Ever get frustrated selling your product or service online?
People visit your website, look around and leave without ever saying a thing.
we’re left wondering why they didn’t buy anything.
Is my product good enough? Is my landing page good enough? Am I doing something wrong?
It’s so impersonal it becomes a pain in the ass to figure out how to improve.
One of the reasons people aren’t buying from us is because we’re doing things that prevent people from fully trusting us.
Not big things, little things. Small enough to go by seemingly unnoticed but large enough to create an uneasy feeling inside the mind of our visitor.
In this post I’ll go over 10 ways your landing page is making you less trustworthy. Check out this post if you want a complete guide to optimizing landing pages
1. How to lose your visitor in record time.
Building trust with your visitors starts before they even land on your website. They ended up on your landing page by clicking a link or an ad. They clicked it for a reason, they are expecting you to talk about what you were offering in your ad. If the offer doesn’t fully match the ad, people leave.
This is called message mismatching.
In some cases it can cripple your marketing efforts, especially when you are doing PPC, Media buys or Facebook ads. You might as well take a bunch of money and throw it out the window.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be paid advertising that can create a message mismatch. Sending someone a link and not delivering what’s promised is a mismatch as well.
How to fix it:
This one of the easiest things to fix:
Make sure that what you are offering matches what you are saying in your ad.
2. Maybe you’re writing is off.
I know, I know, stop screaming. I did that one on purpose (I swear!)
It shows you that errors like that can make you seem less believable. You don’t have to become an expert at the English language to sell products online. I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m far from an expert. I make loads of mistakes.
The point is: you don’t want grammar mistakes to become a barrier to trust. That being said, writing for the web is different than traditional writing.
On the web, for example, it’s perfectly okay to use short paragraphs.
These one-sentence paragraphs make whatever you are trying to convey easier to read. The easier it is to read, the easier it is to understand. You’re not in school anymore. You don’t have to pass an exam. Focus on what language was invented for: communication.
How to fix it:
Listing every possible error you could make would take ages. I’m going to focus on the mistakes that make people’s eyes twitch.
- There / Their / They’re
There = a place over there
Their = possession. Their beach ball
They’re = they are
- Your / You’re
Your = possession. Your landing page.
You’re = you are
- Then / Than
Then = relates to time. Go to the traffic lights, then turn right.
Than = used to compare things with each other. Tim is larger than Tom
- Fewer / Less
Fewer = if you can count it. Means ‘not as many’
Less = if you can’t count it. Means ‘not as much’
“I was so angry I literally felt like I was about to explode.”
Did I really feel like I was going to explode? Probably not. I meant it metaphorically.
As you can see, not that hard.
3. The sound doesn’t match the image.
I’m not talking about video production here. I’m talking about your tone of voice.
Imagine the following scenario:
You’re walking down the beach, the hot summer sun shining down on your skin. You look out to the sea and notice a couple of surfers riding the waves. They’re all smiling and having a wonderful time. You’re inspired by their care-free way of living and decide to give it a go yourself.
After looking around for a minute you find a simple little shop that rents out surf boards. Perfect. Walking in you spot the shop’s owner standing behind the counter.
He’s a typical surfer dude. In his twenties, bronzed skin with long, blondish hair. You nervously walk up to the counter and ask what surfboards he recommends for beginners. He smiles and says:
“For our inexperienced clientele we offer an award winning surf system that combines a unique design with a stable platform all in one robust package.”
What the hell? This was supposed to be a super laid back guy, not some uptight corporate cat. What is he even saying?After some awkward silence you ask if they offer beginner courses as well. He replies with:
“Leveraging our unrivaled expertise, we offer a comprehensive range of innovative courses to meet our client’s needs.”
You slowly back away from the counter and wonder if getting an ice cream might have been a better idea.
The example above illustrates what happens when your tone of voice doesn’t match the expectations people have of you.
You become unpredictable. Instead of focusing on the offer they have to spend time and energy figuring out if you are a threat to them.
How to fix it:
So how do you find a good tone of voice?
- Find out who your customer is.
This is one of those pieces of advice that sound really simple. “Just find out who your customer is.” The real question is: how?
The very best way is through interviews. If that’s not possible or you want to get a general idea, there are a few ways to find out.
The great thing about reviews is that people are telling you exactly what they expect. Amazon.com, for example, is a goldmine when it comes to market research.
Let’s say you are trying to sell a productivity book. Go to amazon.com and search for productivity books. I like to filter the results based on ‘most reviews’. It gives you more stuff to work with.
Now, let’s look at a book that a lot of people have bought. Let’s pick ‘getting things done’ by David Allen. Go to the review section.
