There’s one marketing factor that trumps nearly all others…
When you combine it with other solid marketing practices, it can give you an almost unfair advantage. It’s the factor that allows some people and companies to make 2, 10, even 100 times more than others in their field.
This mystery factor can also:
- create fiercely loyal clients and customers
- make generating repeat sales and referrals almost effortless
- add a huge boost of believability to your claims
- attracts the right kind of buyers
- melt away price objections
- have customers begging to work with you
Does it seem too good to be true? It’s not.
The x-factor I’m speaking of is possible for nearly anyone, but few take the time and effort to actually develop it and use it.
What is this almost magical sounding marketing factor?
I’m referring to Authority.
What can authority mean to your marketing efforts and to your overall business success? A lot. Think about it, who gives better advice, Dr. Oz or a local nutritionist? Maybe Dr. Oz, maybe your local nutritionist, heck, they may even tell you the exact same thing. Who makes more money? Dr. Oz…by a long shot. In fact, take your local nutritionist’s income and add a few zeros to the end of it. Then it might be in Dr. Oz’s ballpark. When you, or your company, reach authority status, a world of opportunities opens up for you.
Why does Dr. Oz command so much more cash, even though his advice might be the same as the local health expert? Dr. Oz has authority as a national celebrity.
So how do you build authority? Do you have to partner with Oprah or have your own TV show? Not necessarily (although it helps).
The good news is no, you don’t need to do either. Here are three of my favorite ways you can build authority quickly and effectively:
Produce Content Displaying Your Expertise
In part, Dr. Oz has Oprah to thank for his success, since he spent 5 years as Oprah’s health expert before launching his own show. But without the knowledge he acquired, he wouldn’t have had anything to share.
You are an expert at what you do. No matter the level of knowledge, you have something to share, so start sharing. There are several formats available to get you started on the road to authority.
- Speak: Very few things elevate you to expert or authority status like speaking. In general, most people hate to speak in front of groups. If you can do it, and do it well, you are almost immediately considered a pro. As long as you deliver real value when you’re on stage. Over the last 5 years I’ve made a push to speak at as many quality eCommerce events as I can. I now regularly speak on stage around the country around 8-10 times per year. Not a crazy amount, but still a lot. As we look at partnerships we’ve developed and many of our best clients, many can be traced back to speaking engagements. So what are some options for building your authority status through speaking? There are several. Start with industry specific events, then branch out from there if it makes sense. The good news is that you don’t have to on-stage and in-person if that doesn’t interest you.
- Webinars: While webinars aren’t a new concept, webinars for the right market can have a profound impact on building connection with your audience and on positioning you and your brand as an authority. The great part is that you don’t have to physically be in front of a group. Use webinars to educate, sell, and, in the process, turn yourself into a “celebrity.” Even ecommerce businesses can use webinars. The skincare company can host an “evening with a makeup artist” where a celebrity makeup artist does “live” makeovers on a webinar. Even if not very many attend the webinar live, it can be recorded and repurposed on YouTube, Facebook and on your blog.
- Video: Video marketing brings a lot of the same benefits of public speaking with the added bonus of being able to reshoot again and again if needed. Use videos regularly to show that you are an authority. YouTube and Facebook Live make it easier than ever to record content on video and share socially and on your site. You can create an ongoing show (harder) or just create a series of videos that would be helpful for your prospects (easier). Consider the following types of videos:
- Answers to FAQs – take your top 10-20 FAQs and record a video of you providing concise but helpful answers. Post these on YouTube and on your product pages or a dedicated FAQ page.
- “Before you buy” video series – record a video of the questions, considerations, etc. that someone should think about before they buy your product. This helps people know what to look for so they aren’t taken advantage of when making a purchase decision and it shows you and your product in a favorable light.
- What no one tells you about – record a “dirty secrets” video that shows people the dark side of your industry and how you’ve overcome the dark side.
- Behind the scenes – everyone wants an inside look into the factory or the process. Make people feel special and “in-the-know”. But you can overdo it here. They want to see behind the scenes, but typically not all of the gory details.
- Unboxing videos – people are fascinated by unboxing videos. New iPhone unboxing videos routinely score 10 million plus views on YouTube. Your products likely won’t have the mass appeal or anticipation of a new iPhone, but the desire for unboxing videos applies to all types of products.
- Write: Writing can also create a big authority boost for you even in the eyes of people who never read your work. Just having a book published, or having articles and blog posts published is a feat in and of itself. It’s often enough to mention that you’ve written a book or been published in print or online. Even if you don’t enjoy writing you should develop the habit of writing regularly. When you do, it becomes easy to repurpose what you write. A series of blog posts can be packaged and turned into a book. The same goes for articles. Articles can be turned into reports, books, and even scripts for videos. Start by making a list of articles or blog posts you can write. Maybe the idea of creating videos or speeches is more appealing than writing. If so, take your videos and speeches and have them transcribed and turned into blog content.
- Podcast: Take your most popular webinars and blog posts and make them a podcast. Have expert guests on that you can interview. A few years ago we started the eCommerce Evolution Podcast. We talk about what’s new and what’s next in eCommerce. I regularly interview eCommerce experts and online merchants who have something interesting and helpful to share with our industry. It’s a great way for me to learn from my guests while we create valuable content and build both my company and our guest as authorities. It’s easier now than ever to start a podcast. Here’s a great guide on who to start a successful podcast from podcast master Pat Flynn.
Associate with an authority figure or celebrity
What’s the quickest way to become famous? Hang out with other famous people. Dr. Oz, who we mentioned before is a perfect example of this. He spent time with Oprah for years and that launched him into fame of his own right.
For an old-school example think about the hit show Cheers (even though it was mostly before my time, it’s a great show). One of the more popular characters on that show – Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammar)- was so loved by viewers that executives created a spin-off show that was wildly successful in its own right.
Who are current celebrities in your industry? How can you align yourself with them in a way that provides mutual value and allows you to benefit and share in their exposure.
Where do your customers congregate online and offline? Make a big presence there. Are your customers on Facebook? Linkedin? Online forums? All of the above? Wherever your customers are, you need to be there too, in highly visible fashion. The same is true offline. Attend the events, functions, and activities that your prospective clients attend, and be noticeable.
Commit and Get Started
While authority isn’t built overnight, it can be built fairly quickly. If you establish yourself as someone who delivers value, you can build authority in fairly short order. Unique, helpful content that is readily visible will help establish you as a thought leader. The rewards of authority are massive and sometimes hard to measure. They make all of your other marketing efforts insanely easier. If you commit to becoming an authority I’m confident you’ll be able to look back one day and trace most or all of your biggest “wins” to your authority-building efforts.