The Four Pillars of Trust Online

Modern Marketing


The final keynote of the SES Conference was given by Tim Ash, CEO of It was entitled, The Four Pillars of Trust Online. Ash prefaced his lecture by informing us how “it is NOT about technology.” It’s how we adapt to the latest technology and leverage it to create trust with our online buyers. And not only do you have to creat trust, you have to attain that trust within one twentieth of a second. Attention spans are shorter and expectations are higher.

The four pillars of trust include:

  1. Appearance
  2. Transactional Assurances
  3. Authority
  4. Consensus of Peers


Whoever said you can’t judge a book by its cover was obviously not referring to websites. Sorry folks, your website is now a stand-in for fitness as a business. Standards are increasingly on the rise for website appearance and professionalism. Don’t get disqualified solely based on your look. You need:

  • professionalism of design
  • sparseness or neatness
  • organization and clarity

Transactional Assurances

70% of people abandon their shopping carts. And while this stat might not necessarily apply directly to B2B behavior, it shows the high volume of anxiety customers and prospects have when it comes to making a purchase. You need to reassure the buyer instantly, with trust symbols and other assurances, before that anxiety arises. Quick stat: It takes people 4-5 times slower to process words than symbols. So, make a badge, or include symbols or logos as opposed to text. Things to focus on include:

  • forms of payment and delivery
  • data security and privacy
  • policies and guarantees


How do you transfer authority? Use trusted organizations to prove authority. Putting up trust symbols lifts trust. Try to post trade associations where possible, or include known brands. Borrow trust from these better known brands:

  • reviews and rewards
  • media mentions
  • trade associations

Consensus of Peers

Show granular transactions to your peers. Through segmentation and personalization, you can provide specifics that are relevant to your audience. By demonstrating “social proof”, either by showing how many customers, followers or subscribers you have, you can gain trust.

Ash ended his keynote with the following message: It’s time to take off those rose-colored glasses and look at your ugly baby! You need to take an honest look at your website and online presence, and get to work. By making the right adjustments, you can improve online trust and drive significant success.