Sales

What is Customer Education? And Why It Matters

Learn strategies and tools to boost conversions, foster brand loyalty, and enhance customer awareness.

Rory Sadler
October 18, 2023
February 24, 2024
Learn strategies and tools to boost conversions, foster brand loyalty, and enhance customer awareness.
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Ever bought a product or service only to realise you've got no idea how it works? If it's a product, it gets put in a dusty drawer somewhere to be forgotten about. Meanwhile, services see their subscription get cancelled.

That's a major problem because long-term customers are the bulk of a business's sales.

Customer education is the remedy. Teaching customers not just how to use a product or service but upskilling them through blog posts, videos, eBooks, and other resources drives more conversions and builds brand loyalty for years to come.

Unfortunately, most businesses excel at selling a dream but are terrible at customer training after the sale. Want to get better? In this guide, we'll cover the basics of customer education, exploring the advantages, tools, and strategies needed to succeed.

Here's what you'll learn about:

  • What is Customer Education?
  • Why Does Customer Education Matter
  • Advantages of Customer Education
  • Developing a Customer Education Strategy
  • Customer Education Tools

What is Customer Education?

Customer education, or customer training, involves a business providing resources for a customer to better understand a product or service. That occurs during the initial onboarding stages but also after a customer buys or subscribes to ensure they get maximum value.

Customer education programs consist of a vast selection of resources, including videos, blog posts, eBooks, white papers, tutorials, demonstrations, workshops, and more. Broadly, companies usually segment their training programs into three stages:

  1. Customer awareness covers onboarding, introducing the product or services and exploring its foundational features.
  2. Customer adoption occurs immediately during and after the purchase. It provides in-depth information about a product or service's features, e.g., tutorials.
  3. Customer success is a long-term investment in the customer's journey as they continue to use the product or service, allowing them to become an expert or master.

Take trumpet, for example – our auto-personalised, trackable digital sales rooms are a novel marketing technique still gaining traction among B2B professionals. We know they're the future. We know they work. But that doesn't mean we don't need to help our customers with useful resources, from beginner's guides to the subject, blog articles about the industry, or our monthly podcast.

These resources ensure our customers always have something new to learn as they progress and move forward using our service. After all, a happy customer is a loyal customer.

Examples of Customer Education

Want to integrate educational resources into your company website and other offerings? Consider these ideas:

  • Product Tutorials and Demos: Interactive guides or videos that walk customers through how to use a product or service effectively, highlighting features and offering practical usage tips
  • FAQ Sections: Curated lists of frequently asked questions (and their answers) related to a product, service, or company policy, helping customers resolve common queries without the need for direct support
  • Webinars and Workshops: Scheduled online sessions where customers can learn about specific topics related to a product or industry. These often allow for Q&A sessions, providing real-time clarification
  • Knowledge Bases or Resource Centres: Comprehensive online libraries containing articles, how-to guides, and best practices about a product or service, enabling customers to self-educate at their own pace
  • Onboarding Programs: Structured programs designed to introduce and train new customers on a service or platform, ensuring they understand its full capabilities and can utilise it to its maximum potential.

Why Does Customer Education Matter

Customers who fail to see sufficient value in a product or service will not continue to use it. That's obvious enough. But it's become a major problem for subscription businesses. Customer churn is a key metric measuring the percentage of customers who leave a service over a period. The higher the churn, the more first-time customers you need to find to keep growing.

It's a lesson the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry learned the hard way. That led SaaS companies to pioneer the concept of customer success: a proactive effort by a company to ensure its customer achieve their desired outcomes.

That's not the only reason customer education matters:

Lower Support Costs

Customer success largely replaced customer support. Rather than waiting until a customer had a problem, providing the resources and answers to their questions meant they could solve their problems themselves. Because educational resources are largely passive (i.e., once made, they cost you nothing), they reduce overall support costs after the initial investment.

Greater Adoption

Your customer education resources become a feature of your platform – another string to your bow. As you gain renown, individuals will choose your company simply because of the accompanying training opportunities (especially if you restrict some resources to customers only).