Browse around the reviews (especially the 2-3 star ones) and pay extra attention to the ones that have been labeled ‘verified purchase’. These people bought the book so you want to find out what they liked, didn’t like and how they talk.
Why the 2-3 start ones?
They often give a more balanced view about the product. Also, people are better at expressing pain than pleasure. More on that in point #6
Look around for any specific words they use. Are they using specific phrases? You could use these words and phrases in your copy to match your tone of voice to your audience.
The review above tells us a bunch of stuff:
- She knows quite a bit about productivity. She knows what right-brained people are and how it affects her.
- She battles overwhelm and stress.
- Looking to improve her “systems”
This gives us the chance to work that stuff into our copy.
Obviously, one review won’t give you all the data you need. Going to several reviews is a must. After a couple of reviews you’ll start to notice certain patterns.
A second way of finding out more about your ideal customer is to take a closer look at your competition.
As an example, Let’s say you are selling a content marketing course. Copyblogger.com practically owns the niche so let’s take a look at what their audience looks like.
Go to Quantcast.com and type in the website name in the search bar. It tells us what age, gender, education and income the copyblogger’s audience has.
Now that you have that information, you can adjust accordingly. These two techniques should give you a general idea of what your audience is going to look like.
- Write in a conversational tone.
Going back to the surf example. Would you talk like the shop owner in your everyday life? How would you explain your service if you had to explain it to a friend (in person)?
- Read your copy out loud.
You’d be surprised how much reading your own copy out loud helps. When you read it out loud you find out where the hiccups are. Some sentences will sound really good and other will have to be reread 10 times.If you have to reread a sentence in order to understand it, rewrite it.
- Watch this video
4. Me, me, me! Everything revolves around me!
Ever met someone who keeps talking about themselves? They cut off every conversational topic you start only to bring the conversation back to them.
You don’t really listen to them. You just smile and nod, hoping they’ll quit talking soon. If that person was talking about you, listening would become surprisingly easy.
Because what they are saying could have an impact on you. When you are creating your landing page, you need to talk about the other person. You have to let them know how they will benefit from listening to you.
The reason the visitor lands upon the page. They’re looking for guidance. They’re looking to entrust a business to help them make a particular decision. They’re looking to take that next logical step fully assured that it’s the right step to be taking.
That’s where so many businesses get their landing pages wrong. They’re not thinking about what that next logical step is. They’re thinking about what’s in it for them, rather than what’s in it for their visitor. Often times, they just need a helping hand.
How to fix it:
It’s fine to give people some information about you, it’s another thing to ignore your visitor’s needs completely and keep babbling on about yourself. When you are creating a landing page ask yourself this question:
Does this page explain why they need to care?
Better yet. Go out and test it. Find someone who’s willing to take a critical look at your landing page and ask for feedback.
5. Asking everything from them except the color of their underwear.
Getting their info is important. Despite the rise of social media, email is still a great channel. The problem, however, is that we can go a little overboard with the info-asking. Why should they give us their personal details? Like Ian said: what’s in it for them?
If you’re a life insurance company you can get away with asking details like their name, address, age, email, job description and all the other personal stuff. That info is needed to ensure quality service.
If you run a gardening blog, asking for a last name might be a stretch.
How to fix it:
You are an obstacle between your customer and the solution. I know that sounds a little harsh but it’s true. They are looking for a solution to a problem. They want their problem solved as fast as possible. They want to deal with the middleman as little as possible.
So ask what is necessary, but don’t go overboard. Do you really need their physical address or their gender?
6. The FREE, ultra, mega, bulletproof way of breaking trust FAST.
It’s great to talk passionately about your product, It builds anticipation. People get excited. People talk about your product. People buy! There’s a point, though, where passion turns into bullshit.
“Lose 50 kilograms in a weekend”
It becomes really difficult to fill in the promise you just made. Internet marketing forums are full of this stuff.
According to this study, people take notice when they feel worse than they expected. The bad news is that they don’t remember feeling better than expected. People remember pain, they forget pleasure.
The message here is: if we don’t meet expectations, people will feel bad about buying from us. It might work once but bye bye repeat business.
How to fix it:
There are certain phrases that should be used with caution. Things like ‘best ever’, ‘revolutionary’, ‘ground braking’. Unless your product is truly revolutionary, don’t call it revolutionary.
Here’s a list of 25 of the most overused words in PR releases. Use these with caution.
|Buzzword /Overused Term||# of Mentions|
|19||easy to use||6,850|
|21||state of the art||6,400|
Check the source for the full, 100 word list.
In the end it’s all about honesty and setting the right expectations. Think of it as a win-win situation. You don’t get any (or less) complaints and your customer is getting what they expected to get.
