The internet has changed the way people shop forever, but it’s also had a significant impact on how they interact with a brand when making purchasing decisions. No longer do people blindly put their faith in a cleverly worded advertisement. Instead, they will attempt to root out the truth about a business through online research, and part of their investigation will include reading testimonials.
How Exactly Do Testimonials Impact Your Brand?
Reading testimonials and online reviews will make up a significant portion of your prospect’s research before they decide to do business with your company. A 2016 consumer survey revealed that 90% of consumers reported reading at least one review before interacting with an organization. Perhaps a more important statistic is one report which tells us that 94% of customers have avoided a purchase with a brand due to reading a single negative review.
With statistics like these, it’s hard to refute the significant impact testimonials can have on a brand, but let’s explore their importance in more depth, namely, how testimonials:
Create Social Proof
People are more likely to make a purchase when they see other people doing the same thing, and it works just as well with strangers as it does with friends and family. Testimonials and online reviews are a significant source of social proof. As we’ve seen above, they can also have a measurable impact on sales.
To be honest, brand authority is a valuable commodity in the marketing world. Without it, people are going to have a hard time believing you can solve their problems. Positive testimonials provide proof that your company has the experience and know-how to deliver the solutions they need.
Improve Your Visibility in the Marketplace
The majority of your online shoppers will arrive from Google, Bing, or Facebook. These sites all have one goal in common – to provide a steady stream of unique content to their users. While each platform has their own way of indexing and presenting content to viewers, testimonials help feed the content mill with fresh, unique, and up-to-date material.
Google and the like strive to provide their visitors with a positive experience, which means that a high proportion of negative reviews is sure to hurt your website’s ranking ability.
Build Brand Trust
There’s no denying the power a steady stream of positive testimonials can have in building trust and endearing customers to a brand. In a survey conducted by BrightLocal, more than 60% of 18 to 34-year-olds, and 60% of 35-54-year-olds, reported that more recent reviews had the most significant impact on their purchasing decision. Many respondents also stated that the number of positive reviews versus negative reviews was also a driving force behind their decision.
Provide a Line of Communication
Not only are people putting their experience with a company on public record, but they are also expecting a response from a representative of the organization. This trait provides a fantastic opportunity for a company to open a dialogue with their customers while also showing that they are available and are not ignoring issues.
It’s impossible to avoid the occasional bad review, but by responding immediately to a negative testimonial, some good can come out of it. You don’t have to respond to every favourable testimony, but special attention should be given to the bad ones so you can at least dilute their negative influence.
Testimonials are an excellent platform for getting the conversation going about your brand, interacting with customers, and building an air of trust and authority around your company. Encouraging positive testimonials will help improve and strengthen your branding in the marketplace. But with that, you’ll need a good brand story. Here’s how to create powerful brand storytelling.