Email Persuasion Series Part 5: Authority

By: Jack Reamer |
 May 13, 2015 |

Meet Drew Eric Whitman.

(That’s him in the lab coat above.)

No, he’s not a doctor. He’s an advertising consultant, speaker and author.

But he wears a lab coat when he gives keynote speeches. Why?

To build more authority into his speech.

According to Robert Cialdini, “We feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority.”

It’s why the Got Milk? ads used celebrities to get Americans to drink more milk.

It’s why Camel cigarets paid doctors (and actors dressed as doctors) to endorse their brand of cigaret. 

And today, it’s why companies like use Authority signals like big brand logos on their website.

Now, let’s get back to Drew Eric Whitman in the lab coat. You’re probably still wondering, if dressing in the lab coat boosts his authority?

Just as people trust the word of their doctor, dentist or optician, they’ll generally accept the authority of any official looking person who endorses and advertised product.

Yes. In fact, just by looking more like an authority figure (with lab coat, 3-piece suit or official uniform) people will automatically see you as more trustworthy, credible and even taller!

Fact: Studies find that someone being introduced as a professor is seen 2.5 inches taller than someone being introduced as graduate student.

How to add authority to your email marketing.

To harness the power of authority with your email marketing, you must first establish yourself as an authority figure.

But don’t just say you’re an expert or an authority or guru… Prove it. 

Start by “knowing your turf” and don’t try be and the foremost expert in board categories like marketing or education. Pick your section of your market and claim authority there first.

Then, blog, publish a book, get featured in media, guest post and/or speak at events to become an authority.

Here are helpful articles that will get you started on becoming an authority figure in your niche:

How to Become an Authority Blogger – Copyblogger

How to Self-Publish a Book – Lifehacker

How to Get Major Media Coverage For Your Business

Advanced Guest Posting – Quick Sprout

How to Make It Onto The TED Stage

When you’ve got these authority signals in place, leverage them with your email marketing.

Tell stories, case studies or lessons learned from your authority building activities.

Here’s a helpful article on 10 ways to establish authority with your email signature.

The bottom-line: Build your authority and let your readers know in your email messages.