August 15, 2011
Finding sales leads for your business is never easy, especially when you don’t have an active sales team doing all the work for you. Paid advertisements are great tools for awareness and direct response mechanisms (depending on your strategy) but they don’t always buy the best and most credible exposure.
Gaining leads and sales from potential clients can be achieved in a very cost effective manner, all while earning the confidence of your clients. One of the most beneficial ways to gain clients without spending money is to publicize your business, and yourself, as an industry expert.
Here are seven ways to demonstrate your expertise and increase sales:
1. Write a Book
With the advancement of on-demand publishing technology, becoming an author is easier than ever. You can virtually write, edit, publish and distribute your book without signing a Stephan King-like publishing contract. When you become an author, you are instantly viewed as an expert and at minimally, a go-to-guru for information on specific topics. By doing so, it becomes easier to market your brand given potential clients believe that you understand the industry and therefore have a valuable offering.
2. Share knowledge via Social Networks
If you are not on any social networks, you are behind the times and should be extremely worried about your business strategy. If you are, then you are most likely on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, or some other mainstream network. As trivial as these networks seem to be to some, the value can no longer be questioned. Regardless of your industry, I can almost guarantee your customers are on these networks.
Use social media platforms to reach out to your publics and express your industry knowledge. By sharing free information, you gain legitimacy, expert status, and authority on topics related to your brand.
Furthermore, strategically organizing “friends,” “followers,” and “contacts” to become fans of you or your company can expand awareness and demonstrate the value of your product and/or service.
3. Create Your Own Blog
Creating your own blog is simple. Use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress to set up your own blog within minutes. Purchase a cool domain name and start sharing free content.
By writing and updating a blog regularly, you can add your expertise to industry discussion. Turn your blog into a knowledge center on topics and subjects related to your company.
Arguably, with all this being said, it is important to not solicit your business. Don’t sell; educate readers and create value.
4. Become a Contributor
The news media is always looking for experts and guest contributors. It allows them to provide their readers with valuable content from different angles. By contributing to blogs, magazines and journals you will expand your reach and expose your company to a highly relevant audience. When others read your articles, the perception is often that you must be an expert to be allowed to post on a reputable blog that they read regularly.
5. Create a YouTube Channel
Video content is highly engaging and often just as valuable, if not more so, than articles and books related to particular content. By creating a dedicated video channel using YouTube you can post specific content and develop a crowd following who can interact with your videos. To see a great example of how a You-Tube channel can truly transform a company, view the story of Gary Vaynerchuck.
6. Host a Free Seminar
Like social media, sharing knowledge for free attracts tremendous amount of attention. Host a seminar and draw a ton of attention from individuals, organizations and companies that are interested in the same topic.
A seminar can be at a physical location or virtual. By sharing information, your audience will view you as an expert on that specific topic. A seminar will also allow you to potentially earn customers by hosting follow-up sessions, potentially for a fee, while your audience learns more about the topic as well as your company.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When you Google a term, how often do you search past page 2 or 3? The answer is: probably never. Therefore, you view the search results that appear on Page 1 as more relevant, legitimate and more popular. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to get your company website, blog and brand on Google Page 1 for a related term and solidify your industry expert status.
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