Establishing Credibility & Maintaining Trust

2 Comments Written on March 22nd, 2010 by
Categories: Marketing

Constructing a winning landing page has a lot to do with establishing credibility in the mind of the visitor.

You need a compelling offer, of course, but you also need to frame that offer in a way your audience will listen to, accept, and want to respond.

Let’s look at ways to optimize landing page credibility.

Trustworthy Design

A website credibility study in 2006 undermined lot of traditional thinking about website credibility metrics that were taken as given. For example, only 1% of respondents thought a privacy policy was important in terms of establishing trust. People didn’t care about sponsorships. Or the identity of the site owner.

The overwhelming credibility metric was in fact site design – typography, graphics and overall look and feel.

The data showed that the average consumer paid far more attention to the superficial aspects of a site, such as visual cues, than to its content. For example, nearly half of all consumers (or 46.1%) in the study assessed the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and color schemes.

Start with a checklist:

  • Do you have a reliable, fast host?
  • Is your web design professional, as opposed to amateur-looking?
  • Are your pages usable?
  • Is your copy compelling?
  • Is your visual identity unique?

This checklist, I’m sure you’ll agree, is common sense.

If you’ve managed to get someone to click through, you don’t want to lose them to basic problems, such as a slow host, or poor usability. To achieve every item on this checklist will cost less than what many advertisers would stand to lose in back-clicks.

All these aspects help to establish trust, but that’s only the beginning.

Why Is Trust Important?

It sounds like an obvious question. Few would argue that it is better not to be trusted.

In terms of PPC, one of the most important benefits of establishing trust is financial. If you can retain visitors, by engaging with them in such a way as they want to bookmark your site, or buy from you again, then you save in PPC costs in future. If you build up a user base, then you may not need to advertise via PPC much, thus saving you money.

Trust is the essential underlying ingredient for relationship marketing to work.

Compare this strategy with a typical approach to PPC, which is to convert the new visitor to a sale as soon as possible.

Granted, this approach suits some products and services, but this approach will always suffer from a strategic flaw: the constant need to attract new customers. As we looked at in our relationship marketing post, attracting new customers can be five times as expensive as maintaining existing customers. As your niche gets more competitive, and copy-cats move in, your PPC costs are forced up.

It’s very difficult for a competitor to duplicate a long-term trust relationship. Once a trust relationship is established, which starts with the credibility of the page and extends to the quality of the interactions the visitor has with you, it becomes harder for a competitor not focused on building trust to emulate you.

It Helps If You’re Interested

Whilst you can sell if you’re not really interested in a product or service, it’s much easier if you do genuinely believe in what you’re doing.

It certainly helps with building trust, because in order to make a connection with people, you need to understand how they think.

People who have spent a lot of time in a niche naturally talk the customers language, because they have constant exposure to it. Compare this with someone who writes for a niche with which they are unfamiliar. The writing, and approach, typically feels clunky. The same is often true of translations, or when marketing in a culture that is not similar to your own.


Establishing visitor trust has two parts.

First, the initial impression must be good. So invest in good design, good copywriting, and usability.

Secondly, the ongoing interactions you have with visitors. Respond to inquiries promptly, be consistent, be user-focused and adapt to user requirements.

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2 comments “Establishing Credibility & Maintaining Trust”

Great work on this site of you and Aaron & Team. I have 2 questions though: 1. I have never seen an evaluation of PPC bid-tools such as Marin, SearchForce, SearchManager etc and wonder if you will do one – to shock the world if nothing else? BEST technique to find negative keywords in PPC?
Thanks and have a great day! 😀

What about trust seals? What do you think about those? Do you think its worth the return on investment? I’ve been debating on if I should take the leap and purchase one.

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