Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie is the best-selling author of Email Persuasion and creator of Unsnooze Your Inbox - *the* guide to crafting engaging emails and newsletters that captivate your audience, build authority and generate more sales.

CategoryAuthority Marketing

Authority Marketing

Once is not enough

Posted on 30th January 2018.

Do you remember sitting exams when you were younger?

I know, I know, sorry for bringing up what might well be painful memories.

I hated exams myself.

I'm a brilliant procrastinator and I used to leave everything to the last minute then stay up all night “cramming” and hoping I'd still be vaguely sentient in the exam the next day.

A far better strategy is to prepare well in advance.

And your most effective weapon when it comes to getting things to stick in your brain is repetition (or more accurately, spaced repetition).

Going over the same material again and again (though ideally in different ways) means you remember it.

The same is true when we want to memorise a phone number or anything else important. We repeat it to ourselves until it gets lodged in our brain. 

We all know this simple strategy when it comes to remembering things ourselves. But when we want someone to remember us, we usually ignore it.

Our natural inclination is to try to make a great impression, and then just assume they'll remember us or what we said forever.

That's just not how things work.

If you want people to see you as an authority, you can't just get your ideas across to them once. You need to communicate on a regular basis.

Repetition leads to remembering.

Part of the secret of all great authorities is simply that they keep on communicating with us on a regular basis. And it's something you need to do if you want to be seen as an authority yourself.

Your platform of choice might be email, like I often use. Or it might be video or a podcast.

Whatever it is, there's a close correlation between how often people are exposed to your ideas and how well they remember them.

And if they don’t remember you or your ideas, there's no way they'll see you as an authority.


Authority Marketing

You are your ideas

Posted on 23rd January 2018.

How do you get someone who doesn't know you yet to see you as an authority?

It's tricky.

Let's be honest, a lot of what we use to try to differentiate ourselves is pretty much the same as everyone else has.

We probably tell our clients we get great results for them. We probably have a bunch of testimonials on our website. And a list of services we offer to deliver the results we promise. We might even have a guarantee.

None of that is probably all that much different from what our competitors say.

Now, under the surface, I'm sure it's very different. I'm sure you deliver different results in different ways and that your clients say different things about you.

But if someone doesn’t know you and just has your website to go on it's hugely difficult to say something different about results, services and testimonials to what everyone else is saying. Everyone says they get great results. Everyone has a 3 step methodology. Everyone has glowing testimonials.

But where you do see huge differences is in the ideas you share.

Look at a handful of websites in your field (or any field). A quick glance at the blogs, videos or free reports they share will reveal huge differences.

80% of the sites will just spout the same well-worn advice in their field as everyone else. Set a clear vision, engage your people, work on the business not in the business, blah blah. It immediately marks them as just being one of the pack.

20% will say something different. They'll have a strong point of view with interesting new ideas their clients can use to be more successful. You might not always agree with what they say, but they stand for something.

That different point of view can trigger lightbulb moments for potential clients. It can get them to whisper “hell yeah” under their breath when they agree. It can make them want to do business with you.

You must be one of the 20%. The different ideas you share are one of the few things potential clients can see that really mark you out as different and better to your competitors.

It takes a bit of bravery to put something out there that others might disagree with.

Bland is easier. But bland is the way of the commodity.

New and different ideas are the way of the authority


Authority Marketing

The “trailblazer” path to authority

Posted on 18th January 2018.

Today's email is about a path to being seen as an authority that's a perfect fit for those who are just that little bit worried about whether they have all the experience, qualifications or other magical characteristics needed to be seen as an authority by their clients.

I've seen other people talk about variations of this method, but I first came across it by observing comedian Dave Gorman.

If you don't know him already, Gorman is one of our most successful comedians here in the UK with a host of TV shows and best-selling books to his name.

Unlike other comedians, he doesn't stand centre stage with just him and a mic. He basically does powerpoint presentations.

But it's the unusual way he comes up with ideas for his act that's important and relevant here.

Where other comedians sit in a darkened room and scour their experience or imagination for ideas, Gorman does the opposite.

Instead of trying to think of interesting stuff, he goes out and does interesting stuff.

Some of the things he's done have involved travelling around the world to meet other people with his name. Living every day by following a very literal interpretation of his horoscope. Challenging the public to take him on at any game of their choice – from poker to darts to Khett to Cluedo to Kubb.

At every stage, he documents his adventures and then turns them into shows and books. 

Instead of having to recast and reframe his existing experiences to give his “clients” what they want, he goes out and creates new experiences that do so.

And the bonus is that his new experiences somehow feel more real. Like his audience is getting a secret insider view into his world.

I'm guessing you're already jumping ahead to how that applies to authority too.

If you feel like you haven't quite got the experience that your clients are looking for to see you as an authority, then instead of navel-gazing, worrying about it or thinking about how to “spin” what you've got into what they're looking for – go out and do something that gives you that experience.

That doesn't mean you have to spend 5 years working in the trenches aiming to emerge as a fully-formed exemplar of the experience your clients look for.

