If you own a business, you already know about the Better Business Bureau and the importance of its ratings. However that isn’t all the BBB has to offer. Becoming accredited with the BBB can be a vital part of your marketing plan.
“Now more than ever, consumers are doing research prior to purchase,” said Paula Fleming, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, BBB, New England states. “As a member of the BBB, the business is receiving the benefits of BBB marketing and standing out from the competition.”
Fleming said that the BBB has been compiling and disseminating information for more than 100 years. Unfortunately, for some of those years, the BBB was only known as the go-to place to lodge complaints. Today, the BBB remains operational and focused on serving our business community in the US, Canada and Mexico with up-to-date business profiles and other benefits.
“Business owners might not be fully aware of what the BBB is, and what we have to offer,” Fleming said. “The BBB remains dedicated to serving our business community. ”
BBB Marketing and Other Services
Below is a list of some lesser-known services of the BBB and how they might be able to create better business growth. BBB remains operational and focused on serving our business community in the US, Canada and Mexico making certification a symbol consumers can link with marketplace trust.
1. Accreditation Decal and Certificate
The BBB logo is a long-established sign of good business. Proudly promote your honest, reliable business practices by displaying your BBB decal and certificate. Better Business Bureau stickers, displayed on a business door or window, show that you are focused on serving customers. The BBB remains operational and focused on serving the business community with these symbols of business excellence. Don’t forget to apply a Better Business Bureau sticker to your front door.
2. BBB Dynamic Seal
If you’ve got an online business or website, you need the BBB dynamic seal. It assures your customers that your site meets strict BBB standards and that yours is a site they can trust. It works both ways. Your business can connect with other BBB members who are part of your business community. It’s easy to spot each other if you both display the Better Business Bureau seal.
3. Personalized Business Reviews
You can now customize your BBB Business Review to reflect the description of your business and your products and services, refund policies, your hours of operation, and your service area. Adding multiple photos and videos can create a unique and long lasting first impression in business profiles.
Business profiles give consumers the ability to browse when they are researching products or services. That means business profiles are an important marketing tool. The business profiles are an opportunity for consumers and members of the business community to learn information about your business.
Photos, videos and links in business profiles are critical for marketing on the internet. This is your chance to not only personalize your Business Review but to make Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work for you. In the marketplace, trust is important. The BBB remains operational and focused on serving our small business community in the US, Canada and Mexico by making its membership the standard for marketplace trust.
4. QR Codes
Once a business has claimed and set up its Business Review, the business can click on the Basic Business Information and scroll down to download its QR Code. Each business will receive its own customized QR code to place on its door, and on all advertising and all of your marketing materials. When consumers scan it, they will go directly to your Business Review. As a member of the BBB, you can download QR codes for those in the business community that you contact, for information, supplies or service.
5. Start With Trust
Start With Trust is the BBB’s official accredited business publication. Published quarterly in print and monthly via email, Start With Trust remains operational and focused on providing businesses and business employees with up-to-the-minute news. It has feature stories, updated lists of accredited businesses and more, all in a lively, easy to read format. It’s a way to keep connected with the business community you share.
6. Accredited Business Lists
Callers ask the BBB for the names of honest companies every day. While the BBB can’t recommend a company, the BBB can provide lists of members in your business category. The Accredited Business List is a form of BBB marketing, because that’s how customers will find your business.
7. Accredited Business Guide
Published annually, the Accredited Business Guide is a current listing in two different formats of all the accredited businesses of your BBB (in your regional BBB area). It’s distributed free of charge to all accredited businesses plus public agencies, libraries, professional offices, and many more places.
The Accredited Business Guide is a marketing tool that’s like a one-stop shopping experience for consumers. These guides are picked up and kept as a resource full of information. The Better Business Bureau prints these and generously distributes them. It’s a form of marketing that lasts all year.
8. BBB Logo Advertising
The BBB allows accredited businesses to display the BBB logo in advertisements, such as display ads, business cards and letterhead. This is another marketing tool which helps create marketplace trust.
Customers can also access the BBB website to request job estimates for products and services. The BBB sends the request to all members who could fulfill it. Request-a-Quote referrals are a marketing tool with an opportunity to gain a new customer. That new customer can go to the Better Business Bureau website and check business profiles to find the best fit.
10. Collection Assistance
The BBB is not a collection agency. However, the BBB does have a trained mediator available to assist businesses with difficult accounts. The Better Business Bureau views collection assistance as an important part of serving the business community.
11. Telephone Hotline
The BBB has a special, Accredited Business-only line that ensures you quick priority service.
12. BBB Principles of Trust
Customers will know that you subscribe to the highest standards of business ethics: equal treatment, truth in advertising, honesty, integrity, courtesy and customer service.
The BBB investigates and takes action against schemes that unfairly compete with legitimate, tax-paying businesses. Member businesses can provide information to the BBB about this type of activity.
