Do Your Prospects Trust You More Than Your Website Design?
In business to business marketing, it is vitally important that your prospects trust your website. As a normal internet searcher, you can generally get an idea of what a legitimate website looks like and what a scam looks like. Scams can usually be detected via poor website design, looking more like pages created by eighth grade programming students than professional web designers.
However, because it is becoming so easy to set up a professional looking website, prospects are becoming more and more wary of companies they have never heard of or do not know. If your website doesn’t appear trustworthy you could be losing prospects.
How do you tell if your visitors trust your website? And how do you improve the trustworthiness of your website if they don’t? What even makes a website trustworthy?
In a recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, researchers compiled data from several business-to-business marketers and their websites. The conclusion of their results was that having content, and the kind of content that is on the website has a lot to do with whether or not someone thinks of a website as trustworthy. In addition, there were a number of things that turn people away from a website. For example, a form that requires a lot of personal information, even when a purchase is not being made, oftentimes results in a lower conversion rate.
So what kind of content makes your website trustworthy? At the bare minimum, your website should at least have an “About Us” page and a “Contact” page. Acoording to the study, a company looked far more legitimate if it had a sufficient “about” page and real contact information listed on the website. Even if the user didn’t want to make sure that contact information was accurate, it’s presence suggested that the page was, in fact, run by a legitimate business with a real office, instead of by information harvesters that were trying to steal user identities.
Looking at this issue more deeply, this study shows that the words on each webpage should promote trust in the prospect. It is the content that makes the person want to make a purchase or contact the company about the service, not just the design or what is actually being sold.
But we already knew that, didn’t we? Not exactly.
The whole point of content on most websites is to draw traffic. Only recently have business owners begun to realize that what the content says (the words around the keywords) is just as important as those keywords themselves.
This is, of course, partly on Google’s shoulders, as the newest algorithms have endeavored to give higher rankings to content that is deemed valuable by users, versus content that is simply present on the page, without any real value or relevance except to drive SEO.
In the past, it was believed that having an active social media page was the way to breed trust in the consumer. But the Content Marketing Institute’s survey showed that only 6% of people cared “a lot” about whether or not the business had social media. For far more people, it was “important, but not a deal breaker,” or “not a factor.”
This brings us back around to the content on the website itself. Especially in situations where the company lacks social media, having content on the webpage that instills a sense of trustworthiness is extremely important for businesses who want to turn prospects into clients or customers.
Why is contact information a factor?
In the study, the Content Marketing Institute discovered that more than half of people would not find a website credible if it did not contain a “Contact Us” section. More than a third said that if the webpage lacks this information, coming to the actual website is a waste of time. This is particularly true of companies that deal business to business, as many want to speak with the company directly and hop online in order to find a phone number or email address in order to do just that.
On the whole, across all portions of the survey, the Institute found that not having contact information was a tipping point. Not having it was what caused the vast majority to vacate the website. On the other hand, having that information, encouraged many to stay and discover what the company was all about.
Why is an About Us section important?
In the part of the study that measured what makes a website a waste of time, the number one reason people clicked away was because they had not come to the right vendor. The second highest result was, however, that the user could not tell what the company did. This is why an About Us section is so important. It should give a clear and concise, bite-sized introduction to the company, so that the reader knows almost instantly what the company does. It should also be clear to the prospect how your product or service can benefit them… as in the end, they really care about themselves, not you.
These two factors together made for trustworthy webpages. How does your webiste stack up? It’s important to note that just having some contact information and an “About Us” on the webpage isn’t always enough. The contact information has to be easily accessible, especially from a mobile phone. The last thing you want is for your prospects to have to spend fifteen minutes clicking through pages to access it. Some people put it at the top of the page (which is what we recomment). Others put a link at the bottom of the page. Either way, it needs to be visible.
And the “About Us” section cannot be riddled with technological or industry jargon. It should be both physically and mentally accessible—meaning that the common person should be able to understand what your company does, and they should be able to find that information quickly.
So, are you looking for a quick way to up your credibility? If so, add clear and comprehensive contact information and an “About Us” page to your website.