How To Build Trust with Customers through Your Website
Building trust with customers is crucial in any business—Moreso in the crypto industry.
We are so driven to maximize conversions and attract new customers that we usually fail to create a positive experience. And ironically, this turns people away from our brand.
To create a successful user experience, we need to design our website to meet a user’s trust needs. Imagine walking up to a random stranger and asking him for his full name, phone number, and email address.
The chances they would give it to you are pretty slim. So why are we doing that online?
But let’s see how we can avoid driving users away from our page and instead prove to them that they can trust us.
Understanding how trust works
Earning the trust of your customers is like most things in life – it works one step at a time.
Just like Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, the Pyramid of Trust expresses the steps involved in earning the trust of a stranger by eliminating his fears one by one.
You can’t convince your users to trust you with sensitive financial information without them trusting you with their personal information first.
The Pyramid of Trust has 5 steps, each of which cannot be achieved without first meeting the previous one.
1. Baseline relevance and trust that needs can be met – Can this website solve my needs? Does it have what I’m looking for?
2. Interest and preference over other options – How is this website better than other options? Why should I choose this over the others?
3. Trust with personal information – Can I safely store my personal information (name, email, phone number) on this website?
4. Trust with sensitive/financial information – Can I add my debit card information to this website? What about my physical address?
5. Willingness to commit to an ongoing relationship – Is it safe to set up a recurring payment? Should I log in with Facebook/Twitter/Gmail?
Getting your users to trust you involves several steps and can prove quite difficult, as most of the time users aren’t even aware of their doubts at each stage. Earning the trust of your users will prove quite difficult with a website that loads slowly or has usability issues.
But that is only true for users who are interacting with you for the first time. External factors such as personal recommendations or word-of-mouth can greatly affect a user’s initial trust in a business.
Pay attention to your user’s trust needs
Every time you ask a visitor to take action on your website, think if you provided them with enough information to meet their trust needs.
Imagine browsing the web for some airdrops to join. In your quest for free tokens, you end up on a landing page that is blocked by a huge pop-up asking you to sign up or sign in via Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail.
What would you do?
Sign up or go back to the results page and look for a different airdrop?
As a user, you only interacted with the page’s title and description in the SERP. You didn’t read their whitepaper, you haven’t seen their “About us” page, and you have no clue what that crypto project is about. But the website is asking you to trust it with your personal information.
For all you know, this might be another phishing scam. An upgraded version of the Nigerian Prince.
But let’s push that login wall a bit later in the user’s experience, and see how that would feel.
You land on the website’s airdrop page. You read the requirements of the airdrop, check the website’s homepage, watch a short video about the project’s history, and see that numerous publications mention the project on their website.
That already makes you feel more confident about signing up.
When a user lands on your website, you need to make sure they understand what they’re doing there and how you can help them.
There is where user-centered design comes in.
Let’s do a quick exercise.
Head over to your website’s homepage, but don’t scroll below the fold. Let it sit right where it loaded up.
Can a user understand what your website is about just by looking at the above-the-fold content? If they can’t, you might want to work on that part of your website a bit more.
Make sure you’re using HTTPS
If you are not using HTTPS, that’s something you need to attend to right now.
What is HTTPS?
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is the protocol through which browsers and websites transfer data. The S in HTTPS stands for Secure, resulting in HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure.
Google declared in 2014 that they will reward websites using HTTPS. But in 2018, they started labeling non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure.” So if you’re trying to rank in the SERP with a non-HTTPS website, you’re going to have a bad time.
How to obtain an SSL Certificate
If you need to move from HTTP to HTTPS, an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate is what you’re looking for.
But how can you get one?
Well, that depends on how your website is built.
- If it’s hosted with an agency, get in touch with them to see what process you need to go through.
- If your website is WordPress-based, most hosting companies offer free SSL certificates. All you need to do is activate it from your control panel.
- If you’ve got your own website built from the ground up, you’ll probably have to buy your own SSL certificate. You can usually get one for about $70/year. But that’s a small price to pay when you put in balance all the benefits it brings with it.
