Be the Expert Your Customer is Searching For: How Education-Based Content Can Help You Reach Customers in the Online Era
With a wealth of knowledge available online via forums, product reviews, and unboxing and installation videos, chances are high that your customers have been making the most of living in the Information Age. These days a significant element of the consumer shopping experience involves turning to the web for answers before making a purchase.
At Brenton Productions, we’ve discovered this to be true where automotive aftermarket parts are concerned. For the producers of our automotive how-to programs, part of the research for an episode project involves checking forums and watching YouTube reviews to help put together a parts list, and we know our clients see the same activity from their customers.
In fact, Hedges & Company has projected that almost $148 billion in automotive parts sales in 2019 will be influenced by online activity. Remarkably, this number includes traditional brick-and-mortar retail channels in addition to online sales.
What does this mean for automotive parts and product suppliers?
It means that your consumers are hungry for knowledge – they want to do more than just read the packaging to find out about your product. They want to know how it’s going to fit, and how difficult the installation will be. They want to watch it in action to find out how it works. In short, they want to interact with your product in order to make an informed buying decision.
“Everybody wants to know everything about everything now,” says Chris Gabrelcik, founder and president of Lubrication Specialties, Inc. As an entrepreneur who grew his business from a single product in 2010 to a 20-product brand in 2017, Gabrelcik has made it his mission to learn the best ways to reach consumers in order to help his business grow exponentially. In 2015, he was honored as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year for the Ohio Valley region.
“You don’t buy anything without checking out reviews, and reading explanations,” says Gabrelcik. “I mean, people want more and more data. And being able to give that to them, that’s what everybody has to do if you want to survive in the 2020 age.”
This became clear to Janine Leggitt, Marketing Director for Tires-Easy.com, when she realized there was an opportunity to reach consumers who were researching tire options on YouTube. She also realized that her company could build trust with consumers by sharing information that could help them make more informed choices and better understand tire care.
“It grew out of just listening to people ask questions of the customer service people, and then doing some online research as much as I could to see what questions people had,” says Leggitt. She found out what products people had the most questions about, as well as what tire care and maintenance help they needed most.
Armed with this knowledge, Leggitt worked with Brenton Productions to build a video library of education-based content featuring the hosts of Two Guys Garage. Leggitt knew that not only would the familiar faces of Kevin Byrd and Willie B help establish trust in her company’s brand, but that people watching the videos would be receptive to Kevin and Willie’s fun, conversational way of educating their viewers.
“Kevin and Willie couldn’t be better at doing what they do,” says Leggitt. Seeing Kevin and Willie in the videos established a point of connection for consumers, who Leggitt says began to engage with the videos, ask questions, and give their own opinions. Leggitt says in addition to the boost in online engagement, Tires-Easy.com started to see conversions within the first three months of introducing the video collection.
How do you allow consumers to interact with your product?
If you haven’t given this much thought, you might be missing out on opportunities to make a big impression with consumers. Think about an experience you may have had at an industry event or trade show – in that environment, people get to interact with products first-hand, ask questions, and learn. This gives them a new level of understanding of the product’s value, and it has the power to convert potential buyers into loyal customers.
Obviously, you can’t attend every trade show or event. And even if you could, that doesn’t mean all of your potential customers would be able to meet you there. This is why it’s so important to have education-based content that can reach your customers where they are.
Many of our clients already know this to be true. When we create a segment for them on Two Guys Garage or Truck U, these companies opt to receive a clip of their segment, which can be posted on their website. In addition to the segment being seen on MotorTrend by automotive enthusiasts in over 70 million homes, these companies are also able to provide this content on their websites, where curious consumers searching online can find it.
Getting Started with Education-Based Content
Education-based content not only provides your consumers with the tools and information they’re already looking for, but it also creates meaningful interaction with your brand that can help convert browsers to buyers. And since so many consumers head to their search engines to hunt down this information, it’s important to consider what (if any) education-based content you offer online.
If you haven’t put much focus on education-based content, not to fear! Here are a few building blocks to help you get started:
Share your “insider’s” perspective.
One of the videos Brenton created for Tires-Easy.com that turned out to be the most popular featured the Achilles XMT tire, a budget-friendly alternative to some better-known (and more expensive) tire brands. “The tires are extremely affordable, and they’re good tires,” says Leggitt. “And when you’re talking the difference between, they could get a set for like $600 as compared to $1500, and still get quality tires; I thought it was important to get more information out on those products.” Sharing information with your customer base to help them make smart buying decisions can help to build trust, as well as establish your brand as an expert voice in the industry.
Use your expertise to teach a skill.
Chances are you’ve done a lot of research to make your product the best it can be. Use that knowledge to help potential customers by providing information they’re probably already looking for. For example, a car owner may be trying to find out how to fix the paint on a scratched-up fender. If you’ve become an expert on this repair through the development of your automotive paint products, you probably have the exact information this car owner needs! Providing tips, tricks, and useful information is a great way to create interactive opportunities with your consumer base and your product.
Take a look at how Dupli-Color empowers car owners to paint their own vehicles.
Share your company’s values.
Does your company pride itself on using American-made materials, or in providing around-the-clock customer support? Your brand’s values are an important part of the story. Sharing your values tends to attract like-minded consumers who want to invest in the ideals you champion, not just the product you provide.
Letting your values take the lead can also open up other ways of reaching consumers through education-based content. For example, if your company prides itself on using environmentally responsible practices, you could offer environmentally-focused tips and tricks to educate your consumers on some of the techniques you’ve learned while building that aspect of your business. This not only provides useful information to your customers, but it also creates better brand awareness by associating your company with positive values.
See how WeatherTech educates consumers by sharing their values.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how education-based content can help you connect to your consumer base, or if you need help getting started, the team here at Brenton Productions may have just the bright idea you need! Set up a consultation with one of our expert media consultants.