In business, your reputation is everything. Today, building credibility is more important than ever because of the access consumers have to information.
So, how do you build brand credibility and keep it?
It all starts with your overall service or product delivery. If you don’t have a good offering, your brand will never achieve credibility. We all know that.
But that’s not all it takes to build and maintain a credible brand. In this newsletter, we want to focus on the steps that come after your offering, in order to help you make building credibility an ongoing mission, rather than a far off goal.
Becoming an Honest, Reliable Brand
In 2019, transparency is everything in business. You can’t get away with made-up figures, dishonest offerings, and low-value services for long without being exposed. And brand perception is more important than ever, with around 76% of consumers not trusting brands to start, and a shockingly similar 78% of US consumers continuing to purchase from brands they trust rather than cheaper alternatives.
So, what do these consumers consider to be the most important factors for trusting a brand? It all comes down to 3 key elements:
- Statistically Driven Claims
- Customer Reviews
- Customer Service
Sure, there are many other factors that contribute to success. But these are by far the most important. So, let’s take a deeper look.
1. Always Use Statistics
If your business makes a claim, back it up with data. Customers are more likely to listen and to trust you if you can back up what you say with statistics, figures, or other data.
Authenticity and trust have been found to be the most important factor influencing purchasing decisions for customers of all age groups. A big part of establishing trust is citing sources properly. And not just any source, but verified, valuable sources that paint a clear picture.
(We tend to avoid leaving links in these emails so they don’t get recognized automatically by mail servers as spam, but are always happy to disclose where these statistics come from.)
Statistics and references can come from anywhere, but citing a source that determined “X is the healthiest choice for Y” using only 20 participants from one small town is much less reputable than a source finding the same results but with 2,000 participants from all over the state.
So, don’t pick just any and all figures. Carefully select a few that give your customers a more well-rounded understanding of the products or services you offer.
And don’t put anything and everything out there. Again, you only want to select key pieces of concise data, statistics, or polls/surveys you conducted to give a better idea of why your new product/service is different or how it can help customers.
If there aren’t existing studies or statistics, conduct surveys yourself from time to time about a specific quality of your service or what your customers say. This information can be quite useful when following up on leads too, leads who want to be educated as to your product/service benefits.
On top of that, it can be a great way to build evergreen pieces of content that can help you build links, social shares, and further develop trust and belief in your services.
2. Focus Heavily on Customer Reviews
People don’t just want to know the data, but what other customers have to say. So keep verbatim customer reviews posted on your site. Find those that demonstrate your credibility best and use those quotes not just online but in subsequent promotional content. Building your Google My Business profile can have dramatic effects on your sales.
In fact, 93% of customer decisions are driven by reviews in 2019. So, you may want to consider developing some form of incentive for customers to review your brand. Especially since inherent bias leads more dissatisfied customers to leave reviews than satisfied customers, meaning just one bad review can ruin a lot of opportunities for you.
On top of that, if your business competes locally, you will find that reviews are one of the most important ranking factors for local searches. Improving your online review profile can boost your bottom line a lot, especially when you consider a vast majority (well over 50%) of clicks go to the top 5 local rankings, and over 70% of people who conduct a local search end up visiting a local business within 24 hours.
3. Make Customer Service Imperative
Customer service is the cornerstone of any business. Keeping customers happy doesn’t just mean responding to them, answering questions, or letting them yell at you when they are upset. It means keeping customers happy by being prompt, courteous, and offering things like loyalty packages or promotional discounts.
In fact, for millennial's, credibility and honesty are the most important business attribute followed closely by loyalty programs/promotional products for customers. So keeping one-time customers around by way of useful content, new products, or special promotions will help to convert one-time buyers into loyal buyers and bring those along the periphery into your closely knit group of customers.
Doing these four things well, and often, will help to build the credibility of your brand and keep it credible. Again, this is not a one-off task; you should continually look for better customer reviews to post or find ways to expand your customer service offerings. Finding small ways to improve on a regular basis will continue to show customers/leads that your business is authentic, that you care, and that your credibility is there for the long haul.
Wrapping Things Up - Building Brand Credibility
A lot of these factors are obvious. At the end of the day, we are all consumers, and we all know what we value in a good brand. But that is not to say that these factors magically aligned for the most credible brands - it took deliberate focus and resources in order to make it happen.
There are literally hundreds of factors that contribute to the credibility of a brand, including:
- Pricing Model
- Online Image
- Social Presence
- & More...
However, these statistics can help to give you a starting point for building a credible brand on a consistent basis for the long run. If you only focus on these 3 factors until you have them all nailed down and consistently improving, your brand will have won 80% of the battle.