with guest Phillip Stutts #MakingBank S4E36

The problem with marketing these days? The customer is too smart. There’s no marketing campaign that is good enough to overcome a mountain of negative reviews from independent people who hate your product or service, and hardly anyone is going to be making a purchase these days without taking 3 seconds to perform a Google search comparing you to your competitors. 

There are no two ways about it: you need 3rd-party validation. Everyone knows that you’re going to tout your own business, but if people who have nothing to gain from doing so are in your corner, that says a lot more about you than anything you could ever say about yourself. 

It’s estimated that over 50% of purchases today are due to 3rd-party validation, so if you’re not building credibility with reviews from independent people online, the odds are stacked against you. 

The good news is that getting people to talk about you is not an overly complicated process, and once you get the ball rolling a good chunk of the stress of marketing your brand can land squarely on the shoulders of your consumers themselves. It can also help you reach a wider audience that you may not have been able to target otherwise. 

When you’re ready to launch, try using the following hacks to build real credibility quickly. 

1. Influencers 

Getting your product into the hands of the right people in exchange for reviews is one of the fastest ways to build brand recognition and introduce your company to the world. The trick here is finding the right influencers who have access to and credibility with your target demographic, and to get maximum value out of your relationship. 

Create hashtags and reward people who use them. Engage with your target audience online on a level that’s deeper than simply trying to sell them something. If you sell sporting goods, feature people on your page who use your products and have achieved something notable. 

Once you’ve begun generating some buzz, now you can focus on a more traditional marketing approach designed to get your name out there, so that when people hear about you and do their research they find independent people validating your product. 

2. Videos Over Pictures Over Tweets 

Videos are the latest trend, and they pack way more punch than a photo or a few sentences. Even short video clips allow for a more personal feeling and build a deeper emotional connection between consumer and company. Most importantly, they’re far more effective at getting conversions. 

There’s just something about seeing a video of someone endorsing a product or service that is more authentic and believable than product placement in an Instagram picture. It’s more engaging and your brand name will linger in people’s minds longer when they watch a short clip about you. 

3. Amazon Reviews 

Some might call this the granddaddy, the open secret that everyone uses in order to find out what’s really going on with the products and the companies they’re interested in. Do you have terrible customer service? Are your packages showing up with missing components? Amazon reviewers are going to sell you down the river and destroy your brand before you even make a name for yourself. 

A swarm of bad Amazon reviews can doom you, while a consistent 4- or 5-star rating can have you sitting pretty, leading the pack, and letting the conversions come to you. Make sure to be active on any platform where your customers are reviewing you, and respond to as many as possible personally, particularly the bad ones. This is especially critical during the early stages of building your brand reputation and can make or break you. 

4. Awards 

Referencing awards you have won for exemplary service in the past is a great way to demonstrate value in your industry. Just think about how many times you’ve heard JD Power & Associates mentioned every time you sit down to watch almost anything on TV. The car industry clearly knows how important awards are. 

If you’ve won any awards at all, make sure people know about them. It’s great if they’re recognizable, big-name awards, but they don’t have to be. Having won anything for great service, or even something seemingly unrelated like company culture will give you credibility to build on. 

5. The Old School Game: PR 

Getting your name in major publications is obviously a huge boon to building credibility, but believe it or not, even getting your name in the newspaper or on television can still help! It turns out people do occasionally still take short breaks from being completely engrossed in cute cat pics and Instagram posts of meals they didn’t eat in order to consume a more traditional form of media. 

If you’re able to get recognition from a legitimate source, boast it far and wide! Don’t be shy about mentioning it on your own website, and definitely link to it on as many social media platforms as you use. If you generate enough clicks, you may even encourage other publications to talk about you as well. 

6. Testimonials 

Especially for small businesses or young brands, featuring user testimonials on your website can help establish that you are a real business with paying customers who are at least happy enough with your service that they were willing to submit a review. 

Again, refer to step 1 and make it a video testimonial if possible. This is much more compelling than simply seeing a quote that could have been sent in from your aunt or even made up completely. 

There’s a reason we all rely on what individuals online have to say in order to inform our purchasing decisions. They’re more honest, less biased, and therefore they’re more trustworthy. 

The real approach to marketing? Understand what your customers want and build a great product, then throw it out into the world and let the internet do your job for you. 

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