School premises suppliers account for around 15% of our clients and we’ve created email strategies for hundreds of such businesses over the years, promoting everything from windows and canopies to playgrounds and signage. So, it’s safe to say we know what works and what doesn’t when emailing teachers about these services.
And the one mistake I see premises suppliers making more than any other in their marketing to schools is choosing to focus too much on the nuts and bolts of their product and forgetting the process of how they’re actually going to sell these things to school leaders.
So what is that process? Well, for 99% of premises suppliers I speak to, what they really want to achieve with their email campaigns is as many face-to-face meeting or site survey requests as possible. They recognise that they’re not going to sell these things via email; they’re only going to sell them by getting in front of teachers and establishing a dialogue with them.
So, instead of focusing your education marketing on what makes your product better than other similar products out there, focus it on making it as easy as possible for teachers to set up that initial face-to-face appointment. Sell the appointment, not the product, in your emails to teachers (and then sell the product during the appointment!).
If you’re still sceptical then there’s a terrific infographic in Sprint Labs that shows just how much of a difference this can make in terms of responses to your campaigns. The Battle of the Inbox infographic compares two premises companies that used Sprint Education to broadcast an email campaign promoting the same product to the same schools and teachers.
Company A supplied their own email content and chose to focus on the nuts and bolts. It was very impersonal, included several images, several different calls to action, and lots of product information.
Sprint Education wrote the content for Company B. We stripped out all the images and all of the information about the company’s products. Instead we focused on making the email feel as personal as possible, more like a one-to-one email than a marketing email, and made sure that the copy focused on one thing and one thing only: the offer of a face-to-face meeting.
The result? 2 site survey requests for Company A and a whopping 91 site survey requests for Company B. Does that convince you that focusing on the meeting rather than the product is the right way to go when emailing teachers?
So, the next question is how do you sell a meeting to a teacher? Well, put simply, you take away all of the reasons why they might be reluctant to agree to such an appointment. I’ve listed these below:
1. They don’t know who they are meeting
Make sure your emails feel like an introduction to you (the person who will be visiting them). If your email takes the first step in establishing the relationship between you and the teacher, then you’ll take away one reason for your offer of a meeting to be refused.
2. It feels like too much of a commitment
This is really important. You don’t want teachers to think that by agreeing to a meeting they are in any way committing their school to something. Avoid using words like appointment or consultation which make it sound like there is a level of commitment involved.
3. It feels like it might take up too much time
Instead of calling it a meeting or a site survey, perhaps just offer to pop in for 'a quick chat' about their school’s potential requirements. This way you’re not going to scare away time-starved teachers who are worried about giving up too much of their precious time.
4. It’s easier to refuse than to accept
Try to make it almost easier for teachers to accept your offer of a meeting than to refuse it. If you say that you’re visiting local schools over the next couple of weeks and you’d be happy to stop by while you’re in the area then it almost feels easier to say yes than to say no!
Of course, any great marketing to schools strategy will include a mixture of emails that build your brand and emails that look to generate responses (I’m not saying all of your emails must focus on the offer of a meeting or site survey). However, when you’ve done the groundwork and laid the foundations with some brand-building campaigns, follow the advice in this blog and I guarantee your sales team will be inundated with new leads.
Marketing to Schools
Marketing to Teachers
Selling to Schools