By Craig Spooner
Want to increase sales within the education marketplace via content marketing?
First, let’s make sure we are on the same page.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as follows: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Basically, you are the expert in your field. By using your expertise to create valuable content for your clients, you can further drive profits. Want to learn more about content marketing? Forbes published a great article about content marketing basics and examples.
Let’s dive into how content marketing can help you drive sales within our industry, education.
Stay Tough: Education Sales Aren’t for the Faint of Heart
Sales cycles within education are notoriously long and laborious (preaching to the choir, I know!). The complexity often means it is difficult to pinpoint where your customers are in the purchasing process, especially when the sales cycle is not always linear. By consistently creating content your prospects need and want, you can continue to reinforce the trust, credibility, and expertise of your business throughout the entire sales cycle. Education sales often do not have the luxury to prove their worth once at the initial stage, but rather need to find ways to continue to show their value.
Wait, You’re a Customer?
Throughout all industries, there has been a perceivable shift in the way consumers purchase products. Traditionally, marketing was about pushing information to the consumer. Now, customers actively pull information during their research process (as business management firm McKinsey&Company call the “empowered consumers”) Meaning, your customers may have already made up their mind about your business before you even realize they are a prospective client.
This makes content marketing a “must.” You will not know all of your prospects, but you can count on them perusing your content to get to know you. By consistently creating content that is valuable to your market you are gaining business you may never even know you had.
Six Degrees of Separation
In Social Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs, author Jim Barry reminds the marketer, “Each fan, follower and connection that touches your content has audiences in the hundreds on average.” With slim education budgets, there is a push for educators to become a “connected educator” in lieu of traditional professional development. Imagine your very valuable, super sharable content marketing gets into the hands of a connected educator—not only have you impacted one potential purchaser, your reach has suddenly hit a rolodex of purchasers.
Turn Customers into Fans (Loud Ones)
The same content that will encourage those connected educators to interact with you and their peers will also be available to your current customers. By continuing to show your value as a business even after the purchase, you are continuing to engage with your current customers, ensuring a lasting positive relationship. Plus, by encouraging your current customers to share your content they are delivering a positive peer review to a mass of prospective clients. It’s a win-win.
Get on the Content Marketing Train
For businesses serving the K12 market, perhaps the most important reason to implement content marketing is because of the clients they serve. The best educators are passionate and resourceful. As Barry says, “If delivered free and without wanting something in return, marketers can be credited with thoughtful contributions and empathy. Overtime, the audience may seek out the content provider as a trustworthy source of timely, relevant, and useful information.” To the marketer seeking the business of a passionate and resourceful educator, what can be better than that?
Thank you for sharing!