Unlike consumer goods that people regularly need, no one wakes up thinking, “I’ve got to enroll in an online program right away.” The customer journey for leads in the education industry is a long one.
What you need throughout this process is to pepper your ads, websites, and social media posts with trust signals.
What are trust signals?
In something as life-changing as education, people go to companies that they 100% trust to give them the same value for their investment. Trust signals help in building your reliability in the eyes of potential learners.
The trust-building process can be difficult since customers are more discerning than ever, but nailing this also pays off in spades.
Trust signals are typically categorized into two things—brand-driven strategies and third-party-driven strategies. Think of case studies on your website vs. reviews in a blog. Where the review is coming from is essential in forming the judgment of the learner. Beyond these two categories, they come in different forms which we’ll discuss in this newsletter.
Examples of Trust Signals
Website technical details
A website can be the very first thing a learner will encounter about you. All the tiny little details add up to make for a great or bad experience. This means you need to make sure that each element is in its best condition.
Think of a website’s page loading speed, image quality, cleanliness and sleekness of navigation. These are all great impressions to have when it comes to a website. We’ve talked about this more in-depth here.
Case Studies, Testimonials, Reviews, Ratings, and User-Generated Content
These trust signals all do one thing: increase the learner’s confidence in your brand. These can help you stay top-of-mind when students are in the middle of researching for the best program or course that fits their needs.
It’s all the more powerful when it’s previous learners who are sacrificing their time and energy to show how much the course has helped them out to future learners.
Partnerships and industry awards
It helps a lot in establishing credibility when other well-known and established organizations are partnering or recognizing you. This is especially common for MOOCs tying up with long-established universities and colleges to boost their userbase. On the other hand, higher ed institutions are able to broaden and develop the lessons they’re giving through online courses. It’s a win-win for both partners, and of course, the students too.
Tips on Improving Trust Signals
1. Be careful not to overpromise. There is nothing worse than not meeting your users’ expectations when they’re enrolled. This will make it harder to cultivate return learners.
2. Make sure you don’t overload your website or social media with endless trust signals. This could result in making your brand feel phony. There’s a fine line between establishing credibility and coming off as self-aggrandizing.
Instead, provide useful and insightful content. Remember the greatest writing maxim: show, don’t tell. Show your experience by sharing your knowledge on common challenges learners face. Don’t just flaunt it.
3. Back up your claims, testimonials, reviews, etc. by actual people and figures. Imagine clicking on the link of a testimonial and it directs you to a blank profile. Not only would it decrease trust in your company, it could also potentially ruin it. Word of mouth gets around quickly, especially for dishonest brands.
To give a good example, Grow Enrollments has recently been named among Google’s Premier Partners. This provides our target market a guarantee that we’re specialists and we’re in business because we know what we’re doing.
The more recognized the third party is, the better.