Trust is the difference between a prospect and a sale. It’s the difference between a reputable brand and a forgettable one. Trust in your business is absolutely essential to growth and sustainability. It’s the difference between working hard and working smart.

So how do you engender trust in your business? With a credible brand.

Why trust and credibility is crucial

Have you ever lost a job to someone who had less experience and fewer qualifications than you? You may be perfectly qualified to do what you do – you may even be the best in the business! – but if nobody knows this, you’ll be working yourself into an early grave.

Crafting your credibility is essential to doing your best work. You may prefer to work only on your craft. But without enough publicity, you won’t have the opportunities to do your best work because you’ll be too busy working too-long hours, stymied by constant cash flow problems and distracting by endless admin and other scuttlebutt.

The journey of your client-to-be

In the journey your ideal client-to-be makes towards becoming your actual paying client, you are up against:

  • Marketing clutter and noise from competitors
  • Countless distractions in their search for information
  • Celebrity competition with recognised branding, greater reach and visibility
  • Cheapskates and time-wasters who tie up your attention
  • Your own self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

The final step is when the prospect is evaluating your business – this is where they need to understand and resonate with your brand.

So, say you’ve nailed all that.

The prospect is qualified – they’re in the market for what you’re selling. They suit you; you suit them. You could be a match made in heaven. So why don’t they buy?

They need to believe that you will deliver what you say you’ll deliver. They need to trust you and your brand. Your brand needs to be credible.

Essentials of credible branding

  • Your visuals – your logo, business name, colours, fonts, and other visual marketing elements.
  • Your message – your tone-of-voice, your opinions (relevant to your modality, your industry, your ideal clients) and the dissemination of these (otherwise you’re talking to yourself).
  • Congruency in your values, your words and your actions.
  • Coherence between your visual look, your message, your actions, your promotions, your cross-promotions and brand-alignment (with other brands).
  • Consistency and repetition over time. Remember, your branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room so you need to keep repeating yourself.
  • Clarity – you need to be instantly understood. If there’s inconsistency, incoherence or incongruence, you’ll confuse people. (Warning: don’t wait for the proverbial lightening bolt to strike! Clarity comes through implementation, feedback, reiteration, implementation, feedback, reiteration, etc, etc).

Indicators of credibility

Your qualifications and experience! Including the experience and qualifications you may not necessarily believe are relevant – storytelling is all about drawing connections and making things relevant so don’t leave these out.

People trust their friends, family and colleagues above anything you do or say. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful marketing there is. Social media marketing is word-of-mouth on steroids. Use this.

Testimonials, which include full names and small profile pictures give added weight. Ensure these aren’t in a silo by themselves – they need to be on the web pages where people are making decisions about whether or not to contact you or hire you. Testimonials from ‘big names’ aren’t all that – real stories from real people are just as valuable, if not more so.

Media endorsements – either articles you’ve written yourself or media you’ve produced, or media in which you’ve been featured. Look beyond popular yoga media – think about the media relevant to your niche and the favourite media that your ideal clients regularly consume – this is where you want to be.

Sharing your opinion – how will people know you’re credible or remember you if you’ve got nothing to say? Get in the habit of sharing your opinion – on your blog, your E-News, your social media marketing and face-to-face. The most powerful and effective way to do so is using real data and research, augmented with your opinion.

Epidemic of flakey

Nothing kills your credibility faster than being known as flakey. In the midst of our current epidemic of flakiness, how do you avoid crushing your credibility and flaking out?

The first, essential thing is to avoid being a people-pleaser. A lot of flakey behavior happens because we say ‘yes’ to things that we really should say ‘no’ to. Then we’ve overcommitted, frustrated and annoyed because we never wanted to do something in the first place, so we pull out.

The second cause of flakiness is another modern day epidemic – fear of missing out (or FOMO). FOMO means we’re forever second-guessing our decisions and wishing we’d made the opposite decision (and if we’d made the opposite decision, we’d wish we made the first decision).

The remedy for this is trust and presence – trust that you’ve made the most appropriate decision and then be as present as possible to deepen your enjoyment of the experience.

Who’s afraid of confidence?

Confidence is an essential piece of the credibility puzzle. We need confidence to be bold in our branding. We need confidence to state our opinion and be seen and heard. We need confidence to engender confidence in our clients and prospects.

Everyone suffers from low-self-confidence sometimes. Everyone. Do not wait for confidence to strike before you take big audacious action. You’ll be stop-start-stop-start and stalling forever.

You only need to act confidently for short bursts of time: fifteen seconds to reinforce your terms and conditions with clients; two minutes to pick up the phone and pitch yourself to a journalist or magazine editor; one minute to write to a big blogger and pitch yourself as a guest blogger; three minutes to phone an event organiser, introduce yourself, and pitch yourself as a speaker.

Expertise comes through experience and experience gives confidence. By consistently acting despite self-doubt and fear, we accumulate experience and expertise. And experience and expertise are essential for credibility.

Social media marketing for small business

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