Good at what you do? Prove it!
If I ask you how good you really are at what you do, you’re going to tell me you’re the best – right? (If not, you may have just found why your conversion rate is low – everyone loves a confident reply!) But if I asked you to prove this, would you know where to start?
There’s a popular term doing the rounds now and that is Social Proof – which means it’s not about how good you say you are, it’s all about what other people are saying about you – and that means in public.
Go to 90% of websites and you’ll find a Testimonials page – a list of all the happy clients that company has served over the years and how super happy they are with everything that’s been done for them. However, look behind the scenes at your website visitor traffic – not just how many people view the page but how long they stay on it – and you’ll see first-hand what I can tell you from my own experience hosting thousands of active websites over the last twenty years through our own hosting service – nobody reads your Testimonials page!
They may read the first one or two if they’re not too long, but a whole page? Nobody has time for that AND they may start to doubt the origin of these – however genuine they may be – because they’re coming from you. If these appear on your own site, promoting your products or services, it’s all too easy for potential customers to wonder how unbiased and genuine they may be – and that destroys trust.
When it comes to your website (whether you’re a business, solopreneur or charity), the number one goal must be to establish credibility and trust – and quickly – because without that the sale can stop dead. Get this right, with a few well-balanced quotes from happy clients scattered throughout your website, backed up by external sources, and you’re on your way to another sale and another happy customer.
So how do you go about it?
It’s easy to think Social Proof means what people read on your own social media channels – your business description on Facebook or your LinkedIn bio – but that’s not your only option. Of course, we always recommend our clients reach out on a regular and recurring basis to customers of theirs to request reviews on Google and Facebook directly, or ask to be recommended on LinkedIn – but there are many other ways to build your reputation for new clients coming to you for the first time and the key ones are Association, Accreditation and Certification. Feature badges, icons and links for these in the footer of your website and you could be building stronger foundations than you realise.
These could be for well known, reputable third party review sites for your industry who list or feature your Company – TripAdvisor if your business is in hospitality is a great example of this, as is Check-A-Trade for tradespeople and construction companies. Through third party sites like this, customers can leave direct, impartial and honest reviews of their experience with your service, so people are more likely to trust them and trust you as you’re confident to link to these and share them.
If you’re involved in the financial or law sectors, you’ll have your own governing bodies and guidelines to adhere to – don’t be afraid to display these icons, qualifications and accreditations and exploit this as another way to evidence how good you are and how this has been recognised.
But what if there is no industry-specific accreditation for what you do?
This is where your credibility comes in. By proudly displaying that you’re a member or registered affiliate of a known and trusted organisation, potential customers can see you as trustworthy by association. After all, a national business group serving members all over the UK and a renowned campaigning body for the benefit of the business economy, wouldn’t accept a business who acted in a non-integrous way, surely? Or, if the latter did occur, the customer feels they have an avenue through which to address this – that little bit of additional reassurance to help them make the important decision to work with you.
We guided a specialist consultant to do exactly this with his brand new website and saw the results fast. Despite years of experience in his niche and specialist field, as a new business in his own right he did not yet have a bank of happy customers to call upon and offer reassurance to potential new clients with testimonials and case studies on his site. Instead, we found out which professional bodies he belonged to; which networking groups; which documents and certifications he had to support his position as a trusted, reliable business. Once he started to think about it, he came up with almost 10 different ones for us to add to his new website – along with logos and links to each for full transparency plus building reciprocal links for search engine visibility.
The result? Instant credibility!
Just displaying these on his new site showed the world he is a “proper business” – someone taking their responsibility seriously and committed to the long-term service and commitment his potential customers were looking for. Not only did this endear him to private clients, but he received a large public sector enquiry within days of his new website launch as, by displaying his accreditations, he’d already done the initial filtering work for them.
If you’re really good at what you do, don’t wait to be asked to prove it. Go out of your way, right from the start, to show the world your business is reliable, credible and trustworthy because that is what drives enquiries through a website far faster than any testimonial page ever will.
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