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Expert Feature: How Online Reviews Influence Buyers To Buy From You

If your buyers don’t know, like or trust you, they aren’t going to buy from you. So what are some things you can do to increase their confidence in your ability to deliver what you promise?

Confidence Level Conceptual Meter

I teach a lot of online marketing classes and workshops. One of the things that I really emphasize is that “people buy into you before they buy from you.”

What that means that they have to trust you before they’re going to hand you their money. If people coming to your website or even your front door don’t trust you, they’re not going to buy from you. It’s that simple.

Trust can be at several levels:

 

  • Are you honest about what you’re telling them?
  • Are you going to deliver the results they’re looking for and that you’re promising?
  • Do you know what you’re doing?

How can you help people to trust you and your business?

Often, your website is the first place people go to check you out. This is your first, and possibly last, opportunity to engage with them. If things smell fishy to them, they’re leaving.

However, if you’ve done a good job of incorporating trust-building factors into your website, then the BS-detector meter swings from the red zone down to the green zone.

People want indicators that you’ve done business with lots of people and that your customers are happy customers.

What Are Trust-Building Factors?

  • Incorporate logos like Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and Diamond Certified onto every page (but you have to join their organizations and do what they say!). Don’t just scrape the logo, it’s illegal.
  • What trade organizations do you belong to? Chambers of Commerce? Others? Make sure you prominently display that information on every page.
  • If people pay you online, make sure you have HackerSafe (now McAfee Secure), Versign (now Norton Secured) and others that show your website is secure and safe to insert credit card information

Those are the easy steps.

Next you want to start nurturing testimonials from happy customers. These are gold. If you’ve ever bought anything on Amazon.com, I guarantee that you read the reviews before you inserted your credit card. Your customers are doing the same thing.

 

  • Yelp – I have a love-hate relationship with Yelp. It’s a necessary evil, but you don’t have a lot of control over what Yelp thinks are legitimate reviews or not. I’ve had two great reviews removed because their “algorithms” think they’re spam. Urgh. But Yelp reviews show up high in the search engines and influence buyers. Google just implemented a change called Google Pigeon that now puts those reviews higher up in the search results. Encourage your customers to post reviews. Just don’t go e-mailing your entire list because 50 reviews showing up in one day will guarantee you get removed from the system. Just casually ask one or two customers a week to post something.
  • Google+ – If you haven’t set up your Google+ business account, you must do this. This is Google’s new business listing system, and you need to nurture positive reviews there because Google is paying attention to them.

What If I Get A Negative Review?

This is the big question that business owners are afraid of.

It’s true, a single bad review can look really bad if you have no other positive reviews.

But if you have 20 great reviews and get a bad review, then no one will pay any attention to it. Furthermore, you should monitor and respond to any negatives in a professional manner.

Say something like, “We tried to resolve the problem and if you contact us, we’ll give you a full refund.”

This will help defuse the negative review, even if the person never comes back for a refund.

Video Testimonials

Finally, take your smart phone or tablet and start recording happy customers telling what they like best about your business.

You can upload these to YouTube (where they’ll get found by your potential customers), and you can embed them on your website for people to watch.

Anytime you have “real” people telling their personal story about how you’ve helped them save money, solve a problem, or whatever, that’s hugely influential to potential buyers.

And best of all, it doesn’t cost a nickel. Here’s an example of one I created, and it took me all of about 10 minutes to make:

So get out there and start building your online reputation! Your customers will get to know, like and trust you before they ever show up at your front door.

About Thomas Petty (46 Articles)
Thomas Petty teaches beginning and advanced digital marketing workshops to business owners who want to get found online. He is a popular blogger and speaker and has regular SEO training classes and updates at his company, the Bay Area Search Engine Academy. He holds a monthly series of free SEO and digital marketing webinars that are open to those who want to learn some online marketing techniques that they can implement right away.

1 Comment on Expert Feature: How Online Reviews Influence Buyers To Buy From You

  1. When selling items online it is important to make sure that you build a positive reputation with consumers. Bad reviews can drastically hinder your ability for future transactions. It can be very competitive online as well.

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