Trust is the most important element of any relationship.

Whether it’s personal or professional, no partnership can exist without trust. And while the world of life science marketing may not be the most romantic field in the world, it’s still crucial to establish and maintain trust with your audience. Sending positive trust signals can instill confidence in your brand and encourage potential clients to engage with you. On the other hand, negative trust signals can hurt your reputation and cause prospects to avoid you. This is why trust signals are so important.

So what are they?

Trust signals are exactly what they sound like: implicit clues that build online trust for a brand. Aesthetics, professionalism, and other elements of digital marketing all contribute to how trustworthy your brand appears.

Trust signals can take a variety of different forms. Developing a secure website, maintaining an active social media presence, and displaying endorsements and awards all do wonders for establishing trustworthiness.

A 2018 study by Harvard Business Review found that online consumers rely more on intuition than on logic and rule-based processes (deliberation) for decisions involving risk. This means that if your brand doesn’t feel authentic or trustworthy, your audience won’t engage with you.

Below are a few ideas for how you can send positive trust signals and boost your online reputation. If you’re looking to expand your digital footprint, check out Forma’s Digital Marketing offerings or contact us today!

1) Secure your site

Take a look at the comparison below.

secure url vs unsecure url

One features a warning icon and says “Not Secure”, and the other shows a padlock next to the URL. Which of these address bars look more trustworthy to you? Imagine if you’re looking to partner with a certain company and upon visiting their site, you see that their site isn’t using secure protocols. Would you feel comfortable collaborating with a brand that can’t manage to secure its own website?

Not only does it send negative trust signals, but it’s a serious technical website issue. Hubspot explains, “When you visit an unsecured website, your browser makes a connection with that website and transmits information publicly. Filling out a form or entering your credit card on an unsecured website means that hackers could intercept the information and steal your data.”

Securing your website should be a priority above everything else. By providing a secure browsing experience, you’re not only protecting your users, but also notifying them that you take their privacy seriously.

2) Be active on social media

This one is self-explanatory: an active social media account sends positive trust signals. Conversely, a dusty, unused social media account tells users “Well, if they haven’t tweeted in 2 years, why would I trust them with my marketing?”

Even if social media isn’t a high-converting channel for your brand, it’s still important to post consistently on your social media channels. Staying engaged with your audience on social platforms shows that you’re serious about cultivating a positive experience for your followers.

If you’re looking for a great tool for scheduling and promoting social media posts, check out Buffer!

3) Tout your endorsements and awards

One of the best ways to send positive trust signals is to prominently display your achievements and endorsements. This can take the form of client lists, awards, testimonials, Google My Business reviews, and other types of endorsements.

forma homepage client list

At Forma, we make a point to display a scrolling list of clients we’ve partnered with over the last 30 years, and it’s worked very well for us.

Beyond displaying client lists, it’s also important to solicit positive reviews from the clients you’ve partnered with. Reviews can make or break the sense of trust a prospect can have in your brand. This is true for every single industry; whether it’s a plumbing company, a restaurant, or a clinical research organization, a slew of positive reviews can compel customers to engage with a brand.

Dive deeper into the importance of client endorsements in this blog post from Forma

4) Create a clear path to your contact form

Websites exist to convert web traffic into sales leads. So why would you make your users jump through a dozen hoops in order to contact you?

contact form navigation menu

This problem is more common than you may think. All too often, we see life science websites that simply ask too much from the user. Whether the contact form is hard to find (if it exists at all) or a user is required to fill out 15+ fields before they can send a message, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for potential leads to start a conversation with you.

If you’re serious about nurturing trust with your audience, make the contact experience as straightforward as possible. If your audience realizes that your sales team is only a few clicks away, they’ll feel much more comfortable about reaching out.

5) Be authentic

This one is a bit more abstract, but it does wonders for instilling trust in your brand. There’s no singular solution for “being authentic” in the same way as there is for securing your website or posting more on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Being authentic means finding your brand’s unique tone of voice and using it to connect with your audience.

Here are a few things to try:

  • Stay away from cheesy stock photos of smiling scientists and lab coats and use pictures of your actual employees instead.
  • Ask your employees to contribute to your content library.
  • Articulate what you do and communicate it in a way that sets you apart from your competitors.

The goal is to avoid sounding like a generic, commoditized organization. It’s important to remain professional and flex your authority, but it’s also important to be accessible and genuine in the eyes of your customers.

These are just a few ways to send positive trust signals to your audience. If you’re curious how Forma has helped dozens of life science companies build trust and expand their digital footprint, reach out today to start a conversation.