The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed in December 2015. Since then, educators and education vendors alike have been working toward compliance by the 2017-18 implementation deadline. If you were counting on the new administration to delay ESSA’s implementation, then you’re out of luck. While some of the ESSA rules and regulations are open to amendment, the law itself is here to say, and the timeline for transitioning from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is written into it.

That timeline is quickly winding down despite the fact that many of the regulations that govern ESSA were only just released in December 2016. Schools and districts are currently in a state of limbo: they’re finishing the school year under NCLB and planning budgets for next school year under ESSA. With that transition will come changes to education in every state, every district and every school. In an essence, ESSA changes everything.

Those changes will greatly impact education vendors like you, too. Where schools get funds to purchase products will change. What educators need from vendors also will evolve, along with how vendors must communicate with customers in education. Some companies may see this as a major challenge; we consider it an exciting opportunity to partner more closely with schools and districts to help them navigate the changes ESSA is guaranteed to bring.

It seems that at every turn, marketers are greeted with one message: It’s the Digital Age. There’s no doubt that social media and email have grown in popularity — and for good reason, especially among educators — but what about direct mail? Should you drop it completely from your marketing mix?

The short answer is no, though there are understandable reasons for considering it. Direct mail takes a considerable amount of time to create, deploy and track compared to email marketing. The cost of mailing direct mail is high, though the USPS does offset expenses with incentives. The cost per acquisition of direct mail also is more expensive than email — $19 compared to $15, according to the Data and Marketing Association (DMA). Finally, the DMA reports that direct mail volumes have seen a 1.9 percent decline year-over-year since 2005.

However, direct mail response rates still outperform digital marketing. DMA data reveals that the average direct mail response rate for house lists is 5.3 percent and 2.9 percent for prospects. To put those numbers into perspective, no other channel even reaches 1 percent.

Email is an effective way to communicate with today’s educators. Not surprisingly, 51 percent of Curriculum Directors told Agile that they like learning about edtech through emails. However, email as a preferred method of communication extends beyond those more tech-savvy educators. In Agile and SheerId’s 2016 Teacher Spending and Loyalty Survey, 66 percent of teachers said they trust email for learning about products, programs and services available for their students and classrooms.

Education vendors have caught on to the power of email for marketing to educators, and that means that teachers and administrators start their school days with inboxes that are fuller than ever. Make sure your messages get delivered and stand out from your competitors by overcoming five hurdles every email marketing campaign faces after you hit send.   

The education conference season is officially upon us, and it will continue strong throughout the spring, summer and fall, from FETC in January to iNACOL in October. As an education marketer, chances are you have one or more — or all — of these events on your 2017 calendar.

That’s a great strategy for getting in front of your education audience, because Agile data shows that educators value these events for learning about products and services. In a recent survey of Curriculum Directors, 83 percent said conferences were valuable resources for learning about edtech; in a 2016 survey of teachers, 53 percent said they value conferences for product and program information.

So, keep those conference dates on your calendar, but also keep in mind that they won’t be just a considerable investment of time, they’ll also require a considerable investment of your marketing dollars. However, if you take appropriate steps before, during and after your upcoming education conferences, you can attract and nurture leads that will pay off in the end.

According to research from Marketing Profs, customer loyalty is now the top priority for marketers. 55% of chief marketing officers in the U.S. plan to implement new solutions this year to grow customer loyalty. For most companies, marketing investments for customer retention have positive results – both topline and bottom line. But to generate the greatest ROI on this business objective, companies are becoming increasingly data driven to understand how to best leverage their resources.

46% of marketers in Hubspot’s2016 Inbound Marketing Report shared that one of their biggest challenges is proving the ROI of marketing activities. The need for a deeper understanding of data has prompted many companies to invest in marketing automation software. 55% of B2B companies now use marketing automation software. Ultimately, the most important metrics are conversions and revenue. But marketing analytics are also important for customer retention, social media, promotion strategy, branding, and pricing.

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About Agile Education Marketing

We're the go-to people to build brand recognition and generate leads. Using our comprehensive EdConnect™ database of early childhood, K-12 and higher education institutions and personnel, Agile Education Marketing helps you reach educators at school, at home and online.