Year after year, millions of businesses manage to pop up throughout the country in pursuit of success.
And at the same time, a good chunk of those businesses will eventually fold.
A harsh reality, and one that budding business owners should definitely shouldn’t take lightly.
There are tons of reasons why a business might fail, but perhaps one of the most notable reasons why so many companies end up failing is a lack of credibility.
Think about it. Business is a game of positioning. If you can manage to outshine your competition and send the right signals to your customers, they’ll come flocking to you rather than the next business on the block.
But ask yourself: what are you doing to ensure that customers and competitors alike are looking at you as credible? What are you doing to be taken more seriously?
Signaling that you’re the “real deal” doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does require some specific steps. Here are five smart tips to ensure that your business is seen as a real industry player.
Invest Wisely in Professional Marketing Must-Haves
Although taking a “DIY” approach to your marketing materials might make sense when you’re just starting out.
However, you can’t rely on freebies forever. This rings true both online and offline, by the way. This doesn’t mean you need to blow out your budget on so-called marketing “gurus” or look for some sort of silver bullet solution. Instead, consider the following expenses as long-term investments that any business worth their salt would make:
- Professional logos and design work: a must-have both online and of from your site logo to a custom canopy for your business for in-person events
- Email marketing: rather than try to juggle your contacts, an automation solution can take of everything from triggering campaigns to optimizing the timing of your messages
- An SEO audit: knowing where you stand search-wise can make a huge difference regarding your angle and what content you need to create to stand out versus competitors
Make Your Search Presence Count
Speaking of SEO, don’t underestimate just how much your search presence matters.
And we’re not just talking about keywords here.
Think about it. When people search your business, what do they see on the first page of the SERPs? Chances are it’s a combination of your Google business listing, review sites and social media accounts in addition to your homepage, right?
Given that the vast majority of consumers trust online reviews, your star-ratings and appearance at a glance could be make-or-break to customers that don’t know you. In this sense, you need to have a strong pulse on any and all mentions of your brand online so you can respond in a timely manner.
This includes new reviews, social shout-outs and any time you might be mentioned in the process. You should likewise to control the narrative on your business as much as possible (think: score positive press mentions and share customer success stories) to paint your business in a more positive light.
Offer a Premium Product
Pricing your services can be tricky but is actually a huge aspect of whether or not customers see you as a legitimate service.
Under-charging could cause people to see you as a sort of “bargain bin” option. When you’re constantly trying to compromise on price, you could be cutting corners elsewhere.
That’s why at the very least offering a premium product is a smart move. Unless your price point is part of your unique selling proposition, it never hurts to diversify your structure to attract customers with more to spend.
Master the Art of Listening (and Responding) via Social Media
Social media is still a huge question mark for many business owners in terms ROI.
That said, 90% of consumer use social media in some way, shape or form in communicating with businesses. Therefore having a presence is essential for no other reason than going back-and-forth in a timely manner to conduct customer service.
This again harkens back to why businesses today need to master the art of listening. The ability to be transparent and communicate with your audience signals that you’re actively interested in what others are saying. Rather than be an island that does participate in your industry conversation, consider how social media can help you play a more active role.
Lastly, don’t ignore the upside of going above and beyond in business.
Want to get that five-star review? Looking to have customers rave about your business?
You have to deliver the goods.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but the simple act of providing stellar service goes a long way toward building word-of-mouth praise both online and offline. Consider the shortcomings of your competitors both big and small and have you can provide something out of the ordinary that will make an impression on your customers.
These tips do double-duty of positioning yourself as an authority to current customers all the while helping you acquire new ones. If you feel like your business has been falling behind among your competition, these tips can serve as a much-needed pick-me-up for business and its credibility.