More than 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, according to Salesforce. But, only half of these customers say companies generally understand their needs and expectations. Client education is one of the best ways to improve the customer experience and provide more value.
Let's look at how client education can help improve marketing, upsell existing clients, and create value for customers.
Client education is a great way to improve marketing, upsell existing clients, and create more value for customers.
There are many different ways to educate potential or existing clients, including both online and offline methods. Each of these methods has its pros and cons. For example, blog posts are easy to write and provide a long-term return on investment, whereas in-person workshops offer a better opportunity to build and cultivate individual relationships.
Popular ways to educate clients include:
Blog Posts: Start a blog to provide educational content to the general public. As these posts appear in search results, they can become a valuable source of inbound leads over time.
Videos: Start a YouTube channel and share educational videos with clients. For example, screenshare videos can demonstrate how to accomplish tasks in QuickBooks or other tools.
Podcasts: Podcasts are a great way to create and provide timely advice on high-level topics, such as tax changes, business strategies, or other tips to help clients.
Online Webinars: Webinars make it easy to demonstrate how to accomplish tasks while providing an opportunity for participants to ask questions and get answers on the spot.
In-Person Workshops: In-person workshops make it easier to build rapport with clients and help them on an even more individualized level to accomplish tasks or learn new skills.
1-on-1 Training: Individual training sessions can help clients become more proficient while building an excellent rapport.
When building these resources, the primary focus should be on customer value rather than making a sale. The goal is to help potential or existing clients accomplish a task or learn a skill and demonstrate your expertise. The selling part should come after you've built a rapport and shown you have domain knowledge that could help them.
Many businesses provide educational content without any strings attached and then add the lead into a funnel. For example, a client that signs up for a webinar with their email address might receive a sequence of ten emails after the webinar designed to build a rapport, answer any outstanding questions, and then make a sales pitch.
The average company allocates more than 60% of its ad budget to digital, according to eMarketer, as digital channels continue to overtake traditional media. While digital ads began with simple banners and links, they quickly evolved into a complex web of interactions across multiple channels, powered by retargeting technologies.
Digital ads may be more measurable and cost-effective than conventional ads, but consumers have started to push back against them. For example, Apple recently enabled its users to opt-out of tracking technologies that permit retargeting, while ad blockers remain popular. These trends could make digital ads less effective over time.
Investing in content marketing and other education-focused efforts can sidestep these issues and improve the customer experience.
There are several ways to leverage educational content:
- Educational articles or webinars provide valuable information to potential customers at a time when they're seeking out answers.
- Educational content establishes you and your business as an expert and builds more rapport than traditional advertising.
- Niche educational content (e.g., crypto tax concerns) can target specific groups and establish your expertise.
The best part about these kinds of marketing efforts is that they generate a return on investment over time. For example, once you write an article or record a webinar, you can use the content forever to generate leads. Simply require registration for a webinar or include a call to action at the bottom of an article to create an inbound lead source.
Client education can also help upsell existing customers on higher-value services. Often, these strategies involve showing clients how to do something independently, demonstrating expertise, and then pitching them on a done-for-you solution when they realize how difficult or time-consuming the task is to accomplish.
Some examples include:
- A QuickBooks workshop for tax-only clients provides an excellent opportunity to upsell to client accounting services (CAS).
- An industry-specific seminar offers a chance to upsell clients on high-level advisory or consulting services.
- A payroll webinar allows you to upsell clients on done-for-you payroll services.
The most effective way to market these programs is by segmenting your client email lists by the services that you provide them. Then, you can create a schedule of educational programs and promote them to the relevant client segments to upsell them regularly. These efforts can help improve the profitability of your practice over the long term.
Many accounting and bookkeeping practices are moving toward self-service through client portals and other technologies. While these technologies streamline operations for both parties, they can become a source of frustration for non-tech savvy clients. These frustrations can turn into client attrition if you're not careful.
Self-service educational content is an excellent way to reduce frustration and help clients use these tools. For example, Client Hub makes it easy to provide educational content directly within the client portal, making it easily accessible to clients at any time. As a result, clients can quickly see how to accomplish basic tasks and even use third-party tools.
Education-focused blogs and newsletters are another way to provide value and improve retention. For example, a monthly newsletter might include educational content centered around a timely theme, such as recent tax change implications. These pieces of content can help build rapport and add to the value you provide clients over time.
The Bottom Line
Client education is an excellent way to convert more leads, upsell existing clients, and create more value. In addition to providing value to clients, these pieces of content can demonstrate your expertise and generate a return on investment over time, making them one of the most effective ways to grow your practice.
Client Hub brings together everything from client communication to file sharing to internal practice management to streamline your operations. Try it for free today!