You are the expert in your industry! You probably know everything there is to know about your product or service. And when you’re “in it” every day, most of what you know comes so naturally that you start to assume other people know it, too. But it’s easy to forget that your clients are purchasing from you because they don’t have, don’t know and can’t do what you offer.
This is a great opportunity to use what you sell as a teaching moment. Creating an educational series or a challenge can be an excellent way to build your email list as you ask people to “sign up” for this service.
The best part is, you can have different levels of a series as well. Start with a freebie level to gain interest and as your clients begin to see your value-added services, you can add paid options as well.
As you create your series, you want to make sure you:
- Answer a question or fill a need that a large majority of your clients have.
- Make it easily accessible for the average person.
- Follow through on all the education you promise your clients who sign up.
Let’s say you sell a line of cooking seasonings and spices. An easy series to create would be “A week of 30-minute meals.” You would challenge your clients to use your ingredients in easy to prepare meals every night for 5 weeknights.
- Customers who are interested would sign up with an email address.
- You would email them a welcome email with an ingredient list immediately upon sign up for the meal each day. You may even offer a special for participants to receive a discount on your website with the specific spices they will need.
- You could ask them to join a Facebook group or follow an Instagram page that would keep them up-to-date throughout the challenge.
- When the day arrives that you’ve chosen to start the challenge, send a reminder email and post reminders on your social media. Be sure you’ve given yourself enough time to get all of the customers the seasonings you plan to use. This is when you really want your customer service skills to shine.
- Daily, you would want to post and send an email to remind them of the dinner for that night with the written recipe.
- You could even cook the meal live each evening along with the participants of the challenge. If you’d like to keep it super secretive, use a private group or a Zoom link. Or, if live isn’t an option, pre-record a video with the instructions for the meals and send a link with the daily email.
- Ask questions and possibly even offer prizes to those participating daily. Ask them to post their meals each night on their personal social media pages, tagging your business and showing off their creations. This is a great opportunity to create a branded hashtag that everyone can use.
- Answer frequently asked questions live or follow up with them on social media. Ask participants to share any changes they’ve made to the recipes and share with the group.
- At the end of the challenge, find a way to keep them coming back for more. You could offer another discount code or ask them to sign up for a recipe club or even just send an email occasionally to this specific group telling them the topic of the next challenge and inviting them to join.
In a case like this, this business not only sold extra spices they may not have sold, but they’ve also shown their customers that they are there to help them through the struggles of cooking every night. They’ve taught them how to use their product in new ways. And they’ve theoretically reached more potential clients by having their current participants post about it on their own social media. They also built an email list of clients that can be targeted in specific ways in the future.
Creating a challenge or educational series can be time consuming, but once you do it, you can streamline the process and you’ll find that it’s an incredibly easy way of marketing to your audience. It gives you content to use in the future as you create posts and videos each time and it allows you to really answer those frequently asked questions in an above-and-beyond way. Next time your client says: “But how do I…” You can direct them to the series that answers that question.
If you’re not sure where to start with educational marketing, we can help. But we suggest polling your audience. Ask them what they’d like to learn from you and find out how willing your clients are to commit to a long-term series.
You can always start small. But the best way to find out how well a marketing strategy like this could work for your business, is to just start!