How often do you pick up the Yellow Pages for fun? If you read the newspaper today – or browsed a newspaper’s website – can you recall any of the ads you saw?
If you’re like most people, chances are, you ignore ads. Maybe, occasionally, one will catch your eye because it’s relevant to you, or entertaining, or so confusing you do a double take, but they are mostly background noise.
The truth is that most marketing and advertising are worthless.
They are worthless because they focus on interrupting people and asking them to pay attention for a few moments. “Check out my business. I’m great at what I do. I offer all these services. Here’s my contact information. Call me.” The ads are selfish, focused primarily on the company running them and scream “hire me because I want your money.”
Education-Based Marketing: An Alternative To High-Pressure Selling
No one likes sitting through a sales pitch. They don’t like feeling the pressure to sign now – before they have the chance to think things over. They don’t like making decisions based on incomplete information.
That’s where education-based marketing comes in.
Education is the cornerstone of any great marketing campaign because it takes the focus off of you and your company and puts it squarely on your prospect. What does he want? What is he most concerned about? How can he solve his problem?
Your prospect doesn’t want to read about you. Right now, he has a litany of problems he has to deal with and his primary concern is how to fix them.
How Education-Based Marketing Works
With education-based marketing, your ad focuses on a key problem your prospect faces. Instead of “tooting your own horn,” your ad describes your prospect’s problem and explains how he might solve it – with information you’ve provided. It works like this:
- Create valuable content – You create a valuable resource like a special report, series of tip sheets, or a seminar recording that addresses your prospect’s problem along with potential solutions. Your free information educates your prospect so he feels comfortable making a purchasing decision. It is not a long sales pitch for your services, but a helpful resource that offers a new perspective on how your prospect can solve his problem.
- Advertise free information – You use the principles of direct response advertising to offer free information like a special report, tip sheets, or an audio/video recording in your ads, mailings and publicity campaigns rather than your services.
- Prospects request information – Your prospect requests the information, providing you with his contact information, and grants you permission to follow up. Essentially, your prospect has raised his hand and told you he might be interested in your service, so he’s pre-qualified himself.
- Follow up – Once you have permission to follow up, you can continue the conversation by providing additional information about your prospect’s problem, the unique advantages of your services, why your prospect should consider hiring you, case studies of clients you’ve helped (if your ethics board allows), and reasons why your prospect should take action now.
What are the Benefits of Education-Based Marketing?
Education works because you take the time to explain the unique advantages and value prospects will receive if they hire you for their legal project.
Your prospect probably doesn’t know as much about his case as he’d like to know. He may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, confused or embarrassed. By educating him, you show him he has options, that you’ve handled work like this before, and that he’s in good hands if he hires you.
Education-based marketing works because:
- You can take time to clearly explain your prospect’s problem along with potential solutions.
- You convey your knowledge and experience with regard to your subject matter.
- Prospects pre-qualify themselves by contacting you to request your materials.
- You provide helpful, useful information rather than wasteful advertising clutter.
- You save time by answering common questions before prospects contact you.
- You create your marketing materials once and use them for each new prospect.
- You can be more selective in the clients you work with because you have a steady stream of prospects.
- You can measure your return on investment based on how many responses you receive.
People generally won’t make purchasing decisions if they are confused, have unanswered questions, or can’t make up their mind. As they read your educational materials, they come to trust you because you are providing them with key information that helps them make an informed choice.
How Education Based Marketing Differs From Selling
If you are focused on selling during the early stages of talking to a new prospect, you often aren’t present in the moment. Instead of listening to your prospect’s concerns, you think about what to say next, consider possible objections he may bring up, and look for opportunities to close the deal.
Your prospects can sense that you are more focused on getting the new business than addressing their concerns – and they withdraw. They don’t want a sales pitch. They want to make an informed choice based on what they think is best for them.
You can’t force your prospect to take action if he isn’t ready. He will only do so when all of his questions have been answered.
- Does he understand your service and why you are the best lawyer to provide it?
- Does he see you as a trusted adviser who looks out for their best interest?
- Does he know all the benefits of working with you?
- Does he know what the next step is to work with you?
When you educate prospects, they see you as a successful lawyer who understands their problem and can help them. They choose to work with you because they perceive you as a trusted adviser not a salesperson looking for business at any cost.