For centuries, coronations have taken place in societies around the world. During these ceremonies, a supreme ruler is crowned and granted power to make decisions for the state or country they lead. In most cultures these days, this tradition has transitioned into a celebrity status, like that of Prince William and Kate Middleton. There is no equivalent to this type of public declaration in the business world. No one is going to announce to the world that a financial planner has the most experience in New York City, that one divorce lawyer wins more cases than another, or that a doctor has a better technique for heart surgery than his peers.
Becoming the Authority in your industry, community, or marketplace takes a deliberate and systematic approach. No one is going to place the crown on your head and notify your target market that you are the best at what you do. You have to do that yourself. However, by choosing to position yourself as the undisputed expert, influential authority, and in-demand celebrity who everyone wants to work with, you can take your business to new heights, making marketing, selling, and building trust with customers significantly easier and quicker than ever before.
The process of building an Authority Marketing plan is different for everyone, but everyone who finds success in it aims to hit a minimum of seven main focus areas, which we call the Seven Pillars of Authority Marketing.
Branding & Omnipresence
Building a brand isn’t just about your company’s brand, but your personal brand. Before you can create visual images, logos, and online copy to showcase who you are, you must distill your personal brand into what makes you unique. To some, apersonal mission separates them from the masses, while to others, their journey or story may be the most memorable aspect of their brand. Many experts focus on their teachings or science–the insight and knowledge that only they have in the industry. And for others, their tribe or community might highlight their personal brand best. Well-known leaders are very clear about who they are and what image they convey to their audience. They work hard to reinforce their best qualities in every communication about themselves, whether it is a radio interview, a quote in an article, or their online profiles.
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A commitment to creating a significant amount of high-quality content, written specifically for your target audience is the best way to craft a strong omnipresence. Authoring a book is by far the most significant way to build authority with content, however, whitepapers, special reports, articles, blog posts, webinars, teleseminars, and podcasts should also be utilized. The focus should be on creating rich content for social media and constantly sharing valuable information with your target audience. As you create content to educate your prospects and customers, you build up your trust and credibility and nurture a legion of fans who are excited to consume what you create. Make sure your content is always relevant and posted regularly, so you stay top of mind when a prospect is ready to buy.
PR & Media
Getting your name and your company’s name mentioned in media is important because most people don’t believe what you say about yourself, but they will believe what others say about you. More importantly, they’ll believe what major media has to say about you. The authority that comes when you’re featured or interviewed on radio, magazines, or newspapers is noteworthy. When you receive mentions throughout multiple media platforms, it helps you build your online presence or “digital footprint.” Whether you appear on a major news station or a local radio station, the audience assumes you are the authority because if you weren’t why else would these outlets invite you as a guest? Marketing is about perception and, hopefully, that perception is built on reality. But people buy the perception, not the reality, and as you build your authority, you want the perception to be that you are the number-one-go-to person in your field.
The best way to enforce your authority position and generate high-quality leads almost instantaneously is speaking. If you are not comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people, then you need to find someone in your company to represent you and your brand in that way. Similar to the way an audience responds to seeing you being interviewed on the news, people automatically assume you’re an expert because if you weren’t the company or organization putting on the seminar wouldn’t have invited you to speak. In addition, if what you say is competent, polished, and professional, you will connect with a subset of the audience that will fall in love with you at first sight. They’ll want to speak with you afterward and do business with you.
Marketing mastermind Dan Kennedy often talks about the difference between selling and prescribing. As an authority, you can tell people what they need, and they’ll do it, but if you come at them looking and acting like a salesperson, they’ll ditch you faster than a toupee in a windstorm. The easiest way to generate high-quality leads is to have something that the prospects want, including information that they find valuable. Whether you do this in the form of a book or through consistent blogging, podcasts, webinars, or other forms of direct-to-consumer marketing, the goal is to get in front of as many prospective clients as possible.
If your best customers went to a cocktail party, would they brag about you to their friends? There are two types of referral marketing: client referrals and referrals from influencers. No matter the type, referral marketing is about marketing relationships. Client referrals are the most common and are generated from an outcome of great service. Often times, business leaders miss opportunities to get referrals from influencers. To succeed in gaining these valuable referrals, create a target list of people who are in front of a group of your prospects everyday. For example, for a wealth management advisor, this influence could be a lawyer or CPA. Then, make it easy for them to refer you with tools like a brochure, book, or whitepaper about what you have to offer. Educate your influencers on when to refer you, citing key issues or concerns they might hear that your products or services address. Authority marketers know how many referrals they receive each year and set goals to grow this number every year by investing in those relationships and thanking the referrer.
The most successful businesses have tribes of customers. They create these tribes because they build relationships by engaging their clients to the highest level possible. This strategy is important because engagement signifies loyalty, and loyalty signifies consumption of your product or service. Holding annual events is one of the best ways to upsell, build additional loyalty, and expose more people to your tribe.
Just as pillars have supported some of the oldest, most well-known structures in history, our Seven Pillars of Authority Marketing support you and your brand. Every aspect feeds into the next, and all of it comes together to create a mass of positive marketing that, when implemented well and deliberately over time, leads to ongoing and growing generation of authority and ultimately, an influx of business that allows you to do business on your own terms and only with those who you want to work with. Put the crown on your head, use the pillars, and rule your industry.