The Correct Way to Educate Clients

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If ever there were an industry in need of educating its clients, it’s ours: the web world.

In a perfect world, an informed client is more likely to hire us. In the real world, an informed client is just as likely to hire someone else – or no one at all.

It’s not your fault; your client’s neocortex is to blame. That’s the part of the brain that controls rational thought, reasoning and judgment. If you could perform a brain scan on your client while you’re busy educating them, you’d see the neocortex light up like a Christmas tree.

Here’s the problem: that over-stimulated neocortex isn’t in charge of decision-making. That job goes to the limbic node, our “feeling brain”.

Yes, it’s the emotional part of our brain that controls the decisions we make. We don’t act unless we also feel.

Logic Is for Thinking; Emotion Is for Acting

That’s why “educating clients” can be a waste of time. Logic doesn’t drive behavior and cause people to take action, emotions do.

If you want to influence another person’s decisions, you must appeal to their emotions.

Does that mean facts, figures and logic play no part in selling your services? No, of course they do. People need logic to feel better about the decision they’ve made. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what legendary sales guru Zig Ziglar said:

“People usually buy on emotion and then they justify it with logic.”

Let’s be clear, educating clients isn’t always a waste of time, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to educate clients. Let’s talk about both.

The Wrong Way to Educate Clients

To Justify Your Prices

If educating your client is a thinly veiled attempt to justify your price, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

Perhaps you went to an expensive college to earn a degree, invested in a top-of-the-line computer with the latest software and have a student loan to repay. You don’t necessarily deserve to be paid a higher amount for explaining this to your client.

Clients have no clue how much work is involved in what we do, the education it took to enable us to do it, or the expensive tools required to get it done. And sadly, they often don’t care.

What they do care about is: “What can you do for me?”
“How can you help me make money, solve a problem, retire early, or send my kids to college?”

If you must educate your clients, educate them on how you can help get them what they want.

To Show Off Your Expertise

Yes, it’s important to demonstrate you’re qualified. But if that’s your sole purpose of educating your client, it’s a self-serving one.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Try empathy, understanding, and compassion. You know, limbic lobe stuff.

The Right Way to Educate Clients

Educate to Create Fear of Loss

If I’m going to educate a client about SEO or social media, it’s to show them how they’re losing money and customers to their competitors.

Fear of loss can be more powerful than hope of gain. Both appeal to the limbic “feeling” brain. But showing what the client stands to lose by not buying your product or service will convert more prospects into paying clients.

Educate to Set Proper Expectations

I’ll never forget the client who called to complain that his website was on page one of Google. Mind you, this client had purchased a website – not search engine optimization. So what’s the problem, I wondered.

The problem, according to the client, was that his website wasn’t the number one position on the page, and was therefore “worthless”. Talk about poorly managed expectations.

Clearly, this client hadn’t been educated on how Google works nor what to expect from a website that wasn’t optimized. Yet, when he’d been given an incredible gift – page one on Google – it fell short of his expectations.

Educate to Upsell

I enjoy talking on-page optimization as much as the next person. But if I’m going to educate my client on the advantages of properly optimized content and title tags, it will be to sell him on the benefits of professional copywriting, which I’ll charge extra to include.

Educate to Persuade

At my company, we’ve identified seven components our small business clients need to succeed online – each of which corresponds to a product or service we offer. As much as I love creating blog posts and ebooks explaining how local search works, if at the end of the day no one buys our products or services, I might as well teach a marketing class.

Educate to Answer Questions and Address Objections

A favorite sales axiom of mine is “Don’t answer questions your client isn’t asking”.

Whenever possible, tell them what you do and why your client needs it, without explaining how you do it. Otherwise, you end up giving away too much free information.

Or you could teach a marketing class ;)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Educating Clients

Why is it important to educate my clients about my product or service?

Educating your clients about your product or service is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps them understand the value and benefits of what you’re offering, which can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty. Secondly, it can help reduce misunderstandings and complaints, as clients will have a clear idea of what to expect. Lastly, educated clients are more likely to become advocates for your brand, recommending you to others and helping to grow your business.

How can I effectively educate my clients?

There are several strategies you can use to educate your clients. These include creating informative content such as blog posts, videos, and infographics; offering webinars or workshops; providing detailed product descriptions and user guides; and using social media to share useful tips and information. Remember, the key is to make your educational materials engaging, easy to understand, and relevant to your clients’ needs.

What should I include in my educational content?

Your educational content should provide clear, concise information about your product or service. This could include details about its features and benefits, how to use it, and any additional resources or support you offer. You should also address any common questions or concerns your clients may have. Remember to keep your content client-focused, highlighting how your product or service can solve their problems or meet their needs.

How can I make my educational content engaging?

To make your educational content engaging, try to make it interactive wherever possible. This could include incorporating quizzes, polls, or interactive infographics. Use visuals such as images and videos to break up text and make your content more appealing. Also, try to use a conversational tone to make your content more relatable and easy to understand.

How often should I update my educational content?

It’s important to regularly update your educational content to ensure it remains relevant and accurate. This could be as simple as updating statistics or as involved as creating new content to address changes in your product or service. As a general rule, aim to review and update your content at least once a year, or more frequently if significant changes occur.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my client education efforts?

There are several ways to measure the effectiveness of your client education efforts. These could include tracking metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores; conducting surveys or feedback sessions to gather direct feedback from your clients; or monitoring changes in sales or customer retention rates.

Can I use client education as a marketing tool?

Absolutely! Educating your clients not only helps them understand your product or service better, but it also positions you as an expert in your field. This can help build trust and credibility with your clients, making them more likely to choose you over your competitors.

How can I ensure my clients actually read or engage with my educational content?

To ensure your clients engage with your educational content, make it easily accessible and relevant to their needs. This could involve segmenting your audience and tailoring your content to different groups, or using a variety of formats (such as videos, blog posts, and infographics) to cater to different learning styles.

What if my clients have questions that aren’t covered in my educational content?

It’s important to provide channels for your clients to ask questions or seek further information. This could include a dedicated FAQ section on your website, a customer service hotline, or a chatbot. Be sure to respond to queries promptly and professionally, and use this feedback to continually improve your educational content.

How can I use client feedback to improve my educational content?

Client feedback is invaluable for improving your educational content. It can help you identify areas that are unclear or confusing, topics that need more in-depth coverage, or new topics to include. Consider conducting regular surveys or feedback sessions to gather this feedback, and be sure to act on it to continually improve your client education efforts.

John TabitaJohn Tabita
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Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.

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