As a travel marketer or agency marketer servicing the travel industry, you have a tricky gig. You need to convince your prospects to spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time.
Meanwhile, your prospects are increasingly wary of the legitimacy of your offers (thanks a lot, Fyre Fest).
Here’s to hoping your vacation is memorable, but not in a meme-worthy kind of way.
Your challenge then is to effectively convey trust on your travel landing pages. Doing so can help ease prospects’ conversion anxiety, resulting in more travel leads and sales for your business.
The importance of trust on your travel landing pages
We often talk about the importance of trust and credibility on your landing pages — this isn’t a new idea.
But for some industries, a lack of trust can have hugely detrimental effects on conversion rates.
In a recent analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform, data scientists found that travel landing pages can realistically achieve conversion rates of at least 12%. Even more impressive is within the travel and tourism industry, the very best pages convert over 25% of their visitors (schwing!).
Notice the dramatic conversion rate difference between percentiles? If you’re part of that percentile getting 2.1% or lower conversion rates, your pages have lots of room for improvement. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.
If you’re not hitting these benchmarks, it might be time to take a hard look at your marketing and ask yourself if you’ve done enough to make your prospects trust you.
And don’t worry if your answer is “No” or “I’m not sure.” We’ve compiled four data-backed ways to boost trust on your travel landing page. Use them as a jumping off point for your optimization efforts.
1. Bolster your copy with trust words
Using an Emotion Lexicon to analyze copy, Unbounce data scientists found evidence that visitors to travel landing pages have slight concerns about the legitimacy of the offers.
However, they also found that using at least 7% (and up to 10%) of your copy to establish trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.
(Keep in mind, though, that these words were generated by an algorithm and should still be applied using common sense. Just adding the word “spa” to your page — especially if you don’t offer spa services — is not going to increase your conversions.)
The travel experts at Nordic Visitor do a great job of using trust words to build confidence on their Iceland site. It’s not a landing page per se, but the same principles apply.
“Team,” “planning,” “provide” and “personal” are all words found to positively convey trustworthiness. Adding these and other trust words to your copy could be the subconscious nudge your prospects need to convert.
Take stock of the trust words you’re using in your marketing, and particularly on your landing pages. If they’re looking a little sparse, test out using confidence-building words to describe destinations in detail.
2. Cut copy that brings up emotions of fear and anger
Just as trust words can drastically improve your conversion rates, words that subconsciously trigger fear or anger will have a negative impact on travel landing page conversion rates.
In fact, Unbounce data scientists found that if even 1% of page copy reminds your visitors of feelings of anger or fear, you could be seeing up to 25% lower conversion rates.
“Feeling endless despair this Canadian winter? Warm yourself up with a limited-time-only vacation in the hot Mojave desert.”
“Escape the Canadian winter at a five-star award-winning vacation rental in sunny California.”
Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestions
Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how emotion and sentiment may be impacting conversion rates in your industry.
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3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust
Persuading your prospects to put their trust in you is tricky business, and it’s even trickier when it comes to travel, because they’re likely working with a tight budget and only a few weeks of precious vacation. They don’t want to take a leap of faith — they want a sure thing.
A proven strategy for easing prospect anxiety is to use social proof. It’s the “everybody’s doing it” mentality that helps convince your prospects to convert.
When you let your satisfied customers sing your praises, your credibility goes through the roof. Including testimonials on your travel landing page can have a positive impact on how trustworthy your prospects perceive you to be, but not all testimonials are created equal.
To best enhance your chance of conversion, heed the following testimonial commandments:
Include a photo of the person
Avoid hyperbole (i.e., This pedicure literally saved my life!)
Choose testimonials that demonstrate the transformative effect of your product or service on the lives of your users
Nordic Visitor takes it one step further with a video testimonial from several happy customers:
Don’t tell your prospects how great you are, show them with real live, happy customers.
Similar to testimonials, including reviews on your travel landing page can help convey trust to your prospects.
The luxury travel designers of Jacada Travel have embedded reviews from Trustpilot, a reputable online review community, directly into their landing page.
If you recall, the word “award” is associated with trust on travel landing pages. So if your company or client has won any reputable awards, be sure to flaunt ‘em.
Tour guide company Kensington Tours not only includes several trust seals on their travel landing page, they also mention in their Adwords ad that they’re a National Geographic award winner.
Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers.
4. Security measures
Persuasive trust-infused copy and social proof are wonderful, but when you’re collecting travel leads and even money, you need to assure your prospects that their data and money is safe.
There are many ways to do this, but the two most impactful strategies are to enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and to include trust seals.
SSL creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor’s browser. It’s identified by the little lock icon and the “https” (vs. http) in the top left-hand side of your browser search bar.
Enabling SSL on all your web properties (but especially on your lead gen and ecommerce landing pages) assures your visitors that they’re not at risk of being hacked.
Nordic Visitor nails it yet again with a trust seal from GeoTrust and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017, further reinforcing their credibility.
All aboard the Conversion Cruise
A lack of trust in any industry can hurt conversion rates, but in the travel industry the stakes are extra high.
Fortunately, this means the opportunities to improve your conversion rates are plenty. And if you nail the whole trust thing down, you could be seeing some of the highest conversion rates across any industry.
Leveraging a combo of effective copy, social proof and security measures, you can make your prospects forget about the stress associated with booking a vacation. Skip that trip to Poor Conversions-ville and instead put your feet up with a Mai Tai in hand on the Conversion Cruise.
For even more data-backed conversion insights in the travel industry, or for insights into industries such as health, finance, higher education and more, download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.
Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industries
Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your conversion rates stack up against the competition — and how to improve them.
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A word of caution: From my own anecdotal evidence, people find being “followed” around the Internet really creepy. And you have to stop for a moment and think about what that does to your brand image. If your product or service is in the B2B marketing or sales space, then I wouldn’t worry about this. Most people in our industry understand remarketing and retargeting. But, if you’re in the B2C space, it might be a good idea to survey your customers that converted from a retargeting campaign and ask how they felt about your ads. Try to detect if your…
It’s finally happened. After years of running a successful business you’ve finally got your first negative review. You know the effect customer reviews can have on your sales. Positive social proof helps drive sales and conversions whilst negative reviews and comments can immediately turn new prospects away from your business. So what do you do? […]
Friction is defined by Marketing Experiments as “a psychological resistance to a given element in the sales or sign-up process.”
That’s a somewhat abstract definition. Put more concretely, friction frustrates potential customers and causes a decrease in revenues and conversions.
It’s important to note that the definition is widely contested. Optimizers aren’t uniform in their definition. Chris Goward puts it succinctly when he says,
‘…the word ‘friction’ for conversion optimization is unclear and confusing. It’s hard to tell what it really means. I think the underlying problems some refer to as friction are more related to Anxiety-causing elements, or perhaps lack of Clarity, or Distraction-producers…Maximizing the Clarity of your communication, reducing Distraction from peripheral messages and design, and eliminating Anxiety-causing elements can produce massive business improvements in your marketing.’
Oli Garnder of Unbounce says,
“the psychological resistance that your visitors experience when trying to complete an action. Friction is a conversion killer usually caused by unclear messaging, lack of information, or poor layout.”
In other words, if your landing page is—or is simply seen or perceived to be—too overwhelming to complete, you can be sure there’s too much friction on your page. Your landing page’s sole objective is to get someone to make a purchase, offer their information, or optin—then get out of the way.
Reducing friction means making it easy for visitors to take action.
4 Types of Friction
Visitors will experience friction in one of 4 ways:
Information Friction: Information that you omit or commit can bring about friction.
Complexity Friction: This type of friction is making things more complicated than they need to be. The more complexity, the higher your risk of friction.
Time Friction: Time is crucial when considering your conversion optimization. This deals with things such as speed or load time.
Visual Friction: There are many varieties of visual elements that can either bring about or reduce friction: font kerning, video placement, background patterns, button color.
In your efforts to reduce friction, you must be able to identify elements on your website that create friction in any of these 4 areas. Then come up with a plan for reducing that friction.
Of course, your solutions are merely hypotheses at this stage.
You must test to know whether your assumptions were correct. And don’t forget your Crazy Egg heatmaps. They can help you figure out whether the elements on your web pages generate the behavior you expect (e.g., Are people clicking on the button or on something else?).
Start with the 5-Second Test
When analyzing sites for unnecessary friction from a qualitative point of view for, I typically employ the 5-second test.
If your site doesn’t pass the “5-second test,” your site is likely to have friction and thus a high bounce rate.
So what’s the five-second test?
The “5-second test” involves showing your website to someone for 5 seconds. Once the 5 seconds are over, if they’re able tell you what the site’s about, then you’ve passed the test.
Alternatively, if they can’t clearly articulate what it is you do, your website fails the test. A typical problem, amongst others, with sites that fail the 5-second test is that there’s unnecessary friction on the site.
