An educated prospect is far more likely to make a purchase than a prospect who’s struggling to make sense of what’s being sold. This probably seems like common sense, but it’s a truth that far too many small businesses fail to follow through on.
Creative Ways to Educate Your Audience
In the digital age, there are plenty of creative ways to educate your audience in a way that primes them to become customers. Here are a few options that are working really well at the moment:
1. Website Content
Begin with your website. This is your “home base,” so to speak. It’s the source from which the rest of your digital presence flows. Use this fact to your advantage by focusing your content strategy on informing and educating.
There are a few brands that are doing really well with this in 2020:
- Joy Organics: The CBD space is booming, yet there’s a ton of confusion about what it is, how it works, and whether it’s safe. Joy Organics regularly publishes content like Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum to help readers understand terminology and sort out facts from fiction. As a result of being a leader in education, it’s picking up significant market share.
- HubSpot: There is perhaps no more educational or practical digital marketing blog on the internet than HubSpot’s. It gives away a lot of content and resources — including free marketing plan templates — as a way of building trust and rapport with its audience. In turn, it knows that a percentage of readers will realize they need HubSpot products and services to take their marketing to the next level.
Start with your website content. Use your blog, product/service page copy, and other on-site elements to gently inform and educate your visitors. It might take time, but you’ll eventually notice an uptick in conversions.
Textual content has served as the basis for teaching and learning for centuries. But in 2020 and beyond, you’d be wise to integrate video into your strategy.
The beauty of video is that it’s efficient, stimulating, and much easier for people to remember. Approximately 80 percent of users can recall a video that they viewed in the previous 30 days.
3. Downloadable Assets
It’s one thing to access a piece of content on a website or blog. But when you turn it into a downloadable asset like a PDF or template, you instantly add extra weight to it. Suddenly, it becomes more authoritative and desirable. Plus, you’re typically able to use it to collect contact information and build your email list.
Online courses are white-hot right now (and will stay that way for a while). While they can be time-consuming to produce, developing a course (free or paid) is an awesome way to show off your expertise, educate prospects, and upsell them on other products and services.
One strategy is to split your course into several modules and offer the first module for free. To access the content in the following modules, they will either have to buy the course or opt-in with an email address. This makes the course both an educational tool and a sales tool.
5. Message Boards and Forums
You don’t have to do all of the teaching yourself. By launching a website message board or forum, you can give your audience a place to gather, share ideas, and teach each other. Just make sure someone from your company is moderating!
Teach Before You Sell
If you’ve grown up in a business environment — attending business school, participating in internships, climbing the corporate ladder, trying your hand at entrepreneurship — you’ve been taught to sell, sell, sell. Your entire experience has been based on the fact that killer sales tactics and instincts are what you need to be successful in any niche or pursuit. While this is true, to a degree, a predominantly sales-focused mentality doesn’t work in today’s environment.
Selling is important, but the best way to maximize your sales success is to lead with education. You should teach, teach, teach before you ever think about selling something.
The sooner you shift your thinking to focus on leading with education, the better your results will be. As an added bonus, you’ll notice greater customer loyalty and retention.