Visible Expertise for Professional Services – Why and Where to Start by Mary Cloonan
Visible Expertise for Professional Services – Why and Where to Start
by Mary Cloonan
The world is ever-changing, undeniably becoming increasingly digital by the day. And in this rapidly shifting landscape, one of the most important things you can do as a professional services firm is to build visible expertise.
Expertise, once something that was only gained through years of experience in a field, is now more readily available than ever before. The internet has meant that information on any given topic is only a few clicks away, and with that comes the challenge for businesses to maintain their competitive edge.

In order to stay ahead of the curve and be top-of-mind for potential clients, professional services need to focus on building visible expertise. But what exactly is visible expertise? And how can professional services go about acquiring it?

What is Visible Expertise?
Visible expertise is the combination of thought leadership and relationship marketing. It’s about being known as an expert in your field and having the relationships to back it up.

Thought leadership is the act of sharing your knowledge and ideas with the world, in order to educate and inspire others. It’s about demonstrating that you are an authority on a particular topic, and that you have something valuable to say.

Fundamentally the strategy to focus on specific segments of the market is a sensible approach given each firm cannot support a consistent marketing investment into all segments as it is not economically viable.

Relationship marketing is all about building strong, long-lasting relationships with your clients and potential clients. It’s about creating a connection that goes beyond simply providing a product or service – it’s about creating a connection that lasts.

Combined, these two things – thought leadership and relationship marketing – make up visible expertise. And when it comes to professional services, visible expertise is critical.

Two businessmen at a table talking
Why is Visible Expertise Important for Professional Services?
There are a few reasons why visible expertise is so important for professional services.

Firstly, it’s a way to differentiate yourself from your competition. In a world where businesses are constantly vying for attention, being known as an expert in your field sets yourself apart.

Secondly, it’s a way to build trust with your clients and potential clients. When you share your ideas and knowledge with the world, you are demonstrating that you are confident in what you do. This confidence then transfers to those who see you as an expert, instilling trust in your abilities.

Thirdly, it allows you to prioritize market development efforts and budget. Selecting a few key areas to focus on allows for focused marketing efforts in order to maximise returns from minimum investment.

And finally, it’s a way to stay ahead of the curve. By sharing your ideas and thoughts on a given topic, you are positioning yourself as an authority – someone who is up to date on the latest trends and changes. This allows you to stay one step ahead of competitors and be the go-to firm when clients are seeking an expert.

5 Actions to Get a Head Start in Being the Top of Mind Option for Your Audience
Building visible expertise is critical in a competitive market, but where do you start?

In our experience, the easiest way to do it is to pick a narrow segment and concentrate on that. However, this does not mean that you must stick to only that one segment – you can (and should) work with other segments as well. The key is to focus on building visible expertise in a specific area and using that to position yourself as the top-of-mind option for potential clients.

Growth-focused individuals and firms use building visible expertise as a tactic that gets them in front of their audience and allows them to demonstrate thought leadership which, as we know, is a critical component of visible expertise. It’s a very successful way to gain traction and grow your professional services.

So, where do you start? Here are five actions you can take in your professional services marketing journey.

1. Claim a Sector or Industry Segment

Above, we mentioned narrowing your focus to a specific segment. This is the first step in claiming visible expertise – you need to identify the area that you want to be known for, and then start sharing your ideas and thoughts on that topic.

Building knowledge in a certain area takes time and effort, but to truly master it; you need to put in the work. Read industry publications, attend relevant conferences, network, and learn. Most importantly – write about it. Sharing your ideas is one of the best ways to build visible expertise, as it allows you to position yourself as an authority on a given topic.

2. Understand Target Audience Segmentation

Now that you’ve claimed your sector or industry segment, it’s time to start understanding your audience. This part is critical, as you need to know who you are talking to to effectively share your ideas with them. Think about the specific pain points that your target audience is facing, and then position your visible expertise as the solution to those problems.

Remember, you are not just talking to businesses – you are talking to individuals within those businesses. So, it’s essential to understand their specific needs and how your solutions can help them overcome the challenges they are facing.

3. Sharpen Your Expertise

With great power comes great responsibility, and as an expert in your field, you have a responsibility to continuously sharpen your skills. The landscape is constantly changing, so it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for whatever new challenges may come up.

This means that you must continually educate yourself on the latest changes and trends in your industry. For example, if your professional services marketing strategy includes writing articles or blog posts, ensure that you only share the most up-to-date information with your audience.

On the other hand, if you’re using a different platform to share your visible expertise (such as speaking at conferences or being interviewed on podcasts), ensure that you are prepared with the latest statistics and information. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard when someone asks you a question about your area of expertise.

4. Develop a Profile Building plan

Planning is critical to any successful professional services marketing strategy, and that includes building your visible expertise. You need to have a plan for how you are going to share your ideas with the world, and what platforms you are going to use to do it.

Will you be writing articles? Blog posts? Creating videos? It’s essential to have a mix of content types, as this will help you reach a wider audience.

Hone in on which platforms will work best for you and your business. If you’re unsure where to start, look at where your target audience spends their time online and consider using those platforms to share your content.

5. Execute the Strategy

Execution of the strategy is critical to success. You can have the best plan in the world, but if you don’t execute it effectively, it won’t matter.

Rising visible expertise takes time and effort, especially in the beginning. But if you are consistent with your content and remain focused on your target audience, you will start to see results.

It’s also crucial to track your progress along the way. Keep an eye on your website traffic and social media engagement to see how people respond to your content. This will give you a good indication of what’s working and what isn’t, and you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Building visible expertise is a marathon, not a sprint – so don’t expect overnight success. But if you start with these five actions, you will be well on your way to becoming the top-of-mind option for your target audience.

Reach out to our experts at Marketing Clever, to learn how we can help you build visible expertise for your business.

Mary Cloonan headshot
Mary Cloonan
Mary Cloonan is a specialist marketing and business development consultant who works exclusively with professional services firms and B2B businesses,