Increasing Website Conversions with Trust Signals #smlondon

How do you make sure your website is the most credible and trustworthy site out there? Well thankfully in this digital era there are ways and means of doing just that. I’ve spoken to Filip Matous who is a Digital Strategist and author of ‘How To Get Your Website Noticed‘, to find out more.

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What are trust signals?

So think about whatever your site is, and think of it in four layers. And I’ll tell you how these trust signals tie into it. A good example of this is the Alec Baldwin scene in “Glengarry Glen Ross” when he’s got this seven-minute monologue, he’s got the chalkboard behind him, and it’s fantastic. Google it if you haven’t already seen it.

So at the top, he writes on the chalkboard “A-I-D-A.” And this is what it means:

  • A, is attention.” So, if you’re thinking about your website, it’s how are you getting attention?  So things like are you getting it through PR, are you getting it through paid advertising? Are you getting it through search engines? Are you getting it through social media or are you getting it through direct marketing?
  • I stands for interesting. And that’s when people come into it. It’s the first time they come to your website, and think is it interesting? And that’s actually quite a loaded question, is your website interesting enough?
  • D, and that’s desire. So, that’s usually in a lot of sales situations, especially I would guess, and I’m not as well-versed in HR and recruitment, but it’s usually to get someone to trust a brand, you’ll notice that people have returned to the website multiple times. So, desire for me, the easiest way to understand desire, is are you getting multiple visits back to your website?
  • And then, finally, A, and that’s the action. So, you might be trying to get more qualified candidates or you might be trying to get more clients. And if those, say, are your two main goals on your website, for the whole funnel of this A-I-D-A to work, you’re going to be measuring how long it takes you to get to the action.  What kind of actions are you getting? Are they the right kind of people? And if you haven’t figured out the layers one by one, it’s very hard to arrive at the action.

So, trust signals isn’t just saying “Oh, my site is trustworthy”, or when you’re looking at your site you’re like, “Hmm, is this trustworthy?” I want to pull apart the things that make people trust your website. And what I want to get away from is that gut reaction. When you’re looking at your own site it’s very hard to be objective, so what I want to pull apart in this podcast is to really tell you what is it that makes people say, “Hmm, this seems trustworthy.”

What’s the ROI in online trust and what metrics do you use to measure it?

One of the easiest ways to see if your site is actually interesting and desirable is when people come to your site, do they come to one page and then leave or do they browse through? Now, I’ll add a little bit of nuance. If they are coming to a blog post, then usually your bounce rate might be very high, and that’s normal. I’m often seeing bounce rates in the 90s. But if they’re coming to your home page and then they’re just taking off without checking any other pages out, that’s usually an indication that your site is not interesting enough. And that’s when you’re specifically looking at the metric of home page and bounce rate for first-time visitors.

You can do that in any Google Analytics which most websites are running by looking at the number of new visitors, or by looking at what the bounce rate is on the home page. You can then add little things in. If you, let’s say, have an explainer video on your web page, have they played the video, and you can track that as an event in Google Analytics. Sometimes some companies will have really long home pages because they’re doing a lot of selling on the home page. So you might want to use something like Crazy Egg, which actually shows you how far down the page people scroll. And if you’ve seen that people are only really consuming, let’s say, above the fold, which is like kind of before you start scrolling, and they aren’t going very deep, your home page is not interesting enough. So when it comes to interest those are some ways to use metrics to qualify if your page is good on a first-time visit.

Then on desire, it’s really quite simple, it’s how many times are you getting some of your audience to return back to the website? And what incentives are there for them to come back? So it might be that you are trying to see how many people join your newsletter, so a total percentage. Is it .01% of the traffic that comes to your site that converts into a newsletter? Is it 1%? Is it 3%? It might be even higher. But are you able to show that someone has come to your site and they’ve actually decided to give you some of their information in exchange for staying in touch, which is really giving you their email. Or maybe you’ve even got some sort of a white paper, some sort of a reason for a potential candidate or a client to give you more information, let’s say a phone number, a name, and an email in exchange for something else? That, to me, says that is a very strong metric for judging if you’re actually getting a bit of desire from your site.

And then there’s the really obvious one, which is how many leads has it generated at the end of the day? Like, how many people who were in touch to become a candidate were qualified?  If you’re getting a bunch of leads from people that actually don’t fit your supply of people that you need to sell onto the demand, then your filtering process is broken. But if you are getting the right kind of candidate that’s a very obvious metric to track against the total volume of traffic that you’re getting. So that’s a few directions I would take it but again, I would break it down by interest, then desire, and then finally, action and apply metrics to each of those three layers.

How can you build trust at the very top of the funnel?

So that is where the random role of PR comes in. Usually you can control the experience once people hit your website to kind of present the side of your company you want to present. But at attention, if, let’s say, you want to get some coverage in the press and usually a lot of people are like, “Well, I don’t want to pay that PR agency that much money to get press or that freelancer or consultant.” Where PR is quite handy is if an article placed on another site that the audience recognizes, let’s say a brand which is relevant for your recruitment agency to end up on Inc or Entrepreneur or Forbes, or whatever brand that your audience is used to seeing. If you can appear on that website, and create the first time they’ve heard of your brand and create that attention, by the time that traffic goes from that article back to your website or they bookmark the article, then they end up googling your brand a week later, or whatever. When that traffic hits, the performance of that traffic is so much better than pretty much any other traffic I’ve seen. And it’s a lot lower. But you don’t get the volume of traffic if you’re doing a bunch of advertising, because that advertising traffic when it hits your site is sceptical. It is not ready to believe anything you have to say. But when that traffic comes from a PR placement, and it’s in a publication that someone trusts, and then they come back to your website, they’re already warm. You don’t have to prove to them or sell to them as hard. And that is one way, at the attention level to get trust going, by using some PR because people will trust your website a lot more if that’s the original way they heard of you.

Follow Filip on Twitter @FilipMatous and be sure to subscribe to this podcast.