Today's knowledge economy and accentuation of how important lifelong learning is have interesting implications for businesses – in terms of both possibilities and challenges. On the one hand, both you and the employees of your business certainly have the kind of knowledge about the industry you work in that is unavailable to those who have never been “inside” it – and sharing it can both help you sell your primary product and become an independent source of income. On the other hand, this approach is so widely practiced nowadays that the public is spoiled for choice – in order to give them something they would find interesting, you should do it better than your competitors.
All methods of adding value through knowledge give you the same advantages:
1. Increased visibility. A business offering professional advice on its blog or offering online courses is going to get noticed, often by those who haven't been looking to buy before and may consider it as a result;
2. Reputation. By sharing behind-the-scenes information about your industry you improve your reputation as an expert;
3. Better client loyalty. When a client not simply buys from you but is involved in a deeper relationship with your brand, he is more likely to stay loyal over time.
Now let’s see how all this can be achieved.
Having a company’s blog is a no-brainer these days – however, many businesses have blogs that at the very best occasionally publish company's news that is very unlikely to draw any breaths. However, if you impart valuable and interesting information on a regular basis, interact with your audience, run promotions and, in general, make sure your blog has value even separately from your business you create a powerful tool that can bring some money of its own accord (advertising) and improve the audience engagement.
2. Online Courses
If you’ve been following this topic, college tuition fees are already sky-high, continue to grow and show no inclination of slowing down this upward movement. Student debt is one of the most widespread problems encountered by young specialists just entering the workforce – they spend 3-5 years of their education, get thrown into an economy that is already different from what it was when they entered college, and are saddled with an astronomical debt they will be lucky to repay in a decade – if they manage to find a job.
It is no wonder, then, that more and more people turn to online courses for instruction. They offer concentrated knowledge on relevant subjects, don’t take much time and cost a fraction of an average college’s fee while teaching one exactly what he needs for a particular job.
Think about skills and knowledge you and your employees have that can be worth paying for. Choose a topic that would offer immediate benefits for those who take it. Compare it with what else is present on the market in terms of contents and price. Use your business’ assets to promote it – and let it help to promote your business in return.
Webinars are more or less similar to online courses, with a few important differences. Online courses are primarily self-study oriented, and once they are launched, you don’t have much interaction with the audience. Renew them based on changing conditions from time to time, and you are golden. Webinars offer a much greater degree of interaction – you are expected to not just impart knowledge but explain face-to-face, answer questions and be much more freeform in your approach. The recording of the webinar can be distributed later on, but it is at best a bonus and not the main course.
When using webinars to add value, you should play this personal interaction and first-hand experience card – you give your clients an opportunity to talk directly with the people possessing the knowledge they need. You may either sell participation in them or run them as the promotion for your main product or service.
Streams offer first-hand knowledge of the subject without the need to be present at the location where something happens. The applications of the technology are boundless: from tours of your business’ grounds to detailed instructions on the use of software tools. Many will be attracted by the possibility to be present at something in real time, so make sure to accentuate this.
All these approached can and should be integrated into your overall marketing strategy – or your competitors will do it before you. Make sure it all works in close connection with each other: your value-adding activities should be both things in themselves and promote your primary business by leading new people to your products. Your blog should mention all the educational opportunities you offer and run promotions to make people more likely to keep reading it. As long as you offer value regularly, people will flock to you.