How to Build Authority for your Professional Service Business
It’s a trust-building effort that goes way beyond just staying top of mind
We turn on the TV or watch YouTube and see the big brands making us chuckle with branded entertainment. That’s not the right approach for you if your business offers professional services.
They’re pushing to keep their brand top of mind, and occasionally dropping in a few product benefits. You’ve got to do something else. You’re creating content that capitalizes on expertise. It’s a trust-building effort, which will transform leads into customers.
All about trust
Who do we trust? Experts. Why do we trust them? They’ve demonstrated to us that they are authorities. How did we reach that conclusion? They made sure that before they offered us a solution, they proved to us that they understood our problem.
That’s key. People hate to start all over again. They’re not fond of spending time and money on solutions, only to discover that while it might be a great product or service, it doesn’t solve their particular problem. It’s why they are looking for you to validate their problem first.
It doesn’t mean you have to ignore the introduction of your product or service – but you do have to draw from the experience of your existing real-life clients. Prospects appreciate being able to find examples of others who represent a problem and its solution, allowing them to put what you offer into their worldview.
What you create is perspective. It’s not a one-sided push to sell your professional service.
If you’re more on the B2B side of things, consider offering case studies. These are more formal and business-like and they have plenty of advantages. You get to toss out the name of an actual client that uses your professional service, so that’s validation for you. You get to demonstrate that you understand the problem – you solved it, after all. And you get to show that you don’t just care about the sale. You care about and tracked the results.
Your signal carriers
If you made a map of your inbound marketing plan, all roads should lead to the sale. That means creating content that’s relevant to prospects to capture their attention, which then helps to guide them through the buyers’ journey.
It’s a multistep process. Prospects may find content that helps them see you understand their problem. It contains links to other pieces of content – either created by you or by others – that help to put their problem and your solution into perspective.
As they move past the initial process of validating their problem and begin to explore your approach to solving it, they’ll want content that’s focused on explaining how and why your approach to a solution is better than others. This is where you’re able to expound on your expertise.
Guess what? It’s a lot of content. It’s a constant flow of additional posts, infographics, case studies, explainer videos, and interactive quizzes which demonstrate you’re interested in showing you’re qualified to solve problems.
Professionals demonstrate capability before they ask for the sale. It’s not a leap of faith. That’s why events and webinars are powerful ways to convert prospects into customers. One reason why professional services tend to shy away from webinars is because they’re concerned about getting side-tracked. It’s a possibility, which is why it’s important to stick to your authoritative message.
Successful webinars often involve little pitching of services – and if it happens, that’s at the end. Instead, they stay focused on identifying ways to define and validate what’s causing the problem, as well as ways to understand how the solution will apply.
Remember that you’ll be able to follow up with participants after the webinar. That’s where you can delve into how, precisely, your professional services can help solve their particular problem.
It’s different for you
Inbound content marketing for professional services is not about pitching and closing. That’s the responsibility of your sales efforts. Remember what marketing really is: a way to share.
First, you’ll share that you understand your prospect’s problem. Then you’ll share – with examples – that you understand how to solve the problem. You are an authority and in doing so, you gain trust. Your prospects decide that since you understand the problem and have successfully provided solutions for others, you are worthy of their business.
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