When people hear a truly great story, they look for an opportunity to tell that story again to someone new. The same holds true in the business world: When you receive exemplary service or purchase a great product, you want to spread the word.

As a marketing and branding agency, we have seen word-of-mouth communication as a powerful force — especially when it comes to building brand trust.

Are you more likely to watch a video advertisement or a video that a close friend shared on Facebook? Most likely, you answered the latter because your friend is someone you know and trust.

For most businesses, building brand trust is of utmost importance, particularly during a time when consumer trust is on the decline. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, only 48 percent of the U.S. population trusts businesses, which is down from 58 percent last year. And the general trend has been moving downward over the last decade.

However, creating an honest brand built on consumer trust does not always require deep pockets or extensive resources. In fact, building brand trust all starts with customer testimonials.

Why Are Testimonials Important for Building Brand Trust?

Customer reviews are pure gold for businesses. Why? Because your prospective customers will trust the opinions of your current customers more than they trust your website content, blog, or advertisements.

According to BrightLocal, 85 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Moreover, 91 percent check reviews before making a purchasing decision.

As people research your company and check out your reviews, they become leads that were virtually free to generate. Further, those buyers are more inclined to purchase from you because they trust your customers and your brand.

At Criterion.B, many of our current clients are from word-of-mouth referrals. As a smaller marketing and branding agency, establishing and maintaining an honest brand is something our team prioritizes not only for ourselves but for our clients. This is why we designed an entire page on our website dedicated to case studies and customer testimonials.

We have also helped our clients incorporate customer testimonials on their websites as well. (See below for an example from property management software provider ResMan.)

The True Impact of Testimonials

When it comes to using testimonials to build brand trust, the numbers speak for themselves.

  • 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more.
  • Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business, which is up from six last year.
  • About 50 reviews per product or service can result in a 4.6 percent increase in conversion rates.
  • When consumers interact with your review, they are 58 percent more likely to convert.

Additionally, testimonials can also drive traffic by increasing SEO. Product-specific content can increase your keyword rankings and search traffic. For example, when a business earns 10+ product-specific reviews, it can result in a 15 to 20 percent rise in search traffic.

Test the Waters With Experimentation

From multiple-page case studies, to video reviews or quick quotes from customers, there are a wide variety of testimonials that you can incorporate into your branding. The important thing is to experiment with the different formats to find what resonates best with your audience. Use your discretion of where and how often you want to display them, and include different types of testimonial content throughout your website and collateral.

Testimonials are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways when building brand trust, so it’s time to start taking advantage. Not convinced? View our case studies to discover strategic marketing and branding can enhance the brand experience.