The days of indiscriminate email blasts are long gone. Part of this shift is due to the changing role of email marketing itself from a broadcast or interruption process to an attraction process. More than ever before, educators are in the driver’s seat of any relationship that develops between them and your organization. They will research your company and your competitors. They will speak to other educators to assess your value. Often these conversations occur through social media platforms, and will happen with or without you.
As you plan your email campaign, you want to ensure that your emails are opened by your prospects. Your first goal, then, is to engage the reader and start building a long-term relationship. How do you do this effectively? Your campaign needs to provide free, unique and useful information and not be focused solely on your company and what you’re selling. Focus instead on how your company and/or products can fix a problem, ease a pain or improve the day-to-day life of the educators you’re interacting with.
Here are some requirements for effective emails to educators:
- Be authentic. They can tell whether you’re really interested in helping them solve their problems or just trying to sell them something.
- Be respectful: Treat them like the professionals they are. Respect them enough to clearly understand how your product or service can affect their professional development or the quality of learning in their classrooms or districts.
- Be ready: Because the customer is in control of the relationship, you need to be prepared to respond to the request for the next step as soon as it’s made. In a 24/7 world, that can come at any time.
Appropriate offers are still at the heart of the changing role email marketing and lead nurturing, but companies should focus on helping the customer, not just booking the sale. As consumers, educators are increasingly selective about who they respond to. They expect a value exchange whether it’s a free report, eBook, white paper, coupons, or free limited services. If they feel valued, they’ll engage; if not, they’ll leave. Much of the heavy lifting in establishing a customer relationship has moved to the front end of the sales process. While it may take a few more steps to move from awareness to purchase, those prospects that stay with you will prove their value over and over again. They are looking for solutions to their problems and if you are successful in providing those, they will reward you by their repeat business and referrals to their colleagues.
By the time the customer or prospect is ready to reveal themselves to you, they often have a lot more information about you than in previous eras. Technology has made it an easy matter to conduct basic research on any company or product. There are now more steps in the sales process, and the customer is the one who decides when it’s time to make a purchase. Until that point, marketers must continue to engage the customer wherever they are with unique, useful, and relevant content focused on helping them solve their problems. This will build an authentic relationship that will continue to deliver value over a long period of time.
Not every educator or institution will buy from you; but they will NOT buy from you without an authentic relationship.