Whether you conduct business exclusively online or have in-person interactions, we’re more interconnected than ever. You can buy a saucepan from a seller in Norway and have it delivered in a few days. You can sit in on a Zoom meeting with clients in China or Canada just as easily as you can call your next-door neighbor.
At the same time, this interconnectedness has created a highly competitive environment. And unfortunately, it’s made it easy for those with less-than-pure intentions to make their way into professional circles, hurting and fostering distrust among providers.
It’s more difficult than ever to establish a real connection and trust your instinct when talking to someone on the other side of the world. So how do you earn your prospects’ and potential partners’ trust and build a reputation for your organization?
How To Build a Reputation and Earn Your Audience’s Trust Online
Clarify Whom You Serve
One of the best ways to build customer trust is by clarifying who your ideal client is — and isn’t.
By clarifying your niche, you can:
- Create a solution tailored to a specific need instead of trying to be all things to everyone.
- Craft a compelling message that speaks directly to your ideal client’s pain points.
- Hone in on what you do best — and let go of the rest.
- Streamline your offer and, thus, simplify your marketing and sales.
- Build a strong portfolio of clients.
Build a Cohesive Brand Presence
Presenting your organization and yourself authentically across every platform — on and offline — brings trust and legitimacy to whatever you do. If you’re operating online, you’ll want to consider all the spaces your ideal client might find you in and create a cohesive presence.
Your brand presence comprises your appearance, visual brand, and substance. What messages are you communicating? Context is everything, and your messages will adapt to each specific context, but a greater purpose and strategy should be built from each platform to your overall brand.
Some places that make up your online presence are:
- Website, sales pages, and landing pages.
- Social media channels.
- Email marketing.
- Forums or networks.
- Guest articles or publications.
- Guest appearances.
To create a cohesive brand presence, you’ll want to work with your marketing or brand expert and create a brand kit, which includes colors, fonts, imagery, logos, and other elements and guidelines for each element’s use. You may also consider a brand messaging guide and media kit for speaking engagements.
Think about the last time you went to your favorite restaurant. How would you categorize your experience? Was it great, as usual?
At the core of any successful organization are repeatable and scalable processes that make a standard for the client’s experience.
Creating and delivering consistently great services through a repeatable system teaches your clients what to expect when working with you and encourages them to return whenever they need a service you provide.
Deliver on Your Promises
You may think that being predictable is boring. And that could be the case for a movie or an escape room. But as a service provider, the best way to build your reputation is by creating a positive experience you can easily replicate so that it becomes the norm and not an exception.
Consistently delivering the highest quality and keeping your word earns you a little bit of trust each time you do.
Some examples of small acts that build your trust:
- Create a client onboarding package you can follow in your sleep. Bonus points for using automation to take the guesswork out of the process.
- Commit to a deadline publicly to hold yourself accountable. Send the contract when you said you would. The same can be said of any document or request — stick to your deadline.
- Provide timely updates and communication. It’s better to feel like you’re over-communicating than to have a client wondering where you are.
- Deliver project milestones on time and up to the agreed-upon standards.
Provide Real Value
Service providers have the unique opportunity to offer solutions to their audience at any stage of their journey. Whether they are aware of their problem or actively looking for solutions, you can be a source of knowledge.
The caveat? To build your reputation, you must provide valuable resources and solutions before expecting anything in return. Otherwise, you miss out on a great first impression and a positive connection. If you’ve ever downloaded a freebie that ended up being useless, you’ll know what I mean.
Prioritize Privacy and Security
Recent years have shown us how exposed our personal data is. From third-party companies accessing what we do on our phones to hyper-targeted ads that feel like every inch of your house hears you, we realize that we’re more vulnerable than we thought online.
Any organization operating online needs to plan for privacy and security. In addition to giving your audience peace of mind, a data hygiene policy improves your marketing and sales processes and builds your reputation because you’re better able to deliver relevant messages and services to your customers, increasing your trust.
You can prioritize privacy and security by enacting data hygiene policies and ensuring that you comply with regulations like GDPR and CAN-SPAM, depending on where your organization operates.
Collect and Share Client Reviews
Reviews or testimonials are essential to building your reputation and earning customer trust.
Your prospects come to you hoping to address their problems and pain points. Testimonials play two essential roles in this process. First, a testimonial allows you to truly understand why they come to you in their own words and the impact you have on their lives. And second, they demonstrate to others that you can address this particular pain point, making the decision much easier for your ideal client.
We’re surrounded by information 24/7. Countless online entrepreneurs offer services and make wild promises to help you reach your biggest dreams. Unfortunately, many people have engaged with someone whose claims are not all that.
As service providers, we don’t have a tangible asset to back our reputation. Instead, it is up to us to build that reputation through our services and results. If the time has come to build your presence and establish your reputation, schedule a consultation now to learn more about our processes and how we can serve your organization.