Merry Christmas! [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVgEE_el0V0&hl=en_US&version=3&rel=0]
Consumer trust in brands is important, and yet the research suggests that buyers believe that a company can't be both ethical and competent. Yikes! As a creative business owner, you need your buyers to trust you. That's where repeat business comes from!
I've talked previously about ways to build your credibility in the marketplace, but folks have also asked me about those so-called "obvious" credibility builders that I joked about in my episode. Here are a few of them and , all jokes aside, they really DO matter to your credibility. Especially when you're starting out, these are a few simple things that make a big difference when people are sizing you up to do business.
Unless you are Berkshire Hathaway, you need an online space that lets people get to know you. And even Warren Buffett and company have a site that's on-brand (no fluff, just the facts - typical Linear Creative!). A reliable online presence can make the difference regarding how you are perceived, and how people will curate their first impression of your brand.
Because I'm on the search for a new VA, I was given referrals to three different virtual assistants. Two of them included their websites; one of them did not. Only one of them allowed me to book a call from their website... but it didn't tell me what time zone it was booking my appointment in!
Needless to say, I had a bunch of extra work to do just to find out if any of these folks were a fit for me. #frustration
If your website is defunct, using old widgets, and badly laid out, you make it harder for people to buy from you. Keep your branding cohesive, and make sure that you offer pertinent, immediately available information. Your website should also serve as the hub for your marketing. I've said it before: you need a platform that you control. Sites like Facebook and Youtube can change the rules of the game whenever they feel like it (and often do). Having a reliable online presence helps build trust with your audience.
The U.S. CAN-SPAM legislation requires that you include a mailing address in all your commercial emails (yes, even the one-off ones that you send manually). I understand that there are potential security issues with using your home address for your emails, but many virtual home businesses use physical address services to give your clients something more tangible than a P.O. box - which still gives some buyers a feeling like you're not a legit business. You can even get an address in a highly desirable location - like Nashville, L.A., or Manhattan and have mail forwarded to your actual location. If you're in a business where you need a "local" presence, a mailing service like this can be a big boost for your credibility.
This isn't about pretending to be bigger than you are, but more about showing the world that you don't work in a vacuum. If you have people working for or with you, it can be helpful to show who comprises your team and what their specialties are. This can be simple - like the ‘meet our team!’ page on our website. It shows, that you're not a one-man band or a faceless organization. And yes, your office mascot/pet is part of the team, too. Let us see those adorable animals that help you keep your business running at full speed!
If you're the face of your business, then it's even more important to let people see you as well - even if your team is ONLY you right now. Last year, I had branded t-shirts designed for me to wear during the show or on my livestreams. It's not a "uniform" per se, but it does help people recognize my brand as well as me.
A branded tee or lanyard can create a sense of team identity and help your clients buy into it. Plus it's merch you can sell. Whether they're static images or video content, letting people see your face - or better yet, seeing you in action, doing your work - increases that trust factor that leads people to buy. It also helps people connect with you on a more personal level - even if you're not sharing anything personal in the process.
But then also, you’re going to want to recognize that it’s a great idea to have professional measures in place. That physical address is a good start, but as an established business, you’ll also want the right insurance too. Sourcing the right business insurance and also finding the right public adjuster should you need them is important. That way, you’re going to look the part in front of any new clients you have.
While a fancy Manhattan address might be a little pricey, clear photos and a simple website can cost you next to nothing and go a LONG way toward enhancing your credibility with your potential clients. Whip out your smart phone, set the timer, and get some new shots of you up on your website. Like I tell my clients, it can be easy.
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