As a small business, establishing credibility with potential customers is not just important; it's everything! Otherwise, how can you possibly measure up to your competition that has a well-known brand name and a slick marketing campaign? You need potential customers to view your company as trustworthy, knowledgeable and professional. Establishing credibility takes time and a concerted effort; it doesn't happen overnight. You need to take a strategic approach. Here are five tips that will help you build the credibility that you need to take your business to the next level.
Build a strong online presence. In today's business environment, you are only as good as your online presence. When looking for a particular product or service, most consumers will immediately hop onto Google to see what's available. Your potential customers will judge your business based on the quality of your website. If it is difficult to navigate or it appears amateur, potential customers will decide to look elsewhere. By strategically building your website and using social media effectively, you can establish credibility online. Twitter and Facebook can also allow you to showcase your expertise and to keep your business at the top of your customers' minds.
Encourage customer reviews. By including testimonials and reviews on your website, you allow potential customers to see your products from the customer point of view. Potential customers may be more comfortable with your business if they see that real people have been happy with the services that you provide. A well written testimonial can create an emotional connection with potential customers that would be difficult to achieve through marketing copy. The best way to get testimonials is simply to ask for them. Since many people may find it difficult to summarize their experience with your company into a powerful statement, it may help if you provide them with a questionnaire to guide their responses. You probably won't use all of their feedback, but you can choose a few quotes to highlight on your website. If you find it difficult to get your customers to respond to your questionnaire, you can always offer some sort of incentive, like an entry into a raffle.
Be easy to contact. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get in touch with a business and not being able to reach them. Most customers will give up after one or two attempts. To build credibility, you should provide several different ways that customers can contact you, including an email address and a phone number where they can talk to a live person. Be accessible to your customers and always return phone calls promptly.
Partner with other established businesses. By forming strategic relationships with established businesses in the community, you are actually able to "borrow" some of their credibility. When potential customers see that other companies that they trust are associated with you, they assume that they can trust you too. You can make these connections by joining the Chamber of Commerce or other business networking groups in your community. You can also build credibility for your business by participating in community events and by supporting local charities.
Go above and beyond. Word of mouth is important for every business, but when you are trying to establish credibility, it is essential to your survival. When you don't have an established reputation, people will give a lot of weight to the experiences that others have had with your business. If you exceed your customers' expectations in terms of the quality and service that you offer, your reputation will start to build itself. Be sure that you take good care of each customer and that you make a concerted effort to ensure that no customer leaves unhappy. Remember, that one unhappy customer can do a lot of damage to your business' reputation.
The importance of establishing credibility cannot be overstated; without it, your business will struggle to survive. Trying to build credibility is similar to attempting to roll a giant boulder down a hill. At first, it is difficult and requires a lot of effort. However, after you start to get traction, it takes on a life of its own and requires little work from you at all. There is no trick to establishing credibility and there are no shortcuts. The key is to build trust with your customers, and to show them, through your actions, that you are deserving of that trust.
Mompreneur® Showcase Group Inc.
Mompreneur® Showcase Group Inc.is the trusted national network that supports, educates, and empowers moms in business across Canada. With close to 20 satellite locations in Ontario, supportive networking groups are expanding to other provinces to connect business women everywhere from East to West. Highlights include over 10,000 members, presentation of the "Mompreneur® Award of Excellence" and the MOMpreneur® Magazine. Contact Head Office for further information on licensing or becoming a member.
Founder & CEO, Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc