Building your small business brand’s credibility may seem like an intangible task to take on, but it’s absolutely vital to the growth of your business. When consumers see you as credible and trustworthy, they’re willing to stick with you—and if you lose credibility, your company’s future can become shaky indeed.
Whether your business is a brick-and-mortar store or an online venture selling products or services, you build your brand’s value when you strengthen its credibility with customers. Consider the following tactics:
1. Display good reviews.
These days, customers have many ways to pick up word of mouth regarding your business. In fact, 61 percent of customers read reviews before they buy.
While you can’t control what customers say about your business (other than by providing excellent products and customer service), you can display positive reviews and testimonials on your website.
Here are additional reasons why displaying good reviews is good for business:
- 72 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from real people. (Source: Search Engine Land)
- 68 percent of customers go to social networking sites to read reviews (Source: Vocus)
- 90 percent of customers say that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions. (Source: Dimensional Research)
2. Focus on customer experience.
From the point of purchase to post purchase, make it easy for customers to continue interacting with your brand and the people behind it:
- Ask how their experience was and if they’re willing to provide a positive review.
- Provide a coupon code for their next purchase to keep customers coming back.
- Offer a discount off the current purchase to those who follow on social media.
- Invite them to sign up for your newsletter, which will contain exclusive offers that they can take advantage of.
3. Connect to consumers emotionally.
When you connect with customers through their emotions, they’ll build feelings of nostalgia for your business and most likely refer friends and family. Half of all buying decisions stem from a brand’s ability to connect with customers emotionally. Customers want to feel good about buying your products. Here are a few ways to make sure that happens:
- Listen to and implement feedback to improve your products/services.
- Be authentic.
- Build a company culture that thrives on customer service.
- Show appreciation by implementing a loyalty program so customers receive exclusive offers and incentives.
4. Create a strong image for your brand.
Excellent products and services alone don’t create a strong brand. Invest some time and money into your brand image to make it easy for customers to think of your company when what you offer is the solution to their problem. The power of a great logo can’t be underestimated—and don’t overlook the emotional power of choosing the right color for your image branding, since up to 90 percent of reactions to branding are based on color. Focus on how you want consumers to feel when they see your brand.
Whether you are running local advertising or taking it digital with banner ads, it’s important that the look and feel of your brand identity remain consistent. This not only makes it easier for customers to recognize you, but also enables you to drive more brand engagement.
5. Focus on content marketing.
Customers who shy away from the hard sell are often drawn in by content marketing in the form of blog posts, videos, social media posts, and infographics. With content marketing, you present customers with something they can consume before making a purchase. You’re giving them something of value rather than asking for their money.
Content marketing works: 70 percent of customers state a preference for content marketing over advertising. When you opt for content marketing as an adjunct to your advertising, you help create awareness of your brand, your products, and your services, while also building your brand’s authority and credibility.
6. Try social media ads.
With the ease of being able to target the exact audience you want to reach on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, there really isn’t a good reason not to test out these avenues.
The great thing about advertising in these channels is that they enable you to assess which messaging works best in terms of driving engagement and sales—they even help you to understand what your customers are looking for.
Additionally, you’ll have the ability to put your products and services in front of the right people, which is a win-win, as doing so means that you not only build awareness, you build credibility, and, ultimately, drive sales.
Wrapping it up
When you’re a small business without an enormous advertising budget, finding the right strategy and tactics to reach and expand your customer base is the key to success. By creating an emotional connection to your consumers through your honesty, your brand image, and the content you offer them, you can build credibility and trust within your marketplace.