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Satisfied customers are your greatest marketing resource. They leave positive reviews, write glowing testimonials, and recommend your product to their friends, family, and colleagues.

Lifetime Customer Value

Customers who see value in your product are more valuable to your brand. That's not just true for SaaS companies. Say you sell running shoes – if you provide running guides, excellent support, and even sponsor running groups, your customer education efforts will keep them coming back.

In short: happy, educated customers are repeat customers.

Advantages of Customer Education

That's why customer education matters. But how can you benefit? It can be a significant investment in developing a catalogue of high-quality resources. You're a business, not a university – you want to see tangible results.

And you will! You can enjoy:

  • Increased Scalability. Onboard and educate clients without requiring individual training sessions. In fact, through personalised microsites, you can incorporate educational resources into the conversion process
  • Feedback Loop Creation. As customers engage with educational materials, you'll gather feedback to further improve your products, services, and the content itself
  • Build a Community. You'll create a collaborative community through forums, webinars, and workshops that help customers learn from each other's experiences
  • Drive Organic Traffic. SEO content marketing should be a key pillar of your educational materials. Optimised with keywords and hyperlinks, it'll drive traffic to your site
  • Enhance Brand Trust. Become an authority in your field and rise up the search rankings with SEO-focused customer education. It heightens trust and establishes your brand's reputation
  • Advanced Feature Promotion. Most customers only use a fraction of a product's features. Educational materials can help businesses and consumers learn about everything available, ensuring they get even more value for their money.

Developing a Customer Education Strategy

Building an educational strategy should cover the three stages described above: fostering brand loyalty, reducing churn, and driving business growth at every stage in the buyer's journey.

Here's how to get started:

1. Identify Your Customer's Needs

Conduct surveys, engage in conversations, and hold focus groups to identify your customers' pain points and blind spots. Your educational resources should fill this void.

Also, consider how you would introduce a customer to your product or platform from the first content to five years later.

2. Select the Right Platforms and Formats

Some customers will prefer in-depth webinars, while others benefit from quick tutorial videos or detailed blog posts.

You'll want to diversify your content. However, initially, target the platforms and formats that will yield the greatest results – there's time to fill in the gaps later.

3. Continue to Publish New Materials

Customer education is a marathon, not a race. Set clear goals and gradually move toward them. Build up your resources, publishing new materials monthly – but remember to keep it organised and accessible.

4. Integrate SEO

Not relevant for more advanced resources; however, all your pre-sales educational material should be 100% SEO-optimised. That means keyword research, backlink building, and compelling content. If you're not ranking in top positions in Google (and other search engines), what's the point?

5. Monitor Your Metrics

Use analytics tools to track engagement levels, feedback, and the direct correlation between your educational efforts and sales or retention metrics. Continuous evaluation helps refine your strategy, ensuring it remains aligned with your business objectives and customer needs.

Customer Education Tools

Customer education isn't just about writing high-quality content and creating impressive infographics or videos. It's also the tools you use to help convey that information.

Here are some standout tools that can elevate your approach:

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): Platforms like Moodle or Teachable that facilitate the creation, management, and tracking of online courses
  • Digital Sales Rooms: Innovative spaces where customers can engage with dynamic content, webinars, and live demos to better understand a product or service
  • Video Platforms: Tools such as Vimeo or YouTube for hosting and disseminating educational videos
  • Webinar Software: Offerings like Zoom or Webex that enable live, interactive sessions with customers
  • Interactive Guides: Solutions like WalkMe that provide step-by-step guides and tutorials
  • Feedback Tools: Platforms like SurveyMonkey capture insights, allowing businesses to refine and enhance their educational content

Closing Thoughts

Customer education is more than just a post-sale afterthought; it's the ace in your sleeve. Not only does it build customer loyalty, but it also increases their lifetime value, reduces churn, boosts your brand reputation, and much more.

Companies that commit to customer training will create the foundations of a community that can sustain their business for years to come.

Trumpet is one tool in your educational arsenal. As a digital sales room platform, it lets you personalise the resources your prospect sees, answer questions, compare your company to competitors, and even feature educational videos.

Book a FREE demo today to see this sales software in action.