Making leads aware of your brand is a great start, but it’s not enough to complete the sale. A key challenge of B2B marketing is finding ways to generate the trust and credibility necessary to convert those leads into buyers. One study found that nearly 90% of people will only buy from someone they trust.
Unfortunately, being trustworthy isn’t always enough to appear trustworthy to your target audience. As a digital marketer, it’s your job to leverage trust signals to let potential buyers know that you’re a legitimate, credible option. In this article, we’ll explain what trust signals are and cover some of the best uses of trust signals we’ve seen this year.
- What Are Trust Signals?
- How Do Trust Signals Work?
- The 5 Different Types of Trust Signals & How to Use Them
- 6 Practical Examples of Great Trust Signals
What Are Trust Signals?
Trust signals are just what they sound like – signs, logos, brands, and other elements that can improve a brand’s credibility. Along with simple visuals, a trust signal could also be something like a customer testimonial. The point is that a trust signal should make leads more comfortable with your brand.
A classic example of a trust signal is the “Norton Secured” badge that’s often placed on payment pages. Consumers are naturally reluctant to enter credit card information or other sensitive data online, so that badge goes a long way toward making them feel secure.
How Do Trust Signals Work?
Trust signals work by appealing to something that the viewer already trusts. Norton is a major cybersecurity brand that most internet users are familiar with. By putting their badge on your site, B2B brands have the chance to “borrow” some of their credibility for their own needs.
The effectiveness of a particular trust signal therefore depends on how much the viewer trusts what they’re seeing. For example, putting quotes from user reviews on your website can be helpful, but most users will realize that they’re seeing a curated list of positive impressions rather than a representative sample.
The 5 Different Types of Trust Signals & How to Use Them
Trust signals can take a variety of forms. Building trust is one of the most important elements of B2B marketing, so it’s critical to understand the different types of trust signals and when to use them. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
1. Social Media Links
Adding social media links and icons to your site is an often overlooked trust signal that you can’t afford to miss.
Consider this: if you’re on a brand-new site that you’ve never visited before, and you’re looking to purchase a product or a service, will you want ways to contact the company you’d purchased from?
Social media icons and badges on your site tell your visitors that you maintain a certain level of transparency, and that you’re open to being contacted on social media. Adding social links to your site helps prospective customers understand:
- If you offer support on social media, and the best way to contact you.
- If you publish regularly with a solid social presence – they want to know you won’t vanish into thin air once they’ve purchased.
- If you have any negative comments, and how you respond to them. It’s okay to have negative comments as long as they’re addressed in a thoughtful way.
The more followers you have on a social media platform, the more credible you will appear. Brands with only a handful of followers will leave visitors suspicious. At the same time, followers aren’t enough on their own – you need to generate active engagement so that people can see you connect with a real audience.
2. Professional Website Design
It may not be as obvious as a verified badge, but strong web design still goes a long way. A professional website shows visitors that you take your business and image seriously.
Think of it this way: would you be confident entering your credit card number on a website that looks like it was built in 2010? Make sure your site is fast, clean, and clear. This will help you earn trust from your visitors a lot easier than anything else.
3. SSL Certificates & Data Protection
Also, making sure that your website has an SSL certificate is a great way to show potential customers that any information they offer you is secure. You can see this on most websites in the address bar, which now contains a small lock if the site has an SSL certificate. SSL, or secure socket layer, is when servers verify that you are who you say you are.
Sites with an SSL certificate will have an address that starts with HTTPS in lieu of HTTP. It’ll be a lot easier to earn the trust of a customer if they know you’re doing your due diligence regarding data protection.
4. Badges for Trust Signals
BBB (Better Business Bureau) Accreditation
The Better Business Bureau is one of the most recognizable certifications for businesses in the United States. Putting a BBB badge on your website shows that you’re backed by a neutral source. Of course, it’s even better if you can display an A+ rating.
Digital Trust Badges
There are some sites that specialize in vetting and verifying companies. They typically also offer reviews to help protect buyers from unsafe and untrustworthy sites. Often, they’ll offer companies with a variety of different awards across several categories, which you can then also display on your site.
If you have any means of purchasing on your website, this is an element that helps customers trust you from the beginning. After all, nothing is more trustworthy than knowing that other people have trusted you and had a positive experience doing so.
5. Testimonials and Reviews
At all stages of the purchase cycle, whether in B2B or B2C, prospects will be looking for trust signals to make sure they’re making the right decision. Reviews and testimonials are great trust signals for prospective customers.
In the B2B world, this typically translates to a few different elements on your site:
- Logos of companies you’ve worked with
- Testimonial quotes and stories
- Case studies with your succeeding customers
These testimonials can help put a clear voice to the solution you provide and help your prospect identify with the customer you’ve championed.
6 Examples of Great Use of Trust Signals
Let’s start off with Oktopost, a social media management SaaS platform built for B2B companies. This site brings together healthy trust symbols from the beginning, with logos of the customers that have found success with the platform, and testimonials peppered across the site.
What makes Oktopost’s case study more powerful is its focus on raw numbers. This client didn’t just do better – they were able to generate a 300% increase in traffic. These statistics are particularly powerful trust signals, because they get your customer wondering, “What could I do with 300% more traffic?”
CultureAmp’s landing page shows how highly their team values trust. Their top clients are listed directly below the fold, even above key elements like testimonials, product comparisons, and the mission statement. They know that visitors will feel at ease if they know that CultureAmp has already been found credible by some of the biggest brands they know.
QuickBooks Payroll is another great example of a business going straight to trust. As soon as you visit their site, you see three key facts:
- You can run payroll in five minutes or less
- QuickBooks Payroll has an average score of 4.5 out of 5 on Capterra across more than 500 reviews
- 1.4 million businesses are already using QuickBooks Payroll
Each of those play a key role in addressing user concerns and making them more comfortable with the service.
Awards can be great trust signals when used correctly. ZineOne received awards from Gartner in three different areas, each of which is relevant to the service they offer. Make sure to highlight any recognition that reflects on the value you provide to customers.
Similarly, this homepage from TechD includes a subtle nod to the company’s partnership with IBM. Like an award from Gartner, this is a great point to mention on your homepage or landing page. Partnering with a larger, more famous company is one of the best ways to boost your own credibility.
Instead of an award or partnership, the Operations Inc. homepage comes with an announcement of the company’s 20th anniversary. Staying in business for 20 years is a clear sign that the team knows what they’re doing and can offer customers true expertise in the field.
Trust is one of the most fundamental elements of B2B marketing, but there’s very little agreement on how to generate it. We recommend populating your website, social media profiles, and emails with plenty of trust signals for your audience to pick up on.
However, one of the easiest ways to earn trust with your audience is by getting someone they know to vouch for you. This can be difficult for brands posting from corporate accounts on social media and finding little to no success.
Time and time again, we see that people want to interact with other people on social media – not brands.
So how can you get your brand message in front of people who will trust that message? Employee advocacy is the way. With employee advocacy, your employees can share content from your company, tapping into their own personal networks and essentially recommending you to their network. By leveraging trust signals across your site and social channels, and combining that with recommendations from your own employees, trusting your brand will be the easiest thing prospects do all day.