I love email. At its best, it is a non-invasive form of one-to-one communication that is direct, cost-effective, and easy to track. But, that ping-ping-ping of incoming emails can truly get on my nerves. Each morning, I’m stressed before I even look at my inbox, because I know there will be hundreds of new messages waiting for me. I ruthlessly purge my inbox every day. Only known senders and the occasional fascinating subject line make the cut.
Teachers are no different. They are getting email from their principals and administrators, from their colleagues, and from parents. And that’s before you consider the flood of prospecting emails they receive on a daily basis. How many of the unknowns survive a daily scrub to get an open or a click? A handful at best.
If you’re still relying exclusively on email for your educator prospecting, this is bad news. How can you rise above the noise (figuratively and literally) to get their attention? Multi-channel marketing campaigns can help you build brand awareness, reputation, and thought leadership. That name recognition will help your email messages stand out.
If you have teachers in your life, the justification for doing multi-channel marketing is likely all around you. Every time I hang out with my teacher friends, I am reminded of why it’s so effective.
Teachers have their phones handy at all times, ready to be pressed into action at a moment’s notice. They are innately curious. Have a question? They need to know the answer—now. They are perpetually on the hunt for interesting things to do, the hip new restaurant or trendy hotspot, the best sales. Their students are never far from their minds, so they are usually searching for something to make their lessons more fun and engaging. They are also social media superstars—pinning, posting, sharing, liking and commenting up a storm.
So, what steps can you take to reach teachers where they live online?
1. Be there while they’re browsing
Educators spend a significant amount of their time researching products and services. Capture teachers’ attention while they’re searching the web, and reinforce your brand message with digital advertising. Digital advertising offers broad coverage of your audience, similar to a print ad or billboard. Use it for broader applications, such as driving traffic to your website, promoting a national or regional conference or a webinar, teasing a new product launch, or offering a demo.
2. Start a conversation when they’re being social
People are casual and chatty on social media. It’s the informal nature of the channel that encourages intimacy and trust. It’s not about selling, it’s about sharing. Social marketing can help you open a dialogue with teachers and establish good will. It’s a great place to develop the personality of your brand. If they like you on social media, they’ll remember you later.
3. Share your expertise when they need a solution
It’s been estimated that teachers make 1,500 decisions a day. That’s some heavy-duty thinking. Use content marketing to help them with the heavy lifting by sharing valuable content they can refer to for answers. Create newsletters, blogs, or contribute to industry publications. Share free lesson plans or worksheets. Post informational webinars or FAQs. The more of your valuable contributions they access, the more likely they are to consider you a thought leader.
To get a sense of how a multi-channel marketing strategy can be a game-changer for a brand, check out this case study from Quill. This is a good demonstration of how to integrate a campaign across different platforms to create a buzz.
If your email prospecting response rates have been declining and you want to reverse that trend, you’ll need to use every tool at your disposal. Start building your name recognition and reputation with educators in other channels. Make it easy for them to find you when they browse, develop your brand personality on social channels, and serve up valuable content that will establish your thought leadership. They’ll remember you for it.