The protection is at the forefront of most people’s minds when they’re online. Even consumers that are unfamiliar with the need to keep themselves safe have found themselves asking ‘what is a VPN’. They’ve also come to expect any site they plan to do business or share information with to have that little padlock in the corner of the address bar.
So, you know you need an SSL certificate on your website, but did you know that it’s not just there for basic security? It’s also a critical part of your online marketing efforts. Of course, the goal is always more visitors, higher sales figures, and a larger overall audience. But, unfortunately, if you’re not using SSL, you’re not enabling those marketing efforts to reach their full potential. Here’s why.
1. A Missing SSL Certificate Affects Search Performance
Search engine traffic from the likes of Google and Bing represents a critical part of any online marketing efforts. It’s free and organic, and most sites see the majority of their visitors coming from these search portals. The only outliers are often the likes of Facebook, where people already have the muscle memory to type it into the address bar.
SSL protection has been a verified Google search metric since 2014. At the time, it was referred to as a tie-breaker – if two sites were vying for the top spot for a particular term and one had SSL while the other didn’t, the first one would win out, relegating its competitor to second place. That makes all the difference. The first Google result typically experiences a 25% click-through rate. Second place sees a severe drop to 15%. Fall as low as the bottom of the first page, and you can expect just 2.5% of people that stumble across your result to arrive at your website.
What would a 10% drop in traffic do to your site and marketing efforts? It would undoubtedly be significant, so it makes sense to take every minor advantage you can get. When it’s as simple as installing an SSL certificate, it’s a no-brainer.
2. Most Browsers Prevent Visitors from Accessing Unsecure Sites
An invalid SSL certificate is arguably even worse for your marketing efforts than not having one at all. If you’ve ever tried to visit a site where the certificate has expired or refers to a different domain, you may well have noticed that the likes of Chrome and Firefox explicitly prevent it. In many cases, there’s not even an option to ignore the warning, and it requires users to go out of their way for a workaround. Unless your brand is a household name, they’re unlikely to make so much effort.
Again, this all comes down to traffic. For most businesses, their website is the primary source of new leads. If someone can’t reach it, there’s no way for them to become a customer. Even worse, they might head straight to a competitor that’s got SSL right. Losing one visitor and adding one for your rivals isn’t part of any marketing plan, so getting things right is vital.
3. You Can Promote Your Passion for Consumer Security
We touched on the fact that most online shoppers know to look out for the signs of poor security, but that doesn’t extend to everyone. Even big companies aren’t immune to security breaches. Yahoo, LinkedIn, Adobe, and more have all lost data in attacks, and when they do, it usually reaches mainstream news.
That means that there’s a significant part of your audience out there that knows it’s imperative to only deal with trusted, secure vendors. However, they might not know how. Therefore, promoting the fact that you take their data and overall online security seriously is a genuinely viable means of building trust and relationships with prospective customers.
You can even build an entire content strategy around it. If the timing’s right, you can tie it in with other important events. Computer Security Day falls on 30 November each year, for example. At a time of heightened awareness, it can be worth targeting the days and weeks around this date to demonstrate your company’s security efforts through blog posts and social media. It’s also a great way to pivot content in the typically barren marketing period in the days following Black Friday, which has probably taken up most of your marketing efforts over the prior month.
4. Partners Are More Inclined to Work With Secure Websites
No business is an island. Most need customers and visitors, and many companies rely on professional partners to achieve their goals. Other companies are increasingly adopting a security model of believing that their own security is only as strong as the weakest link in the marketing chain.
B2B marketing matters, even if your company primarily sells to the consumer. An SSL certificate is the first signal of trust when a business seeks suppliers and partners. If it’s missing, the natural response is to wonder if that’s not in place; what other basic security has a company overlooked?
Essentially, if you want other brands to trust you with their data, it’s vital to demonstrate that you’re capable of looking after your own.
An SSL certificate won’t single-handedly ensure that your website and online data are inherently secure against attackers, and there’s no accounting for human error either. However, it’s one critical component of a much broader security requirement that can affect other stakeholders in the corporate and consumer worlds.
The technology is, by all means, security first and marketing second. However, once you’ve taken steps to ensure your domain starts with ‘HTTPS’, it opens up a new world of possibilities that can make all the difference to promoting your brand.
If you’ve got an eye on more visitors, a broader audience, and building trust – one of the most vital parts of a successful business relationship – then think of SSL as more than a box to check before your site goes online. Instead, shift your focus to it being more of an opportunity to set yourself apart from the other businesses in your space that don’t take their customer’s data as seriously, and it’s an opportunity not to be missed.