Last week I was reading on Dooce about how, when he was younger, Heather’s husband Jon took a class on microwaves with his whole family. Because microwaves were so new that they had to offer free classes to teach people how to use them.
This got me thinking, what could you teach your customers that would help them use or understand your products better? (And compel them to buy?)
First, lets use teach in the broadest sense of the word. Maybe you don’t need to have a class. Maybe it’s a blog post or a booklet. Teach just means some way of getting information to your customers.
Second, this information shouldn’t be self-serving. It shouldn’t be called “12 reasons to buy a microwave.” Instead, it should be focused on the needs of the customer. A better title would be “Using your microwave to make 10 minute meals.” Instead of telling customers why they should buy a microwave, you can show them how using a microwave benefits them.
In his fantastic book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, Chris Anderson tells the story of Jell-O. When it was first created, people weren’t buying gelatin because they didn’t know what it was or how to use it. So representatives would go door to door giving out free recipe books – all of which called for Jell-O. Suddenly, there was a demand for the product because people understood how to use it.
Think of microwaves and Jell-O as convenient metaphors for your products. What is now a ubiquitous product was once something that everyone had to be taught to use. At first, people didn’t buy microwaves and Jell-O because they didn’t know how to use them. But through clever marketing and a built demand, they are now common products.
Chances are, your product is foreign to a lot of people. Even if you make something that seems common, like earrings, there is probably something about what you do that makes it different from the norm. If that is the case, what can you teach your customers that will make them more comfortable using, and buying, your product? Think about how you can use your blog, social media, or printed material at shows, or even an actual class, to give your potential customers the equivalent of microwave classes.
Anyone out there already doing this? Feel free to share in the comments!
(photo credit) (links to Free are Amazon Affiliate links)