Trust is a key component of any relationship, whether it's between spouses, an employer and employee, or in this case, a company and its customers. By cultivating trust with your site visitors, your brand becomes less of a logo and more of a personable entity. Your site users may even come away from your site/products with a sense of personal fulfillment, leaving a positive and lasting stamp on the subconscious of your consumer base.

The greatest benefits of establishing trust amongst your visitors include:

  • Higher retention rates.
  • Likelihood of referrals and increased exposure.
  • Increased customer/donor loyalty and share-of-wallet.

And what do these benefits ultimately lead to? The answer is easy: better conversion rates. Below you'll find the best trust-based strategies for conversions that are applicable to for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Be Upfront with Your Visitors

Trust is nothing without the truth, which is why you should make all aspects of your brand and company policies as clear as possible to your customers. From your 'About' page to your payment procedures, visitors should know whose website they're on and what they can expect from a purchase (or donation, if you're a non-profit).

What's Your Brand 'About'?

Would you give your money to a person or retailer you know nothing about? Probably not, and neither will your site visitors. This is why you should have an 'About' page that clearly explains your organization's goals and the reason behind them. If you're a non-profit, this step should be pretty straightforward--describe your cause and why people should care (and donate, if applicable). If you're a standard online retailer, your 'About' page should describe your products and the benefits they offer.

This is a great opportunity to describe your brand in your own words and highlight the unique assets that set your company/organization apart. Through differentiation, you'll see a higher conversion rate and show your visitors you're a transparent and therefore trustworthy destination in the uncertain world of ecommerce.   

Make it Easy to Get in Touch

Making your contact information accessible and understandable is another way to increase your site visitors' trust in your organization. About 1/3 of customers who attempt to contact a company aren't trying to complain or get a refund--they simply need help finding the right information or completing a purchase.

Build your contact information (phone and/or email) or a link to your 'Contact' page into the footer of your website. This ensures your visitors have an easily found and ever-present lifeline if they reach a part of your site that's confusing or questionable. As one of the most visited pages on any website, your actual 'Contact' page should be easy to navigate and encourage users to ask questions and engage with your organization. If you're looking for guidance, check out some examples of the best contact pages on the web.

By streamlining the contact process, you show your visitors you have nothing to hide. There is perceivably less risk involved in purchasing/donating through your site, which means users are more likely to convert.

Get to Know Your Users

Collecting and using relevant data about spending habits and/or interests enables you to create a more personal marketing relationship with your users. Making this connection will help you retain more site visitors, in turn upping your customers' lifetime value and conversion rates.

Use a CRM and/or user surveys to gather the most accurate and important information about your users. Then you can use the gathered intel to personalize your email marketing campaigns and narrow the targeting for your display advertisements. In doing so, you become less acquisition-based and more retention-based. In other words, your organization appears less incentivized to make a quick buck and more determined to present users with products/donation opportunities they actually care about.

Even better, this strategy comes with a bonus benefit! You can use the feedback from your user surveys (with the right consent) to create testimonials for your site. Users are more likely to trust and act on the recommendations of other site users as opposed to those of the organization itself.  When new visitors check out your organization and see a positive user testimonial, trust is quickly established and conversions are quick to follow.

Use Pictures & Video

As visual creatures, humans more easily connect with and understand mediums like photography and video as opposed to text.  It's through this different type of user engagement that you'll start to build trust and conversions. 

A picture is worth a thousand words...and in this case, potentially more conversions on your site. Several studies have shown that putting pictures of other humans on your site, specifically their faces, will increase your visitors' trust and conversion rates. Always use real photos--stock photos are easy to spot and can make your site look spammy. When users see another genuine human face, your brand becomes more personable and relatable, decreasing the perceived risk of buying/donating through your site.

When used correctly, video is another great medium for building trust. Having videos on your site helps to better convey the emotions attached to your brand and allows you the opportunity to show off your organization's best assets in a truly engaging way. Use video to visually walk your visitors through the organization's processes, ideas, and/or products you want to highlight. By using a medium that's easy for visitors to understand and engage with, you'll make your site more trustworthy and user-friendly.

Show Where the Money Goes

This tip is most applicable to non-profit organizations. Do you ever donate and wonder if your money is actually being used to benefit an organization's proclaimed cause? If so, you're not alone. According to a survey by The Chronical of Philanthropy, 35% of Americans lack confidence in the effectiveness of charities. Even more troubling, just 13% of those surveyed believed charities do a good job of allocating donations. If you work for a non-profit, these numbers spell worry and scream a lack of trust. Without trust, your visitors have no incentive to donate to your cause.

You can remedy these issues simply by showing your donors where their money goes. Be specific and of course, honest, about your numbers. You might choose to create an infographic or PDF so users can clearly visualize how their dollars are being spent. Youth Villages does an excellent job showing the impact donations are made as shown here. Even if a percentage goes to paying the organization's workforce (more than often it will), it's better to be forthcoming about this than vague, which will make you look untrustworthy. By maintaining transparency around donation allocation, you show your organization can be trusted and visitors will have an easier time giving money to your cause.

Secure Your Site with HTTPS

When conversions are made, personal information flies across the vast ether of the internet on what we hope is a private and protected journey. In an effort to defend this sensitive information, Google has started notifying Chrome users if a website isn't secure, or, doesn't use HTTPS.  When a visitor sees a non-secure warning, they're sure to leave your site and possibly never return due to the lapse in trust.

If you haven't already, implement HTTPS as soon as possible. Making this move will increase user trust, decrease your bounce rates, and perhaps most importantly, keep your visitors' sensitive information safe. When a user knows their personal and payment details are secure, they won't second-guess about purchasing/donating through your site.

The Takeaway

There are so many different ways to build trust with your site users, even implementing just a few of the above strategies is sure to help your conversion rates. Always remember that you're dealing with real people who need transparency and reassurance along their path to conversion. In the end, establishing trust with your visitors is beneficial to both parties: users feel good about purchasing/donating on your site and your organization reaps the rewards of retention, referrals, and user loyalty. 

How do you establish trust with your audience on your website? Let us know what has worked with your business.