Back when the lights in our houses were made of wax and actual fire, discussions around promotional marketing weren’t really a thing. In this stage of marketing’s infancy, go-to tactics included billboards, newsletters and other forms of print ads. The goal was mostly awareness, a la “Come see this traveling singing troupe!” and “Fresh goat milk every Saturday!” But then came, well, the light bulb… the radio…the  television… the computer. Then one fateful day, the Internet. Seemingly overnight, marketing got complicated. And that’s if you knew what you were doing. 


The Fast-Track to Access

Now, you can reach potential buyers practically anywhere – at work (ahem, Facebook and Google ads), in their cars (hello, podcasts and audiobooks) and even in their homes (we’re looking at you, Alexa and Google Home). Social media has further upped the ante, making your access to customers immediate and 24/7. But, of course, there’s a catch. With such great access comes great responsibility. 

If all you do is pump out promotional marketing, you will alienate your audience in no time. Today, the marketing that gets attention and converts buyers is educational marketing. It’s all about finding how to give value to customers, and then prioritizing that value. Here’s what we recommend. 


Educate, don’t sell. 

Since the average person is bombarded by marketing messages and sales offers, they tune them out. This has been the case now for many years, and it’s only getting worse. So what’s the solution? Teach them something. Your target buyer wants to eat healthier, be more fit, master new skills, work more efficiently, get better business outcomes, and find new ways of improving their lives. Everyone wants that. And you, presumably, have something that will help them do just that. 

So, educate them. If you handle marketing for a meal planning service, for example, create content that is compelling and unique. Offer a free assessment to interested prospects that promises to give them a “current health score” or that helps you figure out their “favorite flavor profiles.” Put together an e-book that reveals the “10 Most Damaging Things You Put In Your Body Every Day” and invite website visitors to download it. Send a weekly email that includes free recipes and one tip to improve health quickly, no strings attached. 

You will inevitably start to catch the eye of people who want your services. They’ll be intrigued by your content and, through the course of consuming it, will understand their health isn’t at its peak. But it could be. And wow, your meal planning services would surely help with that. They’ll draw their own conclusions, and be far more gung-ho about getting started because it’ll seem like their own idea. And that’s the beauty of educational marketing. 


Follow the 3:1 rule (at least roughly). 

If you’re familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk (who isn’t anymore?), you might’ve heard about his book called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” It’s basically a collection of case studies showing how companies have used social media successfully, along with some commentary from Gary Vee on why certain tactics work. The main theme, though, is that you can’t simply throw right hooks in marketing all the time. You’ll knock your opponent (customer) out, and they won’t ever want to get in the ring with you again. 

But, if you jab them three times for every one right hook you throw, your results will be exponentially better. Jabs, in this context, refer to educational posts or any other type of social media post that is not promotional (inspirational quotes, a fun infographic, a tutorial, etc.). It’s worth noting that we at StringCan don’t actually want to jab or right-hook our customers (and we don’t believe Gary does either), but the 3:1 rule of thumb is definitely a best practice in social media and marketing in general. 

This is what the 3:1 ratio would look like, using Instagram as an example. Let’s say you teach self-defense classes to adults (looks like we’re running with the boxing theme here):

  • Post #1 – Jab: A picture of someone wearing boxing gloves, with a statistic about assault. Your intention is to educate your audience about the prevalence of assault, so they understand the necessity of learning self-defense. 
  • Post #2 – Jab: A picture of three famous boxers, with a link to a quiz called “Which Famous Boxer Are You?” By answering questions about their personality, the quiz maps their projected fighting style to a famous boxer and it allows them to engage with you in a  fun and interesting way.
  • Post #3 – Jab: A picture of one of your trainers, along with “Get To Know Trainer Terry” and a link to a Q&A blog post you did with him. 
  • Post #4 – Right Hook: A picture of one of your group classes, along with an invitation to try one class free and get 20% off your first month if you join that day. 

The first three jabs educate, inform and entertain. They also help your prospect become more familiar with your brand and your team members, and warm them up to your value proposition. The right hook comes in and offers something compelling, when they’re primed and likely to take action. Continue to follow this cadence, in social media and your marketing at large, and you should see better conversion rates. 


Marketing has definitely grown up since the 1800s, and that’s a good thing. But you need to know how to bob and weave with all the new tech (and the noise it brings) in order to break through. Try out these tips, and let us know if we can help you improve your marketing strategy and get some knockouts.