This is a guest post from Thomas Warren
Branding yourself as an expert is no easy feat.
You need to be secure in your abilities to deliver what you promise, create an interface for prospective clients to take advantage of your services, and offer some proof that you are what you say you are. However, if you can manage to do all of this, it will prove invaluable not only for your potential to bring in business, but to ensure that your clientele comes back again and again.
There are many things to consider when setting out to brand yourself as an expert. If you are, in fact, an expert (you hold the proper credentials in your field or have relevant work experience) you are in a better position to start. If, however, you cannot rightfully claim the title, you may have a harder time.
You really don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot and risk losing long-term clients by making claims you can’t possibly uphold, so perhaps it’s better to label yourself an enthusiast or entrepreneur until you can justify a more prestigious moniker. That said, if you feel that you excel in your field and can contend with your competitors at the highest level, you will need a ringing endorsement to convince the community at large that you are what you say you are.
From there, you have to bring in some business. Here’s where you can get into some trouble. Most people feel that a flashy website and a lot of traffic equals dollar signs. Not so.
First of all, you need to tailor your website to your clients. That means figuring out who they are (because in case you didn’t know, not every housewife with a laptop is in need of your services). If you’re selling life insurance, for example, you don’t want a website that features testimonials from Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, which will not appeal to the middle-aged demographic you’re shooting for. So make an effort to know your customers (they will appreciate it and it will reflect on your sales).
In addition, you need to target your marketing efforts. Would you rather host a thousand random visitors or ten that are specifically seeking your service?
You can’t effectively deal with your real customers if you spend all day fending off inquiries from parties that aren’t really interested. To that end, there are many ways to ensure that when a prospective customer comes looking for you, you can be found.
Continued education is a great way to stay abreast of the latest trends in internet marketing and use them to reach out to future clients.
However, the most important aspect of branding yourself as an expert is follow-through.
Potential customers want assurance that the product or service they’re paying for is real. Branding yourself as an expert is no good at all if you can’t deliver the goods. And if your service is specialized (as is necessary when starting out), you’re going to need repeat business to stay afloat. So do not disappoint your clients! It’s going to be hard enough bringing business in without alienating those who do use your service.
Remember that word of mouth can make you or break you more surely than any technical SNAFU. So make the needs of your customers your first priority, provide excellent service, and do whatever you have to in order to ensure repeat business. This, more than anything, will take your brand to the next level.
Thomas Warren is a content writer for GoCollege, one of the oldest and most trusted resources to guide students on how to finance and succeed in college.