There’s the old business expression that people must get to “know, like, and trust” you before they buy from you. The length of time it takes to funnel prospects through these three levels leading to a transaction depends on how desperate the buyers are and how robust your business’s brand is. And today, branding online is huge for generating visibility and credibility, as well as profitability. Here are six top criteria you want to review concerning your online brand.
1. Clean up your website look and navigation.
First impressions are everything. And with most people performing searches online to find the products and services they need and the brands that stand behind them, it’s imperative that you create a website that conveys credibility. Most visitors will take all of three to five seconds to form an opinion of your site. If it doesn’t load quickly, or offer a clean and easy to follow navigation, you’re likely to lose them. Other common mistakes many sites make that loss them credibility points are using images and animation excessively and adding copy with a mix of fonts and colors. If your site is lacking quality, prospects instinctively believe the same holds true for the quality of your products and services.
2. Make it easy for people to find your contact information.
There are two basic places people will assume that they will be able to find your contact info: in the header or footer sections of each page and on a contact page. The same holds true for your social media profiles. Simply adding in a form where it appears you force one-way communication will diminish your online credibility. If you want to improve your inbound marketing where people reach out to you, make it easy for them by providing multiple methods, from phone numbers, to email addresses, fax numbers, and a physical address, along with the appropriate contact names. The more info you supply, you create a sense of your accessibility. If you limit your contact information, you send out the signal that you’re more interested in taking people’s money than you are in talking to them.
3. Tighten up your copy.
If you’ve ever created a resume, you know that grammatical and spelling errors are signals to potential employers that you may not be the best candidate for the job. The quality of the copy on your website and in your social media profiles are your online resume.
Take an honest assessment of the copy on your site. Does it convey who you are, who your ideal customers are, the products and services you provide to them, and the benefits they will experience when they invest in your business? Is your copy written for people, or search engines? Is it free of spelling and grammatical errors?
Realize that online copy for your website and social media profiles is different from other forms of writing. If you aren’t a copywriter, get some outside help … or at minimum get some critiques from other people who aren’t afraid to tell you like it is.
4. Avoid any bait and switch.
With the advancements in online technologies for branding businesses and connecting with customers, there’s a multitude of means for you to connect with your ideal customers and tempt them with offers. If you promise a 15% discount, deliver on it. If you dangle a free white paper as a carrot in trade for someone’s contact information, make sure you live up to your end of the arrangement. Sounds simple enough if you’re honest, right? Not always. You need to test your delivery system online and make sure that the experience and benefit you think you’re delivering actual happen the way you intend it to. Otherwise, you may have a number of people trying to take advantage of your offer only to be left with a bad taste in their mouths because your online system didn’t deliver.
5. Build your social presence.
No, you don’t need to go out and sign up for every social media site, just those where your customers spend time and expect to find you … or your competition. The big networks today are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. There are other industry specific blogs and forums where your audience connects. Make sure you’re there, too. Your online credibility depends upon it.
6. Include credibility stamps.
Do you belong to any organizations? Do any third parties endorse you? Are customers promoting you? If so, you need to add some recognition of it on your site and social media profiles. It’s best to use some visual stamp, like what TRUSTe or the BBB provide instead of just a link. The same visual rule holds true for customer testimonials. If you can include a company logo or the picture, name, and title of the person who gave you the testimonial, it increases your credibility significantly over a testimonial that only includes a name … or a partial name.
There are a number of SEO and Internet marketing tactics you can use to create robust inbound marketing campaigns. Before you invest the time and money into these campaigns, take a thorough review of your website and your social media profiles where you want your ideal customers to come to.
Are you maximizing your online credibility? If not, send out your SOS call by contacting me at SmallBizMedia.tv. I’m here to help.
All the Best,
The Solopreneu’s Guide