When it comes to starting any new business, you need to be able to offer something of value to your audience, while also figuring out a way for you to make money in the process.
One of the best ways to do this is to simply figure out what you have an expertise in, build a following, and then sell it to the masses.
In most cases, this sounds easier said than done.
However, what most individuals and experts who plan to accomplish this forget to do, is put in the time, work and research before they get started. That is exactly what I’m going to be helping you with today.
Not only have I been able to master the art of creating a successful brand and business online, I also know some of the best tools and resources out there to help you do the same.
First, what is your expertise and where is your audience?
Everyone can be considered an expert at something – even if you don’t think you are that great. The truth is, you only need to know 1% more than anyone else in the room to be considered an expert. This is something many would-be experts and entrepreneurs have a hard time dealing with, as they don’t realize they are much smarter than they actually are.
To help better understand this concept, let’s take a look a recent article on JobMob that breaks down the 7 points of being an expert in anything. If you run through the list below and feel that many of these apply directly to you, then you are likely already an expert at what you do and might even be able to base a full business or service around your expertise.
- More knowledge than others
- Recognized credentials
- Can demonstrate expertise
- Proven track record of success
- Many testimonials
- Well-versed in failure
- Other experts refer to you
If you still aren’t sure what to consider yourself, if not an expert, then you can also refer to an open forum site like Quora, where industry experts answer questions all the time.
Look through the site and see how many questions and answers are out there related to your expertise and niche, and see if you’d be a valuable asset to those asking for advice.
Quora is also a great way for you to establish yourself as an expert online and get in front of a growing audience. This is something we will go into more detail about later in the article.
In summary, if you have a pretty good idea what you are doing and have plenty of experience, you can likely call yourself an expert and think about building out a few services or even an online course around what you do.
With all of this in place, it’s time to start building a foundation for your personal brand, while also creating a sales funnel and customer base in the process.
Next, it’s time to decide how to build and grow your following
In order to find success in the world of coaching, selling personal services and online courses, you are going to need to build trust with your audience and also have a platform online.
This is something many people will already have in place, but if you don’t already, a WordPress blog is a great way to get started. In short, all you need is a domain name, web hosting and some great content on your site to get started. Focus on what you are best at, and always provide as much value to your audience as possible.
Since this is a relatively simple process, I won’t dive into it too much. However, if you would like to learn more about starting a blog of your own, I recommend you read through this simple blog starting guide.
The real meat of selling your expertise as a business is the branding and engagement that you will have with your audience. It’s not just about getting your face in front of the right crowds and putting content on your site, it’s also about making sure the right follow-up and marketing tools are in place as well. A great all-in-one solution for setting this up is GetResponse.
Why is this? Simply because they have taken some of the best marketing elements out there and brought them all into an easy to use solution for brands or experts to put to use right away – without the need to learn how to design, code or build a site from scratch.
At the same time, you can also look at some key industry stats on which marketing elements can help you build a brand, audience and legitimate business in the process.
- “Email marketing returns $38 for every $1 spent.” (DMA)
- “68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner a new sales lead for future conversion.” (MarketingSherpa)
- “Between 20% and 40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads” (Ascend 2)
With all of this in mind, let’s also take a look at how you can start using such methods to grow your own expertise-based business today.
- Email Marketing – Having a website is great, but the majority of people who visit your site and leave will never come back. An email list is simply the best way to grab a users email address and get them to keep coming back for more. Create an auto-responder series and keep the conversation going for weeks and months after that initial first visit. Again, it’s all about the engagement.
- Webinars – If you want to build trust with your audience, you need to get as personal with them as possible. Text content and online video is great, but if you put in the time and effort to run a 45-60 minute webinar with your audience, this will shoot sign-ups, lead conversions and audience trust through the roof.
- Landing Pages – Whether you are looking to gain sign-ups for your mailing list, a webinar or even a product pre-launch, having the right landing pages in place is key to making sure your audience know what you are offering and how to get it. With your own landing page tracking system in place, you can also build out custom pages and ad copy to split test what is working best with your audience.
- Marketing Automation – Already being an expert at whatever it is you do, you don’t want to all of a sudden switch your mindset and be running your business and the development side at all times. The good news is that there are plenty of marketing automation tools out there to help with this process. This means you can set up a process once, measure the results and go with an automation or follow-up plan down the road.
Of each of the methods mentioned above, the email marketing and auto-responders have to be my favorites. This is simply one of the best ways to create an easy to use funnel for your audience, where they can subscribe to your mailing list, then get new corresponding updates every few days.
This is something that is working extremely well for professionals, experts and coaches who are selling their services online. You can see an in-depth breakdown of how to create an effective coaching auto-responder series here.
