A famous quote by author Alina Wheeler goes like this: “Brand is the promise, the big ideas, the expectations that reside in each customer’s mind about a product, service or company. Branding is about making an emotional connection.”
Hello reader. Let’s start with a simple exercise. Pick an e-commerce industry. Done? Which brands appear first on your mind when you do so? Let’s see.
If you picked shoes, then you probably thought of Adidas, Nike etc.
Mobiles? Apple, HTC, Motorola, etc., right?
Shirts? Ralph Lauren? Tommy Hilfiger?
You know why you picked these in particular. Yes, these are the leading brands in their segment. Their massive success can be attributed to their longevity, product quality, service quality, ad campaigns and so on. However, it’s their reputation that precedes them. Or in other words, brand credibility.
It is true that some people say it takes 30 years to build a credible brand. Longevity is a big factor for a brand name, but in this fast-paced world where there is so much competition, customers rely on word of mouth for making their online purchases. A credible brand name is as important for your business as SEO marketing.
How does one define brand credibility?
Brand credibility is a psychological attribute. It triggers consumers into buying your product/service. This indirectly translates into more sales and more profit for the business.
Brand Credibility involves 3 main factors:
- Expertise, and
There are different techniques you can use to improve your website in order to improve these factors. We’ll detail them below.
1. Use SSL to enhance website security
The first thing most netizens lookout for when accessing your website is the SSL feature. SSL has been gaining in prominence ever since Google announced that it will take in https as a ranking factor in organic search results for websites (from 2014). This means that the daddy search engine now favors websites having SSL over those that don’t. This has website owners running around frantically, trying to obtain SSL certificates from different providers.
A HubSpot research found that 85% of consumers the world over would not browse a site that is explicitly shown as ‘not secure’, i.e., a website without an SSL certificate, and hence only HTTP.
As of January 30th, 2017, half the web was encrypted. Now that should be some encouragement for you.
When consumers see the green ‘https’, the padlock and the company name and location, they feel secure because their data is being encrypted and there’s not a chance for hackers.
2. Build a cool website
The first most obvious thing about your e-commerce business is your website. It was found that 75% of online shoppers took the design of a company’s website as a criterion for its credibility. 88% of users do not make a second visit once they’ve had a bad experience.
A neatly structured website with a good visual design attracts users. Remember how we talked about attractiveness as a major factor driving credibility?
Make your website user-friendly, with easy login access and proper categorization of web pages. The way your site appears tells users whether or not they should come back and do business with you. Use your website building skills or hire a professional designer to do the same.
Your brand logo/image is also significant. New users were found to focus on a company logo for an average of 6.48 seconds. Since this is one of the first things to appear on your website, you need to come up with a logo fitting for your mission and vision.
The look and feel of a website are primary factors affecting brand credibility.
3. Get the right security trust seals
A survey found that 70% of online shoppers canceled their orders when they did not find a security trust seal. Now that’s a staggering number! It certainly doesn’t help to lose 70% of your target customers just because you failed to procure a trust seal for your website, right?
A trust seal may appear on a website as a logo, icon or image. Having the right trust seal can do wonders for your business. It conveys a positive message about your business. It also goes to show that your website is dedicated to enabling secure financial transactions. This improves credibility in the eyes of the user.
Leverage a reputed security trust seal. Some very reputed security trust seals are Norton, McAfee, TRUSTe, GeoTrust and Thawte.
4. Leverage influencers to market your business
Testimonials and recommendations follow expertise in your field. These are influencer marketing methods. Get your influencers to spread positive sentiment about your business. This can bolster your credibility immensely. You can also use customer reviews to spread your website.
Reviews by influencers can spread quickly and effectively among your target audience, on various social platforms.
You’ll need to place those testimonials strategically on your website if you want to create the desired effect.
5. Celebrity endorsements
If you have the kind of investment that enables you to sign celebrities, go for it. Consider signing someone who is a positive, attractive and expressive figure. Brand endorsements appeal mostly to the particular celebrity’s fans and other adolescents.
While getting them to sign for you, tell them how you plan on increasing your market value and how you rely on your brand credibility to drive you forward. Encourage them to take a chance with you.
6. Improve site’s speed
Surveys show that potential customers normally stay on a loading website for a maximum of 3 seconds.
You may be selling products of unquestionable quality, but if you can’t leverage a target audience, you’ll run out of luck pretty soon. Raising a good customer base relies on having a website that is quick to load. Having a slow loading website can damage the reputation of your business. And that is how it affects your brand image.
In a nutshell, you can use these tips to give your customers quality worth taking notice of and worth talking about. Set a benchmark. Once that happens, it will indirectly influence your sales.