When prospects are making a decision about whether or not to buy, their “shields are up.” And with shields up, having the lowest price in the market won’t help you much if your prospect doesn’t trust you in the first place. Offering the biggest selection and the most convenience won’t help your cause if your prospect thinks you’re a jerk, a crook, or just not able to deliver on your promises.
In fact, the number one factor in influencing purchase decisions is confidence. The road to confidence is paved with credibility.
Now, this doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It just takes a keen eye to detail and a new mindset. Here’s how to build credibility with your marketing:
- Develop a new mindset. Think in terms of getting down to the business of achieving and deserving credibility. Absolutely everything you do or say is marketing and it influences your credibility. Be aware of it the moment you start your business, and if not then, right now. Begin the journey with the name of your company, your logo, your tagline, location, note card, business card, package, brochure, business forms, interior decorations, website, marketing partners, even the clothes you and your people wear.
- Communicate even more credibility. Communicate even more credibility with the building your business is in, the people you hire, the technology you use, the follow-up in which you engage, the attention you pay to customers, the testimonials you display, your trade show booth, and your signage.
- Credibility is not automatic but it is achievable. Give a workshop, webinar, seminar. Work hard for a community organization. Influence customers into referring your business. Word-of-mouth is indispensable in the credibility journey. The idea is for you to establish your expertise, your authority, your integrity, your conscientiousness, and your professionalism, which is your credibility.
- Use PR the right way. When you get into the newspaper, make reprints of the article and frame them, include them on your website, into your marketing communication, insert them into your newsletter, put them on your counter, stick them in your store window. Cost? A bit of time. Result? A lot of credibility.
- Enhance your credibility. Trade shows, free demonstrations, and free consultations can enhance your credibility and so can free samples.
- Want a shortcut to credibility? Run a full-page ad in a regional edition of a national magazine. Just running the ad won’t capture much credibility, but the reprints you display, mail, incorporate into other marketing, and proudly circulate will. They’ll all proclaim “As advertised in INC. magazine.” And if they don’t say, INC., they’ll say some other distinguished publication.
- Even this!!! The way your phones are answered can gain or lose credibility for you. Last month, I decided not to make a purchase from a store I called simply because they put me on hold for too long. Minor detail? Maybe, but somebody else now has my business.
You gain credibility with your advertisements, listings in directories, columns, articles, and blog posts you write, and presentations and speeches you give. You gain it with your newsletter. You gain even more by your supporting causes. All these little things add up to be your reputation.
About the Author: Patrick McFadden is a marketing consultant/coach and American Express OpenForum Advisor. He works with small businesses and organizations helping them develop a marketing plan and strategy for attracting, obtaining, and keeping clients using low-cost but effective methods.