As a practice owner and professional service provider, you have worked hard to reach your current position. But what about your website positioning? How can you increase website referrals to your business and improve your ranking in search results?
It all comes down to trustworthiness.
People have trusted their friends to make reliable referrals to personal service professionals for decades, but today everyone has a trusted friend in Google.
Many prospective clients turn to Google when searching for professional services and most people are looking for results based on expertise. In consideration of this consumer behavior, Google has weighted the trustworthiness – read: accuracy – of website content in their algorithm. Google will position results from accurate sources higher than popular ones, in an effort to present information that consumers can trust.
How does that affect your current branding strategy?
When it comes to distinguishing yourself as an expert in your field, it is important to remember that clients are often unaware of the efforts and resources required to achieve such status. There are many ways to inform your clients of your expertise, but developing a strategic plan for educating consumers while establishing a brand as an expert in your field can seem like a big undertaking. Here are some specific recommendations for steps to take on the path toward leveraging your expertise:
Align Yourself with Other Experts …
It is extremely important to maintain profiles on industry-specific platforms, such as Healthgrades, Avvo, or RealSelf, just to name a few. For some consumers, these sites are one-stop-shop directories offering a thorough comparison of competing providers. If you aren’t even listed here, you could be missing out on clients!
…Then Rise Above the Competition
Elevate your status on a professional platform like LinkedIn by joining professional interest groups and responding to forum questions. Posting visual or downloadable content on a regular basis also provides an opportunity outside of your professional skills to be of service to prospective clients. By engaging with consumers, you create a following and stay relevant.
Whether it is your approach to customer service or your vision for the future of your industry that sets you apart from your competition, clients are more easily persuaded by information from trustworthy sources, so communicating your value and advantage is key. The goal is to differentiate yourself after acquiring a thorough understanding of what makes you a reliable expert.
Become a Reliable Source of Information
ALWAYS be seeking out new ways to present your expert knowledge. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Reach out to news and media outlets
- Offer to be included on their list when they are looking for expert quotes or opinions
- These contacts are always looking to network, so try to stay in front of them until you get an opportunity for exposure (it shouldn’t be very long)
- LinkedIn can also be a great way to make connections with the appropriate contacts
- Public Intake Network – NPR sources from here
- Create and distribute press releases on industry-relevant subjects such as your introduction of a cutting-edge new service or your involvement in a specialized area of study
- Host an open forum or panel event
- Discuss general strengths and specific opportunities in your industry
- Write for industry publications
- Original content offers a quick and easy way to dramatically increase your exposure
- Citing other trustworthy sources in original content, like The Library of Congress or The Mayo Clinic, improves your website positioning and overall trustworthiness to your clients
Brag About It
Frequently ask yourself a few inventory questions:
- What have you accomplished recently?
- What are you proud of or excited for within your industry?
- What has helped move your practice or professional skills forward?
Sharing the latest in professional developments will help support your claim as an industry expert. Have you received recognition for quality or client service? Were you nominated as a board member or fellow? This information is relevant to your existing and prospective clients. Make sure you have the proper marketing channels in place to share these accomplishments and amplify your brand as a subject matter expert.
Odds are you already have the knowledge and skills to establish yourself as an expert. Give yourself some credit and share the information with your prospective clients to gain an advantage over your competitors. By following these steps and consistently engaging with your audience, you build a brand centered on trust with your clients, which means you can effectively brand yourself as a trustworthy expert and see better results for your business.
By Amy Heath, Internet Marketing Consultant, Page 1 Solutions