Many businesses struggle with improving conversion rate. The reason is that they don’t understand what conversion rate really measures. It is NOT just the number of buyers divided by the number of visitors. That is what everyone tells you.
In reality, your website’s conversion rate is a measure of your “trustworthiness.” When you start thinking of conversion rate like this, you’ll be able to make some massive increases in the number of buyers.
There is a true saying about sales and marketing that cuts right to the core what marketing and sales is all about. “Marketing is about building ‘value.’ Sales is about building ‘trust.'” Let that sink in, and think about that in regards to conversion rate.
People will only buy from people that they like, know, and they trust. You’ve probably heard that statement before. If you’ve got a lousy conversion rate, it is because they don’t like you, or they don’t know you, or they don’t trust you. If you want to improve your conversion rate, you must improve those three things.
I’m sure that you’re a nice person, and they would like you if they got to meet and know you. So let’s concentrate on the “trust” part of the equation.
When they look at your web site, what questions are going through their mind? For starters, all prospects have a desire or problem that they need solved. The first thing they are asking is: “Does this website offer me a ‘real’ solution to my need or want?” Then they are asking, “Do they really know about my situation and what makes it unique?” “Is the guy behind the website a con-artist just looking to separate me from my money?” And finally, they might be asking this question: “Can I really trust this solution to actually solve my problem?”
In light of these questions, what changes could you make to your site, and do those changes increase trustworthiness, or decrease it?
Let me give you an example of a tactic that I think decreases trustworthiness. It is called a “squeeze-page.” This is a special page designed for one purpose – to get your email address. It has no links exiting the page, so once you’re viewing the page, the only way out is to close the browser window, or fork over your email address.
Personally, I feel manipulated and violated every time I get to one of those pages, and I will not give them my “true” email address. You know, and I am sure you are like this too; you have several email addresses. You have the real one you give to your friends, and the free ones from gmail, yahoo, and hotmail that you put down when you request a free report or subscribe to a newsletter. The free ones you purge and replace every few months, because you get inundated with “special offers.” You never give your real email address out, because you don’t trust the squeeze-page con-artist.
It is easy to kill trust, but what can you do to build trust? Here are 11 tried-and-true tactics to build trust:
1. Testimonials – This works, not because they may not trust you, but they might trust the person making the testimonial. Testimonials need to be worded correctly though. The best ones tell all about the person writing the testimonial, so that the reader can see a reflection of their own situation. For example: “I was 50 pounds overweight, and I thought my life was over. Then I discovered XYZ weight-loss solution…” Do you see how the reader can identify with the person giving the testimonial? They were in the same situation, so reading that type of testimonial is like looking into the mirror at their “future self.” Now they have built up a higher level of trust that the owner of the website knows their unique situation.
2. Guarantee – The guarantee builds trust, because now the web site’s owner is standing behind the product. If it doesn’t work, then they’ll have to give the money back.
3. Privacy statement – This builds trust, because the reader feels better by knowing that his identity isn’t going to be sold to other marketers. It is a pain in the butt to get a new email address every six months because it is getting full of spam because a website has sold the address. The same goes for credit-card information. Many people will not do business with a web site that doesn’t have a secure site and all the right security certificates in place.
4. Shipping fees clearly listed – People don’t want to find out that the item price is lower than the shipping price. That is a big trust killer. Post them where they can see the TOTAL price up-front.
5. Photo of the proprietor – Remember, people want to know you. They want to look you in the eye and see if there is any shiftiness about you. A video is even better, because they can read your body language and look for any signs of deceit. And speaking of photos, remember those testimonials? It builds credibility and trustworthiness when you include photos of the people making the testimonials. Your prospect wants to look them in the eye too.
6. Contact information – They want to know where you are, and how to get a hold of you. If you stiff them, they want to know the address where the local sheriff can serve you a court summons. An “About Us” page is also a great idea to help build up the “know you” part of the sales equation. They will read your biography before they send you any money. In the same way, a “Company History” page will also be read by prospects before they send you either their email address or money. The longer a company has been in business, the higher the level of trust. You knew that, right?
