Learn how to use your knowledge to increase profits and advance your brand
Getting consumers to notice your company and trust you enough to make a purchase are the keys to growing your customer base. Everyone knows that. What is less clear is exactly how you go about attracting (and keeping) more customers.
Bombarding everyone with advertising may get you noticed, but does nothing to build trust. In order to encourage trust, people need to see that you are an expert in your industry and will add value to their lives. You can do this through thought leadership, and PR can help you do it effectively.
What is thought leadership and how do you get it?
Thought leadership is the process of establishing your company, brand and/or CEO as an expert in your industry or niche. A thought leader is someone who drives innovation and contributes inspiration in his or her field.
To achieve thought leadership, learn your target audience’s questions, needs and goals, and then be the one that answers, meets and solves them. You can also provide information and perspective about challenges, changes and advances in your industry.
Educating your target audience will lend credibility to your company and build trust, especially when you are honest about the downsides and difficulties. For example, you can share facts about the history of your field (warts and all) or succinctly explain a frequently misunderstood aspect of your operations. Helping consumers make smarter purchasing decisions will serve to establish you as a leader. This is effective because everyone wants to do business with – and learn from – the best.
In addition, the more your target audience is exposed to your company and brand, the more they are likely to establish a connection and make a purchase. It is vital to find the specific channels that your target audience will most likely see. Once you do, you can:
- Create a podcast series to offer tutorials.
- Offer to write a company blog for an influential publication (traditional or online) in your field.
- Enlist top industry influencers to help you. These could be celebrities, bloggers with a huge following, well-respected retirees, etc.
- Seek out opportunities for speaking engagements, participate in conferences, provide your expertise to journalists and anything else that allows you to demonstrate your thought leadership.
- Develop e-books where consumers can get more helpful information.
- Be willing to show your bold side. Do you have new ideas for improving your industry or predictions on where it is headed? Share them widely.
Remember that you should create only well-written content that is valuable and designed to help the customer more than your company. Producing mediocre content just to fill a void will make you seem more like a nuisance than a thought leader.
Once you have the customers, learn how to keep them
Increasing your customer base is the beginning. Studies show it is more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain current ones. To stay successful, you must keep them.
This involves developing relationships and establishing your company as an ongoing resource outside of the sales process. Some ways to do this include:
- Connect on social media. For example, quickly acknowledge when someone posts something positive about your company or join in relevant conversations.
- Establish a process for input and opinions, such as a customer advisory group.
- Offer customer-only perks, such as special events and webinars.
- Hire the right PR firm. Becoming a thought leader takes diligence, consistency and strategic planning.
At Axia Public Relations, we will help you craft your messages, share your expertise and tell your story in ways that resonate with your target audience and make your mark on the industry. Contact us today or download our free e-book, Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment, to learn more.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
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