TL; DR: Trust Guard has been helping clients provide better online security and increase sales through third-party verification and website scanning since 2006. The company’s flagship monitoring software runs regular examinations of customer websites to identify vulnerabilities and stop those with malicious intent dead in their tracks. Once sites are scanned and approved, Trust Guard’s Trust Seal verifies the site’s safety to visitors, instantly building a level of consumer trust that carries measurable positive impacts on sales. We recently sat down with Luke Brandley, CMO at Trust Guard, to discuss the company’s role in keeping shoppers safe and helping businesses drive conversions.
There’s much to be said about the psychology of color. A splash of blue can evoke serenity, whereas red can energize or even indicate danger. Then there’s the standard traffic color conventions — green for go, red for stop, and yellow for proceed with caution.
When applied to marketing, color theory can help a company communicate its mission. Website security service Trust Guard put this concept to work when designing its green logo and Trust Seal in stark contrast with its top competitor, McAfee SECURE.
“Studies show that people think their little red symbol means stop,” said Trust Guard CMO Luke Brandley. “But our green means go — it’s positive, and it’s uplifting.”
Those qualities make green the perfect hue for the seal, which verifies that a site has passed the company’s security scan, increasing trust and buyer confidence. Beyond color, other key differences, including lower costs, freedom from contracts, and better conversion, set Trust Guard’s mark of approval apart from those of its competitors. In 2012, for example, Trust Seal beat McAfee SECURE by 3.69 times based on a split test with more than 870,100 visitors.
“We make the software user-friendly and easy to use, but it’s also very robust,” Luke said. “We want to be the best and do it at an affordable price so everybody wins — we’re not in it just to make a buck.”
With more than a decade’s experience protecting online shoppers and businesses, a high conversion rate backed by split testing, and a double-money-back guarantee, Trust Guard is making good on this promise.
A Long History of Safeguarding Online Businesses and Their Customers
Trust Guard’s foundation was formed in 1996 when Dave Brandley began selling shirts, pins, posters, and other merchandise online. His oldest son, Scott, joined the team in 1997 to contribute expertise in online sales and fulfillment. In the process of growing their business, Dave and Scott observed that a lack of security had become a barrier in the online marketplace.
“There wasn’t any real protection out there,” Luke said. “The only one at the time was a company called HackerSafe. They were super expensive and not very effective.”
The pair sold their eCommerce business in 2004, turning their attention toward online marketing, search engine optimization, and software development. After hiring two new programmers, they decided to address the void in the market they had identified years earlier.
Luke told us Trust Guard was a welcome addition to the market. In just a short time, the company beat out HackerSafe in every category. However, when security behemoth McAfee purchased HackerSafe in 2008, competition heightened.
“In 12 years, whether it’s been HackerSafe, McAfee, Norton, Trustwave, SecurityMetrics — whoever — we’ve never lost a split test in conversion,” Luke said. “Our seal has changed over time, too, because we split-test ourselves all the time trying to get it better and better.”
Build Consumer Confidence with Trust Seals Backed by Split Testing
Split testing is a process in which two variants (A and B) of a website are compared to determine which performs better. Trust Guard has leveraged this methodology as concrete proof their Trust Seal is more effective in increasing sales than both sites without a seal and those bearing a competitor’s. And Trust Guard makes these results public in the numerous case studies available on the company’s site.
“Our clients average a 15% increase in conversion, which is new clients, new sales, new everything,” Luke said. “We’ve never had anybody not receive an increase. They’ve always received an increase once they have our seal.”
At a recent trade show, Trust Guard caught wind that Conversion Fanatics, an organization that helps companies speed growth through strategic optimization, had featured them in their book “Conversion Fanatic: How to Double Your Customers, Sales & Profits With A/B Testing.”
Luke noted it was a pleasant surprise.
“They bought our product and tested it against competitors, and we beat them by 71%,” Luke said.
A Risk-Free Service Created to Increase Conversion Rates
Trust Guard is extremely confident that its seal increases conversion rates — so much so that it offers two guarantees.
The first is a 60-day money-back guarantee available with any purchase, independent of qualifying requirements. The second, available with a multi-seal package that includes a security seal, privacy-verified seal, and business-verified seal, is the 60-day double-your-money-back guarantee. This ensures that users who try the service for a two-month period and run a split test around specified criteria will see an increase in conversion rates or receive two times their money in return.
“We really, truly want to help protect people, and we want them to succeed, so we offer a double-your-money-back-guarantee,” Luke said. “We can provide that because we know it works. If you don’t like our product, you’re going to get double your money back. We’ve only had one person ever ask for that, and they couldn’t prove they didn’t receive an increase.”
Trust Guard is equally confident in its security protection. Luke told us that, in its 12 years on the market, none of Trust Guard’s clients have been compromised.
“There were over 10 million sites hacked last year alone, and there will probably be 20 million this year if it keeps growing like it does,” Luke said. “But our sites have never been hacked.”
Giving Back: Dedicated to Widening Access to Education in Africa
When it comes to the people behind the technology, co-founders Dave and Scott stand out for their incredible generosity.
“They believe in the idea of the law of abundance — you give, you receive, and once you receive, you give again,” Luke said.
The company’s involvement with the Word Teacher Aid, a Canadian charity working to improve educating in the developing world through school renovation and construction, is just one example of this. In 2010, Scott even spent summer helping build a school in Kenya. Through these efforts, Luke said the pair gives back about 20% of their income.
Despite their success, the co-founders remain humble.
Overall, Trust Guard is committed to keeping people happy. “They’re about providing a great product at a great price,” Luke said, adding that this year, they’re expanding to provide that experience to large payment processing companies.
“We’ve come up with a revolutionary new backend that allows payment processing companies and banks to see everything that they need to from a management perspective for PCI DSS compliance,” Luke said. “It allows them to see the reporting of all their merchants. They can see whether they passed or failed, and they can have access to all necessary compliance reports, so they don’t have to receive thousands of emails — it’s all right there at a click.”
Luke predicts the technology will revolutionize the market.
“That dashboard, in my opinion, is a game-changer,” he said.