We’re kick-starting the New Year with a countdown of the 10 hottest marketing to schools trends that you simply must have on your radar in 2016. Which trend will be crowned number 1? Let’s find out…
In 2016 we’re really going to see the squeeze being put on those education businesses that are still viewing their marketing as a means of achieving quick, short-term customer acquisitions and individual sales. In contrast, those businesses that focus on developing meaningful long-term relationships with teachers will see their stocks soar.
What you need to do: Ensure you’re focussed on developing strong, emotional customer connections that help you create loyalists and brand advocates. Take time to get to know teachers and better understand their individual needs; this will enable you to provide the solution that’s best for them and ensure they fall head over heels in love with your brand. Lastly, relationships are formed between people, not businesses, so push your team’s personalities to the fore and be transparent in your marketing so teachers get a glimpse of the real you.
Find out more: Our new marketing and sales software, Campus, has been specifically developed to help you nurture these relationships with teachers. Take 2 minutes and check out the video above.
Hyper-segmentation is the process of using customer data to ensure you’re putting forward the right message to the right teachers at exactly the right time. In 2016, those businesses that are able to build a detailed picture of teachers’ individual needs will be able to segment their marketing in incredibly powerful ways.
What you need to do: Make sure that you’re using lead generation forms to capture valuable buyer persona data that gives you a real insight into the challenges an individual teacher is facing in their school. Then make sure you’re tracking and analysing every interaction they have with your website so that you can see exactly what they’re interested in and where their needs lie. Lastly, make sure you’re ranking your contacts so you can send different kinds of messages based on their position in your sales funnel.
Find out more: See how Campus will allow you to capture valuable insights into the needs of every single teacher that interacts with you, and then works as an automated sales funnel to ensure you target the right lead at the right time.
In the past we’ve viewed sales people almost as magicians, and assumed that people who are good at sales must be imbued with some kind of sixth sense. However, in 2016 that myth will be completely blown out of the water, and that’s all down to one thing: data. With the abundance of data at your fingertips, selling will no longer be an art, but a science.
What you need to do: Instead of guessing why some people in your team are good at sales, make sure you’re tracking and analysing which messages your customers are engaging with (and which they’re not engaging with) so that you can explain in exact terms which actions are leading to sales.
Find out more: Check out how Campus will automatically log interactions between you and teachers, enabling you to review each relationship in your contact’s live-feed timeline and pin-point exactly which interactions have made the difference.
With more and more education businesses realising the importance of generating quality content (whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, blogs & videos) finding ways to automate elements of your marketing is becoming ever more crucial in lead generation and prospect nurturing.
What you need to do: Using a marketing automation platform will make it much easier to schedule emails, re-use your best content, and automate your social media posting. And if you’re using data science techniques to build a picture of the ideal sales journey for your leads, marketing automation will allow you to repeat that journey for each of your leads in the future.
In the past, education businesses have become fixated on click-through rates and this one little statistic has become the sole number by which engagement levels are measured. However, does it matter how many teachers click-through to your website if they then disappear, never to be seen again? In 2016 attention is going to shift to what happens after that click and this is where you need an on-boarding strategy.
What you need to do: Think about how you will create a delightful experience for any teacher that lands on your website after clicking a link in one of your emails. Make sure you create a good first impression, capture their details, and provide them with an enticing and free way of delving deeper into what you offer.
Find out more: Last year, I wrote a blog about how I planned the on-boarding strategy for the launch of Campus. In it I share the lessons I learned along the way and how you can come up with your own on-boarding strategy that will have teachers jumping on board with you for the long haul.
Telling your clients’ stories in a compelling way is a sure-fire way of sky-rocketing your conversion rates in 2016. Rather than telling teachers how you can make their lives better, let them hear this from the people they’re most likely to trust – their peers.
What you need to do: Teacher Spotlights are all about sharing your existing clients’ stories in the most compelling way possible. Therefore you need to create clear before and after narratives where a client paints a vivid picture of what their life was like before they reached out to you, and what their world looks like now.
