Small business owners often feel that they have to do something to stand out from the crowd and attract an audience. If that’s how you feel, you’re definitely not alone. Many business owners try to stand out by creating fancy websites that grab attention. Those may work in the short term, but it’s worth considering other ways to market yourself as an industry leader and build relationships with your ideal customers.

So how can you position yourself as a leader?

It’s all about establishing trust with your clients by showing them that you’re an expert in what you do and you care about their pain points.

Here are four tactics you can use to build relationships that turn prospects into clients.

1. Reach out on social media

Social media is a great place to raise brand awareness, but you can also use it to highlight your expertise. Show your customers you understand their needs by sharing content relevant to them. If your clients are in a specific industry, share posts about that industry. If they have certain needs in common, write about those needs.

Topics you could write about:

  • Changes in legislation that might affect them
  • Trends you see in their industry
  • Seasonal issues that would affect their business
  • Major upcoming issues and how to address them

Ask questions to better understand what they want to read about or to encourage discussion. When they comment on your posts, respond. Answer questions, thank them for commenting and find ways to take the conversation further.

You can also do searches on social media for groups related to your industry. Look for groups that are asking questions in your area of speciality, then provide answers to their questions.

2. Write articles for contribution sites

There are many “contribution sites” seeking great content. If you have something to say that’s relevant to your clients, write articles and contribute them to those sites. Once the article is posted, share it across your social media platforms and emails, to encourage people to read.

3. Encourage testimonials

Social proof shows prospective clients that there are people who love your company, and your products or services. People want to work with companies they like and trust, and they rely on the word of other people to help them determine whether they can trust your company.

When you have enthusiastic clients or customers, encourage them to share their thoughts through testimonials and reviews on social media. Ask for ratings and reviews on your social media sites, encourage clients to share information about your business to their networks and ask your really happy clients to write a testimonial or be the subject of a case study for your website.

4. Focus on a niche

It’s a lot more difficult to be a leader in anything if you’re trying to help everyone in any area possible. Helping everyone with everything is also a recipe for burn-out. You become a specialist by knowing one or two areas really well. Focus on one or two industries or niches that you can become known in based on what your ideal customers need from you. When people have an issue related to your speciality they’re likely to come to you, but if they only think of you as a generalist, you might wind up far down their list.

Final thoughts

With a little work and time spent getting to know your ideal clients, you can effectively position yourself as a market leader.

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