Successful brand positioning for consultants is all about your credibility as an expert and sharing something of yourself too. In the digital marketplace, both are the key to a growing business.
Businesses stay afloat when they gain years of experience and build their credibility with their audience. When people buy or hire, they don’t always go for the cheapest – customers are pretty discerning, they want value for money and a brand they can trust.
Think about the last time you hired a contractor, either for your business or to do something around your home. Did you look for the lowest price, or did you look for someone with experience? Did you check the contractor’s references, or just take his word at face value?
You likely have heard the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” and usually, when you hire someone simply based on the lowest price, you’ll get someone who’s not as experienced as the higher-priced contractor.
Lack of experience can lead to mistakes, and sometimes they are costly. And let’s face it, not everybody is as honest as you are, so if you’re not checking references, you might get scammed.
What’s the lesson here?
Successful business owners learn from their own mistakes, adjust the way they do business when something doesn’t work, and are willing to share their knowledge with their clients prior to being hired. Fans will flock to businesses with a good track record and good customer reviews.
Now let’s put YOU into this equation for showing your expertise.
PREFER TO LISTEN?
Brand positioning for consultants means communicating your value. You should always charge what you’re worth because if you undercut your competition, that will bring in the tire kickers who aren’t serious customers and may still ask you for a discount. This is not the audience base you want nor will it help your reputation as a top tier provider. It’s not the premise by which you will want to grow your business.
You should also showcase your expertise online and offline. Never be afraid to market yourself because you think you can’t control the search engine rankings and you don’t want to depend on ‘hope’ marketing. That’s a very passive way to run your business – HOPING that people will find you.
Be visible online and offline, be vocal, tell people what you do, share your experiences, offer advice. This will build your credibility and you will gain more visibility, it’s a snowball effect – you keep gaining new followers, generating new leads, connecting and building relationships with potential new clients.
And I have a great resource for you with all ten steps – I’ve done it as Do’s and Don’ts checklist of what to do and what not to do to showcase your expertise for brand positioning.
Under the Academy menu here, you’ll find a bunch of cool free stuff you can opt in to get.
No matter what stage of business you’re in today, whether you just opened your doors or have had a string of clients for years, today is a day to concentrate on building your credibility and sharing your expertise with the world.
In an increasing digital and competitive marketplace, this is no time to be a wallflower, especially if you have big dreams of growing your team, hitting a certain income milestone, selling a certain number of products or services or courses, or booking a guest appearance on a key show.
You want to be super proud of your success and feel comfortable and confident to share it with your audience.
And that’s what my 10 Steps Checklist guide will help you do.
In this episode, I’m going to talk you through each step so you can understand why each builds on the next to help you showcase your expertise, build your credibility, get visible and become slightly famous.
Let’s dive in!
STEP #1 – IDENTIFY YOUR ZONE OF GENIUS
BE SPECIFIC: specificity builds credibility
Don’t be a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ who offers vague generic solutions
Don’t spread your time and experience too thin
Do specialise in a certain field with customised programs and proven results
Do identify your target market and core value proposition
Do home in on work you actually enjoy and are really good at
How do you want to be perceived: as a Jack-of-All-Trades who helps everyone under the sun and offers generic, one-size-fits-all solutions? Or as a specialist who has experience in a certain field with customized advice and proven results? You should want the latter.
While it’s tempting to want to help everyone and you may think this is the best way to reach your income goals, being a Jack-of-All-Trades or Jill-of-All-Trades will not build your credibility and will spread your time and experience too thin.
It’s virtually impossible to know everything about everything, and doing hours and hours of research on multiple topics isn’t cost effective. Just accepting clients to fill your calendar is a disservice to your clients and to yourself.
However, when you are a specialist in your chosen field, your credibility increases and you can identify your target market and joint venture partners much more easily.
As a specialist, you already have years of work experience. You enjoy the field, so you’ll want to stay up-to-date on the latest news and technology. You may even publish a book or produce a signature program, thereby increasing your revenue, your reach, and your name recognition.
Based on your extensive experience, you may also hear from media contacts for interviews or quotes for a news story. Media exposure leads to even bigger reach, name recognition, and possibly more revenue than you had before.
Yes, it’s much better to be known as a specialist.
