Attract International Business with the Right Country-Specific Trust Signals

Nicola Winters

Head of International


When a company is preparing to enter a new territory, it must build a foundation of trust with its new target audience. And one key strategy for making this foundation is through establishing reputable online security. After all, users want to know that their data is safe when they engage with your website or purchase your product online.

However, data security standards and the trust signals users look for can vary vastly from one global market to another. What may work as a trust signal in one market may have no significance in another. To build effective credibility with new audiences, businesses need to adopt locally recognized trust signals.

What is a Trust Signal?


Trust signals are identifiable signs, logos, or certifications that instill a company’s online presence with regulatory credibility. Examples include local accreditations, customer testimonials, and online rankings. Ideally, these signals indicate to potential customers that their data, especially payment data, will be safe when they use a company’s website.

How do they work?


Trust signals leverage the user-instilled trust in a respected brand, a familiar credential, or other recognizable iconography. For example, suppose you run an e-commerce website with a payment platform supported by an established payment gateway such as PayPal. Including PayPal’s logo on the payment page helps build user confidence in data security when engaging with your site.

Any signal’s effectiveness depends on how much leverage it carries with any given user or group of users. Therefore, depending on the market, a business may need to deploy multiple trust signals to build trust with its desired customer base.

Types of Trust Signals


Businesses can use many different trust signals to establish trust with their customers.

These include:

– Social media links
– SSL certificates
– Badges and local accreditations (i.e., the Better Business Bureau in the U.S.)
– Customer testimonials and reviews
– Professional, sleek website design

Trust Signals in International Marketing

Country-Specific signals


Not every trust signal will be effective in every market. Market research should determine the best trust signals in each global market rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

For example, a business entering multiple European markets will likely find that each territory has unique trust signals for determining whether online payments will be secure. 

For example, businesses in Germany use “quality marks” like the TÜV to reassure customers and assuage risk aversion.

On the other hand, marketers in Italy put more emphasis on user reviews and testimonials. However, it’s worth noting that too many good reviews can cause doubt for Italian shoppers, so businesses need to be conscious of these local nuances.

Spanish consumers prefer a mixture of these two trust signals, looking for quality assurance seals and user reviews to gain a sense of trust in a brand.

Using familiar signals to engage global customers


International expansion is a challenging undertaking. Understanding the local cultural nuances that can resonate or alienate users, including the signals you deploy on your website, is essential.

By establishing trust signals familiar to your customers, businesses can expand and elevate their online presence across global territories.


Ready to accelerate your global expansion?Discover how by downloading our on-demand webinar with Google


4 Considerations To Determine Which International Market Is Ready for Your Organization

Read article