7. Press clippings – These build trust in a similar way as customer testimonials. But they are a bit different. They prove that you run a legitimate business. Otherwise, the news organization would lose their own credibility by giving publicity to a con-artist.
8. List of your Facebook account, Twitter, YouTube Channel, and forums that you frequent – Anywhere extra a prospect can go to get information about you, the more they will like it. And if you offer up the information and suggest that they check you out, the higher your trustworthiness rating goes. A con-artist wants to remain in the shadows, and wouldn’t go out of his way and make it easy for prospects to get background information about him. So you’d be proving you’re the opposite if you encourage people to check up on your business.
The other reason prospects like to see this information, is because they might want to get a bit of retribution by slamming your company in those places should they feel you gave them the shaft. They may have gotten taken, but at least they felt better about getting their feelings out in the open, and hopefully preventing other people from getting suckered.
9. Better-Business-Bureau logo, Veri-sign logo for credit card security, and number of years in business – Again, this is all about them checking up on you. The more places they can check up on you, the higher your level of trustworthiness.
10. Awards you’ve won, achievements you’ve earned – If you’ve won a special award that is rare and noteworthy, don’t be afraid to mention it. The same goes with achievements, such as educational certifications. People view these as a different type of testimonial. In fact, for the prospect, if they are verifiable, they are BETTER than a personal testimonial. These awards and achievements come from organizations, which by definition are made up of “multitudes of people.” That means this type of testimonial carries the weight of a lot of people (more than one).
11. Free Gifts. Almost every web-based business uses this tactic, and for good reason. It works. Prospects think that if you’re willing to put-up something of value before they have to fork over their email address or their money, that it must be worth it. Your credibility goes up.
Flip this around and look at it from the prospect’s perspective. They are thinking the worst about con-artists. A con-artist probably wants to maximize his profits, so he’s not going to give away something free. An example of this is all those Nigerian money-scams that come into your email box. They don’t give you any money up front to prove they are legitimate. Right? You should be thankful that these Nigerian money-scams are around, because they make the technique of inducing reciprocity by giving away a free gift so much more effective. Those scams are improving your trustworthiness because you’re doing the opposite and are giving something of value away for free.
Just make sure what you are giving away is something of real value. If you have to physically mail it through the postal system, your credibility goes through the roof!
Extra Bonus Strategy!
I’m going to give you an extra tactic to improve your web site’s conversion rate, because I always want to give more value than you expected. Here it is…
12. Good Copywriting. This is by far the hardest tactic to use to increase your trustworthiness. But without it, all the other techniques combined won’t change anything. You’ll still be mired in mediocrity and low conversion rates.
Think of it this way. Imagine it is the Holiday Season, and you’re driving across country to go back home to have dinner with your parents. You’re about an hour away from your destination, and your stomach is telling you it wants to eat. You drive past McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and about a dozen other restaurant chains. Instead, you forge on for the next hour to make it to mom’s house for a nice home-cooked meal. Why is that?
All those other companies have excellent reputations and the most pristine trustworthiness. Right? How come they didn’t get the opportunity to serve your needs?
The answer is that you are more inclined to go to the place that makes you feel the most comfortable; “where everyone knows your name.” In fact, your mom might be a terrible cook, but she knows how to make you feel comfortable, is eager to see you, and wants to please you so you’ll come back more often. Isn’t that worth it? Of course it is.
It is the same situation on the web. There are hundreds of businesses that are able to meet the needs of the prospect. But he’s going to drive his mouse to the web site that makes him feel the most comfortable, where the proprietor is happy to see him, and is eager to please him. You have to have that extra “intangible” item on your site to get the sale; and it only comes through the “copywriting.”
Your copywriting is the most crucial part of the conversion rate equation. It is the part that makes the personal connection between you and the prospect. It is going to be the deciding factor as to whether or not he will do business with your company. Work on that first before you start implementing any of the tactics listed above. They are useless until you get the copy done right.
Stop worrying so much about getting traffic to your site. If the copy sucks, everything else won’t amount to a hill of beans.
If you would like to learn the strategies and the tactics to use when writing copy, to make a personal connection with your reader, feel free to visit my web site and read my blog. It contains practical items you can use to quickly make the trust-connection so necessary to have a high conversion rate.