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October 11, 2014 / Stephanie Vermillion

Why Third-Party Credibility is a Catalyst for Sales

Third-party credibility (TPC) may not be sexy, but when it comes to converting leads into sales, it definitely sells.

When you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world. Consumers trust friends, peers and the news media much more than a brand. According to Dimensional Research 90 percent of customers say buying decisions are based on online reviews.

Recently, the benefits of TPC came to life for me.

Why Third-Party Credibility is a Catalyst for SalesWe secured multiple national reviews for a client’s consumer product to build awareness and increase sales. On one of the reviews, a reader commented:

“I saw an ad for these in the subway and wondered if it was legit … I guess it is if it made it to the Giz (Gizmodo).”

That sounds like something straight out of a textbook, illustrating the value of PR and media relations. This series of reviews not only established the product’s credibility, it increased sales – by 100 percent.

As this scenario shows, legacy media relations is incredibly effective when trying to establish your brand’s TPC. But, while you’re waiting for that big placement to hit, or practicing patience instead of pestering when pitching (good job, you!), you can try these three options to build credibility to reach your business goals.

1. Secure blogger reviews or consider a blog tour.

We receive dozens of requests per year from bloggers interested in reviewing our clients’ products. While these bloggers may not always fit our specific audience, it’s a positive sign that bloggers are open to product reviews. In fact, once you research a list of bloggers that will reach your target audience, you can usually find information about their review process in the “PR” or “About” tab.

If you’d like to have a third party handle the blog reviews, you can set up a blog tour through companies like Resourceful Mommy Media. They handle researching and securing the bloggers along with a detailed wrap-up report.

2. Encourage “tell a friend” and other word-of-mouth tactics.

If you’re setting up a Facebook contest, add the “share” option so participants can help you spread the word. (But keep sharing optional – not mandatory.) When customers purchase new products, encourage them to tweet about the product and reward their tweets with a mention on Twitter. You could even aggregate top product tweets on your company’s blog or website.

3. Seek and share customer testimonials. 

If your customers tell you how much they love your product or services, ask if they’d be interested in writing a testimonial for your website or other marketing materials. These positive reviews can increase business, build a brand’s reputation and, if you dig deep enough, they can actually lead to a compelling story about how your product/ service improved a customer’s life (cue the media relations opportunities!).

If your customers don’t proactively provide accolades, encourage testimonials through your owned channels. But don’t just ask for the positives. If you actively seek comments and concerns, you can fix a problem quickly while showing customers you listen and care about their experiences.

TPC is an incredibly important way to build your business’ reputation and encourage sales. But, before you start building that credibility, you must make sure your product or service is top-notch and well-tested. The media, bloggers and customers will notice if something’s wrong, and they’re usually more than willing to tell the world about it.

How do you build TPC for your business? Please share your helpful hints below.

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