There’s something to be said for following the crowd I guess. After all, if what you want from life is to blend seamlessly into the background, never attracting undue attention or doing anything that could be judged a little bit different, then following the crowd is definitely the way forward. I like a peaceful life as much as anybody!
However, if there’s one area of your life where you cannot afford to follow the crowd it’s your marketing to schools. Quite simply, when you’re emailing the most marketed to people on the planet, namely teachers, standing out like a sore thumb is the name of the game!
As an example, take one question I’m asked on an almost daily basis; ‘What’s the best day to send my email campaign on?’ When I reply by saying that statistically the best days for open rates are Mondays and Fridays I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath at the other end of the line. After all, surely teachers are either winding down for the weekend on a Friday or catching up on a Monday?
But therein lies the secret; because every ounce of intuition tells us that Mondays and Fridays should be bad days to email teachers, the exact opposite is now true. Or, to put it another way, teachers are able to devote more time to your emails on Mondays and Fridays as they are receiving less marketing from everyone else. Hey presto, your email has become that proverbial sore thumb standing out in their inbox!
Another case in point; one of our clients, one who’s not adverse to riding roughshod over conventional wisdom, recently sent out an email campaign to secondary school senior leaders during half-term week and was rewarded with their best open rate for two years. All thanks to choosing to do the unexpected!
And now we come to the reason I’m writing this blog; emailing teachers during the last six weeks of the summer term when everything tells us they should be far too preoccupied with exam season to devote time to anything else. So is it time to throw the dust sheets over your education marketing until September?
You guessed it, my answer would be, ‘No, not on your nellie!’ While the rest of the selling to schools universe parks their marketing for the summer, ready for that big push in the first week of September (when teachers’ inboxes will be inundated), why don’t you sneak in under the radar and fill the void?
Not only will your email stand out more in teachers’ inboxes during this period, but it’s also the time when the achievements of the past year are brought into sharpest focus and teachers start to think what they could do differently in the next academic year to improve pupils’ exam-readiness. And if you’re looking to get any installation work scheduled at schools during the summer holidays then the last six weeks of the summer term are an absolutely crucial period for arranging face-to-face meetings and site surveys.
Lastly, what about sending during the summer holidays? I’m not suggesting that you continue your marketing all summer long, but the vast majority of senior leaders will be back at school during the last week of August, getting everything prepared for the new academic year. Wouldn’t you rather launch your autumn term strategy during this ‘calm before the storm’ rather than get swept away with the crowd during the first week in September when pupils return?
And if you’re looking to connect with classroom teachers and Heads of Department then you should definitely be thinking about emailing them on the 18th and 25th August (A-level and GCSE results days). They are two days when every secondary school teacher in the country will be monitoring their emails so you need these dates on your marketing radar.
In summary, learning from others is a crucial part of fine-tuning your marketing to schools, but blindly following the crowd will only result in you being one more grey item on the conveyor belt of colourless marketing. Take a few risks with your email content and don’t be afraid to swim upstream occasionally; being a bit different is a very good thing indeed.
How to Sell to Schools
Marketing to Schools