Hence, it’s clear that a site that passes this “5-second test” is more likely to generate higher conversions.
This article is all about making your site as friction-free as possible so it passes this test, and making it pleasant experience, so users come back again and again.
We’ve identified 39 common points of friction, giving you a great place to start your optimization efforts. Ready? Let’s dig in.
Accent aspect of your product or service that matter most:
Users are usually interested in several things: what package is right for me? how much does it cost? can I cancel if I am not happy? and can I try it for free?
Example: See how basecamp.com approaches this:
4. Remove “wish list,” particularly if it’s a feature customers don’t need
Type of Friction: Information
When an online store does not sell commodity products (e.g., books or consumer electronics), it’s unlikely that offering a wish list will increase sales. It’s more likely that it will create a sense of “I can just come back later,” which usually doesn’t happen.
By removing the “wish list” function, the store can be more focused on sales, and there is no super-simple way for customers to postpone the purchase decision.
Reduce Friction: Don’t make it easy for customers to postpone purchase. Click To Tweet
5. Disable copy/paste or remove the “Retype e-mail address” field in signup forms
Type of Friction: Complexity
Some signup form contains a “Retype e-mail address” field. According to Smashing Magazine, “this allows for greater error, because it forces users to type more. They can’t see the characters they’re inputting, making it difficult to know whether they’re typing the right password each time.”
They recommend, instead, asking users to type their password in once, then allowing them to unmask the password to verify they typed it correctly.
6. Make “add to cart” button bigger
Type of Friction: Visual
The “add to cart” button should be the dominant button on the product page; your button should fluidly guide the user toward to the next step — clicking the ‘add to cart’ button.
Example: Betabrand (image courtesy of Lemonstand.com)
Example 2: Kogan.com
7. Make the “view cart” link more prominent
Type of Friction: Visual
People are used to finding the shopping cart link at the top-right corner of the web page. So that’s where yours needs to be. Don’t try to be creative. This link reminds users that they’ve added a product to their basket.
Example 1:Amazon. Here’s the link they use in the top-right corner of their design.
8. Add a prominent “checkout” link to all shop pages
Type of Friction: Visual
Visitors should have no trouble completing a purchase once they’re ready to check out.
As with the shopping cart, people are used to finding the link to the checkout process in the top-right corner. The link should be right next to the “shopping cart” link and should be perpetual in its visibility.
Example: Here’s how Kogan displays the checkout button. My only recommendation would be to test a brighter color.
9. Website Loading Speed & Conversions
Type of Friction: Time
Page Load Speed is an important part of conversion rate optimization. There are several formal studies that recognize this connection.
A study at Amazon showed a 1% decrease in sales for every 0.1 second decrease in response times. (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007)
According to studies by the Aberdeen Research Group, the average impact of a 1-second delay meant a 7% reduction in conversions.
Slow web pages are perceived as less credible (BJ Fogg) and quality. To reduce friction, your page load times should be below tolerable attention thresholds—ideally less than 3 seconds. Friction will be reduced, and you should enjoy higher conversion rates.
10. Break your paragraphs up into chunks containing no more than 3 lines per paragraph
Type of Friction: Visual
Readability studies show that on the internet, to ensure maximum comprehension and the appearance of simplicity, line lengths of 50-60 characters per line, or 500-600 pixels wide, are read faster & more consistently by visitors.
Also, people have a tendency to read through to completion when chunks of copy are broken up into segments of three lines.
Break the current paragraphs up into chunks containing no more than 3 lines per paragraph.
Implement copy that does not exceed 50-60 characters per line, or 500-600 pixels per line.
11. Put the relevant content on the left
Type of Friction: Visual
Since we read left to right, it makes sense to put relevant content on the left and less relevant content on the right or below the fold.
As you can see in this heatmap, most visitors attend to the upper left of the page. That’s where your most important messaging should go.
Google Golden Triangle by Amit Agarwal, on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/amit-agarwal/2052668047
12. Make your competitive advantage clearer
Type of Friction: Information
Returning visitors are likely to be familiar with your brand. But what about new users? To get them engaged quickly, you need to help them understand what your website is about.
Your tagline takes care of this. Making the tagline (or the whole logo) bigger makes it easier for visitors to orient themselves.
Example: Carelogger increased their conversions 55% after changing their tagline from “affordable, easy-to-use web-based contact manager” to “the quickest & easiest way to organize your contacts.”
13. Make your logo clickable back to the home page
Type of Friction: Visual
It is usability standard that the logo in the upper left-hand corner of your website links to the home page. If visitors can’t navigate, they usually bounce.
Don’t make your users think. Make it easy for them to navigate your site.
14. Improve product customization process
Type of Friction: Information
The biggest challenge in selling online is that visitors can’t touch or try on the merchandise. Users are essentially ”in the dark.” Do everything you can to showcase the product visually.
Rather than just putting color boxes, include images of the product in all colors.
15. Offer instant gratification
Type of Friction: Information
Your customers are busy, so you can often reduce friction by offering instant gratification.
If you’re a retailer with more of a bricks-and-mortar presence, you can offer the convenience of ordering online with in-store pickup. Talk about the best of both worlds! Customers can eliminate the shipping period but avoid long lines at checkout.
By showing the products in use, it becomes easier for visitors to imagine using the products. Emphasize your product’s ease of use, beauty or the end result people will get, and place your image next to the call to action.
17. Make order history available for signed-in users only
Type of Friction: Information
Too much information is often distracting, which creates friction.
One way to avoid this is to require users to sign in before being able to see customer-only information such as the customer’s order history. It can be a part your customer drop-down menu when they sign in.
On a side note, this also encourages new customers to register with your site.
Example: see drop-down menu for signed in users on Amazon.
18. Provide the experience your customers want
Type of Friction: Information
Be “human,” not “corporate” when dealing with customers.
Create a “brand promise” that is completely customer-centric. Then publish it where customers can see it.
19. Add links to detailed product pages
Type of Friction: Visual
Sometimes people don’t buy because they need more information. If you rely on short product descriptions to do the selling, you may need to test dedicated product pages with longer descriptions, more images, and even testimonials.
The test font (the variation) was larger and had increased line spacing. This simple font change reduced their bounce rate by 10%, dropped the exit rate by 19, and boosted the form conversion rate by 133%. No bad, don’t you think?!
Variation: with a 18 px font size, as opposed to 12 px.
This variation resulted in 32.68% more clicks. See the case study here.
23. Check the speed of the home page slider
Type of Friction: Visual
If you use a slider on your home page, you may be frustrating visitors. Don’t allow the slider to transition so quickly that it’s difficult to read. Allow enough time for visitors to read and click if interested.
But remember, using a slider at all is questionable. People get impatient waiting on sliders and are likely to skip over them. The slider also makes the page unfocused since there is no longer one clear primary message.
If you use a slider, test carefully to be sure they’re optimized for your users’ preferences.
24. Don’t use the same image for multiple products
Type of Friction: Visual
Using same pictures for different products can create a lot of confusion. Visitors typically “read” images before text. Seeing the same image will likely indicate that the message is being repeated as well.
Use different pictures to indicate different ideas and messages.
25. Remove vertical navigation
Type of Friction: Information
For some users, scrolling may cause friction. They want to be able to see immediately what the page is about. Removing vertical navigation allows more above-the-fold space to present your core message. It also makes the page look cleaner and more intuitive.
26. Avoid inconsistencies in your site’s design
Type of Friction: Visual
Inconsistencies make the site feel poorly maintained, which can cause questions about the overall believability of the information.
When the site’s design changes, it creates friction in the customer’s mind. It may be subtle, but any amount of friction can make people leave your site.
Use same overall design on your site’s design to provide a consistent experience across the website. Also ensure those your design is consistent across web, email, mobile devices, online chat.
27. Make your checkout pages’ design similar to main site and don’t redirect checkout
Type of Friction: Visual
About 67% of the people who put a product in your shopping cart will change their mind during the checkout process.
One way to get more people to complete their purchase is to make the design of your checkout page similar to the main site. (Remember the previous point, that design changes create friction?)
Copy the design from the main site to the checkout pages with no sidebar and the navigation bar from the design.
In addition, don’t redirect the checkout page to a new URL. A URL like https://checkout.onlinestore.com/carts/3459089/b84ef00837934d73216f54db638e0502 creates doubts about where you are taking them.
28. Remove optional, irrelevant or multiple calls to action
Type of Friction: Visual
A guiding principle in conversion rate optimization is to have only one call to action per page.
Make the primary button the only logical next step to take.
Website Conversion Tip: Make the primary button the only logical next step to take. Click To Tweet
29. Make your search bar larger
Type of Friction: Visual
One obvious source of friction is visitors’ inability to easily find what they’re looking for.
