Selling online requires you and your business to be trustworthy, authoritative and most importantly, credible. When you are competing against hundreds of other online businesses for your customers money it comes down to your word versus their word. And when you have a product or service that is extremely similar to your competitors it comes down to the more credible business.
What makes a business credible online? You can go with the 5 Cs listed here as a starting off point. While these should be kept in mind, for an online that credibility extends to your website and all your online communications as well.
So how do you build credibility online?
According to a recent study, traditional media and online search engines are the must trusted forms of media. With that said it is important to increase your search traffic and articles about you online. The best way to do that is to blog and blog often. When you blog you are increasing your online traffic, the ways to get found through search engines and the chances that other media and publications will link to you and talk about you. Score for blogging!
Remember, blogging not only increases your online traffic tremendously, it also increases your leads. Two things that businesses need to survive online.
Another benefit to blogging is that it can and will back up your sales people and even push the sale forward if the prospect needs a little more proof. Because your word is only as good as the paper its written on, by pointing your prospect to a blog post, they are more likely to get it and believe it to be true.
2. Release White Papers & Ebooks
White papers and ebooks are a great way to establish trust and credibility, while showing your future customers that you know what you are talking about. With the right follow up sequence through email marketing you can increase that credibility even more.
Beyond the sales aspect of the ebooks and white papers, they usually come from an expert within your business. According to the same study 67% of people believe the information they heard from an academic or expert or technical expert to be either extremely or very credible.
3. Be Social
I'm a social person and when I find a new business or company that I am interested in the first thing I do is head straight to their social pages. If they are updated regularly and if they communicate with their customers openly, they automatically get points in my book. In fact, I'm more likely to hire someone or a company who is active online than one that isn't. Ok, so maybe I'm a bit bias toward social media, but I know I'm not alone.
Being social is one of the best ways to establish trust and credibility online. To do it right you have to follow some common social rules. First be authentic and transparent. Second, listen to customers, prospects and fans and engage with them. Lastly, respond to any questions you get in a timely manner.
If you aren't being social yet, talk to us. We can manage it for you.
4. Encourage Employee Participation Online
Employees can be walking billboards for your business. When you have a team of people spreading the gospel you can reach more people than you would just by yourself. Plus when people search for your business you'll have more results. Strength in numbers, my friends! You have to be careful though because if you fire someone they may be pissed and turn on you.
5. Engage With Your Brand Ambassadors
Ahh, one of my favorite topics. Brand ambassadors are great people to have you help in your credibility mission. Because they are talking to people who already trust them, what they say already has the credibility factor. According to the study above, 62% of people would find information from “a person like yourself” to be very credible. Make sure you treat your ambassadors well, because the power of word of mouth marketing is huge and I want you to reap the benefits.
Originally posted in Social Media Today