10 Things you need to know when selling to schools

Selling to schools is a cut throat business. Gone are the days when sending an email or a letter would produce a great return on investment. Marketing to schools is now a competitive sector as more companies compete for sales from the £97.2 billion annual government budget.

Here we give you ten tips that will help you compete with the most dominant school suppliers in the UK when sending an education email marketing campaign:

1. Teachers know their marketing

Teachers have heard so much about marketing, they’ve become bored of it. Your marketing technique needs to stand out from generic companies by being more human and by using more sociable content. Teachers will appreciate a real person contacting them, rather than being sent just another mass marketing campaign.

2. Teachers talk

Teachers tend to be very sociable and will always discuss good or bad products or services they have experienced. If a teacher is happy with their experience with your company, then they’ll spread the word to other teachers in the school, and those working at other schools. Consider creating a referral scheme to encourage them to pass your message on for you.

3. Budgets are bigger than ever

School budgets have increased by 6% for 2013, to £97.2 billion. If you were thinking of delaying marketing to schools because they’re short on money – don’t. They have more money to spend than ever, and whilst it has to be spent carefully, it also has to be spent somewhere.

4. Consider the power of influence

Someone further up the business chain will make the final purchasing decision in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that teachers aren’t important. Spread your message to influencers – heads of departments are more likely purchase a product t if teachers have recommended or influenced them.

5. Ignore convention

A common misconception is that teachers don’t read emails on a Monday or a Friday, because they don’t have time at the start or end of the week. Research has shown that you should achieve an average 2.7% higher open rate when you send emails on a Monday or Friday. The best time to get your email opened and clicked through by a teacher is on a Monday or Friday morning.

6. Don’t be a cliché

Generic or clichéd marketing techniques are something to avoid when selling to schools. Companies tend to highlight the benefits of their products or services in the same way, for example, ‘We offer great service, CRB checked, accredited supplier etc.’. Schools expect this as standard and every one of your competitors will be repeating these same points.

7. Email will boost your ROI

Emailing teachers is seen as the best channel for marketing to schools. However, you need to avoid sending emails in a great big batch. Focus on creating personalised and relevant content for your recipients, to really catch their eye.

8. Use your subject line to encourage opens

Tedious and familiar subject lines only encourage teaches to delete an email without opening it first. Use punchy, thoughtful subject lines to make your email stand out. Use words that inspire action, or highlight a core benefit to encourage opens.

9. Snail Mail

Consider using direct mail in your marketing strategy. This still generates a high number of responses when marketing to schools. Don’t send a one off postal campaign without using digital media to support it. Follow up with an email. Mixing on and offline channels can increase responses by 200%.

10. Buying data

As with anything, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. It’s no different when it comes to data. If you’re buying really cheap data, then you’ll probably find it’s out of date and useless. When it comes to data, it’s best to spend more and find a great database than find you’ve wasted money on rubbish.


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