4 pillars of building trust online – Conversion Conference London

4 pillars of building trust online – Conversion Conference London

1st November 2010

Tim Ash’s keynote began with saying it’s not about the technology, its about the inside of our own skulls, and focusing on that will deliver a lot of improvement in conversion rate.

Our lives depend on trust and there are thousands of actions every day that require trust. The pinnacle of trust is family and this deprecates as we move outwards. Building trust online is really tough because:

1) It has to be done instantly – 1/20th of a second to deliver an impression on quality and the likelihood of conversion parallels the impression on quality

2) We don’t know our visitors, we know a little bit about intent based on the keyword used, we don’t know the cultural biases, mood or buying intent. The key is to let them know you.

The 4 pillars:

1) Appearance

Appearance matters, it forms the initial impression. The appearance needs to map the value of the sale. Bad design spikes bounce rate. Don’t get disqualified based on solely how you look. Graphic design is progressing rapidly and you need to stay in touch with that. Areas to focus on include sparseness and neatness , organization and clarity. Massive menu lists get in the way of good prioritization as do rotating home page graphics.

2) Transactional Assurances

Will they deliver on their promises? What are the returns policies? The worst practise is to have the trust and returns information below the fold. Only 20% of your visitors will see that content therefore only 1 out of 5 people will see your trust points. Emphasise your trust point in the header of the page. Show your payment and delivery methods. Data security and privacy is a big concern in Europe. Create assurances on guarantees and promote this. If you lengthen the length of your money back guarantee it won’t significantly impact costs but it will significantly increase conversion rate. Use seals within your trust graphics.

3) Authority

Relieve appearances of anxiety before they occur. Use media brand icons to establish authority by association. In case studies this has increased conversion rate by 40%. A page with 50 logos had 40% higher conversion rate than a page with 5. This is not always possible. The trust marks don’t matter as much as having them. Borrow trust from your clients. Use greyscale to minimise the design impact.

If you donate to charity, use this as a call to action to establish authority.

• Reviews and awards
• Marquee clients
• Media Mentions
• Trade associations

4) Consensus of Peers

People care what their peers think. Peer pressure affects us both offline and online. Firefox exposes 543 million downloads so far to increase the herd effect to increase the number of people think that “it’s good enough for me”.

Use integrated credibility panels integrated into social platforms to help convince people to buy.

Support automatic compliance by demonstrating social proof. Use objective large numbers and peer likeness as people only care what their peers think. Link to that specificity.

See other related posts on the conversion conference:


Written By
Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.
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