Use social proof to build trust
Let’s say you’re on Medium, looking around for a good post to help you get the basics of UX Design. And you filter your results into two posts – one with 12 claps and one with 12,000.
Which one will you read?
I’m pretty sure I would choose the one with 12,000.
This concept is commonly known as “social proof,” and Robert Cialdini first introduced it in his 1984 book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, where he states:
“One means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. […] We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it. Whether the question is what to do with an empty popcorn box in a movie theatre, how fast to drive on a certain stretch of highway, or how to eat the chicken at a dinner party, the actions of those around us will be important in defining the answer.”
And due to the magical powers of the internet, this is now more effective than ever. When it comes to trusting a brand, we all look at how other people interact with that brand.
Don’t believe me? Check out these 2 findings by BrightLocal:
- 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
- 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
So how can you use social proof to build trust with your customers?
For starters, think about the type of website that you own and how people interact with it.
- Are you running a news website? Then make sure your social share buttons are visible and easy to access and that you display how many times the pieces of content were shared.
- Are you running a blog? Then give people a way to engage with your posts. Add a comment section, and display stats such as likes and views on your posts.
- Is your website built to present your business to the world? Then provide your users with reviews, testimonials, or case studies from clients or business partners.
However, building social proof isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Because social proof can also be negative
We talked times and times again about the importance of copywriting. The way you write your post and phrase your thoughts is crucial to the way your post will ultimately perform.
And this idea applies to many other aspects of doing business.
Negative social proof isn’t just less effective than social proof, but it is actually harmful.
In the book Yes! 50 Secrets From the Science of Persuasion, Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin present a test they ran with signs placed in the Arizona Petrified Forest to deter people from stealing the petrified wood.
They created 2 signs with different messages and measured the impact of each sign on the number of pieces of wood stolen. These 2 signs read:
- Please don’t remove the petrified wood from the park, in order to preserve the natural state of the Petrified Forest.
- Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, changing the natural state of the Petrified Forest.
The results? Well, I guess you could say they were…petrifying.
In the control condition, where no sign had been put, 2.92% of the pieces were stolen. The first sign managed to lower the number of stolen pieces to 1.67%.
But what about the social proof sign?
That one almost tripled the number of pieces stolen, raising the number to 7.92%.
And the reason is simple. The message served as proof that others were already stealing from the forest without any repercussions. What that message was really saying is that countless people are already stealing from the petrified forest, and we can’t do anything to them.
Here are some more examples of negative social proof:
- People dump 14 billion pounds of garbage into the ocean each year.
- Over 40% of US voters didn’t vote in the 2016 elections.
- More than 70% of people in Europe jaywalk on a weekly basis.
You can notice that in trying to emphasize a negative action that should be changed, what we actually do is say that many people are already doing it without many (or any) repercussions.
But negative social proof isn’t only about the way you phrase your copy.
If your blog has a low follower base, it might be better to go for a clean look instead of displaying that your posts have an average of 40 views and 1 share. Even the best blogs have a hard time getting out of the dirt at the start.
SIDENOTE. Rand Fishkin goes in-depth on the varying effectiveness of social proof in the Moz blog. If you’re looking to better understand the psychology and the usability behind this concept, make sure to check it out.
Build more trust using PR
Not all businesses are created equal.
Sure, being mentioned in a small publication will bring you some notoriety and will make you feel like someone is acknowledging your work. But being covered by a massive publication would do wonders for your business.
And that’s because they have huge credibility in the industry.
The best way to take advantage of your notable media appearances is by setting up a dedicated section on your website where you showcase them.
This can be as easy as listing their logo and adding a backlink to the original story for proof. But you can always take it to the next level and add an excerpt of what they said about you.
And the same thing goes for your clients. Having a public person that believes in your project can inspire more trust than having one thousand regular customers. Showcase them as a client, and you’ll watch your brand reputation grow by the day.
