By: Suzanne Morgan, Senior Account Manager
“Let me send out this email quick.”
Chances are, you’ve said this once or twice. Marketers are pros at shooting off fast messages to clients and colleagues before rushing to their next meeting. But, when it comes to crafting lead gen email campaigns to prospects and customers, they like to take their time.
Litmus’ new 2018 State of Email Workflows report found that brands spend an average of two weeks brainstorming, writing, designing, coding, testing, and deploying a single email. That time is well spent, particularly when marketing to educators.
Forty-three percent of administrators and 41 percent of teachers value email for communicating with education vendors. Taking the time to carefully craft an email can help you build awareness among the right educators, increase traffic to your site, and, ultimately, lift revenue.
Following an email development plan with every campaign on your schedule can help you maximize chances for success. Here are steps to include in your plan:
1. Build your list. Rather than sending emails to the same educators over and over, segment your prospect list for every campaign so your message goes only to the most qualified prospects.
One targeting strategy you can use is to profile your existing best customers to find similar prospects. Pre-qualifying your leads can help you avoid filling your sales pipeline with dead-ends and shorten the sales cycle.
2. Plan email logistics. Providing great “customer” service starts before an educator ever makes a purchase. Once you know who your prospects are, figure out their preferences and cater to them.
This includes information like where they check their email (a majority of teachers choose desktops), when they like to open messages (morning is a safe bet) and even where they like to read them. Think about it. If you knew your audience checks email from their phones during recess duty rather than while they’re at their desks, how might you adjust your message?
3. Refer to the purchasing cycle. It can take a year or more for a school or district to make big-ticket purchases. But if you’re selling to teachers, your sales cycle might be significantly shorter.
No matter what educators are buying, there’s typically a process in place for purchasing it. You need to send the right messages to the right people at the right time to convert educators into customers. To do this, understanding the education purchasing cycle is critical.
4. Strategize your messaging. Once you’ve identified where your audience is in the purchasing cycle, use that information to determine what kinds of information they’ll want to receive. If you have multiple audiences, create personalized, unique messages for each of those different roles.
Not sure what a particular audience wants to know? Ask! A quick survey with a $5 Starbucks incentive may add time to email development, but it also could add dollars to your bottom line. Not to mention that survey data also is valuable for building audience personas you can refer back to campaign after campaign.
5. Practice data hygiene. Having clean data to fuel your email campaigns is critical. Before developing a campaign, make sure all stakeholders know and understand the rules for gathering and maintaining data in your database. For example, what information fields are stored in your CRM, which are stored in your marketing automation system and where is there overlap?
There will be important steps to take after emails deploy, too. Do you have a process for handling leads, and does marketing know when to pass prospects to sales? Do you have someone assigned to scrubbing opt-outs or hard bounces from your list?
Because the email landscape changes regularly, make sure you’re up-to-speed on the latest privacy policies and regulations. In fact, there are two new sets of legislation to be aware of right now: The California Consumer Privacy Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
More Email Advice from Agile
For additional tips for planning emails that drive return on investment, watch our latest webinar: Email Strategies to Drive Your Business from Start to Inbox to Dollars.
About the Author
Suzanne Morgan is a Senior Account Manager at Agile Education Marketing. She has more than 15 years of experience in the education marketing industry, specifically in the areas of database services, account management and client services management. She marries her deep understanding of data and the education market to help clients better understand and utilize data to achieve marketing and sales objectives. Reach Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org.