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7 Trust Elements of Highly Effective Landing Pages

Ever wonder what you can do on your website and your landing pages (and generally in all your marketing) to establish trust between you and your prospect from the start?
To be clear I’m not talking about being a trustworthy businessperson.
That’d take more space than I’ve got for this article.
There’s a HUGE difference between what it takes to earn and keep trust in a growing and ongoing business relationship and what it takes to establish trust on day one.
The truth is that people start out by not trusting you.  And that’s not because of anything you’re doing, it’s because of their experiences.
It’s not you, it’s them.
This is an issue that’s particularly important to me as it’s essential I find ways to rise above the shady practices of all the pretend copywriters out there.  Truth is that those pretenders are used car salesmen.
They don’t write.
They may study.  They may sell you on the phone.  But they don’t write, at least not enough to make them good enough to help you in my opinion.  And sometimes their websites are prettier than mine.
Yes, that’s very frustrating, but what’s important is that I’m operating in integrity.
But, a girl’s gotta eat. So, how can I make them trust me?  How can I make them believe that I’m the real deal after they’ve been burned before?
All of the “I’m awesome” and “here’s my background” copy in the world doesn’t put food on the table if people hit my website and don’t trust me.
And what about you?
Maybe you’re not in a service business like I am.  Maybe you sell water filters or dog collars.  Your trust battles are of a different sort.
It could be that you’re fighting the big advertising dollars of your competitors.  How are people supposed to trust your Bridal Décor ecommerce site over Amazon?

What’s the Best Way To Establish Trust With A Stranger?

Think of it like this …
I don’t know you, you don’t know me, I’ve got something to offer, and you’re looking.  Essentially, we’re strangers.  Our relationship is starting from scratch.
What’s cool for you as the marketer is that there’s lots of things you know about me that you can use to your advantage in the sales process.  But I don’t know squat about you or your business.
I clicked on an ad.  Now what?
As is usually the case, I like to approach sales the same way I would any new relationship with a person.  To make it harder (so you realize how important and difficult the trust thing can be), imagine that this is a really important relationship to the prospect.
If you’ve got kids, think, “I’m hiring a new nanny.  What’s going to make me trust this person?”
No kids?  How about, “I’m leaving town for 15 days and I need to really trust that X person is going to take care of my dog.  How will I know if my dog is in good hands?”
Insert any example here that speaks to what’s really most important in your life.
Here’s a list of things that I’d be looking for in any new relationship like that …

#1 – Show Your Experience 

How long have you been doing this thing?  What’s your background?  Or, if you sell a product, how long has it been around and how does it outperform the competition?
This is the obvious part of building trust.  You DO need to answer these questions.
But you’re probably already doing this.  This is what most businesses are already good at … talking about their experience or longevity or what they’ve been doing all this time.
This is especially effective if your business deals with changes.  J.P. Morgan has been “helping their clients to do business and manage their wealth for more than 200 years.”
That’s very relevant and trust building information because the economy has gone through a lot of changes in that many years.  The hope is that it leaves the prospect thinking, “I guess they know how to adapt and keep going (stay profitable).”
But even J.P. Morgan could do a better job of connecting the dots here.  They should explain why 200 years is such a big deal in their industry.
The same would be true of SEO companies that have been around since the 90s.
Any SEO company that has kept the doors open for that long must really know their stuff and be capable of producing results or they’d have tucked tail a long time ago.
Again, this is actually something that most businesses do right.  But, since I’m the one that brought up that nanny example, I had to include this as one of the 7 … I’m not handing my babies over to someone who hasn’t held at least 50 other babies first.
You should pretend your prospects feel the same way about what you offer.  Show them that you really are quite capable or your product really does work by showing them how many people you’ve served before them.
If you’re new talk about how you tested your product against the others and show the results.
Cosmetic companies (even ones that have been around for a long time) are great at this.  Most of them use the phrase “clinically proven” because it converts!
You don’t always have to come right out and say, “It’s been tested and this has been proven to work.”  Ryan says that below about his Customer Valuation Optimization System without actually saying the words “tested” or “proven”.  He just gives you examples you can relate to.

#2 – Address the Elephant in the Room

The lead magnet I’m using right now is working so well because it speaks to the state of things in my industry.  It’s full of thieves these days and people are getting burned.
So, the burn report makes sense.
I’m a big believer in creating lead magnets this way, even for product-based businesses.  Create a lead magnet that helps people make the right choice.
They’re currently trolling the internet looking for solutions.  Be the one who walks them through the decision.  Obviously your lead magnet will lead to you but you can do it in such a way that you’re not overselling or claiming that nothing else works or you (or your thing) is perfect for everyone.
Carmax does this well too:

#3 – Provide Social Proof

Who else uses this and likes it?
Now before you say “but I don’t have any testimonials yet,” here are three alternatives that will provide the social proof you need to at least start the trust ball rolling …
Maybe no one has used your “thing” yet, but certainly there are people (smart, respectable people) who know you and would endorse your knowledge and expertise on your subject.
This method is especially helpful for consultants or service professionals who are just starting out.  It’s important that the testimonial doesn’t go over the top because people will see what’s missing … a results based statement.  But, the more of these comments you can get, the better.
When I read this testimonial for my old GKIC buddy Howard Zeiden, I’m left thinking, “Well, Craig Valine likes him and thinks he’s smart.”  Maybe he is.
That kind of testimonial may not convince a prospect, but it will encourage them.  That’s a step in the right direction.
Tell your own story.
While this may not seem like it belongs in the social proof area of this article, it really does.
If you finally figured out how to achieve something that eludes many people, your story is an important form of social proof.  Especially if you tell it in a way that shows your prospect that you’re just a regular person, not a genius or connected in any way that provides you an unfair advantage.
Show them that you’re just like them and your “thing” WORKED for you!
This is just part of my client, Belinda Rosenblum’s story.  You can find the rest of the story here.
Although she’s got lots of great testimonials, her story is a really important form of social proof and it also builds a connection.
Help people for free.
Before the hate mail starts rolling in about that, I’m not telling you to give away the farm or give so much that you’ve reduced the perceived value of your services.
I’m saying help a friend or someone you know who could use your “thing.”  Just give it away and tell them that you’re doing it because you genuinely want to help, but also because you think that other people will really connect with the product or service if they hear how it helps from them.
Basically, I’m saying give away your product or service for free in order to get a testimonial.
You can even just ask a trusted expert to review your product and provide a testimonial if they feel so inclined.
Check out how Diane Conklin of got a great testimonial for her marketing system info-product.
Okay, so maybe you don’t know Bill Glazer personally, or you don’t know the leaders in your industry personally.
That’s okay.  You DO know people who can be helped by what you sell.  Go talk to them.  Help them.  Give them your thing.  Ask them to comment on it.  You’ll get testimonials!

#4 – Show Them Who You Are

Really (damaging admissions and all)
People can smell a fake a mile away.  Don’t be that guy.
Be the real guy.  Just be you.
I bet there are people that like you and trust you.  The rest of the world will too if you show them who you really are.
If you’re in a service business like me, people want to connect with you personally.  Here’s how I’ve done it on
No, you don’t have to be an open book, but give them something to hold onto.
You may have noticed that the bigger the business the less personal it is with marketing.  You just don’t see pictures of Tony Robbins’ wife and kids on his website.  That level of intimacy isn’t necessary at Tony’s level of business.  But it may be at yours.
But even if you’re selling paint, people want to know about you!
And remember, even if we’re talking about big companies like Verizon or AT&T or FedEx or Under Armour, when it comes to salesmanship, people buy people.
Sure, if I like the yoga pants, I’ll buy the yoga pants.  But there’s a reason that Under Armour is running this campaign:
They’re hoping I’ll connect with one of these women.  Maybe I’ll want to be like one of them or look like one of them.
People buy people.
So, show them who you are.  If your product, brand, or service doesn’t lend itself for you to make a connection with your prospect (i.e., you’re an old dorky guy selling to teenagers) give them someone else to connect with and trust.
Hello, Geico!
This is one of my favorite examples.  Maybe the owner or founder of Geico is a boring dude.  Well, there’s a character that we all have some sort of relationship with representing the company now.
I love that gecko.  How about you?

#5 – Be a Resource

Give them things they need
You CAN use this strategy on your sales pages even before you get to the transaction of email or money exchange.
Be helpful.
Check out how Volkswagen does it on
You really need to put your “service” thinking cap on and stretch your mind on this one if you’re stuck in a “About Us, Contact, Blog, Services, Products” rut.
Don’t beat yourself up, I’ve got those tabs too.
But they’ll trust you more if they begin to rely on you (which is why content marketing works so well) and that will boost conversion.  That’s what this is all about.
What tools can you provide or link to in order to make your site the go-to site for your market?
I’ve got a client right now who is in the weight loss niche.  His program revolves around nutrition.  He doesn’t cover workout extensively.  His thing is all about the food.
He could link to resources he believes in for that piece of the puzzle and even get affiliate commissions for doing it!
I just moved to the heavily populated by military area of Virginia Beach and the local real estate company, Rose and Womble have smartly made themselves a relocation resource:
They could certainly do it more extensively than this, but this is a great start.  Especially if I were military, upon seeing this, I’d instantly feel like these people get me (and thus I’d begin to trust them).

#6 – Reverse Risk

What happens if you try this out and you don’t like it? 
Guarantee if you can.
There was a great article about guarantees posted on this blog back in the spring.  Check it out if your guarantee isn’t already rock solid.  You’ll also get some good ideas to test.
I can’t say it any better than Kathryn.  Read this article!
Last but not least …

#7 – Make Realistic Promises

Is your bridal décor life changing?  Probably shouldn’t say it is if it isn’t.  Use realistic language and make claims that are true.
This can be a really fine line (especially in the bridal example I’m giving since in the mind of the bride, it’s the most important day of her entire life – and maybe it is).  You can still use emotional language and appeal to the hearts of your prospects.
But just be careful that you’re not, for example, promising things like “my copy is so good that it’ll sell your product or service even if it has no benefits, no hungry market to offer it to, or you have an inappropriately priced unattractive offer.”  I would never say that.
If you are a business coach, don’t claim to improve my personal life without an explanation.  Yes, I know you can make the connection that if I’m making more money and business is easier I’ll finally be able to have a personal life.  But just be careful to explain these things realistically.
People are tired of the hype.
Let yours be the one business that doesn’t deliver hype.
Instead, work to make a connection with realistic language, real stories, and real results.
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Julie Boswell

Julie Boswell

Julie operates a copywriting and consulting business she cofounded,, a company dedicated to providing a second set of eyes for business owners.  Their focus is on teaching the fundamentals of direct response copywriting, reviewing and providing feedback for improvement, as well as providing done-for-you copywriting services.

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