To help your visitors find the information or product they want, make your search bar more noticeable. You should offset your search bar with a different color from your site’s color scheme. It should also be more prominent.
Example: This is neatly accomplished in the search bar at theiconic, where the search bar is in the center of the navigation bar.
30. Use intuitive names for navigation tabs
Type of Friction: Information
If people can’t figure out your site, they leave. Period. So don’t be cute with your nav-bar tabs.
Can you figure out what this site is about?
Think about what visitors are used to seeing on websites—both in your industry and around the web in general.
If they’re used to seeing a particular word or phrase, it’s a good idea to use it on your site as well.
For example, many visitors are accustomed to seeing language relating to “Tour” or “How It Works,” when looking to explore more details about a site/product. That being the case, don’t call it “Wrks.”
Too much whitespace between the supporting content and your actionable area can bring about a sense of friction and cause users to see the call-to-action as a distinct and separate element, rather than a continuation for the text. Check this article out for more information.
32. Don’t ask people to see prices before they’ve seen the products
Type of Friction: Time
It is too early to start talking about prices on the home page. You should first let visitors explore the site, review their options and understand the benefits of your products. Only after the visitor wants the product should you start talking about buying (and prices).
33. But DO show your prices
Type of Friction: Information
To avoid people being scared off by your pricing, you may be tempted to hide it altogether. But when visitors don’t see your pricing schedule, they may lose trust.
If you don’t want to link to your prices from the navigation bar, at least put a link in the footer.
34. Allow forward and backward movement in checkout
Type of Friction: Complexity
In your shopping cart, the process steps at the top of the page should also function as navigational links for the checkout process. Customers often naturally expect to be taken back to the respective step when clicking it, in order to go back and edit previously entered data. (visual)
35. Make it easy to complete checkout
Type of Friction: Complexity
To avoid cart abandonment, make checkout as fast and easy as possible.
On your Cart Review page, put a “Proceed to Checkout” button above the product table as well as below. This will ensure that users will understand what to do next without having to scroll.
Variation: After (“Update” and “Checkout” buttons added)
36. Don’t be too aggressive in cross-selling
Type of Friction: Information
If you cross-sell in the cart, then at least place the extra products below the cart and primary button, and make the products as relevant to the cart’s content as possible
37. Simplify your contact form
Type of Friction: Complexity
Inputting information creates friction. So the longer your optin forms, the more friction you create. What is the least amount of information that still allows you to market effectively? Remove unnecessary fields to make the contact easier and more likely.
According to the D.M Rousseau, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University,
For those seeking to increase conversions, this basically means knowing (and testing) what page elements and content will create a customer decision journey that results in conversion — overshadowing any fear about you or your product.
But the question remains. How do you build trust in marketing?
Two-Step Methodology to Increasing Trust
The primary way of gaining trust is to EARN it by developing and nurturing a relationship with your customers or future prospects.
After you’ve done this, you can then work on INSPIRING trust with credibility indicators, design cues, testimonials, security assurances and whole myriad of other conversion rate tactics.
So trust is a two-step process. It depends on relationship first, and then on reminders that the relationship is valuable.
Earn and inspire trust through relationship and trust signals. Click To Tweet
To build relationship, depend on savvy content, social media and email marketing. To remind visitors that their relationship with you is valuable, keep reading.
What follows is an actionable list of 30 things you can do right now to increase trust — and hence conversions — on your site.
Let’s dig in.
1. Be completely transparent with your audience
Traditional marketing was all about controlled messaging. Brands had defined and distinct boundaries, all placing the primary focus on the company itself. However, in today’s social environment, consumers are in control of the conversation.
Why is it important, you ask?
Nowadays, everything is in public view — both personal and corporate secrets. What’s worse, it can all be discovered with a few lines of code or a quick Google search. So if a company isn’t being honest, it’s just a matter of time till they’re unmasked.
Transparency refers to the quality of making something simply accessible. Transparency gets your brand attention, though with a unique twist, as we’ll see below.
Example 1: One great example is when Buffer revealed the pay structure of their entire company (all the way down to CEO!). This had the impact of increasing the popularity in their company (and also to an influx of resumes).
Example 2: McDonald’s had been fighting with the rumor that some of its food was made from “pink slime.” To make matters worse, there were a whole bunch of photos on the internet attesting to this.
To fight this allegation, McDonald’s Canada published behind-the-scenes footage that documented the process of making their food. The result? Nearly 3 million views and being lauded for its increased transparency.
2. Use testimonials, case studies, testimonial videos or endorsements
Include some sort of case study that shows the end result of using your product.
Testimonials are a great way to build trust and amplify desire on your website. They work on the principle of social proof. People will think: “If someone else has bought in the past and had a positive experience, there’s less chance that I’ll regret my purchase down the road.”
If you have a comment system or customer review section on your blog, use Facebook comments to improve the authenticity. Also, a live Twitter feed of people mentioning you is good.
By displaying well-known brands/organization names, you can create a level of trust for new and repeat users. Knowing that big brands trust you with their needs will make it easier on smaller businesses to make a decision.
This will show visitors that others have already bought your products and found them useful — and help them believe that you’ll deliver as promised.
Here’s an example from Crazy Egg listing big-name companies that use their heatmaps.
4. Mention specific numbers
For someone first coming into contact with your platform and your brand, there’s no way to know how powerful your brand name is, unless you spell it out for them. Some hard numbers can help in this regard.
Example 3: Show that you’ve already had 5000+ customers
To add social proof, showcase that you’ve already had 5000+ customers. You could add a mention of it (e.g., ‘Over 5000 companies have already made the change’) on top of the logos of the past customers.
This would prove to new visitors that others have already changed their habits and made the transition into using your product or service.
5. Provide no-brainer guarantees
It’s important to assume as much risk as possible to reduce the anxiety of your prospect and clear the path for a worry-free sale. Guarantees are usually the best way to do this.
It has been shown by many of the most successful online retailers that the longer the money-back guarantee is, the greater the positive impact on conversion rate.
The heuristic is simple: Consumers are scared and nothing instills more confidence than asserting, “We’ll happily give you your money back if you’re not satisfied.”
For many eCommerce stores, the higher conversion rate this strategy yields far outweigh the cost of any increase in refund rates.
You could also consider offering a guarantee that’s based on results, but that works only if the customers can relatively easily measure the impact of your product or service. See the example of Hampton’s guarantees:
As an alternative, you can offer a money back guarantee if your product fails to meet certain conditions. Like Printingforless’ guarantees:
7. Show your money-back guarantee more prominently
You offer a money-back guarantee, but it’s not shown anywhere on the site. Why?
A strong guarantee creates a lot of trust. It tells the visitor that you’re confident in your products and your ability to make them happy. It also assures customers that they won’t lose anything, even if they misunderstood something.
Example: Here’s how Kogan, a prominent ecommerce site, shows their 14-day money-back guarantee:
8. Provide timely point of action assurances
It is right before clicking your call to action (CTA) that prospects’ anxiety levels start rising. Therefore, it’s up to you to reassure them that they are making a good decision.
Email sign-up reassurance
Under the email field, tell people you won’t spam them. Phrases like, “We hate spam as much as you do” or “We won’t spam you,” are fine, but they are getting pretty common and can stereotype you as just another sheep following the crowd.
Communicate your assurances using your unique brand voice — it’ll make you more authentic. And be sure to test your form with and without those assurances. They may not actually help your conversion rates.
Another idea is to incorporate a ‘NO SPAM’ shield like the one below.
Just because someone is on the registration page doesn’t mean they are not feeling any anxiety. Always reassure prospects that they are indeed making a good decision.
9. Go overboard with credibility indicators
If you’ve won any business awards, don’t be afraid to tell people.
Industry regulations: Providing links to industry bodies shows you understand the regulations, and are one of the good guys.
Membership of industry associations
Include their logo and describe your involvement.
If you’ve appeared in any popular media, have an ‘As Seen In’ area showing their logo and linking to that content.
Active social media profiles
If you’re ACTIVE on social media, include links to them. If they are sitting there collecting digital dust, it’s probably not a good idea to add them as it looks like you don’t care.
It also diminishes your social proof. Why would you want to do that?
Security and trust seals
If your brand isn’t widely recognized, most visitors won’t have full confidence in your security. By showing security seals (e.g. VeriSign) you’ll take away the visitors’ fear of losing their private information.
Other badges (e.g. industry association logos) show that you’re a trustworthy company that’s run by real people who take their business seriously enough to join an industry association.
Third-party trust seals give instant visual feedback to visitors on whether a website is credible, and safe. There are three types of trust seals:
Security seals: They ensure your website is free from hacker attacks, and that under normal circumstances your customers are protected when transacting.
Business identity seals: These exist for customers to verify your business address, phone, and email, giving them peace of mind that you are who you say you are.
