If you want people to buy from you, you need authority. Authority is built over a period of time through the repetition of messages and authority indicators.
Authority indicators are something that you cannot directly control. People mention you. People's recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals. They happen as a side effect of you adding value to the marketplace.
There are specific indicators that you can directly control. Social media follower count, unfortunately, is still one of the leading indicators of authority. At least it is perceived that way. That doesn't mean you can buy fake followers. However, people will take you seriously if you actively work to grow your followers on social media.
My Facebook page has 267k followers and it is a verified account. This builds some authority even when I run ads through this page.
My LinkedIn and Twitter accounts have more than 30,000 followers and I have more than 100k subscribers on YouTube.
Another major authority indicator is that I have published a book. Though this book has been self-published and is just a collection of articles on my blog, it has 4.8* reviews and hundreds of them. It is a clear indication that people want to hear from me and read my thoughts.
I am a frequent guest in many podcasts. I have been on the TEDx stage (Not TED, yet). And I constantly look for speaking opportunities like that which might give me access to a new audience.
The highest form of authority comes via customer feedback and reviews. I chose Google My Business to collect all my reviews.
More than 1,000 five-star reviews for my brand. Since we have just two products, out of which one product brings in 90% of the revenue, almost all the reviews are for my flagship product.
When people make a decision to buy from you, they are thinking: would I make the wrong decision. Potential customers do not want to be proved wrong. They will be careful before they buy from you. It is not just a matter of money, there are also hidden costs like time and frustration.
All the authority indicators move the conversion a bit towards the higher side. It is hard to maintain authority because if your product or service is poor, then you will have a backlash. An unhappy customer will tell 10 people about the experience, while a happy customer might tell only 2.
If you want to be invited for speaking, build a strong YouTube channel, build a newsletter with 1000s of subscribers, and have a huge following on social media, you need to be a content creator.
The following I have gained which in turn gives me authority is because I have spent years compounding the content investment. I have to keep my audience engaged, keep creating content, keep refining my thoughts and publish books, blogs, and articles.
Fortunately, I enjoy creating content, and I don't see why anyone can't. If you learn more, you will have more things to say and you will produce more content. Once you have the content, you can put effort into distributing that content.
I have published content in all different formats and channels. Here are some of them:
- eBooks - Published on Amazon Kindle and as PDF for direct download
- Books - Self-published (both print and digital versions)
- Videos - Short clips for my target audience via YouTube
- Free Course Videos - Free videos on my LMS
- Paid Course Videos
- Live AMA Sessions
- Live Webinars/ClubHouse
- The content inside free communities
- In-depth exclusive content for paid communities (membership sites)
- Workbooks for in-depth practical learning
- Audio only podcasts
- Blogs (like this one)
- Guest articles on Entrepreneur.com and other publications
- Guest speaking on other creator's platforms
- One-time email broadcasts to my list
- Drip marketing sequences for specific lead magnets
- Quizzes and Online Exams
The content is made in the above formats. Social media channels help distribute the content. YouTube does the job of hosting and distribution. Some are just for distribution. One piece of content can be shared across all social media channels (for example, you can share a YouTube video link on your Facebook and Instagram).
One of the most powerful ways to distribute content is through a "Deep Marketing" sequence. I have explained how it works here. Deep Marketing works best for content that is more strategic and less time-sensitive. Long-form content and foundational concepts don't die with time and they can be set up in an automated sequence to "drip-feed" the valuable content over a period of time.
The reason why it is so powerful is that the content published is consistent. It is very hard to keep up the consistency of content creation on other channels such as blogs and YouTube. Inspiration strikes far and in-between and one cannot create stellar content all the time. I am not exactly proud of some of the articles I have published on this blog because they could be much better (and I will be rewriting them in the near future).
An automated message sequence will deliver the best of your content, at scheduled intervals, thereby reinforcing your authority over a period of time on the mind of the prospect. With this method, you are building authority on auto-pilot. You are warming up your market.
Every other business pays through the nose for leads that are hot, but no one wants to do the job of warming up cold leads. It takes time but it produces a much higher ROI than chasing only the customers who are ready to buy right now.
Instead of generating leads to sell to them right now, you generate leads today to sell to them 3-6 months down the line. The value of the leads appreciates with time. And you can keep them actively engaged with your content (and silently building your authority in the process) without having to actively create content.
Most of my social media followers have been built through my email list. People visit a landing page first where a lead magnet is promised. Once they opt-in, the follow-up emails contain links and a call to action to follow me on social media pages.
I have been able to, directly and indirectly, control the perception of my authority in the market through content marketing. Just creating content is not enough. It needs marketing and distribution. Multiple channels and promotional methods are required to efficiently distribute the content. With repetition, the brand builds, and as long as the product is good enough, it creates a snowball effect.
Authority leads to customers. Happy customers lead to more authority, which attracts even more customers.
The most important piece of the puzzle here is to have a funnel with ascending prices and profit margins for the business. People who pay attention, pay money. If you can get their attention, you can use that attention to sell them something. You can use the profits from the sale to buy more attention from even more people. Once you get the math right, infinite scale is at the doorstep.