The importance of creating an education marketing plan when selling to schools
In today’s highly competitive business landscape, having a solid marketing plan is crucial for any company that wants to succeed. A marketing plan provides a clear roadmap for how a business will promote and sell its products and services to its target audience. It outlines the strategies and tactics that a company will use to achieve its marketing objectives, such as increasing sales, generating leads, building brand awareness, or expanding into new markets.12 April 2023
Without a well-defined marketing plan, a business risks wasting valuable resources on ineffective marketing activities or missing out on opportunities to connect with potential customers. It can also lead to a lack of focus and direction, which can make it difficult to measure the success of marketing efforts.
When it comes to selling products or services to schools, it is essential to have a specific education marketing plan. The education market is unique and requires a different approach than selling to other industries. Schools have specific needs, budgets, and decision-making processes that businesses need to understand if they want to succeed in this market.
Writing a specific education marketing plan for selling to schools can help businesses identify the right target audience, develop effective messaging, and create strategies that align with the needs of schools.
The benefits of an education marketing plan
Understanding the needs of schools: A specific education marketing plan can help businesses understand the unique needs and challenges that schools face. This includes understanding the curriculum requirements, the budget constraints, the purchasing process, and the decision-making criteria for schools. By considering these factors as a business puts together the education marketing plan it can help tailor their marketing efforts to meet the needs of schools and provide solutions that address their specific challenges.
Identifying the right target audience: Selling to schools involves targeting multiple stakeholders, including headteachers, school business leaders, multi-academy trust leaders or classroom teachers, among many others. A specific education marketing plan can help businesses identify the right target audience and develop messaging that resonates with each group. For example, messaging that appeals to site staff may differ from that which resonates with IT teachers.
Develop effective messaging: Developing effective messaging is critical for selling to schools. A specific education marketing plan can help businesses create messaging that communicates the unique benefits of their products or services to schools. This includes highlighting how their offerings align with the curriculum requirements, how they can help schools achieve their goals and how they can improve student outcomes.
Creating strategies that align with school needs: Designing a marketing plan that is specific to the education sector can help businesses create strategies that align with the needs of schools. This includes developing pricing strategies that fit within school budgets, creating sales strategies that address the purchasing process of schools, and developing service strategies that provide ongoing support to schools.
Embracing multiple marketing opportunities
In today’s digital age, it is crucial for businesses that sell to schools to include digital, social media, and face-to-face marketing opportunities in their education marketing plan. Each of these marketing channels offers unique benefits and can help businesses reach their target audience in different ways.
Digital marketing opportunities: Digital marketing opportunities include tactics such as email marketing, online advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO). Digital marketing allows businesses to reach a wide audience and provide targeted messaging based on a user’s behaviour, location and requirements. It is also measurable, allowing businesses to track their results and adjust their strategies accordingly.
By including digital marketing opportunities in an education marketing plan, businesses can increase their reach and engagement with their target audience. Most schools and individual school decision-makers have a significant online presence, therefore making this a key area for any education marketing plan.
Social media marketing opportunities: Social media marketing allows businesses to connect with their target audience on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social media provides an opportunity for businesses to engage with their audience, build relationships, and promote their products and services. Social media marketing is also cost-effective and can be used to target specific education demographics.
By including social media marketing opportunities in an education marketing plan, businesses can increase their brand awareness and connect with school budget holders and influencers on a more personal level. By including social media in an education marketing plan it can be more focused and meaningful rather than ad-hoc with little or no tracking of performance.
Face-to-face marketing opportunities: Face-to-face marketing opportunities include events such as conferences, trade shows and workshops. Face-to-face marketing provides an opportunity for businesses to connect with school leaders in person and build relationships. It provides the space to showcase their products or services and provide hands-on demonstrations. Face-to-face marketing opportunities need significant planning in advance so the costs can be factored into the budget, reservations made at these events which book up quickly, and exhibition stands and promotional materials organised. By including face-to-face marketing opportunities in an education marketing plan, businesses can build credibility and trust with schools and generate leads and sales.
Align your education marketing plan with the academic calendar
Writing a specific education marketing plan that aligns with the academic year can help businesses that sell to schools match their marketing activities with terms and half terms, which are the periods in which schools operate. A generic business marketing plan may not take into account the unique needs and schedules of schools, which can lead to missed opportunities and ineffective marketing strategies.
Understanding the academic calendar: A specific education marketing plan can help businesses understand the academic calendar including when school start and end, when terms and half terms begin and end, and when holidays and breaks occur. This understanding can help businesses schedule their marketing activities around key dates, such as the start of the school year, exam periods, and major holidays. By aligning marketing activities with the academic year, businesses can ensure that their marketing messages are relevant and timely.
Matching marketing activities with terms and half terms: by aligning marketing activities with terms and half terms, businesses can take advantage of the natural breaks in the academic calendar to promote their products and services. For example, businesses may want to launch a marketing campaign at the start of a new term or half term, when schools are starting fresh and may be more receptive to new ideas and offerings or maximise business at the end of the year when budgets are being used up and preparations being made for the next academic year.
Adapting marketing activities to fit the academic year: A specific education marketing plan can help businesses adapt their marketing activities to fit the academic year. Businesses with products or services that support learning and revision may need to focus their marketing efforts in the lead-up to exam season when staff and students are seeking resources to support this intensive revision period.
School uniforms and school photography suppliers will often have greater success towards the end of the academic year in preparation for the back-to-school season. Sports equipment providers will want to align their messages with each sporting season when schools are running sports day, starting the football, cricket or tennis seasons or opening up the school swimming pool for the warmer weather.
Overall an education marketing plan is essential for the 5Rs – Right messages, at the Right times, to the Right audience, in the Right way for the Right outcome!
Why not check out our other education marketing blog post, see here: How to create an education marketing plan.
Incensu says: It's crucial to create an education marketing plan when selling your products and services to schools. Talk to our team to find out more today.
It's crucial to create an education marketing plan when selling your products and services to schools. Talk to our team to find out more today.