How To Effectively Use B2B Trust Marks To Project Trust And Increase Sales

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trust puzzleSeveral studies in the past have shown that trust seals can increase a website’s conversion rate. Moz reported about the overall consensus that trust seals are important in ecommerce. Similarly, research firm TNS reported that 88% of Americans said trust seals are important on websites. Recently, an Actual Insights survey (2011) showed that 61% of respondents admitted to not completing a purchase because they didn’t see a trust seal on the website. Meanwhile, an Econsultancy study (2011) also reported the displaying trust seals is the top reason for people to trust a website that they don’t know well.

Seeing a lot of websites use online business trust seals (they must be working), many small business owners ask us: where is the best place to display them? Before we answer that, let’s first discuss the different types of trust seals and find out which works best.

What is a trust seal?

A trust mark, seal, badge, or logo suggests to people that your business is authenticated. The seal is provided by an authoritative third party, which collects information about your company to evaluate its credibility. It’s a social proof that you can leverage to increase user trust, and is especially helpful to new websites or startup companies. Greg Hartnett of Best of the Web said smaller websites using online business trust seals have seen conversion increase by 20% or more.

Generally, trust marks fall under two categories: SSL or security seals and trust seals. Security seals (Norton, GeoTrust, Thawte, etc.) verify the technical security of your website’s transmission, that is, the private and financial data submitted by users on your website are protected by a secure socket layer (SSL) from being hacked. On the other hand, trust seals (BBB, Truste, Verified Quality Seal, etc.) audit the company to check for compliance with certain business, industry, and regulatory standards as a mark of your legitimacy.

Various popular trust marks available online

Various popular trust marks available online

For B2B companies like yours, there is another trust mark that you can leverage to project authority in your business solutions niche. For example, here at FinancesOnline, our Verified Quality Seal is a unique trust mark that indicates to buyers your SaaS product features and customer support pass a quality evaluation. Your company details are also authenticated to build your credibility to buyers.

Which trust seal should you use?

Should you use a popular name? A seal that uses actual technical security? Or a niche trust seal? Why not all three? CrazyEgg reported how one company split tested a page by placing a specialist trust seal (identity protection) between two popular trust marks: a security seal (Norton) and trust seal (McAfee). The result? The company saw a 14% sales increase for the test page.

As a B2B marketer, you can display a Norton seal for technical security, a BBB or McAfee for a broader business appeal, and a specialist trust seal like our Verified Quality Seal to project authority in your niche market. By keeping this format consistent wherever you display the trust seals, you cover three critical areas at once: technical, popular appeal, and specialization.

Here's a combination of trust marks you can effectively use on your website.

Here’s a combination of trust marks you can effectively use on your website.

Where to display the trust seals on your website?

Now, back to our original question: where to display the trust seals in your website? The short answer is, on your website’s critical points-of-engagement with customers. Let’s identify these places:

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1. Homepage

You only have 10-20 seconds or less to earn web visitors’ trust before they click away from your site, according to a Nielsen Norman Group study. Aside from having a clear value proposition in the header, one quick way to project trust within this window is by prominently displaying trust seals on your homepage. Visitors can’t really look at details in a few seconds; they rely more on visual ticklers for social proof, such as trust seals, social media buttons, awards, media mentions, or client roll, to judge you. When they land on your homepage, visitors are thinking of two immediate things:

  • What is the benefit I’ll get from the site?
  • What should I do next?

Trust seals are best placed to address the second question. They are message reinforcers or anxiety killers, so place them under a click-to-action (CTA) button or form in the homepage, where you request for personal data or a purchase. It can be a free trial button, an opt-in subscription, an order form, or any place where visitors need to submit or purchase something.

In the absence of a CTA button–note that this is one factor that makes visitors leave a site–you can place trust seals on the rightmost column above the fold, where your awards or media mentions may also be displayed. The eyes’ natural zigzag progression is to read the value proposition first in the main header (left-middle), before scrolling to the right, then down towards the left and back to the right. The logic is, after visitors have read the value proposition in your key message, seeing the trust seals next reinforces their positive perception about you.

Here's how you can effectively use a trust seal on your homepage near a CTA button.

