Google is the world’s largest search engine (by every metric). But discussing Google as an entity and its many applications misses the key point about Google. Google has created a new business paradigm and it’s all about “trust”.
Yes, trust has always been an important component of doing business, but Google has tuned up the volume on trust to 10. Knowing and understanding this and understanding how key aspects of Google impact your business can significantly increase your business success.
1. Google is the single source of truth.
The way that products and services are procured has changed significantly. Searching for products/services now typically starts via an online search. That includes many clients looking for lawyers, and not just in the retail space. For many, a key part of the search and verification process involves reading reviews and testimonials from other clients.
This has evolved for a number of reasons, but one of the key reasons is trust. People want to do business with other people that they feel they can trust and the level that an organisation can be trusted is not necessarily being communicated accurately by the organisation itself.
Concurrently, we’re also seeing a decline in the public’s trust perception of large companies. Public relations firm Edelman has released an annual global survey on how people view companies, governments, and other entities across the world for the past 14 years. Edelman found in its 2015 Trust Barometer that trust in business, media, and even NGOs suffered over the previous year, and that the overall state of trust was ‘poor’ – three out of four institutions having lost the global public’s trust.
People are increasingly placing their trust in what individuals say. The power has significantly shifted. Reviews now trump a snappy marketing program, a picture of a stunning hotel lobby or bright packaging.
Google has become, for a large percentage of the population, the single source of truth.
2. What are the implications for your legal business?
Favourable business reviews and testimonials are integral to a successful marketing strategy.
Potential clients will search for trustworthy businesses. Referrals are an excellent way of getting business because the trust relationship has already been developed with the referrer, and the conversion rate is generally more than 50%. Where possible, these should be leveraged by your business.
The online selection process is a search for competency and trust. Having favourable testimonials and reviews and posting them online—on your business website, on Google, and on other social media—will positively influence those searching for your services. Don't be shy about displaying the (pre-authorised) comments of satisfied clients.
3. Be yourself...and leverage your solo/micro/small business
Leverage people’s increasing distrust in larger organisations by being the face of your small business to gain trust. Where possible humanise your business. Develop and communicate your personal brand and make the business all about you, not the organisation you have established. “What do you stand for?” and “why are you doing it?” are what people want to know.
Communicate this on your website and in your personal branding website (yourname.com) and link it to your business website. (There’s more on personal branding coming in a future article).
What else are you doing to leverage Google and online trust?