One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make when marketing is they only sell to their customers. Educating your audience can be more effective as it establishes authority and trust between you and your audience.
Read on to learn more about how to educate your audience to create a brand that attracts customers.
Why Should You Not Just Sell?
One of the major trends in marketing is the move away from traditional outbound marketing and more towards inbound marketing. The difference between the two types of marketing is huge; with outbound marketing described as the process to push customers to a sales team or page to sell. Inbound marketing aims to attract audiences to the brands content.
Likewise the techniques used in both methods have significant differences. Outbound marketing relies on grabbing the attention of the reader and making a quick sale, whereas inbound marketing is about providing useful information to enhance the experiences of the reader and support their long term progression to being a valued customer.
Over the past few years, research has demonstrated inbound marketing has become very popular with customers. At the same time, outbound marketing has become less effective if used on its own.
The difference between the marketing trends is easily seen in studies to determine the most common purchasing paths. High performing sale paths include organic and direct searches, which account for nearly 60% of online purchases; these naturally rely on inbound marketing techniques.
Email marketing makes up another 13-20% of online purchases when no other contact with customers has been made. However, if the customer has had previous interactions with the brand, the proportion of online sales made via email marketing can be as high as 25%.
Email marketing can be seen as both an outbound and inbound marketing method. It depends on the content contained in the message. If there is useful information within the message and your aim is to attract the reader to your site you have an inbound email.
A message designed to inform your audience of a new product or special offer is outbound. Customers often see these outbound messages as spam and if several customers report it as such, you could face deliverability issues.
What Content Do You Need To Include To Educate Your Audience?
Inbound marketing relies on your audience to seek out information and arrive at your brand. Therefore your marketing needs to be created to solve your customers’ problems.
The way in which search engine users enter in search criteria has significantly changed in the past 10 years. Previously the user would enter short queries such as “content best practices” or “blog best practices”. Now the shift has been towards more complete questions, e.g. “how do I create content for my business’ blog.” This has created more opportunity for your business to identify content to write and attract your audience.
With historical search queries, the results that could have ranked highly on Google and other search engines would vary in specific topics. There could be anything from how to create content for your blog to how to have your content rank well on Google. While some of these topics could have overlapped, the top results might not have had anything to do with what the user was looking for.
With more detailed search queries, you can identify topics which will interest your target audience and are searched for online. Using common search queries in your blog posts and by answering questions, your blog can be immersed with hyper-niche blog posts designed to attract searchers of a particular question.
This way you are not only creating more content, which Google rewards in ranking, but also content which is highly relevant to the searcher’s needs.
What Are The Benefits Of Educating The Audience?
Educating the audience doesn’t just attract them to your site through SEO and other means. It elevates your brand by demonstrating authority within your industry. Research has shown 86% of blog readers trust the information and facts presented to them in a blog post and 66% buy products because of blog content.
By establishing authority and trust through your blog posts you can build a loyal following of readers who are likely to want to know more about your brand. As the readers become more engaged with your brand, their connection with you strengthens and they become more likely to purchase your product.
Educational material is also highly sharable; allowing you to expand the reach of your brand.
Is It Just Blogs That Can Educate Your Audience?
There are many methods to educate your audience. Videos, social media, infographics and podcasts can all be used to create a series of educational material to prove your commitment and expertise in the industry.
Videos and podcasts are particularly useful for disseminating information to your audience. Audiences tend to be more engaged with visual and audio forms of marketing as they feel the content is meant only for them.
Video is also very good for SEO as it is likely to feature highly on a results page if hosted on YouTube. Podcasts can also be pretty effective as one single podcast can be hosted on various channels and there is very little competition for podcast listeners.
Even email can be used to support the education of your audience. Use an auto-responder series to send out a series of automatic emails with a time delay between deliveries. If each message contains valuable content and a lesson, over the long term your expertise will be established.
Establishing authority in your industry is about ensuring your audience knows you have the knowledge to support them. To do this you must educate your audience by solving some of their common problems. You can educate your audience through a variety of means. The most popular method is writing a business blog; however, video, podcasts, email marketing and social media can all be used to create lessons for your audience.
- Identify key questions which your audience are asking you.
- Create content which solves these problems and publish the content online.
- Market these solutions to your current audience.