The Importance of Being the “Go-to Guru”

Lance Hemenway Blog, Monetization

These days, just about anybody can hop online, push some emails around and call themselves an affiliate marketer. Unfortunately, even if these folks aren’t in it for the long haul, they can create serious rivalry for people who are. One way you can separate yourself from these fly-by-nighters is by setting yourself up as the Go-to Guru. To do this, start small, but think big. In other words, first strive to become an expert in your niche with the long-term goal of dominating your vertical. Of course, you are building your business and raking in increasing amounts of cash every step of the way.

Why is it important to establish yourself as an authority? Because it builds trust and trust builds business. Business builds your bank account. You don’t have to know everything about everything to be an expert in your field. You just have to know more than next guy or gal. Where to start?

Believe it.
If you believe you are a Go-to Guru, then you are. It’s all about the mindset.

Make an excellent first impression.
Not a good first impression, but an excellent one. Research shows that in the virtual world, visitors to your site make a first impression in 50 milliseconds, which is about 1/20th of a second. View your website with a critical eye, or have a trusted colleague critique your site. How have you set yourself up as an authority on your page? What visual signals are catching your readers’ attention and making them linger longer? Showcasing testimonials, awards, and industry endorsements will help you achieve Go-to Guru status.

Put the spotlight on your customers.
Take the focus off of you and make your potential prospects the stars of the show. Keep in mind that even though you can’t see them, you are dealing with people. And these people want to feel respected and needed before they fork over their hard-earned dollars. How can you beef up your customer service? How you can you make the purchasing process easier and faster on the consumer end? How do your products benefit your customers? Think about the answers to these questions and then take it a step farther. Every so often, reach out to your customers on a personal level.

Send a customer a thank you e-mail, offer one of your products for free, give a detailed response to an e-mail or answer a question in an online forum. It is guaranteed your actions will be remembered and rewarded down the road. I know of several marketers who set a goal to contact one customer per day. After one year, that’s 365 days of relationship building and a whole bunch of positive word-of-mouth business.

Educate yourself and others.
Failure offers the best lessons, if we choose to learn them. Attend conferences, read books, participate in online forums, and find a trusty mentor. Furthermore, understand your market. Know the popular categories and the typical customer profile. Who are your dominant buyers? In turn, be a mentor to others in the industry. Share advice, offer opinions, and answer questions. Contribute to conversations in the blogosphere and on social medium forums. Just make sure what you are sharing is beneficial, informational, and relevant.

Be yourself.
Most likely, you have a handful of favorite blogs. Think about why you enjoy reading those particular posts. It’s probably because the blogger comes across as genuine, right? You feel like you know the blogger personally. That’s your goal when communicating with customers and industry colleagues. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. It makes people feel as if they know you. It’s a quality that builds trust and a solid following. Down the road, those things could translate into more business. Be the guy or gal that people want to chat with over a beer at the local tavern.

If you read these tips and thought, “Wow. That sounds like a lot of work,” you’re probably a fly-by-nighter and your days are numbered. Affiliate marketers who genuinely have their heads in the game will strive to learn anything and everything about the business. They carry the goal of not only wanting to turn a profit, but of contributing to the industry in a positive way. And we need folks like that.

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About the Author
Lance Hemenway

Lance Hemenway

Lance is the AdStation Director of Marketing. He's an internet veteran who was a founding member of Intermix Media, the parent company of Lance serves on the boards of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility and Think Big Kansas City. He's based at the Kansas City headquarters.