What Are You Saying Online That Will Make Them NOT Trust You?
At one time, consumers decided who to do business with based on the number of options and the availablility of information about that person or company. If you were dominant in your local market through advertising, you had a high chance of being top of mind when the consumer was ready to buy or sell.
Today, things are much different. Consumers have unlimited access to educational resources and information on every topic, product and service that they can possibly think of. Now, before a consumer decides to use you, they ‘Google’ your name to find out more about you, or they ‘Google’ your competitors so they can make an informed decision. Based off the information that consumers find on the internet, they decide to trust you, believe your advertisements, buy into your online marketing, or they decide to use your competition. The most important thing you have you ask yourself is “How am I earning the trust of consumers online?”
The decision to hire a person or company depends less on the availability of options and more on the degree of perceived or actual trust that is earned during the shopping or research stages of the buying process. The April 2012 Nielsen report Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages tells a very clear story about which forms of advertising are considered trustworthy and which are not.
Respondents were presented with a list of advertising media and asked to rate their level of trust as either “Trust Completely/Somewhat” or “Don’t Trust Much/At All.” Let’s take a look at the top five most trustworthy forms of advertising and promotion:
- Recommendations from people I know (92 percent of respondents said they trust these endorsements).
- Consumer opinions posted online (70 percent)
- Editorial content such as newspaper articles (58 percent)
- Branded Web sites (50 percent)
- E-mails I signed up for (47 percent)
Now, let’s analyze how to apply this knowledge to boost your trustability online.
1. Recommendations from people I know
Utilizing your database has always been the best way to grow your business, because these are referrals that know and trust you, and in turn they are trusted by people who know them. Ultimately, getting these recommendations involves a simple two-step process:
1. Do a good job for your clients.
2. When the transaction is over, ask them to refer people they know to you.
It’s amazing that more real estate professionals don’t do this. While you’re asking them to spread the word, see if they’d be willing to share their positive comments online, either in a text testimonial or a promotional video.
As we learned in our last class, the best time to ask for these glowing testimonials is at the closing table. What better time than right after you have handed your clients the keys to their brand new home. It’s a simple question, “Do you mind sharing your experience with me?” Then grab your iPhone, video camera or even use your webcam to video a 30 second video of your client raving about you. Once you have your video, post it to the world, on your YouTube page, on your Blog and even on your Facebook Page!
2. Consumer opinions posted online
Answering questions and comments on your Web site and answering questions on other consumer-focused sites is a fantastic, free opportunity for you to show your expertise and experience. Great resources for this strategy are Zillow.com Advice, Trulia.com Voices, Realtor.com Q&A and a Zopim live chat on your website.
By having your name attached to an informed and reliable answer to a question, you are more likely to earn the trust of consumers who also have that same question. The more questions you answer, the more name recognition you will receive, and the better chance that consumers will begin to talk about you to their friends.
By having a Live Chat option on your website (such as Zopim), it gives the consumer the option to ask a ‘real, live person’ their question and they will get a response while they are still thinking about real estate. The more you are available for live chat, the more visitors to your website will trust you.
Best practice on these forums is to openly share your experience. You will see many of your competitors using these services to troll for leads by responding to questions with answers like this one from Realtor.com Q&A. It took me all of 30 seconds to find this response to a consumer’s question:
I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have; feel free to contact me directly.”
PS: Don’t be this guy. You want to actually answer the question that was asked, that way, everyone who visits this question, will be able to see that you not only have the answer, but can be relied on to share that answer.
3. Editorial content such as newspaper articles
Reach out to the local newspapers and circulars in your neighborhood and offer to provide advice, information, and market statistics about your local area. These contributions need to be completely consumer-centric and not an advertisement for you or your company. So make sure that what you have to offer is relevant information. Make sure that you come across as the expert so people will want to call you when they next have a question on Real Estate.
Newspapers will not publish you if they feel like you’re only out for yourself. You will find the return on investment for this strategy will pay off in multiples if you approach it as an educator and consumer advocate. You can simply republish articles you’re already writing for your own Web site or blog, as this should be your approach to your own blog as well.
4. Branded Web sites
Similar to the strategy above, if you consistently publish answers to the questions that consumers have about your area of expertise on your Web site, you will earn their trust and — if Nielsen is right — you’ll have a 50-50 shot at earning your reader’s trust.
By becoming the local expert, you are proving that you not only work in the area, but also live there. Remember that posts about local life can include topics such as; great local restaurants, new movies at the local theater, photos of local events that you attended and much more.
5. E-mails I signed up for
Never underestimate the value of building an opt-in list of people who trust your message. Give consumers the ability to “stay informed” through e-mail after they leave your Web site, visit your open house, or read your articles.
The strategy I use on my site is to send a weekly e-mail of the articles I wrote during the previous week. This not only helps hold me accountable for writing at least a couple of articles a week but also allows the reader to get to know me through my posts. I find consumers from my opt-in e-mail list who call me about have already made the decision to do business with me.
Most of the strategies I detailed above focus on online consumers, but offering to keep folks up-to-date and informed is just as effective when meeting with buyers or sellers in person. If you are focused on the big picture, you will recognize that all trust-generating strategies can be woven together to produce consistent, long-term results for you and your business for years to come.
Be trustworthy, and they will come.
MEDIA CONTACT: Portia Springer
Posted on March 11, 2013, in Blog and tagged consumers, estate, information, keller williams, local, online, online trust, portia springer, real, real estate, trust. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.