Today’s consumers are well-informed and rely heavily on online information before making a purchase decision. In fact, according to research by Conductor, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume education content. Consumer education — especially for brands with complex products or services — should not be ignored.
That’s why we’ve asked marketing leaders what consumer education means and how brands can educate their target audience to fuel brand awareness and drive conversions.
What Is Consumer Education?
“Consumer education can be various methods of informing your customers about your products and services,” stated Bryan Phelps, founder & CEO of Big Leap. He said this could include how to use what you sell and why your product or service is valuable to them. Consumer education helps reinforce your brand’s value proposition while also moving potential leads along the customer journey and down the sales funnel.
“The more information a buyer has, the better able they are to make a good choice for themselves,” explained Alice Stevens, senior content strategist at BestCompany.com. But consumer education doesn’t mean only providing biased information for self-promotion. “It's essential that marketers provide consumers with accurate and objective information. If you don’t, you run the risk of dealing with an unsatisfied customer who may leave a bad review.”
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Why Consumer Education Is Crucial
Consumer education is crucial for brands because it can impact every aspect of the customer journey. A strong consumer education strategy can lead to thought leadership, better understanding of what your brand offers and improved conversions in the long run. Here are some tips offered by our experts to help guide your content journey.
Become a Thought Leader
Sonya Pelia, CMO at Cira Apps Ltd, believes consumer education can help brands become thought leaders. “You want to provide your best expertise without holding back, to really help people, even if they never buy from you.” Top of the funnel content that educates consumers about the industry and best-practices can position your brand as an expert. “It is about becoming a trusted advisor,” Pelia added, “by focusing on the needs of the customer even before they consider buying your product.”
Avoid Hesitation During Buying Decisions
You want consumers to easily understand what the value is that they get from your product or service so that making a purchase decision is easy for them. “Confusion causes hesitation and hesitation can easily turn into no purchase at all,” said Pelia. A consumer that hesitates at the point of sale is a missed opportunity by marketing and sales teams. “You want to reassure the customer that your product solves their problem and that you’ll be there to support them in the event that they get confused at a later stage.”
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Articulate the Value of Complex Services or Products
Got a complex product or service? “The more complex your product, the higher the risk of potential customers giving up on things they don’t see early value in,” said Greg Smith, CEO of Thinkific. “Without education on the value you provide, customers may not understand how you compare to the competition and have a harder time getting team buy-in.” That’s why it’s crucial to educate potential buyers early on and support them in making informed purchase decisions.Consumer education, therefore, is a great way for marketing and sales teams to get more qualified leads, increase conversions and improve customer retention.
Reduce Customer Service Needs
“Educating your customers will significantly increase your revenue and dramatically reduce your customer support costs,” Smith said. That’s because a lack of user resources — especially for complicated business software — will lead to misuse and other issues with the product. “When customers are trained on your business tools and industry they are much more likely to adopt your product and become power users who have a longer customer lifetime value.”
How Brands Can Educate Their Consumers
The value of consumer education is clear, but we wanted some actionable tips from the experts. Alongside tried-and-tested content like blog posts, social media content, webinars and eBooks, they recommend:
“Content hubs on a brand website is a great place to house your consumer education content,” suggested Phelps. This should be informative articles, videos, how-to guides and more. “This content is easily accessible to your consumers,” he explained, “but is also a great way to drive more search traffic and new business.” That’s why you want to optimize your content hub for search engines like Google or YouTube to rank better and spread brand awareness.
“Online courses provide an effective and scalable option for growing companies to expand their consumer education efforts without needing a ton of people power,” said Smith. These courses can easily be set up and managed with an online learning platform without a large amount of effort. “And, once a course is created,” Smith explained, “it can be used over and over again to reach a wide audience at scale.”