Ah, the holiday season is upon us. Time for the magic and the mania. The decorations, the shopping frenzy, those social climber elves with their ever-changing shelves, and so much food on sticks. It’s also winter break for schools. A little downtime to spend with family and friends may be the best gift of the season.
Traditionally, many educational marketers shut down right along with the schools. Of course, everyone wants to spend time with family and friends during the holidays. However, just because schools are closed doesn’t mean your marketing engine should grind to a halt. Since mobile has become the dominant marketing platform, educators are still within reach even during their school breaks. You could lose valuable visibility if you go dark during a time educators are active online and on social media.
It’s not too late to take your marketing right up to the end of the year. Here are 5 ideas for staying top of mind with educators this holiday season, and moving into 2019 with a tail wind.
- Be generous. The education marketing community is a big-hearted one. Many companies participate in philanthropic efforts all year long. However, for many charitable organizations, the need during this time of year is particularly acute. Partnering with an organization, especially one that is aligned with your corporate mission, is a mutually beneficial endeavor. The organization profits from your contributions, your company will be giving back to a cause in a meaningful way, and both parties benefit from the higher profile. People want to buy from organizations that do good.
- Set it and forget it. Keep those leads rolling in even during breaks with a pre-set email trigger campaign. An estimated 78% of educators use smart phones*, and we know they check email on weekends and during school holidays. As always, the best performing campaigns are personalized and relevant. Set up a campaign to pique their interest, such as a special sale, a thank you offer, or some great content for them to enjoy and share. A bonus – since school marketing activity drops off significantly during the holidays, your message will have less competition in educator email inboxes.
- Plan your holiday display. This is a good time to get traction with display ads. A holiday campaign can help you score better brand awareness and drive more traffic to your website. Educators are digital natives,** and about 80% are heavy users of smart phones. Mobile accounts for 88% of all ad impressions and 66% of all clicks among educators. Display ads will continue to work even when teachers (and you) are on vacation. Keep the brand awareness engine chugging along. If you have an initiative or product launch early in Q1, support it with a teaser campaign. And of course, ‘tis the season for a pop-up sale!
- Be social. Extend the holiday merriment to your social channels. Lead with generosity by using social media to demonstrate appreciation to educators. Post content that is humorous and heart-warming. Create and share lighthearted videos that get attention. Share free digital resources that teachers can use before the break and after. Write seasonal blogs and share across your channels. And don’t forget to include some special offers, too!
- Do a little “house” cleaning. Just like the end of a party, year-end is a time put things back in order. Thing about doing some data hygiene. A year is a long time in the life of a house file. You’ve added new customers and prospects. There will be order entry errors, duplicates and data gaps. You’ll also want to consider aging some records off your active marketing file. Quieter late December days may lend themselves to doing some internal file maintenance. Alternately, you can delegate the heavy lifting to a trusted provider (hint, hint), while you lift a glass of nog. Regardless of how you do it, if you give some attention to your file now, you’ll start 2019 with a better quality house file that produces stronger returns.
The holiday season is a great time to reflect, relax, and recharge. But before you and your teams check out for a much-deserved rest, make sure you’ve set yourself up with a plan that can be working for you even when you’re not. A little extra effort now will help you end your year strong, and set you up for success on January 1st.
*Teachers as Consumers: Background, Interests, Buying Patterns and Media Uses
**Digital Marketing Trends in the Education Market, 2018