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What’s your marketing philosophy?

Is this a question that has ever crossed your mind?

If you’re a marketer or business owner that prefers the concept of inbound marketing and earning customers (as opposed to buying them), then chances are you have heard the term content marketing. Chances are you also have an active blog and a strong social media presence.

But chances are you have not taken much thought into your marketing philosophy – “a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.”

At ground level, if you think about why people choose to purchase something, it’s because it’s either a necessity to them, or they’re influenced to buy it.

So how do you influence someone to buy something that’s not a necessity? You educate them on how it solves one of their real world problems. And this is the philosophy of education based marketing.

To me, this is a critical foundational philosophy for the kind of resources created in effective digital marketing strategies.

Marketing that educates. Marketing that inspires as a result of learning.

Why Is Education Based Marketing So Powerful?

Because of trust.

When you deliver quality education and teach someone something that solves a real world problem in their life – a problem currently keeping them up at night – you instantly build an immense amount of trust with that person.

And trust is the foundation of all relationships. It doesn’t matter if it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, a business partnership, or the potentially life-long relationship between you and your customer.

Education based marketing allows you to become an influencer. Someone that is a trusted advisor and the go-to person for advice and guidance.

Quick Exercise

Take a moment to think about someone in your life you consider an influencer. Someone who you rely on to give you sound advice when you need it. This person could be a friend, colleague, teacher, or family member.

Got someone in mind?

Now, how do you feel when you think of your influencer?

If you’re anything like me, your influencer is a person you like, listen to, and feel warm about when you bring them to mind. Also, when they offer you sincere, heartfelt advice, you usually follow it. Often, without question. What if YOU could instantly become an influencer to your potential clients? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when they brought your name and face to mind, they had the same kinds of warm feelings?

When you take time to educate your potential clients, right inside your marketing, you can start to become one of their influencers.

True influencers can bypass sales processes because of their status. They simply make a recommendation, and people follow it.

Can you think of any real world examples of this? (quick example: celebrity endorsements)

The Customer Landscape

It’s often true that 97% of your ideal potential customers are not looking for your product or service. That’s right. Most of your perfect customers are not looking for you, even though they may need you, and desperately.

The people that are your ideal customers can typically be broken down into the following categories:

The Customer Landscape - Education Based Marketing Philosophy

The Customer Landscape

Most businesses fail because they’re in a dog fight for the tiny three percent of active shoppers – Tweet this!

Most marketing, in most industries, is designed to only reach the 3% of people already actively looking for your solution. Most business owners and marketers spend their time trying to win this highly competitive dogfight.

Very few people know how to access the 67% of their ideal clients who have the problem they solve – but just need a little education to know they need it.

Effective education based marketing informs the huge 67% group of your ideal customer as to why they need you, and why they need you right away. It takes your ideal customers from simply being Open (7%), Aware (30%), or Unconscious (30%), to being actively interested in investing in your solution.

When Education Based Marketing Is Not Effective

Lots of marketers and businesses make admirable attempts to execute effective education based marketing, but fall short. No doubt, you have seen examples of education based marketing in practice, in the form of free workshops, webinars, ezines or free eBooks.

Unfortunately, the majority of this education based marketing doesn’t work.

People may digest the information given in your education-based resources, but they will soon forget or let go when finished, while never taking the crucial step to do any business with the person who produced it.

Why does this happen?

Effective education based marketing has two elements. And the problem is that most education based marketing available has the first element in place, but not the second.

You simply must have both elements in place if you want to access that huge 67% of untapped ideal customers.

The First Element Of Education Based Marketing

DELIVER VALUE.

Delivering value refers to offering something of worth to your potential customers right in your marketing resources. In this case, the value would be delivered in the form of educational content.

A lot of marketers and business owners get this right. They often lead with value and invest in producing great content to attract and inform their potential customers. However, this is where most of them stop. And sadly, this is why their marketing doesn’t work and why they don’t capture any of the 67% of ideal customers who still need them.

The Second Element Of Education Based Marketing

POSITIONING THE PURCHASE.

Positioning the purchase refers to strategically organising the educational content in your marketing materials so that it leads the consumer to the logical conclusion that they need your product or service, and right away.

Positioning the purchase is also known as “setting buying criteria“. It’s the most difficult part of creating education based marketing resources, but when you invest the time to understand it properly, everything will come together for you.

You see, everyone makes purchasing decisions based on some criteria. Effective education based marketing influences the criteria by which your potential client makes their purchase.

The bottom line? You must learn how to create marketing materials that give value, while also positioning the purchase.

Why You Need To Have An Education Based Marketing Philosophy

Education based marketing makes money.

When it’s performed correctly, it positions the purchase of your products or services so that the majority of your audience who don’t know they need your solutions are influenced to do so.

Not only does it attract more segments of customers, it converts them better, making it more likely that the majority of people who read your marketing will move on to do paid business with you.

Education based marketing is an ethical philosophy to have because it sets you up as an influencer, allowing you to deliver value to your audiences through education and inspiration. When your marketing gives value and positions the purchase, it is also one of the most leveraged and cost effective forms of marketing. It gives you access to that 67% of your ideal potential clients that no one else is talking to.

Remember, your competitors are all in a dog fight for the 3% of active shoppers…

Why You Need An Education Based Marketing Philosophy -  business fighting for the active shoppers

Image source: Storify

Focusing all your efforts to try and position yourself in this tiny space – the space where you get in front of those few people already looking for your solution – is just not an effective or very profitable approach to marketing.

You’re leaving 67% of potential on the table for the smart marketers to acquire.

And missing huge opportunities to grow your business in the process.

Over To You…

Has this got you thinking? Good!

If you don’t currently adopt an education based marketing philosophy in your business or marketing efforts, then it’s time to think about that 67% of potential that you’re missing out on.

If you have the basics in place, you might still be missing the crucial step of positioning the purchase. Ensure you’re making good use of your marketing materials or resources to set the buying criteria and naturally lead into your sales process.

Having an education based marketing philosophy that inspires customers isn’t an overnight activity. But working hard and investing in yourself and your organisation is key to establishing real personal and business growth.

Do you use an education based approach in your marketing?

Have there been times when educating customers has led to an unexpected purchase, repeat purchase, or even a customer referral?