Marketing August 11, 2016 15 Reads share

How to Incorporate Education into Your Marketing Mix

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What Difference Does it Make?

Let´s first consider the value of customer education. Imagine a consumer who is hesitating between buying a computer at two different companies, both of which have great products. She visits both companies’ websites for further information. While one company lists only the basic specifications of their equipment along with the price, the other company includes an expert article describing how the capabilities of their computer can make the shopper’s life better. Which offer do you think the customer will buy? Of course, the second company’s  offer.

Think about a furniture shopper who finds low-priced closets at three different online stores. The first store only has a picture of the closet and its price, which is pretty scarce information. The second store provides additional information about the material and dimensions of their closet, which is much better. But the third store is something else – not only do they provide all the necessary information about the product, but they also have a video that demonstrates how to assemble it and how to clean it. Which store will most likely close the sale? The answer is more than obvious.

Now that you understand the difference that educational material makes to the shopping experience, it would be best to start creating such material and distinguish your brand from competitors. As shoppers learn from you, you will win their trust and their money.

Begin with Yourself and Your Employees

Don’t try to teach your shoppers until you and your team understand everything about your industry and the market segments that you serve. Additionally, everyone in your organization should have a thorough knowledge of all your products and services. Equipping company with such expertise will help everyone involved present your brand as the perfect solution for shoppers’ problems.

Educate Yourself

Begin your educational effort by making a commitment to lifelong learning that includes personal and professional development. Leverage technology – it has made education accessible more than ever, not to mention how fast and efficient it can be. Free and premium learning opportunities abound on the Internet in formal and informal settings, so use them to make yourself the best person and the most professional supplier of your type of products and services available.

Educate Your Employees

As you grow in knowledge and professionalism, you will naturally create a culture in your company that encourages your employees to follow your lead. Meet with your staff and explain to them how continual learning will help them become better individuals that rise to the top of their field. Share the educational opportunities you take advantage of with your team, and encourage them to use MOOC’s, webinars, digital apps, and other technological solutions to develop their particular skills fast and efficiently. When your employees are educated, they can begin educating your customers. Therefore, you should always make learning a part of your company culture.

Share Your Knowledge

Once you’ve addressed education within your firm, you should start your campaign to educate your prospective customers. This can be achieved not only by teaching people about your products or services but also by sharing your expert knowledge.

Learn from the Best

Blue Nile makes a good example of how to best use education in marketing. The diamond seller created an education section on their website where customers can learn everything they need to know about shopping for diamonds. However, their buying guide didn’t push their brand. Instead, it provided important information that other companies failed to provide. The company took the time to produce short videos that demonstrated the best practices of diamond shopping, including the meaning of all the specifications and measurements applicable to the diamond trade. The charts and guides published by Blue Nile could help shoppers buy a diamond from any seller, but they tended to choose to trust and buy from Blue Nile.

Evidently, sharing expert knowledge goes a long way, so consider following the tactics employed at Blue Nile. For example, if you operate a pet store, you can provide a wealth of information about animal health and care. A company that sells shoes can supply the world with the ins and outs of orthopedics. As you can see, content marketing is all about education

Some Ways to Do It

Provide useful content. Whatever the type of business you are in, you can publish free advice and how-to articles on your website. Write articles, create infographics, make videos – any format will do as long as you provide educational content. Whole Foods set a good example by providing health and nutrition information on their website. They helped consumers learn about topics such as sustainable food, and then began supplying the solutions customers need.

Make use of social media. Post your content to your social media channels and related sites to get your information easily found by search engine users. The more value your content provides, the more shares it gets. While on social media, respond to everyone who leaves a comment – social media helps you connect with your users.

Organize webinars. Choose a topic that people would love to hear about. The webinar can be moderated by the experts on your team, so people can learn and ask questions in real time.

Answer questions. Start a discussion on Reddit, be active on Quora or Yahoo Answers. Participate in the discussion and answer all the questions you can When you provide selfless but valuable information, people will begin to recognize your brand as an authoritative player interested in their welfare rather than as a website trying to earn a fast dollar.

While this list is far from exhausted, the point is quite clear – share your knowledge and people will gravitate towards your brand.

Final Words

Education can help you succeed in the modern competitive environment. Rather than hoarding information about your products and industry, share it with the world. When you become an outstanding person who selflessly shares expert knowledge with the community, you gain the edge over your competitors and enjoy a better bottom line.

Image: pencils and graduation hat, education concept

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith is a freelance copywriter from Seattle who is enthusiastic about marketing topics, as well as about the business world in general. You can reach her on Twitter

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