Introducing a new product in today’s fast paced world can be an intimidating venture. The product can be anything – a blog, a service, software, or an actual physical “product”. The first part’s relatively easy – building the product.
Gathering users’ trust and establishing credibility – now that’s a whole different ball game.
It might be worth mentioning that Steve Jobs was the only person to believe in the iPhone when it was first launched. The important thing is – you’ve done your market research. You can vouch for your product – you believe in it. That’s a great start.
But the real question is – how do you get your customers to believe your product? How do you make your customer believe that what you’re offering is something he would find useful? That’s what today’s article is all about.
We’ve scoured the web – studied a few authority sites in marketing and blogging, and have come up with 10 actionable strategies for establishing your brand online. Don’t take our word for it. We’ll show you screenshots of real websites – for every tip we share!
Using these strategies, you can increase your brand’s credibility, build trust and ultimately gather a loyal fellowship. Since WPExplorer is all about WordPress, I’ve taken the liberty to mention a few plugins and themes to help you implement each strategy. You are most welcome to try out your own methods, and if you would like to share them, we’d love to hear about it!
1. Customer Base
Customer.io – A (relatively new) email software shows its list of influential customers
Having a powerful clientele is one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing arsenal. Be it a startup or a well-established product, displaying client logos is an excellent measure to build trust. We like to associate ourselves with brands. (If we didn’t, we wouldn’t own a fancy pair of running shoes).
If your clientele is influential, displaying their logos under your “Our Clients” section carries a major impact. When an influential brand uses your product, the latter (your product) establishes significant influence in its own domain or market. You customers now know that your product is:
- Enterprise ready
Case Study #1 – ManageWP
ManageWP’s impressive clientele does all the talking them
If I’m a potential customer, and I’ve narrowed my choice between two products – ManageWP and XYZ, the fact that tons of leading industry folks use software #1 – I’d most certainly opt for it.
Case Study #2 – New Websites
Of course, it is not always possible to have a powerful customer base for startups. In such a case, try to get featured in popular media outlets – for example, blogs in your product niche would gain you the audience you need for a successful startup launch.
Example: If you’ve created a new WordPress plugin, theme or a (WordPress oriented) service, getting featured in the top 10 WordPress blogs would give you an immense platform to showcase your new product.
To sum it up, having a powerful customer base has profound impact on your product’s influence and plays a significant role in its selection process. It boosts its chances of being selected when compared with a similar product.
2. Membership Strength
Membership strength comes in various forms and applies to various products. This can include the number of downloads or sales, number of customers and also branches into your social sharing and followers. Let us take a closer look at them.
2.1 – Number of Downloads
This category of membership strength includes downloadable products like themes, plugins, and product packages. Displaying the number of times your product was downloaded is a sure-shot way to establish its authority. Higher the download count, greater the authority.
Everybody’s using it, so it should be good.
Case Study #3 – VLC Media Player
The download count (or “popularity”) of a software directly influences our decision making process
Let’s take a simple example. You want to download a media player and haven’t heard of either VLC or CCCP. Now, if you were given a choice between the two, the easiest way to decide would be to choose the one with the highest download crowd. This analogy is even more applicable to situations where the user is not technically sound in the subject/area.
Case Study #4 – WPExplorer
WPExplorer’s portfolio in Themeforest
This is a screenshot of WPExplorer’s Themeforest portfolio. If you examine the download count of each theme and their overall rating, you’ll see that each of them were downloaded hundreds to thousands of times with good customer feedback. That’s a confidence booster – you’ve subconsciously rated WPExplorer as a “good” or “reputable” WordPress theme maker.
The number of downloads have directly influenced your decision making process.
2.2 – Number of Customers
This is direct measure to your product’s credibility. It is applicable to any service or membership oriented product. The greater the number of customers, the higher the credibility of the service or product.
Case Study #5 – Elegant Themes
ElegantThemes displays the number of members in its landing page
2.3 – Number of Social Media Subscribers
This applies to media delivery outlets such as social media sites and video hosting sites (like YouTube). Social media outlets include your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers – basically the entire social networking bandwagon.
Screenshot of Content Marketing Institute’s Social Media Subscribers
The number of subscribers is a measure of your site’s social strength. The higher your number of fans – the popular your site is. Media delivery outlets is a vital source of traffic, provided your social media marketing is done correctly.
