Gaining the trust of consumers is essential if you want to generate business. Whilst you can rely on a smile and a handshake when face to face, you can’t rely on these methods online. Most consumers like to do a lot of research online before committing to a company, which may involve looking for signs of third-party support or checking for evidence of your successes and professionalism. To ensure that these consumers get a good impression, here are just twelves measure that you can try and take to help boost your credibility.
Get your website professionally designed
A poorly designed website is likely to scare away potential customers. Just like a scruffy dress sense or an untidy workplace, a poorly designed website may convince customers that you don’t care about your company’s image or that you have no attention to detail. Nowadays, it’s very easy to design your own website for free with no coding knowledge using sites like WordPress, however not everyone has an eye for visual design. If you feel confident that you can produce a professional looking website yourself, then it’s worth doing so to save money. However, if you know that you don’t have graphics skills needed, it could be worth letting a professional web designer build your site instead (it’s also possible to pay a website reviewer for advice on how to improve your website).
Add testimonials to your company website
The content of your website is just as important as the design. Testimonials are a great way to boost your credibility – these are examples of positive feedback left by previous clients. This shows visitors to your website that you’ve got lots of customer experience and that you’re able to make these customers happy. You can encourage these testimonials by asking for feedback – either in person, over the phone or via email. It’s possible to add a feature to your website that allows customers to leave their own testimonials, which you can then approve before publishing.
Display trust seals and third party award badges on your site
Displaying various seals and badges on your site can also help boost your credibility. These are signs that you are recognised within your trade by professional bodies. To display a trust seal, you usually have to join a trust, which usually involves your company meeting certain requirements. Many countries have national chartered trusts for trades like accountancy, surveying and law that show you’ve been assessed as meeting professional standards. As for award badges, these involve taking part in an award scheme. There are lots of local award schemes out there that are worth looking out for – you may have a chance of winning or being a runner up. You should only display seals and badges if you’ve truly gained these credentials, otherwise you could get yourself in legal trouble.
Build a large social media following
Having lots of social media followers can help to make your company look popular and successful. Gaining followers isn’t easy, but you can encourage your first followers by inviting all your family and friends to like your page. From here on in, try to encourage all customers to follow pages as well as encouraging any employees you may have to follow (you may be able to get them to invite their friends and family too). You should resist buying followers – a lot of social media sites are cracking down on this behaviour, plus most of these bought followers are unused accounts that won’t engage with any of your posts.
Encourage online customer reviews
Online customer reviews are one of the biggest ways in which consumers judge the credibility of a company. Trip Advisor, Google Plus and Trust Pilot are the common review platforms and you should take steps to encourage reviews on all of these. Obviously, it’s better to have more positive reviews than negative reviews, which means offering good quality service, as well as taking steps to encourage all your happy customers to leave reviews. Some negative reviews may be inevitable and you generally can’t get these taken down unless they breach the review platform’s guidelines (i.e. if they’re discriminatory). You can however reply to these reviews on some platforms, which allows you to publicly apologise or fight back if you think the review is unfair or a troll (although you should be careful doing this!). Having no reviews is often as bad as having negative reviews, as consumers may think that you’re small or that you’ve had no customers – for this reason, you should try your best to get some feedback if you haven’t got any at all. That said, try not to resort to writing your own fake reviews as you’ll just be lying to yourself.
Get sponsored by bloggers and social media influencers
It’s possible to pay many bloggers and social media influencers to sponsor your business. This could include a review on a blog, a mention at the beginning of a YouTube video or a supportive Tweet. The most influential bloggers and social media users generally charge the most and they still have a say as to whether they feel comfortable supporting your brand. As a result, you should try to focus on influencers within your budget and who are likely to use your brand (you’re unlikely to get a beauty vlogger to sponsor a tech company). This sponsorship can gain you exposure which can look good on your overall reputation even if consumers know that it’s sponsored.
Encourage media coverage from online publications
Encouraging online magazines and newspapers into writing a feature on your business could also help your credibility – when people search your company online, this coverage may come up in search results. You can’t always pay for this type of media coverage and may have to rely on simply coming up with a newsworthy angle that will make publications want to write about you. Hiring a PR company could help you to secure this coverage.
Improve your search engine rankings
Having high rankings on search engines can also be important for your credibility. Sites that rank highly tend to be the most established and most visited and are often the most trusted by consumers. SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of improving your rankings which may require generating more content on your site and using keywords. There are companies out there that can handle this SEO for you – here is an internet marketing company that offers these services. This can often be a lot more effective than doing your own SEO.
Use a professional email address and signature
You should also consider the presentation of your emails when gaining trust online. Using a professional email address can be one way of making your company look more official – email services such as Outlook often allow you to change the domain name so that instead of reading ‘@outlook.com’ it can read ‘@yourcompany.com’. On top of this, you should consider adding an email signature to the end of your emails so that they look more official. This should contain your name, phone number, company address and a logo – most email services have features that allow you to automatically add this to the end of every email so that you don’t have to manually write it out each time.
Blogging can be another great way to boost your credibility. The blog posts could be chances to offer advice to customers on issues related to your trade. This can make you appear more knowledgeable and it can allow you to express your personality in an approachable way, which can gain the trust of consumers who may stumble across your blog posts. Many companies dedicate a section of their site to blogging. You may also be able to contribute guest posts to other people’s blogs to build exposure.
Start a vlog
Vlogging involves creating video content. The easiest way to do this is to create a YouTube channel for your company and upload short self-made videos. These could similarly be chances to give advice on topics related to your business in order to come across more knowledgeable. Showing your face on camera can also help to build trust and it can help you to establish a more human connection with consumers. It’s worth investing in a high quality camera and microphone so that your videos are of a good quality – you can find equipment for vlogging at this site.
Publish an ebook
Publishing an ebook related to your trade could be another way of boosting your credibility. Being able to claim that you’ve written a book will show that you’re knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your trade. It’s worth hiring an editor to help ensure that your book is the best quality it can be.