June 9th, 2015
Who else wants to scream if they hear the words “give value”, write “valuable content” again?
It's not because it isn't true.
It is – of course.
We should aim to provide something of value to the world, to our audience and to our customers. That value shows up in different ways, as I've talked about in the past over here. But the problem is that saying value too much, too often, and incorrectly devalues the word…
…And saying “this is valuable content” does not necessarily make it so.
Am I right?
So, I started thinking about what value means to me…and what I came up with was this.
If you're anything like me, you want to teach people something (how to do, improve or stop doing something)….and in my case it's usually about launching. My big dream is to empower and teach entrepreneurs how to take their ideas, turn them into projects that get done…in a big way. I do that by teaching how to launch, but also how to prepare to launch…and what to do to improve your launches.
Why is it important to educate people?
Is it really the responsibility of the company to be an educator even if they are selling a service?
I think so – and here's why.
Education can happen before, during, and after someone becomes a client or customer. It enhances the experience of your brand, provides quick wins to people who aren't customers yet, builds trust–and really so much more.
[Tweet ““Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin”]
First let’s breakdown how education actually happens before, during, and after the sale.
- First – you show your peeps who they can benefit from their stuff (before)
- Next – show your peeps how to use your stuff (during)
- Later – show your peeps how to get better at using your stuff (after)
Let me dive into each one a little bit more.
What are the benefits of consuming, buying, using, learning from you?
Why is what you’re selling so important?
People need to know exactly the possible outcome they will experience as a result of buying from YOU.
This is required for every single type of product…even if it’s obvious, spell it out for people.
And conversely, make sure you are also sharing what they are missing or losing out on by not buying from you. What problems will they continue having without what you are selling?
In this “before the sale” phase, you are really teaching them to make a commitment to themselves, encouraging them to make a change or simply nudging their decision along.
Take Action: Do you provide enough information and education on why what you’re selling should be a priority to someone? Look through your blog, past newsletters and past launch content to answer that for yourself…or better yet, ask someone who’s already purchased from you!
Make a list of all content you’ve created in any form–images, articles, interviews, etc. that clearly state or show why your audience should care.
How to use what they bought from you
This again should be fairly obvious, but it's often forgotten.
Make sure you give complete instructions, guidance, and possibly inspiration on how to go through the course, apply the lotion, eat the food, do the exercise, use the product…
This could be delivered the second they purchase or through a welcome series of emails.
The great thing is even though you create this for the actual customers who buy from you…you can also share this content and educate people who haven’t even bought yet!
Do you drop people into your product or service and then disappear? Do you give people a what to do first, second, third and then follow up to make sure they have no questions on what to “do”?
How to get better at using what they bought
After someone’s purchased and you’ve walked them through it…they’ve been around for awhile or at least long enough to have “used” what they purchased…is that it? Is your job done?
Nope! In fact this could be the best way to keep your customers coming back from more.
One company does this for me literally all the time and I love it. Coschedule. Coschedule is the simplest social media plugin, part of my power duo I use with Edgar. Actually, both Edgar and Coschedule send me reminders on features I might not be using, new case studies of how other people are using the tools, new features…and I love it.
Keep me engaged with new ways to use what I bought from you. Thank you very much.
This is especially useful if you’ve got a subscription type product. Show me new things I can do on a regular basis…and I’ll stay forevah!
Take Action: If you sell products or even services, do you follow up with your customers after the initial welcome period is over? Do you share alternate ways to use a purchase? Do you send any follow up emails at all once someone has purchased from you?
Make a list of the type of communication that goes out after the immediate buying phase is over, they’ve had what they bought for awhile?
Companies That Teach Me + I Love Them For It
I already mentioned two of them above…but here’s the the rundown of the companies that literally remind me on a regular basis why I bought something from them and do so by teaching me something more about my purchase.
Coschedule: Updates and suggestions right in my coschedule interface pop up. Normally messages annoy me, but these are often super helpful. Also, their blog and headline analyzer are at the top of my “fill the well” list.
As you can see from this screenshot above, messages pop up in my wordpress dashboard, so every time I go to publish a post and add social media, I get a little update my new BFF Garrett at Coschedule.
LeadPages: I use so Leadpages so often that learning new ways to use the tool is always helpful…they provide landing page templates, step by step set up marketing funnels, detailed how to’s for how to use their pages.
Both of these companies do a great job teaching me in a way that doesn’t feel like I have to become a customer in order to get the education.
In addition to their support and direct messaging to me as a customer…they also both have active blogs, publishing a few times a week, templates, resources that I can download any time…and that really as valuable to me now as they were when I wasn’t a customer just yet.
Now It’s Your Turn
Go through each section above and see where you might want to add a little more education.
Instead of asking yourself – “Is this content valuable”? (which in my opinion is soooo vague and the word valuable is really annoying me lately)
Ask – “Am I teaching something to my customers? Am I helping to deepen their understanding?”
Then, report back below which phase of your relationship with your audience you need to spend a little time on!
If you'd like to read more about building community, communicating better even when you're not “launching”, and how that impacts your business, you might like these additional articles and resources:
See you in the comments!