Every now and then you’ll hear someone in your industry described as an “industry expert” or a “thought leader.” These are the people others turn to when they want information or answers that they can rely on.
Industry insiders, however, aren’t the only ones who look for advice from these industry experts. Anybody who is about to make a major purchase of goods or services wants to make sure they’ve got as much good information under their belt as possible before making a purchase.
It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to buy software for your entire company, a new car or a new custom home: You want helpful, accurate information before you take the plunge.
So where do people turn for this kind of information? The vast majority of people start with an online search. They’re not looking to buy—at least not yet—but they are serious about finding expert information that will help them make the right choice.
The content of your online marketing efforts should be packed with the kind of information your prospects are looking for. Your web pages, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts should all focus on helping people answer the questions they have. And when you consistently offer helpful information, you become known as an industry expert. (If you’d like some help in how to do this, check out this post on Blogging to Become a Thought Leader.)
Being an industry expert doesn’t mean your content sounds like it came from some PhD. That’s not what people are looking for. And they’re not looking for a sales pitch, either. They’re after understandable, practical information that actually helps them make the right choices.
You don’t need to be flowery. You don’t have to try to sound brilliant. But you do need to know what you’re talking about and you have to present the information in the kind of language your prospects will understand. In short, you need to think like your prospects.
What happens when you do this? More of your prospects will engage with you. Chances are that if you provide helpful information once, your prospects will return for more. And if you keep providing what they need, you build trust. And let’s face it: when someone is about to spend a lot of money on something, they prefer to do it with someone they trust.
One way to connect with prospects—and give them a bit of in-depth information—is to offer white papers or special reports as free downloads on your website. These offers give your prospects more detailed information about things that concern them. And by asking for their email address (in order to download), your serious prospects identify themselves. Plus, it gives you a way to reconnect with people who have already told you that they are interested in what you do.
If you’d like to see samples of what this material could like, check out our resources page for examples of e-books, webinars, case studies, podcasts and blogs that we offer our prospective clients.
You are an industry expert! Use your expertise to turn your prospects into qualified leads!