Never has there been more opportunity for entrepreneurs to build a business from scratch. However, when it comes to building a business with credibility from scratch it can be hard to establish your place in the fiercely competitive startup arena. How can you convince customers to choose your services over the multitudes of other established brands?
Startups need to work fast to build credibility in order to get ahead of the pack. Try some of these budget-friendly tactics to build your brand credibility with audiences.
1. Establish a professional website
First impressions are important. Whatever the product or service you’re selling, a well-designed, attractive and easy-to-use website is an essential ingredient for any successful business. No website means losing business, while a poorly designed website is hard to use and gives customers the wrong impression of your company.
Prospective customers will want to check out your website to identify who you are, what you’re offering and whether or not they want to invest in your services. If your site doesn’t meet consumer expectations, they are likely to dismiss you entirely. Luckily, you don’t need buckets of cash to get professional designs. Use a template-based website like Shopify or Squarespace to build a site that includes your offerings, about page, work and client examples, and contact information.
2. Make yourself accessible
If you want to build trust with your audience, it’s important to make it easy for them to reach and interact with your brand. Use a variety of channels so that customers know where to reach you and receive prompt, helpful customer service. It’s especially important to have an active presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Here, you can help out customers reaching out to you and engage them with news and content that is related to your business.
While a social media presence is vital, don’t neglect traditional forms of communication either. A business email address, a landline and physical office mailing address are more ways for customers to get in touch with you and know that you’re a legitimate and credible business.
3. Set yourself up as an influencer
Blogging is an excellent way to promote yourself as an expert within your field. Write blog posts that aim to inform, instruct and/or entertain. Offer your readers industry tips, product advice and other content that provides value or answers their questions.
Once you’ve built an interesting, well-written blog, use your expert knowledge to guest post on other blogs and websites. Set yourself up as an industry influencer and a leader within your field in order to build your brand’s credibility.
You can still be influential even if you don’t have the time or resources to actively blog. Offer advice on forums, answer relevant Quora questions, and comment on leading industry blog posts to develop a credible voice within your field.
4. Be present in the physical world
With so many online startups vying for attention on and offline, maintaining a visible presence in the physical world is still a great way to get your brand noticed.
Studies have shown that billboards, bus stop ads and other forms of outdoor advertising are trusted more than online advertising and have been shown to drive more brand engagement actions, particularly on smartphones. They create a perceived durability of brand and add legitimacy to companies that would otherwise only be encountered online.
Traditionally outdoor advertising has been the sole reserve of larger brands with big marketing budgets. However, a number of online platforms are now available for businesses to rent click-to-purchase outdoor advertising space. Ads can be location and time specific in order to effectively reach your target market.
5. Seek customer feedback
Since 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, giving your customers an incentive to review your product or service is essential. Consider offering discounts or free products to those who write helpful reviews. Seek feedback from happy customers and build a dedicated testimonials page on your website to show prospective clients how many satisfied customers your brand has.
Sarah Hanney is a writer and blogger for Signkick, focused on generating content that enables small businesses and start-ups to create successful outdoor advertising campaigns. Follow her on Twitter @SignkickUK.