Today I’m going to talk about the need to include education when promoting your business. I’ve met a number of people who think that if they do a good job and treat their customer and clients well, that it is enough. They shouldn’t really need to advertise or market their business.
Doing a good job and treating people well is necessary, but it isn’t enough. For one thing, people have short memories. That’s just a fact. There will be a percentage of your clients that will keep you in mind and not only come back, but refer you . . . But for the majority, if a competitor puts themselves in front of them at the right moment . . . They most likely get that sale or contract.
The second reason is that very often while your customer may be happy about their interaction with you, they don’t know exactly why or how you served them well.
I’ll use pool building as an example. It’s hot and humid in Houston and pools are a very big deal. They are also a major investment for a homeowner. Not always, but usually a good chunk of presales time for a pool builder is educating the customer on why certain aspects of construction are important and why they really don’t want to skimp in those areas.
I know several very good local pool builders and we have had very long conversations about their frustration when they spend hours with a customer, only to have someone undercut their bid, and even worse is when they use the design engineered by the builder they didn’t go with.
I feel their pain, I do. Anyone with a business that provides any sort of consulting or strategy has experienced this. It is not just the execution, the plan, design or strategy, is part of the service.
If the service provider can’t be trusted to create the plan, they might not be the best to oversee its execution either. Each element contributes to building the big picture. If that vision isn’t there, the outcome might not be what you think.
Going back to the swimming pool example, we had a house when we first moved to the Houston area with a swimming pool. Coming from a state with much cooler weather, I had no idea what questions to ask or things to examine.
Pools are great . . . When you can keep them clean. In order to do that, sanitation and filtration are the number one priority. Forget the water features, make sure you have a good filter. We did not. We had a sand filter system that hadn’t had the sand changed out in years, but we didn’t know that until we fought a green pool for two years. My friend told me that you just can’t get ideal filtration with those old sand filters anyway.
To add to that, it was a fairly large pool but it only had one skimmer and one drain. Even a good filtration system would have had a hard time keeping it clean. The people who put the pool in obviously were sold on price, they put a big cheap hole in the ground, one that ended up being very expensive and frustrating to maintain.
If the original owners had known the consequences of going with the cheap builder up front, would they have made a different decision? I don’t know, but I do know that if I had known what I know now about pools when we bought the house . . . I think we would have made a different decision about which house to buy.
Your potential customers and clients are not experts in your field. You are. If you are in a business where experience and execution are important, then you, as the expert, need to be able to communicate that.
Before I moved to Texas, I used to be in real estate and I remember spending so much time educating clients one-on-one. Looking at houses was just a fraction of the time I spent with clients. Buying a home is a huge investment, for most people, it is the largest investment they will ever make, so it is important that buyers make an informed decision.
This was before Youtube, social media, and before blogging was a thing. I created home buyer and seller guides to give to people. Today, I would use content marketing: blog posts with tips, an email series for client development, and videos for home promotion and personal marketing.
If you’ve researched promoting your business online, I’m sure you’ve come across the term “content marketing.” I call it developing customer conversations. This type of educational information and explaining how your business best fits your customer’s need is what content marketing does best.
How are you communicating your professional expertise to potential clients? Last week, I talked about developing a marketing plan. How does that communication, that content marketing, fit into the plan?
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