How To Overrun Your Competition By Educating Your Customers

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Or: Other Just Sell. You Should Sell By Educating Your Customers

Competition is the scariest word in the business dictionary.

God forbid it were the only one. There’s one more terrifying notion that keeps us up at night. It’s the fact that the ways of this world are rapidly changing.

But instead of trembling at the thought, it’s better to realize that both of these facts are actually healthy for your business. If it doesn’t drown, it will rise stronger than ever.

Following trends and constant education have been fueling business efforts from the beginning of time.

Today it’s a bit more complicated than that. Not only do you need to educate yourself. You need to educate your clients and customers as well. That’s what the most successful businesses do. That’s the exact reason why they became successful in the first place.

An experience everyone has had

A couple of days ago I went to buy a vacuum cleaner. It was one of those days when you need to just buy a goddamn cleaner as soon as possible because you need one. And you don’t want to waste all day cruising the city in hope to find the perfect apparatus.

Does it have a bag? Is it easy to empty? Why are other options better or worse than this red one? Can it suck up water from a piece of furniture or a carpet? I tend to spill my drinks… Why is this one more powerful but still cheap comparing to the next one? Are there going to be any new models soon?

Half of this information I could tell by reading the inscriptions on the packaging. The other half were left unanswered.

Typically, I prefer salespeople who don’t jump all over me. But I really wouldn’t have minded to get some information here. Also, if I weren’t an easygoing customer, the shop wouldn’t have made a $100 deal that day. If I wasn’t in a hurry, I would have bought the thing online.

And how easy it would have been for them to educate me, sell me the cleaner (which I wanted to buy anyway, so they wouldn’t have to move a finger) AND delight me! A quick presentation of all the functionalities, with a demonstration (spilling a cup of coffee on a cheap carpet and sucking it up for the purpose of demonstration wouldn’t cost too much, I reckon), comparing a few different models on the spot. I would have got the feeling that I spent my money well. I would have got the impression that I was dealing with professionals who know their business and their merchandise’ worth well. I would have recommended them to all the people I know.

Which I didn’t. And won’t ever do.

This company probably won’t last long.

But let’s translate this experience to a business that manages the majority of their user engagement online (which is more relevant to today and tomorrow).

I found them by doing a local search, looking for the nearest store that sells vacuum cleaners.

What if I found a nicely visualized blog post on their website about the functioning mechanisms of different types of cleaners? Or a funny video about unexpected ways in which I can use this mundane contraption?

The conclusion is evident. If you are a socks manufacturer, you have to give me the reason to buy your socks. You don’t have to be all scholarly about it. Write me a blog post about the history of socks – maybe I’d be interested in learning when and why people started wearing them. Or make a video advertisement about socks which are so good that my dog doesn’t want to steal them but gently puts them in a drawer instead.

Even if I don’t need socks today, I will need them tomorrow, and I’ll sure as hell remember to buy them from you.

Give away knowledge for free

It’s true, knowledge demands an investment of time and money. But once you’ve acquired it, don’t be afraid to give it away – for free.

Sure, many people will just come and devour some of your resources without buying anything from you. If your knowledge base is broad and easily accessible, they are likely to come back for more, inviting some of their friends as well. Who doesn’t like a free feast?

You won’t be at loss, however. Some people will get hooked on the knowledge and pay for premium access. Others will do it in two or three years. Just listen to that murmur across all of your digital outlets and nurture their needs by feeding them a cookie here, a delicious cake there. Incite their hunger, but never keep them hungry for long.

They will pay you, one way or another. They will pay you with their email address required to attend your webinar or download your free ebook. This email address will become a valuable channel for you to send more knowledge their way – this time in person. Email marketing is one of the most valuable ways for the relationship between a company and a person to flourish.

You got it by now. Education is just another euphemism for marketing. Let’s be real: it’s still selling, although it sounds more elegant.

Nobody likes being marketed or sold to, so marketing by education is a glorious kind of selling by not selling. It’s better than any other form of digital marketing. Even more – it permeates all of them and brings out the best from them.

Education is at the core of what Seth Godin called permission marketing – which derives its tremendous power from customer’s permission. If I don’t know I am being marketed to, you can take advantage of it. If I willingly grant you a permission to market to me, you should be proud of it – and try not to betray my trust.

Your customers are smart

You don’t need uninformed customers who buy randomly. True enough, you won’t repudiate them, but you don’t need them to be your customer base.

Furthermore, you don’t need customers who will believe lies about how good your product is. Lying isn’t bad in children stories only. It’s detrimental in real life too.

This is because lying to customers means belittling their intelligence. Today they are more informed than ever before. Their purchasing choices are wider than ever. It’s never been easier to turn away from a brand because of a single mistake or a tiny little lie.

Do yourself a favor and don’t make a product based on lies. Don’t lie in order to sell it. Don’t say it’s good if it isn’t.

Instead, create a product you believe in. If you do, the story of it is going to be believable too.

But if customers can find all possible resources online, what is left for you to educate them about?

Educating someone doesn’t mean you are the god of information and knowledge. Chances are Wikipedia knows better than you, and you certainly won’t be able to ever beat Google when it comes to accessibility of information.

But there’s something that can differentiate you in your customer’s eyes. The information that comes from you is genuine, based on your particular experience and expertise, grounded in your specific set of skills and value. It’s not some random encyclopedic knowledge, broad and uniform. It’s knowledge with an identity, expendable, applicable, relevant.

After all, you won’t provide just another ocean of links. It’s going to be a carefully chosen knowledge that comes as a result of an interaction and interest, curated in the right moment, put in context for them. After all, who knows more about your industry than you?

