Trust signals are written or visual features on your website and in your emails indicating your business is trustworthy to customers.
By giving customers proof that supports your copy, these signals can boost conversions and help you build a credible brand.
What are trust signals?
Trust signal is an overarching term used to describe anything on your website or in your emails that eases hesitations your potential customers might have.
Trust signals can be:
- Customer reviews
- Client testimonials
- Education badges (like the one you’d get from Copy School)
- Security badges (one that indicates a secure check-out for eCommerce)
- Company logos (of businesses you’ve worked with)
- Guarantees (money-back, 100% satisfaction, delivery in under 30-minutes or it’s free)
- Membership badges
- Case studies
- Influencer endorsements
- Media mentions
- Thought leadership content (guest posts to build authority – as taught in 10xFC)
As Trustpilot found out, 98% of people identify a trust signal for why they were more confident in buying.
Trust signals of all forms offer your customers a way to justify their purchase from you.
But the most effective form of trust signal today?
Reviews and testimonials from other buyers.
Why do trust signals boost conversions?
Humans are social beings.
We want to be part of a group—a part of something bigger.
Because of this, people often feel the need to ‘check’ with others before making a buying decision.
According to Psychologist World, this is known as social influence.
“People feel the need to be informed by accurate information, and when they lack confidence in their own knowledge, they turn to others in the hope that they will provide them with the correct information.”
Trust signals boost conversions on your site because they help you look credible.
Your potential customers see your site as safe, secure and trustworthy. And because of that, they’re willing to invest their time and money with you.
Think of it this way:
You’re looking online for a new thermos to keep your drink cold in the middle of the summer.
Do you go with the company that has no reviews, or even worse, poor reviews – or do you choose a company that has a testimonial page that starts like this:
I know I’m going with the “tried and tested” one.
Even security badges have a big impact on customer buying decisions.
A recent study by Baymard Institute found that people value security badges at their point of check-out, and some badges are seen as more trustworthy.
There are so many security badges that you could say their effect has worn off – alternatively; you could also say that people expect to see them.
I think it’s expected to see these badges on a check-out page, and honestly, I’m a bit weary when I don’t see them.
How to use trust signals to effectively boost conversions
Trust signals are only effective when used properly.
By placing them in strategic locations throughout your copy, you’ll increase your credibility and give people more confidence in their decision to buy from you.
Let’s see a few more examples of trust signals in action
A great place to use testimonials is in your emails.
People aren’t going to your website every day to see if you have anything new, so why not put some new customer feedback where people will see it?
Namely: in your emails (and on social media!)
Just like this email example from The Copywriter Club about their Think Tank membership.
Education badges can be useful on the Home page, About page or even on the Services page of your website.
Jessica Noel of Write and Main displays her badges from Copy School and CXL on her About page.
Showing potential clients that she doesn’t just say she knows how to write landing pages but has the training to back it up.
Case studies are great proof to have placed throughout your website.
Especially in places you feel there might be some hesitation on your prospect’s behalf.
Sending them in an email is also strategic because people are more likely to open it and be reminded of your business.
Bitly created a case study that potential customers can download and read offline – this is a handy technique as it allows the prospect to continue thinking about Bitly as a solution to their problem.
The case study offers data and quotes from the company being profiled.
Guarantees are often located at the bottom of your website or where customers have to put in their payment information.
Check-out is a high-stress point for people.
That’s why extra reassurance that they’re making the right decision is important.
In this example from Norton, they use three different types of guarantees to overcome their potential customers’ objections.
By offering your customers ways to ‘get out’ of their purchase, they’re inclined to buy because it’s not set in stone.
Should you put trust signals everywhere?
Using trust signals is a way you can create a more convincing story to persuade your potential customers.
But – the one caveat is that these signals need to support your copy – not weaken it.
By this, I mean that just because you throw a couple of testimonials on your landing page doesn’t guarantee customers will find value in them.
Joanna talks about this common problem software companies face when writing copy.
Their messaging isn’t always aligned with what their customers say and just turns into marketing speak.
“[Your testimonials] need to be like highly credible witnesses in your case – with photos, full names, professions and examples of what you’ve done for them – not just marketing copy in quatation marks.”Joanna Wiebe
The testimonials also need to appear on the right part of the page and offer the right information.
They should fit in with the flow of your copy and the message you’re trying to convey – include data and specific examples, not just praise of your business.
Joanna goes through this in more detail in this Tutorial Tuesday.
She teaches how to edit for believability in your copy, which includes looking at how you use trust signals, like social proof.
Start putting trust signals in your copy
You’ve seen ways to use trust signals on your website and in your emails.
Now’s the time to review your copy and conduct the believability sweep that Jo teaches.