Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Building Trust With Your Web Site

Linda (a potential client) and I were chatting about what makes a quality web site. We were having a difficult time quantifying 'quality," until I asked her what was the last web site that met all of her needs.

With that thought, Linda was off and running. Linda told me she was recently searching for a hot tub to purchase and said, "This particular web site includes testimonials from credible sources, a professional picture of the factory along with photographs of the staff. They also offered a comprehensive FAQ information page. They had extensive information on how their hot tubs are constructed and why they are a better value than others. Additionally they provided a checklist of items to consider before I buy so there would be no problems. "

"It looked like I could trust them; so I ordered from them." Linda then paused and said, "And I also told my friends."

Got Trust?

"Great testimonial," I replied. "It sounds like your degree of trust and the content of the site influenced your decision to buy. Now let's look at your mortgage web site and see how many of these qualities you have present." I could tell by the silence that Linda just realized that her web site was missing most of these key components.

60% Of Buyers Buy Within 30 Minutes!
80% Of Buyers Buy Within A Day!

eMarketer.com recently had a very compelling article somewhat related to trusting a web site:

CLICKS TO CONVERSION HAPPEN QUICKLY: According to the new Q2 2000 Online Advertising Report from AdKnowledge, most conversions of click-throughs into sales happen very quickly. Sixty percent of conversions for first time customers occur within the first half hour. After that, the share that will click-through diminishes rapidly. Another 9% will convert before an hour is up. Within a day, 80% have converted. Only 1% will of click-throughs will happen at the end of 30 days."

Love At First Site

If someone is going to buy, 60% of them buy in the first 30 minutes, 70% within an hour of visiting your site and 80% that same day. I believe you can assume that many visitors must have made up their minds with the first screen view of your web site: the 'love at first site' syndrome. That first screen view has to be good.

A Good Design Is Not Enough

A mortgage web site is entrusted with the largest financial transaction most people will ever make. Of course you need great rates and customer service; but your site must communicate professionalism, competency and trust.

A web site full of 'graphic wu-wu,' and 'animated testosterone' alone won't do it. It is the written content that is your sales tool. It is your content that builds trust. It is your content that educates, informs, comforts, cuddles, tickles, persuades and entices your visitors to become clients. To paraphrase an En Vogue song title, you "Gotta give them something they can feel."

Instant Trust Leads To Internet Sales!

I shared with Linda that you not only need to 'sell trust' on your web site; you also need to create 'instant trust,' the same way she instantly trusted that hot tub site. The best way to create 'instant trust', is to 'Design for show, content for dough.'

Visitors have come to expect a minimum degree of aesthetic competency when visiting a site. In order to get your visitors to read your content, you must create a web site that (on a visual pass/fail scale) will muster at least a 'passing grade.' If your site looks crummy, visitors are less likely to read your content.

Internet Marketing Is Only The Beginning

We conduct corporate training & mortgage seminars where we emphasize that the sales on your web site do not conclude when Internet marketing efforts drop visitors at the front door…it only begins there. While it is very important to deliver visitors to your site; it is 'what you say' and 'how you say it' once a customer arrives that is even more important. This is what determines if a visitor turns into a client.

Elements Of Trust

A successful web sites meets the expectations of the visitor. At a minimum, the following elements need to be included on your web site in order to communicate trustworthiness:

* Your company name, phone number and email contact on every web page.
* Testimonials from past customers.
* Photo of current employees.
* An information page about your company so that people can learn about you (ie. people buy from people they know and like).
* Interest rates that are current…as of today.
* An overview of all the type of loans you offer.
* A consistent navigational bar so people can conveniently roam your site.
* A professional appearance in which the theme is carried out through your entire web site.
* Clean, crisp graphics. No animated graphics.
* Provide not only concise, easy to find information; but also provide more elaborate details for those who 'really have to know."
* Friendly, easy to read, and understand content.
* Bonus information: provide content that differentiates your company from others. Examples might be articles on how to save money by having a 15 year loan or why it may be more cost effective to pay a point or two extra to get a lower interest rate.

Linda agreed to include all these elements in her site, as I asked her, "Now, who are you going to trust with your mortgage web site?"

For online mortgage leads please visit our mortgage leads page.


Building Trust With Your Web Site
Originally published September 2000

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