser says:

      And I found this link after publishing the post but it’s really relevant so I wanted to pass it along to anyone that might be interested in getting their startup featured on Mashable. http://mashable.com/2010/05/19/startup-submission/

  2. I have added any Chat box that goes directly to my phone..I’m able to communicate to my readers easily.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Oli Gardner says:

      What software/widget did you use for the chat box?
      How does it connect to your phone? And AMS text message or are you connecting a call through directly?

      Interested to know how you see this affecting your conversions.

  3. Himanshu says:

    Adding your staff photos is a great way to build trust. It shows that you are real business and not just another scam site. Video testimonials of clients is yet another great way to build credibility. Many businesses don’t provide phone number or complete physical address of their company. This damages credibility and should be avoided.

    • Oli Gardner says:

      All good points. I like it when people add authentic looking photos that are clearly real.

      Recording a video testimonial of a willing client would also make them feel more special.

    • Kevin Kaiser says:

      I love this idea personally. And even listing your phone number and address is not really good enough now. By adding a staff page and client/customer reviews, new customers can feel a small sense of connection with your company/website and are much more likely to use your service that is offered.

  4. Steve Young says:

    Great post, Kevin. Having a section of who’s using your service is another great way to build trust. Basecamp does a great job of doing just that.

    http://basecamphq.com/customers

    • Kevin Kaiser says:

      Thanks Steve. I have to agree with you on that. And if you have large clients that can help as well. I remember when SEOmoz was doing consulting they had a page up about how Disney and other big corporations where some of their clients. Builds a lot of trust in my opinion with a huge corporation using your services.

  5. Rod says:

    Thanks Kevin, really good post. I have to agree with the fact that sharing your expertise is a great way to gain trust and exposure. Using Facebook to give your friends a new daily tip is a great way to keep customers and potential customers loyal.

  6. jen says:

    On the “chat” front, I wanted a way to chat with people looking at this site:

    http://mdk.mobilelove.org/mobtuts/

    I looked into Digsby but needed something that would work on mac. I finally settled on the Google Talk “Chatback Badge” here:

    http://www.google.com/talk/service/badge/New

    and then i use iChat on my Mac to receive the messages. I also downloaded a few iPhone apps to see if i could receive the messages on my phone, but haven’t found one that works yet. They all crash when I try to “accept” the chat invitation.

  7. I like the mention of the cnn ireporter option to say “you’ve been on cnn.” I saw a few ireporters have links (albeit nofollow) from their profiles, but signed up and didn’t see a spot to submit it. Thoughts?

    • Kevin Kaiser says:

      Sweet. Glad you want to use it. When on ireport.cnn.com underneath the red nav menu on top there is horizontal list of links, one of them being ‘Upload’. Click that and sign in if not already and you should be set. Hope that helps :)

  8. iTrust.Me says:

    Very good info. A good domain name also helps to create “Instant Trust”

  9. [...] the team at Unbounce had another great post on using trust symbols to increase conversions on a brand new Website. To help out with the nuts and bolts of setting up these types of tests, the Seer Interactive blog [...]

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  13. [...] by simple icons in the shape of recognizable badges or logos. A recent post from Unbounce shows How To Use Trust Symbols to Increase Conversions and another trust builder to keep in mind is if you have awards or are part of an [...]

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