It means you can do what Dave Gorman did. Go out and try things, document your experiences and share them with your audience in real-time (or close to it).

In essence, be a trailblazer for them. Do what they want to do. Be a couple of steps ahead and show them what it looks like, warts-and-all.

This strategy works particularly well in a changing field where new ideas and approaches are emerging all the time. It means there's always the opportunity to have things to share that are new and valuable (even if it's your insights into things you've tried that haven't worked).

You'll see me use this strategy quite a bit.

Pretty much all of my emails are about marketing strategies I've tried myself. And often they'll be things I've tried quite recently. Marketing kind of lends itself to that – the principles are timeless but the tactics change quite often.

But almost every field is open to this type of approach.

If you're a leadership coach, for example, and your clients want to know that you've been through what they're going through: why not take on a role in a non-profit and document your experiences as the “new leader on the block”? 

Here's the thing…

Not only does this approach show you've got the experience your clients are looking for…

It shows that your experience is recent and relevant. You're dealing with the same issues they're dealing with right now, not relying on things you went through a decade or so ago.

And it builds empathy: you're just like them, but a few steps ahead.

And a nice side effect is that it creates an almost endless source of new and interesting content for you to share. And sharing that content allows you to showcase your expertise without it coming across as showing-off or just being a dull run-through of your credentials. 

Instead, it's an interesting window into someone at the “coal face” of an area your clients are vitally interested in. The feeling that you're experienced and know what you're doing sneaks into their brain without it having to be an overt message.

And so it's much more believable.

After all, who would you consider an expert: the guy or gal who you've witnessed doing something, or the one who tells you all about how they did it years ago?

So even if you have a ton of experience already, the trailblazer method can be a great way of making sure you're much less of a best kept secret and much more front of mind with potential clients.


Authority Marketing

Are you the authority your clients want?

Posted on 17th January 2018.

Are you the authority your clients want?

Or more exactly, are you the type of authority your clients want?

What I mean by that is that we all tend to respect a certain type of person and see them as “real” experts.

Some of us look at published authors and see them as the “real” experts.

Some of us see qualifications or academic credentials as denoting “real” expertise. 

Others look to those with practical experience or who've got a track record of successfully helping others.

And very often the type of person we tend to see as an authority isn't necessarily the type of person our clients would see as an authority.

As consultants and coaches, for example, we tend to spend a lot of our time on self-improvement. We know all the top authors and academics in our field because they're who we learn from to stay at the top of our game. So naturally, those are the sort of people we see as authorities.

But typically our clients are a different breed. They spend more of their time “doing”, not learning. And so the type of people they see as authorities tend to be those with experience. People who've achieved the things they want to do themselves or who have helped others do it.

This rift between the type of people we might see as authorities and the type our clients might see as authorities creates all sorts of problems.

It causes us to worry unduly about whether we've got the right qualifications or whether we need to spend ages writing a book when in truth our clients really don't value those things.

Or perhaps we worry about not having been an ultra-successful businessperson ourself when in fact our clients care more about our track record helping others achieve success.

So the first step to becoming seen as an authority is to truly understand what type of people your ideal clients see as authorities.

That doesn't mean you should try to be something you're not. If your strength is your experience and track record, don't try to write a book just because that's what your clients value.

Instead, it means that you should bring to the fore and highlight those areas where you match what your clients look for in an authority. If they value experience and you have experience and qualifications, highlight the experience first. 

And you should target those clients who appreciate your authority strengths. If you have comprehensive knowledge based on an extensive research project you did, don't target “practical” people who value experience and write off “academic” knowledge.

Above all remember that whatever your source of authority, there will be someone who values it. It's a matter of finding them and getting your positioning right so they instantly see your authority.

Next tip: the “Trailblazer ” path to Authority.


Authority Marketing

Lots of ways not to win a client

Posted on 11th January 2018.

On Tuesday I told you about how I flew to Geneva to attend a conference just to “accidentally” bump into a potential client so I could ask for a meeting.

And inevitably, although I got the meeting, it didn't result in winning a client. 

I did a whole bunch of other stuff that didn't result in winning clients either.

I tried cold calling: no clients.

Networking: no clients.

I got interviewed on the BBC World Service, got quoted in newspapers like the Independent and the Telegraph. Even got quoted in International Business Week.

No clients.

Now I'm not saying those methods don't work. They absolutely do for some people.

I know people who love getting on the phone and calling people – even people they don't know. They're good at it and they get results from it.

Others are great at networking and really enjoy it.

Pretty much every method of marketing works sometimes.

The problem for most of us is we don't have enough time to wait for “sometimes”. We need something with more certainty.

That's where authority comes in.

Authority amplifies any form of marketing.

No matter what method you use to contact someone, you're far more likely to get a positive response from them if they've already heard your ideas and buy in to what you have to say.

If they know they'll get value from talking to you they're much more likely to agree to a call or meeting than if you're someone they’ve just bumped into or who's called them out of the blue.


