Either way, the solution is to make yourself into an authority.
Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know:
Authority is not something other people bestow on you. It’s something you can build.
That might surprise you. It shouldn’t. The people you view as authorities created their authority by their actions. And you can too.
Why Authority Matters
Why is authority important? It’s very simple. When you have authority, people listen to what you say. They value your opinion – and when you tell them to buy something, they’ll do it.
That’s why authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence. Psychologically speaking, people are inclined to do what an authority figure tells them to do – even if they wouldn’t do it on their own.
A simple example of this principle in action comes from television advertising. Maybe you remember those commercials featuring well-known actors. They always started with something like this:
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.
You might think of that as a disclaimer, but it’s a statement of authority. People were accustomed to thinking of those actors as doctors. So, when they recommended a cough syrup or headache medication, people trusted those recommendations.
Another way of looking at it is that authority is based on trust. If you do a good job building authority, people will trust you and your products.
Branding and Authority
You’ll build authority more quickly if you define your brand and present it in a consistent way in all your online marketing.
Why? Because authority is easier to build if you have a narrowly defined area of expertise. Nobody is equally knowledgeable about everything, right?
Of course, there are exceptions. Someone like Oprah is so well known that people might take her word for just about anything. She can present herself as an authority on self-help, alternative medicine, clothing, and books because she has achieved a level of authority that allows it.
Most of us can’t do that. We need to define our niches and stick to them.
Here are some ways you can create a consistent and authoritative brand:
Every piece of content you create for your brand must be authoritative. That means that everything on your website, online profiles, social media accounts, ads, and marketing videos must be conceptualized and executed with authority in mind.
It all starts with your website. You need a professional site that uses clear and authoritative language designed to appeal directly to your target audience. It should be easy to use and provide immediate value to the people who visit it.
The same is true of your social media content. Every status update, Tweet, or photo you post must be relevant to your brand and presented with authority.
You may also want to consider creating long-form authoritative content to build authority. Examples include:
If you watch cable news, you know that one of the ways they fill the 24-hour news cycle is by booking authority figures to offer opinions about current events.
Think about it. Every political consultant, pollster, or retired general is there for one reason. They have experience and knowledge that is applicable to a story, and because of that, they are viewed as authorities whose opinion is worth hearing.
You can build the same kind of authority online by being opinionated. That doesn’t mean you should spout about politics (unless that’s related to your brand, of course.) What it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to say what you think.
One very effective way to do that is to curate content for your social media pages. Curated content is content that somebody else created. You can find it by following:
For example, say you find an article that lists ten essential things about your industry. You might feel that the writer left out something important. You should point that out when you post the article.
Taking a controversial stance can be a good thing, too. When you contradict or rebut something that an established authority says, you’re putting yourself on their level.
The key here is to sound confident when you offer an opinion. If you seem uncertain, people will dismiss your opinion.
There’s one more thing…
The final step to building authority is to put these things together and use them to create marketing campaigns that convert. If you do it right, you’ll set yourself apart from other brands in your niche.
In other words, you won’t just be one option for people seeking products or services in your niche. You’ll be the only option – and all because they view you as an authority figure.
In fact, failing to hire an agency is one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make. It’s not necessary in every situation. But here’s the thing:
“If you’re not a professional marketer, it’s a virtual certainty that you’re missing opportunities – and sales – because of the marketing choices you’re making.”
Yikes. That’s not what you want, right? Most small and medium-sized business can’t afford to give sales away.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about how you can tell if it’s time to outsource your marketing to an agency.
#1: You Don’t Have a Handle on Your Online Presence
The first big indicator that you need a professional marketer is that you don’t really know how people perceive your brand online.
Let’s face it, “online” is a big place. You might think of your website as your home base, but you also need to know how your brand is represented:
#2: You’re Not Sure How to Allocate Your Marketing Budget
Where are you spending your marketing budget? Do you know how much you’re spending? For a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is no – and that’s a problem.
If you’re handling your own marketing, you might feel as if you’re shooting in the dark. One week you’re spending on Facebook ads. The next, you’re running a Google AdWords campaign. You’re trying everything and hoping that something will bear fruit.
The problem is that you don’t have a marketing plan. You haven’t had the time (or expertise) to evaluate marketing platforms and choose those that are most likely to get you the results you want.
A marketing pro will have broad experience and should be able to assess your brand and target audience – and use that assessment to choose the best marketing options. You don’t need a big budget to be successful, but you do need to know how to use it.
#3: Your Marketing Campaigns Aren’t Generating Leads
This one should be a no-brainer, yet it’s a common problem for DIY marketers. If your marketing campaigns aren’t bringing you qualified leads, you’re throwing money away.
Guess what? Your marketing campaign could be well-conceived. Perhaps you’ve created what could be a winning ad. You might still have problems with:
#4: You’re Not Aware of Marketing Trends
The world of online marketing is constantly changing. What worked a few months ago might not be effective anymore.
Here’s one example. At the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced it would change its algorithms to favor posts from family and friends over posts from pages and brands. Companies that used to get a fair amount of organic engagement must now pay to get the same attention.
It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to keep up with what’s happening in marketing. You’ve got other things to do.
When you outsource your marketing, you’re paying someone whose job it is to know what the latest and greatest marketing trends are. You won’t have to worry about spending on outdated marketing techniques.
In other words, paying a pro will ensure that your marketing dollar goes further than it would if you tried to handle everything on your own.
#5: You’re Not Testing Your Campaigns
Very few people – even marketing pros – create perfect campaigns on their first try. Marketing is both an art and a science, and in science, testing is essential.
Many entrepreneurs never look at the results of their marketing campaigns. They don’t know which metrics matter – and that means they’re not using their results to tweak their campaigns and improve them.
Marketing pros understand the value of split testing. Once they launch a campaign, they’ll measure the results and tweak the ad until it’s perfect. You might not have the time to do that – and that’s why you need a pro to do it for you.
Done properly, this kind of meticulous tracking and testing can make a huge difference in your conversions and ultimately, in your bottom line.
#6: You’re Not Making Marketing a Priority
Is marketing something you think about every day, or is it an afterthought? For many entrepreneurs, it’s the latter. They make time for it when they can.
The problem with that, of course, is that you won’t get the robust results you deserve if marketing isn’t a priority. You might push it aside in favor of other needs that you view as more pressing.
Marketing should be a priority. It’s the only way you’ll create a strong brand, build your platform, attract new leads, and convert them into paying customers.
If you don’t have time to give marketing the attention it deserves, you need to hire someone to do it for you. It’s just that simple.
Outsourcing your marketing will cost you…
… but it won’t cost you as much as running lackluster campaigns that do nothing to build your brand and attract leads. It’s worth a bit of up-front investment to get the results you need.