If you’re into content marketing these days, then you probably know a bit about using education to generate leads. But what makes an educational marketing approach actually work? How can you be sure educating clients will ultimately generate leads worth following up? Today, I’m profiling HubSpot, a B-to-B company that’s making social media sell and following the principles I preach in each of my columns.
What Is Education Marketing?
The main idea here is to show, not tell, customers that investing in your product or service is worth every penny. But to be successful you’ve got to be willing to prove it for free, up front, by giving your customer a small but meaningful “win” right out of the gate, free. Why is this important?
When customers experience a success, no matter how small, they gain confidence in themselves (that they can reach the ultimate goal—one that relates to the itch your product scratches!) and at the same time trust of the educator (you). This confidence-plus-trust formula builds trust and persuades prospects that your paid product might just be worth it by giving them results in advance. Yet there’s more.
Education removes the “sales barrier” by transforming your product from a transactional consideration to an obvious “next step” in a problem solving sequence (the path to purchase). It all but removes the need to prove or persuade customers of your product’s effectiveness. You’ve already given an actual result in advance so why wouldn’t the product do the same?
Case in Point: HubSpot
HubSpot serves customers that are sales-focused online marketers of B-to-B and B-to-C goods and services. They’re probably a lot like you: everyday business people who need a better way to manage sales leads. No surprise, HubSpot sells a suite of software tools that helps them do that.
As a way to create sales leads for itself, HubSpot offers various “toolboxes” that solve common problems. Think of them as easy-to-use, educational utilities that can be quite addictive. How so? Well, it’s how HubSpot designs these tools empower customers with knowledge—practical information they can use to grow their business.
HubSpot’s free Web Site Grader tool allows a business owner to instantly understand how well their Web site stacks up against others. The Grader passes critical judgment on criteria like how many inbound links are coming into the site or how many of the site’s pages Google has included in its index.Yet HubSpot’s tool wisely scores qualitative Web site aspects too. It gives valuable, actionable feedback to site owners on things like readability level. It scores the Web site’s content … in terms of its ability to effectively communicate messages to target markets.
The best part of all is that the Grader’s scores are designed to induce more questions and expressions of need from the user. It is designed to help customers self-select themselves as business leads for HubSpot’s software product.