Establishing yourself as an authority within your industry allows you to pave the way for industry developments, rather than following in others’ footsteps. At one point, the leading industry authority may have been the business with the biggest ad budget. A prospective customer 30 years ago may have flipped through the yellow pages and settled with the first listed company. With the rise of the Internet, it’s become increasingly difficult to create customer trust and loyalty.
An industry authority holds a unique type of responsibility that exceeds simply having expert knowledge. Their wisdom is specialized and personalized, allowing them to make decisions to move the industry in a specific direction.
Being an authority in your industry gives you credibility.
According to Zipf’s Law, consumers’ verbalized preference of a brand directly correlates with their actual buying habits. They’ll intentionally narrow their possible choices of a brand until there are a couple preferred products. In other words, the companies which have established enough rapport will be the competitors who remain. Lesser known brands will no longer be the choice of consumers. If your company is the one they think of when they think of that industry, it will be the one that customers continue to go to.
Developing this trust is vital because it turns one-time customers into lifetime customers. Loyalty creates shorter sales cycles by reducing any doubt or worry potential clients may have about working with you, and develops long-term relationships that develop a consistent revenue stream. In essence, authority leads to brand recognition, and in turn, profitability.
There a few steps you can take to becoming an authority in your industry:
- Develop a specialization. Companies that have a specific niche focus have a specific client focus. Specialization allows you to personally cater to clients.
- Choose the right channels of communication. Understanding the demographic of your audience will allow you to better know where they’re getting their information from and develop a relationship with them. What social media sites do they use most? Do they respond better to videos or images?
- Understand what your clients value. Knowing the age of your target audience is one thing, but understanding their behavior is just as important. Creating a psychographic profile your audience will help you provide a product or service that they value.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. As an authority, you’re not following the status quo. You’re setting it, allowing others in your industry to follow your lead.
- Address industry changes openly. Be innovative; being an authority in your industry isn’t going to come from doing what every other company is doing.
Studies have shown time and time again that when bombarded with choices, customers will go with the product brand they’re familiar with. In the same way that a customer in a grocery store will pick up the Heinz ketchup bottle because they recognize the brand, your customers will rely on the authority in your industry. Developing trust and establishing yourself as an authority is key to building customer loyalty.