Dan S. Kennedy, the Godfather of Direct Marketing, once said, "The simple truth is, if you aren't deliberately, systematically, methodically -- or rapidly and dramatically -- establishing yourself as a celebrity, at least to your clientele and target market, you're asleep at the wheel, ignoring what is fueling the entire economy around you, neglecting development of a measurably valuable asset."
This is the basis of what is now known as authority marketing.
In essence, authority marketing helps entrepreneurs leverage their knowledge to gain authority status in their industry. This authority status then allows them to dramatically amplify their message and convert their new audience into higher paying customers.
In other words, it's the process for positioning yourself as an authority, or even a celebrity, in your marketplace.
Jack Mize, the co-host of Authority Alchemy, a weekly podcast on authority marketing explains, "You begin to position yourself as an authority by consistently providing useful information to your audience -- information which solves problems, offers solutions and addresses needs. Your audience finds you, in great part, simply as a result of you position yourself as an educator and advocate for their success."
Strategies which are used to improve your expert positioning include highlighting your media appearances and your published books. They also include anything which can provide instant proof to a prospect that you are more qualified than your competitors.
Why is Authority Marketing Important?
We've all heard the saying before:
"All other things being equal, people buy from people they know, like and trust."
In general, that maxim may be true. However, if you're in competition with someone who is using authority marketing strategies, you'll find yourself at a huge disadvantage. In this specific case, all things are not equal.
Let me explain.
Let's say you are deciding between using the services of one of two accountants to help minimize taxes for your small business.
Accountant A has been around for several years and you know him from a local marketing group. He seems to know his stuff and is a really nice guy.
Accountant B wrote a best-selling book on how to minimize taxes for a small business and, in addition, he is a regular contributor on the local news about changes in the tax law.
This now becomes a pretty clear choice for most people.
Is Accountant B necessarily smarter than Accountant A? Will he do a better job because of having written a book and doing the TV appearances?
Not at all.
But Accountant B will be able to command higher fees because of how he has positioned himself as an authority. He is now the "Go To" expert.
Charging higher fees is just one of the benefits of doing authority marketing.
Benefits of Authority Marketing
At the recent Traffic & Conversion Summit, noted marketer Frank Kern stated, "Positioning, most importantly positioning yourself as an authority, is the single most important thing you can do increase your perceived value to the market place."
Increasing your perceived value leads to many benefits which impact every part of the sales cycle.
For instance, once you develop authority, you no longer have to chase sales leads and prospects. In fact, you'll find that they will find you and your offers. In our example, Accountant B will find that he no longer has to go to networking events to prospect for leads. People find him because of his positioning and once they do, they will stop looking.
And that's actually the key.
You probably have many people that look at your offers right now but DON'T choose you. By converting to an authority position, those people will choose you.
As noted, entrepreneurs that are seen as authorities have a higher value position, and are therefore expected to have higher rates. People will happily pay more for services from someone who they perceive to be the top expert in a field.
Another benefit is "trust." You trust opinions and advice are trusted by clients. No longer will you devise a plan that will help one of your clients, only to have them question every step, and in the end, only do certain parts. With your new positioning, your advice is valued and followed.
You also can replace push marketing techniques with lower cost and more effective pull marketing strategies. Books, podcasts, radio appearances and blog posts become sources for information in your industry.
You will gain influence in your marketplace and opportunities for speaking and partnerships with other authorities will readily present themselves to you. These, in turn, increase authority further and open other doors.
Authority marketing is one of the most powerful ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you are not actively working on creating a sense of "celebrity" for your business, you are missing a key ingredient to success in the 21st century.