For all our marketing successes here at Ambleglow, we were once where you are now. You have a great product – or product idea – but you’re not yet sure how you’re going to get it in the hands of the people that need it most. With a thousand other voices competing for teachers’ attention, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Your hesitation is warranted.
Marketing to schools is a different game to other commercial marketing activities due to the position and responsibilities of School Business Managers. You’ll need to invest a great deal of care and commitment if you want to build relationships with them. That said, the general principles of marketing products to schools are no different from other sectors. It’s still about building trust, creating value and having the right blueprint to work from. Once you have a great plan, the rest is simple.
Take a look at your marketing strategy to ensure it includes these four key stages. They’ll make engaging with and marketing to schools that much easier.
#1 Build your network before your product
In the B2B education industry, we’ve found one truth to be unassailable. If your product doesn’t fit into the classroom environment, it’s going to fail. Practicality is everything. That’s why it’s crucial to get the advice of teachers before you enter the build phase (or if you’ve already started, as soon as possible!).
Consulting with teachers is a great way to ensure your product’s success in the classroom. However, it’s also key when it comes to marketing. With a broad network established before you go to market, you’ve already laid the foundations of an effective word-of-mouth marketing strategy. It’s then really easy to reach out to your network and let them know you’re about to launch. This is how you build trusting relationships with a loyal customer base – with real, one-to-one conversation.
Action plan: Reach out to 1,000 teachers and ask them for advice around your product idea. That might sound like a lot of work, but it’s only really 15 messages a day for a little over two months. You’ll be surprised how effective it can be.
#2 Create high-value content
School Business Managers have a lot on their plates. If your messages aren’t helping them get the job done – or at least providing some light entertainment during their busy day – they’re not going to be interested. That’s why creating valuable content is a crucial step in your strategy for marketing to schools.
Here at Ambleglow, we’ve seen one main type of content get remarkable results over the past couple of years. It’s what we like to call ‘in-depth insights’ – long-form content pieces that provide deep research into a specific topic. It’s a great idea to centre these pieces around the problems that your product solves. But remember, these aren’t sales brochures – they’re genuinely useful content pieces that help your audience get ahead. Once you’ve built one, reach out to your network and start a conversation about it.
Action plan: Come up with a title for one in-depth insight piece that you can write each month and schedule in a day each week to write it. You’ll also need to put some time in your calendar for publishing it to your social channels, as well as doing a bit of outreach to your contacts.
#3 Use your content to build a subscriber list
In-depth insight pieces are great at helping you start conversations with School Business Managers. But they also serve another function in your marketing strategy. Remember how we mentioned your content should centre around problems your product seeks to solve? Well, if somebody engages with your content, there’s a good chance they’re affected by that particular problem. Those visitors aren’t just page views to bump your ego – they’re hot leads.
Use your content to capture the details of your interested readers. One way to do that is to share a small slice of your content, then tell viewers you’ll drop the rest over via email once they’ve opted in. Your prize will be a list of hot leads that are all struggling with a critical problem that you can solve.
Action plan: Explore a range of different options for capturing contact details through content. You can consider gated content platforms like the Contact Form 7 Gated Content WordPress plugin, or standard HTML forms.
#4 Build an effective sales platform
The previous steps are great at generating engagement with your product or service. At some point, though, you’re going to have to pitch those leads you’ve gathered if you want to make sales. Schools and teachers often have long sales cycles that require sign off from multiple stakeholders before a sale can take place. That means your potential customers will want to learn a great deal about your product before they buy from you.
Here at Ambleglow, we solve this challenge by building content-heavy sales platforms like webinars, sales videos and online demos to fully showcase the benefits of your product. We combine these with rigorous follow-up messaging cycles to keep tabs on how customers are feeling throughout the process. Remember, the goal here is to keep the conversation going over the long-term and deal with any objections or challenges that schools might have. Overcome these hurdles and they’ll be excited to buy from you.
Action plan: Start a conversation with us at Ambleglow to find out how we can help you build an effective sales platform for your next campaign.
With these four steps baked into your education sector marketing strategy, you’ll be in a great place to kick off your marketing efforts. There’s a lot more to the story, though. If you’d like to speak to the experts in marketing to schools, get in touch with us. We’d love to tackle your marketing challenges.