Use your content to educate customers

Many people might be able to tell you the benefits of common purchasable items (like smartphones) and services (like plumbing). But what about GoPros? Or grown-up summer camps? Or at-home vegan meal kit deliveries? Or cloud storage?

Potential customers expect to have access to all the details of products and services online, and if they can't find these details they are left frustrated.
frustrated woman looking at computer screen

Learning is now the first step of consuming, so it is key to ensure that you are meeting potential customers with informative content while they are in the exploratory phase of their buying journey.

Here are four steps to ensuring your website is set up to communicate with niche shoppers.

1. Know your audience.

When developing content that caters to your audience, here are a few steps to consider:
  • Understand the demographics of your customers. Knowing your audience's age, gender, location, education level, and other standard demographics can go a long way, but it's more important to understand what these differences mean. Even when you think know who your audience is, it helps to challenge those assumptions by doing more research to refine your marketing around your target audience's preferences.
  • Consider your customers' web use habits. Is your audience using the web on mobile devices or do they mostly access the web using desktop computers? Do they search online at night, at work, or intermittently? Do they use social media more or are they accessing content via basic searching and browsing?
  • Learn your customers' problem. Content is at its best when it is focused, and there is nothing better than focusing on how you can offer the solution to a problem. Learn which problem your audience has, and refine your website to help them solve that problem.
Learn more about the value of the audience persona.

2. Make your information "findable."

A teacher can't do anything with their lesson plan if their students never make it to the classroom. Having informative content does your audience no good if they can't find your site. Make sure your site is available in the right places. Building on the idea of knowing your audience, you also need to know where they are looking and how they are looking to solve their problems. Some ideas for being findable include:
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Check resources like Google's AdWords Keyword Planner to see what people search for the most, and tailor your page titles, blogs, and web content to match.
  • Social media. There are big differences between the big social media platforms, and some work better than others depending on the industry. Leverage tracking abilities within the social sites or using programs like Hubspot, HootSuite, or Sprout Social. Boosting posts is inexpensive, so test the waters and boost some posts to see what traction you get.
  • Advertise. Sometimes the tried and true ways to get your brand noticed are still effective. Depending on the industry, you may find that local advertising, trade shows, or sponsorships are opportunities to drive potential customers to your site so they can learn more or make their purchase.
  • Collect contacts. When your potential audience finds your brand, they become very real opportunities for a sale. Get them into your email list or CRM and build that list however you can. More sophisticated campaigns can set up automated workflows for different points in the sales cycle, but at the very least have the ability to leverage basic email marketing to keep your brand relevant in their eyes.
Learn more about the value of the meta tag to your website.

3. Have conversations.

The Online Learning Consortium suggests that online instructors should view themselves as a "guide on the side" rather than a lecturer or "sage on the stage." Providing the setting for students to explore, converse, and reach their own conclusions is the goal. The role of the instructor is to set the table for this learning, not to force-feed it to students.

If you have a website that serves to educate existing and potential customers, think of your marketing in a similar way. Rather than the "traditional" means of pitching and selling and promoting, look for ways to ensure that your messaging can be easily navigated so it can be learned and embraced. This engages your leads in the process of discovery in a way that empowers them. Additionally, a great way to get people to carry out a task of your choosing is to convince them that they thought of it themselves.
Learn more about how good content yields a stronger website.

4. Be your industry's subject matter expert.

Content is more than just blog posts and infographics. For Buzzfeed, it is their "Tasty" videos all over Facebook that show delicious recipes. For iTunes it is a critical review of nearly every major album available. For Amazon it is the sheer number of reviews most items have.

Consider the buying journey of your typical customer, and ensure that your content meets their expectations. This might mean tutorials, samples, reviews, articles, photos, or comparison charts. Beyond having this content, make sure it is available in meaningful ways, through use of web pages, email, social media, or even paid advertising.

By having thorough, thoughtful, and abundant content, your perception in the market will develop positively. Consider brands like Xerox, Red Bull, and 1-800-FLOWERS. Customers trust them to lead the trends of the market with their own exploration and reach.

Are you looking for better ways to educate customers with your website? TBH Creative works with clients every day to ensure they, and their visitors, are getting the most out of their content. We can show you how to fit the pieces of your site together with other digital marketing to ensure success. Get in touch today to learn more.

About TBH Creative

TBH Creative is an Indianapolis-based internet strategy agency. Our services include web strategy & planning, website design, mobile solutions, application development, and analytic reporting.

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