Research has shown that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Whether compared to traditional advertising, media mentions, or promotional events, word of mouth is more useful in creating users and customers.
Offline word of mouth is significant. Online reviews and testimonials are essential in establishing your business or product’s reputation or trustworthiness.
Growing Your Trustworthiness Strategy
Nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchase. (Trustpilot, 2020). If you have an online presence or e-commerce business, two of the strategies you should have in place are your word of mouth and review strategy.
We are using Google’s E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, or their Quality Rater Guideline as a guide in building trustworthiness. How does Google measure “Trustworthiness”? – there are many ways.
One of the ways is building your online reviews or testimonials. The other is becoming a trusted online source.
How to Build Your Online Reviews
As consumers, we search for opinions and ask our friends or colleagues for recommendations. A review management strategy and knowing how to respond to them are essential for your overall marketing strategy from a business perspective. They are necessary to maintain your brand image, which affects your sales.
Reviews can offer you an opportunity to identify flaws in your business or operations, and in turn, they can inform your brand messaging and marketing strategies.
The first step is to identify which networks to focus on. Google My Business reviews are essential for local businesses and across all industries for building trust. If you’re a restaurant, perhaps Yelp or Facebook may be more critical.
With your Google My Business profile is to make sure your listing is claimed and verified. On the Facebook Business page, make sure your reviews tab is visible. You will have to activate it on your Facebook page if it is not visible.
Have a Plan to Encourage Reviews
The second is to have a plan in place to encourage your customers to leave reviews or testimonials on either Google my Business or Facebook. As a business owner, you will have to identify where the right time is to ask for a review or testimonial. You don’t want to ask for a review at the wrong moment; it could result in a customer leaving a negative review.
The possibilities could range from:
- After they experience or demonstrate success with your product or service
- When they re-purchase or re-order
- After they have tagged your brand in a post on social media
- they have referred another customer to you
These are just some examples that your customer is satisfied enough to leave a positive review of your business.
The next step is to ask for it. How? The most popular ways are:
- Using email marketing automation that includes review requests
- Including review links after check-outs or on thank you pages as an optional final step
- Ask for it – directly. Pick up the phone, personal one-on-one e-mail, Facebook messenger chat
Regardless, make sure that it is easy for them to leave a review or testimonial. Provide them the link directly, and don’t hesitate to provide a prompt to not be at a loss on what to write. An example would be, “Will you leave a review about your experience with your most recent visit at “So-So Chiropractic?”
Building Trust on Your Website
While building your trustworthiness online socially through Facebook and on your Google My Business profile, it is important to establish trust on your website.
Publishing authoritative content is one way of building trust with your audience. Google measures “trust signals” to help them evaluate whether or not the content is legitimate. In other words, if Google sees your links and content as trustworthy, they will pass the filter.
How do you build your “trust rank” or “trustworthiness’ with Google? You may have heard terms like off-page link building, or domain reputation, and other terms. The key to off-page link building is two-fold. Your website is linking out to authority sites like to .edu, .gov, and other highly trusted websites, and your content is also linked to another authority website.
Have a privacy notice page or affiliate disclosure page. Believe it or not, Google looks at these pages. If you don’t have one – get one now. Google specifies this requirement in its terms of service. Privacy policies are a legal requirement when a company stores, transfers, or otherwise handles personal information. (cookies).
Have a very thorough About Us page. Real brands have a massive about page that talks about their company, mission statement, values, teams, etc. Your customers want to know about the company they are purchasing from. Your “About Us” page should be aimed at your target audience. Engage with your audience. Add visuals with authentic photos or videos. Take the approach of thinking that your company’s About Us page creates that great first impression of your brand. Make it epic.
Neil Patel says that your about us page is the second most important page and most visited pages on a website. He writes that the about us page should deliver the most important and relevant information to the viewer above the fold. He says there should be at least one call to action on that page.
Add reviews and testimonials to your website. Link the reviews to your website. Or allow visitors to leave reviews and testimonials on your website. Again, many plugins or codes allow for that capability on your website.
When you build trust, you are improving your online presence as well as your reputation. If you need assistance with your local SEO or enhancing your website, do not hesitate to contact us or fill out our survey.