Before we can answer this question, we first have to pick apart the question. What is trust, and what is the customer journey? Before the internet, the customer journey might have involved seeing an advert for a product in a magazine and then visiting a shop to see it in person. In the shop, a salesperson tells you more about the product in your hand. They too use the product and would highly recommend it. Finally, you decide to buy it.
Along the way, you trusted the magazine and the ads housed within, you trusted the shop that sold the product and finally, you trusted the word of the salesperson. While the journey to purchase might look a lot different today, the same principles apply. Here’s how to build trust at every stage of the customer journey.
Appearance in SERPs
How your website appears in the search engine results can make a huge difference to whether or not people even click through to your site. Meta titles that are too short, too long or riddled with errors are not only unlikely to rank, but they are also unlikely to attract visitors.
In many cases, your appearance in the SERP is the first encounter individuals will have with your brand. At the very least, your meta title and description should be free of spelling and grammatical errors. Make it informative and enticing to a new customer. Returning customers will only respond to your brand name if they can see it, so make sure to include your full brand name in every meta description on your site.
And finally, if you really want to build trust, you should aim for the star rating in the SERP. This isn’t guaranteed, but if you want to be in with a chance to secure this in search, you will need to make sure you have the correct markup on your site.
If you succeed in persuading a user to click through to your website, they will expect to see a number of things. A secure website is one of the best ways to encourage visitors to trust you. Without a secure website, they may even be directed away from your site by their browser. We’ve written before about the importance of a secure website. Even if your site doesn’t handle payment information, it still helps to build trust.
In addition to a secure website, your website should also have a professional feel. Imagine you are looking for a law firm, which of the following two are you more likely to trust?
If your website is still using flash, has excessive conflicting popups or doesn’t look good on a mobile device, you are likely to see a high bounce rate as customers run in the opposite direction.
Whether you have products or services on your website, the words used to describe them matter to your visitors. When descriptions are sparse or riddled with errors, it can leave visitors with more questions. Approach your website content as a visitor would and ask yourself if your existing website copy is sufficient.
Social media channels
Your branding should be consistent across your website and social media channels. Make sure your company name is easily discoverable on social media, or better still, link to your profiles from your website.
Social media can be a powerful way to build trust, but only if you are actively engaging with the platforms. If you have blocked all reviews on Facebook despite running a local business, people might wonder why. If you are going to accept reviews on Facebook, it helps to respond to each and every review. This helps to build trust as it shows that after-sales support is just as important.
People are more likely to trust a company when they share the same values. The “about” page on your website should tell the visitor a little bit about your ethos and values. For example, if you regularly support a local charity and share this information on your site, you are positioning your company as part of the community, which will help to build trust.
We have written about social proof in the past on this blog. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon whereby individuals build their own assumptions based on the experiences of others. So, when we see a website with lots of good reviews from a site like Trust Pilot or TripAdvisor, we are inclined to trust the website more. Social proof can also be used in email newsletters to encourage more people to sign up. If you’ve ever seen a site bragging about their email subscribers, then you’ve seen social proof in action.
As mentioned above, reviews are a great way to inspire trust in your visitors. These can be used on individual products or service pages, or site-wide in a footer or USP bar. Lush is one company that includes customer reviews on their website to huge success. Before buying one of their products, you can see how it has worked for other people. Rather than offering a selection of the reviews, make sure everything is visible. It’s important that reviews are either from a third party website or clearly generated by users on your website, otherwise, they could look made up.
The journey to building trust doesn’t stop when you’ve made a sale. The checkout process should be simple and secure, and you should make it easy for new customers to get in touch about their recent purchase. Post-sales support helps to build trust which can be converted into brand advocacy, which means your newfound fan will go out into the world and sing your praises.