2. Make your contact information highly visible.
Don’t hide your phone number if you want your customers to call. If your business is unable to support phone calls, don’t list your number. Instead, implement an easy to use “Contact” form. Your physical address should be listed on your site. The best place to list your address is in the footer area of each of your web pages.
If you are a home-based business and you don’t feel comfortable listing your address, get a PO Box. It is an inexpensive solution. Real businesses have real addresses.
Contact information must haves:
- Phone number in the header area of each web page.
- Your fax number. It is true. Some business still use fax.
- Physical address in the footer area of each web page.
- Contact form – do not list your email use forms.
- Your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages.
3. Respond quickly.
The fastest way to lose business is by slow response. Don’t waste peoples’ time with sending auto response emails just to confirm that you have received an e-mail. Who cares if you received my email. Can you help me? I want to know that you can help me with my problem, and if your response doesn’t include the answer, you have no business sending the e-mail.
Don’t avoid the phone. Email didn’t kill the phone. Even in this day and age, the phone is often the best way to follow up with people. You will impress people with a quick phone call.
4. Make your web site an asset to your visitors.
Your website must be an asset to your prospects, your clients, and your business.
If you are an accountant, your web site should be an educational tool. Communicate tax code changes. For example, explain how the changes might affect businesses. Provide relevant content that may be of interest to your clients. Talk less about how great you are and more about your customers’ needs. Provide hints, articles, interviews, podcasts, or even short video clips about relevant topics.
5. Establish yourself as an expert.
Write articles about your expert area. If you are a divorce attorney, you might write articles about the benefits of staying out of court. You can post the articles on your website. Beyond writing and posting on your own site, you have to make a real effort to write for sites other than yours. This is the part most businesses ignore. Identify websites where your customers hang out and write content for them. When you guest post for others you get a link back to your own site and it helps you in two ways:
A. Some of the readers of the site will click the link pointing to your own site. It will result in more visitors to your site.
B. It will help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The more sites link to your site tells the search engines that you have valuable content. More links to your site will result in better search engine ranking.
6. Make It Look Professional.
It is one of the easiest things to do yet so many businesses have poorly designed sites. Just because you like your site, it doesn’t mean it looks good. Do your business a favor and have a professionally designed site. Gone are the days when any web site would be acceptable. If your cousin built your web site, you might make him very proud, but your customers will be less amused. Amateurish web sites communicate a message that you are a hobbyist, and not a real business. You wouldn’t want your cousin to do your root canal or file your corporate taxes, so don’t ask him to build your website either. The right website will require a professional company with expert designers, programmers, and marketers. Your web site is your business; treat it accordingly.
Having a website with spelling errors, bad images, and poor design is worse than having no web site at all. Avoid errors of all types. Encourage your customers to bring errors to your attention. Your customers can provide you with feedback as they browse your site, and you can quickly make the necessary changes. Clearly explain what security measures you take to keep client information safe.
7. Provide testimonials.
Ask for testimonials, and then post them throughout your site. You can never have too many testimonials. Include them on your home page, on your checkout page, on your “About” page. or any other page. Be proactive and ask for testimonials after you complete a sale or help your customers with an issue. To make it easier for them, include specific questions, such as “Would you recommend us to your friends?” or “What did you like the most about working with our company?” The key is to make it easy. Three or four questions will give you enough feedback. In case a customer leaves a voicemail testimonial, post the audio file on your site. Invite experts to comment on your site. Getting an expert in your field to provide a positive comment about your company might give a huge boost to your credibility. Video testimonials are great too.
8. Show that you give back.
Demonstrating your philanthropy is an excellent image-builder. Be careful that your motives are honest; otherwise, the negative effects could be devastating. People in general appreciate charitable organizations. Making too much about your good deeds is not advisable; people might regard you as a phony.
9. Join organizations.
To build your reputation, join credible organizations such as trade associations, Chambers of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, etc. Post your portfolio of clients. Ask if it’s OK to post their company logos on your site and see if they are willing to provide a testimonial. Share your professional experience with your customers. Volunteer at community events and talk about them on your site.
10. List your credentials.
If you are a professional, list your college degrees, your professional experience, the awards you have earned, your professional certifications. In case you are selling a product list, list awards or reviews your company might have received.
Credibility is something that’s earned. You might have to give before you get. If you are a web designer, you might want to give a free consultation. A software company might offer a try-before-you-buy promotion. Because you are prepared to give before you get, people have an opportunity to experience your company without having to make a financial commitment.
Building credibility takes real commitment. Credible companies are not created overnight. It is a process with many components. To build a great business, you have to set standards, and you have to live by them. Building your credibility is an ever evolving part of your business strategy. Every decision you make might have an impact on your reputation, and it can help or hurt your image. Focusing on providing solutions to your clients, providing consistent quality and value, and providing great customer service will all help you achieve the credibility your business needs in order to succeed.
11. Improve your site’s reliability.
If your website is down frequently, you are losing money. It is essential to use reliable web hosting. Do your homework before you commit to a hosting company. Before you make a decision, find out the reputation of the company. Read reviews, visit forums, ask other businesses you know.
Check out our article about finding the best hosting company for your business.
12. Demand WordPress.
WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS) platform. According to W3Techs, WordPress is used by 60.8% of all websites whose CMS we know. This is 23.5% of all websites. WordPress is wildly popular because it is reliable and easy to use. Hire a web designer that is great at building WordPress sites.
13. Ask for customer feedback.
Encourage your customers to provide you feedback about your website. You might not always like what you hear, but it will make your site better and it will improve your business too.
photo credit: 100_0515