Trusted payment gateway logos
Displaying the VISA, MasterCard and PayPal logo serves several purposes:
It has been shown to create trust.
It gives the customer assurance that your online business has been around for quite some time.
Answers an immediate question that’s on your customer’s mind: “Do they take my credit card?”
When tested, it almost always improves conversion rate.
The PayPal Verified logo
Calling out the fact that your payment provider is PayPal. This can actually serve you as an additional credibility factor, if your PayPal account is eligible to use the “PayPal Verified” logo.
This logo (pictured above), when placed on the site, can serve as a credibility symbol that makes your visitors feel more secure, and more comfortable about making a purchase from you.
“To say that something is ‘the best in the world’ makes no impression whatever. That is an expected claim. The reader may not blame us for exaggeration, but we lose much of his respect. He naturally minimizes whatever else we may say.
On the other hand, when you state actual figures, definite facts, they accept them at par. Such definite statements are either facts or lies, and people do not expect that reputable people or concerns will lie.”
It’s better to say “takes 5 minutes to assemble” than “easy to assemble.”
It’s also better to say “developed by engineers at MIT” instead of “advanced engineering.”
By adding specific details, you can be more descriptive, present more useful information and, more importantly, look more credible.
11. Tell them what you can’t do
When you tell a prospect what you can’t do, they’re more likely to believe you when you tell them what you can do.
Example: “The unfriendly doctor”
The headline here is quite eye catching:
You don’t want me to be your family doctor.
Pretty brazen for a doctor. And attention getting. Having gained your attention, Dr Goodman explains,
“Neurosurgery is one of the few medical specialties for which I am well-suited. I am not warm and fuzzy. I could never be successful as a pediatrician or in a family practice — no one would come back a second time. But I am very good at what I do.”
In fact, saying what he wasn’t allowed Dr. Goodman to stand out amidst the clutter and numerous doctors that are available for surgery.
12. Openly admit you are not the cheapest option
Educate consumers on what it means to buy the cheapest option in your market — and assure them that your product remains very competitive for what they get.
Admitting that other vendors are cheaper may seem counterintuitive, but a higher price tag positions your product as higher quality.
13. Demonstrate your customer support by creating a knowledge base
Sometimes people don’t buy because they aren’t sure if they’ll get support after the purchase. To overcome this obstacle, show prospects how fast and easy it can be to get in touch with customer support.
Knowing that help is readily available if anything goes wrong, your customers may feel more confident taking action.
Example 1: Apple’s Knowledge Base is a great example of a trust-building knowledge base.
Example 2: Proposify’s knowledge base is another example.
14. Show ratings on the product
Ratings have been proven to increase trust. If you don’t post them on your website, prospects will search for them elsewhere. So why not put them on-site?
It may be as simple as adding a new category such as “Best-Rated Products.”
If you think about it, this is a no-brainer. It makes it easy for buyers who don’t like making decisions. And it demonstrates that you know your customers’ preferences.
16. Invest in a professional design
There’s no denying that a professionally designed website can increase trust and credibility. While it may not be necessary to do a complete redesign, it is important to keep your website fresh and updated.
A site that looks old or outdated makes visitors believe you aren’t actively supporting customers. Or worse, makes them think you aren’t a legitimate business.
17. Compile all trust-related links into one group in the footer
Putting all your trust-related pages in one widget or tab has a double function – highlighting that you want to give customers all the information they need, and creating a powerful bulleted list of sales points.
18. Create an FAQ section at the bottom of product pages
Most people who are buying your products will have similar questions.
By answering those questions on the product page (rather than making them hunt for them), you not only overcome objections as they arise, you also create trust. After all, how can you have FAQs if you haven’t told the product frequently?
The questions could include:
“What if I have to cancel my order?”
“Can I change the order after I’ve made the payment?”
19. Create promotional videos showing your products in action
Sell physical products? New customers may worry that your products are “flimsy.” Overcome this fear by creating videos that show how durable your products really are.
Here’s an example of how BlendTec has used promotional videos to prove its products’ durability:
20. Add live chat
No one wants to do business with a company that isn’t actively supporting customers. Live chat shows visitors you are not only active, you have real people ready to help them right now. It also shows your dedication to customer service, so they are more confident to make a purchase.
But there’s a bonus for you.
Use a live chat tool for market research. What are your visitors’ most pressing questions? Your live chat operator can let you know — while also nudging visitors to purchase now.
The visitor insights you collect can help you find the elements on your website that aren’t working, the gaps in your sales presentation, and the messaging that will most likely attract and convert your ideal customers.
21. Add an “As Featured In” section
When you see that a brand has been featured in mainstream media — particularly if that media is well-respected — it immediately shifts your perception. They go from “just another vendor” to “someone worth listening to.”
Think of it as social proof, on steriods.
Michael Hyatt earns immediate credibility with such respected media as The New York Times and Forbes.
22. Provide valuable training for free
If you remember from the introduction, trust builds on relationship. Any trust-builder that also helps you develop relationship with your visitors is a no-brainer.
One way to do that is to create valuable training, available free in exchange for opt-in.
This is a great way to get visitors onto your email list so you can provide unique touches that build relationship and trust.
The training could be a recorded webinar you held on “How to Increase Activity in Your Community.”
Or it could be a crash course that helps your visitors master a difficult topic.
Then, through automated email follow-up, you can educate prospects about what you do, planting the seeds of why your product or service is the obvious choice for them.
23. Keep your name in front of visitors
“The Rule of Seven” isn’t new. But few companies remember it. Essentially…
Now, the number seven isn’t cast in stone, but it is rare for people to sign up on their first visit.
If you’re not following up with your prospects, they may stumble onto your competitors and buy from them, or they may decide to “buy it later.” The trouble is, later generally means never.
To prevent this, you need to stay top-of-mind.
You can do this through Google AdWords remarketing, Facebook advertising, or simply by staying active in social media and email marketing.
Here are some examples of Facebook ads, reminding me that I visited their website recently.
24. Place social follow buttons/icons where they’re easy to see
You can take a subtle approach, placing social icons in your header.
Or you can use the buttons provided by each social platform.
The idea is to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to take that first step toward relationship while also conveying that you’re active and accessible in social media.
25. Implement social sharing buttons on your Blog page.
Just as you want to make it easy for people to follow you, you also want to make it easy for people to share your content.
The easiest way to do that is to add floating social media sharing buttons to your blog. Like these
If you get a lot of shares, make sure to publish the numbers.
26. Show how many people follow you on social media.
Here’s another place to show off your numbers. If you have a considerable number of followers, showcase it.
You can do this by using a Facebook “like” box that shows your real-time number of fans. At the same time, the box makes it easy to LIKE your page so you’ll get even more followers.
Social Media Examiner has this widget in their sidebar:
Mari Smith uses this. Notice she adds images of your friends who follow her, making it feel like you’re being excluded if you don’t follower her as well.
27. Add images to your “About Us” page
People want to do business with people. So don’t be bashful. Add your and your employees’ headshots to the About Us page.
Let your personalities show. This enables people to get a taste of your company culture.
By the way, you could add a mention of this to the header or on the home page as well. That’s a smart PR move.
29. Copyright notice in footer must be up-to-date.
Make sure your copyright notice is up-to-date. Format it as a range, your first year, hyphen, the current year (like this: 2003-2012) to show the length of time you’ve been in business — again, adding to your credibility.
30. Show off your environment badges
Whatever socially responsible thing you do, show it off. Today’s consumer want to do business with companies that care about the world and their community.
To promote your support (and get more people to like and trust your brand for it), you need to show them off elegantly.
We recommend you add the non-profits’ logos in your footer with a link to their respective pages for more information.
Whilst most visitors probably won’t be interested in clicking through and exploring further, simply seeing them will give them positive reassurance that being a customer of your brand will allow them to indirectly contribute to social causes.
This simple tweak makes visitors feel good about your brand, which often results in more sales more often.
How many trust elements are you using?
Today’s consumers are different. They’re looking for more than a service provider or seller. They’re looking for relationship and a unique brand experience.
But they’re most interested in working with brands they trust.
Your challenge is to become a trustworthy brand. You need to send signals, loud and clear, that communicate trust.
This is obvious when selling to people face to face. Less so online. But if you review the list above, you probably agree that the rules haven’t changed that much.
You must build trust in marketing your products.
You need to EARN it by being transparent and human. You also need to INSPIRE it by being credible. After that, it’s all about communicating your value without resorting to hype or manipulation.
Do that, and you’re nailing the trust thing. And you’ll likely be able to measure it in your bottom-line profits.
One of the biggest problems conversion optimizers are facing today is their inability to properly utilize customer insights to provide a personalized and unique user experience.
Today’s consumers crave a personal touch and usually become loyal to the brands that provide it.