Think of it this way. Albert Einstein was an undisputed genius in physics and math. Based on the fact that he was constantly questioning and doing research, if anybody ever had a question about physics, no doubt they would be told to, “go ask Albert.” He was the go-to person of his time.
Could Einstein answer questions about music, writing, or other sciences? Possibly. But his passion was for physics; it’s what brought him to life every day, and it’s what possessed him to continue doing research in his spare time after college. It’s what earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921. His specialty in physics is what earned him a place in history to this day.
You’ve probably heard before that you should aim to be a specialist to narrow your niche.
But how do you choose your specialty or niche? Well, here’s a simple exercise for you.
Start off by asking yourself a few questions about your passions and your education, what type of work or tasks you like and dislike, what topic could you talk about all day long and get excited about.
Also acknowledge the work that you’re currently doing and whether you enjoy it or if you need a change. What comes easily to you that others find difficult. This is your zone of genius.
And then, identify what you can do to lean into that more.
STEP #2 – CHALLENGE YOUR OWN ASSUMPTIONS
BE BRAVE: think outside the box
Stop with negative self-talk and assumptions about what people want or will buy
Stop doubting your expertise and over-thinking everything
Do follow through on ideas that fit with changing market needs
Do see competition as a healthy validation of market demand
Do put your personality into the equation and be yourself
Negative self-talk and making assumptions about what people will do or buy can be the downfall of any business owner. Or listening to naysayers telling you what won’t work, Always make sure any advice you take is coming from a place of experience or evidence.
How many times have you had an idea for a signature product but never followed through with it, only to see a similar product launch a few months later?
How often do business owners think inside the box, not acknowledging changes in their market or changes in buying patterns, only to be outsmarted with a competitor’s latest innovation?
How many times have you talked yourself out of creating a product or class, simply because you think everybody already knows this information? On a smaller scale, how many webinars have you cancelled because you couldn’t think of how to put an original spin on your chosen topic? Could it be that you’re over-thinking these things?
Competition is healthy. It means there’s a need for your service or product, there’s demand for your expertise, and there’s an audience who is willing to pay for that service or product. Have you ever looked at the number of cosmetic stores in the mall?
Inside those stores there are hundreds of products from multiple manufacturers, all promising to do the same thing. There are slight differences between these brands, whether it’s the ingredients, the durability, the company’s image, or the way they advertise to their market, but they basically sell the same type of products.
Now think of your niche and your target market. Remember, competition is OK! Are your competitors local? What do they offer? What market(s) do they serve? What can you offer that they don’t? What makes you different? How does your experience differ from theirs?
Do they have better name recognition than you? What is your niche and what does your target market need from you? What problems does your market have? How can you connect with your target market? What makes you similar to them?
In the end, your clients will seek YOU out for your personality. They will learn to know, like, and trust you, but you need to learn how to speak to them authentically so they will turn toward you instead of a competitor.
Do a quick assessment comparing your business with one or two competitors’ business. Could you differentiate by focusing on working with a particular segment of the market or a particular product or service you offer? What can you highlight as unique compared to others in what you help your clients with or how you help them, your methodology or steps?
Why do you think people should buy from you and not your competitors? Go on, big yourself up, be proud and let your ego soar for a moment.
How will you connect with your target market? Perhaps that’s something that makes you distinctive?
STEP #3 – CREATE YOUR BRAND STORY
BE UNIQUE: help people know, like and trust you
Don’t think your life experiences aren’t relevant or interesting
Don’t try to be someone you’re not or ‘fake it til you make it’
Do be authentic, honest, and approachable
Do draw up a profile of your ideal client (aka customer persona or avatar)
Do you have a story that lends credibility to your brand? What makes you unique and will attract your ideal clients to you?
What made you leave your job to work for yourself? What kinds of career changes have led you to the work you do now? How did you make the move to work completely online (if you do)? Maybe you had a big life event that made you work in a different way. Do you have a passion or charity that your business supports? Why did you choose that one?
Your life experiences – or your story – often play into the development of your personal brand. And your personal brand is so much more than your logo and the colours on your website. Personal branding is about the image you put out into the world, how others see you.
In turn, your website, photos, and the language in your blog posts should all reflect and align with your personal brand. When you meet followers at an event or when they see you in a Facebook Live video, their perception should be consistent and accurately reflect the image they perceive from your online presence. People are drawn to those who are authentic, honest, and approachable.
