Don't just tell the world your business is the best. Prove it with testimonials, media coverage and awards, says Phoebe Netto of Good Business Consulting.
Have you ever seen marketing from a business that says that they are ‘the best’ in more words or less?
They may be ‘the best’, but how are you to know that?
If they were to have someone independent of their business claiming that they are ‘the best’, how much more likely are you to believe them?
Independent verification, or third-party endorsement, is essential proof of your business’ value and credibility, particularly if you are a small business that does not yet have an established or recognisable brand.
Here are some ways that you can increase the awareness, recognition, authority and trustworthiness of your business through independent verification:
Include good client testimonials on your website and other marketing collateral. Make sure that you attribute the author of each testimonial to their quote to avoid looking as though it has been fabricated (a common practice).
It is best to include a full name, company name and brief description of how they used your products or services.
Also, check out LinkedIn Company Pages as well as LinkedIn personal pages that allow people to post testimonials about you and your business. This is also highly ranked in google.
Entering awards causes your business to concentrate on meeting high standards and then rewards you when you do. It is also one of the greatest low-cost marketing tools available.
Look for industry-specific awards that you can enter as well as national business awards, local business awards, and awards relating to specific business functions such as employee engagement and taking care of the environment.
If your business is a nominee, finalist or winner of an award, you have many ways of leveraging the achievement to market your business:
- mention it to clients, or better yet celebrate with your clients and thank them for being part of your success
- include it in your bio, website and promotional items
- display the award, certificate and/or photo in your office or waiting room
- coordinate media activity around it (and check if the award organisers are also planning media activity that you can participate in)
- include a photo of your business receiving the award in marketing material and communication with your followers.
Identify the watering holes where many of your ideal customers meet, such as a My Business magazine, and make sure your business is present.
It is not out of your reach to be included in the media outlets that your ideal customers read.
Media coverage is not just about creating awareness of your brand, it is about conveying aspects of your business that you cannot always convey through other marketing tools. This includes:
- confirmation of what you already market to your audience (for example, media coverage can confirm that you know what you are talking about, that you have an excellent track record or that you really can translate ‘I.T. speak’ into English).
A reader can read your coverage and see that someone who understands their interests (e.g. My Business magazine) independently sought you out for your advice, expertise or opinion.
In radio advertising, it is far more expensive to pay for a popular announcer or presenter to read an advertisement than it is to have it recorded by a voice-over artist. This is because it is far more credible and interesting to have someone else say good things about your business than to hear it coming from you.
What do you do to demonstrate independent verification of your business?
Phoebe Netto is Managing Director of Good Business Consulting.
Too many SMEs are making this mistake
By Adam Joy
Taking digitisation out of the ‘too hard’ basket for SMEs
By Jason Brouwers
The insanity of consumer expectations
By Jason Dooris