The world is becoming a much more cynical place. Trust is much harder to win.
Add to that the exponentially increasing volume of marketing messages that everyone sees day in, day out and it’s no surprise that your marketing e-mails are getting opened less and less often.
Even getting people on to your list is proving harder to achieve. Traditional lead magnets such as ebooks are less effective and you are having to give away more and more stuff to gain a subscriber.
Is it all worth it?
Is there another way?
Demonstrating credibility and authority
Building trust requires a number of factors:
- You need to demonstrate your expertise
- You need other people to sing your praises
- You need to be there for you clients consistently
Only when all three factors are present will you be able to develop trust and build a rapport with your target clients. They need to see that you know your stuff. That other people recognise you for it, and that you will be there when they need you.
Getting the word out there
There are a number of ways you can demonstrate your expertise and start to build that trust, but they boil down to two approaches:
Speaking can take a number of forms. The most basic is networking. At most networking groups there are a number of opportunities to talk about what you do for your clients.
Firstly there is the general conversations over coffee, breakfast, lunch or drinks. But don’t be the meeting bore, telling everyone you can grab about how fantastic your business is. That’s sure to make you the most unpopular person ion the room. Instead ask people about their businesses and the problems they are facing. Offer some tips or help. Maybe recommend someone you know that could help with a specific problem. Become known as the person that helps others solve their problems without selling them anything.
There will be other opportunities to speak about your business at networking meetings. Most groups give everyone a 30 or 60 second slot to talk about their business. Don’t go for the hard sell. Focus on the benefits of working with you and offer something valuable if you can. You are looking to gain trust, not alienate people.
You may get invited to do a 10, 20 or 30 minute slot where you can go into much more detail. Again, make sure you are delivering valuable content to your audience, using stories and case studies too bring what you do to life, and then make a compelling offer to tempt the audience to become customers.
Speaking at events
Speaking at an event is a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and build trust. Providing it’s the right type of event the audience should be jam-packed with your ideal target clients. The fact that you are the one on stage gives you a natural authority – the event organisers have entrusted you with an element of their reputation and that rubs off in the mind of the audience.
If you are also exhibiting at the event, you have the opportunity to drive traffic towards your stand where you can then capture contact details for follow up conversations. The number and quality of leads always increases if you are speaking at an exhibition.
You may have, or could identify, joint venture partners. Other non-competing businesses that have a similar target audience where you can cross sell each other’s products or services. But even where there is limited opportunity to cross sell, you might be able to find speaking opportunities. I work with a number of professional firms such as accountants and solicitors where I get invited to speak at events they are holding for their clients. By including something on the agenda that’s relevant to the audience but not related to their own services they are delivering value to their clients and may actually get better attendance at the event.
Podcasts and interviews
There are many business podcasts and slots on local and internet based radio stations and to charnels. These can be a great way to demonstrate you expert authority to a highly targeted audience. It’s always a good idea to agree the format and general direction of the interview so you can prepare some examples that promote you in the best possible light.
Publishing a book
Publishing a book is now within the grasp of almost everyone. There are many courses and workshop programmes that you can use to coach you through the process. You can acquire an ISBN number, even for your lead magnet ebooks and become a self-publishing author. You can even get you books converted into Kindle format so there is no need to go to print.
Having a book published, especially if you can go the extra mile and get it on Amazon, adds a huge amount to your credibility. Don’t expect to become a multi-millionaire from it – even the best business books don’t make huge amounts – but it can be a game changer for your credibility.
For many, the thought of writing and publishing a book is just too daunting. But writing a blog is well within the capability of anyone passionate about what they do. The blog needs to deliver value to the reader and not be an overt sales pitch from start to finish. A clear call to action is an absolute must and it might be appropriate for that to be a sales offer, depending on the subject matter and how often you have made offers previously.
Getting the message out there
Whether you are speaking or writing, you need to get your stuff in front of an audience – your audience. That’s where knowing your target audience and where they hang out becomes important. You need to know as much about your target clients as possible so you can identify them and then use the media channels they use to let them know about your content.
For most business that means social media. You need to know which social media channels you clients use for both business and pleasure. Then you can target them with information about your speaking events, your book or your blogs. Repeatedly engaging with them over a period of time, showcasing a range of content, will start to build your credibility and authority and therefore start to build that all important trust.
Getting others to talk about you
What other people say about you carries a thousand times more weight than anything you say about yourself. So you need recommendations and testimonials and to get other people to re-broadcast your stuff on social media.
Your testimonials can’t be added to your website, to your product or service sales pages and broadcast via social media. All these channels will add to the social proof you need to build your credibility and expert authority. Once established, you won’t need to go looking for clients – they will come to you, because the trust you.
Get a head start – use LinkedIn properly
Whilst other social media channels can broadcast your stuff, including other people’s opinions of you, LinkedIn is the only platform that can do all that but with independent 3rd party recommendations built in as part of the core system.
The various elements within the personal profile provide a powerful basis for you to demonstrate the value you bring to your clients. Written in the right way, your profile can speak to the problems and pains your clients face that you can help remove, or to the hopes and desires you can help them achieve. All reinforced with personal recommendations direct from your clients.
For this reason, LinkedIn should be at the heart of your marketing and social media strategy. I use other social media channels to drive traffic to my LinkedIn profile to demonstrate my credibility and expert authority, and to my website to consume more of my material, gather contact details and make valuable offers.
If you’d like to understand how you can harness your LinkedIn profile to drive your business, then book one of my free profile review calls. Numbers are strictly limited so book today by clicking below.
Speak to you soon.