This is one of the most important principles on which to base your marketing plan. When you really get to know your education customers — who they are, what they need, how you can best serve them — you can develop educator buyer personas that identify your best prospects and how to reach them. You will also find it easier to determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive your business.
What is content marketing?For most of us in the education market, creating and deploying informational content is a part of our marketing efforts to some degree. This content marketing serves to accelerate the educator’s journey through the decision-making process — from general awareness to purchase to after the sale — by providing the right content, at the right time to the right people. While most education companies have developed some informational content, such as white papers and case studies that exhibit evidence of effectiveness, most of us don’t have a full content library with educational and informative pieces that are tailored to each phase of the education sales cycle.
Think of content marketing as a funnel that overlays the traditional sales funnel. Top-of-funnel content is the kind of content that builds brand awareness. It’s less about promotion, and more about providing educators with helpful brand-relevant information that solves a problem they’re having, addresses a hot-button topic in the education industry and more. This is how you get an educator’s attention. And once you have it, they require more and more detailed information as you guide them down your funnel towards a purchase. All of your content should be connected, building on itself to create a body of informational and persuasive content that helps educators make product or service purchases, and feel confident in their decisions.
How can content marketing help you connect with educators?There are many benefits to creating content: establishing thought leadership, building brand awareness, developing brand loyalty — to name a few.
Another primary focus of content marketing is lead generation and lead nurturing. This process generally begins by gating the content you’ve created. Only genuinely interested prospects will provide their contact information in exchange for content. They understand that by downloading your content, they are opting in to receiving marketing messages from you and your business. But they won’t provide this information for free. Consumers, including educators, often resist purely promotional or salesy language. Buyers want their content to directly address their specific needs at each point in their purchasing journey. You’ve got to give educators something of value to get their contact information in return.
Here are some tips for creating successful content that maximizes response, generates leads and drives ROI.
- Make all of your branded content relevant and useful. It should add value to users’ lives.
- Vary your content types. White papers, web articles, webinars, videos — these are all effective forms of content for building brand awareness and engaging with educators.
- Make sure your content marketing fulfills buyers’ expectations for relevant messaging. Lead nurturing programs should be personalized enough to send prospects down different lead nurturing paths based on their actions. Marketing automation software can help you personalize your messaging and match educators’ interests with the appropriate content.
- Determine everyone who will take part in the purchasing process. Who these educators are and what their roles are will influence their information needs. For example, the information needed by a tech team is likely different from the information needed by a curriculum team when deciding to purchase digital curriculum.
- Always measure the success of your lead nurturing efforts. Watch key metrics and KPIs to determine how you can improve the process. Metrics to measure include:
- Email click-throughs
- Revenue generated
- Cost per lead
- Average order size
- Level of engagement
- Customer acquisition timetable
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
Of course, the products and services you’re trying to sell are important. But they shouldn’t always be the focus of your communications. Providing educators with helpful content and investing in building long-term relationships can help you reach your sales goals. Convey your authentic interest in helping customers be successful by supplying them with valuable and insightful information. In return, they will reward you with their business and their loyalty.
In case you need more reasons to invest in content marketing, read about five more ways it can boost your education sales goals, courtesy of our friends at PR with Panache!