Let’s face it. Conferences and trade shows are expensive. And now that we have dozens of national and regional conferences to choose from, we want to ensure we’re getting the best return we can from the investment we’re making. Just setting up the booth and staffing it in the hopes that the right people will come by and chat is not an effective strategy. It may have been enough in previous years when the vendor community was smaller, but now the big conferences are huge and it can take multiple days for your prospects to walk the floor of the exhibit hall in addition to attending sessions.

The primary reason to invest in shows is that it puts you in the path of hundreds of potential customers in a sea of up to 25,000 attendees. Here are some strategies to ensure that you are making the most of this investment:

Editor’s Note: The contents of this article were taken from the webinar, “Mirror, Window, or GPS: Which Gets Results in Today’s K12 Market?” presented by Steve Rowley for Agile Education.

One thing we know with certainty is that federal funding is mission critical for most K-12 education vendors. Federal funding quadrupled under NCLB (No Child Left Behind) compared to the earlier ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act). In fact, more than 90% of district discretionary funds come from federal programs. When President Obama signed ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) in December 2015, it went into effect immediately and pulls back some of the more onerous requirements of NCLB.

You could say that ESSA restores the balance of power with some decisions shifting from the federal government back to the states. For example, many of the decisions around standardized testing will now be up to the states. Some federal funding will be available in block grants, and the states will decide where and how to spend it. Immediate changes include:

How to Fill Your Content Mktg FunnelDownload this great infographic from The Teich Group. It shows what type of content works best at every stage of the buying cycle, from awareness to purchase. Click here to the get the infographic!

Know your audience.

This is one of the most important principles on which to base your marketing plan. When you really get to know your education customers — who they are, what they need, how you can best serve them — you can develop educator buyer personas that identify your best prospects and how to reach them. You will also find it easier to determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive your business.

 

What is content marketing?

For most of us in the education market, creating and deploying informational content is a part of our marketing efforts to some degree. This content marketing serves to accelerate the educator’s journey through the decision-making process — from general awareness to purchase to after the sale — by providing the right content, at the right time to the right people. While most education companies have developed some informational content, such as white papers and case studies that exhibit evidence of effectiveness, most of us don’t have a full content library with educational and informative pieces that are tailored to each phase of the education sales cycle.

What will 2016 hold for education marketers? Here are a few marketing trends that you should be aware of as you head into the new year.

It’s All About the Content

Content marketing is a huge focus for education companies right now. Creating a plan that serves up the right content for lead generation, lead nurturing, and relationship building at the appropriate time in the cycle is critical to sales success. If we look at content planning as a soup to nuts menu, than your website has to be the entrée. This is your home base for content. Everything you push out in your marketing mix should reside here so that you are pulling people back to your website to engage and support the relationship building process.

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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.