If you’ve never thought about your ideal clients or customers in your target market before, now is the time to think about their attributes and create an avatar – that is, a detailed description – including their demographics, struggles, and what their life is like on a daily basis.
Get as detailed as possible. Give your avatar a name, yes really – for my consulting business, mine is called Jerry! For the Academy, it’s Jane. Describe their job, family and living situation, including their age, interests and personality. List their struggles and what answers are they searching for.
Before you dismiss this as a creative writing assignment, think of it this way: creating an avatar is giving life to your ideal customer. You want to attract people who are like-minded, who resonate with you, who you’ll enjoy working with. Those are the folks who will identify with your story, share your values, want your unique approach, and engage with you.
When you draw this detailed picture, you know exactly who you are speaking to. You know where you can find them online and in real life. You will stay focused on this ideal client even if you’re tempted to target another audience. This is the audience you are most able to assist and who needs your help the most. It’s a key foundation of brand positioning for consultants, coaches and other providers of expert services.
As you complete this assignment, you may find that, based on your own demographics and experience, you are a part of your own target market. In fact, that may be where your business idea stems from, which is great. It means that you have a personal stake in finding solutions for these people, and you will be able to identify with their struggles easier than someone who has different experiences.
Next, start to create your brand story. Why did you start your business? What led you to the business idea? What steered you to do the work you do, maybe a certain event triggered this? Was there a particular person or group of people involved? What is intriguing or interesting about why you do what you do?
Do you get the idea? A business colleague of mine, Lisa Bloom is the expert in using stories in business. I’ve been helping her with her program Selling Through Story, that’s running right now. And I’ve learned that it’s crazy powerful – and I mean CRAZY POWERFUL – how stories change the whole dynamic of a conversation and engage an audience.
STEP #4 – UPDATE YOUR MEDIA BIO
BE CREDIBLE: create a professional bio
Don’t just write a CV and list of qualifications
Do share your accomplishments and glory moments
Do put your most recent accomplishments at the top
Do publish your bio online to help people to find you
Your professional bio is more than just listing where you live and where you went to school. Your bio is a sure-fire way to build your credibility and authority in the short amount of time people read or scan it.
Start by listing your most recent accomplishments. Did you make the New York Times bestseller list? Are you an Amazon bestseller? Were you featured in a magazine or newspaper article? Were you a keynote speaker at a live event? Did you become an international speaker?
Were you inducted into the Clickfunnels’ 2 Comma Club? Did you compete in a triathlon? Run your first marathon?
Maybe you formed a foundation to help your local community, or set up a daycare centre for a special need, as we did for my daughter. These are just some examples of worthwhile achievements people want to know about. These stories from your life outside of business directly really add character to you as a person – it’s all part of brand positioning, and what makes you memorable.
If you graduated college 10+ years ago, that achievement should make its way toward the bottom of the list (even if you’re still proud to be an alum). People want to know what you are doing now or most recently, not where you were more than 10 years ago.
Do you have a title? Whether it’s a Dr. in front of your name like me or a series of impressive letters after your name, use that title in professional circles. It’s not bragging; it’s building your credibility and authority and proving to others you meet that you are educated and know what you’re talking about. It’s not that you need those, it’s about finding those things that differentiate you.
Why do you need a professional bio? You’re looking to grow your business and your credibility, right? So publishing a bio to your website tells masses of people all about you and why you’re an expert.
Bios are also printed in event programs if you’re a speaker, and parts of it will be read by the interviewer when you’re giving an interview. Articles that you write and publish on other sites will likely include an author’s bio.
Professional bios that are published online also assist the media and anyone who may be searching for experts in your field. After doing a quick Google search and seeing your bio, they will know you’re the expert who can answer their questions or who can speak to their group.
In short, people want to learn more about you and your experience, so there’s no better way to inform the masses than creating a professional bio that helps shine your light.
STEP #5 – PICK THE PERFECT PICTURES
You know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. Well this step is all about getting visible – daunting as that feels at first to put yourself out there – do it iteratively, as this step, and the other five steps will show you.
