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13 March 2013

Building Trust through Your Website to Boost Lead Generation and Conversion

Building Trust through Your Website to Boost Lead Generation and Conversion
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By Subhash Chandra

In traditional forms of marketing such as public relations, trust-based marketing strategies and tactics have been quintessential components of the marketing mix. As an example, the largest independent PR network Edelman has been conducting its proprietary study called the Edelman Trust Barometer, demonstrating the central role trust play in effective marketing.

In web designing, trust has recently taken the spotlight. The concept has always been there, but it was only recently that online marketers and web design experts were able to eloquently describe how something as abstract as trust can be incorporated to something as concretely visual as a website. Today, with all the clutter and the gazillion competitors you may have in the online marketing sphere, trust has been found to be a major catalyst in terms of lead generation and conversion.

Here are a few simple tips on how you can effectively incorporate trust in your website’s design.

The More Established You Are, the More Trustworthy You Appear

They say that building trust takes time. This is exactly why companies with a longer heritage are viewed as more trustworthy compared to newly established brands. Coca-Cola, American Express, Tiffany & Co. – these are just some examples of brands that have been in existence for decades, even centuries and one major reason that people trust them is because of how established they are.

If you have been in the business for a significant number of years, probably at least a decade, incorporating your company’s founding year in your web design is a great way to establish trust among your present as well as prospective customers (i.e. Company X, Est. 1900). Ideal location for this is beneath your logo or your site’s banner or masthead and reiterated within your site’s body copy.

If you’ve been in the business for a couple of years, this is not a good tactic as it can actually weaken trust rather than strengthen it.

Birds of the Same Feather Flock Together

Another extremely effective way to build trust and generate leads or increase conversion through your site is by telling the world who you are affiliated with. It’s really trust via association. As an analogy, it’s like belonging to the “cool crowd” in high school that everyone wants to be a part of.

Put the logos (with permission of course) of the well-known organizations you are a member of and other reputable third parties you are affiliated with. This establishes industry leadership and added respect among your target audience.

Let Your Customers/Clients Do the Talking

Publishing testimonials is still the quintessential and arguably most effective method to build trust. Why do you think review sites such as TripAdvisor and such are such a hit among online consumers? This is because people trust their fellow customers.

Reach out to your satisfied customers or clients and ask them nicely if they could put in a few good words about your products or services. Be sure to tell them outright that you are going to be publishing their statements in verbatim on your site as testimonials. Enhance the trust factor of these testimonials by adding visual elements such as the tried-and-tested “star rating.”

Wear Your Badges Proudly

Your website is not the venue for modesty. You have to put your best foot forward. Do you have badges to show? For example, if you have an e-commerce site, do you have security badges from VeriSign? If yes, make sure that you incorporate these badges or certifications prominently in your website. Just be mindful that their placements won’t clutter your site.

Trust is a basic human value and evidently, it is also one of the pillars of effective marketing – be it offline or online.

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