Find out more: At Sprint Education, we’re always exploring how we can tell our clients’ stories in the most meaningful way. The great news is that we recently shared what we’ve learned in the eBook, ‘Convert More Sales by Letting Your Clients Speak for You’. Plus, you can read an example of how we share our clients’ stories by clicking here or on the image above.
This year there’s nothing pushing visual boundaries quite like animation. Where in 2015 we relied heavily on banner typography and pin-sharp photography in order to get our message read, we’re now able to go one better by including moving imagery in our emails! This will enable us to convey your message to teachers much faster while also enhancing engagement.
What you need to do: With stunning moving visuals teachers will have less reason to leave your email, plus you’ll also encourage them to hunt for more visual tastiness on your landing pages via your call to action points. If you’d like to try this out in a campaign this year get in touch with Sophie, our Head of Design, who is itching to set her animations loose on your next email.
Find out more: Take a look at how we illustrated (in just a few seconds) the new interface of Campus in one of our own email campaigns, by clicking on the image above.
Video has been growing in importance for some time now, however in 2016 it will really come of age in the marketing to schools sector. In fact, Cisco (the American technology giant) predicts that video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by the end of the year!
What you need to do: In 2016, education businesses that keep their email and web copy short, and instead showcase themselves through engaging, snackable video content will win the hearts and minds of teachers by communicating with them via their favourite medium.
Find out more: At Sprint, we’ve increased our click-through rates by a whopping 96% by embedding a video in our email campaigns. Take a look at this fun little video we created for the launch of Campus – so much more interesting than another long wordy email.
THE CONTENT MACHINE:
As we move into 2016 over 50% of marketers believe that producing engaging content is the single biggest challenge they face. Luckily, there’s a couple of fab ways of keeping your content machine topped up during 2016…
Episodic Content: Episodic content is the ideal solution for boosting engagement and retaining teachers’ attention over an extended period of time. Telling a compelling story over a series of blogs or videos is a cracking way to make your content emotional, relatable, and addicting. Try breaking down an eBook into a series of blogs – share a new chapter each week but leave just enough unknown so that teachers feel the need to return for next week’s episode.
User-Generated Content: This new kid on the block is really one to watch in 2016. An example of how it works is to set up a competition for schools and encourage teachers and pupils to post their entries (videos or photos) on social media. Not only will this enable you to collect lots of user-generated content for your social media pages, it will also help you drive extra traffic to your social sites and website.
Having helped to plan email marketing strategies for over 500 education businesses last year, I know that there is one thing above all else that is slowing down their growth and, in some cases, crippling them; too many disparate IT systems.
In the past, as education businesses have expanded they’ve tended to pick up more and more disparate applications in order to manage their ever-more complex marketing and sales processes. In some of the worst cases this has involved our clients using over 10 different IT systems, and then on top of that having to use other software to try and get these systems to talk to each other.
It’s no wonder they’ve been tearing their hair out; it’s not just the spiralling costs, but also the inevitable process inefficiencies which mean staff time is wasted on so many mundane tasks instead of being focussed where it should: your clients.
What you need to do: Join the 85 education businesses who have already moved all their marketing and sales processes into the most revolutionary software solution in the history of marketing to schools; Campus. Start by joining us at our offices for a free guided tour of the software and strategy fizz with our experts.
Find out more: If you’re still reading this then you’re obviously very forward-thinking with your marketing so I’d like to reward you by giving you an exclusive first-glimpse of our brand new video, where two Campus users share how the software has already revolutionised their education marketing since its launch in September 2015.
And that’s it; our run-down of the 10 hottest trends that are going to transform marketing to schools in 2016. If you’re feeling suitably inspired then come and join us for a free strategy chat and Campus walkthrough at our offices in Tewkesbury.
I can’t wait to help you ensure this will be an incredible year for your business!
Marketing to Schools
Selling to Teachers
UK Schools Marketing
How to Sell to Schools