By: Scott Brooks, Vice President, Corporate Development
Educators have taken control of purchasing. Instead of relying on you to make contact about your solutions, they conduct most of their preliminary research on their own, and the resources they turn to are varied.
Successful marketers utilize a variety of platforms to communicate with educators as they conduct their independent research. These channels span print and digital, and utilize the platforms educators value most for learning about education products and services, including websites, conferences, webinars, social media, industry publications, emails, blogs, and more.
But these channels must do more than communicate with educators. They need to convert them, too. The secret to turning education prospects into customers is segmenting your data into defined lists and serving targeted messages to each of those audiences.
Start with Your Data
The days of one-size-fits all marketing are done. Knowing who your audiences are, inside and out, and tailoring messages to each of those audience’s unique needs is a necessity. When you send multiple, variable messages to smaller groups of highly defined educators, you’ll see campaign results improve.
Executing a successful microtargeted marketing strategy starts with segmenting your educator data. You can begin basic, for example defining your audience by demographics such as school type and geographic location. Or you can dig deeper into the most niche characteristics of your audiences, segmenting by school criteria, building variables and even performance data.
Once you’ve set your prospect criteria and assembled your lists, strategize how you’re going to use them. You might choose, for example, to build separate email campaigns for each of your audience segments. Or, you can leverage your lists to strengthen social media marketing initiatives. Educators are more likely to have a presence on social than the general population. Upload your teacher lists to Twitter or your administrator lists to LinkedIn, match the audiences, and then serve targeted ads to only those educators.
Move on to Messaging
Once you’ve segmented your data, align your messaging to the specific needs of the educators on those lists.
Some messaging, like promotions on discretionary purchases, can run year-round. Teachers are typically responsible for buying supplemental materials and classroom supplies — though they do heavily influence school and district purchasing, too. When supplies run out, teachers go shopping — they don’t just stock their classrooms around back-to-school.
Teachers often receive a barely there budget for these purchases and dip into their personal funds to cover the gaps. Teachers value vendors who help them stretch their dollars and are more likely to shop with a company that offers teacher discounts. Make these deals prominent in messages to teachers. Even if you can’t extend a discount on a specific product or off an entire purchase, you can sweeten the deal with an offer like free shipping.
For larger school and district purchases, align your messaging with the four-phase education purchasing cycle. Deliver only the information and offers educators are ready for at specific phases in the buying process. Administrators often take on a decision-making role for these larger purchases. For this reason, they tend to value information around evidence of effectiveness, key features and benefits, cost, examples of use, and implementation.
When possible, turn this information into helpful content to drive conversions. Case studies, for example, can be a compelling way to share implementation details and illustrate how schools and districts have used your product to solve challenges similar to the ones your prospects are facing.
Content like this is fuel for your multi-channel marketing strategy, particularly when you’re working on lead generation early in the buying cycle. You give educators helpful content that they care about, and they provide contact information that you can use to continue nurturing them through the purchasing funnel.
Agile offers cutting-edge tools and services to help you connect with and convert your ideal educator prospects into lasting, loyal customers. Our data quality is unmatched, and so is our service. Contact our education sales and marketing experts to discuss your goals, and they’ll talk you through the best solutions.
About the Author
Scott Brooks is the Vice President of Corporate Development at Agile Education Marketing. To that role, Scott brings more than 25 years of experience within corporate development and leadership positions at software and services organizations. He has extensive background in developing and training marketing and data software for a variety of industries, including education. At Agile, Scott has spearheaded new go-to-market strategies and the development of various technology solutions, such as the new Campus education marketing software. Reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.