Secret Ingredient for Sustainability – Building Trust and Credibility
If you are starting a business for short-term gains, then you have come to the wrong place looking for advice. This article offers counsel to those who are in this for the long run and with integrity.
Regardless of your business format, be it a retail store or a virtual service or the best of both worlds, the core ideology to run your business should be integrity and honesty. These virtues are not only your moral responsibility but a rookie trick to sustain competition in today’s cutthroat business landscape. If you want to make sales or sell your services to your target customers, then you need to first win their trust before you can ask them for their money!
Credibility is a lot like respect that needs to be earned. You would have to lay the foundation and consistently nurture that relationship until your patrons not only place their trust in you but also recommend your brand to their friends and family members.
We understand as a small business, you have a lot on your plate as it is but if you want to build trustworthiness in the market you need to follow these practical tips
Keep your communication channels open
In today’s world, what makes or breaks a business is how easily they can be approached by their clients. If you want visibility for your brand, then you need to provide effective channels of communications that makes you better than your competitors. Your marketing activities should relay an honest brand message and must only promise what can be delivered. Credibility comes through everyday communication with all your stakeholders and not just your buyers. So make sure you have an open line of communication for everyone associated with your brand. After all, your employees are also your brand ambassadors!
For example, Hangers Cleaners was a small business offering local community with good service until P&G launched an eco-friendly dry cleaner in the same community. Rather than being fazed by the competition from a huge brand, Hangers Cleaners differentiated themselves by offering one-to-one communication, partnering with local charities, spending time with the customers, and offer them more value for their money. As a result, the company continued to grow because it had the community’s trust rallying behind them even though the other small players reported a decline in their revenues.
Ask for feedback and incorporate it
As a small business, you must ask your customers for feedback at every step of the way. The feedback can be a quick survey, an online review, or a social media follow. Online reviews play an important role in helping others make a buying decision. Therefore, they must be integrated into your marketing strategy.
The Coffee For Less company wanted to increase its organic visibility. So, rather than focusing on general optimization strategy, the company upgraded its review section to let the customers share their experience and comments for the world to see. Soon the engagement grew to 6000 comments which not only increased the overall trust people had in the brand but also bumped the sales and search engine results. According to a survey by Nielsen, more than 92% consumers turn to peer reviews for guidance before making a purchase. Using these reviews to gain organic visibility established customer trust long before they landed on the company page.
Engage your audience
In a world of social networking, how you can imagine running a business without outside interaction? Can you really build trust all by yourself? It is a two-way street that requires all the parties to equally engage with one another for the brand to build credibility. Don't hesitate to ask for customer testimonials, their feedback, and reviews to improve your business. You can also involve your audience by sharing helpful content on social media. Encourage interaction on your posts by asking questions. These simple steps will go a long way in establishing the credibility in your field.
Lexus may be a big brand today but a few years ago, Lexus Sweden was the only automaker in Europe to offer its customers the option to review their products. This feedback was duly incorporated in the marketing strategy. Since then, the reviews have played a massive role in generating customer awareness and word-of-mouth advertising for the brand. Reviews work wonders because they help in building credibility and make passionate ambassadors of vocal customers.
As a new business, your reputation means everything. Since you don't have a prior record, your customers will have to go by your word alone. Therefore, it is important that you walk the talk and deliver as promised. Only then you will be able to earn their loyalty and trust.