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What to Avoid When Marketing to Schools and Teachers

Getting it right when marketing to schools and teachers is critical, especially when your business is new and has yet to build up a reputation. Schools and teachers have their own reputation to withhold, plus a community of parents to please, so they need to be confident in trusting any vendors they buy from, especially if it's a product that will impact an entire school district or every student in a school. To help you get it right, we're sharing tips for what to avoid when marketing to schools and teachers.

male teacher with his students on computers

Marketing to Schools and Teachers: 5 Things to Avoid

A One Size Fits All Approach to Marketing

One factor that makes marketing to schools and teachers challenging is that there are so many differences among schools across the country. Each state has its own policies and priorities for education, which get even more varied and specific at the district and school levels. Similarly, teachers adhere to a common set of teaching standards, but each teacher has their own teaching approach and style for helping their students. 

What does this mean for marketing? Segment the schools and teachers you're marketing to to get their attention. It's best to identify groups of schools and teachers—organized by state, school enrollment size, teaching level, topic, or whatever makes sense for your business—so that you're marketing is more relatable and eye-catching than a one-size-fits-all approach.

One Email and You're Done

It's tempting to buy a readily available list of email addresses for principals or teachers and then blast an email to them about your product. That is the fastest way to get your company name in front of many people, and you will probably get some positive responses. 

However, there will be more people who don't notice your message when you email that way. If you're not careful about email sending policies, your email can end up going straight to junk folders. If the email does make it to their inbox, the messaging won't be personalized in an email sent out to thousands of people. When sending an email, you rely solely on a catchy 8-word subject line to get people's attention, and that's hard when you're sending an email to a large list of people who don't know your company.

People need to see your company name at least six or seven times before they notice it enough to look into it further and reach out. If you're relying on sending one email to market to schools and teachers, you'll miss out on building brand recognition. 

Instead, segment your email lists into smaller groups and plan out a series of five emails to send over two to three months. Integrate your email outreach with other marketing activities so you can get in front of the people you're trying to reach beyond just email, like attending regional conferences or optimizing your website for search.

Relying Only on Social Media

For some education companies, social media is a great way to market to teachers. Specific communities of teachers, like early elementary teachers or classroom edtech enthusiasts, are very active on social media. If the teachers you're trying to market to use social media, it's a good idea for your company to also, but rely on something other than social media to drive leads or sales.

Social media is a platform for people to engage and connect. It's supposed to be more authentic than advertising, which makes it harder for brands to get involved. Educators don't want to be sold to when on social media. This might seem counterintuitive, but the best way to be successful in social media is to refrain from promoting your product. 

Instead, share funny, helpful, or motivational tips and quotes related to the subject area of your product. Success on social media means you have a community of educators who follow you and engage by liking, commenting, and sharing your content. Don't expect that people will buy directly from social media. Social media's role is more about helping your company build brand recognition by expanding your reach and by helping educators understand your mission. 

Messaging That is Too Technical

It's common for marketing messaging for edtech companies to focus on the technical aspects of the product. For example:

 "Language learning powered by AI."

 "District data solutions backed by machine learning." 

Unless you are targeting the IT department within the school, how you describe your product will be difficult for people with an academic background to understand at a glance if it's too technical, especially when highlighting newer technologies like AI. It makes your product sound complex and can end up working against you. 

Instead, you want your marketing messages to approach your product as the solution, not the hero. The schools or teachers are the heroes, and you need to figure out how your product will help them do even better in their roles. Taking the examples shared above, with this approach, you would say:

"Teach language to students on their own learning level." 

"Uncover insights in your data that will help your school operate more efficiently."

A Website That Isn't Just Right

Everyone you're marketing to will come across your website at some point in the marketing and sales process. They will likely research on their own and compare you to other similar providers by going through your website. Prospective buyers will want to understand what your product offers, how it will help them, and what kind of experience and reputation you have in the education industry. 

If your website isn't just right, people will leave and look at your competitors instead. They will get overwhelmed if your website has too much information with cluttered pages. If your website has few pages with little information, they won't understand what you do. You'll need to find a balance between a website that is easy and clear to navigate and informative. 

Marketing to schools and teachers can be tricky, especially for companies that are new to the market. By focusing your marketing efforts and showing that you understand your prospective buyers, you'll see success in bringing in leads and customers.


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