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Do Your Customers Trust You Enough To Do Business With You?

Businesses engage in many different types of marketing to connect with their prospective customers, be it newspaper articles, ads, radio, TV, website content, social media or online text and banner ads. But how do customers go about choosing which supplier of services to use when there is such a bewildering choice?

Due to the sheer volume of marketing messages that we’re exposed to day-in-day-out, most of us subconsciously block out the majority of advertising messages that go on around us and that are irrelevant to our needs, wants and desires.

But what of those marketing messages that are relevant to our needs, wants and desires? How do prospective customers judge between competing services, assuming a similar level of expertise between competing services.

There are many influencing factors, however, what we do know is that consumers base their decisions on indicators of trust that a company can deliver a good service.

In choosing between competing companies offering essentially the same service, consumers look for indicators and signals of the type of experience they might have if they engage a particular company – after all nobody wants to engage the services of a company if the level of service is likely to be below what they might reasonably expect to receive.

The higher the level of trust as perceived by a prospective customer that a particular company can deliver a good service, the more likely it is that he or she will choose that company.

For this reason we tend to prefer recommendations from people we know, like and trust and companies with whom with have previously done business, who have provided a good service in the past. These are essentially what I call warm leads since there is already an established element of trust.

But what of all your other forms of advertising? What is your prospective customers’ perceived level of trust in these marketing messages? Clearly, companies will want to engage in marketing messages that have a higher level of trust with their prospective customers since they will achieve higher rates of engagement and potential business.

One of the most respected sources of media research, Nielsen, conducted a survey  of 28,000 respondents in 56  countries on consumer trust in advertising. Here’s what they discovered.

Consumer Trust Was Highest In Personal Recommendation, Second Was Consumer Opinions Posted Online (Consumer Reviews)


According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years. (read more)

Nielsen - Level of Consumer Trust in Advertising

Nielsen – Level of Consumer Trust in Advertising

Some will argue that consumer reviews can’t be trusted because there’s too much bogus reviews online. It’s true that in certain industries bogus reviews, frequently referred to as astroturfing, is endemic, but nevertheless, prospective customers do still consider customer reviews before making a buying decision.

We also know this to be true from Googles’ own data. People are actively searching for “reviews” for particular products and services. Google Instant, also referred to as Google suggest, tells us this much when you enter a search term in the Google search field. Google Instant suggests search terms based on what other people are searching for in relation to the term you enter.

Next time you’re doing a Google search, type in your industry type, whether it’s accountant, dentist, cosmetic surgeon, etc and see if Google suggests your search query + “reviews”. If it does, then you’ll have definitive proof that your prospective customers are researching your business and want to know what other customers are saying about your service.

As reputation marketing specialists, we help businesses to develop, market and manage a 5-star reputation online, so the next time your prospective customer finds you, there’s is no doubt in their mind that you are the obvious choice based on glowing consumer reviews and ratings.

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