3 Lessons on Influence Marketing and the Ultimate Inner Circle

Most senior executives are well acquainted with the concept of influence marketing.

The idea is to build relationships with a group of people who are able to sway the buying decisions of your target audience. We’ve been conditioned to thinking of influencers as celebrities, public figures, or Twitter profiles with a Klout score of 70. But these are not the people who influence your customers.

In fact, when shopping for your products, prospects are more likely to be swayed by their families, friends, and peers – people with whom they have common interests and a trusting relationship. But since most CEO’s don’t have access to this “inner circle,” what other options do they have?

#1. Digital Friends

Well the good news is that today’s consumer has a whole new set of individuals and brands that make up their inner circle. This is a group of “trusted digital friends” whom consumers rely upon to give them advice on what to buy and where to go. They include writers, niche bloggers, industry analysts, industry peers, event speakers, investors and more.

If you’re trying to identify the “movers and shakers” in your industry, these are some of the folks who offer a level of trust, credibility and expertise to prospects that you have yet to reach. They offer your company another route to an untapped market. For this reason it is well worth your time to identify and interact with them.

#2. Business Benefits of Influencer Marketing

With email and social media, the time it takes to reach out to influencers is little compared to the benefits that you can achieve. Here are some cost-effective benefits of influencer marketing:

  • Drive more traffic to your website – When an influencer mentions your company and its products, a lot of people (whom you previously had no access to) will go to your website to get more information. They trust the influencer’s guidance and will be open to learning about your company.
  • Increase brand awareness, inbound leads and inquiries about your company – When you invest in a relationship with a key influencer in your industry, they might review your products, guest-blog on your site, or just talk about your company’s values and mission. These are all opportunities for a wider audience to learn about your offerings.
  • Boost positive sentiment, build credibility, overcome sales objections – When an influencer gives your company ‘the stamp of approval’, people who trust him or her are also more likely to trust your company, making it easier for your sales staff to do their job faster, without spending much time selling the company’s value proposition.
  • Test your brand’s messaging and value proposition – if you can’t sell your company’s offerings to influencers, chances are you will receive the same friction from prospects. Influencer marketing provides vital feedback (whether positive or negative) that gives you valuable insights about how your company is perceived.

#3. Getting the Attention of Influencers

It’s not always easy to identify influencers, let alone get them on board with your company’s mission. Most of them have a laundry list of pre-requisites for working with brands – partnership, a long-term commitment, respect, compensation, relevant products, clear campaign goals and so on.

Brands that want to create successful partnerships with influencers find that they must meet these requirements. However there’s no doubt that they have a great potential to help your company achieve the marketing goals you want.

If you don’t have an influencer outreach program, or a staff to help execute it, consider hiring an Influencer Relations Specialist to help you. Their role is to represent your company well, reach out and get the attention of influencers, communicate your company’s message clearly, and deliver tangible results based on the goals set by senior executives.

Hopefully your company will start to engage with key influencers in your industry so that you can generate trust and credibility around your brand, and reach more customers!

Your Turn:

Does your company have an influencer outreach program? What kind of experience have you had? Please share in the comment box below.

6 Ways Doctors Can Influence their Site’s Listing in Search

Google search is the most common way for current and potential patients to find information about your practice.

Research shows that less than 10 percent of searchers look beyond the first page of SERP (Search Engine Results Page). That’s why it is important that the most valuable content on your website feature on the first page of Google or Bing search results.

Content that should appear on the first page of SERP

  • Your Website – This should be the first thing a patient sees because it has everything they need to know about what you practice. Plus you have control over the content you want them to see so that’s an added advantage.
  • Your Bio Pages – Every organization, association, hospital or medical practice that you have an affiliation with should have a biography of your background, experience and current specialties. If they do not, consider submitting a unique bio to each one for them to post on their sites.
  • Your Blog Content – Blogging can help reinforce your expertise and authority in a given field. Any content that you have written for other websites (guest posts), should also be listed high up in the first page of search results.
  • Social Media Profiles – Social profiles establish ‘social proof’ or social influence – the idea that if you have a large social following then that is proof that you are doing something right (of course there are problems with this assumption, but that is a discussion for another day). For doctors, LinkedIn, Twitter and Doctors Hangout, are good places to start.

Now that you know what needs to be on the first page of SERP, the next step is how to move your results up. Software Advice, an online guide for software buyers, recently published an article about this.

Here are 6 tips to consider when developing an online reputation management strategy to help own the first page of Google:

#1. Start a Blog

If you haven’t already done so, start writing a health blog. Blog posts should be compelling and well-written. Find content that your patients would want to read and publish it regularly on your website.

As a physician your audience is made up of existing and potential patients, so the content your provide should be engaging, educational, and most importantly, easy to understand. A good start is blogging about frequently asked questions or preventative measures for illnesses that you treat.

#2. Edit Your Work

Google can penalize a site for poorly written content.

No matter how good you are at writing, have a second set of eyes look over your work to ensure your content make sense and is easy to understand. Ask a colleague who is familiar with the material to edit for clarity, and then ask another unfamiliar with the subject for a second perspective.

#3. Avoid Repetition

People do not want to keep reading the same things over and over again, so keep the topics focused but fresh. Mix up your content to cover the different areas of healthcare solutions that you offer.

Also, if you are listed on different websites, write a different bio for each one and focus on what you do for each organization.

#4. Share Your Content

Spread the word about your new blog.

When you first begin writing, be sure to promote your blog to people that will enjoy it. Also share each new article on your Facebook page, your Google+ community, Twitter profile, LinkedIn page, email list and every other social outpost you own.

The more content you publish and share, the easier it will be to improve your search listing.

#5. Ask Others to Share Your Content

When others link to your content, it’s like a high-five in the eyes of Google.

Ask your peers, medical associates, and other credible sources to link to your blog. It will further demonstrate authority to Google and build a larger following for others to read your material.

#6. Be Relevant and Avoid Spam

Share your content on websites that are relevant to your brand.

If a website seems “spammy” and you suspect its owners are participating in suspicious activity, stay clear of that website.A mention on a relevant website such as a top association in your specialty will increase your credibility in the eyes of both readers and Google.

Quick Wrap-up

Improving your website’s listing in search is an ongoing process. But if you take action with these tips, you will begin to see improvements. Monitor your progress and check your Google listing often. By taking control of what people see about you online, you are securing your success for the new year and beyond.

Over to you: Are you pleased with your brand’s listing in search? What steps have you taken to influence the results? Please share your ideas in the comment box below