Every year at this time, prognosticators issue their list of trends for what will make a mark on our lives and businesses in the New Year. Marketers are no different. We analyze the success of campaigns and programs year round and the beginning of 2015 finds us looking for ways to distinguish ourselves from our competitors. If you are already using these strategies, then this is an opportunity to fine-tune them. If not, then consider adding them to your marketing playbook.
- Content Marketing –we are moving away from the idea of awareness to engagement as a measurable outcome. In content marketing, we develop shareable content such as newsletters, videos, white papers, case studies, webinars, eBooks, and infographics. If your marketing only focuses on selling, as opposed to sharing useful information that helps people solve real problems, then you will be left behind in 2015. This is true for all markets but particularly with educators who clearly understand the difference between education and sales.
- Social Sharing – new research by the Chief Marketing Officer Council finds that adding social sharing buttons to email messages increases click throughs by 150%. Use social media to distribute the content you have developed for your target market. According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, more companies are using LinkedIn to distribute content than any of the other social media platforms. So, if you haven’t tried LinkedIn as a channel to reach district buyers, now is the time to test it.
- Lead Nurturing – while many companies have lead generation programs, some do not include a lead nurturing process. Because of the long sales cycle in education sales, lead nurturing is a valuable tactic that helps companies build authentic relationships with their audience prior to the purchasing commitment. No matter how long it takes. By segmenting your prospects and creating a cycle of content that is appropriate for each segment, companies have the opportunity to build trust that leads to purchase when the prospect is ready.
- Trade Shows – consume a large share of marketing dollars for education companies. Some companies have effective lead generation programs at shows and conferences. But many do not. However, face-to-face meetings with customers and prospects can be high value interactions that build interest and trust. 69% of companies interviewed for the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report state that in-person events are one of their most effective marketing strategies.
- Mobile Marketing – if your website is not optimized for mobile, you will lose business. It’s that simple. According to Mobile Marketer’s 2015 Mobile Outlook, those companies that know how their customers want to interact with them via mobile will have a competitive advantage. Also in the report, Google’s new focus on mobile-friendly websites will play an increasingly larger role in organic search. For educators there is sensitivity to in-app marketing. They want to make sure that the primary consideration is for delivering content to their students and not marketing to them and their families.
Just as personalization and customization of the learning process is a primary goal for educators, the same can be said for the interaction between companies and consumers. We want access to reliable content that helps us solve problems. We want to deal with companies that we like, respect, and trust. We want to feel that companies care about our interests and concerns. Incorporating one or all of these strategies into your marketing for 2015 will help you develop authentic relationships with prospects and customers that lead to purchase and renewal.