Customer education is an excellent way to gain new clients and keep old ones, which makes it all the more shocking that so few companies are actually doing it. Managers are often operating under the assumption that a solid marketing campaign is enough to generate leads and convert prospects. Since consumers are able to access so much information at any given time these days, those suppositions are no longer true.
These days, a majority of people who are looking for your brand have at least some way to explore the web, and that means they’re going to either get information from you or they’re going to go looking for it elsewhere. Rather than worry about whether you’re going to educate your customers enough to look for other products and services you need to focus on making sure they’re getting the information from you before they look elsewhere. If you do this right, then you’ll position yourself as an authority.
How Honesty Translates into Authority
A big part of gaining a degree of authority is positioning yourself as an expert on a topic while being completely honest about it. Chances are that you already know quite a bit about whatever it is that you’re selling. If you don’t, then you’ll want to bone up on your own material before you position yourself as an expert.
Take some time to learn more about industry trends outside of your immediate space and figure out ways to share these with your clients. This might even make for a new marketing opportunity, since you’ll be free to explain to them why they don’t actually need a trendy product or service being heavily promoted by your competition. Building a customer education program gives you a rare opportunity to show your customers that the space you’re in is constantly evolving and they shouldn’t feel like they need to buy into the hype.
Always be honest with your clients, because they’ll gravitate toward your competition if they figure out that you’ve at all lied. When you don’t know something, be upfront about it but make sure that you let your clients know that you’ll get them the answer. This is especially true of those who offer any form of financial services or trading education program, because specialists in this particular field are often held to state and federal standards. The same goes for those in the healthcare and insurance sectors. Most importantly, dedicate some time now to learn more about the industry.
Educating Yourself Before Your Clients
Creating and sharing material is fine as long as you have a handle on what’s going on, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t already have a background in the industry that you claim to represent. While trade publications and podcast interviews aren’t always going to be the most interesting material to absorb, it’s important that you make sure to follow everything going on in your space. It might even be useful for you to learn more about your competition, because some clients will naturally want to gravitate toward whatever seems to be exciting regardless of whether they need it or not.
The moment you’re able to steer someone clear of a service that doesn’t genuinely fit their needs, there’s a good chance that they’ll start to consider you an expert. That’s when you’ll truly be able to position yourself as an authority. Keep in mind that post-nominals don’t mean what they used to mean. Master-level job experience may actually mean much more to your customers than any degree would.
Once you have a handle on the material, it shouldn’t be difficult to put together an excellent presentation.
Ensuring that Your Presentations Present You as an Authority
Don’t go out of your way to promote your level of expertise, since this can make you appear as though you were trying too hard. That being said, you don’t want to skimp on your level of authority in the field. Some marketing experts have compared this to acting as though you were an orchestra conductor. Make sure that any presentation you give is done through this lens.
Simple tutorials and online manuals can be jazzed up with information that your clients wouldn’t be able to receive anywhere else. Everything you do will need to have additional value added to it in order to continue your establishment as someone who should be trusted in your specific field.
Once again, though, it’s best not to look cocky. Reach out to your clients and fashion every customer education program around material that your clients will genuinely find useful. You may wish to use a blog or other online service to further reach out to your clients. Consider providing further educational opportunities through social accounts or video streaming apps.
While it might take a while before you’re completely trusted in the industry, it’s worth investing the time needed to cultivate a level of authority.