When you’re running a small startup, one of the most challenging aspects of the growth process is convincing people that your company is legitimate and worthy of their time, energy, and dollars. With so many different options to choose from in most markets, customers don’t want to waste their resources on a company that isn’t proven. But you can greatly increase your odds of generating business by framing your startup through a more credible lens.
5 Tips for Building Credibility
Building credibility is integral in jumpstarting your success. And sometimes you’ll have to get resourceful to produce the sort of results you’re looking for. Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Wow a Small Initial Group of Customers
There are plenty of “fake it until you make it” strategies for cultivating credibility, but most of them are pretty flimsy and time-consuming. If you really want to generate a quick burst of authority in your space, the best option is to wow a very small initial group of customers.
Whatever you have to do – including giving away products for free – your sole focus should be on wowing three, five, 10, or 20 customers. Then, once you’re confident you have a satisfied group, you can compel them to leave reviews and testimonials, share your brand with friends, and give concrete feedback that you can leverage in your marketing and branding.
- Use What You’ve Got
Your new startup might not have any credibility, but what about you? Even if you’re starting a business in an industry that’s brand new to you, there are ways to leverage your past successes and experiences. Examples include:
- Notable companies you’ve worked for in the past.
- Specific business accomplishments.
- Noteworthy degrees or certifications.
- Highly-respected individuals in your professional network.
Look for creative ways to use what you have. There are always ways to spin a success or accomplishment to make it relevant to the new business.
- Develop a Sleek Website
It’s hard to have your business taken seriously if you don’t have a professional website. And while drag-and-drop website builders like Wix and Squarespace have become quite popular over the past few years, you should consider going with a professional web design service.
“Drag and drop website builders look great in a 30-second promotional video, but they’re extremely limited and frustrating,” SEO.co explains. “And when they do work, they leave businesses with simple, restrictive websites that rarely accomplish all of the brand’s website conversion goals.”
When you work with a professional web design service, you get a website that’s built correctly from the ground up. This makes it more scalable and efficient from start to finish.
- Make Yourself Accessible
People connect with people. In other words, the fastest way to establish credibility for your brand is to help people connect with you. The more accessible you make yourself, the better your chances are of building an authoritative brand around your business.
Being accessible means putting yourself out there and taking chances. Be willing to write guest blog posts, interact with people on message boards, be a guest on podcasts, and promote yourself on social media.
People crave interaction. As you put yourself out there, you humanize your brand and give people a reason to buy in.
- Leverage Social Proof
Social proof is everything. It’s one thing for you to talk about how great your startup is. It’s something else entirely for actual customers to do the talking for you. Whenever you collect a piece of social proof, spin it into as many different sticky assets as possible.
Consider, for example, a customer who leaves a long review on your website. You should immediately turn this review into a series of social media posts and graphics about your brand. Then, you could contact the customer and ask if they’d be willing to discuss the details on a quick video. This video can then be turned into a case study, which becomes a lead magnet.
Do you see how, with a little effort, you can maximize a single point of feedback and turn it into many different pieces of social proof? This allows you to scale your efforts, even when you don’t have a ton of initial feedback to work with.
Boost Your Startup
Armed with a quality product and copious amounts of credibility, you’ll go far. Over time, you’ll begin to recognize what does and doesn’t work. Be quick to adapt and let your strategy evolve in such a way that you’re able to efficiently procure new customers and maintain the loyalty of your existing ones.