Are you educating your customers?
Traditional marketing operates under the assumption that customers are familiar with the product being sold; the brand’s job is to entice the viewer or reader to try or purchase said product.
But what happens when potential customers don’t know a thing about the new product? In that case, the marketer has to invest in consumer education.
The Why Behind Customer Education
When it comes to the word “educational,” marketers tend to turn off. Who wants to adopt an academic approach to marketing and invest the time and energy needed not only to reach customers, but to teach them something of value?
The truth of the matter is, customer education isn’t really an option in some marketing situations, but a necessarity.
If you want to be competitive, you need to move beyond sensational marketing gimmicks and invest in content that creates value and pushes customers through the buyer’s funnel in a fully informed manner.
When that’s the case, below are a handful of the reasons why customer education should play a role in all of your marketing and customer service initiatives.
Engages Customers and Readers
The term “educational content” may well conjure an image of a textbook, but this isn’t an accurate reflection of what’s happening in 2016. Much educational content these days is designed to be highly engaging.
For example, check out what Powerstep, a leader in foot arch support and orthotic insoles, is able to do with its education center. In addition to health and wellness articles, the company provides an interactive “Virtual Podiatrist” tool that offers users an unofficial diagnosis.
This is the key to successful educational content: You must be able to engage your customers throughout the process. If you can do that, you stand a solid chance of benefiting from your investment.
Keeps Customers Coming Back
When you feed a stray cat, what happens? It comes back for more. The same is the case with a potential customer: When you feed him or her some valuable information, the person will return as well.
This is another one of the excellent benefits of educational content. There may be dozens of companies selling similar products in your industry, but the company that educates (in addition to selling) is going to gain the upper hand.
Customers would rather purchase from a brand they’re familiar with.
The previous point leads directly into this one: Educational content establishes trust. When you consider which source you trust the most to bring you solid sports news, what brand comes to mind?
The vast majority of people say ESPN. The reason is that the channel not only shows sports, but also educate viewers with other content that’s designed to help them understand the games they love a lot better.
By investing in educational content, you’ll give customers a greater stake in the action. You’re empowering them … and this makes them feel good.
As a result, people will trust your brand and view you as a thought leader. In the long run, this leads to repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing.
Leads to Better Information
Finally, educational content leads to better information. In this sense, educational content is like currency.
For example, let’s say you produce a webinar. In order to gain access to it, customers are asked to fill out a survey, provide you with their email address, answer an open-ended question, etc.
This provides you with information on who your customers are, which will then empower you to improve such processes as product development, marketing, customer service, and branding.
Don’t Be Passive
If you aren’t teaching your customers, then somebody else will be. The days of passive marketing are gone.
To be successful in 2016 and beyond, you must be willing to reach across the aisle and interact with your customers. This means teaching, explaining, and adding value through the use of high-quality and engaging content.