Marketing in edtech is different from other industries. Purchasing an educational product is an emotional decision for most people, whether for a school district, company, or child. And in most situations, the person purchasing an edtech product is not the end-user. So marketing strategies for edtech companies need to account for this unique buying process.
The first step to creating a marketing plan for your education company is developing and referencing buyer personas. Create personas for each type of person in the buying process. For example, if you're selling to schools, you may need personas for the principal as the decision-maker, the technology integration director as the purchaser, and the instructor as the user. If you're selling to parents, you may need to create a persona for the mom as the purchaser and the student as the end-user. Each persona will have different needs, so your marketing strategies need to account for each.
The next step in developing marketing strategies for edtech companies is to pair your buyer personas with full-funnel marketing. The concept behind full-funnel marketing is that people go through a process when making a purchase. The buying process becomes more complex in edtech when there are many stakeholders involved, or it's their first time purchasing a product like yours. People will do online research, ask for recommendations, and get together in committees to decide to buy.
Therefore your marketing strategies need to reach all of your personas at any stage of the funnel to maximize your marketing efforts. A full-funnel marketing approach means you're attracting potential buyers for your edtech product at any stage, whether they are ready to buy now, six months from now, or ready to renew or recommend your product.
There are many marketing strategies and tactics that may relevant to your edtech company. It's always best to create marketing strategies specific to your customers and business. We know it can be overwhelming to decide where to start, so we're here to share the top three marketing strategies for edtech companies that we've seen work. Review these, see if they make sense for your company, and try them out!
3 Marketing Strategies for Edtech Companies
Marketing Strategy 1: Promote your company's expertise and thought leadership
Promoting your company's expertise and thought leadership is a worthwhile strategy for an edtech company, especially if you're new to the market and need to build your company's reputation and brand. This strategy is also essential to stand out from competitors and be seen as the leader.
To get started with this marketing strategy for your edtech company, identify your company's unique story. Refer to your brand messaging platform and review your brand positioning and value proposition. From there, come up with topics you or someone in your company is knowledgeable about that relate to your brand messaging and are interesting and helpful to potential customers. The main thing to remember here is that the topics you'll talk about and stories you'll tell should help people in their roles and not focus on what your company does. Your company will get credit and the acknowledgment you're looking for by delivering value.
Here are some marketing activities to support a marketing strategy for promoting your company's expertise and thought leadership:
Speak at conferences. As an edtech company selling something, you may need to pay for a sponsorship to speak at a conference, especially the bigger ones like ISTE or FETC. In these cases, it helps to partner with a customer of yours to deliver a presentation together. Or speak at regional conferences with more opportunities to present as an edtech company.
Host events. A great way to show your expertise is to host your own event where you gather your customers with potential customers at events that you lead and bring others in to present or participate. You'll be viewed as the leader by bringing everyone together.
Marketing Strategy 2: Build a digital marketing engine
Digital marketing spans many areas of marketing. It includes everything that goes into your website, from its design and user experience to back-end SEO. Digital marketing also includes online advertising, like Google ads or paid social media, and email marketing.
Digital marketing is most effective when it is interconnected. When people search for and buy an edtech product, they interact with multiple elements of your digital marketing landscape. Therefore, one of the most critical marketing strategies for edtech companies is to build a digital marketing engine where each piece of digital marketing is working together. This is especially critical for B2C edtech companies that sell directly to individuals because most of the buying process is online. B2B edtech companies also need to consider their digital marketing engine because buyers within a school or university are also researching and interacting with edtech companies online before meeting with a salesperson.
Here are some marketing activities to build a digital marketing engine for your edtech company:
Optimize your website for search. This is also known as SEO, and it is often an overlooked marketing activity for startups and small businesses. It involves technical expertise to implement, and it's not a marketing activity you will see results from right away. But the long-term impact is worth it. There are over 8 million Google searches per day, and the chances are that someone is searching for a topic related to your company.
Landing page optimization. If you're putting effort into driving people to your website, you want to evaluate their experience when they come to your website. People need to be directed to take the action steps you want them to take, whether signing up for a free trial or buying your product online. So take a look at your web pages to make sure you are clearly sending them along the path you want them to take.
Marketing automation. Email marketing is one of the most common components of a marketing automation tool, like ActiveCampaign or HubSpot. Once you get someone's email address, whether they are a prospect or a customer, you want to communicate with them effectively. If they're a prospect, nurture them with helpful information and build trust. If they're a customer, show you value them with offers and information. Marketing automation will help you be more personalized in scaling messages to your email lists.
Marketing strategy 3: Create a customer loyalty program
Creating a customer loyalty program is another vital marketing strategy for edtech companies. Whether you're selling to teachers or parents, buyers of education products value recommendations from other people. The more loyal your current customers are to your company, the more likely they will be to recommend you. Loyal customers are also more likely to buy again from you at less cost and time than acquiring a new customer.
Here are some marketing activities to create a customer loyalty program for your edtech company.
Host events. We mentioned this marketing activity in the first marketing strategy about promoting your company as an expert. Hosting an event also helps build customer loyalty, especially when customers are invited to present or are given opportunities to connect with other like-minded people that you bring together.
Run a community of brand ambassadors. If you have an active and engaged customer base, take advantage of that by organizing a community. This can be done simply (and free) by hosting it on platforms like Facebook groups or Slack. You want to think about where your customers are most likely to engage. Make sure you have someone running your community by asking questions, connecting community members, and incentivizing people to engage with free swag, discounts, or other opportunities they get excited about.
Launch a referral program. The most direct way to build customer loyalty is to reward customers for bringing you new customers. You can provide customers with rewards, like cash or gift cards, as a thank you for recommending your edtech product. Platforms like Referral Candy make it easy to set up a referral program for people to sign up for instead of creating your own from scratch.
Planning marketing strategies for edtech companies involves a deep understanding of your customers and everyone involved in the buying process. The purchase of an education product is not taken lightly by your customers, so you also need to be thoughtful about your marketing approaches. Promoting your company as the expert, building your digital marketing engine, and fostering customer loyalty are proven marketing strategies for edtech companies.