New startups are faced with unique challenges. One of those challenges is establishing credibility when you’re new to the market. How exactly can you get customers to trust you when you haven’t had the time or experience to gain that trust? It’s a serious question that every startup must answer. We’ve compiled 10 effective ways to establish business credibility when you’re a startup.
Startup Credibility: Do What You Say You Will
This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many new businesses don’t follow through with promises. Doing what you say you will involves being on time for meetings, following up with a phone call, or delivering the product on time. When it comes to your product or service, don’t oversell it. Instead, give consumers the real details and address concerns honestly. Doing so will help your business grow organically as your good reputation will quickly get out to prospects.
Startup Credibility: Get On Social Media
Consumers’ trust grows with brands when they see them regularly in the market. By being on social media, you are getting your brand out to potential customers frequently and building brand recognition. Be sure to target the platforms where your customers are to get your brand in front of the right eyes. Post regularly to entice new interactions with your brand. Be sure to interact with those who are making comments on your social media posts so that everyone can see that you are engaged and committed to building relationships.
Startup Credibility: Don’t Rely on Automation
Automation is a great way for a new business owner to save time and money. But when it comes to sales, be as personal as you can and give consumers a real human touch that shows that you care about their experience. This means answering chat requests and emails personally or having a team member do it. Don’t set up an automated response system if you don’t need to. Be clear about your office hours so there isn’t any confusion about when a response will be forthcoming. Consumers appreciate a human touch and will respond positively.
Ask for Reviews
Building your online review library is essential to building credibility with customers. After every sale, invite new customers to post a review for you. Choose a platform where you want to build a library of reviews such as on Facebook or Yelp. Be proactive after sales and don’t rely on customers to automatically do this. People are quick to post a negative review when something is bad but don’t always think about posting a positive review. When you invite them to do so, you increase the chances of getting more positive reviews for your company. Make this part of the sales process when you close the sale and it will help your reputation grow quickly online.
Startup Credibility: Offer Free Trials or Samples
One of the best ways to get consumers to try your services and build your reputation is to offer a free trial or sample of your product. This shows that you have the confidence in your product or service and that you can deliver on your promises and make consumers happy. When giving something away for free, make sure to ask for testimonials or positive reviews too. Don’t let the opportunity to log a happy consumer’s response while you can. This method works which is why it is used by major corporations. Think about the free samples you get at Costco. They spark an interest in new products and put those products top of mind while people are shopping. They continue to do it because it works.
Connect With Influencers
Connecting with influencers is a great way to gain credibility. Get your product in the hands of influencers who have followings that meet your target demographic. Work with the influencers to get a shout-out about your company. This is an endorsement to a targeted audience. Keep in mind that not all influencers will do this for free or simply for free product. Add to your marketing budget the cost of paying influencers per post. Some will work on a commission basis which can be a good deal for you knowing that they are invested in the success of the marketing campaign as well. However you do it, get influencers on your side to build startup credibility.
Startup Credibility: Do Great Work
Doing great work or having great products should go without saying, but many startups will try to cut corners as they grow. Don’t do this. Give your consumers every reason to shout your praises from the mountaintops. You can only achieve this by making the work the centerpiece of the relationship. When products and services are superior, people talk about them. When you have happy consumers, don’t hesitate to ask for a testimonial or a referral. You’d be surprised how quickly you can grow your startup thanks to referrals.
Startup Credibility: Be Consistent
Inconsistency can be the kiss of death for a new startup. Set the right expectations with clients and follow through as you promise. Being consistent shows that you respect your client’s time and money. It should be a standard company practice to deliver A+ service to people. Do this consistently, and your reputation of being great will grow and precede new relationships. In the process of a sale, be sure to listen more than you speak so that the customer knows that you care about their needs and wants.
Publish Thought Leadership Content
Consumers tend to want to work with those that they perceive as the best. What better way to demonstrate your success than publishing thought leadership content? It helps customers see behind the curtain and get to know the company’s leadership in a new way. This translates to competency in the business practices and goes a long way to helping build the brand name. Find reputable publications where you can write about your thoughts on building a successful venture or insights about your industry. If writing isn’t your thing, hire a ghostwriter to help you develop content that is both insightful and engaging.
Handle Complaints With Grace
Every business has to have a plan on how it will deal with customer complaints because it is natural not to make everyone happy. You won’t nail every interaction. So have a process for dealing with customer complaints that address the problem and reconcile the situation when possible. Do this both publicly on social media channels where complaints are made and do it privately when no one is watching. The reputation to make things right will get out there and help your business develop startup credibility.
As you can see, there isn’t one way to build startup credibility. Whatever avenues you chose, know that it takes time and energy to build credibility and be patient with the process. Doing the right things will eventually get you the results that you desire.