That’s why influencer marketing has been exploding in the past few years. We usually judge a person’s opinion based on our overall impression of them. If we like a person and they recommend a product or a business, we’re more likely to buy from and trust that business.
Learn about the potential impact of social media
Social media is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to shaping people’s opinions.
Just think about it.
Information is super accessible and easy to share. And Facebook’s reactions or Twitter’s retweets serve as a strong signal of social proof. The more shares, reactions, or retweets a post has, the more attention and, thus, credibility it will receive
But there’s one more important aspect that can help you build trust with customers through your social media channels – activity.
Keeping a Facebook account that you’re not using regularly just for the sake of having it is inefficient and can also damage your brand reputation. Just think what a customer would say if they landed on your Facebook page that has 230 likes and hasn’t posted anything in the last 4 months.
To me, that would look pretty fishy.
That doesn’t mean that you should constantly spam your followers just for the sake of being active. Try to create a healthy posting schedule and stick to it. Post behind-the-scenes photos from your project development process, sneak peeks, and even content produced by someone else that you find interesting.
Be genuine and provide value to your followers, and they will repay you with loyalty and positive interactions.
Craft targeted customer testimonials and case studies
Showcasing a testimonial is more than just taking a few words from what one of your customers said, putting it in a nice design, and uploading it on your website.
Before going to your happy customers to ask them for a testimonial, try to form a detailed idea of who your ideal customer is – demographics, interests, problems.
By presenting your product or business as a solution to the problem that your customers encounter often, that testimonial will do wonders.
And the same goes for case studies.
Few people will care about how you helped one of your clients improve their business unless they can relate to your client’s business obstacles. Before setting on the journey of telling your awesome customer success story, do your research and see how many of your potential customers will be interested in hearing it.
Always have a purpose behind every piece of content that you put out. Most of the time, something is better than nothing. But if you’re putting time and effort into a case study, it would be a shame to have it miss your target audience.
Designing a great About us page
The about page is probably the most underrated and overlooked.
On most websites, you’ll find some photos of the team, along with some fancy-sounding business goals and objectives that don’t really say much. They just sound…good.
But this is where you can help your audience know who you are and what you stand for to help strengthen the bond between you and your customers.
To decide what we need to include on our “About us” page, we first need to figure out why and who will visit it. Some questions that your users might have are:
- How long has this business been in the industry?
- Is this a big or a small company?
- How much experience does the team have?
- Who owns the business?
- How is this project different than the others?
Building a great about us page requires time, effort, and some subtle copywriting skills.
Characteristics of a good “About us” page
Don’t be shy about your accomplishments. If your project got its funding in half the time it was supposed to, say it. Take pride in what you have realized so far, and don’t be afraid to speak up about your business objectives, even if they seem out of reach for the moment.
Numbers and charts are a great way of proving to your users that you’re for real.
If your user/customer base is growing like crazy from one month to another, add a graph and show it. Was one of your team members a speaker at a large crypto conference? Add that accomplishment next to their name.
Stating that your company is innovative and game-changing is one thing. But proving it is another.
Bragging about your accomplishments without having a way to prove them is more damaging than it is good. Don’t be afraid to add links to reports and outside sources that talk about your success. This will help your customers see that you’re indeed a trustworthy business.
Is easy to understand
Punching in a bunch of smart-sounding phrases that use complicated words won’t do anything but confuse your readers. Use simple language, and make sure that everyone understands what your business is about, regardless of how much experience they have in the industry.
Doesn’t try to convert
That’s what your homepage and product pages are for.
The last thing a user wants is to try and find out more about your business only to stumble upon yet another page that tries to convert them into a customer.
Be personal and honest with your readers. Tell them what your business values are and what you are trying to achieve. If they can relate to your values, they will be more inclined to form a positive opinion of your brand.
In business and marketing, earning the trust of your customers is crucial.
It is a difficult process that requires a lot of planning, but if executed correctly, it can make a difference between failure and success.
I hope that the topics I covered in this article will help you get a basic understanding of the process behind becoming a trustworthy brand.