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Nov
08

How To Build The Credibility Of Your Online Business

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Unfortunately, the Internet has developed a pretty “snarky” reputation when it comes to the treatment of consumers. Classless acts such as refusals to issue promised refunds, or failures to honor money back guarantees, abound.

Lying to consumers in order to make a sale, is so common that it has become almost grudgingly accepted. To everyone but the Federal Trade Commission(FTC), that is. While the FTC looms as a threat to cyber dirt bags, the Internet is so vast that the FTC can only scratch the surface at punishing offenders.

The fact is, you must take certain steps to gain the trust of your prospects and customers. This post will provide for you 3 of the most important steps.

Customer/Client Testimonials

The first action you should take with a satisfied customer or client, is to ask for a testimonial. Testimonials are referred to as “social proof”, and they carry significant weight in the land of business credibility. Unfortunately, fake testimonials are common online, so you must make the testimonials for your business believable. First, “coach” your satisfied client on what areas of your product or service you would like them to make comments about. By helping them to be specific in their comments, you prevent them from addressing areas that are not relevant to the components of your business that impressed them. For example, if you are receiving a testimonial from a business consulting client, ask them to describe the benefits they received in measurable terms. If you helped increase their business income, ask them to provide a dollar or percent amount. ALWAYS include a photo with the testimonial, a complete name(if they allow it), and the city they reside in. As an incentive for their testimonials, allowing them a link back to a landing page, website or blog can be effective. Video testimonials are the most effective type of endorsement, however, they will be the subject of a future post.

Forum and Blog Posts

The clients/customers in your niche can be exposed to your expertise when you post regularly on relevant forums and blogs. Be sure to select forums that allow links in your signature file, and blogs that allow “do follow” links. The key to building your credibility is to offer your opinions and your “spin” on different topics. Avoid simply agreeing with previous posts. Also, consider requesting to be a guest poster on an active blog in your niche. This can generally be accomplished by offering the blog owner an opportunity to post on your blog. You want to only trade posts with blog owners that are not in direct competiton with you. It is important to post regularly in forums, because it will encourage forum members to “follow” you.

Linkedin

Linkedin is a social media site that caters to, and encourages, professional networking. The average member of Linkedin is college educated with a significantly higher income level tahn the median. A great way to boost the credibility of your business is to start a group on Linkedin. The group should be focused on a topic of interest to your target audience. As the leader of the group, your responses to the posts of other members can help build your authority within your niche. You are also free to add members of your group to your Linkedin network.

What do you do to maintain a great reputation online? How successful have you been at posting on forums and blogs? What kind of results have you gotten? How do you avoid online scammers? Leave a comment in the comment box and let us know! I answer all comments and questions personally within 24 hours.

Be sure and “tweet” this post to your Twitter followers, and share it with your Facebook friends. They will appreciate it!

Comments

  1. Vincent says:

    Hi Michael- You’re so right! The honest folks online DEFINITELY suffer for all the rip-off artists. I’d say, based on being online for 10 years, that at least 50% of the websites trying to sell something, are dishonest to some extent. It’s just too east to do and too hard to get caught.
    Thanks for the great info!

    Vincent

    • Mike says:

      Sad but true, Vincent. Dishonest people just adore being able to “hide” anonymously behind their computers. It’s definitely “buyer beware!” Thanks for stopping by, Vincent!

  2. Flavio M says:

    Michael, The online BBB is actually a pretty good way of checking up on Internet website owners. Also, I check on potential scams at http://scams.com.
    As usual- You rock!

    F.M.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Flavio- Yeah, the online BBB is o.k., but alot of complaints are actually not recorded. There are quite a few forums online that have the expressed purpose of revealing scams and dishonest websites. “Google” in the name of the niche and then “scam”, and you can find them. Thanks for your input!

  3. Another way to build trust on your own blog is to be present and interact. I saw your note that says you answer your comments quickly. That’s exactly what I mean.

    If a visitor is engaged enough these days to want to comment, they know, or should know, they’re talking to you and your community. Responding makes it a conversation and they get to know you a little more as a person.

    While it’s not necessary to respond to every “way to go, great post” kind of thing, if there’s any effort at all toward real conversation, I think it deserves a response of some kind. Even a little late, is better than nothing.

    Showing people you value what they have to say too goes a long way in forming a trusting relationship.

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Cheryl! Great tips! It is really all about engagement. People appreciate an informative post with thoughtful responses to comments. It shows that you are concerned about your community. People will come back to your blog provided they receive value.

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