Marketing consultant Adam Hampson discusses how your business’s use of online trust indicators can drive higher conversion rates.
Consider when the last time was that you bought a product or service without doing some research into the business, its track record, or its apparent character. These days, the answer is likely never. Patients, as consumers, place heavy consideration on these kinds of assets, as it is an opportunity for them to build trust in you and your services. Building trust is incredibly important as it forms part of your professional reputation and will indefinitely influence a new client’s decision to seek treatment with you. It takes 0.05 seconds for a patient to form a first impression,1 so we need to ensure it is a good one. One way in which to build trust is by using what we call trust indicators. These are written and visual assets used online to boost confidence in a business and usher customers into making an enquiry. They can be as simple as photos of your premises or publicaly accessible reviews, but they make all the difference when patients are deciding whether to book a consultation.
This article will outline examples of trust indicators, how they can help gain new patient enquiries and how best to employ them to increase your conversion and click-through rates.
First and foremost, your business’s trust indicators should always be exhibited on your website. For many potential patients that aren’t familiar with your clinic and may be considering aesthetic treatment for the first time, they need a myriad of visual and textual content prompts to instil confidence in you and your services. Personalising your website is key, and you can achieve this through photos of the team, accompanied by a short bio of their qualifications and background, and of the clinic itself. By showing the faces behind your business you are humanising your clinic, setting your potential new patient at ease because you are sharing your identity with them. By encouraging this kind of familiarity, your patient will begin to warm to your business and learn that you are not just a brand, but a person behind the brand. Your interior clinic photos should include people in them, either your employees or an interaction with a patient. These can be staged with staff and the photos can be taken yourself, but indicating your clinic is active prompts trust and therefore an increased chance of enquiries. Videos such as a tour of your premises, introducing yourself, products, and services are effective trust indicators because you are actively engaging your patient in your culture.
Well maintained and busy premises show both a financial and personal investment, so including photos of such on your website will assure patients of your success and talent, which may help lead to higher conversion rates.
Reviews and patient testimonials – the more recent the better – are another essential trust indicator to incorporate into your web content. A positive reputation that is visible on your website can boost search rankings, drive more click-throughs, and build trust among your patients.2 When showcasing reviews by your potential patients’ contemporaries, you will be providing them with examples of people, much like them, who placed trust in your service, increasing your chance of an enquiry.3 You should actively ask your patients to leave a review, should they feel comfortable.
Google reviews can be cumbersome as they require pre-existing accounts, whereas most people already use platforms such as Facebook and TrustPilot (an online review website), where it is simple and easy to leave a review, so you should encourage your patients to use these. TrustPilot also provide you with ‘badges’ that show your average rating that you can host on your site, an immediate visual embodiment of trust. A healthy mixture of independent review sites such as TrustPilot in conjunction with social media work effectively in demonstrating a multi-platform and recognised, established business that has increasing web and trust presence.
A positive reputation that is visible on your website can boost search rankings, drive more click-throughs and build trust among your patients
As well as visual prompts, your potential patient needs to be informed and equipped with general service information to increase the chance of an enquiry. Important clinic information such as treatment fees and the patient’s treatment journey combine to create a well-rounded insight, but make sure to stress the importance of individual consultations to increase the likelihood of a new enquiry. It can be difficult to price an aesthetic treatment plan when it depends on individual needs and desires, so providing a base price ‘available from’ provides your patient with enough information to assess for themselves. Again, stress the need of the consultation to determine individual treatment plan and prices. Providing physical evidence, such as hosting your location via Google Maps and contact details, can help instil trust and boost enquiries because it adds a sense of physicality and realness to your business. The key to higher enquiries is to provide a step-by-step guide of what your patient can expect during their treatment journey, from consultation to end results. You can achieve this by creating a separate page, or include it in the treatment page content. By including these trust indicators, your patient has already formulated an idea of the consultation process and possible outcome from before and afters, allowing them enough insight to feel informed, yet to also recognise that they need individualised consultations. Use key information, such as treatment processes, as a trust indicator to introduce your services and entice, but to also allow the opportunity for further engagement.
Social media and blog content can be used as effective trust indicators to increase new enquiries because it allows engagement and constant contact. In fact, 52% of businesses say that social media positively influences sales and revenue.4
Social media is an effective tool for a clinic to utilise to expand their brand awareness across a wider patient base. Here you can post updates, promotions and treatment content, and engage directly with your patient base to create a network to mirror your website. Before and afters of treatments that link to your website will help to create trust and insight into treatment results, accessible practitioners, and a range of treatments carried out with pride. When considering trust indicators and building your brand in a modern and highly competitive industry, social media is fundamental to building trust.5 By utilising these platforms, you demonstrate a professional knowledge and investment, adding cultural insight and leading your patient to trust your business.
An active blog that is updated once a week can form the basis of your content strategy, but it also positively impacts your search engine optimisation. By keeping your blog active and regularly updated, you are adding more pages to your site and providing more keywords, which positively effects your Google listings.6 By utilising content relevant to your business and by allowing your own voice and business ethos to take centre stage, you are showing an active working pride in your services and patients. Write content about a new treatment, an announcement, or answer a frequently asked question to show you are qualified in your profession. This kind of public and personal exposure of your character works incredibly well as a trust indicator because it shows that you yourself place trust and confidence in your business,7 so your potential new patient should too.
So, how can utilising trust indicators benefit your business?
Your return on investment can be measured through your enquiries and engagement. A higher engagement means your content strategy and trust indicators are working in tandem. The more pages of a decent length (over 300 words) your website has, the higher Google will favour you in its search term rankings.8 Increasing traffic to your website also pushes it higher up search term rankings, so utilising your content strategy effectively not only provides ample opportunity for trust indicators but also can positively impact your search engine optimisation. Your trust indicators may form a healthy portion of your content strategy, which should be fresh and relevant in order for search engine optimisation to work effectively. This can prompt more traffic and ultimately more enquiries when potential patients search for your services.
The more you communicate via your website and social media, the higher the initial level of trust and confidence your clinic is providing.9 This will increase both your chance of enquiry and your conversion rate to treatment, because your new patient now has an informed and reliable insight into your treatment process. You will experience a more relaxed informed patient who is more likely to proceed with their treatment plan after consultation.10 These trust indicators can work well to meet the expectations of new patients, by either realistically informing them of treatment outcomes or exceeding them. Encourage this new patient to consent to before and after photos and leave a review. Both of these components combine to create recent and up-to-date content to form more trust indicators so you can increase your active content to grow your online portfolio of results.
Trust indicators are valuable assets worth investing for your clinic or business’s website. If you are not utilising them properly or at all, then this can drastically and negatively affect your conversion rates and reduce your return on investment in digital marketing.
Adam Hampson will be speaking at the Elite Training Experience and Business Track at ACE 2018 on April 27.