You are an expert.

Believe it or not, compared to your customers, you are an expert.  Sure they may have a PHD in astro-physics, but when it comes to your product, the reason they’re coming to you is because you are the resident expert in that field. So why is this important? It’s an absolutely fantastic marketing tool.

The point of marketing is not force customers to buy products they would really rather not have, it’s to educate potential customers on the existence and use of your product or service. Being the local go-to person can be incredibly useful to you however, because by getting the fact that you are an expert out into the public eye in your target areas, people are instantly aware of who you are, and they’re going to be aware that you can solve their problems. Just by helping people, 90% of your marketing effort has just been completed.

There’s an almost infinite number of fields you can be an expert in. Let’s say you own a shop, and your shop sells solar panels. Sure you’re not a scientist, but without even thinking about it you’ve learned a whole lot about solar panels, right? You know that, given a solar panel needs to be used for a long period of time to get proper value, an on site warranty is crucial, your buyer really needs to find someone who will offer an on-site warranty unless they want to be climbing onto their roof and sending solar panels back to China. You know all about efficiency levels, what is normal vs exceptional, you know about ambient heat, you know about framing quality. This very specific information may be boring to many people, but to people who have entered your zone, your future customers, this information could be exactly what they’re looking for.

As someone who is actually providing this service to the public, do you realise you actually have quite a bit of clout with the media? Although you may lack formal qualifications (or not!), you have a degree from the school of hard knocks, one of the best schools around when it comes to business. Imagine getting a ring one day from a journalist wanting a quote on your favourite field, of course you’d love to give your opinion if it’s something you know all about, and you’d be more qualified than pretty much every single person who reads it just because it’s your favourite field.

Doing a quick google search there are sites that help link journalists with experts, for example http://www.expertguide.com.au/, that also allow you to sign up for a free account.

You can imagine the exerpt somewhere in the middle of the article:
But there are also hidden dangers, Harvey Dent of Brilliant Solar Panels says the single most important factor in buying a solar panel is to look at the warranty. Although cheap, given their long life solar panels without a warranty could actually cost you more in the long run than if you’d continued to suck your juice from the coal plant.

I wonder who’s online store those readers are going to at least visit when looking for new solar panels. A blog is also crucially important for your website, as the wonder that is google makes connecting people seeking information with the people that have it so much easier than ever before. That blog, although sometimes difficult to find time for, gives people the information they seek and in the processes demonstrates your expertise in the area.

Other ways to get your local expertise out there are through press releases, giving free local seminars, and by putting articles in local trade releases or volunteer newsletters (for example Engineers Australia or the Law Society)

Above all, be honest about how much experience you have. But even someone with only a month of experience in a narrow field is going to have a wealth of information that the people just behind them could find tremendously useful. Common sense prevails, don’t give legal or medical advice unless qualified to do so, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting your target market know that you are the go to person when it comes to pre 1990 commodore spare parts.

You don’t need to be the greatest expert in the world, you just need to be the easiest to find.

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Kind Regards,
Nick Cooper

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