Now that you’ve got an idea of how some of the top online marketers and branding experts are using advanced tools and marketing methods to grow their brands and businesses, it’s time for you to start doing the same.
At the same time, all of this can be quite overwhelming to someone first starting out. The good news is you can implement each of these methods one at a time, and at your own pace.
A good plan of action for this would be to go live with your website, make sure all of your social networking profiles are set up, start releasing content through your site and also make sure you have an email list or newsletter in place.
Once your social profiles, blog, and content are actively reaching new audiences, then it’s time to start playing around with new landing pages and even an upcoming webinar launch!
5 Resources to Help Grow Your Brand and Business
We’ve discussed the importance of knowing what your expertise is, and if you know enough to create a viable business out of it.
Next, we looked at some of the best methods for going live with a website to build your platform and some of the best ways to use marketing tools and automation to scale your business.
Now it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to reach audiences around the world and turn your expertise into some real profit.
Having been in the world of online marketing and blogging for over 20 years now, I know what it takes to create content that continually works for me, while also connecting with my audience and providing value at all times.
Here are some of the best methods that are working for me – which you should be using as well!
1. Creating the best resources
If you want to be an authority and expert within your industry, you need to create the best content possible for your audience.
When writing content for your site, don’t just think about how you can rank in search results for your target keywords and phrases, also think about the value being offered to your audience.
Billions of active websites are creating content, but only the best will rank the highest and be shared naturally through their site visitors. This is exactly what you will want to achieve with your own site, content, and brand.
To learn more about how to create the best content possible, be sure to check out this previous article on the Jeff Bullas blog.
The concept of visual marketing and using infographics is nothing new, however, I still feel many individuals and brands are simply not using them to their full advantage.
I love infographics and use them all the time to get link backs, references, social shares and reach new audiences that normal text content might not be able to.
Take a look at these infographic marketing tips for 2017 to see what’s working best today. Remember, it’s not just about creating an infographic, it’s also about putting in the necessary promotional efforts as well.
Once you have an infographic live on your site, be sure to submit it to infographic directories and put in some time to outreach to other relevant blogs in your niche. Create a great infographic for your niche or industry, and you might be surprised with how many mentions and references you might receive.
3. Expert roundups
You’ve likely already seen and heard of expert roundup posts before, and that’s because they work extremely well. The concept behind an expert roundup post is simple – ask a bunch of experts a common question, then post all of their answers to your site in one giant post.
What most people don’t realize is the real value in creating such content. Not only are you giving your audience massive value, you are also likely to get a ton of backlinks and social shares from all of the experts you featured on your site as well.
To see how some top entrepreneurs, brands and experts are doing this in their own space, check out these 17 expert roundup examples.
4. Getting interviewed
Have you ever wondered why some experts and authorities are always getting featured on television, getting quoted in magazines or giving advice to big name celebrities?
It usually has a lot to do with not just “who they know”, but also “what they know”. There are plenty of resources and methods out there for getting media exposure or even written up in popular blogs in your niche, it’s just that many people don’t know where to go or who to ask.
This guide on how to get interviewed on SmartBlogger is a great resource for anyone looking to put their expertise and talent to use. Run through the list and see what opportunities might be available for you to get a few minutes of fame!
5. Retarget to your existing audience
If you’ve ever been to a website before, then started seeing advertisements for that same site or product on other sites, you’ve likely been a participant in ‘retargeting advertising’.
The concept is quite simple… a site owner or brand places a pixel (cookie) on their site and tracks who is visiting, buying and/or leaving. If the visitor leaves without making a purchase or taking action, they will likely start seeing ads to come back and hopefully buy something.
The process works extremely well on Google Adsense and Facebook Ads. To learn more about how retargeting works and to set up a campaign of your own, be sure to check out this guide on NeilPatel.com.
Depending on the niche market you are in, some of these methods may work better than others. For a list of even more ideas, be sure to check out these other content marketing methods.
How to turn your expertise into a real business in 2017
Without a doubt, starting a blog and getting yourself online is simply one of the best ways to get your name out there and grow a following for yourself. Once this following is in place, it’s simply a matter of time before you start putting your expertise and marketing efforts to work.
This is a business model that continually works time and time again. If you have an expertise and can offer value to your audience, there is a huge opportunity for you to find success with your own personal brand or business in 2017. The ultimate goal here is to become an influencer within your space.
Read through this simple process again, then start implementing everything you need to put your expertise and business idea into motion.
Guest Author: Zac Johnson is a world renowned blogger and entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of experience in the online marketing space and has helped his readers generate millions of dollars online. He shares his story and guidance at ZacJohnson.com