Marketing An Online Business With Credibility… Believability… And Proof!!! (part 4)

Today, we’re continuing the series on how get and leverage credibility, believability and proof to boost your online business.

And we’re heading down the home stretch…

We’ve now covered 12 methods you can employ.

In our first post Marketing An Online Business? Step #1 – Create Credibility, we covered:

  1. The Powerful Demonstration
  2. Results In Advance
  3. Marquee Clients
  4. Track Record
  5. Powerful Associations
  6. Unique Mechanism

In our second post Marketing An Online Business? Step #2 – Boost Believability, we covered:

  1. Displays Of Knowledge
  2. Personal Endorsement
  3. Case Histories
  4. The Sinatra Test

In our third post Marketing An Online Business? Step #3 – Pile On The Proof! , we covered

  1. Innovation & Being On The Cutting Edge
  2. Leveraging Research & Studies

And today we’re going to add 4 more to your tools to create the credibility you deserve.

Before we dive in – I just  want to say thank you if you’ve been commenting.  I really appreciate it.

Your feedback has been incredibly useful to me in figuring out where to go next.  Plus it provides me immediate feedback… making posting here …. addictive!

OK, let’s get going…

#13
Media Mentions

What It Is: Having you or your company mentioned in the media.  It can be as small as being quoted… to as big as a full profile piece.   No matter its size it’s valuable and can be leveraged.

Why It’s Powerful: When a media outlet of any sort (positively) mentions you or your company it adds massive credibility.  Most entrepreneurs recognize this – however, what they don’t realize is how simple it is to get in the media.

Don’t believe me?  Keep reading and I’ll explain how you can nudge your way in.

How To Do It: There are many strategies that will get you media attention – and there’s no way I can be exhaustive here – but let me give you three that you might not have thought of.

1 – Cultivate Relationships – Do you know WHO the journalists are that would cover stories related to your market?  And more importantly, do they know YOU?  My guess is your answer to both is NO.

And that’s a big mistake.  You see, when a journalist needs an expert’s opinion you want to have “contact real-estate” in their Rolodex.  Often times, they’re rushing to meet a deadline – so they’ll call someone they know to get a quote or perspective to include in their story… and you want to be that expert.

What this requires is:

  1. Start following the media outlets you’d like to appear in…
  2. Identify the journalists that are covering areas related to yours…
  3. Start following their stories…
  4. Reach out to them when they’ve written a particularly good piece or if you’ve got a great follow-up piece. (Maybe even blog about their good stories)…
  5. Stay in touch…
  6. Eventually – you’ll get the chance…
  7. Be as accommodating  as possible, as useful as you can be for them…
  8. Cultivate the relationship going forward.

Below you’ll see links to three articles I appeared in last year on CNN.com

All of these came about because of a relationship I cultivated with Emily Maltby of CNN.

You can do the same… All it requires is patience and persistence.

2 – Develop Interesting Hooks – Journalists are always looking for interesting and valuable stories to report on.  So, make it easy for them.  Come up with a great story yourself!

Once you’ve begun to develop relationships with journalists -having a great story really supercharges your publicity.

When I had my hypnosis centers we were in the media frequently.  And usually it was caused by this strategy.  Two that come to mind…

  1. A story about a travel agent who was afraid to fly came in for phobia relief (and it worked)!
  2. A story about a teacher who brought her daughter in to improve her grades with hypnosis (and it worked)!

The media eat up stories like this in a heartbeat.  So, you’ve got to look at your business from the outside and ask yourself “where’s the interesting story here?”  Brainstorm as many answers to this question as possible – and keep at it.  Usually you’ll know when you’ve got something juicy.

When you’ve got a really good one and feel confident about it – shoot a quick (and short) email to one of the journalists you’ve already put on your hit list.  If he or she isn’t interested approach the next one, and so on and so on… till you find a journalist that bites.

3 – Conduct Fascinating Studies – A backdoor approach to getting in the media is to conduct interesting surveys.  I’m not an expert at this, but I have several clients who are.  And they’ve reaped tremendous rewards because it.

For example, when the recession first got underway – I could’ve conducted a survey about how entrepreneurs were planning to adjust.  I could’ve listed several options, Like….

  1. Invest more in their own education to grow their business during difficult times.
  2. Cut back on bigger projects and look for smaller quick wins.
  3. Fire at least one employee.
  4. Outsource more to developing countries.

Can you see how if any of these were a clear winner, it could make an interesting story?  I can see the headlines now…

  1. Entrepreneurs Investing More In Themselves To Grow Their Businesses In The Recession
  2. Entrepreneurs Are Cutting Back And Looking For Quick Hits In The Midst Of The Recession
  3. Entrepreneurs Tightening Their Belts And Handing Out Pink Slips
  4. Entrepreneurs Placing “Help-Wanted” Signs… Overseas!

See how easy that was?

What interesting surveys could you start conducting that would provide a good hook for a journalist?  Remember if you want their attention you’ve got to do more than meet them halfway.  You’ve got to make it easy for them.

You can run the survey on your blog, email your list, or if it’s juicy enough run pay-per-click to the survey.  Try it… you’ll see.

Example: I could show you countless examples of how I’ve done this… and maybe in a future post that will be appropriate.  Today I want to press on… so let me share just two.

