Landmark's Business Tips: 7 ways to grow small business credibility
Submitted by Catrin Fox on
In business, your most valuable asset is not your client base, your number of employees or the size of your office.
Plain and simple, customers won't buy from you if they don't trust you. Even existing clients will walk away if they lose faith in your organisation. As a startup or a small business looking to become established in a new location, this presents a challenge. It takes time to develop trusted relationships with clients and stakeholders. How do you hit the ground running?
Whilst you can't establish credibility overnight, there are a number of ways to build trust and develop your business reputation. Furthermore, thanks to digital marketing and social media, you can begin to engage some of these techniques immediately.
Here are 7 suggestions to help you get started:
1. Instill trust through quality:
Above all, business credibility is built through the quality of your service, your product, and the customer experience. Develop this further by ensuring that quality standards exist throughout other areas of your business - such as your telephone greetings, your physical signage, even the content on your website. Spelling errors and blurry images won't help to sell your goods, nor will they instill any sense of credibility. Pay attention to every detail and ensure it matches your own - and your customers' - expectations.
2. Build social proof:
Show potential clients that you exist beyond your digital 'shop window' by verifying your existence. A great way to do this is to post testimonials from clients, ideally along with their company name and a photo or logo. Go further by posting regular updates on your social media channels, and publish blog or news articles on your website as often as possible. If your company has been mentioned in a news article or you've appeared in an interview, ask permission to post the source on your own website or email footer - 'As Seen In' - along with a logo and a link to the original material.
3. Be seen and heard:
In the same way that client endorsements help prove that your business exists, attending industry conferences or speaking at a client-facing event shows that you exist too. Don't think of it as a sales pitch; use it as an opportunity to engage with local communities and demonstrate your knowledge by sharing expertise with others. For instance, offer to talk about how you started your business or how to maintain work/life balance. Even if it's not directly related to your product or service, public engagements build familiarity in your local area and drum up press coverage (which, don't forget, you can post as social proof).
4. Join industry associations:
Demonstrate your credibility and your commitment to quality standards by joining a recognised industry association. In our case, Landmark is a long-term member of the BCA (Business Centre Association), the only recognised UK organisation that works to uphold standards within the serviced office industry. To our clients, staff and stakeholders, BCA membership is a sign that we are committed to high standards of customer service and workplace excellence. We're proud to be associated with the BCA and everything it stands for, which is why we display the BCA logo visibly on our website and marketing communications.
5. Smarten up your digital 'front door':
First impressions are everything, and for most people, that's your website. Imagine your website as the digital 'front door' of your organisation: a smart, secure entry portal that's modern, welcoming and easy to navigate is much more inviting than one that's shabby and outdated. In other words, your website should be customer focused and easy to use with a clear call to action.
6. Put your flag in the ground:
Your company head office isn't just a place to work and meet clients. It's a sure, positive sign that your business physically exists and is also well enough established to have its own office. Amidst growing concerns over online security and cyber-crime, visual confirmation in the form of a pin on the map offers valuable reassurance that your organisation is real, operational and trustworthy.
7. Build (and protect) your brand:
Your brand is a fundamental part of your organisation. It's not simply a logo; your brand is the way customers perceive you. It's your promise mark, combining familiarity with a sense of trust, uniform quality, credibility and experience. The sooner you establish your brand, the better - and that includes visual representations such as a quality logo, a colour palette, fonts, tagline, tone of voice, even the way your representatives answer the phone. Don't skimp on quality; your brand is your entire company representation, and just like your business, it should be built to last.