According to a study by The E-tailing Group, 72% of shoppers agree personalization makes it easier to find products they want to buy, and they’re looking for personalization across channels, in ads, emails and on your website.
Think about your own experience: Do you prefer the supermarket checkout lady who knows you by name and asks you about your favorite products, or the poker-faced old man who silently checks you out?
What seems obvious in a real life scenario is harder to implement on a business website. But today, technology is beginning to catch up to the need, providing resources to give customers that personal attention they expect.
In this article, I’ll talk about why we have this craving for personal attention as social beings, and the best ways to tailor your site to ensure your customers leave feeling all of their problems have been personally attended to.
Why do we crave a personalized experience?
There’s a whole long list of reasons why different people crave attention, ranging from self-esteem, personality disorders, and as a normal process of human development.
Today however, it seems that more people than not (and people from all age groups) are looking to get some sort of attention or acknowledgement from their peers and society.
Social media has provided the platform for sharing, so what used to be TMI (too much information) is actually the social norm.
As a result, we’ve become accustomed to this level of sharing, whether it’s liking our friends’ posts or giving a stranger a life on candy crush. In return we’ve come to expect these same behaviors in return, breeding a whole cycle of attention giving and receiving.
This cycle is extended far beyond social media. Our customers have learned to expect this level of personalization and seek personal attention from the businesses and websites they interact with as well.
Make your Page more Attentive and Intuitive
A personalized user experience will always win rave reviews from visitors. But to provide it, you have to make your site as intuitive as possible.
To create a personalized experience on your website, make it intuitive. Click To Tweet
By automatically creating the experience and providing the information they were looking for, you’ll make users feel as if you understood what they were looking for.
The good news is there are a few different things you can do during this stage to capture your audience’s attention with personalized content on your pages.
According to Site Pro News, at least 50% of your incoming traffic will leave your site within the first 8 seconds of arriving to your page. To avoid this, make sure your landing page is consistent with the messaging that brought them to the page.
1. Consistency between ad and landing page
If your customers are coming from a search engine, make sure the keywords or products they searched for are on the page they land on. These users are looking for something specific. Don’t make them go on a wild goose chase.
Use behavioral targeting to put whatever search terms they were searching for on the landing page when they’re directed to your site.
For instance, if the customer searched ‘Seahawks Jersey’ in Google, customize the page so as soon as they’re redirected, they’re presented with all of your Seahawks apparel. This may reduce confusion and indecision, ensuring more conversions by showing your customer what they’re expecting right off the bat.
If users are search for:
Present them with this:
Show them exactly what they searched for — as well as similar items for the whole family.
The alternative is old-school and low-tech: no personalization, and the customer has to trudge through lots of irrelevant products in order to finally find what they were looking for.
2. Personalize the onsite experience
Oftentimes, web pages have too much going on or the product/service needs a bit more explanation for the average user.
For example, in the case of NetQuote, they offer many insurance options, as most e-commerce sites do. In order to funnel the maximum amount of users all the way through their funnel, they utilized audio-visual personalization to guide the individual users from place to place — creating an onsite experience relevant specifically to them.
While businesses like to think their web page is perfectly clear and well constructed, more times than not, they’re wrong.
Most businesses think their website is more intuitive than it is Click To Tweet
A simple solution is to provide a guided tour of the website. Many companies with complex tutorials or more complicated concepts have a difficult time creating intuitive and attentive experiences to capture their audience, since they simply don’t understand what to do.
When an audio-visual walkthrough of the website is available on the landing page, it improves conversion rates while giving your brand a distinct identity with its own personal voice.
Build immediate trust
Once your audience has deemed you non-genuine, a scam, or a fake, there’s absolutely nothing preventing them from leaving your site and never coming back.
This is true for ordinary online browsers, but even more so for cautious shoppers. That’s why it’s important to look objectively at your site’s design. Do you honestly provide a clean, polished aesthetic? It matters.
Research has shown that 68% of US online shoppers distrust a site with an unprofessional appearance. But don’t stop there.
Many consumers are constantly looking for that seal of approval, labeling your website as secure. They are the people who are über conscious of where their information is going and how it’s being used.
Once again, behavioral targeting can help. Make it a priority to provide secure and safety validation symbols on all web pages.
Get downright creative
Personalization goes way beyond putting the user’s name in the headline. It means you provide an experience that lines up with their behavior and expectations.
To begin, show your customers that you care about more than solely their name and the products they’ve recently bought from you. At the Bark Park, a doggy day care center, instead of sending home routine reports of how the dog behaved during the day, they send home report cards from the perspective of the dog.
These report cards include extremely personalized content, but do it in a way that all dog owners enjoy: dog talk. By speaking in the ‘doggy voice,’ Bark Park has successfully provided a much more personalized experience for their target market.
This is a great approach, obviously, if you’re a small business. With just a few clients that you have personal relationship with, it’s easy to keep them up to date.
However, this type of creative process is not limited to small businesses with few clients. Adapt this same idea for your email marketing. Take creative insights about your consumers and use it to make your automated emails more personal.
For example, if you’re a sporting goods store and a customer recently purchased a Seattle Seahawks jersey, in your follow up email, incorporate the team logo and ask how they enjoyed their Super Bowl Sunday.
Using an innovative tool like Mail Chimp, you can create non-spammy, creative emails and, using their analytics, fine-tune your message and delivery to fit your customer’s personal details. Mail Chimp’s Send Time Optimization System even tells you who needs to be followed up with and the best time to reach them.
5. Never forget Special Occasions
Would you ever forgive your good friend for forgetting your birthday or another momentous event in your life?
Chances are, it would take a while. Again, in the age of constant attention, consumers are looking for love on days that show particular importance to them: birthdays, anniversaries, or special holidays (i.e., Christmas, Hanukkah, or others).
This is an excellent opportunity for your brand to build meaningful relationship with potential or recurring customers. While they’re definitely expecting birthday greetings from their loved ones, an extra message in their inbox or on social media will definitely make your brand more memorable in their eyes.
This is also the perfect place to incorporate personalization.
While many brands are sending out mass birthday messages with very little personalization, you can do better. Make your greeting look as genuine as possible by removing all of the excess logos and promotions, and leaving just the personalized greeting — and perhaps a special discount in their birthday month. (Hey, it is marketing, after all.)
Hubspot did a great job of this by providing the perfect amount of personal attention. Not only did they wish Elle a personalized birthday (including her name and age), they provided her with relevant content from the site. This isn’t a generic birthday email like all of the other one’s in her inbox on her 28th birthday.
Occasion-based marketing also helps increase conversions because you’re keying in on a specific date that your customer is more likely to buy.
Occasion-based marketing targets people when they’re ready to buy Click To Tweet
During birthdays, everyone wants to treat himself or herself to a nice gift. At Valentine’s Day, for example, people want to find the perfect present to say I love you. Take advantage of these moments when consumers are more receptive to spending.
But don’t limit yourself to holidays or birthdays. Make your own associations between your brand and random days of the week or times of the year.
Orange juice wasn’t made for breakfast, and hot chocolate doesn’t have to be drunk during the winter. These are simply associations marketers have made to push their products. If you can make these associations amongst your community of customers it will give them even more reason to give you attention and vise verse.
Need ideas? Consider a 10% discount on your 10-year anniversary. Or creating your own brand holiday.
If you remember just one thing…
Remember where your potential customers are coming from. Your website isn’t the only experience your visitors have on the web.
They’re all social beings — a quality that’s growing stronger in today’s shareaholic society. Feed their cravings for attention by personalizing your content.
Get creative and have fun with your marketing in general and your landing pages in particular. Take your personalization to the next level and see more dedicated and friendly customers.
What’s your favorite way to provide a more personalized user experience? Have you experienced a great example of personalization done right? Tell us about it in the comments.
“Recurring billing” might sound scary to your customers, and you need to understand that. Recurring billing has the ring of a credit card scam or some interminable spiral of debt. Don’t forget: There are few things people protect more aggressively than their money.
This first method is broad and far-reaching. Its implications and applications are broad enough to cover a variety techniques and methods.
The best way to fight fear is with knowledge. The knowledge that you provide through your content marketing or email marketing effort will help to dismantle walls of resistance built through fear.
Here are some of the ways to educate users on the advantages of recurring billing:
It reduces the risk of identity theft.
It eliminates hassle.
It makes things more convenient.
It saves time.
How do you educate your users? It happens through consistent and intentional content marketing.
Beyond just the customary reminders about billing itself, you can broaden your customer “education” to include content on the advantages of your service as a whole. For example, explain how specifically the subscription model is the best way for them to purchase.
If you sell shaving supplies, then explain how often shaving blades need to be replaced. If you sell socks, show how easily socks wear out. If you sell snacks, coach your customers on how often they need to eat snacks for optimal health
KidStir provides a list of reasons why you might want to subscribe to their service. Their reasons reinforce the subscription billing model without referring to it explicitly.
The process is relatively simple. All you need to do is explain to customers that a subscription model makes sense for the particular product they are purchasing.
What about coffee? BlueBottle shows how a subscription model makes sense. Plus, they give exact measurements regarding the package size, how long a supply will last, and how many coffee drinkers it’s good for.
Taster’s Club, a whiskey subscription service, takes their education to a whole new level. They automatically enroll customers in a Whiskey 101 course. Not only do you get your monthly bottle, but you get lots of information, too.
Inform customers as often as possible about the advantages of subscription billing for your particular product or service.
2. Set recurring billing as the only way to purchase your product or service.
The best way to funnel users into your recurring billing program is to make it the only way. When recurring billing is the only way, it leaves no doubt in the customer’s mind that this is how they should proceed. Fewer choices mean easier choices.
Notice how Dollar Shave Club does this. The final step of their signup process is to enter billing information. There is no other way to go than through a monthly subscription:
Giving the customer only one way to sign up increases their confidence that recurring billing is the right way. Providing a choice makes the decision more difficult. If you give them a choice between recurring vs. non-recurring, skeptical customers are more likely to choose what they perceive as the “safe” alternative — non-recurring billing.
ManPacks calls their recurring billing service “auto-ship.” This term change eliminates the “automatic payment” phrase, which can be an alarm signal. Auto-ship is automatic, and customers are reminded of each delivery.
Simplify things for yourself, and reduce the skepticism of the customer by setting recurring billing as the only choice.
3. Add testimonials.
Testimonials are a critical part of improving conversions. Testimonials are also directly linked to the success of a recurring billing program. If you’re skeptical of the validity of testimonials, read this case study.
A potentially fearful customer reads a testimonial, gains the confidence he needs to make the purchase, and follows through with recurring billing.
ManPacks features a testimonial, which provides subtle reminders about the recurring aspect of the service:
4. Make it easy to sign up.
When you make it easy to sign up, you’re doing both yourself and the customer a big favor. You get the benefits of a quick, fluid conversion funnel. The customer, for her part, is rewarded by having little to no cognitive friction in the signup process.
When a customer senses that the signup process is laborious or complicated, he becomes sensitive to risk. Long forms — reminiscent of a passport application or IRS form — signal to the user that he is doing something too serious.
Urthbox uses rich visuals and animation to make their signup process very easy. Here’s the pathway to checkout:
First, you select a box:
Next, you select your billing plan.
The health options come next:
Then, you’re ready to pay:
The entire process could have been a lot more complicated. After all, you are making decisions regarding size preference, quantity, frequency, allergen precautions, taste preferences, and other issues. Urthbox simplified the process, making the signup experience friction free.
5. Make it easy for customers to cancel at any time.
Users need some reassurance that they can cancel at any time. Lincoln Murphy addresses SaaS companies when he tells them to “make it easy to cancel.” When he implemented this easy-to-cancel technique with GetResponse, they experienced a 15% reduction in cancellations:
BTW, what I’m going to tell you got GetResponse an almost instant 15% drop in cancellations pretty much overnight. This is powerful stuff.
The cancellation button shouldn’t be hidden in some deep page. Provide customers with the easiest possible solution to cancelling. It is a good idea to inform them of the cancellation policy up front. Simply knowing that it’s easy to cancel makes them more likely to give recurring billing a try.
Here’s the cancel information for BlueBottle:
KiwiCrate, which offers a variety of different subscription puts the “cancel anytime” phrase under each of their choices:
KidStir, a monthly cooking kit for kids, provides the “cancel anytime” verbiage directly on the join page.
DoodleBug sends “busy bags” for kids every month. Their signup page provides an easy reminder regarding cancellation:
Customers who decide to cancel are sometimes in panic mode. Either they realize that they have gone way too long in their subscription or are running out of money.
Whatever the case, if they feel like they can’t cancel, they might do something drastic — lawsuits, a social media frenzy. You don’t need that kind of mess on your hands.
Provide customers with an explanation on how to cancel their account, and make sure that you share this information publicly. In other words, cancellation information shouldn’t be gated in a members-only section of the site.
Why is this important? A customer who wants to cancel might just Google their query instead of logging in to their member dashboard.
A good example of this is Picmonkey. If you Google “picmonkey cancel,” you get a page that explains how to go about ending your membership:
Clicking that result brings you to this page:
6. Make sure your statements and process are branded or your business identity is clearly stated.
Whenever you send a statement or monthly reminder, make sure that you provide clear information as to the identity of your company.
Remember, a customer signed up for a service from your company, not from some dunning management service or accounting department.
It can be as simple as Automatic Bill Pay, or a name that also incorporates your brand image. A brand name says the program is a customer benefit, not merely an accounting function.
If you use a PayPal as the payment method, you have fewer options for customization. However, you can still feature your company name in the automatic payment notice. Here’s a bill reminder from PicMonkey. It’s PayPal branded, but the company name is featured in the information:
Basically, customers don’t want to get charged a penny more than they signed up for. Even in the area of shipping charges — something that should be standard — customers view it as a major turnoff.
In one survey, 76% of customers rated shipping charges as their number one turnoff in ecommerce transactions. You may not have shipping charges, but are there any extra potential charges that a customer might see on their bill? If so, you need to make this extremely clear.
Your users may not have a technical knowledge of encryption techniques or secure sockets layers, but they do know when a site looks and feels trustworthy. Here’s how Baymard explains it:
It’s not the actual security of your page that matters the most to users as they have little to no technical understanding of TLS/SSL encryption or even how forms are submitted. Rather it is the perceived security that’s of importance to this vast majority of users.
Using terms like “SSL” may help to improve their trust, even if they don’t fully understand it.
Here’s how PoshPak, a monthly subscription box, adds a security reminder:
Their checkout page also includes a security seal.
According to the data, 57% of customers think that lack of security is a “top ecommerce major turnoff.” Make sure you’re protecting your customers with as much security as you can.
9. Provide an itemized statement for each bill.
If the customer gets billed each month without some sort of reminder, it can be scary. Maybe they forgot that they signed up. Maybe they did it when they were drunk. Maybe it happened so long ago that they forgot altogether. Maybe their domestic partner did it. Maybe a thief did it!
Whatever the case, you want to provide the courtesy of regular information to the customer regarding their purchase. This is as simple as a monthly statement or reminder.
As mentioned above, be sure to send a branded invoice. Try to adopt a friendly tone. People aren’t usually thrilled about parting with their money, or reminders thereof.
ConclusionEach of the above provides ways to assure customers that recurring billing isn’t so scary after all. But want to know the panacea solution? It’s this: Know your customers.
The better you know your customers, the more effective you’ll become at understanding their needs and serving them. Everything depends on it. Knowing what trust signals to use, the type of testimonials to feature, the style of reassurance to offer — all of this depends on a deep knowledge of your customers.
The more you learn about your customers, the better you’ll deliver the kind of no-scare solution for recurring billing.
What is your experience with persuading users into recurring billing?
Email and personalization seem to go together in marketers’ minds like peanut butter and jelly. With near-magnetic proficiency, the right personalization approach can reel customers in and gradually turn them from casual buyers into full-fledged brand advocates.
Or can it?
You see, customers aren’t brainless zombies. They know when they’re appreciated and when they’re sent just another canned response that happens to have their name on it. So, can you win them over with personalized messages, or should you direct your time and energy elsewhere? Let’s take a closer look.
Email as an Integrated Tool
The most important thing to remember is that email personalization is not a once-and-done job. It’s an ongoing process that should draw from multiple channels to create a customer awareness “sphere”. For example, according to an Experian email marketing study in 2013, more brands (50%) were promoting through Pinterest in their emails, while 39% were promoting through Instagram.
Why these avenues and why not strictly email? It’s simple – people are more open and personal on Pinterest and Instagram. The things they pin and share and post show what’s important to them and what motivates them – all key pieces of potential information that can be used to market to them as well.
Smart Customization Beyond the Message
The point is that email personalization is about more than just putting a name in the subject line. The Honest Company, founded by actress Jessica Alba in 2012, sells organic bath, body and baby products. Their personalization efforts center around the user from the moment she hits the site.
The Honest Co.’s email marketing efforts work retroactively based on what the customer viewed and where she came from
For example if someone searched Bing for organic baby wipes, The Honest Co. would send them a series of six sequential emails centered around their offerings in that particular category and inviting them to subscribe to a bundle. What’s more, they send emails based on the time when the customer is most likely to open them, rather than on a pre-set schedule.
Their intense focus on email personalization has paid off, generating conversion rates of 170% higher than their non-personalized counterparts.
