If you’re selling a cheap toothbrush, you don’t have to explain how it works. But if you’re selling a smart toothbrush with a touchscreen pad and 27 different settings, you might need to give customers a primer on how it works. And as products become more complex, the need for compelling educational content is increasing.
The Power of Educating Customers
Educating customers looks different in every setting, but it’s essentially the act of exposing and filling customer knowledge gaps so that they’re able to make more informed purchase decisions. Benefits include:
- Higher conversion rates. Presale educational content can convince a customer to make a purchase by exposing the problem and/or making the solution seem extremely compelling. This may lead to higher conversion rates.
- Builds trust. When a customer invests in educational content, the customer feels like the company has their best interests in mind. This leads to a stronger sense of trust.
- Establishes authority. You might not have any more trade secrets or knowledge than your closest competitor, but if you invest in educational content, it establishes you as the authority in your space. The more you educate, the more people associate you with knowledge. (In turn, you can charge more for the same products and services.)
- Stronger feedback loop. When you educate customers, you’ll get a better feel for what people are thinking and feeling. This creates a natural feedback loop that strengthens your brand and leads to better quality, service, and innovation.
On top of all these perks, educated customers are generally more satisfied customers. They understand their problem and the product, which eliminates so much of the friction that stems from poor product fit and/or improper expectations.
5 Tips for Better Customer Education
Educating customers isn’t as simple as it sounds. Depending on the industry you’re in and how complex your customer’s problems are, it could require a very complex approach. Here are a few suggestions to help you offer better customer education:
Identify Your Customer’s Biggest Knowledge Gaps
The biggest mistake brands make in consumer education is believing they understand what the customer’s problems are without actually doing any research. You might think you know what a customer is feeling, but the truth is often much different than perception. Before you get too far along in this process, you must dig in and identify your customer’s biggest knowledge gaps.
A knowledge gap is basically the chasm that exists between awareness of a problem and the satisfaction of that problem. In other words, they know they need a solution, but they don’t know what the solution is. When you identify these gaps, it allows you to address them with the right solution and education.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is a very useful platform for disseminating educational content. For example, check out BTOD.com’s LinkedIn page. Notice how they publish high-quality video content that explains how their products work. As a result, customers come to them much better equipped to purchase. (They also see fewer returns, since customers know exactly what they’re purchasing.)
Show Don’t Tell
Never tell a customer about something when you can show them. In other words, always opt for video walkthroughs in place of blog content or written guides. This isn’t always possible – and you may want to provide both options – but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.
Distribute Tutorials and Walkthroughs at Scale
If a customer asks for a walkthrough to use a product or solution, consider developing educational content at scale. Rather than producing one piece of content for that individual customer, develop a broader walkthrough that you can (a) deliver to the customer and (b) publish to your social accounts and knowledge base to serve other customers who likely have the same questions.
Develop a Robust Knowledge Base
A knowledge base is basically a section of your website that services as a library for customer questions, needs, and issues. It consists of videos, blog posts, guides, and other content that helps your customers serve themselves. A knowledge base doesn’t replace your customer service department, but it certainly reduces the volume of interactions they have to field.
Putting it All Together
By educating your customers on the front end, you set your brand apart as an authoritative figure that understands their problems and can provide solutions to fulfill their needs. The sooner you begin investing in world-class education, the more powerful your results will be.