Building credibility for your business goes beyond just customer referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Don’t forget the little details that come together to present your company and help you attract new customers. As a small business in the age of big-box corporations, credibility is an area you can’t afford to ignore.
Here are five ways your company can boost confidence, trustworthiness and expertise in the eyes of consumers.
1. Use professional-looking materials. If your business card is flimsy and looks homemade, it projects an image that you don’t take your business seriously. You don’t have to shell out big bucks for high-end cards; several websites offer custom-made business cards that will do the trick. The same goes for your marketing pieces: A well-designed flyer will deliver your message more effectively than a flyer whipped up in a word processor.
2. Kick your free email address to the curb. Many consumers cringe every time they come across a business that uses an email that ends with gmail.com, yahoo.com or aol.com. Those email providers are fine for personal use but often provoke thoughts of worry for consumers: “Is this even a real company?” Your website host can usually provide an email address that matches your web address or online domain (i.e. www.abc.com would be accompanied with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. If you don’t have a website, get one. Now. One of the first places customers go when they want information about a business is their website. It’s easy to get started. Simply research and select a web hosting service that allows you to add content to a site template that complements your brand. Even if you already have a website, make sure it’s easy to navigate, uncluttered, up-to-date and useful. Provide visitors with the information they are seeking by listing your products, types of services, prices, business hours and contact information.
4. Create a bigger online presence. Social media is no longer a buzzword. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get in on the action. Several websites make up the social media atmosphere, but Facebook and Twitter are by far the two most heavily used platforms. Unlike traditional media, social media allows you to connect with your customers on a personal level. The key to a successful online presence is keeping your content fresh and your audience engaged. Get creative: Offer your followers exclusive giveaways, discounts, tips and customer service through your social media pages.
5. Don’t overlook other details. For instance, implement a standard greeting that everyone uses when answering the phone. For your company emails, if you aren’t using a company signature block, you are wasting valuable real estate. In addition to your name and title, your signature should include your logo, website, social media pages and phone number.
You’ve worked hard to build an honest and capable security business. These simple tips will help you take control of your credibility, polish your brand and grow your business.
This article originally appeared in Newsline, 2012, Vol. 3.