What will 2016 hold for education marketers? Here are a few marketing trends that you should be aware of as you head into the new year.
It’s All About the Content
Content marketing is a huge focus for education companies right now. Creating a plan that serves up the right content for lead generation, lead nurturing, and relationship building at the appropriate time in the cycle is critical to sales success. If we look at content planning as a soup to nuts menu, than your website has to be the entrée. This is your home base for content. Everything you push out in your marketing mix should reside here so that you are pulling people back to your website to engage and support the relationship building process.
This has become a “must have” marketing tool. Marketing automation systems create an ecosystem to regulate your marketing and sales efforts. This allows you to serve up the exact right content from the initial prospect to post-sale customer care. Customer communication, email marketing, lead generation, and lead nurturing are easier to manage with automation software. A comprehensive customer communications system ensures that none of your prospects fall through the cracks.
Better Targeting and Prospecting
In an institutional marketplace such as education, it’s relatively easy to find the names of public educators. However, a name and title are the bare minimum of information you need to successfully market to schools. The more information you append to a name or title, the greater your chances of turning a prospect into a lead. Being able to understand whether a district name is an influencer or a decision maker is key to targeting your messages. School funding sources, types of technology, community demographics, and job function data all increase your potential ROI. Enhancing the criteria for your target prospects at the top of the sales funnel will lead to higher sales at the bottom of the funnel.
Telling a Compelling Story
In addition to creating the communications pipeline, education marketers need to learn how to tell compelling stories about their customers’ successes. This is the backbone of a solid content marketing strategy. If educators don’t want to hear your stories than marketing best practices will not be sufficient to ensure success. Educators run in the other direction to avoid being marketed or sold to. But telling the right stories to the right person at the right place in the sales funnel creates trust and builds relationships. Moving from customer transactions to relationships requires good, authentic storytelling.
Mobile and Visual
Both social and business communications are now mobile and more visual. This has to be reflected in your 2016 marketing plans. We have become a nation of scanners. The growth in rich media with streaming video, audio podcasts, smartphone apps, webinars, and interactive websites underscores the degree to which all consumers prefer visual media to long-form text. Educators share this preference, however, there are still multiple places for long-form content such as case studies, white papers, and research studies in a comprehensive content marketing plan. But even these should have colorful graphics or media components.
Mobile Internet access reached the tipping point this year and now is the leader in organic search. Ensuring that your website is responsive and accessible to mobile tech users is now absolutely critical for marketing to educators.
Marketing success requires solid strategy, systems support, and customer focused communications. Fortunately, there are vendor partners to ensure that education companies have access to experienced best practices – what actually works in this marketplace – to help them create and execute their marketing plans.
Connect with your Agile Education representative today to help shape your best marketing year ever for 2016.