Educational content as a digital marketing tool

educational content for marketers

PPC agency Birmingham

If you are a Lawyer or an Accountant, or you come from any traditional knowledge-based profession, you will probably find this concept difficult initially, but bear with me and I promise you will uncover some gems to help you find and win  more customers.

Here is what my Sister said:

If I am going to give them the answer for free, why on earth would they accept my bill based on £1600 per day?

She is a member of a profession that still dresses in mysterious garments form time to time and most of them can “decline Mensa”, nevertheless she can now be found answering questions for free on an online forum and she does it because people get to like her and trust her and they present her with huge complex and highly rewarding problems they need her to solve for them. They don’t bore her to tears with petty stuff they could solve themselves.

Initially I tried using simple financial theory and logic to get the point across, but for her it was just a recognition that life is now easier and more rewarding so I must have been right.

Lets look more closely at the maths first. Many professional practices spend between 10 and 12% of revenue on the official advertising budget, while the real figure is usually much higher.
My question to her was, what if you could sacrifice the 5% of your revenue that comes from these annoying little petty projects and in return get more effective marketing than you currently do. That would actually mean a 100% increase in ROI for your marketing spend, looking one way, but my sisters view was simpler. It just works.

Why is free education for potential clients such an effective marketing policy?

Here is the thing; the way in which people buy or don’t buy our services or our products has actually changed very little over the years, it is simply our illusion of how they do or don’t buy from us that has been challenged. The world is largely unchanged but our view of it is still catching up, that is the biggest change. Let me explain:

Back in the day, people arrived at your door often with not so much as a telephone enquiry to announce them and expected you to jump to it. Often you did, because this was how you found and kept clients. Everything was local and people had meaningful conversations. Word of mouth was how most people built a clientele whether they knew it or not. In fact before they arrived at your door, they had already asked around and been told by a number of trusted friends that you were a good person to consult with. They even asked abut your fees and probably picked up a little gossip too so they felt comfortable that you would be reasonably approachable.
What was different about all that was that you were blissfully unaware of the whole process. You were “Bottom of Funnel” to use a jargon term. You were blissfully unaware until they arrived at your door after all that had occurred.

Today, it’s a little different, but only a little. Now they do the same things online and instead of the barber and vet they ask Facebook, read the reviews on Google or Trustpilot and track you around the internet reading your every utterance until they have the same degree of confidence to fill in the little form or click the call button.

Why is this important to know? Well unless you take steps to ensure these reviews and web pages exist and apply some oversight to what you write online, they may not be able to engage, they may find someone else more helpful and easier to engage, or they may discover something off putting.
One of the better ways to meet your future clients half-way and create the right impression is to provide the information they need and be thee for them when they just need high level advice so they tryst you when they need paid consulting time.

Methods you can use to deliver educational marketing campaigns

Free course online

Pick a subject that causes your customers plenty of grief but actually is not a profitable area for you and certainly not one you want and need to pursue commercially. For me there is a large list. E.G My customers often want to write a web page that will attract people for a specific event and don’t know how to do it. Now we do have strategists and content writers and copy writers, but they are all busy on large accounts that pay enough to let me finance the large salaries and perks these experts enjoy. They are also specialists, so even a single webpage done by team would involve several people plus all the communication involved and then there are protocols so important to the smooth running of every organisation. Break-even for our firm on a little project like this one would be a scary sum for the average small business and it just is not logical for us.

What we can do instead though, is to provide a sound training course and guidance with samples and templates so that our customers and potential customers can go there and learn how to do a reasonable job themselves ant no cost at all. That brings us goodwill and when they need a real project done, one that plays to our strengths, guess who they will call first?

Free source of advice, knowledgebase and support community

Another great way to engage potential customers and one we are currently planning for, is to create n online community on social media and have your staff take a few minutes daily to read the remarks and add little snippets of advice here and there. This access to free advice is a great way to keep people engaged and build goodwill while also putting you in the right place when a lucrative opportunity arises for a member of your community.

Email training series

Another powerful way to deliver this medium is package up you content in bite-sized lessons that can be sent by email. Each can contain further downloadable or linked content which when tagged effectively can help build a revealing profile of each readers interests and attitudes simply by reviewing the tags accumulated.
Such a profile can then be used to trigger an offer when you feel the reader has signified a strong interest, or to change the type of material by switching the reader to a campaign more likely to be useful. The opportunities are endless for developing a deep insight into you readers and generating leads in a natural way through educating the readers.

Making this work for you

If you want to get the most of your efforts to provide good content, then you need a strategy to gather emails and build an opt-in list so you can send regular useful newsletters or updates to stay in touch and occasionally offer some good deals.

To do that you ideally need a Marketing Automation Platform unless you want to bog yourself down in constant effort to manage emails and send them out.

NV8v provides two optional CRO toolkits (Marketing Automation tools) The first is very easy to use and free to all our advertising clients. The second is free to use but you need our help to get it set up and a little training and possibly support but it is a very powerful tool for ambitious businesses.

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