The key takeaway here is that email marketing doesn’t just end at the inbox. It’s an ongoing exercise in balancing customer privacy and trust with the need to build a relationship and create brand loyalty.
So Why Isn’t Everyone Doing This?
It might be easy to see all the benefits that email personalization brings, and step back and wonder why everyone isn’t doing it. Quite simply, there are three key reasons:
Lack of Resources – According to a study by Conversant Media and Forrester Research, 66% of companies find it a major or extreme challenge to secure the internal resources needed to make personalized emails a reality.
Lack of Integrated Technology – Even for those companies that have the resources, 65% of marketers find it difficult to find a complete cross-channel solution that allows them to see all aspects of a customer’s buying and browsing behavior, and not just particular segments.
There are still challenges to be overcome to find the perfect balance between personalization and privacy, but even more telling are the gaps between personalization efforts that still exist and are ripe to be explored.
First, the social landscape for personalization is wide open but currently underutilized. This may come as a surprise considering the sheer amount of personalization potential that social media offers. According to a study by Experian Marketing, only 17% of the businesses surveyed did not use social media personalization in their emails:
Most email marketing campaigns are focused more on the sale than the social aspect
The silver lining on this cloud is that they are taking steps to send out promotional emails. But today’s customers don’t always want to be sold to. They want companies they can trust and companies that understand them beyond their wallets and pocketbooks.
But social media is just one area that could be improved. Another is mobile, which may come out as quite a shock considering the push to reach more customers via mobile-responsive design and mobile SMS/MMS messaging. The fact is, companies want to embrace the mobile movement , they’re just not sure how.
Many companies still aren’t sure how to efficiently use mobile techniques in email
Experian’s own research showed that although 39% of customers opened emails on a mobile device, 24% of marketers still did not optimize for mobile. That’s a considerable chunk of lost revenue and conversions.
One of the biggest missed opportunities comes with the confirmation emails customers get: most notably, their electronic receipts and the confirmed opt-in email. Experian’s study showed that e-receipts had double the open rate compared to typical bulk emails:
People Want Choices
Finally, successful email marketing personalization campaigns truly shine when the user is in control, but most companies don’t give them that kind of freedom for fear that they’ll unsubscribe altogether. For example, 60% of companies surveyed did not let customers change the frequency or type of email they want to receive – but why not?
Most companies don’t give their customers choices when it comes to the type, category or frequency of emails they want to receive
If they’ve done as they intended and worked toward building a relationship instead of maintaining that email is a one-way communicative street, they shouldn’t be worried about giving their subscribers more options. By letting people choose when and what they want to receive, you’re letting them effortlessly segment themselves and tell you the kinds of offers that would make them buy – and when.
What are Your Thoughts on Email Personalization?
Marketing gimmick? Relationship builder, or somewhere in between? How does your company view email personalization and how have you used it to successfully grow your business? Share your thoughts and perspectives with us in the comments below!
I look a lot of landing pages, and I notice a common shortcoming. A lot of landing pages don’t have enough content.
Here are some examples.
Not counting the menu, this landing page has 19 words.
Here’s another landing page with less than 100 words.
This landing page has nice flow, and some content. But it’s only around 150 words! The product that they are trying to sell costs tens of thousands of dollars!
I didn’t cherry-pick these landing pages for their paucity of content. I simply searched for some high-competition keywords, and opened up these pages.
Are these landing pages successful? Maybe. But could they be more successful? Definitely.
How? By having more words.
The case for the 500-word landing page
In most cases, I think that landing pages should have more words.
Keep in mind that I’m not talking about homepages. The homepage for Kissmetrics, for example, has 30-some words. That’s not a lot, but that’s okay, because it’s a homepage, not a landing page.
Home pages may or may not have a lot of content. It depends on the product and audience.
In this article, I’m discussing the landing page — a page distinct from the main website that has a single, focused objective: conversions.
Too many landing pages are really short on content. And that’s a problem, because content is what converts. More content produces more conversions.
I suggest a minimum of 500 words for your landing page. Why 500 words? At this length, you can provide enough information to create a strong case for your product, provide sufficient information, and help persuade the reader.
The whole point of a landing page is to create a conversion, and the best way to do that is by giving the user content.
Here’s what you need to know about more words.
More words are persuasive
Users are persuaded by the words that you write. When they read copy, they will want to convert.
Many times, a user will be prepared to convert without reading anything. But more often than not, the user needs to be persuaded. You can’t do this successfully unless you have plenty of content.
What about images? Images are persuasive, too. Obviously, you should have plenty of pictures on your landing page. But pictures cannot completely replace content, no matter how great those pictures are. Pictures and words work together, but you can’t completely neglect the copy.
More words mean that people are more likely to act on what you say.
More words provide information
Why would a user clickthrough to your landing page in the first place? What is their intent?
In most cases, a user has one of two objectives.
Objective 1: The user wants to buy.
If all the user wants to do is buy, your job is simple. All you need to do is give them a CTA. You might need a headline or a bullet list, just so they know that they’re in the right place. But in most cases, all they want to do is convert. Do you need 500 words to achieve this? Probably not, if it’s just the conversion you’re going after.
But let’s hold on for just a minute. How did the user get to the point where they want to buy? No one shows up at this point in the buy cycle, with her credit card out, ready to drop money on a product or service. Somehow, someway, this user had to find out information about the product or service.
Where did that information come from? It could have come from a friend or social media or some other source. Most of the time, however, this information came from a landing page or website.
In other words, the user who wants to buy was, before that, a user who wanted to find out more information. Which leads me to the second type of landing page visitor….
Objective 2: The user wants to find out more information.
These types of users comprise the vast majority of clickthroughs. Your ad intrigues them, and they want to find out more. Thus, your landing page is the place where they can answer their questions. If your landing page doesn’t provide sufficient information, then you won’t gain their conversion. Your landing page fails, because you haven’t provided enough content.
The best way to sell products and services is to to add as much information about them as is possible. Pages and pages and pages, videos and images. It’s true that 79% of people won’t read it all, but 16% read everything! That 16% is your main target group.
More content is essential, regardless of where the user is at a given point in the buy cycle.
More words show the benefits of the product or service
Buyers today will be persuaded by the benefits of your product or service.
More words brings the user through a persuasive process of thinking
If you’ve read a novel, then you’ll be able to relate to this. The author of a novel takes the reader through a process of thinking. The author is able to create curiosity, anticipation, excitement, and engagement.
Landing pages aren’t novels, but they should be designed to do the same thing — to bring the reader through a process of thinking. The only way you can accomplish this level of persuasion is by having plenty of copy.
Here are a few things that you should do with your copy.
Curiosity — the strong desire for knowledge — is a major force in the compelling power of a landing page. You can build curiosity with your copy.
Many times, users will have internal or mental arguments against your product or service. A successful landing page uses words to meet these objections head-on, then destroys them.
A successful landing page also needs to hold the user’s interest. Again, it’s the power of skillfully-written copy (and enough of it) that creates this kind of engagement.
Nonetheless, you can’t go wrong with an SEO-friendly landing page. In fact, if your goal is organic landing page traffic, SEO is essential.
If you’re familiar with SEO, you should know that it doesn’t happen without plenty of content.
Your Guide to Creating a 500-Word Landing Page
If you’re ready to create your 500-word landing page, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here’s your quick start guide to creating a 500-word landing page.
500 words is the lower threshold.
Don’t go any lower than 500 words. You can go higher, of course. Some of the most successful landing pages that I’ve seen have 3-4k words.
Don’t go overboard.
Can you go too long? Yeah, probably so.
I’ve seen landing pages with upwards of 30,000 words. By comparison, that’s about half the length of the Harry Potter book, Philosopher’s Stone.
By that point, you’ve probably written more than enough.
Organization is everything.
Just as important as the length of your landing page is its organization.
If you throw up 500 words as a raw and impenetrable wall of text, you’ll drive users away, rack up bounce rates, and enrage visitors.
Put on your UX hat, and shape your 500 words into a scannable, breathable page that flows smoothly. Use headings, bullet points, images, and lots of white space.
Break it up.
Reading is like talking. Every once in a while, you just need to stop and take a breath.
That’s why the English language has sentences and paragraphs. Break up your content into brief chunks that a user can scan if she wants to, or read if she wants to. Breaking up your 500 words is the best way to amplify its power.
Images are just as important.
Use a mix of images and copy. As I explained above, images and pictures work together. Use pictures, diagrams, illustrations, or icons that enhance your copy.
Don’t just write words for the sake of writing words. Write real, substantial, engaging, persuasive content. You may want to hire a skilled copywriter for this process.
This entire exercise of expanding your content to 500 words is going to be wasted if you skimp on content quality.
Use a variety of methods.
There are all kinds of copy. Your landing page will be more successful if you use a variety of persuasive styles.
Emotional persuasion – Persuade users using emotional language and discussion.