7. A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t let ‘amateur’ be one of them.
I’ve covered this in my landing page guide, but it’s worth going over it again. Fake looking stock photos make you seem unbelievable. Again, the always smiling business man or the meeting that is going just a little bit too well are great examples of bad stock photos. Pictures like this get ignored because they are fake, simple as that.
People have been bullshitted long enough to know it’s not real. They can see right through it. So where can you get stock photo’s that don’t really look like crappy stock photos?
How to fix it:
People do business with people, and studies show that people are more likely to trust a website when faces – especially faces similar to their own – are shown early in an experience. The more approachable the person in the photo looks, the better.
Where possible, use the faces of people from your team, whether it’s a photo of you or of your sales or support staff; if not a photo, have a human face as the opening still or thumbnail on your demo/explainer video. If not photos of your team, use photos of customers alongside their testimonials.
(For further reading, Paras at VWO did a great post on this a few years back.)
While it may be harder to find a picture that matches or captures the atmosphere of what you are offering, the quality is a lot better.
Here are a couple of website that offer photos that don’t look like stock photos. There aren’t as organized as the big sites but the quality is amazing.
8. Buy Now for an easy 1 time payment of 2 times $97!
This one is about dodgy pricing. The stuff that looks like a deal,acts like a deal but isn’t a deal. I’m talking about stuff like this:
Even though it looks like you’re getting a deal you aren’t. It’s deceptive and should be avoided. It’s taking advantage of what people are used to.
How to fix it:
There are a lot of tricks to make your price seem more attractive. Check out this article by Peep Laja to see a couple of cool pricing experiments.
Honesty is key. Like I said before: people remember pain. Be as open as possible.
9. Screwing Up Your First Impression.
Who would you buy a new car from? A guy wearing a nice fitting suit or a guy that hasn’t changed his outfit since high school? First impressions matter. In person and online.
Will Hoekenga from Leadpages hits it right on the head:
Here’s one common reason why people don’t trust a landing page: The page still blindly follows the old internet marketing adage, “If it’s ugly as hell, it’ll probably sell.”
There was a time in internet marketing when having an ugly sales page allowed you to instantly stand out from the crowd of people who had pretty pages that largely ignored conversion-optimized design and copywriting.
The problem is that, for the most part, consumers have seen these ugly landing pages so much that they no longer trust them. They don’t stand out anymore—they just seem sketchy.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you have to turn your landing pages into works of art. All it comes down to is marrying eye-pleasing design with conversion optimization principles.
You can make a call-to-action button stand out without turning it into an eyesore. You can make the copy easier to read by simply varying the typography. Simple and subtle directional elements can outperform giant flashing arrows.
Now, is it guaranteed that old-school ugly landing page tactics will never work? No—that’s why it’s important to test—but I do believe their trustworthiness is waning.
The right design can be the difference between losing sales vs. doubling or tripling them. That’s why it’s such a big emphasis for us at LeadPages.
How to fix it:
You could write a whole book about what it takes to get a nicely designed website. For the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on the main principles of good web design.
- Text that is easy to read
This consists of two parts:
Try to write like you are explaining something to a 10 year old.
Make your text large enough that it is easily readable. 16px is a must. It might look big at first, but it’s better to make it too big than too small. Check this link for more readability tips
- Good use of color
It’s good to have a basic knowledge of color theory. Luckily there are tools designed to help you out. Color scheme designer for example tells you what colors go best with other colors.
Like the saying goes: Less is more.
- Quality images
A pictures is worth a thousand words. Check point #7.Only use quality images and make them the right size before you put them onto your website.
- Easy to use
It should be clear to your visitor what he needs to do next. Big buttons and clear call to actions help a lot.
Sounds simple right? Well what if you are not a designer? There are a couple of website out there where you can buy landing page templates if you want. Check out themeforest for this. Alternatively, you can use tools like unbounce, leadpages or instapage to easily create landing pages.
10. Remember, You’re Still a Stranger on The Internet.
Buying something online requires a good deal of trust. When they push the ‘buy now’ button they run the risk of:
A) Being scammed
B) Looking like an idiot because they got scammed
If you don’t assure them that they’re perfectly safe, you’re making it harder for your visitor to trust you.
How to fix it:
A lot of websites use trust signs as a way of reassuring people that they are safe. Money back guarantees and other trust indicators like testimonials are a good way to decrease risk.
You’ve made it. Let’s recap:
- Give what you promised
- Try to avoid grammar mistakes
- Use the right tone of voice.
- Talk benefits, not features
- Only ask critical information
- Set the right expectations
- Use good pictures
- Make your pricing clear
- First impressions count
- Use trust signs
Now you know how to improve the likelihood of first-time visitors trusting your landing page.