According to a 2015 customer engagement report by Rosetta, engaged customers prove to be the best kind of customers. Their value to the brand is three times bigger than the value of unengaged ones.

An engaged customer is the one who has grown a personal relationship with the brand.

Education is a beast with many faces. Show them all

Again, let’s not talk in scholarly terms.

Customers’ reviews are a kind of education that serves other potential customers to inform and improve their decision-making process.

Testimonials and case studies are another way to inform your prospects. Just make sure they are real. “You guys rock” written by someone called John Doe from an anonymous company won’t trick anyone.

A blog is another form of education. Just like we are doing right now, you can write articles on a regular basis about certain topics that are relevant to your audience. Blogs don’t have to be written. They can be spoken or made into a video.

Tutorials, webinars, whitepapers related to your company or industry, carefully targeted email campaigns, conferences, there are tons of things you can do to single yourself out from your competition.

As I mentioned earlier, even a short and funny half-minute video can make a difference. While it doesn’t educate in the traditional sense, it still gives a fresh stamp to your brand.

According to a recently published Walker report about the future of customer experience, in the next couple of years, companies will have to switch from selling solutions to selling insights. This doesn’t just pertain to B2B businesses, but also B2C – that is, businesses that are selling to clients, rather than other businesses.

So, if you want to win the race with your competitors, put education at the core of your business and your brand’s culture. It’s remarkable how great a potential lies in your work – in everybody’s work. All you need to do is transform it into words, dress it into knowledge and communicate it proactively and in diverse ways to all the possible prospects. Then listen to their response and act accordingly.

It’s a dynamic game, but the rewards are awesome.

So, don’t oversell. Don’t hard sell. Let your customers consume some value first.

Feed them knowledge.

They’ll pay you manyfold.

We’re in for some education. Give us a call to tell us about your business struggles. We’ll educate you on many different marketing possibilities for your business. No commitment unless you ask for it!

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34 Comments
    • eazynazy
    • April 23, 2017
    Reply

    This is totally true and i agree with you totally, loved reading this post

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
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    • Katrina gehman
    • April 22, 2017
    Reply

    i def try not to compare myself to others. i try to do the best i can and just be me.

    • Reply

      Hi, That is what we all strive for at the end. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
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  1. Reply

    Agreed with you 100%, when you mentioned that once acquired knowledge don’t be afraid to give it away – for free. I believe that the more is given the more it returns. Great post!

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, that is exactly what we were strivng to prove with this and our other blog posts. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
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  2. Reply

    interesting, I will have to share this with my friend who recently started selling jewelry in stores.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

  3. Reply

    Not only should you educate your customer, your employees needed to be educated too. I have stopped buying at two sites since the first of this year because customer service couldn’t answer my questions about their own product.

    • Reply

      Haha :D, that is some bad customer service. We do agree that employee education is as important. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

    • Colleen wool
    • April 21, 2017
    Reply

    A very informative post. Selling takes a lot of work and you need to be a people person.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

  4. Amazing post really helpful for me that I work as a customer service agent! thanks a lot.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

  5. Reply

    I worked with the customer service/retentions wing of a local bank in our area. During training, we were taught to sell the benefits, not the product. Thanks for this helpful article. I picked up a thing or two to help make my business a success. I am now my own boss. 🙂

    • Reply

      Hi Annemarie, thanks a lot for your kind word, we hope it helped. We are sure you are an amazing boss 😉 If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
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  6. Reply

    This is all great information! I love the quote about not being in competition with others but with yourself. I have to agree with that, with a lot of things in life we can be the best asset or not depending on how we look at things.

    • Reply

      Hi, thats is exactly what we were going for, we hope our article helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
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    • Elizabeth O.
    • April 21, 2017
    Reply

    Sales talk isn’t just about offering. It’s about saying what your benefits are from other companies that sell the same thing. I agree with educating your customers. It’s like a good investment.

    • Reply

      Hi, yes we definetly think it is one of the better investment any comapny can make. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

  7. Reply

    Great tips! Education certainly is important. They need to know why they need your product, not someone else’s.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

    • Andrea Broom
    • April 20, 2017
    Reply

    These are really awesome tips. education is the key. doing research and getting to know what they want is important.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

  8. Reply

    There are a few things I’d like to share with some buyers that would help them. I might consider doing that in the future. What great tips.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thank you a lot for your kind words, we hope it helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
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    • Michelle Waller
    • April 20, 2017
    Reply

    These are really great tips! I am building up my Virtual Assistant business and these would be so helpful.

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot, we hope it helped. Good luck with your business, we wish you the best of luck and a big success :)) If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
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    • Bel
    • April 20, 2017
    Reply

    The David Ogilvy quote cracked me up. I think companies need to find ways to harness consumer info. Not online surveys because we know everyone lies on those things

    • Reply

      Hi, yes that is one of the challenges we were facing as well. We may write some blogs on similar topics in the future. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

  9. Reply

    I agree that education is the key but it must be something useful or exceedingly interesting. Don’t bore me with trivia. Tell me a story.

    • Reply

      Hi, exactly. Stories have been around for many centuries but nevertheless we still crave for more. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

    • robin rue
    • April 19, 2017
    Reply

    Customers know what they want. I always do my research first!

    • Reply

      Hi, Thanks a lot for the comment, we hope our article helped. If you need more useful information please head on to our other blog posts 🙂
      As a gratitude for reading our content, we are giving you free SEO analysis of your website. Just click here to claim this offer.
      ~The Iuvo Omega

 

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