BE VISIBLE: people are drawn to photos
Don’t forget to snap a shot of you in action (on stage, doing a workshop)
Don’t hide photos of you enjoying life; shows you’re a real person
Do use connections to grab people’s attention and show you’re the real deal
Do post images with tags and questions to build engagement
Do showcase photos on your blog or social media without guilt
Have you noticed how almost every post on Facebook or LinkedIn, has a photo attached? There’s a good reason for it: visual content grabs people’s attention and will make them stop, react, and possibly leave a comment on your post.
Instagram is all about photos. The more beautiful the settings and/or colors, the more people will stop to react to it, thus gaining even more attention for your profile and hopefully gaining more followers.
The more people who react and comment on your photos and posts, the more social proof you gain, convincing the social media platforms and your followers that you are an important person with great authority. You engage with others, and therefore they should show your posts to more and more people.
Outside of social media, photos are a way to save precious moments. Did you speak on the same stage with someone with a big following, an influencer maybe? Get a photo with that person even if it’s a group shot and post to your blog and social media.
Are you an image consultant who nabbed front row seats at a New York fashion week runway show? Better snap a few photos to showcase on your blog and social sites, which will certainly impress your readers and social followers.
Not a fan of attending live events? No problem. Snap selfies in your home office. Share proofs of your latest photo session. Document your hiking treks or other outdoor adventures that show your audience how you enjoy spending your free time.
Showcase your newest website design with logo and colour palate. Invite your favourite pet into a few pictures for immediate engagement (people love seeing pets and children in photos!) or document your travels to other states or faraway countries.
Even though these may not be “business-related” photos, you’re still interacting with your followers and showing them that you are genuine. Plus, those who wisely invest in photo shoots and professionally-designed websites and logos are already perceived as “experts.”
These simple snapshots are proof positive that you’re serious about your job, that you have the connections to get into exclusive events, care about serving your audience, and it makes you seem more accessible than just the name behind a website.
Anybody can create an online persona in any field or related to any subject, so improve your credibility by sharing these great photos and do so without guilt or feeling self-conscious. You’re the real deal, so share that with your listeners, readers and followers.
A great exercise you can do is to organise your existing photos into categories, and then brainstorm what type of photos to take/share from each category. Create folders wherever you store your online documents and files, Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, iCloud whichever. For each event or occasion, create a sub-folder and label your files so it’s easy to find them later on when you’re creating content or for your web pages.
For instance, what best shows your audience that you’re an expert? How can you portray that graphically? Do you have before/after pictures – a home office makeover, a website redesign, even an image consultant redo.
Are they things you do in your day-to-day living that your audience would find inspiring or interesting to learn about you, like say when you’re out walking the dog, cuddling up on the sofa with your loved ones or pets, cooking a healthy dinner, or celebrating a business success.
It’s up to you what you share, but some personal stuff makes you much more approachable and real to your audience. Just remember to share from the scar not from the wound!
When you want to blog or post something on social media or send an email or press release, you can go to your folder system and pick out a photo or graphical image that suits the topic.
Remember to be strategic and intentional in what you share. Each piece of content should be leading to whatever your promoting at the time. We covered quite a bit on this in my podcast interviews with Anna Parker-Naples focusing on how to get visible and with Laura McDouall where we talked about content planning.
STEP #6 – BRAG A LITTLE
BE CONFIDENT: shows you walk the talk
Don’t hide your light under a bushel
Don’t be your industry’s best kept secret
Do add social proof & logos to your bio and website by listing media appearances
Do take credit for doing a great job and make your claim to fame
Add more social proof to your professional bio by listing television and radio appearances on your website. Much the same way that photos catch people’s attention, showing the logos and/or names of television programs you’ve been on or magazines you’ve featured in. It proves that you’re an expert and shows other reporters or media hosts that you know how to handle yourself in an interview or panel discussion.
No matter how short or how long the segment, if it’s work that you’re proud of, and especially if the name of the show is nationally recognised, take the credit, invite people to view that clip, and list it on the media page of your website.
Again, it’s not for everyone – and I’m certainly not a media starlet, it’s not my style. But if you’re up for it, the exposure can bring you huge attention and generate new business on a regular basis. I’ve seen it happen for many of my clients and many of my peers.
