No matter what business you’re in, you need follow-up. You need to reach out to people you’ve already met and remind them that you’re out there, able to engage with them. This is essential to your success.
Unfortunately, too many people get into business and think that customers will come to you without any kind of system. But the truth is you need a process; one that allows people you meet to get to know you and your business. Part of that can be accomplished through follow-up communication such as invitations to your website and social media pages. Yet, be mindful of the fact that your business’ home on the web must reflect well on you. It really is just like inviting people through the door of your home.
Just as people observe you and your behavior to form theories about your character and competence, people do the same thing when it comes to forming opinions about your business. Every action your company makes sends a message to prospects, customers and potential business partners. And people use these messages to determine if your company is trustworthy or not. The credibility of your business often decides whether the venture will succeed or not.
There are many different mechanisms you can use to increase your credibility. Everything from your smile to your handshake to your attire impacts what people think about you. But how about your company? Even without you, your company has a reputation.
One way you can build business credibility is to establish and maintain a professional business image. When your business appears and operates at a professional level, you gain people’s trust. And once they trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you.
To help your business look more professional and credible, you must have the following:
- LOGO. A professionally designed logo can instill integrity and competence, which has the ability to convert more business.
- WEBSITE. Your customers need to be able to find your business on the Internet. A professionally designed website inspires greater confidence, especially if you don’t have a store front to promote your products and services.
- PROFESSIONAL EMAIL ADDRESS. Cute email addresses like email@example.com are not professional. Your email address should include your domain name. If you don’t have a website, then at least use your name. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- BUSINESS CARDS. Invest in professionally designed, high-quality printed cards – not cards with perforated edges that you printed at home. Keep the design simple unless it pertains to a specific aspect of your business.
- PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS. Have headshots and product photos taken by a professional photographer. Photos you’ve taken, especially with your phone, can look very unprofessional and won’t inspire much confidence in your business.
- CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS. Nothing generates more credibility than a strong testimonial. Obtain and use customer testimonials on your website and in your marketing materials. But steer clear of general testimonials like “John did a great job. He really helped me.” A very specific testimonial that thoughtfully explains how your business helped the customer (and includes a name, a company and maybe even a website address) will carry more weight.
- SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. Social media is an important means to gaining exposure. However, create specific accounts for your business. Keep the conversations on these accounts professional in nature – cute photos of your cat or dog don’t count unless they’re the office mascot.
Good business credibility is attainable, even if it takes time and patience. By following these tips, you’ll be happy to invite people into your business home. You will build the credibility you need to build customer loyalty and make your business a success.