You don’t have to be an online student or online tutor to use the virtual classroom. However, you have to be a talented marketing specialist to spot the great opportunity that is online teaching. More and more brands are embracing virtual classroom software to boost awareness and add value to their clients.
Some may think that providing educational content or running an online tutoring practice for free is a non-productive activity with no financial benefits. But since the long-term strategy of any company should be to convert awareness into action, adding extra value to a fan base is not such a bad idea after all. Although the development of educational content may be expensive, in the long run the results are totally worth it.
There aren’t many elements of marketing content that can grow to become very noticeable by your audience. Therefore, viewing educational content as one of these elements is a winning strategy.
There is always a certain knowledge gap between the customer‘s needs and the brand’s value. This leaves a niche in which your strategy can develop. Additionally, if there is only one thing that you should implement in your marketing strategy, educational content is the top priority. It can push your customers through the marketing funnel while making their buyers’ journey really pleasant and useful.
In other words, educational content:
- Establishes authority and credibility
- Increases conversions
- Builds a loyal audience
The impact of educational content
Not only does educational content have the highest value among the other marketing strategy elements, but it can also create an immense impact. By teaching someone a skill or providing them with knowledge that will positively affect their lives, you’ll gain trust and grow awareness of your brand. Beyond purchase power, educational content has a strong impact on the users’ trust and brand relationship. According to the statistics:
- 70-90% of a buyer’s journey is completed prior to engaging a vendor
- 11.4 pieces of content are needed before a consumer makes a purchase
- 5x as many consumers are dependent on content now than they were 5 years ago
Therefore, when a consumer interacts with content, their brand affinity actually compounds with time. Content creates a feeling of immediate reciprocity. Moreover, as time passes that positive memory becomes idealized and the connection grows even when they are not in direct contact with your brand. Psychologists call this phenomenon “rosy retrospection”; we call it a game changer!
Types of educational content
Depending on your specific marketing goals and the audience that you are targeting, your educational content may have different forms:
- Explanation content: It aims to directly explain a product or a service. It allows businesses with complex value offerings to help customers overcome a lack of understanding. Additionally, understanding a production process gains trust and positions the brand as an honest and caring player.
- Supplemental niche content: There are occasions when a brand produces content that is not directly connected with its products or services. Instead, it has to do with the problems and needs of your customers. The key point here is to know your audience and to offer them free additional value.
- Interactive two-way content: Today, more content relies on communication with the audience. Thanks to technology, consumers can benefit from the chance to comment in a live streaming video, interact with a commercial, or communicate through other methods.
- Multimedia content: When it comes to educational content, we typically think of traditional, text-based content. However, multimedia content is much more effective and engaging. This includes infographics, podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars, etc.
Brands delivering high-quality content
Dollar Shave Club: As a leading manufacturer of shaving and male grooming equipment, one would expect Dollar Shave Club’s social media accounts to be full of visuals of men shaving their faces. However, along with this type of supplemental niche content, Dollar Shave Club also publishes lots of educational content. Moreover, Dollar Shave Club’s educational content doesn’t only concern male grooming. The brand publishes content on a range of subjects, including health and career success. For most people shaving is not a significant part of their lives. But since the shaving equipment supplier goes the extra mile and advises us on weight loss or career success, we will create a deep connection with that brand.
Stanford University: Stanford is a great example of using different social platforms in a different way. The educational approach of the institution is a bit specific, but still has great impact. It is delivered to the people who are interested in higher education either for themselves or for their children. Using a combination of Facebook, YouTube, and a mobile application, Stanford shares student work and experiences, announces open office hours for teachers, and provides ad hoc resources for current and future students.
Barclays: One of the benefits of educational content is the ability to calm people and help them overcome their fears. In terms of tax, mortgage, and cybersecurity, Barclay’s explanation content breaks down barriers, erases the old stereotype of a corporate bank, and reminds users of the brand’s values. Barclay’s Code Playground site teaches kids how to code with its cute graphics designed to engage and entertain. Additionally, the content also increases trust with parents, which creates a loyal and stable fan base.
Brands using online teaching
Many brands have a lot of educational content in an abundance of forms. But fewer brands create their content with the idea of becoming acknowledged as an educator. However, using the benefits of the virtual classroom can make a great difference in the life of any brand. Here are some companies that have invested time and effort in online teaching – and the results say it all:
Apple is known for its exclusive retail locations, but recently it expanded its educational sessions, too. Now it offers in-depth training sessions in all 495 stores under the brand Today at Apple. There you can find 30- to 90-minute sessions on everything from How to Get Started with Coding, to Watercolor and Brush Techniques, and How To: Edit Video on Mac. The idea behind this educational content is the desire to inspire and spread knowledge.
Williams Sonoma, the upscale cookware and bakeware retailer, has been offering on-site cooking classes and demonstrations for more than 50 years. Each of its 220 retail locations features special classes including “Knife Skills” and even “Junior Chef” classes.
Zappos Insights is an educational program that started in 2008. It is a membership community designed around the company’s core mission of making work more fulfilling.
Although it might be considered more employer branding than content marketing, the educational component contributes to the brand’s storytelling. For instance, the Mentor-on-Demand program allows companies and individuals to pay for a mentorship with top Zappos executives. There’s also a membership subscription online training model for those who want to learn about the organization.
The popular email platform MailChimp offers a variety of classes via SkillShare. Free courses include Getting Started with Online Marketing, which encompasses 14 short videos. Nearly 30,000 students have taken the course, which totals one hour and 11 minutes.
Providing beneficial content for the customers won’t reveal the company’s secrets, like many might think. On the contrary, it engages people in a way that builds a connection with the brand in the long run.
Spreading knowledge that a brand has is part of the mutual journey that we are all taking. And making marketing more user friendly and not sales oriented is what matters. Online teaching is a great way to promote educational content and is totally worth the effort. Just ask the big brands.