Demonstrating your expertise gives you an edge to combat commoditization by attracting more business and proactively building your reputation. This is especially important in generating positive word of mouth (WOM) too.
As an expert, people and companies will seek you out when they have problems. You’ll evolve from a vendor that is simply selling products and services to being an expert that is selling value. If you’re really good, people (you don’t even know) will start recommending you to their colleagues and peers.
A while back, I met with a CRM consulting firm. They were interested in developing a lead generation program and I asked them about their value proposition.
They said they were thought, leaders. In fact, their website said so! When I visited their so-called “thought leader” section, it contained just a few ‘white papers’ which required user registration to download. There really wasn’t any other proof. That’s not thought leadership!
There are a number of things you can do to share your expertise and establish a reputation for creating value. Thought leaders often do the following things; they write, speak, do research, analyze trends, and openly share insightful ideas with people (regardless of their timing to buy).
My point: Share your information freely and try to be a resource, otherwise your potential customers will find someone else who will.
Using thought leader content as a lead generation tool
Content is king in demonstrating your thought leadership and expertise.
I’ve found that creating good content doesn’t require a lot of budgets but it definitely requires time, a desire to learn, and a willingness to teach others what you’ve learned. Your actions demonstrate your thought leadership.
The lead nurturing mindmap shows some of the types of content that you can use to position your company as “the” experts. If you want to be looked upon as an expert, your thought leading content needs to focus on your potential customer’s needs, issues, and concerns. It must be relevant!
Thought leadership guidelines
Some thought leadership content rules of thumb:
- It must be relevant to your target audience or their sphere of influence
- It needs to be timely and address the issues faced by your target audience
- It needs to demonstrate your value and tie into your value proposition
- It needs to give more value than the time it takes to process and digest it
- It must provide a level of business insight that readers can’t get anywhere else
The modalities and channels you’ll choose to share, promote and distribute your content will depend on your market and your target audience.
As a general rule, you will select less intrusive methods of capturing people who are just at the awareness phase of the buying process.
Then you can use more intrusive approaches like phone calling to see where they are at in their process and learn how you can be more of a resource.
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