When you set yourself up as the go-to expert in your industry, you shield your business from market changes and economic uncertainty.
Any time talk of inflation or recession is in the news, it creates uncertainty. The tendency for business owners is to shrink back, but the most successful leaders will take this opportunity to grab market share.
One way to do so is through an authority marketing strategy, which can amplify your current touchpoints to make you stand out as the obvious choice in your industry. After all, as a business professional who works within a specialty that is sharply differentiated from others, you are, by nature, an authority in your chosen field.And if you aren’t systematically and methodically establishing yourself as such, at least in your target market, you are ignoring the true power of the marketplace.
What does it mean to have authority?
A business leader with authority is someone who has a deep well of knowledge in a particular area, giving them the ability to leverage their experience to gain an elevated expert status within the specialized confines of their industry. You can gain this authority by becoming an educator and advocating for the success of those who rely on you, which ensures that your audience continues to look to you for information.
Think about this: If you were looking for an accountant to help your business reduce its tax burden, how would you make your decision? You meet one at your local leads group who seems friendly and makes a good first impression. You then notice a second accountant who was recently featured at your local chamber of commerce business luncheon. You come to learn that he wrote a book on how to maximize tax deductions for small businesses and hosts a weekly podcast about changes in the tax law.
So who do you choose? Both accountants may do a fabulous job, but you’d probably go with the second. That’s because we tend to make decisions based on visibility. In this scenario, the accountant who has established himself as an authority has vastly improved his “perceived value” in the marketplace.
To create this visibility, you must continuously provide your target audience with content that shows you understand and empathize with their needs, and there are a variety of ways you can do this, such as appearing on podcasts that your target audience listens to or even starting your own podcast so you can interview influencers in your industry. People often turn to podcasts for helpful information, so when someone searches for help in your area of expertise and finds you, they’ll know they can trust you as an authority. Other options include hosting webinars or other informative sessions on social media or attending conferences or community-sponsored events.
The value of authority positioning
In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram, an American social psychologist, conducted an experiment to test the correlation between obedience and authority. This experiment involved three individuals: an experimenter (the person giving orders), a teacher (a volunteer), and a learner (a partner of Milgram’s). The experimenter told the teacher that for every question the learner answered incorrectly, they would need to administer an electric shock. (Of course, there were no real electrical impulses as part of the experiment.) The experiment was meant to see how long people would obey an order if it meant they were hurting someone else. If there was any pushback to stop the experiment, the experimenter discouraged it.
Though Milgram’s experiment is now decades old, it still speaks to the power of authority in the business world today. After all, people still trust those with more knowledge or confidence in certain areas, which means they want to work with experts like you. Just look at what happens in times of uncertainty. Authoritative entrepreneurs who maintain a consistent viewpoint and allow change to integrated into their business become even more attractive to consumers. They look for the company that is not only stable but also confident in that stability, and then they put their trust in them.
When you teach, train and educate your audience, it is much easier to be seen as a trustworthy resource. Now you just need to help them understand why you are the obvious choice.
Becoming the authority
Once you understand our human nature to make decisions based on triggers and trust someone deemed as an authority even in the face of a tense situation, you can begin to establish yourself as such an authority. You should strive to offer your audience the best solution and be the most trustworthy resource in their sphere of influence.
Think about all of the touchpoints that your prospects go through to discover your brand or business. This may include landing pages for events you have coming up, specific web pages on your website, emails that you send out, social media posts, or follow-up emails to confirm an upcoming appointment.
If you were to use each one of those touchpoints with authority-positioning assets, such as links to where you were interviewed on a podcast or images where you were featured on ABC, NBC, or Fox News affiliates, you could fast-track your expertise and give powerful content to your prospects to consume and listen to. Give them value up front, and they will view you as a trusted advisor rather than a salesperson.
Consider which of the authority marketing tools mentioned here would best fit your business, and implement it into your strategy.