Maximizing Conversions with Trust Symbols, Distance and Web Prozac

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Selling products online isn’t just about tossing a few “Buy Now” buttons onto your site and hoping that people will buy them.  Instead, as a website owner, you need to be constantly optimizing your website in order to make these conversions even more common.

Today, we’ll look at a few of the different ways you can do this, including integrating trust and credibility symbols into your website, understanding the role distance can play in increasing conversions and using something we like to call “Web Prozac” in order to minimize buyer anxiety.

Let’s get started!

1 – Use trust and credibility symbols to increase conversions

When visitors encounter a new website, they naturally have a certain amount of reservation about whether or not they can trust it.  Especially in an age when identity theft and digital fraud are so common, it’s natural for these visitors to be wary of any site that asks for their personal or financial information.  As a webmaster, you need to

One way to do this is with “credibility symbols”.  Essentially, consumers have been trained to look for certain key features on a website in order to determine whether or not the page can be trusted.  When these symbols are present, consumers are much more likely to proceed with a sale than if there are no indicators of trust to be found.

Some of the credibility symbols you may want to consider adding to your website include:

  • The Better Business Bureau logo
  • The “MacAfee Secured” graphic
  • The “Verisign Secured” image
  • Professional organization memberships
  • SSL security images
  • Brand logos from major customers you’ve worked with

Obviously, it should go without saying that if you aren’t a member of the Better Business Bureau (or qualify for any of the other credibility indicators listed above), don’t include that specific image on your site.  If a visitor finds out that you’ve simply pasted on these images in order to trick buyers, you risk irreparably damaging your reputation within your industry.

2 – Use distance to reduce anxiety

When people have to make a decision about taking action on your website – for example, clicking a button to learn more, entering their email addresses, or even coughing up their credit card info – they can feel quite a bit of anxiety.  Again, this is natural.  You’d be anxious to if it seemed that every other news story running on CNN featured a poor, bewildered grandmother-type who’d been ripped off in some online scam!

For this reason, it’s crucial that you take steps to reduce this anxiety on your website.  One way to do this is to place the trust and credibility symbols described in Step #1 in close proximity to the place on your page where visitors have to make a conversion decision.

As an example, consider the Single Grain home page:

On the very first screen, we ask visitors to either download our SEO guide or take the specific action of finding out how to work with us.  If you were a new visitor to the site, this immediate request for action might cause some anxiety – after all, you hardly know anything about our company, and we’re already asking you to take action with us!

But then, you look below and see the logos of some of the well-respected companies we’ve had the opportunity to work with – including Intuit, Sony, Yahoo and Salesforce.  Knowing that these companies have trusted Single Grain for their SEO needs – through the use of trust symbols placed in close proximity to our requests for action – should help you feel more comfortable about taking action with Single Grain.

3 – Use of “Web Prozac” to lull readers into conversions

When we say, “Web Prozac,” what we’re referring to is the process of using copy in your calls to action in order to further reduce anxiety and increase a reader’s motivation to click through.

Most new webmasters, when they’re setting up the conversion buttons on their websites, make the mistake of using copy that describes the specific action people should take – not why they should take these actions in the first place.  For example, say you run an insurance leads website, where you collect the contact information of prospective customers and sell it to agents in your area.  To accomplish this, your website features a large information-gathering form, with a button that simply reads, “Submit.”

While you might get a few leads this way, can you imagine how much more effective your form could be if you closed your form with the text, “Yes, I want to receive free information on how to find affordable health insurance!”  Not only are you demonstrating clear value to the visitor (who may still be wary of submitting personal information to an unknown website), you’re also increasing this visitor’s buy-in and – consequently – the likelihood that he’ll go on to complete the desired action.

Let’s look at a real world example of how “Web Prozac” can be used to increase conversion rates.  The following example comes from the Market Samurai website, and it highlights a few different ways that the company uses Web Prozac to increase signups.

First, it’s obvious that the site uses a number of common sales copy features, including a persuasive headline and video content that provides proof that signing up will help your online business.  In addition, the site offers two clear, concise points that demonstrate exactly what benefits the visitor will receive from enrolling in the free trial program for the Market Samurai software.

However, the site really closes the deal with the button text “Yes! Send me my FREE Stuff.”  Up to this point, visitors reading along with the copy or watching the video might see the value in signing up for the program, but may still have some hesitation about pulling the trigger and giving up their valuable email addresses.  By getting these readers to agree that, yes, signing up will be valuable, the site is ultimately much more effective than if it had simply closed with a button labeled “Submit” or “Download Now.”

Of course, keep in mind that these are only a few of the different elements that go into an effective sales process – simply adding these features to your site won’t necessarily be enough to combat poorly written copy or products that aren’t a good fit for your target visitors.  However, by experimenting with these items and split testing their impact on your conversion process, you should be able to increase your website’s conversions and – ultimately – your overall profits.

Image: Sarah G

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