Building credibility and authenticity to compete
At the very start of a new business the first customers are often the hardest to get. Potential customers may be using a competitor and must be convinced to switch, or they are aware you’re a new business and don’t want to be the ‘first’ customer.
Authenticity is also crucial. You’re much more likely to listen to your soccer coach if they’ve played in a World Cup. The same goes for your business. If you can prove that you know what you’re doing and have the specific expertise to do the job properly, you’ll reassure potential customers to trust in making a purchase.
We have a number of tactics to help you build credibility and authenticity.
Be the expert
Successful business owners often have expert knowledge, years of experience, a particular passion and over the years developed a reputation as a ‘thought leader’ (someone respected for their ideas in an industry).
To help short-circuit this process (which can take decades), find ways to get yourself profiled or listened to such as:
- Blogging in relevant social media channels
- Publishing e-books or whitepapers on industry topics
- Podcasts with expert speakers
- Speaking at industry events
- Running webinars
- Publishing any insights or research.
Anything you can to do get your name in your industry circles will help gain awareness (and possibly help search rankings) and working with larger businesses can help you trade off their well-known brand.
Become involved in your local community
Attend local events and if possible, find a way to present or speak to groups. In addition, it may be worth sponsoring local and regional sports competitions or charities that matter to your target market.
Join business networking groups
Many potential customers will check that a business belongs to a trade or professional association before making a purchase. Make sure that you are part of your local business association, such as the Chambers of Commerce. Signing up as a member to your industry association will give you an instant positive reputation among your customers.
Build a credible online presence
Building a credible presence online is vital, as most people carry out online research before making a purchase. Include as much factual information about your business as possible on your website, including your physical address, testimonials from happy customers (ideally well-known customers), photos, demos and videos to showcase what you do.
- Active in channels e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn
- Modern website
- Rank high in search
- Update your profile.
Build relationships on social media
Find out which social media channels your customers use. If you haven’t already done so, establish a presence on these sites and use them to build relationships with current and potential customers.
You can create a blog on your website, writing about your business, your people and successful case studies. Regular blog content can be important for increasing your search traffic and driving people to your website. You could also get involved in industry-specific discussions, whether on LinkedIn or Twitter or another social media channel.
Secure your brand
You should secure your business name on every social media network available, whether you plan to use it or not. This stops other people from using your brand and gives you more control over your social media identity.
Being credible and trustworthy are crucial to making it easy for your customers to buy from you. Be prepared to consider these many avenues to build your reputation and your customer base.