The best definition of content marketing is you give away information worth paying for in order to sell something related. Some people go with “lead magnets” (free stuff in exchange for your email address) that get plenty of sign-ups, but no clients (and that’s why we’re doing any of this, right?). This lesson explains the way to give away something valuable that also makes you the person they hire.
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Lesson 5: How to Demonstrate Authority with a ‘Lead Magnet’ Worth Paying For
Voiceover: Welcome to Get More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing, a free audio course presented by Unemployable with Brian Clark. For the full experience, head over to Unemployable.com and sign up for the Unemployable email newsletter, the week’s top resources for independent business people, personally handcrafted by serial entrepreneur and content marketing pioneer Brian Clark. That’s Unemployable.com.
Brian Clark: Hello there, and welcome back to Get More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing. I am your host, Brian Clark. Today is Lesson 5, and we’re talking about how to demonstrate authority with a lead magnet worth paying for.
Yes, we finally got to that point where we’re going to ask someone to get on an email list. It may surprise you that we did so much before we got to this point, but that’s kind of the key. Let’s get into today’s lesson because we’re really going to drill down quite a bit into turning you into an expert — not in your own mind, but in the minds of others.
Before we do that, I want to see if I could ask you a favor. If you’re digging the course so far, you’re finding value, getting some ideas, would you mind leaving a rating and/or review over at iTunes? Now I know not all of you use iTunes, but if you do, I’d greatly appreciate it. It really helps the show, the work that I do for free. It means a lot, and I appreciate it.
The easy way to do that, to get over there if you’re not in iTunes at the moment, is to go to Unemployable.com/iTunes. That will take you directly to the page that will allow you to open up iTunes and leave a rating or review.
How that works is a rating is simple, 1 to 5 stars, as far as your honest designation of the value of the work I’m doing. A rating would be even better, if you have the time, because I actually get to see what you have to say, what you found valuable. That kind of feedback really helps as well. Again, Unemployable.com/iTunes, and I would greatly appreciate it. I definitely check in and look at everything you guys have to say because it really is important.
Winning the Numbers Game … Without Shortcuts
Okay. My favorite definition of content marketing is giving away free information so good that it’s worth paying for in order to sell something else. Now, I can tell you from personal experience, you can give away free information to sell other information, and you can certainly give away free information to sell software and other products.
But I will say that in my 18-year career, I don’t think it’s been ever as effective. I won’t say easy, but I almost want to because giving away really great free information when you’re a service provider is one of the most effective marketing strategies I’ve ever encountered. It’s really how I got into all of this.
You’re giving away something that you still get to keep, and no matter how much you tell people … remember, I told you, teach them as if they have to do it themselves. You do that, they’re not going to do it themselves. You’re still better than they are. People get weirded out by that. Maybe not so much anymore. They used to. Look, the goal here is to get more clients, not everyone. We’re playing a numbers game.
We want more clients. You’re never going to close everyone that enters your funnel, so don’t even think that way. Don’t worry if someone, I don’t know, for some reason thinks they can do it themselves. That’s usually not the reason why people don’t choose you. It’s usually something else. Maybe they decide not to do it. There’s other factors involved. It doesn’t matter. The key is, “Did I attract more clients with this approach than I would have with another approach?” — or in my mind, any other approach? It’s that effective.
I’m telling you this because many try to do the bare minimum to get the opt-in. For example, I see all the time web designers giving away free templates, maybe for landing pages or what have you. Those are incredibly attractive to people. People want that, and they will opt-in to get it with a bad email address that they never check after they download your free stuff. Some lead magnets get the opt-in but nothing else.
Sonia Simone likes to say, “Don’t take shortcuts. They take too long.” I agree completely. The last thing I want to do is come up with a marketing strategy and it has to change every month or every three months, or even every year. When I used a free-course approach back in my real estate days, I used the same two courses for four years until I left the business.
Now, I do want to let you know that I made tweaks. You can always improve things, but that’s not the same as something that just stops working or works to get email addresses but doesn’t result in clients. What’s the point of that? There is no point.
The Psychological Influence Factors That Convert Prospects to Clients
You’ve got to hit the two key things here with your free content in order to convert people to clients, and that’s a combination of authority, one of our six influence factors, and affinity or liking, which is another one of our six influence factors. These are the two big ones, and that’s why I call it the ‘likable’ expert.
There are plenty of experts out there who are not likable. I bet you’ve met a few of these. Now, get these by giving away something great, something that people would have paid money for. Then you’ve got reciprocity. You’ve got social proof from the sharing that happens.
And now we have, finally, commitment and consistency coming naturally along. Once people decide to register for your free course, they have made a commitment. As long as you do a good job of getting them to come back and actually consume the lessons, you’ve got consistency. All of a sudden you become the inevitable choice, psychologically and in reality.
It’s not like you’re tricking anyone. I just point out these psychological influence factors because they are how we make decisions. You want to position yourself to be the actual best choice along with the perceived best choice. In a perfect world, they would always be the same thing. Ah, we don’t live in a perfect world. You might have noticed. It’s not just content, and that’s why I and many others have struggled with this term ‘content marketing’ the entire time. It seems to almost give the wrong impression right off the bat.
