When your business has it, it says that your customers can believe what you say and trust you to deliver on your promises. In the increasingly competitive business of web design and digital marketing, it can mean the difference between failure and success for your company. Your credibility will not only help you win over new customers, but help assuage existing customers when they have doubts. It’s the difference between losing your clients when a new, lower-priced option appears and keeping their loyalty and confidence that you’re offering them the best value. Credibility is the most important asset you have.
So how do you build credibility – and how do you maintain it?
Obvious answers for developing your credibility are to have a professional-looking site (no problem!) and to publish good reviews or testimonials from your existing customers. But that will only get you so far – what else can you do to establish yourself as the obvious first choice to potential clients?
The best way is to establish yourself as the solution to their pains – let them know that they can trust you to provide everything they need, soup to nuts. This means everything from planning and design to hosting and network optimization.
As a marketing or web agency, there’s nothing in your standard description that says you will provide hosting. Without it, however, you have not fully addressed your clients’ pains. After all, you’ve designed their site or architected a campaign – but now they still need someone else to put it out there for the world to see. By offering a full, start-to-finish service to solve their problems, you automatically make yourself more credible and a more attractive choice.
Three Promises That Will Boost Your Agency’s Credibility
Establishing and maintaining credibility is never easy, but if you can keep these three promises to your clients, you are guaranteed to stand out in your industry.
Promise One: Give Your Word – and Keep It
Honesty is probably one of the most important factors in establishing credibility. Reading this now you’re likely thinking, “Well, that’s a little basic. Of course I’m honest with my customers – just like any business person worth his or her salt.” That’s probably true. You didn’t get this far with fibs and obfuscation. However, there’s being honest, and then there’s being honest.
Imagine you’re in front of a client, going over the details of the services they need for their website, ready to close the deal – it’s all lined up, the designs, the content, the code. Then they throw in one last deal-breaker requirement they expected from you about, say, the hosting support. Do you:
- Apologize and say that’s not part of your service OR
- Do a quick calculation to crunch the numbers on what it will take to provide the added service, then assure them that you will take care of that for them?
Unless the request was really way out in left field, more than likely, most of us would opt for the second choice. All well and good, the deal gets signed, the client leaves happy. However, now you’re left trying to work out how you’ll make good on your promise, which you need to do if you want to maintain that all-important credibility. What if you had already established a partnership with a team that could make good on those promises? In effect, that partnership would give your agency new capabilities without increasing your already heavy workload. Always-there support? Check. Uptime guarantees? No problem. Migration assistance? You got it.
When your agency partners with a reliable managed hosting provider, you can make all those promises to your clients to help close the deal – and not worry about scrambling for services or letting the client down in the long run because you couldn’t deliver. Once the project is over and your clients see that they will, in fact, get every single thing you promise, that will do wonders for your credibility and keep your customers coming back for more.
Promise Two: Be There for Your Clients
Again, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Of course, you’re there for your clients – that’s what being in business means. However, especially if you’re a small business (or a one-man band!), there are only so many places you can be at once. What do you do when several of your clients are demanding your attention all at once?
Short of cloning yourself or coming up with some magic button that lets you be in more than one place at once, there is only so much you can do on your own, and your customers may sometimes have to understand that you’re not a 24-hour concierge, and they can’t call you up at 3 AM because they’re not sure that particular shade of charcoal you agreed on for their logo really works. But there are some situations where you may find yourself answering the phone at an ungodly hour and actually having to remedy a problem. A couple of numbers for you to consider:
- 88% of consumers say website downtime erodes their faith in a business
- 9 out of 10 US businesses experienced hacking attempts in 2015
- Downtime and data loss cost businesses $1.7 trillion between 2012 and 2014
- 40% of web users will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load
Those are some pretty serious numbers – both for you and for your clients. It’s understandable that, if your customers’ sites are down, unresponsive or loading too slowly, they are not going to wait around until you’ve made it into the office and put a pot of coffee on before they start to complain. Of course, if you’ve got a reliable managed hosting provider backing you up, you don’t need to clone yourself – you’ve already got a whole team working on the problem. With monitored and fully managed dedicated servers and 24/7 support, many issues with outages won’t even occur – and if they do, you (or your managed hosting partners, anyway) will be on the job and putting things right before your phone can even ring. That’s great service for your clients – and incredible for your reputation.
Promise Three: Don’t Settle for Less Than the Best
You strive to deliver top quality websites and marketing campaigns for your clients. You spend hours creating, designing, polishing, and perfecting to deliver a product that you’re proud of. After all, you want your clients to think that you’re giving them the best value for their money, right? So why would you settle for less than the best hosting to display your masterpiece to the world?
Think of yourself as an artist. If a patron commissioned a work of art and asked you to arrange for it to be displayed publicly, would you spend hours painting and then just throw it up on the side of a building somewhere with a single bent nail to hold it in place? Or would you scout the area for a prime location where the art would be viewed by many people, showcased in its best light, and protected from vandals and the elements? To translate that into hosting terms, the website you so carefully created for your client should:
- Have hosting with a 100% uptime guarantee to ensure plenty of viewing
- Be on robust infrastructure with redundancies and failovers to reduce risk of outages from heavy traffic
- Be secured against viruses and hackers who could damage or destroy it
- Live on a server that is constantly monitored for threats or vulnerabilities 24/7
Working with a reliable managed hosting provider to keep your websites up and running not only protects your work, but it also protects your clients’ investment in your services. No matter how beautiful a site you create, or how compelling a campaign you design, if it’s not online enough for people to see it, your client won’t feel you’ve successfully delivered what was promised. Choosing reliable managed hosting means your credibility won’t be damaged by factors that might otherwise be out of your control.
Keep Your Promises With Reliable Managed Hosting
At Liquid Web, we know how much credibility matters. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to build ours with our 100% Uptime Guarantee and our 24/7/365 Heroic Support. Let us help increase your capabilities and grow your credibility – to learn more about how we can help your agency, download your free copy of our eBook, Agencies Managing Multiple Websites: 5 Best Practices to Simplify Every Step From Development to On-Going Support, or get in touch with us today.