business credibility

How to Build Business Credibility With a Limited Budget

What drives consumers to a business? For many customers, brand and reputation are at the heart of their buying trends. But how do you evoke customer loyalty when you are just starting out? Your startup need to build business credibility, and building reliability takes time and money.

Learn how to build business credibility for your business efficiently, even if you’re on a budget.

The importance of business credibility

A credible business will encourage customers to trust your offerings, put faith in your brand and consistently buy from you. Without a solid reputation, consumers might be reluctant to give your company a chance. Many consumers judge a startup’s credibility based on customer reviews.

One Moz study found that online reviews influence 67.7 percent of consumers’ purchasing decisions, for better or worse.

Building credibility should be at the forefront of your company’s goals to avoid missing out on customers. Credibility can then help you reach additional goals, like maximizing profits and establishing a second business location.

Related: 7 Ways to Gain Credibility as a Thought Leader in Entrepreneurship

How to build business credibility

We can all agree that credibility is important; but, how do you build it? Use the following tips.

1. Develop your strategy

Before you do anything, create a strategic plan to help you map out your goals and how you will go about achieving them. Establish time frames for reaching goals to stay on track. Decide what credibility means to your business, i.e.; what does being a trusted brand mean to your business? Establish milestones that you will aim to reach along the way.

For example, you might set a goal of being mentioned by a local newspaper, increasing new customers by a certain percentage, or getting X number of unique users to view your website.

Having a strategy in place can also help you determine whether your actions are actually working later on. Measure the results of your actions against your goals.

2. Create an online presence

To build credibility, your business needs to be visible. You can achieve this without taking out expensive advertisements. Instead, focus on creating a reputable online presence.

Make sure your business is searchable online. Building credibility with an online presence doesn’t have to break the bank. It can be done by creating an engaging website, starting a blog, encouraging customers to leave reviews and establishing social media pages.

According to one survey, 45 percent of small business owners don’t have a website. Failing to establish and maintain a website for your startup can inadvertently lead customers to believe you’re not credible. On the other hand, having a website helps legitimize your company and increase traffic.

Another inexpensive way to build credibility is to start blogging. Include a business blog on your website so you can talk about industry-related topics and news and establish your authority.

The more reviews your business receives, the more likely consumers will see them and recognize your business as legitimate. Encourage current customers to leave reviews on Google reviews, your website, and on other sites, like Yelp. You can offer discount incentives to increase participation.

Social media is another powerful tool you should use to build credibility. The more recognizable your business is, the better. You can further your credibility by creating profiles for niche social channels, besides the typical LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Interact with your target audience on the platforms in which they’re found.

3. Hammer down your brand

Brand awareness is like the glue that holds your business credibility together. To build a loyal following of customers, you need a strong, cohesive brand identity that they can believe in. Make your brand consistent across the board and use it to build credibility.

Your brand is what defines your business—it’s how customers identify you. A brand includes your mission statement, logo, products or services, business story, company voice and anything else associated with your startup.

Brands are what help businesses become recognizable. Once you develop a solid brand, you need to uphold it. If your brand is inconsistent, your business will lose credibility.

Include your business logo on your marketing materials, website and social media. Highlight your mission statement whenever and wherever it’s appropriate.

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4. Recognize the importance of communication

Communicating is an unavoidable part of running a business. You and your employees need to uphold values like integrity, honesty and sincerity when you communicate with customers.

Each time you talk with a current or potential customer, you have the opportunity to give your startup’s credibility (and customer service) a boost, for free. This boost won’t just impact how the person you’re talking with sees your company—it has the potential to reach their contacts, too.

Word gets around quickly. If you are impatient, disrespectful or dishonest with a customer, your credibility will sink before you even have the chance to establish a decent reputation. Keep in mind that poor communication will decrease your credibility much faster than good communication will increase credibility. You need to stay consistent if you want to impact your business in a positive way.

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