According to one recent study, a massive 88% of all consumers in the United States pre-research their purchases before they make them. More often than not, they use the Internet to do this–and that is true regardless of whether they plan on making a purchase online or in a brick and mortar store.
These days, people are conducting more research than ever because they want to be certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that their hard-earned money is going to the right place. At that point, they won’t just compare the differences between one brand’s products over another… they’re going to be comparing the finer points of the brands themselves, too.
So how do you turn this from a potential liability into an incredible opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of? By establishing instant authority and crafting the type of micro-brand that captures the heart, mind, and (ultimately) the wallet of your audience along the way.
Thankfully, this isn’t nearly as difficult as you might be thinking. It’s a process that simply requires you to keep a few key steps in mind to help unlock the success that you’ve been after for you and your colleagues.
Step 1: Have a Plan
You’ve spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort coming up with the right product for the right market at exactly the right time. But you also have to realize that this product certainly isn’t going to sell itself.
Do you have a PLAN in place for HOW you’re going to sell that product? Does your plan take into consideration what “success” in these terms actually looks like?
This, of course, is your first step towards crafting the type of micro-brand that captures the heart, mind, and (most importantly) wallet of your audience.
To help with this, think about things in terms of the five or ten things about your business that your audience truly needs to understand to establish that emotional connection. What do you represent? What are you trying to do? Why are you trying to do it? These are all critical ideas that give people something to latch onto that accomplishes more than any one product or service can on its own.
Once you’ve identified those core values, every decision you make from that point on needs to be dictated by them. How do you convey those main points again and again and again?
Every blog post you write, every flyer you design, every ad you take out needs to reinforce these ideas. At that point, you’ll have more than just instant authority–you’ll have the beginnings of a relationship that will serve both you and your audience well for years to come.
Step 2: Offer Specific Answers to Specific Questions
This is another key point in establishing authority, because it shows that you can back up the types of claims that you’re making.
Obviously, you created a product in an effort to solve genuine problems in people’s lives–or at least to make their lives better in some appreciable way. Naturally, they’re going to have questions about how it works, why it matters, and what they can get from it that they can’t find somewhere else.
The content you create that reinforces your micro-brand needs to provide the specific answers to these specific questions. “General, all-purpose” content simply has no place in terms of what you’re now trying to accomplish.
Not only does this create an experience that is naturally more engaging because people feel like you’re actually listening to them, but it also helps to position your brand as highly as you possibly can–thus establishing a great deal of authority (especially when compared to your competitors) along the way.
Step 3: Maintain Absolutes
As you continue along your quest to establish instant authority and create a genuine rapport with your audience members, one of the things you must NEVER do is confuse “accuracy” with “authority.”
It doesn’t matter what your product or service does or what audience you’re speaking to–people have very little patience for “it depends.”
If someone asks you a question, they legitimately don’t have time for a response that begins with “well it’s interesting, because there’s really no one right answer here…” That may be accurate in the most literal sense of the term, but the one thing it ISN’T is helpful.
There are plenty of very accurate people out there in academia who influence absolutely nobody because they try to toe the line too closely, becoming something of a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.”
Your audience isn’t looking for that. They’re looking for a Muhammad Ali-like micro-brand who will come along and say “I am the greatest–now who is coming with me?”
If you want to establish authority, you first need to establish confidence. Don’t ever let yourself forget that.
Now, this approach will require you to have strong opinions… which means that you’re absolutely going to pick up a few haters along the way. But at the same time, that’s exactly when you’ll know that this approach is working.
Grant Cardone once said that “criticism is easily avoided by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.” To craft the perfect micro-brand that captures the attention of as many people as possible, you have to say something, do something and be something. Sometimes, people aren’t going to like one or even all of those choices you’re making.
But those people don’t matter. Only the people who buy into the micro-brand you’ve created are worthy of your attention.
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Step 4: Underline Your Core Belief
What do you fundamentally believe to be true about the universe, and your company’s place in it? The answer to that question is your core belief–and it’s also what you need to be broadcasting as loudly and as often as you can.
Many experts agree that this is essentially the “why” of your micro-brand. It speaks to so many of the decisions that you’re making, and so much of the hard work that you’ve already accomplished.
- What was it about your particular products or services that allowed you to go from the idea stage that literally everyone has at some point to starting a full-fledged business?
- Why do you keep getting up in the morning and putting your time in at work, even in the face of setbacks and incredible adversity?
- What problem were you trying to solve on behalf of your audience members and why is it so important for you to do so?
The answers to these questions are the why of your business and again, they give people something to latch onto from both an intellectual and an emotional perspective.
The key thing to understand here is that this can also quickly become one of your core value differentiators as a brand. If your company happens to offer a product or service that is similar to someone else’s, your audience members are going to recognize that. But they’ll also recognize that your “why” is different, too.
In that situation, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase from the one they relate to. The one they believe in. The one that they can feel the passion resonating off of.
Digital Marketer, for example, has a mission of doubling the size of 10,000 businesses that was founded on the belief that the best product or service SHOULD win 100% of the time.
That’s a “why” that people can believe in because many of them want that for themselves.
Never underestimate just how important this particular point truly is and make no mistake, your brand will go far.
Step 5: Rites and Rituals
Every authority or movement that you’ve ever valued has had rites and rituals behind it. This is something that you can accomplish with your own micro-brand in a few different ways, including by:
- Getting your audience members to do something they would ordinarily never do, which means you’re almost an authority by default
- Get your audience members to alter an existing routine, like by showing them that your product or service may represent a change, but change can absolutely be a good thing
- Get your audience members to “lick” your brand, which is a humorous way of saying that they value it so much they almost feel protective over it and are so possessive that they’re hesitant to share it with anyone else
These types of rites and rituals are themselves almost enough proof that your quest for instant authority is working. Because if you can get someone to do something that terrifies them, to alter a routine that is baked into their very DNA or to feel so possessive over your brand that it almost reaches a protectiveness level, you’ve done more than just capture their attention.
You have their heart. You have their mind. At that point, make no mistake about it: their wallet won’t be far behind.
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