Does it seem like your competitors are better than you? Do they outshine you in the marketplace? Do they seem more credible? Maybe your competitors aren’t even that great, but they still manage to steal the spotlight.
How do they do it?
The hidden secret: create credibility
What makes you comfortable buying something? Features? Price? Service?
If you’re going to buy a car, I’ll bet you’d rather buy a Toyota, Ford, or other name brand instead of a Diahatsu, Volga, or some obscure brand.
If you’re buying something on Amazon, you look at product reviews.
You aren’t going to dump any money–whether it’s $10 or $10,000–on some out-of-nowhere product or service from an unknown company. You want to know what their track record is, you want to know that they’re tested, and you want to make sure that others think they’re great.
That’s why product reviews are so popular. People want to know they’re getting something good before they pony up their hard-earned cash.
Why you need credibility indicators
Credibility indicators are signals that something can be trusted. The VeriSign logo on a payment page, the FDIC sticker when you walk into a bank, an endorsement from an industry leader, testimonials.
If you look at your competitors who outshine you, chances are that they look more credible. Look at their website and other marketing, and pinpoint how they project and create credibility. You don’t necessarily need to copy exactly what they’re doing, but the point is to get some ideas of what your customers may find credible, and create those signals for your business.
Then, take it a step further to outshine your competitors so prospective clients are lining up for your services.
How to create credibility
The following isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to create credibility, but they’re some of the most reliable ways to do it. You’ll want to adapt the tactics for your niche and your customers.
- Smile & be confident. Obviously, this is something you’ll want to do for phone and in-person interactions, but you can at least make sure your photo on your website doesn’t look like a mugshot. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell shows how we make snap judgments about other people, for instance, in job interviews, where people formed remarkably stable impression of the interviewee in about 10 seconds. You can use this early, fast mental judging to your advantage; in the book Sway by Ori & Rom Brafman, they talk about ways that you can prime the pump to shift people’s preconceptions of you. Pretty fascinating stuff.
- Believe–truly believe–that you’re going to succeed. I know this sounds fluffy, but stay with me here. As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”. Envision yourself being successful. I remember when I interviewed for jobs, I realized that if I could snag an interview, then I could land a job offer; 95% of the time, it worked.
- Write guest articles on popular websites in your niche. This is a great way not only to create credibility, but to drive more traffic to your business website–and hopefully convert customers. When you write a guest article on a popular website, you get approval from a more established source. That’s great social proof–validation that lots of other people and thought leaders in your niche think you’re credible.
- Give away useful information. Customers want to test-drive before they buy. There are lots of ways you can show that you provide value when you give away useful, actionable info for free. Show people that you’re an expert. There are a bunch of ways you can do this, but some of the most common are:
- SEO. Don’t know what SEO is? Then learn what SEO is and how it brought me over $80k in new business. When you google something, you look at stuff on the first page. In fact, research has shown that about 95% of traffic comes from links on the first search results page. Better yet, by putting your content on multiple sites and pages, you can dominate the first page of Google searches by appearing multiple times. When you’re peppered all over the search results, you get instant credibility as an expert.
- Testimonials. These are a great way to create credibility, because people want to know that others have worked with you and found you incredibly valuable. Testimonials are a great way to get social proof.
- Generate PR. Connect with reporters and other news outlets in your niche so they can write about you. The idea here is similar to writing guest articles, but instead, someone else is doing the writing. Make sure you link to those PR articles on your website, since that creates credibility for people who haven’t seen the PR article and also shows that you’ve been featured as an expert on a credible news outlet or industry channel. Sign up for Help A Reporter Out to connect to writers and journalists who can help promote you.
If you were paying attention, this’ll be easy. Either way, you’ll learn something. Here goes: now that you’ve read through the list of tactics for how to create credibility, go back through them, and see if you can find how I made those tactics credible.
Tell me in the comments how I created credibility.