A lot of well-known speakers and authors showcase their appearances very tastefully on the Home page or About page of their website, usually just below the fold. Of course, they mostly go one step further and have professional photo shoots and speaker reels, but notice how they showcase their expertise with ‘featured on’ and media logos. And there’s no reason any of us can’t do the same and make a polished impression.
This section is further social proof to any media producer that you are a professional and have experience in speaking, writing or teaching.
If you are positioning yourself as an expert and want the media to contact you, make sure you include clear contact information at the top of your website! If it’s not clear how to reach you within one minute, producers will move to the next person on their list.
Media producers and editors are often under super tight deadlines, so avoid using only a contact form. Include an up-to-date phone number and make it as easy as possible for them to contact you.
And here’s a boost to you feeling this is worthwhile for yourself. I taught science communication at Warwick University for 9 years and we’d have the University’s Press Officer come give a session. And he always said something that stuck with me – that the press will keep reaching out to experts who make themselves available, because it’s faster to get the job done than chasing down the big celebrity names.
Don’t shy away from this exercise because you haven’t been featured anywhere big yet! Everyone starts at the bottom; it’s up to you to climb your way up and showcase your expertise. This process certainly doesn’t happen overnight; consider each step along the way as a baby step leading to a big interview or speaking engagement.
Start now by making a list of where you could feature as a guest speaker, get on a podcast show, or local radio, or write for a magazine. Editors are often looking for editorials, so that doesn’t mean you have to pay to be published.
STEP #7 – SPEAK YOUR VOICE
BE BOLD: speak to live audiences
Don’t sit quietly in the corner waiting for attention
Don’t think you have to book a big gig first time out
Do look for local opportunities in your home town
Do hone your speaking skills as well as your story
Do add a speaker page and speaker reel to your website!
Showcasing your expertise doesn’t mean sitting quietly in a corner, waiting for someone to ask you a question so you can explain your point of view. Building your credibility and increasing your visibility are ongoing processes that just don’t stop until you want to retire.
One way to get your voice heard is to speak to live audiences. Yes, that may be a daunting task, but the more practice you get, the easier it will become. And don’t think you need to book a concert hall your first time out. That likely won’t happen, but look for local opportunities right in your hometown.
- Schedule a book tour in your state and speak to your readers or share a chapter of your book in a live reading.
- Book a town hall-style meeting in your community to speak about your passion and to answer questions from the audience.
- Join a networking group and/or your local Chamber of Commerce and take advantage of speaking opportunities within those groups.
- Find a local Toastmasters International club where the primary goal is to prepare people for a life of public speaking.
As you become more comfortable with these smaller venues, you’ll hone your speaking skills as well as your story and you can then search for the larger venues and opportunities.
Once you have that first speaking gig under your belt – no matter how small and local it may be – add a speaker page to your website. Essentially, this is a web page that is selling YOU to the event planners who need speakers at their events.
Like the media credits we spoke about earlier, adding the speaking venues and events to a separate page, along with contact information, video clips, and topics on which you speak will build your credibility as an expert, as well as aid event managers and producers.
As always, make your speaking page clear on the home page navigation so organisers don’t have to search high and low for the information.
Other things to include on this speaker page are:
- Calendar of upcoming events
- Testimonials from audience members or meeting planners
- Download link to a speaker one-sheet that organisers can print.
STEP #8 – GATHER TESTIMONIALS
BE PROUD: ask for feedback from people who’ve worked with you
Don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial
Don’t only ask clients or customers, include JV partners or event organisers
Do interview your clients on a live meeting to ask for ‘wins’
Do remember to ask permission to record and use in your marketing
Do feel free to follow up (gently and politely) if you don’t hear back
Do think of testimonials as product reviews
Testimonials from those who have worked with you – either on a one-to-one basis, as a JV partner, or as an event organiser – is more proof that you are a professional expert who can handle themselves under pressure. Think of these testimonials as you would online reviews for a product. These positive reviews are social proof that you delivered what you promised, that your clients experienced tremendous growth, and that your message was well received.
The same is true for testimonials. The more rave reviews people give you, the more likely you will get new clients or booked for another speaking event. These are your positive reviews that you delivered what you promised, that your clients experienced tremendous growth, and that your message was well received.
