There was a time when all you had to do was have a quality product or service and some good marketing. You put together a marketing budget and plan, and then you executed. The companies with the deep pockets and compelling messages seemed to take the lion’s share of the market.
That was then. We now live in an expertise economy. This is a time when what you know matters just as much as the quality of your product or service. The advent of the Internet turned it into a buyer’s market. Consumers have the opportunity to learn as much as they can, or want, before they reach out to a vendor.
At the same time, they are more likely to hear your message if you have been sharing information freely. In this new economy, the companies that position themselves as the experts in their field are the ones the consumers trust the most. And we know that trust has a lot to do with buying decisions.
The other interesting thing about this new economy is how it has leveled the playing field for small business. Back when having a good product and a large marketing budget were the key indicators of a successful company, small business had a hard time competing. It was challenging to position a small company as a significant player unless the leadership was willing to, and could, invest a great deal of money in their marketing efforts. Many small businesses found this an impossible task and were limited in their growth.
Boy, how times have changed! So, what can you do to harness the power of expertise in your marketing efforts?
1. Share freely.
These days, sharing information is one of the best marketing tactics you can use. Helping people understand something in your industry shows them that you know what you’re talking about. It also helps them get to know you, how you think and what you believe. Consumers have the opportunity to get to know you and decide whether they like you and trust you.
And you don’t have to only share your information. When you read something or watch a video that is germane to your industry, share it! Passing on valuable information is the key. Be a giver.
Write articles, blog, create videos. Whatever methods work for you, employ them. Your goal is to gain exposure and position your company as the expert in your field.
2. Don’t worry.
Whenever I suggest this to attendees at one of my workshops, someone always asks about the danger of giving away information. Well, I’m here to tell you that there really is no danger. You can’t possibly give away so much information that everyone will determine they don’t need you.
There will always be those people who won’t hire you–those people who really can learn enough from you to do it themselves. Here’s the interesting thing about that– they weren’t ever going to hire you anyway! They don’t need you. You want to be relevant and exposed to the people who do need you.
In addition, there is no risk in sharing other people’s information. It actually shows your audience that you are secure in your knowledge and ability, and in the quality of your product or service. Consumers love confidence. They abhor arrogance, however, so be careful!
If you insist on worrying, worry that your competition has more exposure than you do! That’s really the only risk you are taking when you don’t share information on a regular basis.
3. Build a community.
Find experts in other fields that are complementary to yours. Invite those experts to share their information with your audience. Build a foundation of experts so your audience sees you as a go-to company whenever they need information – even outside of your area of expertise.
Szarka Financial in North Olmsted, Ohio, is a great example of this practice. Not only have they developed programs that they offer around their industry, but they have gathered a stable of experts in various areas that touch theirs. They have established their firm as a go-to source for people who are looking for information in and around the area of personal and business finances. They understand that they aren’t going to do business with everyone.
However, sharing information with everyone helps consumers decide if Szarka is right for them and provides Szarka with a great referral pool. Actually, two referral pools: (1) the partner organizations they promote, and (2) the people who take advantage of the information Szarka and their partners share.
You can see how sharing information keeps you in the race, provides you with great exposure, and elevates your company in the minds of your audience. Show the world what you know and they’ll figure out why you are the best solution to their problem. You’ll create trust and added value – two things that are critical in today’s expertise economy.