How 14 Days of Deliberate Marketing Can Win You Customers for Life
(In a hurry? Go ahead and download the free playbook, Guide to Education Marketing Success, now.)
Broad nets catch more water than fish.
Likewise, a broad message to a broad audience isn’t going to catch anything but your audience’s ire – if they even give you that much attention. Smart segmentation and targeting means the difference between shouting at a crowd with a megaphone versus sitting next to an individual person and having a deep conversation. While marketing has become more automated and more sophisticated, making targeting and personalization down to granular levels that we wouldn’t have imagined just a few years ago easier, marketing itself has become more complex than ever before.
Enhanced segmenting and targeting methods have made identifying increasingly specialized audiences easier, but marketers still need to know what to do with the data they have, and even more importantly, they need solid strategies to engage those specialized audiences, not just contact them.
At Agile Education Marketing, we have helped numerous companies connect with K- 12 educators. These organizations sell everything from district-wide enterprise-management solutions to classroom, and the people who make these purchases are often not their users. They also have to navigate an often-cumbersome, collaborative decision-making process. Their clients are all over the country and have a staggering amount of diversity: from small rural districts in Texas where half of the student population speaks English as a second language to private and parochial schools to specialized high schools for the arts and technology. While we serve a specialized market, we don’t have one specialized audience; we have dozens if not more audiences, all of which have different needs.
Over the years, we’ve picked up significant experience not only helping our clients reach this narrow but influential audience through data-based products and services but also in helping them truly understand the nuances, needs and preferences of educators so that they connect and engage with them through inbound and outbound marketing, rather than simply “selling” to them. We’ve put together a 14-day marketing strategy that we use to reach educators, but it’s a strategy that works with any specialized or unique audience. Let’s walk through two weeks of marketing activity that can serve as the launching point for sustainable success.
Day 1: Post gated content to your website
You’ve developed a persona, and you’ve looked at your product or service through your ideal customer’s eyes. Now that you’ve gotten to know and understand your audience through market research, you should develop compelling content that
- Speaks directly to them;
- Adds a new idea or a novel take on a contemporary problem they’re facing rather than a rehash of the same content they’ve read on your competitor’s site; and
- Can be shared.
Once you’ve developed your content (whether it’s a white paper, infographic, playbook, article, or some other asset), post it on your website with a preview of the full content but require users to fill out a simple lead generation form. Make sure the form captures buyer persona information, in addition to basic contact information. Buyer persona details will help you target your sales and marketing follow-up to these new prospects.
Day 2: Drive traffic to your content
Use SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) to drive your audience to your content. Email campaigns and microtargeted social media campaigns are very useful in driving traffic as well. After your site visitor views or downloads the gated content, then your leads can be saved as contacts in your CRM and, voila, you have prospects to score.
Day 3: Let your prospect get to know you
Day 3 is when you want your audience to become acquainted with you – on their terms. Most response to email campaigns comes within the first 24 hours, so day 3 of this process gives your prospects a chance to respond to your email, read the content you’ve provided, and start to explore your website. Plus, it gives you a chance to see how they interact with your digital presence. Ideally, your CRM should track contacts’ interactions with your website so you can see what pages they’re visiting and therefore what they’re most interested in. This intelligence will help you score your prospects and see where you should spend the most time.
Day 4: Touch base
Touch base with your new leads with a brief, friendly follow-up email campaign. Be sure to personalize your messaging to prospects based on the persona data you collected on the lead-generation form to maximize the resonance of your message.
Day 5: Activate the sales team
Now that you have a decent set of prospects, use the data you’ve collected and analyzed in your CRM to identify the highest-scored leads and provide the sales team with the info. It is critical that your sales team universally uses the same, uniform messaging that your campaign does to ensure continuity of brand and experience.
Day 6: Refresh the pipeline
Now that the sales team is hard at work contacting leads, it’s time to make sure that there are plenty more for them to follow up with (since, of course, all of your leads are going to convert!). Reach out to those who received the first email but did not fill out the form and access the gated content. (This may also be a good time to try alternate messaging.)
Days 7 through 12: Nurture and keep on nurturing
During this time, continue the strategies above to continually fill the pipeline and to use email campaigns, SEO, SEM, and other inbound and outbound techniques to nurture your leads and maintain their interest. For prospects who heed the call to action and read your content, download your playbook, or register for a webinar, provide them with messages and experiences that maintain their interest and add value with each interaction. For example, if a user downloads a playbook on a topic, you might follow up in two days with a related article that adds additional information.
Day 13: Analyze, assess, and repeat
There’s a lot going on by now – and that’s a good thing, because 14 days ago (hypothetically speaking) you had no leads. Now you have the sales team meeting with ready-to-buy prospects, a nurture campaign for leads in the middle of the funnel, and another nurture campaign for lukewarm leads who look but don’t touch when it comes to gated content. Don’t give up on them. Lukewarm leads are a great population to try alternate messaging strategies and approaches with. They also may be an important system of insight, if you can engage them to ask why they’re not engaging you.
Day 14: The first day of your improved marketing strategy
On Day 14, don’t rest. Continue to nurture with email campaigns and other outreach such as newsletters and always keep your content interesting and usable. If you fail to win a lead, let it be because they truly aren’t interested, not because you have spammed them with decreasingly valuable, increasingly aggressive messaging.
Ready to Do This?
Effective nurture marketing is the cornerstone of reaching new markets, but it’s even more important and more challenging with highly specific audiences. In addition to the marketing know-how, you also need comprehensive and thoughtfully designed CRMs to manage and execute your campaigns and capture important data and intelligence.
If your market is K-12 educators, Agile Education Marketing can help you effectively generate leads, manage the sales cycle and even streamline the proposal and invoicing process with Campus, a comprehensive CRM for education marketing that eliminates the need for multiple software packages. You can learn more about Campus on Agile Education Marketing’s website and also download our free Guide to Education Marketing Success for more details about our proven 14-day strategy to generate and nurture leads.
If you’d like to speak with us about your education marketing strategy, would like to learn more about Campus, or just have an idea of your own that you’d like to share, give us a call at 866-783-0241 or email us.