You are an expert in your field. Others in your profession come to you to answer tough questions. You’ve even been invited to speak at industry events and conferences. But to customers online, you are still just a face in the crowd. How can you bring your expertise online to land more paying clients?

Using Your Professional Reputation to Build Your Business

A strong professional reputation can lead to a lot of word-of-mouth referrals. There’s nothing new about that. For generations, lawyers, accountants, and other white-collar service professionals have relied on the power of the referral to build a client base.

But in the digital era, even a strong referral from a trusted contact only goes so far. Prospective clients today take the approach “trust but verify.” Rather than just picking up the phone when they get your name from a business contact, potential customers are heading online. They are double-checking to make sure you are all their friends say you are. If your online presence doesn’t live up to your professional reputation, you could be losing out on those warm referrals.

About Pages Establish Experience

For service professionals, establishing an online professional reputation starts on the About page. Pages that describe the company and its employees get some of the highest click rates of any professional webpage — second only to the home page.

That’s because prospective customers are looking for who they want to hire. They want to understand you, the professional, your business philosophy, and your expertise.

Your About page is the perfect place to list all of the objective measurements of your professional reputation. This could include your years in practice, degrees and certifications, and any awards or recognition you may have received.

But an about page shouldn’t just read like a resume. It should also give the reader a good sense of who you are. This could include:

  • A great headshot
  • A quote about why you love what you do
  • An explanation about how you interact with your clients
  • A list of representative clients (with their consent, of course)
  • Descriptions of non-profit or volunteer work you do in your community
  • Some personal details (like hobbies or hometown) that give readers a glimpse behind the suit

Blogs and Whitepapers Demonstrate Professional Expertise

While some potential customers are impressed with credentials, others simply need to know you can help them with their needs. This is where an informational blog or longer whitepapers can help. These pieces go beyond the marketing hype to really explain how your profession works. When they have your name, and possibly picture, attached to them, readers will naturally see that you have the professional expertise to solve their problem.

That’s not to say these posts should solve the problem for them. There may be a place for a how-to post that walks potential customers through simple parts of what you do. But the purpose of the informational portion of your website is to demonstrate your expertise and subtly explain to your readers just why they shouldn’t do it themselves. These articles should end with a call to action, inviting your readers to learn more or get help by contacting you. This will help convert a casual reader into a paying client.

Developing a great professional reputation among your colleagues is essential to running a growing business. But especially in today’s market, it won’t be enough on its own. Pair that word-of-mouth marketing with a strong online presence, and you’ll see more referrals turn into closed business.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She helps law firms and small businesses by providing ghostwriting and blogging services. If you want high-quality web content for your firm, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.