Here’s how you can effectively use a trust seal on your homepage near a CTA button.

2. Free trial page

Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures said that free trials is one way to motivate buyers to get to know you more and trust you, especially if you’re a new or small vendor. He said he’s worked with several SaaS and Web companies that have seen more than 80% conversion rates off their free trial.

You, too, can enjoy a high-converting free trial page by using these time-tested design and copy tactics shared by iSpionage, a PPC Marketing site. Some of the useful tips include: not asking for credit card details during the trial period; sending a welcome email upon sign-up; and placing the free trial button in a prominent location.

Since the free trial page is all about earning user trust, displaying the trust seals complements the page’s objective. Reinforce the free trial CTA by putting trust seals near or under the sign up form or alongside your social proof elements.

Here's how you can leverage a trust seal to encourage more people to try out your product.

Here’s how you can leverage a trust seal to encourage more people to try out your product.

3. Pricing page

Pardot reported that pricing is the “top most needed information online” that business customers look. That means they’re likely be scrutinizing your pricing page longer than the other pages. Displaying your trust seals in this high-traffic page means the seals are also more likely to be exposed to buyers.

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Moreover, Kissmetrics said that assuring buyers is one of the best pricing-page strategies for new or small businesses, so place the trust seals near the order buttons or prominently on the right side of the pricing table to ease user anxiety.

Here a trust seal reinforces your credibility where your clients learns about one of the key components - price.

Here a trust seal reinforces your credibility where your clients learns about one of key sales factors – price.

4. Checkout page

Arguably, it’s the most critical location to display trust seals. The checkout page also demands the most from customers: asking for their money. To demolish this last wall that separates you from them, you need to reiterate that your site is trustworthy.

Graham Charlton of Econsultancy discussed several best ecommerce checkout case studies and summed up seven key features, including:

  • Security reassurance
  • Easy form filling
  • Enclosed checkouts
  • Persistent basket summary

Likewise, Kissmetrics listed its own checkout page checklist, which also includes security seals as a top factor to let people know that their credit card details and personal data are protected.

The checkout page is all about THE transaction, which is all about security and trust. Placing trust seals prominently beside the credit card and payment processor logos is that last-second emotional push to erase any lingering doubts in customers’ mind as they key in the credit card numbers slowly one figure at a time.

Here a trust seal plays a significant role in motivating clients to move on to the final step - payment.

Here a trust seal plays a significant role in motivating clients to move on to the final step – payment.

5. Footer

Many people have adapted to the standard use of footers as links to the website’s social proof, such as: About Us, Contact Us, Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and your social media links. Placing the trust seal near these links, at the bottom of a horizontal navigation or beside a vertical navigation, or near your social media buttons, adds a layer of proof that major companies, mainly the trust seal companies, trust your business.

Placing the seals at the bottom also makes them less intrusive, but not less important. The trust seals are a support feature that reinforces your trustworthiness and should not interfere with your key messages, such as, your logo, value proposition, and product benefits. Think of the footer location as the second act in a play, when, after people have read and got convinced about of your product’s reliability, they now scroll down to the bottom to get a glimpse of your business reliability.

Trust seals used in your footer can give you a nice boost to overal credibility of your website.

Trust seals used in your footer can give you a nice boost to overal credibility of your website.

6. About Us, Contact Us or Our Mission page

The trust seals should be displayed in these critical pages, too, preferably at the bottom section or where the seals can be seen but not intrusive.

SmartInsights said these sections help to establish subjective attributes that customers look for in your business. The pages talk about you, where you want to establish your reputation, integrity, goodwill, and trust. It’s an ideal place to show the trust seals you’ve earned as one positive attribute about your company.

Using a trust seal on you Contact Us or About Us lends more credibility to your business.

Using a trust seal on you Contact Us or About Us lends more credibility to your business.

CONCLUSION

These seven locations are the best places to show your trust seals on your website. These pages also span the stages of your customers’ relationship with you, from the moment they are introduced to you on your homepage, to getting to know you more in the About Us page, and to entering into a more serious relationship via the free trial and committing to a long-term relationship when they buy. You need to wear trust at any stage of the relationship to keep it intact.

Category: B2B News

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