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6 Ways to Convey Quality

It's not enough to say you have a quality product. Gain your customers' trust by upholding high standards.
September 7, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/183780

Let's say that what differentiates your product or service from your competitor's is quality. It may seem like advertising "quality" would be a breeze, right? Unfortunately, it's not. Customers hear the word "quality" all the time--often from companies selling low-quality products.

In this sense, quality is like trust. If a salesperson resorts to "You can trust me," it's often an indicator to beware. Likewise, if a company is too direct in how it advertises "quality," customers may ignore the claim or be suspicious of it. How can you prove your product or service is the real deal? Here are some often-overlooked ways to convey quality.

Choose your words carefully. Describing something as "high quality" actually limits your message. Instead, choose terms like "premium" or "unparalleled." The more expensive your product relative to competing products, the more sophisticated the terms you should choose. Also, think carefully before you include "quality" in your name or tagline. Upscale products benefit from a more subtle approach. It's preferable to imply quality when naming your company.

Show and tell. Back up your claims of quality by detailing product features that prove those claims. Whenever possible, show these features. If your products are more expensive than competing products, what allows you to charge a higher price? It could be anything from the strength of your raw materials to the extent of your quality control process. People are wary of unsubstantiated claims, so be specific.

Never skimp on photography. Most people can innately tell the difference between a snapshot and a professional shot. They can also differentiate between a high-resolution and a low-resolution file. Jagged, low-resolution photos suggest a tiny budget. A tiny budget implies low quality. Even if you can't afford a professional photographer, you can choose from a variety of inexpensive, royalty-free shots online. Furthermore, always follow your printer's file instructions to ensure your printed piece showcases crisp, full-detail photos.

Commit to your niche. If you're the "quality" choice, you can't also be the "inexpensive" choice. It's one or the other in the mind of the consumer, because the two concepts are viewed as opposite ends on the marketing spectrum. Advertise "value" or "affordability," but avoid "low cost," "inexpensive," "cheap" and other words that connote low quality.

Hone your message and "look." A quality company is confident and consistent in all of its marketing. It never shows panic by scattering divergent messages throughout. The best way to avoid this schizophrenia is to write--and stick with--a strategic marketing plan and advertising campaign. This follows for every company, but is absolutely vital for those in the "quality" sector.

Little things mean a lot. Quality is in the details--all of them. Dress up your work wardrobe. Add a favicon to your website. Print your business cards on premium paper stock. Look the part in all that you say and do. If potential customers detect inconsistency, they'll assume your claim to quality is empty, no matter what you say. You may need to spend more to make more.

Above all, know your audience. Customers need to justify the extra dollars they spend on a high-end product to feel comfortable with their buying decision. Make this easy for them and you'll gain their business--and reap the benefits of their brand loyalty for years to come.