Face it, we live in a highly competitive marketplace for virtually every product and service category in the market today. Regardless of the company type, industry or offering customers have a plethora of options to choose from. The challenge for small and mid-size businesses is to stand apart from the competition and drive customers to your door. The age of using pithy sales taglines, humor based advertising and bundle pricing gimmicks is dying.

In today’s world, a website and social media marketing strategy are a standard part of every business plan written today. The reach of the internet allows businesses to reach customers in places not possible just a short decade ago. Today there over a half a billion websites live on the internet vying for the consumer’s attention.

Either your website is simply a billboard on the digital highway or it is a destination for customers

Enter Educational Based Marketing:

Consumers today are better educated today than they ever have been and sometimes they know more about your offering then you do. They have done the necessary research and understand not only the major points but the nuances as well. A full 78% of consumers do online research before making a buying decision. Consumers crave valuable information to assist them in making a better buying decision.

Customers want to be educated and understand why your company and offering is different and worthy of their hard earned money. This is especially true in red ocean commodity-based businesses that are separated only by price. the need to stand out and show your companies true value becomes even more critical.

One thing is clear, if you want to know how to do something, whatever it is, you go to youtube and search for a video explaining it. You will typically always find something that helps you understand or move closer to a decision. The companies that have taken the time to create education-based marketing will always reap the benefits of these searches over businesses that have not.

Promoting your true value proposition:

Consumers today are also interested in learning about your approach to business, your level of social responsibility and how much you care about them and their needs. In a previous post “Discovering Your Unique Value Proposition” we discussed how to focus in on and discover what truly makes you and your company different from the competition. This process discovers the deeper things and speaks to who you are, why you exist, why customers should care and what makes you different.

This realized value needs to be promoted and showcased to your clients via educational marketing pieces in the form of a blog, video, webinar or case study among others. If you happen to be in an industry that has a complex offering of financial services, medicine or technology this is a basic requirement. Making the complex simple to understand for consumers is key to gaining their trust and their business.

Not Sales Focused:

The key to your educational pieces being viewed and shared is making sure they are not sales driven. people do not like to be sold to, they want to be educated and informed. Consumers are bombarded with sales messages everywhere they turn and these messages are largely ignored.

Regardless of the business, you are in, you have a unique value proposition that no other business has because there is nobody else exactly like you. The key is to discover these things and promote them. If you are a manufacturer, showcase what makes your manufacturing process different and unique. If you are a service provider, showcase your process and help consumers understand what goes into the service delivery that adds value. If your business people, showcase the values and care they take in delivering your service. Tell a story and bring people into the fold.

Protecting a Growing Margin:

Never has there been a business owner that has said: “It’s terrible that my margin and profitability is growing”.  Business today faces price pressure from all corners of the globe because it is the easiest thing to promote, if there is not someone cheaper then you today there will be tomorrow.

The not so secret secret is that consumers will pay for value, always have and always will. The more the customer understands about you, your reason for being and why they should buy from you the more they are willing to pay for it. This does not mean that you should gouge your customers and take advantage of them. By focusing on value and helping the customer understand your value the more business you will do at a higher margin.

Its all about execution:

all of the best educational pieces in the world will do you and your business no good if you don’t deliver on the promises made or back up what you promote. Do not ever lie to customers, if you cant deliver it then don’t say it. The rubber always meets the road with delivery and service after the sale.

Take the time to dig down and discover your unique value proposition, tell customers what makes you tick, why you are different and what it means to them as consumers of your offering.