We’re now 6 months on from the night Boris Johnson announced the biggest restrictions on daily life in living memory.
Covid-19 has completely disrupted the education sector and by extension, the businesses that serve them.
Overnight, teachers and students had to adapt to teaching and learning remotely.
Online learning platforms, previously used sporadically for homework, became the central method for continuing the delivery of the national curriculum, and classrooms were stripped of shared resources to prevent the spread of the virus for those still attending lessons in school. The vast majority of schools remained open for the children of key workers and vulnerable students.
Immediately, the needs of schools shifted and the products and services they were purchasing changed. School trips abroad, educational visits, and classroom-based resources were out and digital resources, learning platforms, and deep cleaning services were in.
But what about edu-businesses?
The education sector may have been entirely disrupted, but teachers will still be running cross country marathons to meet the needs of their students. Schools didn’t sound the whistle and head home, they changed and needed new solutions from the market, quickly.
Schools that were perhaps once fiercely loyal, or too busy to shop around for what they needed, were suddenly forced to try out new solutions to their problems.
We were impressed by the businesses that adapted as quickly as the education sector had to. They were there to fulfil the changing needs of schools with innovative solutions, and assurances that they were still operating as normal. It was these businesses, serving teachers when they needed support from the market most, that will be rewarded with loyal customers.
But, for the edu-businesses that fell silent, unsure how to address the situation in their marketing and unable to make changes fast enough to keep up with shifting needs of schools, the last few months will have been difficult as their teacher audience looked elsewhere for solutions to their problems.
Has September offered a fresh start?
We may not know exactly what the year ahead will look like for teachers and students returning to the classroom, but what we can be sure of, is that teachers will still require support from innovative edu-businesses.
Even though schools have reopened, there’s no sign that things will be getting back to normal just yet. Schools have had to wade through a huge amount of guidelines and recommendations over the summer holidays to make their school as Covid-secure as possible.
The potential for local lockdowns still looms large too, and schools have been specifically required to ensure that their remote learning offers the same level of education that in school offers.
*“Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning and ready for any pupil working from home or in the event of a local lockdown.
School leaders should select the online tools that will be consistently used across the school in order to allow interaction, assessment and feedback, and make sure staff are trained in their use.”
However your edu-business has fared over the last 6 months, there are huge opportunities for the first term of the new academic year ahead. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by!
You may have to fight harder for your market share, but with a carefully planned marketing strategy in place, you can do just that.
The September – December marketing sprint
1. Increase engagement
With some space between us and the outbreak of the pandemic, we can now see that those businesses who kept in touch with their audience throughout lockdown saw increased open rates and click-through rates (email open rates increase by nearly 14%).
The Autumn is always the busiest period for edu-marketing and it’s more important than ever to get tenacious this year and carve out your market share. To do this, of course, teachers need to know you’re there! So, let them know what you’re offering and make sure you capture their attention with an innovative strategy – we’re talking mixing it up with personalisation, sales enablement emails, the works!
2. Prioritise innovation
Make innovation a key part of your strategy. It was the businesses which innovated by instinct that thrived throughout lockdown. Innovation doesn’t have to be about new products though – adapting your solutions for a new audience, implementing new service-delivery methods, or even updating customer support to meet the changing needs of your audience could have a transformative effect on your edu-business this term.
3. Utilise segmentation
There’s nothing new about segmentation, but things are moving and changing quickly and there’s never been a better time to get hyper-specific. For example, you might be able to address a unique need of teachers experiencing a local lockdown. Think about your audience carefully, how things have changed for them, what new challenges they face in the year ahead, and how you can help solve them.
4. Streamline sales management
Upgrade your customer service and sales management and see your sales soar! Without the right technology, sales management can, at best, sap hours (who am I kidding – sap days), and at worst see sales slip through the net – if emails, quotes, and invoices aren’t managed quickly and comprehensively. We launched a brand new module, Campus Deals, back in June. Integrated with our 400,000 strong email database of teachers, it’s helping our Campus users gain an edge on the competition right now!
5. Surprise and delight!
Surprise and delight your customers at every stage of the sales journey and you can’t go wrong!
You could do this by offering freebies, incredible customer service, and fast delivery. But, if you’re wondering where to start, it all begins with attention-grabbing content. Our Campus Drag ‘n’ Drop feature makes creating your own showstopping emails a breeze. However, if looking to outsource your next email marketing strategy, talk to us about our managed strategy services. We’d love to help.
If you’d like to speak to us about the marvel that is Campus, or about our expertly managed marketing services, get in touch here.
Marketing to Education