Never be afraid to ask for a testimonial. Doing this may not be foremost on someone’s mind nor are people prone to write reviews or testimonials without being asked, so ask gently in an email or a private message on social media.
Follow up after two weeks if you still haven’t seen it. How much longer you follow up really depends on the relationship you have with this person. There’s a fine line between asking and following up on a testimonial and being annoying or perceived as a pest who won’t go away.
Block out some time in your schedule to make a list of contacts who you can approach for a testimonial.
While you can – and certainly should – be asking your clients for testimonials on a one-to-one basis, you can also easily automate the process as well. The simplest way to automate is to add a review request email to your autoresponder sequence.
Several days after a purchase, buyers should receive a short email asking for a review of your program. Why not add a review or testimonial request to your sales autoresponders. This works well for eBooks and other short-format product, and can be a part of every new product set up. It also works really well for courses and services.
For longer programs or one-to-one coaching, you might consider adding an “exit interview” appointment via Zoom. You’ll gather valuable information for improvements to your program, and be able to record and edit for a testimonial, too.
Here’s another fabulous way to gather video testimonials: interview your graduates on a Facebook Live. Showcase them in your groups and on your business page, and post the recording on your testimonials page.
STEP #9 – ENGAGE ACROSS CHANNELS
Has anyone ever told you ‘There’s More to Life Than Business’?
One of the easiest ways to encourage people to like you (which is the first step towards finding clients, booking speaking engagements, and selling your products) is to be social, share parts of your personal life, and relate to people.
People are obsessed with social media, but sometimes get caught up in the media part: how their photos look; what graphic editor they should use; which font looks prettier, etc. That’s not what I’m advocating here. Social media is just one channel and maybe you only use one or two – you don’t have to be everywhere.
Brand positioning for consultants happens across all the channels you use to communicate with your target audience and your clients.
BE EFFICIENT: automate your engagement mechanisms
Don’t avoid engaging with clients in multiple channels just pick one where you can be present consistently
Don’t overthink or stress about how your photo or graphics look
Do focus on engaging people on their posts and answering questions
Do look out for opportunities to gather endorsements and share wins
Do decide which platforms play to your strengths so you can be authentic and get the right vibe out
Do pick topics and images that are on-message, in-service and on-brand
Step back for a moment and remember that being social – engaging people on their posts and answering their questions – is actually more important than how great your graphic looks. You can post the most gorgeous graphics in the world, but if you don’t interact with people, you’re putting a vibe out to the world that you don’t care about them and don’t want to be bothered.
Decide which social media platforms you enjoy using, and would be happy spending a little time on each day. Think about what kind of topics you would feel comfortable to share that are not business related.
This makes perfect sense for my business since I’m all about work-life balance – so I want to practice what I preach or teach, right? What makes sense for your business and what you teach, or the values and interests across both your business and your life?
Let your personality shine through the information or imagery you share.
Ask people questions in your posts. If you’re trying to decide which book to read or what movie to watch, ask your audience for opinions. Headed out to the county fair? Take some pictures of the amusements, food vendors, or concerts.
Just because you are growing a business does not mean you don’t have fun. Let your followers know that you’re just a regular person who’s balancing a business with their family time and social lives.
Being social in real life situations is also vitally important, especially when you’re at business functions or networking events. Even if you’re with your family at the fair, if a follower starts up a conversation, engage with them.
A quick two-minute conversation will earn you new followers if that person then boasts about how they met you and how gracious you were. If you decide to ignore them, that bad news will get circulated around the social media world pretty fast, too.
Authenticity is a buzz word that is spoken about quite a bit, and it’s very important to be authentic in everything you do. Don’t create a fake persona; you’re not an actress looking to win an Oscar.
You’re a business person and a regular person, so come across that way. Honesty and integrity and authenticity will all play a large role in how successful your business becomes.
One Note About Sharing
Sometimes people share too much and it makes for uncomfortable situations. Stick with your common sense and avoid any kind of negativity, religion, politics, or other hot-button topics that lead to nasty name calling.
The same is true for sharing too much of your personal life. Nobody wants to follow or hire someone who is constantly complaining, so keep your vents off Facebook. If religion or politics are your area of expertise, then you already know how to handle yourself in a debate and probably have pretty thick skin from the name calling.
