When it comes to doing big business online, there is only one thing that really matters to sales outside of customer service: Credibility. Credibility is the "Big C” of online business for one major reason—when a customer is looking at your product, website, blog, etc., the only thing they have to go on is your word and your reputation. Aside from what you put out there for your leads to see, everything else is out of your hands, so if you're not immediately credible, you're placing your business at the whims of Yelpers and what your competitors have to say about you.
That's because when a lead visits your site, there is no personal interaction like there would be in a brick and mortar store where a good salesman could increase consumer confidence—there's only your online credibility to make the sale. If you don't have The Big C, you won't convert your leads, plain and simple.
Establishing Credibility to Increase Your Sales
So, how do most successful companies go about establishing their credibility online? The answer isn't that simple—credibility has to be established for your customers throughout every step and facet of your sales funnel. From the site descriptors that show up on SERPs to the content on your page, to website design right down to your Terms of Service—if there are any weak links at all, you risk blowing any type of credibility you might have established.
Let's take a look at some of the most important aspects of your online image and see how credibility plays into each one:
- Website Design—This is a key aspect of credibility because it's the first impression your leads get of your company. If you have poor layout, shoddy navigation, ugly text and blurry images, your visitors will leave as soon as they arrive.
- Product Value—If you aren't providing value with your product, goods or services, there's absolutely nothing credible about your online business and you become just another “get rich quick” scheme in the eyes of the buyer. Credible businesses sell valuable products and services.
- Product Presentation—The manner in which you present your product also carries a lot of weight with regard to credibility. You could have the best product in the world, but if the customer sees poor images or a flippant description, they just aren't going to care—and why should they if you don't care yourself?
- Product Pricing—A major aspect of online businesses is the competition factor the Internet provides. Customers aren't forced into buying because they're in your store. In fact, they probably have three other windows open comparing your competitors’ prices in real time. The key for credibility here is to price competitively—not too low since that devalues your product, and not too high since a lead can convert elsewhere for less.
- Customer Support—Showing you care about each one of your customers builds tons of credibility. Not much more needs to be said on this since it's so obvious.
- Order Forms—Establishing a clear and concise process through order forms shows customers that you know what you are doing. This inspires trust, confidence and The Big “C”.
- Article Content—Spelling, grammar, punctuation, usefulness—you wouldn't keep reading this article if evurythngwuzspilltleik dis. Credibility in communications is vital.
- Order Fulfillment—If you can take the orders but not fulfill them, you're not credible—simple.
- FAQ Pages—A comprehensive FAQ page shows that you've either anticipated all of the customer's concerns or have enough experience to answer them up front. Either way, this is huge for building online credibility.
- Terms of Service—Showing your customers that they have certain terms and rights that you'll live up to as a provider and giving them exactly what to expect builds credibility. It shows that your company knows what they're doing and that you aren't some fly-by-night startup that will disappear or not know what to do should a situation arise with the product.
- About Us Pages—We discuss this more below with personal credibility, but if you are hiding behind the curtain, why should your lead trust you with their time and money?
Personal Credibility for a Higher ROI
Of course, while your online business is a large reflection of who you are as a person, your actual personal credibility as the face behind the business is important as well. Your business can have all the credibility in the world, but if you aren't standing behind it as an individual and entrepreneur, consumers will lose confidence in you.
Think about some of the more prominent businesses that have a credible person behind the company—Bill Gates as the face of Microsoft. You wouldn't doubt his credibility, would you? Of course not! He's a computer and software genius worth billions! How about Steve Jobs from Apple or even Colonel Sanders from Kentucky Fried Chicken? Having a credible person behind the company solidifies your customers' confidence in your product. After all, we are social and personable animals—there's a reason not everyone trusts the faceless image of “corporate America.”
So, just how do you create personal credibility for your online business? The most important idea here is transparency through personal bios, and luckily you have many big social networks that allow you to get your credible message across to the masses without having to break your bank advertising:
- LinkedIn—This social media platform for business professionals can help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche by participating in groups, establishing your connections and presenting yourself as a leader in your industry.
- Facebook—One of the easiest ways to gain credibility because of the sheer social aspect of the platform. Branding yourself and your product on Facebook is easy to do, but also simple to mess up.
- Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.—Your choices really depend on what you are selling and how you want to promote yourself.
Taking Your Personal Credibility One Step Further
Of course, there are many other ways that you can take your personal credibility to the next level. Going a step above and beyond your competition by offering better service, more free and valuable information, and an overall better customer experience will do wonders for your online business's credibility. Here are a few examples:
- Publish original eBooks on Amazon Kindle to establish your authority.
- Use auto-responder emails to provide useful tips and value instead of constantly bombarding leads with cluttered promotions
- Establish an authority blog with professional responses to comments.
- Be a leader in group discussions known for clear, professional answers.
The bottom line here is that there are tons of things you should be doing to increase the credibility of your online business.
Visit WorkSmarter.tv for ad-free articles and video tutorials. No email registration required.