Prove Your Expertise
It's not enough to run a catchy ad that says your an expert. When dealing with savvy business to business buyers, you need to prove it. Proving you're the expert involves information - Communicating your expertise to the world through white papers, e-books, and even newsletters.
In the information age, companies that provide information to customers and prospects with the sale. They gain the pull position with the buyers by setting themselves up as the knowledge leader. Companies that fail to add a knowledge component to their business to business marketing are living in an age that's gone and buried.
"But brands are established through clever, customer-centric image ads," I hear the ad agency say. I can't argue with the fact that image ads get attention. They may prompt someone to look-up a web site or call for more information. That's where they end. In fact, image ads are really best at reinforcing a brand position that has already been established through public relations and viral marketing. All these things get buyer's attention, but what then?
The next step in the sales process, after getting their attention, is to give them a reason to consider working with you. You need to establish your expertise and at the same time lay down the criteria for buying products in your market space. Your product will of course fit nicely into this criteria. You do this by offering them free information.
As customers peruse your information. They will begin to develop knowledge about your industry, knowledge about your products, and trust in you as an expert consultant. These are the things they are looking for and the things you should give them.
Some things to consider as you put this information together:
First, a knowledge publication is not a sales brochure. It instructs and informs the reader about principles and processes, not specific products. In short, your knowledge piece needs to have value all on its own.
Second, initial credibility depends primarily on design and secondarily on diction. In other words, if your knowledge piece does not look and sound professional. It will not be perceived as professional.
Third, keep communicating. When it's time to make a decision, buyers are like anyone else. They remember those who recently communicated with them. Also, knowledge grows incrementally and we need frequent reminders about knowledge that is new before we are able to effectively internalize it. A great way to keep communicating with those who have opted to receive free white papers or e-books is to offer them a free newsletter. Just like with your other knowledge pieces, your newsletter should have built-in value as well as look and sound professional.
Building your expertise is a matter of writing it down in a professional way.