How Teaching Helps You Become an Influential, Likeable Expert (and Expands Your Audience)
Before content marketing, we had educational marketing. It was a thing before. It just wasn’t a movement, if you will. It’s education that positions you as an influential, likable expert. You demonstrate that you’re both an expert and a likable person — never by claiming it, but by teaching. You may take it on just your own experience that teachers are some of the most influential people in the world. They literally change the way you think, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
In the past, the whole idea of content creating authority or expertise, or demonstrating it, was the book. Now the problem with the book is, statistically, most people don’t read. I think it’s probably getting worse. That’s not to say there aren’t readers. I’m just saying, if you looked at the entire spectrum of people you would want to attract as a client, there may be a lot of people who you couldn’t get to read a book, but they would listen to an audio book. Listening is a different concept than reading, but it’s the same information.
Then there’s a whole ton of people who will watch a compelling educational presentation. Most of cable TV is actually educational programming dressed up in very engaging, fun ways. The key here, give away something worth paying for. The online education market in the United States alone is $21.3 billion. A lot of people are paying for online education. Combine that with the fact that some people like to read, but most people don’t. A text plus audio and even video slide or talking-head presentation expands your audience.
You’re not excluding people that might be highly likely to choose you if they can consume even a portion of this online training that you’re providing for free. A lot of times, they’ll get through a couple of lessons and they’re like, “Yep, this is my person.” Others will go through the whole thing. Either way, at whatever their point is of being ready to hire you — and we’ll talk about that in a future lesson — you’re going to put yourself in a position to be ready for it at the time.
Now, you may be saying, “Uh, I don’t know anything about creating an online course.” There are lots of people out there that can help you. Again, we have an entire roster of certified content marketing specialists who … they do copy, they do courses, they do attraction content, the whole thing. I will share that URL with you before we finish this thing.
But here’s the way to get started because, ultimately, even if you don’t create the course yourself, it’s going to be done in collaboration with you. Remember, you’re the expert. Just because you don’t necessarily present the information word for word doesn’t mean that it’s not coming from you.
The Essence of Authority
Where I would encourage you to start is to look at existing how-to books in your field. They will have effectively gone through the process of knowing what are the problems that a person who knows nothing about this topic needs to know. Or maybe they know a little, and they need to know these are the things that they face as obstacles through having a greater understanding.
Let’s go back to our examples we’ve used in the past. When I did the two real estate brokerages, we positioned ourselves as exclusive buyer agents. That is an agency designation in the field of real estate brokerage that basically says you only represent buyers, never sellers, therefore eliminating the conflict of interest. I decided to start that kind of brokerage because I read a book on it. It didn’t just occur to me. By reading that book, I became very well-versed.
Now, yes, I had a background as an attorney. I understood agency, but it’s different when you see things from a market opportunity. That’s what reading that book did. But it also allowed me to express in my own words … trust me, you do not want to plagiarize — never, never, never. We’re trying to build authority and likability here, and something that will kill both of them really quick is being a thief and a crook. We’re not doing that. We’re looking here for guidance. We’re identifying issues and pain points.
Now, you probably already understand all of this stuff, but this is an organized piece of already existing content that you can go, “Oh, yeah. I want to talk about this, this, this, this.” You’ve got an outline, and then whether you’re doing it yourself or enlisting the help of a content creator, you have got a roadmap right there.
Again, it’s easier to create a course like this than to write an entire book. You don’t have to cover the whole book. What you have to do is demonstrate to people by educating them that you’re a person they want to do business with. It’s really quite simple.
In the designer example I gave before, you would just simply talk about principles of conversion-driven design, which most people don’t know about, but it’s really easy to get them interested when you say, “If I design your site this way, you’re going to make more money. Here’s why.” The developer, talk about Agile software development for beginners. Tons of books out there. Easy, you already know it all.
Again, it’s your expertise that we’re ultimately going to draw on, but you’ve got an outline now. You’ve identified the key points that people have to know. If you teach them that, they’re going to come away smarter — but they’re going to attribute that to you.
That’s essentially the essence of authority, of expertise. It’s conveying information in a way that demonstrates you know what you’re talking about instead of just claiming it. That’s a crucial, crucial thing here because we don’t believe people who just claim things, do we? No — especially when it comes to expertise in the current climate. You’re going to want to demonstrate.
Going Beyond Information
A free online course that’s good enough for someone to have said, “Yeah, you know, I’d actually pay for that. But I don’t have to, and I’m going to hire this person because of it.” That’s what we’re trying to go for, but we have to go beyond information.
The principles and instructional design of persuasion, it goes beyond information. If you think about it, the expertise, the information conveyed by a very dry, snooty professor is very different from the super likable, friendly person who may not even be as smart as that professor, but we like to do business with people we like.
That’s why it’s not just authority. It’s not just expertise. It’s the reason why liking is one of those six powerful influence factors. The key here, though, is beautiful in the sense that you’re going to create that affinity, that liking, by using the very principles that make for a solid online course. That’s up next.
Check out the Rainmaker Platform. You can build online courses. You can create member areas. You can do podcasts. You can do pretty much everything, and that’s why we built it for ourselves first. We use it on all our sites, and I’d like to invite you to take it for a test drive for 14 days at RainmakerPlatform.com.
We’ll be up next with our affinity lesson. Please stay tuned and come back for that. Until then, start working on some of this stuff. See what you can put together, and we’ll keep going together. Take care.