Seven Dos and Don’ts of Building Trust with Your Website

Take a moment to make a mental list of your favorite brands.

Got it? Good.

I’m willing to bet that whether you’re thinking of international giants like Coke or small, family-owned businesses from your hometown, you feel a sense of loyalty towards them. But how did it get that way? How do we, as consumers, form relationships with companies? The short answer: trust.

“Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

Andrew Davis, founder of Monumental Shift

An obvious way to build prospective clients’ trust is through direct communications like quality content and one-on-one conversations with salespeople—but trust doesn’t start there. No one will be on your mailing list or engaged in a sales conversation unless they feel confident in your business first—and because 83% of B2B buyers check suppliers’ websites during their decision process, trust building has to start there. To make sure your website inspires confidence in prospective customers, be sure to follow these seven dos and don’ts.

1. DO introduce your team.

While most people don’t care to read a bio of every employee at your company, it’s important they have access to key facts—like the name of the CEO, for example. And please, please use a real photo of your staff on your “About” page. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel very trusting of companies who hide behind stock photos like this one:

Generic stock photo of employees
“We just met five minutes ago!”

2. DON’T gate all your content.

Gated content is essential for generating leads, but ungated content is equally important. If prospects aren’t confident they’ll receive quality content, there’s no incentive for them to give up their personal information in exchange. Of course, one way to prove that your content is worthy is to regularly update your company blog. You can also provide one-page sneak peeks of white papers and other gated assets.

3. DO use progressive profiling.

When you first meet someone in “real life,” you don’t ask them all their personal details, do you? Your website shouldn’t be any different. That’s where progressive profiling comes in. Shorter forms lead to higher conversion rates, and prospects will feel more comfortable gradually sharing information over time.

4. DON’T bank on security badges.

Having security badges on your website and landing pages can be beneficial—or detrimental. If that sounds counterintuitive, take this example from Bizible. They found that a “Scanned Virus Free” badge decreased conversion rates on one of their landing pages—but a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” badge increased them.

Success rates will vary depending on your industry, the landing page offer, the type of badge, and even the number of badges you include. Your best bet is to use multivariate testing to see what works best for different pages on your website.

5. DO leverage customer testimonials.

Your company is awesome. You know it, and we know it—but that’s not enough. In order to really trust you, prospective clients need social proof that you’re as wonderful as you say you are. We recently wrote about twelve creative ways you can use case studies in your B2B marketing to give you maximum credibility. My favorite way? Short and sweet video testimonials that you can embed on high-traffic landing pages.

6. DON’T joke about spam.

I recently signed up for kickboxing classes and encountered this form:

Kickboxing landing page with privacy policy

Notice the disclaimer at the bottom: “We hate spammers and hope they get roundhouse kicked in the face! We value your privacy & will never share your information with anyone, ever.”

It’s funny and conversational—but here’s the problem: I wasn’t concerned about spam…until they brought it up in conjunction with roundhouse kicks. Is that logical? Probably not, but it’s actually a common reaction to clever or cutesy privacy policies like this one.

ContentVerve tested different privacy statement variations and found that more conversational privacy policies decreased conversions by up to 19%. A straightforward one, on the other hand, increased conversions by 19%. Like with security badges, this is something you should test for yourself to learn what works best.

7. DO link to your corporate social media accounts—and keep them up-to-date.

When I’m researching a company, I often check out the quality of their social media accounts. Are they current? Do they post relevant, well-written content? It may sound superficial, but if a company can’t manage to maintain its own social profiles, I’m not confident that I can trust them with my business.

What other ways do you ensure your site’s visitors feel confident in your brand? Let us know in the comments!