WITHOUT TRUST, YOU HAVE NOTHING
Anyone can say anything about themselves and how wonderful they are.
And people do.
I’m sure you see the same kinds of things I do. Emails starting out “we are top-rated website designers.”
If you are going to get any traction with your marketing, you have to get people to believe you enough to take action.
How do you do that?
I just thought I’d throw out that ridiculous word to get your attention. It means “that can’t be disproved.”
That’s the gold standard of believability and trust. If someone can look at what you are saying and be convinced you must be telling the truth, you have a start.
Not everything in this territory is about third-party endorsements. A lot of people (unfortunately) believe a big company must be telling the truth in their claims. Because they would get sued to death if they lied, is one thought process.
A technique I’ve used many times is an offer which has to be legitimate, or you’d go broke. Such as an outstanding guarantee.
But no doubt, number one in this are reviews and testimonials. Why is this?
THIRD PARTY ENDORSEMENTS
Third-party endorsements tend to earn trust because they are much harder to disprove than simple unsupported claims.
This is particularly true of reviews located on authoritative sites. There are lots of bogus review sites, but everyone knows Google Reviews are relatively trustworthy. There are many reasons for this. A big factor is the general level of trust Google has earned over the years for their search results. You do a Google search, you’re likely to end up finding what you are looking for. That general trust transfers to other Google products, including Reviews.
Google also has software to detect bogus reviews. It’s not perfect but helps keep it legitimate.
A huge factor with reviews is SHEER VOLUME. If a company has a LOT of great reviews, people are likely to trust it. No one, people think, is going to post 100 bogus reviews.
Other sites such as Yelp also have a reputation for reliability.
This has become such a big thing that it is common now for people to do a search, look at a company’s Google My Business listing, and call the company without ever even looking at their website. That’s a shift that has occurred over the last several years, making your Google My Business page your second most important online asset, after your website.
In some ways, testimonials are inferior to reviews. A testimonial on your own website doesn’t share the trust that the same words would have on a trusted review site.
But there are things you can do with testimonials that make up for that. Someone can write a long testimonial that amounts to an entire story. That would never fit in the limited space of a review. And you can add a number of other pieces to give them more credibility. If you can get a testimonial written on someone’s letterhead, a PDF of the testimonial will be highly believable.
Sometimes you can include a photo of the person who wrote the testimonial, or of them using your product.
Charts or graphs showing results are great. This verges over into the case study, which should be built around one or more testimonials.
THE ULTIMATE TESTIMONIAL
The worst testimonial would be one you made up yourself, that had typos or bad grammar or didn’t make sense. That is obviously awful but there is lots of room up from there to the ultimate, which is a video testimonial.
There is no disputing the authenticity of a video testimonial. And the impact is high. There’s the customer, somebody much like your prospect, telling them live and in color about the product or service.
There’s a version of this, useful in certain industries, which has fantastic believability. Say you’re in construction trades and you remodeled a kitchen. Have the husband take a cell phone video of the wife proudly and happily showing off her new kitchen to the viewers.
Talk about impact! Authenticity. Believability! It’s got it all, and probably the words she says will connect with the audience better than anything you could have scripted.
I COULD SAY MORE
I could say a lot more on this subject. But I’m sure you’ve got the idea. I hope it helps!