2.4 –Social Media Followers can harm your site!
Having an unusually large number of social media fans and followers can be counterproductive and even harmful at times. For example, there are tons of sites where you can buy Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Most of them are fake – your so called “fans” are nothing but automated accounts (bots) or hacked/compromised accounts of real users. Bottom line is – you don’t get any real traffic from bots. Here’s a golden rule:
Aim for an influential user
A Twitter handle with a small but influential amount of subscribers is way more credible to a human user or a search engine, than an account with 5000 followers having fake and/or compromised accounts. You want real, active subscribers (ideally, ones with influence over their own set of followers).
Search engines are incredibly smart these days and they’re only getting smarter. A few months ago having a mobile site wasn’t as important, until Google formally stated the importance of a mobile responsive website for good SEO scores. It is a well-known fact in the SEO community that Google automatically determines your or your site’s influence in its index. The higher the number of influential subscribers – the higher your SEO scores will be.
When Things Go South:
Here’s where things get interesting – if you haven’t existed in the Internet long enough to gather your unusually large number of followers, Google will hold your site’s credibility under suspicion. If they find that a majority your subscribers are fake accounts – boom! Your SEO scores are plummeted.
If you think you can get back on track with a site suspected of fake subscribers, you’re going to have to work very, very hard. It’s usually better to start a new chapter – same product with a new branding. There have been a lot of failure and success stories in this context – I suggest your roam around a few SEO forums if you’d like to know more.
3. Email Subscribers
A lot of websites display the number of newsletter subscribers in their email opt-in forms. This is a great list-building tactic for blogs and other websites. It associates your product with a large number of followers – similar to social media fans. (Of course, email list building deserves special attention since it’s more potent than social media.)
“Join 30,000 subscribers” is a good way to woo your customers into giving up their email address.
Word of Caution: When someone subscribes to your site he/she is trusting you with their private information – a way to directly get in touch with them. Consider it a privilege. Here are a few rules (think of them as the 3 commandments of email marketing, if you will)
- Never email your subscribers with fake/suspicious products, only because the publisher promised you a huge chunk of money.
- Only email products you have personally used and tested.
- Never, ever, sell off your email list (they usually fetch a ton of money). That’s highly unethical. If you believe in karma… you get the drift, don’t you?
4. Number of Page Views
Displaying the number of page views is a great way to portray a site’s popularity. Ideally you should display the page views for individual pages in your blog. That means every post will have a separate page view count. Displaying a combined number of page views would do no good, since your audience would not be able to differentiate between the popular posts and the, well, not-so-popular ones!
5. Display Social Media Shares
Screenshot from an article at HubSpot.com
We talked about social strength (#2.3) under the Membership Strength category. Although the number of social media shares should technically fall under that category, I think it deserves special attention. This is because displaying the social media share count is a bit tricky – it’s more of a double-edged sword, and here’s why:
- Ideally, you should only display your social scores when you’ve reached a significant number of shares. Moreover, this number should be prominently displayed. It will increase the user’s likeliness to share the post once he/she has finished reading it.
- On the flip side, when the number of social shares is low (I’m talking less than 20), don’t display the number. Instead, you could simply display the social sharing icon. Once the shares reach a healthy figure, it’s time to flaunt it!
- Finally, you should display only those social media channels where most of the sharing takes place. Don’t clutter your user’s experience with twenty different sharing buttons.
Experiment with the social channels, see which ones your audience is clicking and work with them. That will fetch you real, targeted traffic. I suggest you use the Monarch Social Sharing plugin from Elegant Themes – it’s seriously easy to use and quite, well, elegant.
The team has done a wonderful job with the plugin and it comes loaded with amazing features. To find out more, please check out my review of the Monarch plugin.
Case Study #6 – Sparring Mind
Here’s a writer I always follow – Gregory Ciotti. He’s the man behind HelpScout and a wildly popular psychology blog that been featured in the likes of Inc.com and others.
Screenshot of Gregory’s homepage
This is his landing page. Notice how in a few lines he explains his stature and goes on to pitching for the reader’s email address. It’s clean, simple, to the point and not at all spammy, Plus it offers that bonus that you might learn something.
My apologies if I’ve bored you – some of your might be aware of all the techniques we’ve talked about. But a reminder is always nice right? If you have any examples or experience to add to these tips, or if you have some tips of your own, we’d love to hear them!