Why educating visitors to your website should be top priority
When was the last time you purposefully tried to teach a person something new with your content? If you had to hesitate before answering, or you thought “we taught them that our product exists”, then it’s time for you to rethink your content strategy.
Educating customers is the new advertising. While it might not have the same abundance of catchy jingles as its predecessor, it plays a pivotal role in gaining audience trust and convincing them that you know what you’re talking about.
But we don’t expect you to believe everything you read on the internet. So let’s ask ourselves why education is so important, and if we pique your interest, we’ve also got how-to tips to get started doing the same with your own content.
Why is educating website customers so important?
Educating customers at each stage of the sales funnel can help build your authority, convince users to trust your website, and sell your product/service in the long run.
Education at the top of the funnel: Think about marketing to people who are unfamiliar with your service (heck, or even unfamiliar with your industry!). It’s hard to convince someone of the benefits of your product if they don’t understand the industry, the terminology, or why it exists.
So a focus on education here is an important way of breaking down complex or novel ideas into something your audience will understand, enabling them to contextualise the service within their own organisation.
Mid-funnel educational content helps customers make informed decisions when comparing products and services.
Education in the middle of the funnel: Now we’re talking to customers who are aware of your service and its competitors. Chances are they are Googling “how to choose” or “X versus Y”, and are, quite frankly, still baffled. Just try comparing two similarly priced computer graphics cards in this day and age, for example.
Education here can mean presenting the knowledge they need to be able to make a logical, reasonable choice between options. And it’s you who presented the information, which means your company nurtured the relationship and your competitor didn’t. Who is the customer going to think of first when moving further into the funnel? Someone who took the time to build a relationship, or someone that just so happens to appear on a Google search?
Education at the bottom of the funnel: Our bottom-funnel customers want to talk to salespeople and book demos. But do they have the knowledge to comprehend everything they are seeing? Can they contextualise what you’re selling in terms of what they need?
Think about the kind of FAQs your salespeople field at this point, and make sure the bottom-funnel content you create matches these. A better-educated prospect can engage more deeply with your sales team, and ask smarter questions.
Content marketing can be effective at every stage of the sales funnel. This is how to repurpose your content for each stage to maximise the return you get for each blog post, download and social media campaign. https://t.co/cCojB7XjSf pic.twitter.com/5bFjtR8R5c— Castleford (@castlefordmedia) April 27, 2018
Stats to prove it
A study by Powered Inc on consumer education programmes (across 2,000 brands) revealed some tasty insights that prove everything we’ve just said, but in numbers:
- A person who has taken part in educational marketing is 29 times more likely to buy the sponsor’s product (compared to media advertising).
- When compared to direct marketing, people exposed to educational marketing were five times more likely to purchase.
- 90 per cent of those who partook in educational marketing would recommend the experience to a friend. And remember: People are four times more likely to buy from a brand if recommended by a friend (this stat from Impact Branding & Design).
Wowza! Somebody ship those stats straight to the boss.
So how do you educate customers better?
Educating people is not too difficult, you just have to ensure it’s your objective when writing the piece. Nothing screams “THIS IS MARKETING” more than an article that claims to answer a question but somehow relates every single ‘answer’ back to their product’s unique specifications.
In a moment we’re going to give you a list of educational content examples to inspire you to create more informative evergreen content, but first you should know the absolute basics of what ALL educational marketing should contain:
Four rules for educational marketing:
- Don’t focus on sales: This content isn’t about selling your product – it’s about building a relationship with the customer. Your goal is education, first and foremost, and the relationship formed by this teacher-student dynamic will build trust and authority, which will later turn into sales. Play the long game.
- Acknowledge the problem: There’s no use beating around the bush if the bush is what somebody wants to beat. If there’s a problem, be honest about it. Even if that problem is an issue in your industry – for example, when cloud computing first came out, there were major security concerns. The best marketing acknowledged this and said, “Yep, but here’s how to mitigate the issue” while the worst ignored it entirely. That’s a big elephant.
- Answer the question fully: By golly by gosh if your headline says “We solve this problem” and your article doesn’t solve the problem, your content is going to backfire. Whatever your chosen educational topic of the day, flesh it out fully and then some. Don’t create extra steps for the reader (i.e. making them go Google even more) – be the last step on their research journey.
- Relate the issue to an example: Humans relate well to stories. There’s a reason case studies and the like do so well. Concepts are abstract, but stories are tangible – people can relate to them, comprehend them, and contextualise the lessons within their own life. So when producing educational content, use examples. Even small ones – just a couple sentences tacked onto the end of an explanation can help someone’s comprehension.
Examples of educational content types
Let’s get creative. We’ve listed content types below, and some thoughts on how you might use them to educate your audience.
And if you really do need that catchy jingle…
If valuable customers, you must reach,
Get on your blog and teach teach teach!