How To Become An Online Authority
Creating a niche market for their products or services is the principal driving force for all the profit-driven firms. As a business consultant working at a prominent consulting firm, one issue which is often stressed is the importance of credibility in business. Trust is the most important thing in business, yes even more than innovation and marketing. Trust works as the fundamental building block for a business, which if breached can lead to the collapse of a large organisation. This is applicable to every business organisation, even those who have major online presence. The measure of importance of trust in online business can be estimated by the fact that those firms which vanished during dot com crash were mostly those, who suffering from distrust. For example, pet.com was one of the companies which lost immensely during the dot com crash was functioning by impeaching the trust of its partners and its consumers.
From my personal experience, I have come to realize that no matter how much the dynamics the business change, one thing which is constant with change is the issue of credibility and trust. A firm not only garner the trust of its consumers and its partners to pave a successful path towards excellence. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Ford, General Motors and the list goes on, they all have something in common and that is there ability to make their clients and partners trust in them.
Nature of Niche Market & Issue of Credibility
Each firms aims to create a niche market itself so as to exercise their pricing and output decisions independently, without the market pressure, which is otherwise imposed due to competition from their rivals with their substitute products. When a firm is able to exercise its pricing and output decisions, largely due to creation of a niche market due to its product differentiation (either by marketing strategy or manufacturing policies or both), the issue of credibility becomes even more important as lack of credibility would lead to annulation of the niche market and hence, loss of business for the firms.
During my research as a business consultant, many a times I would come across evidences where a firm operating in a niche market would be under a lot of scrutiny by its competitors and government agencies. Such heavy surveillances enhance the importance of credibility of a firm as any small breach on this front can lead the competitors to jump on the firm as hungry dogs on a bone.
How to create a credible voice online?
One of the main features of the online business is the abundance and incessant information available today to the consumers. There is just too much information online and the skill is the ability to choose useful information from spam. A Google search would result in millions of entries, and half of them either lack credibility or relevance. This is one of the weaknesses of the open nature of the online business but also, it is one of the key areas, where the online business can gain a lot. Due to presence of so much unnecessary and irrelevant information online, it is important that a firm provided reliable, relevant and credible information, which could be one form of product differentiation. An online website, which I visit very often due to my proclivity towards the game of cricket, is cricinfo.com (a subsidiary of ESPN sports network). The importance of providing reliable and relevant information has lead to the website becoming one of the top sports website online.
One more strategy, which an online business could incorporate, is finding a balance between renting advertisement space on the website and providing information. A website, which rents out too much space on advertisement, can lead to the website losing credibility and hence lose in business. The main reason for this being that clear, concise information without too many advertisements bothering attracts continuous flow of online visitors and perspective clients. This leads to creation of a reputation of a no-nonsense website. The concept of online business is very similar to magazine and newspaper business. If a magazine and newspaper offers too much space on advertisement, it might earn revenues for a short while but it would lose readership as the space on advertisement would cause a compromise on the quantity of information being offered. Hence, for creating a strong presence online, a firm must focus on providing relevant and reliable information along with finding a balance among the advertisement space and information space.