When I talk to the owners of small and medium sized businesses about their marketing, I often raise the topic of engaging prospects with useful information.
There are many objections raised to this "education-based marketing" by the owners of traditional businesses. Objections like:
"If I tell them how to do it then why would they hire me?"
"What's to stop them going to the competition after I've gone to all the effort to educate them?"
"I hate writing"
"It wouldn't work in my business - people just want the cheapest price"
Let me give you an example to show you why you shouldn't allow these objections to stop you using education based marketing in your business.
I was recently looking for a compact camera as a gift. I had looked at at the ranges and offers available at some of the big electronics chains. I found the range of choice bewildering and so I decided to buy the cheapest model I could find with a minimum level of specification I thought was appropriate.
At this point I walked into a small independent retailer and asked for help. The manager asked me what I was looking for, what the camera would be used for, showed me a few options that matched and provided useful information about each one. I asked about a couple of models I had seen in the larger retailers and the manager explained why these weren't appropriate (one had known reliability issues, another was last year's model and would have been sat around in a warehouse for a while, which doesn't do them any good, apparently).
I walked in looking for a cheap, low-end camera. Talk about the definition of a price shopper! But I ended up walking out with a camera £20 over my budget and extremely happy that I had chosen the right one.
What had that shop owner done? She had educated me. She had found out what I needed and educated me on the best way to meet those needs. She was generous with her knowledge so when she offered me a choice of models, I trusted her judgement. She helped me to choose the right model and the sale was made.
Now imagine if they had done this in their marketing instead of waiting until I walked into their shop. Which I may never have done! If their website presented useful information about buying a compact camera then I would already know about their expertise and trust them to help before I walked in, bypassing the chain-stores. What's more, getting this information onto the web increases the chances I will find them amongst all the internet noise.