Analytical or data-driven persuasion – Feature charts, graphs, statistics, and data to persuade users.
Information persuasion – Give users as much information as possible to help them make a decision
The more types of persuasion you use, the better chance you’ll have of gaining a conversion.
Lots of copy is the path to landing page success…most of the time.
What I want you to do is to test more copy on your landing page. Assuming you implement it correctly, you could very well improve your conversion rates.
But keep in mind how I opened this article — “In most cases, I think that landing pages should have more words.”
The only way to find out is through conducting A/B tests. Give it a try, and see what you discover.
What do you think? Will having at least 500 words on your landing page improve conversions?
Every ecommerce site needs trust signals. Without them, you can expect conversion rates and revenue to remain low. With trust signals, you can power your ecommerce websites to heights of power and success.
In this article, I want to share with you the secrets of trust signals that have worked for me and dozens of other extremely successful ecommerce websites. First, I’ll share a little bit about the science and psychology of trust signals and then explain exactly which trust signals you should have on your website in order to drive conversions.
Trust signals, put simply, are features or qualities of your site that inspire trust in the mind of the customer. Trust is what allows a customer to go from visitor to buyer. A user needs to trust a site in order to buy from the site. There are hundreds, potentially even thousands, of different types of trust signals. Some trust signals, however, are more important than others.
You are hurting yourself if you don’t have trust signals, which is why I can confidently tell you the title of this article isn’t just click bait. Your ecommerce site will die. According to a 2006 study by Taylor Nelson Sofres, customers will terminate 70% of online purchases due to lack of trust (source). This paucity of trust leads to a devastating loss of $1.9b+ annually.
A study of UK-based online retailers found that sites without customer reviews and recommendations were forfeiting £9 billion in extra revenue. The study asserted that including user-generated content like reviews could positively impact these retailers by 27%!
Ready to ramp up conversions and revenue? These are the three trust signals you need:
The #1 Trust Signal – Testimonials and Reviews
What do other people say about your product or service? This is one of the most trust-inspiring features. If you have no other trust signals on your website, you should have this one.
Here are 5 strategies to approach trust:
1. Provide Reviews
Reviews are when customers discuss their experience with and/or satisfaction with your product or service. They may leave these on third-party websites such as Yelp (for local businesses) or Amazon (for physical or digital products).
As cited in SEJ, Econsultancy declares that 88% of customers will check out reviews before making a final decision on a purchase. According to studies, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Local Consumer Review Survey, 2012).
Since two-thirds of consumers use online reviews either regularly or occasionally, this indicates a high percentage of people will be interested in reviews of your business. By corollary, if you don’t have them, you don’t have their trust.
You’ll need more than one glowing review on your website or product page. Most consumers read 2–10 reviews. A smaller number of reviews can indicate a lower level of trust.
This chart from the Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) indicates how many reviews consumers read as they considered a purchase.
It’s no surprise, then, that positive reviews are highly likely to influence a customer’s buying decision.
Google+ is a necessary source of social proof, because of the way that it impacts SERPs and CTR. Potential customers can see social proof right in their search results. When they are logged in to their Google+, Google will pull in people who are part of their circles, conveying a sense of trust to a given search result in the SERP.
3. Add Reviews in Feeds
One powerful way of providing reviews is doing so by means of a feed of reviews — usually Twitter. Here’s how an article on Econsultancy expressed it:
BuildASign indicates a 7% increase in website conversion rates when visitors see a feed of reviews (as opposed to static ‘testimonials’ of dubious origin), compared to those with no reviews.
In combination with the trust quality from social accounts, review feeds are an impacting way to overwhelm the customer with the (hopefully positive) variety and origin of reviews.
This form of review isn’t available for every product or service. If it’s a possibility for yours, by all means, consider adding it to your website or landing page.
4. Add the Identity of Reviewers
The identity of the reviewer is a source of trustworthiness. You can probably identify with the way stock photos and generic names provide either no trust or distrust to a site.
The best way to overcome the blight of anonymous reviewers is to add pictures, full names, and links. Either that, or use a trust source such as Amazon or social media to cite reviews.
Sharefaith, a website provider for churches, does this. Although they use the surname initial, they do provide physical location and a link to the website along with a website screenshot:
Amazon has built up an entire development infrastructure to support and validate the identity of reviews and reviewers.
Customers can get a snapshot of the overall rating of the products:
If they choose, sellers can also dive into the individual reviews, rate the reviews, research the reviewers, and discuss the reviews.
For example, this reviewer has a name, a “real name,” a review page, and a rating.
On a particular review, I can state whether I thought it was helpful or not, comment on it, report abuse, or even create a permalink to the review.
While your own site’s reviews may lack the robust features of Amazon, it’s nonetheless important to validate the legitimacy of reviews and the identity of reviewers.
If you have small network or niche product, don’t despair. Econsultancy’s study concluded that when it comes to reviews, “smaller communities have a greater influence on a topic than larger ones (54%).” This is probably due to the fact that smaller communities are more familiar with one another’s names and identities and thus place a greater degree of trust in the network due to its close-knit composition.
If you are selecting the reviews to use, make sure you use one that has the greatest degree of validity. In a study of “users,” researchers at Temple University came up with the following trust flow diagram.
5. Include Seller Ratings
Seller ratings are a rich snippet markup that you can include in your product page. When your ad appears in the SERP, Google will display a star rating. PPCwithoutPity claims that this will “double your conversions.”
Trust seals are essential trust signals for the survival of ecommerce sites. People tend to be extra cautious when conducting transactions online with all the reports of identity theft that continues to besiege consumers. Ecommerce sites need to show consumers that they are legitimate companies.
In the wake of data loss, cyber spies, Target’s breach, and Google’s tightening of security, consumers are wary and skeptical. You’ve got to do all you can as a retailer to earn and keep their trust.
One of the most basic ways to do this is to tell them who you are, where you live, and how they can get a hold of you.
This information is usually placed directly in the websites template, often in a footer. You should also have a contact page that is easily accessible from anywhere on the site.
Here’s what the contact page on E-consultancy looks like:
Each location has full physical address, phone number, map, and even discusses transportation options.
Here is what the trust signals look like on another website’s footer (GetCandid.com):
Other websites, like this one but nonetheless provide a phone number. My website provides a way for people to connect with me socially and via email:
The most significant way to enhance trust in today’s social-media-driven age, however, is through a social media account. You still need the physical location and contact information, but social media accounts are an essential layer of trust that you need.
It doesn’t take any wild development tricks. Just a few social symbols are all that’s needed to help enhance this level of trust.
You see them everywhere:
If you don’t have social plugins, you’re losing out on a major form of trust and assurance.
These social symbols should be present on nearly every page of your website.
There are ways to use these symbols without compromising UX in the least.
People trust Facebook. They trust Twitter. They respect Google Plus. They use LinkedIn. They view cat videos on YouTube. They pin to Pinterest. These are places where users spend their time and connect with their friends. If you connect with them in this way, they are more likely to trust you and your messaging.
When it comes right down to it, people need the most trust assurance when they are about to spend their money. There are plenty of ways to inspire trust in a checkout process, but I want to focus on just two forms in this section.
1. Multiple payment methods
Customers spend money in variety of ways. You should provide the prominent payment form in the method that is most preferred by your customers. But even if your primary audience doesn’t use a certain payment method as commonly, you should still feature it in order to give them a sense of trust.
The wider variety of payment methods you accept, the greater the customer’s degree of trust in you.
2. Third-party badges and certifications.
The presence of images in the checkout process goes a long way to build trust. Consider this image, featuring Zappos.com (image from Moz.com). They’ve got trust. Why? It’s all those images of familiar payment method icons and logos like BusinessWeek.
In a study from UXMatters, analysts discovered that “icons such as PayPal, VeriSign, Visa” were one of the highest rated trust elements on a website for first-time visitors to a site.
When a customer parts with his or her money, they need assurance. This is the point in the process where they are most vulnerable to leaving the funnel (shopping cart abandonment). Do all you can with trust signals to keep them on the page. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.
You need to determine what trust factors are most meaningful for your audience. Although there are trust factors that have universal appeal, trust isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue.
Your first goal in the trust-building process is to find out exactly what kind of trust your customers need. Then, deliver on it. The principles outlined in this article are the most necessary and compelling forms of trust.
Testimonials and Reviews – Feature as many reviews as possible. Make sure that the reviews and testimonials themselves are trustworthy.
Contact and Communication – Establish the real life validity of your business by featuring location and contact information. Social plugins are a must.
Payment Assurance – Give customers peace of mind as they travel through your checkout process. Display a variety of payment methods, badges, and certifications.
Trust signals will not only enhance your brand as a whole, but also increase your conversions.
Neglect these trust signals at your peril. Embrace them to your success.