An augmented excerpt from the book Clear! The Simple Guide to Keeping Your Business Alive and Kicking
OK. I understand what you’re selling, how much it costs, and I’ve even got a pretty good idea what’s in it for me. Now the number-one fear for all humans kicks in: the fear of loss. The question pops up: “Why should I believe what you’re telling me?” No one wants to lose money. No one wants to lose face, reputation, time, relationships, or anything else they value. We all want to believe we are making a safe choice. The herd mentality is simple: if I do what everyone else is doing, it must be safe; otherwise so many other people wouldn’t do it. I’m always fascinated by how many people pull into only one lane of two lanes that are both turning left. You can’t help but second-guess yourself as you slowly pull all the way to the front of the empty lane wondering if they know something you don’t.
To get customers over the last hurdle, we need their trust. They need to know we’re a safe bet. Sometimes that can be a money-back guarantee, or a free shipping and return policy. Zappos.com does both and completely removes the risk of shopping online. But, more times than not, we want to know that other members of our species have had a good experience with your company, so we want to read reviews and testimonials to see who your other clients are and if they’re happy. Review sites like Yelp (www.yelp.com) are becoming more and more important for a company to address in their public relations strategies. It’s easier than ever for consumers to do their homework on your product and services, and what other customers are saying about your company is always more believable than what you say about yourself.
After moving to New York City, my wife and I would research restaurants, salons, vets, clubs, car services, electricians, and laundry services, just to name a few, by reading reviews online. The majority of our decisions about who we would give our business to came from a combination of online reviews and asking our neighbors and friends.
In today’s world, everyone is a critic. It used to be that if you owned a restaurant, you kept your eyes peeled for the city food critic to come and dine at your establishment. Now anyone who dines can quickly post a review of your restaurant online for all to read, and people are reading them. When we plan travel, if we read several poor reviews about a hotel it will dissuade us from booking a room there.
For mobile professionals, having your clients sing your praises is more important than ever. Unfortunately, most DJs don’t do a good job of branding and are becoming commodities—still in demand but only differentiated by price. One important way for you to differentiate yourself from the herd is to give reasons for your clients to believe what you’re saying about yourself. (And of course you should be saying amazing things about you and your company.) Make sure you’re getting testimonials from your happy customers. Get industry press. Get mentions. The more potential customers hear and see positive press, the more likely they are to believe you and want to hire you.
Good press, company blogs, and managing review sites are all important strategies to incorporate in a successful ongoing public relations campaign. As the media continues to move “social,” what others say about you will play a bigger role. If you’re making promises, as long as your customers and critics back you up, I’ll believe you.
I want reasons to believe you. Make sure you give me authentic ones.
Clear takeaway: List three outside authorities who have endorsed your product. If you don’t have at least three, review your customer list and find believable authorities who will provide testimonials. And make sure (if appropriate) you’re listed on sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, Bing Local, City Search, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Merchant Circle.
Steve Brazell is one of America’s top marketing and branding experts. He helps Fortune 500s, start-ups, small-caps, celebrities, and individuals make more money by communicating their brand stories better. Some of his clients include; IBM, Wingate, Century 21, Kevin Costner, Coldwell Banker, Keyshawn Johnson, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney. He is the founder of Hitman, Inc., a Competition Removal™ firm with offices in New York and Vegas, and the author of Clear! The Simple Guide to Keeping Your Business Alive and Kicking.
Filed Under: Business, Issues from 2011
Leave a comment