Many entrepreneurs are thriving in today’s socially-connected economy because they inherently understand how to use education to market their brand and grow their business.
Old school marketing — interrupting people with your blatantly promotional messages — has always been a tough gig, but it’s getting tougher by the minute. Advertising costs continue to grow while audiences splinter like crazy.
And let’s not forget people are becoming super-savvy at blocking out incessant white noise; they simply don’t have the time, the inclination or indeed the attention span to listen to your one-way promotional messaging.
One workaround is for brand owners to reframe the way they think about marketing and communications.
Think about who your real competitors are, and they’re not necessarily the guy down the (virtual) road who sells the same stuff as you to the same group of customers.
No, your real competitor is the friend who sends his mates funny cat videos or weird Snapchat photos, family members who message one another on Facebook, and strangers who rattle off tweets about hot new trends or the latest political party leadership spill.
And let’s not forget the myriad bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers who share their passion for all manner of weird and wonderful topics at every digital turn.
These are your competitors, and they’re damn good at garnering the attention of your target audience.
So what are you going to do about it?
If we’re to cut through, connect and resonate with our intended audience, we stand a far better chance if we understand what their desires, needs and challenges are and then provide relevant and timely information that educates, inspires and empowers them with knowledge around those interests, motivations and pain-points.
Education is key!
If your idea of marketing is to bang on about your products and services all the time, yelling at all and sundry about how great your company is, you’d better have deep pockets and be prepared to become frustrated when your efforts don’t yield the results you’re after.
But start being useful like Brian Goulet from The Goulet Pen Company, whose helpful videos are super-effective in attracting people to his online store, and your chances of cutting through with your audience will, in all likelihood, increase.
The Missouri Star Quilt Company owes its incredible success to its folksy YouTube video tutorials. The company’s YouTube channel boasts 710,000 subscribers and its videos have been viewed over 209 million times — an incredible feat! Key to Missouri Star’s success with video has been its consistency of output plus a tight focus on educating its audience around all things quilting, including DIY projects that people can try at home.
Meanwhile, in the UK, business and landlord insurance company Simply Business has an informative Knowledge Centre on its website designed to educate its key target audiences — small business owners and landlords.
In Australia, Bluewire Media’s Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins, who happily give away the bulk of their digital marketing knowledge and expertise via their blog and free marketing templates and ebooks; they’ve even built a library of over 150 business and web marketing books and encourage people to drop by their office and borrow them if they wish!
This is what’s called adding value over and above your products and services, and it’s a powerful PR and marketing strategy!
Leveraging social media and online publishing platforms to freely share your knowledge, ideas and expertise — without the expectation of getting anything in return — is a terrific way to cut through the marketplace clutter, get noticed and build rapport and trust with current and potential customers as well as influencers within your community or industry.
Best-selling author Tony Robbins once wrote that “we’re drowning in information, but we’re starving for wisdom”.
Make your mark for all the right reasons.
Don’t merely add to the noise, but intentionally build recognition for your knowledge, ideas, expertise and insights by creating educational content. Your customers will thank you for it!