In risk-averse markets, supplier credibility is a key distinguishing factor. This post suggests four ways a small business can use content to build credibility.

Four factors that influence the credibility of a supplier are:

  • Social proof.
  • The quality of information delivered.
  • Branding
  • Presence in the marketplace.

We discuss each in turn below:

Social Proof

Robert Cialdini (among others) noted the concept of social proof. It states “one means we use to determine what is correct is to determine what others think is correct”. Case studies and testimonials are powerful weapons in the battle to increase credibility.

Content As A Retention Tool

Research shows that >60% of customers that leave a business do so simply because they do not feel valued. Delivering relevant information aids customer retention and makes a company more trustworthy.

Potential customers are more likely to seek out the content they need than to wait for it to come their way. If the decision-makers trusted information sources carry relevant information on the business, it boosts the reputation of that small business.

Content To Build The Brand

What a company stands for, and the way it interfaces with customers are key parts of its brand. Several research papers show a direct relationship between a positive brand image and credibility.

It takes time and effort to build a brand. The message must be consistent across all content and promotional activity. A business must live up to its brand promise.

Content Builds Market Presence

A business with a low market profile is likely to lose ground to its competitors. Regularly delivering quality content is an effective way to stay front of mind with potential customers. Content is often delivered online, but it is important to remember outbound (advertising, literature, exhibitions etc.) still has a place.

Building Personal Relationships

Personal relationships may not be content-related, but they are important. A poor service experience can destroy trust in an instant. Any company personnel a customer may deal with can have a positive (or negative) impact on the business credibility.

Knowledgeable employees who deliver good service build the brand and deliver a positive experience. It can take months, often years, to build credibility. That credibility and trust can be destroyed in an instant by poor service or a negative employee experience.

All the tools a business needs to stay in touch are readily available, they are cheap and easy to use. There is no excuse for a company to fail to stay in touch with its customers. Content is the fuel for the ongoing communication process.

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