Similar concerns arise when sharing family photos or pictures of your kids. Some avoid it at all costs, others post kid pictures every single day. Use your best judgment, especially since kid pictures are usually a prime source of engagement on social media.
STEP #10 – BECOME (SLIGHTLY) FAMOUS
In my book, Leveraged Consulting in the Digital Age, I write about BECOMING DISTINCTLY VALUABLE & SLIGHTLY FAMOUS. It’s in final chapter, your leveraged business roadmap, chapter 7.
My lessons learned about brand positioning for consultants that I share in the book come from direct experience. In hindsight, it’s easy to see that my reputation, value and visibility are what attracted clients and kept me financially afloat rather than any direct selling per se. It finally hit me that standing out, as an expert authority on a specific subject and being seen as a service provider to offer something clearly defined and of value, is the one of the most critical aspects of a leveraged consulting strategy.
BE SOCIABLE: encourage people to know and like you
Don’t avoid sharing personal news and what you’re up to
Don’t try to beautify your photos, graphics or fonts – just be spontaneous
Don’t ignore people just because you’re on your down time
Do interact with your target audience’s posts and viewpoints
Do share your ‘wins’ with excitement, humility and encouragement to others
Do show you’re a regular person who’s balancing a busy business with family time and a social life
Showcasing your qualifications does little to persuade prospective clients to buy your services – they expect you to have credentials. The question in a potential client’s mind is whether you can help them achieve the specific result they want.
In the early days of establishing yourself, you first have to earn the attention of your market as someone who delivers. You can pull people in fast and get them in a funnel with paid advertising – and you’ll see tonnes of sponsored ads on social media and google like this.
But you prove yourself and build trust when you actually help someone make progress, such as with one or more of the following:
- A goal – something that the ideal client absolutely must achieve
- An opportunity – what they’d like to do better or faster
- A challenge – something that blocks them from achieving goals.
When you help someone do something better, the value you deliver takes you from anonymous seller that people ignore to trustworthy teacher your ideal audience wants to hear from.
I love Frank Kern’s statement on this:
You demonstrate you can help people by actually helping them!
Pretty obvious isn’t it!
Them there’s the ten steps!
Becoming slightly famous is pretty important for marketing online – as I said earlier, don’t be your industry’s best kept secret. You don’t have to be all over social media or in the press. Even if you get just a little bit more visible, it starts to position you and your brand in the target market you wish to serve.
It’s equally important to specialise and become the go-to person for that one thing. Many consultants and coaches just market themselves as generalists, that gives you a huge hurdle to convince someone why you and not someone else. When you rise above the parapet, and specialise, magic starts to happen. This is the expert value pyramid.
However, even when you specialise, you may find you’re not yet truly unique. Maybe you’re a fitness coach who specialises in nutrition; that’s pretty broad. What makes you unique might be who you work with and what their particular desires are: for example, menopausal women who struggle with tiredness and weight loss.
For some, this definitely requires a fundamental shift in mindset, and the way I approached it is from a place of generosity to put my ideas out there, embracing the whole notion of ‘sharing is caring’, rather than secrecy to protect your intellectual property.
There are huge dividends to such openness. Thought leadership builds your brand equity.
In fact, in the education sector, which is my mainstay sector on the consulting side of my work, openness is good for business. There’s been a movement over recent years towards OERs (open educational resources) and MOOCs (massive open online courses) as a strategy to showcase what they do and drive enrolment onto paid programmes.
When you add in some thought leadership and promote yourself through education-rich content, you claim expert status in that specific niche area – X, Y or Z not X, Y and Z. With the digital channels at our disposal today, especially video and other social media, you can quickly start to attract a following and gain meaningful celebrity status in your field. This heightens your perceived value and desirability in your prospect’s eyes.
There’s quite a bit more on this in chapter 7 of my book, as this positioning becomes the cornerstone of attracting business to you, particularly in the online arena.
I’ll end on a quote I included in that chapter, it’s from Dorie Clark, who’s made a career out of showcasing her expertise for brand positioning. In one of her books, I think it’s Stand Out, she says:
“If you’re willing to expend the effort to create well-crafted content, you’ll distinguish yourself in a crowded market-place where many people are serving up tasty morsels, and you’re taking the time to create something of substance.”
Until the next time, ciao ciao from me!