When buyers land on your website, they either dig for more information within your site–or they leave. In some cases, buyers decide to click away not because you have a substandard product, but because you lack perceived credibility.
Perceived credibility means how buyers see your company, which is worlds apart from how you imagine your business. Even if you’re the most trustworthy vendor in the world, if you don’t know how to project this image, buyers won’t know it.
In this article, we detail tips on how to make your B2B website more credible. They are divided into two main parts: internal and external signals. Internal signals are content that you can readily display in your website to increase perceived credibility. On the other hand, external signals are granted to you by another party. You can say internal signals are what you say about yourself, while external signals are what others say about you.
1. External signals
These are positive signals from third parties that reinforce your credibility.
They are positive anecdotes that mimic the power of word-of-mouth promotion. Testimonials can be manipulated, and buyers know that. But when crafted properly and with sincerity, what other people say about you can still influence the buying decision. The only question is–how much.
To increase the credibility of your testimonials, provide the name, job position, and company of the persons giving the testimonial. Likewise, don’t just publish general sentiments, but dig down to the specifics to give more value to the testimonials. For example, instead of asking a customer a yes-or-no question (“do you like the software?”) focus the question on a specific, quantifiable point (“what problems did the software solve?”). Whether they believe a focused testimonial or not, buyers who read it will get a clearer picture of your software’s benefits. You should also make sure you ask your satisfied clients to share their experience with user reviews on all popular B2B and SaaS review platforms.
Display a client roll that shows your past and present customers. More importantly, highlight the big tickets, whose brands can rub off on yours. However, even when you lack prominent clients, you can still project bigness by the numbers–showing how many hundreds, if not thousands, of clients are using your software.
A great and quick source of credibility, especially for startups and small players, is displaying trust seals on their websites. These are a mark of approval from perceived third-party authorities.
Trust seals fall under two main types: security and business legitimacy. Norton and other SSL security seals are an example of security seals, which verify that the website, especially its shopping cart, is technically secure from hacks and eavesdropping. On the other hand, BBB seal is a business trust mark that checks the company’s background and validate it is a legitimate entity.
There’s another trust seal, one that suits the need of B2B software: specialty trust seals, which focus specifically on that industry. A good example is the Verified Quality Seal provided by FinancesOnline, a popular B2B review platform. What makes this seal unique is that it digs deeper into the product and focuses on the quality of its features. Similarly, the seal signals to buyers that the vendor has a reliable reputation in providing customer support.
The bigger the award, the more credibility you get. But even small awards showcase that your software has been positively cited by another entity. This speaks volume about your credibility and should be highlighted on your website.
If you haven’t got an award yet, there’s a way to secure one. B2B software review sites usually issue special mentions to illustrate the software product’s key strengths. For example, FinancesOnline gives awards for: most customizable software; exceptional customer support; or great user experience. You can get a wide range of quality certificates that highlight your product’s strong points, such as: useful free trial, budget friendliness, or great customer support. If you’d like to get such an award for your product you can easily request a review of your product here.
2. Internal signals
Detailed contact information
Displaying a thorough contact details not only shows how buyers can get in touch with you, but, in fact, that they can. This increases customer trust because customers see your transparency in business. Besides, contact information increases the rate of inquiries, which are potential leads.
In fact, in the 2015 B2B Usability Report (Huff, KoMarketing), 44% of interviewed buyers said they lack of contact details caused them to leave a vendor website. Conversely, another study by Baymard Institute reported that 46% of web visitors said a clear phone number and address make them to trust a site.
If you can’t display a physical address–you don’t want to highlight that you’re operating outside of the U.S.–at least provide a live chat app or a toll-free number to bring your business “closer” to its market.
Detailed product information
In the Huff/KoMarketing study, 78% of buyers said they want to see pricing on a vendor site. Showing your pricing–more accurately, not hiding it–indicates transparency on your part, which, again, builds trust.
However, make your pricing and payment terms clear. Any extra charges or add-on rates have to be declared. Hidden fees suggest dishonesty and can destroy user trust in one quick swipe. One way to ensure buyers understand your pricing and payment details is to prominently display links to FAQs and terms & conditions on your pricing page.
Likewise, price is one way buyers gauge your value; they run a mental cost-benefit analysis to see if your software is worth its dollars. A published price makes it easy for buyers to quantify the emotional benefits that you’ve highlighted on the features page.
Personalized About Us Page
This is your website’s bios page and a great opportunity to establish a connection with buyers. Although B2B is more formal and structured than B2C, business buyers also want to be reminded that behind the software or product is a team of real humans that they can talk to.
Showing pictures of you as the CEO/business founder and your technical and helpdesk teams is a great way to establish social proof that tells buyers–yes, your company is run by actual people in an actual office.
Furthermore, if you’re trying to project a thought leadership persona, you can use the About Us page as a link to your LinkedIn profile and draw buyers to your social media posts and content.
Create authoritative content
According to the Huff/KoMarketing study, case studies, white papers, and research reports help build credibility of a vendor’s website. These are authoritative pieces of content that project to buyers your expertise and credentials as a potential business partner.
Furthermore, authoritative content is useful to capture leads during the buyer’s initial research. Imagine a buyer who is searching for a learning management software for the first time. He won’t dive right away looking for a specific brand; rather, he’ll probably research about LMS and topics around it. In this case, you’re likely to catch him with an authoritative content that he’s looking for.
A CMO and Netline study pictures three scenarios how B2B buyers use vendor authoritative content to influence their purchase decision:
- From middle out (35% of respondents): Middle managers find your content and share it with senior management to educate them about the purchase
- From the bottom up (30% of respondents): Junior managers find your content and share it with senior management, which makes the decision
- From the top down (29% of respondents): Senior executives find your content and share it with middle managers for analysis and final decision
Show active social media pages
Your social media pages also act as a social proof that builds customer trust. An active social media page tells customers that you still exist and, in fact, engage with customers. It also tells them that you’re within reach for customer queries and concerns. So make sure your social media are kept updated with posts and replies.
Moreover, if you have a sizeable number of followers, whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, why not embed social media plugins on your website instead of simply showing link buttons? Plugins show activities, posts, number of followers, and also provide buyers a means to share and spread your web content.
Even before convincing buyers that your product features will help them, you must first convince them to listen to you. That means selling them your credibility as a trusted vendor before selling them your product. The tips above are a good start to help you build a positive reputation.