Authority Marketing

A long, long way to win a client

Posted on 9th January 2018.

There's a story I like to tell about the time I flew to Geneva to attend a conference that my #1 target client was speaking at, just so I could “accidentally” bump into him and try to arrange a meeting.

One the one hand it's a success story. I did indeed bump into that potential client and we did agree to have a meeting a few weeks later.

It's the kind of story macho salespeople like to tell about how far they're prepared to go to do what's needed to win clients.

But it's also a story of failure.

Although I ended up meeting the client, at our meeting the client told me that they intended to do a big project with someone else.

It was a project my firm at the time could easily have done. And we had a track record of successful work with them. But they had already decided to go with a competitor.

Had the competitor “out worked” me and gone to even further lengths to get their meeting?

Not a bit of it. They'd done the opposite.

Instead of spending their time chasing after clients desperately trying to get meetings to persuade them they could help them, they invested their time in building their intellectual property and positioning themselves as deep experts in what they did.

My client called them to ask for a meeting, not vice versa.

That makes a massive difference.

It was a much easier path for them to convince the client they were the right people to work with. In fact, they didn't really need to do any convincing. It was more a matter of confirming that they'd be a good fit for working together and agreeing on the plan.

Meanwhile, I was still desperately trying various backdoor routes to getting a meeting.

It was a big lesson for me.

Back then, the way to establish yourself as an expert was to write a book or get out on the conference circuit and do presentations.

These days it's much, much easier. There are a lot more ways of reaching the right clients for you – if you have something interesting and valuable to say.

The same principles apply, but more so. Getting your clients to come to you is 10x more effective than jumping on a plane to Geneva hoping to bump into them and persuade them to meet you.

And the best way to do it is to become seen as an Authority in your field.


Authority Marketing

5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Authority When I Started My Business

Posted on 18th July 2017. 5 Things I Wish I'd Known About Authority

I‘m sure you've noticed that becoming seen as an authority or “go to expert” has become rather fashionable as a marketing strategy. It seems that no matter what new tactic, tool or technique is being promoted, one of the main selling points is always that it will help you become seen as an authority in your field.

Write a book and become seen as an authority in your field. Do guest blog posts and become seen as an authority in your field. Do a podcast and become seen as an authority in your field. Be everywhere on social media and become seen as an authority in your field. Do live video…you get the idea.

Every guru and marketing trainer seems to want to teach you how to become seen as an authority.

Maybe you're a little bit skeptical?

I don't blame you.

The truth is that hundreds of thousands of people write books, yet only a tiny fraction of them are seen as authorities.

Millions of hours are spent on guest blog posts, podcasts and live video and again, very few people who do it are known as authorities.

And “being everywhere” on social media? Even if you had the time, there are countless thousands of other people doing it too – and again, very few of them ever get close to authority status.

Click here to find out what I learned on my journey to authority »


Authority Marketing

The Proven Path to Building Authority: Getting Started

Posted on 6th June 2017. The Proven Path to Building Authority: Getting Started

There's no doubt in my mind (and my experience) that being seen as an authority in your field is the best way for people in expert businesses like consultants, coaches, trainers and other professionals to win more high-paying clients without having to become marketing geniuses or spend all their time on sales.

But of course, becoming seen as an authority is easier said than done.

New: Click here to register for my FREE 5-Day Authority Challenge. In just 5 days you'll learn what it really takes to become seen as an Authority and build your roadmap to get there.

Late last year I ran a survey asking what your biggest challenge in the area of building authority was. There were a huge number of answers which I then used to help me shape my Authority Breakthrough Program. But overall, three big challenges came out well ahead of the others:

Read about the challenges and how to address the biggest one »


Authority Marketing

Being Seen as an Expert Won’t Win You Clients. Here’s Why.

Posted on 17th December 2016. Big Thoughts

There's been a big trend in the last few years that says that the way to win clients as a professional service provider is to become seen as a leading expert in your field.

As a result, more and more professional services marketing has become focused on creating mounds of content which showcases and proves the expertise of the service provider.

It makes sense, in theory. When clients want help for complex, tricky problems, they call the best expert they can find.

Or do they?

Let's give this idea a little reality check.

Think about the last few times you pitched for a piece of work with a client and didn't win. How often was it because you weren't seen as being enough of an expert by that client? Or because the winner was seen as a bigger expert?

My experience: very few times indeed.

The reasons you win or lose work are rarely because they don't see you as an expert.
Click here to find out why clients REALLY don't hire you »


Authority Marketing

No One Needs Your Crappy Content

Posted on 20th June 2016. No One Needs Your Crappy Content

These days I get increasingly frustrated at the growing wave of advice for professionals saying you need to become seen as an expert in your field.

Of course, I'm part of that wave too.

It's not that there's anything wrong with becoming seen as an expert. That's a good thing (though it's far from the only way to succeed, and it's not suited to everyone).

What gets me worked up is that all the advice on how to do it seems to be missing the point about what it really takes to become seen as an expert.

Click here to find out what it REALLY takes to be seen as an expert »