Educate and Grow Rich: The Power of Teaching Customers

Earlier this week I was out at S.T.E.P. RVA speaking to owners and marketers of local small businesses about educating customers. More specifically, “The Art of Educational Marketing.”

During the occasion I made a point about how to educate and grow rich – specifically grow your business.

Marketing has changed more in the last 20 years than any other business discipline. Far more than accounting or management. Why are we relying on the same-old marketing techniques? Why are Business Owners marketing in a fashion that doesn’t resonate with current prospects?

Teaching your customers and giving your customers the resources to believe you is new marketing.

Creating an educational marketing approach requires that a business give and give first and in doing so build the know, like and trust needed for readers, listeners, or viewers to take a step or action that essentially signals you have permission to sell to them.

I know that the idea of educating to grow your business is not exactly a new concept, everyone acknowledges this, but finding ways to apply it in the realm of a specific marketing initiative seems a little harder to pin down.

Offer something free. We don’t tend to think of shopping as an educating activity, but it definitely is.  When we shop, we seek out information. We “kick the tires.” We educate ourselves to make good decisions.

Your information can be an in-store class, seminar, workshop, ebook, a PR tool, a product sample, a subscription to a insightful terrific newsletter, or any form of valuable information. It can be anything really, as long as it’s free and relates to your core product or service.

Educate on something beneficial. Educational content that is beneficial and useful: gets read; it gets watched; it gets shared; it attracts more people.

The free information you offer above in the first step needs to be perceived as
valuable. Your efforts will suffer if all you offer is a thinly veiled sales brochure.

Educate on relieving pain. To develop or identify a good information product, think in terms of topics that will help your “suspect” avoid the pain of paying too much, wasting time, losing something of value or encounter frustrating situations. It’s just human nature that people seem very interested in topics that will help them avoid pain.

As customers learn more about the problems and opportunities your products address, their needs grow broader and deeper. And, of course, the opportunities for additional sales grow.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm in Richmond, VA. He helps small to midsize businesses create marketing plans and growth processes that get new or better results.