I told you about Emily Maltby from CNN.com – here are three articles she wrote, that yours truly was quoted in….

And of course, once you get mentioned you want to broadcast that to the world.  Here’s one of the footers from our home page…

Media Mentions

Next…

#14
Leveraging Social Proof

What It Is: By appearing popular you often seem more credible.

Why It’s Powerful: The logic is… if others find this person or this company’s information valuable… I guess it is.

Example: There are many ways to show popularity.  Here are a few examples…

  1. The number of Twitter followers…
  2. The number of Facebook fans…
  3. The number of RSS readers…
  4. Your Alexa ranking…
  5. The number of comments on your blog post…
  6. etc.

Think about it – I know for me, when I go to a blog and I see lots of RSS subscribers, or lots of comments – my interest is always piqued.  What about you?

How To Do It: This comes back to two basic concepts.  Create Value & Engage.  You’ve seen me do both on this blog as of recently – so just keep paying attention to what I am doing and see what ideas it stimulates.  Also, if you haven’t already, read this post I did two weeks ago…

Online Business Tip:  How 3 Blog Posts Cause Explosive Traffic, Engagement, And Profits

Next…

#15
Being A Specialist

What It Is: When you specialize, the logical leap is you know more about that area than a generalist would.

Why It’s Powerful: As any market evolves it fragments.  As a market fragments there becomes more and more experts who specialize in certain sub-areas of the market.  Think about it…

You use to buy sunglasses in department stores… now there are stores who just sell sunglasses.

You use to go to a general lawyer…. now there are lawyers who specialize in divorce, accidents, malpractice, etc…

You use to go to your local garage to get your oil changed… now there are places like Jiffy Lube who just do oil changes.

I could go on and on.  But the point here is that you can easily boost your credibility by specializing on a specific area of your market.

Example: If you had a new puppy that was in desperate need of house training – and you cracked open the yellow pages or did a local search in Google, who would you choose?

Would you choose the puppy training specialist or a simple dog trainer?  Well, you want to be the specialist that solves important problems in your marketplace.

Here’s a slide from The Final Chapter (you have read that right?)…

Markets Fragment

Look at it – what I was showing here is how online marketing was fragmenting.  And therefore there’s always an opportunity to become a guru (if you so choose) or a market leader in a certain area.

When Internet Marketing was just starting out there were simply generalists.  Then it started to fragment.  Notice how the third row is a subset of online advertising… And the fourth row is a subset of Pay Per Click.  In other words, each row below is a subset of one box above.

Now, this is an old slide, the slide would be much bigger today – to incorporate many more sub-niches and along with it…. many areas where an Expert is needed.

How To Do It: Look at your niche – identify the current fragments – rank them in size (base that on search volume, site popularity, etc…) – determine if there is already a well entrenched expert in each of these fragments – if not, you just spotted your opportunity (if it fits with your strengths).

If all the fragments are already occupied by an entrenched expert  – then look at the three biggest sub-niches and think through how they might be divided in the future.  Pick the one you believe will be sizable and with a head-start you’ll be able to outshine others.

#16
Client Contests

What It Is: Incentivize your clients to get results through a contest and publish their success stories for the world to see.

Why It’s Powerful: When you see mounds of success stories from average people, the implications are overwhelming that what you do gets results.

It’s sad but true – most people need more than just their possible success to light a fire under them.  So, when you incentivize success you usually generate a lot more success stories for your clients.  And when they are publicly displayed it can be some of the best advertising you could ever do.

So your clients are more motivated to get results, and…. to document them for you in a very compelling way.  There’s also been a few studies that show that clients who participate successfully in these types of contests (even when they don’t win) are much more likely to become raving fans of you and your company.

Example: The best example that comes to mind is Bill Philips.  Do you remember his book Body For Life? It was crammed packed with the submissions of the previous years contests.  Which further implied his methodology and his supplements worked.  You see, it wasn’t enough to be in phenomenal shape to motivate many, but…. throw in a Lamborghini and a hundred thousand in cash to go along with a super-fit body and all of sudden everybody becomes a gym-rat.

While we haven’t done this recently in our programs – it is something we plan on doing soon in both Founder’s Club and our Business Growth System.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

But one contest we had that had spectacular success was a video contest for The Attention Age Doctrine II – when it was all said and done – we had hundreds of our readers create videos promoting the doctrine.

It built tremendous traffic for our site, boosted downloads of the report, got us hundreds of new clients, and got my first gig in front of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

If you want to check out the winners (they’re quite good) – here they are… We Have Our Winners

How To Do It: While this is simple, it’s not necessarily easy.  But here’s how to start.  Think about the result that is most desired by your prospects.  Once you know that – figure out a way to have a big contest for your clients on achieving that same result.  Obviously the better the prizes, the better participation.  And if you’re planning on doing this in a big way you’ll probably need the advice of a lawyer too (bummer).

But make no mistake – when done correctly this strategy will skyrocket your credibility and also multiply profits.

Alright, that wraps up today’s post.

OK – before I go…

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I’ve got 2 quick questions for you…

  1. Which one of these do you plan on using first?
  2. What questions do you have about using these or any of the others we’ve already covered?

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Oh yeah, don’t forget to tweet this too! (It’s to the right just below the headline for the post).

To higher profits and beyond,

Rich Schefren

 

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