14. Accredited Business Reports
Prospective customers can check BBB reports on companies. They often do that. Statistics show that BBB Accredited Business Reports are checked more than 800,000 times a year by consumers seeking information. Stats also show that about 70% of customers prefer to do business with a BBB Accredited Business. That’s proof of marketplace trust with information that comes from the Better Business Bureau.
15. Fax Alerts and E Alerts
Accredited Businesses get regular faxes on current scams, solicitations and other important information from the BBB. This type of information can be very timely and the BBB is a reliable source.
16. Tax Deduction
The U.S. government recognizes support of your BBB as a reasonable and necessary business expense and therefore, allows Accredited Business dues as a tax deduction. This is another way BBB remains operational and focused on serving our business community in the US, Canada and Mexico.
17. Consumer and Business Pamphlets
Valuable buying information for all consumers is provided on nearly 100 topics. These brochures, filled with information, are available for distribution either as counter-top handouts or direct mail pieces.
18. Mediation Services
Mediation Services are offered when a dispute between two parties cannot be resolved. Informal proceedings are held before the mediator and both parties work to reach an agreement. The program can save accredited businesses court costs, time and money in settling complaints. This service is available to all employees of the accredited business. It is another way BBB remains operational and focused on serving our business community.
19. Arbitration Services
Arbitration services are offered when phone and other channels of communications fail to bring resolution to the problem. Arbitration is a formal process where the parties involved sign binding agreements and place disputed funds in an escrow account. Both parties have the opportunity to state their case before a trained, professional arbitrator who will make a final, binding decision after hearing both sides.
20. Advertising Guidelines and Advertising Review
The guidelines are filled with information that will help members avoid violating federal, state, and local laws. The BBB encourages accuracy and truth in advertising.
Local advertisements are reviewed by the BBB for truth and accuracy to help your company stay on an even playing field with competitors. The BBB will investigate and report instances or false or misleading information in advertising.
21. Business Self-regulation
Voluntary business self-regulation is a fundamental purpose of the BBB. It is more efficient and costs less for business to regulate itself than for government to do the job.
22. BBB Standards
BBB Accreditation is by invitation. Many firms are not eligible to join because they do not meet BBB Standards for business performance. The BBB builds the public’s confidence in business by demonstrating that legitimate business firms do care about good public relations.
“A business that has BBB accreditation is one that responds to reviews or complaints,” Fleming said. “If a business gets negative information about its operations, it responds to that information.”
23. Community Service Programs
- Seminars -These include ID theft, counterfeiting and other timely educational topics.
- Smarter Living – The presentation program includes information for students, seniors and investors.
- Unlicensed Contractor Program– The program provides the public, district attorney’s office and Contractors State Licensing Board with information on unlicensed contractors. These names are also sent to the media.
- Shred-it Events – These events provide free opportunities for the public to professionally shred large quantities of unwanted documents.
- Smarter Living – These are life skills programs conducted for high school students and senior citizens.
- Smart Investing – These are educational programs on what to watch out for when investing.
These programs are another example of how BBB remains operational serving our business community.
What Does BBB Accreditation Mean?
BBB business accreditation means your company has met the BBB’s requirements and specifically been granted accreditation status. This involves completing an application form, supplying the required information, undergoing a check on your business, and meeting the BBB’s standards. Accredited businesses must also pay a fee and renew annually.
After that, a BBB accredited business gets special marketing privileges and other advantages.
Check out How and Why to Get BBB Accredited for more info.
Is a BBB Accreditation Worth It?
The BBB shield is a symbol of trust and reliability, and gives consumers peace of mind. Statistics show that customers do a lot of research before purchasing goods or services. According to statistics, at least 70% of the time, seeing the BBB seal of accreditation helps those customers choose a business.
For more on whether BBB accreditation is worth it, read our post Better Business Bureau – Valuable or a Waste? There are also dozens of other ways the BBB is serving our business community.
Does the BBB Have Any Authority?
The BBB is not a government agency. Still, the BBB investigates and takes action against schemes that unfairly compete with legitimate, tax-paying businesses. The BBB can report its findings to the appropriate government agency or agencies. The BBB remains operational and focused on serving our business community in the US, Canada and Mexico by promoting legitimate businesses in this way.
This is a great list. One more thing I would add from my own experience – you can use the BBB rating in your adwords advertisements through an extension. If you have an A- or above rating, this adds a strong amount of credibility to your ad and your company – increasing both clickthrough rates (which decreases your cost per click) and in many cases, conversion rates for your product.
That sounds really great! I was surprised to find out there were so many different features – I couldn’t get them all on one list! Thanks for the tip!
I didn’t know that, Jamie.
Thanks for a great tip.
It’s nice to know that BBB has more to offer than simple membership. With this, it means that you really get more out of it. I like the fact that it helps with Internet marketing and presence for that is something that businesses need today.
So true – they’ve really found a lot of unique ways to help members grow.