Summon your “inner teacher:” webinars, ecourses and seminars

There comes a time when customers just need to understand “more” about your product or service… not as in “you need better advertising to better sell the benefits” but rather “customers need more information to get the most from their investment, experience, etc.”

Educational marketing — different from “education marketing” which is more about marketing schools – is a powerful way to build deep relationships with your customers that can return volumes for rather little investment.

There’s a lot of ways to educate your cusomers. Back in the stone ages of snail mail and fax, I used to send my customers copies of articles that reminded me of conversations I had recently had with them, highlighting key points.  Today, business owners and marketers have a myriad of ways to cultivate an educated customer.

In addition to offering free articles, reports or books, you can offer such things as webinars/teleseminars and email courses. This works quite well for a variety of topics.

REASONS TO DO THIS:

  • helps to establish your expert status in your industry
  • brands your business
  • enhances your likeability factor. (We buy from people/companies we like and can relate to.)
  • deepens the relationship with your customer (people typically buy from people we trust, and often we trust the people we’ve learned from)

UNEXPECTED BENEFITS CAN BE:

  • by educating your customer, you can often curtail customer service issues
  • when customers do call with issues/troubles, often they can better describe what their situation is
  • with a little hand holding, they can sometimes resolve their own issues (thus saving you rolling an installation truck or tech person to their business location.

This form of educational marketing helps close the cycle time to closing – in other words, it’s typically a pre-sale activity. That doesn’t mean that you can’t offer (and likely SHOULD) webinars or teleseminars for customers who may have just purchased a given product.

It’s also not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t include a reminder in your webinar or email course about the products and services you provide that help to solve this issue for the customer. Just be careful. People don’t like feeling like they’re just geting sold to: if you are educating them, make sure they’re getting valuable information.  The sales pitches should be more like an “aside” (as in: and oh by the way – yes we can do this for you, here’s a link.)

There’s a few ways to “educate” your customers. We’re going to discuss two of them.

Webinars/teleseminars

Think “seminars” or “workshops” here – just more time and travel friendly. People don’t have time to drive across town to go to a seminar, and many companies who used to rely on national conferences to provide training and trending information just don’t have the money any more to send people across country to be out of the office 3-5 days.

So think about your webinar (both audio/visual) or teleseminar (most often just audio) as you would in planning a break out presentation at a national conference.  What would attract people to come to your particular session (compelling headline/title and seminar description)?  Plan on 45 minutes to 75 minutes… keep your presentation tight and on topic.  If your webinar is going to go longer than that, emphasize why – is it a hands on learning session where participants will go on the web and do….?  Be sure to record these sessions: they will help build your arsenol of infomation for your customers.

BONUS TIP: consider including a chat area for participants to post and comment “live.”

Ecourses

Ecourses are emailed “lessons” that are emailed out to a pre-designated list through the means of an autoresponder.  They can be scheduled to send out any number of given pre-designed messages in a prescribed schedule.  For example, you could send a ten week course on how to train for a marathon, each week offering useful tips for where the person should now be in their training. After the first two or three weeks you could add in a link to a running supplement or a training log software program (whatever product or service you’re selling).

The great thing about ecourses is that you have a lengthier time to increase customer bonding. You can provide a tip “go try X next time on your run” and then follow up with a message like “share what you experience or how it works for you in our chat area.”

There’s two things that provide challenges to ecourses: first, email /spam filters can wreak havoc with the delivery of such courses. Further, the lengthier the ecourse, the higher the risk for customer engagement to drop off.  So you may want to use this with highly targeted or committed groups of customers.

In any case, educating your customers can be a great strategy in your marketing efforts – if nothing else, it will educate them and subtly reinforce to them why you’re an amazing resource to them!

 

Category: Seminars, Teleseminars, Webinars

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