Building Trust: How to Effectively Use Education Based Marketing

by Devan Ciccarelli

As a business owner, you probably know the ins and outs of your industry. You eat, sleep, and breathe whatever your chosen field of work is. You even spend your free time reading up on the latest updates and innovations paving the way in your field. And when your customer has a question, you already know the answer.

It’s this level of expertise that your customers have come to expect when they show up at your door. They want you to solve their problems because you have so much experience doing so for others.

But, for your customer, the picture isn’t so perfect. If they’re coming to you, they already have a problem that they’re facing and the issue has gotten so out of hand, they need help fixing it. Or, even worse, your potential customer may not even realize the problem exists or that it needs fixing so urgently.  

Now when a problem comes up, most of us will try to self-diagnose the issue using our favorite search engine. Within a few seconds, millions of results connected to the problem will be returned for us to read about and try. Some of these results will be a waste of time, while others will help us get one step closer to fixing the issue.

Your goal as a business owner is to position your brand as a trusted resource for helping customers understand what it’s going to take to solve their problems. And the best way to do this is through education based marketing.

If you’ve never heard of the term, don’t worry. We’ll be diving into this topic in today’s article. If you follow these effective tips, you’ll be a lead generating machine in no time.

Bonus: Download our simple rules to keep your education based marketing effective.

What is Education Based Marketing?

‘Education based marketing’ isn’t technically a new term. In fact, you may already be engaging in some form of it without even realizing what you’re doing.

Essentially, education based marketing is the process of building trust with your customers by providing “free” help. This help comes in the form of sharing your expertise or knowledge of the subject matter.

Before you tune me out because I mentioned “free” help, hear me out.

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When a customer comes to your brand looking for help, they’re not always in the buying mode. After all, I mentioned earlier that some customers won’t even realize they have a problem until they come across your brand.

Now, just because they don’t arrive in the buying mode doesn’t mean you can’t eventually get them there. That’s where education based marketing comes in. By providing free (and valuable) advice, you’ll do two things:

  1. Position yourself as the authority
  2. Build trust

Because you’re giving away such helpful advice, your potential customers will look to you as the expert, even if you haven’t been in business for 30+ years. And while you’re doing that, you’ll also be earning and building their trust.

This is basically the start of your sales funnel.

Here’s Why it Matters

Okay so you’re probably thinking, Well, why does this matter? Why should I give away the house when I’m already charging a premium for my time and expertise?

While I can see your point, the truth is, you’re not giving away your livelihood. And you can still charge a premium for your services even after you’ve provided some form of education based marketing.

Here’s how it works: You create a piece of content such as an email course or opt-in offer. In this piece of content, you clearly outline and explain the problem, teach readers how they can fix their issues, and offer your best solution (i.e. your business).

By explaining the problem in vivid detail, your readers (and potential customers) will understand more about what’s going on. They may even find out that things are worse than they realized. So to help your readers out in their time of need, offer them some help.

To gain access to this free help, your customer will need to give you something in return, like say, their email address. Now you’ll have a way to connect with them later down the line if this piece of marketing doesn’t help close the sale on its own.

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Just to be clear, you’re not pushing your product or service on these prospects (not yet at least). Essentially, you’re “teaching” them how to solve the problem at hand on their own.

Hold on, you may be thinking, If I offer them options, I’m basically teaching them how to do my job. Will they ever hire me if they can do this work themselves?

Rest assured, that’s not the case here.   

See, what you’re really doing is giving your readers a glimpse into how your business solves this type of problem. This takes the whole “I don’t know what’s going on” aspect out of the process for your customer. In doing so, they’ll realize that the task is much more complex than they originally anticipated. It’s actually so involved that they now know they want no part in solving this issue alone. Instead, they will want to hand it off to you (since you’re the expert) so you can relieve them of their troubles and get the job done right.

And this, my friends, is where your call-to-action will do the heavy lifting.

When you close your education based email course or opt-in offer, you’ll do so by explaining how your brand is the right choice for solving this problem. You’ll mention your process, how it’s different from your competitors, and why you’re the right expert for the job.

So, in simple terms, you’ll lead with educating your reader and you’ll close with why your business can easily handle their problem. By the time you get to this point, you’ll have already proven yourself as the expert and have earned your reader’s trust. This makes closing the sale so much easier. Your customers won’t even realize you’ve been marketing to them this whole time.

Now to do this effectively, you’ll need to leave the sales aspect until the very end. Here’s what that looks like.

How to Use Education Based Marketing Effectively

1. Take Off the Expert Hat and Speak Your Customer’s Language

Your customer understands by now that you’re the expert. This means you can leave out the technical jargon whenever you’re using education based marketing. Try to put information into simple, easily-digestible terms so your customer can understand what’s going on even if they don’t have a degree in the subject.

It’s also a good idea to leave the salesy tone at the door. Your content should speak as if you’re having the conversation with your customer face-to-face. So if you wouldn’t explain this portion of your business in a consultation (i.e. it’s too complex), leave it out. You can save this type of information for later down the line should they need it.

2. Focus on Providing Help Instead of Generating Leads

Yes, this is technically a lead generating strategy, but if you lead with that, you’ll definitely lose a few good prospects along the way. You have to view this exercise as helping your customer before they even become one.

This means that you’ll probably give away a little more of the house than you’re comfortable with, but that’s okay. The more you can show your value and expertise, the more likely it is that the customer will come to you for help. That’s why your focus should be on providing quality help that can stand on its own instead of converting leads.

3. Leave the Call to Action for the End

As the icing on the cake, your call-to-action should be left for the end. If you can sprinkle it in between points without coming across as salesy, go for it. Just be sure that you’re not selling your services every chance you get. If your content comes across as you trying to push a sale, you’ll lose these quality leads and the whole strategy will fall apart in no-time.

Lastly, close with how readers can get in touch with you if they need additional help. Give them options. Add a phone number or direct email address at the end of the content so users know how to find you. After all, they should be in the buying mode by this point, so you want to make this step as easy as possible for them.

In the end, we’re certain that you’ll find education based marketing to be one of your most successful marketing strategies. In your customer’s eyes, you’ll be providing them with value long before you ask for their money.

On your end, you’ll be building trust and a solid sales funnel while simultaneously helping potential customers along the way. And when it’s all said and done, this simple strategy will turn your company into a lead generating machine.

Bonus: Don’t forget to download our simple rules to keep your education based marketing effective.

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