I’ve been fascinated by personality tests for as long as I can remember—the Myers-Briggs, The Fascination Advantage, The Primary Archetype Test, and even my natal birth chart, Ayurvedic dosha, and blood type (seriously, google the blood type diet).

I’m drawn to these because in each I find truth and see common patterns emerging.

I’m sure you’ve felt the same mini-rush of dopamine when reading through your results after taking a particularly insightful personality profile. That feeling of, “Yes! They get me” or “That’s so true!” And these are the exact same reactions you want to elicit when visitors land on your site. You want them to feel like you understand them and can articulate their needs even better than they’re able to.

Because the know piece of the know-like-trust factor isn’t about them knowing you. It’s about you knowing them. When they feel like you really “get” them, then the like and the trust will naturally follow.

So how do you do that? How can you make them feel understood? How do you get to “know” them?

The answer: user research

  • Observe how people in your target market talk about their problems and desires in Facebook groups, blog comments, Instagram, or some other forum like Reddit. (To get a copy of the Google Sheet I use to track these comments, follow this link. No opt-in required.)
  • Talk to them. Ask them questions and listen. You can do this with surveys, inviting them out to coffee, or just having an informal Skype chat.
  • Look for patterns in the way that people describe their struggles and desires and use those exact words in your website copy.

Let’s take it one step further

Go beyond what you hear them saying they want (this is what they think they want). How can you synthesize this research to pull out some grain of truth that they don’t fully realize (this is what they need)?

For example, during your research, you find that your target market describes herself as an “idea person” or a “visionary” and says her problem is that she lacks the follow-through. But then, digging further, you realize that her problem isn’t with follow-through, it’s with the fact that she’s an overachiever, says “yes” to every project that comes her way, and then fizzles out before she can finish any of them.

Now you’ve struck gold.

You can now describe your ideal client’s situation in a way that makes her say, “Yes, you get me!” AND you can offer her up this ah-hah moment of clarity so that she thinks, “That’s so true!” I cannot emphasize enough how important the research phase is. It is where 80% of your time should go because it’s the foundation of every aspect of your website.

The next phase: offer value

Once you’ve elicited those connection-driving responses, the next best thing you can do to increase your know-like-trust factor is to give generously. Because you have to give before you can receive (and don’t expect to receive right away).

Get social. Get specific.

People buy from people that have gotten real results for other people (cuz we’re social animals after all). So show off your street cred with some genuine testimonials. Remember, any time you can feature specific numbers, do it. People trust specific numbers over more general ones.

Be real, but look legit

You’ve heard the phrase, “fake it till you make it”? Well, I find that’s great as a confidence-boosting mantra, but it’s a real credibility killer on your website. Don’t fake knowledge or act self-important. I know, I know… it’s a bit counterintuitive, but you’re actually more trustworthy if you’re seen as relatable rather than as a powerful authority figure.

So it’s crucial to be candid, but you also have to be professional with your website. This is your digital storefront, after all, and nobody wants to give money to some kid that lives in his mom’s garage. And, contrary to what you may think, having a Facebook fan page is NOT going to cut it.

Here are a few tips to make sure your digi storefront is clean and comfortable:

  • Be clear over clever—not just with your copy but with your navigation links and call-to-action buttons.
  • Give your visitors room to breath. Make whitespace your new best friend.
  • Don’t look like a hot mess. Be organized with your web pages, and have each page focus on a single primary action for your visitor.
  • If you have photos or graphics on your site that don’t look professional, remove them. It’s better for your credibility to have a simple-but-sexy site than it is to fill it with amateur imagery.
  • Lastly, make sure your site looks good on any device. We live in a mobile world, after all.

To increase your know-like-trust factor on your website you’ve got to show your site visitors that you know them (like really know them), offer them something super valuable for free, showcase your success stories (with specific numbers), be yourself, and get your website looking legit.


Meghan Hartman is the web designer + strategist behind Crafting Creative. She works with freedom-seeking female creatives to craft and refine websites that convert through her goal-driven design process. Meghan excels at giving voice, vision, and volume to your brand message in a way that’s intuitive and strategic at the same time. Learn to ditch the design overwhelm and craft a homepage that converts at foolproofwebsiteformula.com.