Use Authority Marketing to Grow Your Business and Attract Loyal Customers
Whether you provide a product or service, consultation or entertainment, your business exists to solve a problem or meet a need. And when consumers are trying to meet a need, they jump online and do a search, looking for the best and brightest person or business most likely to solve their problems.
That’s a lot of potential business floating around, so if you want to be the one to nab that customer, you need to become the most likely candidate for solving that problem and meeting that need. How? By building top-notch brand authority, both online and offline. Make yourself an authority, then build your brand around a specific knowledge base that will attract customers effortlessly.
Below we will outline the road map to building a marketing strategy based on authority, or consumers understanding that you are the expert in a certain niche or field. This isn’t a one-off scenario, but rather a long-term blueprint for casting yourself in the strongest, most trustworthy light possible.
Discover Your Personal Story
People love stories. Even in business transactions, they unconsciously gravitate toward stories they understand and resonate with. Whether your business is in the planning stages or has been up and running for years, it is crucial that you have a strong, fully realized narrative to explain both your history and your role in people’s lives.
Think through questions such as: why do you do what you do? What makes you good at it? How has your background shaped your current outlook and abilities? Why should prospective customers trust your story and experience over that of the competition?
Put the Word Out
Your expertise and general trustworthiness matters for naught if you can’t convey these qualities to the masses—or more specifically, to the people who will eventually become your trusty customers.
The vehicle for convincing them? Targeted, high-quality content.
Use blog posts, social media, and email marketing to share your expertise and draw in potential customers. Give helpful, actionable tips that are useful on their own but would be better with your services. Focus on social media, as it lets your followers put the word out for you.
Get Mad Exposure
At the beginning it can be hard to get exposure, but once you get a few opportunities it’s kind of like a waterfall: the water collects and pours over, giving you more chances to get noticed by the public.
Looking for great suggestions? Start with small PR opportunities; talk to reporters from a neighborhood newspaper or an online magazine. Once you’ve built up around 10 references, try to get a Wikipedia page…but don’t be disappointed if you fail on your initial attempts. Build your online authority through guest posting on other blogs and build your own Google+ profile. Continue to create high-quality content and disseminate it through these platforms.
Network Like a Boss
Think about it: if you were a boss, would you be satisfied with networking exclusively with entry-level employees? Of course not! Although those might also prove to be valuable connections, leaders seek out other leaders for the quality of their insights and the quality of the association.
Connect intentionally, finding thought leaders in your field (and related fields) and forging relationships with them. Trade expertise, exchange content platforms, and market each other. Get important people talking about you with real links as well as implied links.
Connect with Real Folks
Of course, the non-bosses of the world are the ones that dictate the true power of your brand’s authority, so treat them with respect. Use your online presence to connect with real people every day, and make them feel like the valuable bedrock of your business that they are.
After all, if you had a reputation as an insurance agent that never called clients back, you’d run out of customers pretty quick. So why would you choose not to respond to blog comments, social media mentions, or other public shout-outs? This audience could also be converted into potential clients and connections who can build your brand, so make them feel heard in order to use them to the fullest.
When trying to solve the problem of getting more business, all you really need to do is solve someone else’s problem effectively, consistently, and with your own uniquely branded panache. And in the Internet age, your brand relies heavily on how well your expertise transfers across digital platforms and into the real world where real people make and break reputations every day.
Remember that at the end of the online connection is a flesh-and-blood person waiting for a solution to their problem. Authority marketing helps ensure that you become that solution.