Is Email an Effective Sales Tool in Education?

You may think that generating leads through email is a responsibility reserved for the marketing team. Think again. These days, sales and marketing go hand-in-hand, and email can benefit both departments.

Is email effective for sales?

Despite some claims, email isn’t dead. Far from it, in fact. The average person receives hundreds of emails in a single day, many of which are from companies trying to sell a solution. And people are OK with that. A 2015 survey conducted by MarketingSherpa revealed that 91 percent of U.S. adults like receiving emails promoting products and services from companies they do business with.

These messages do influence consumers’ purchase decisions. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association says that every $1 spent on email marketing translates to around $40 in return on investment (ROI). It’s a safe bet to assume that much of that ROI comes from increased transactions — great news for sales.

Email is a key channel for lead generation. Marketers are working harder than ever to qualify leads by guiding them through the sales funnel using various tactics. These tactics, which often include email, are designed to connect with an audience through content that addresses specific questions or pain points, and provides valuable information about your brand’s solutions. Once qualified, these leads are funneled to sales. The result is stronger leads that convert faster and easier than a prospect who hasn’t been primed with valuable information to guide their buying decisions.

Is email an effective way to sell to educators?

The answer is yes. Educators in particular rely on emails when making purchase decisions. According to Agile and SheerID’s 2016 Understanding Teacher Spending and Loyalty survey, email is a highly valued source for product and program information among educators. A majority (66 percent) of respondents say they trust email newsletters and offers for this information. Agile data also reveals that 43 percent of educators rely on promotional emails for information about supplemental materials, 28 percent for information about school supplies and 29 percent for information about professional development materials.

Educators’ penchant for email might explain the results of IBM’s 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study. It found that emails sent within the schools and education category receive the highest average unique open rate of any other category and the third-highest average unique click-through-rate. Educators are busy. Even their free periods are filled with classroom prep and lesson planning. Emails are a great way to sell to educators because they can open and review a message on their own time.

What can I do to make my sales emails more effective?

Educators receive lots of email messages throughout the day. Yours must stand apart. Try these tips for writing more compelling sales messages.


  • Give your target audience the information they want and need.


    1. Sales reps can be a valuable resource to marketers when planning messaging. Offer your marketing team content ideas based on conversations you’ve had with prospects during sales calls. Which questions do you find yourself answering often? What information do prospects typically ask for? Work with marketing to develop content that will answer these questions before they’re even asked, and share the content with prospects via email.


  • Make sure your messages actually make it to the inbox.


    1. SPAM filters score messages to decide which emails customers see and which go straight to the SPAM folder. Higher scores are most likely to be ignored. Overly salesy terms can trigger filters. Avoid using words such as “buy,” “free,” “cost,” “price,” and other money-related terms, especially in your subject lines.


  • Personalize your message. There are no one-size-fits-all messages.


    1. Build a rapport by using your name in the sender line and addressing the recipient directly at the beginning of the message. Because administrators’ pain points may be different from teachers’, create custom messages that address the specific issues for each group of individuals you’re targeting. According to data from Lyris, of those who segmented and targeted their email list, 39 percent achieved higher open rates and 28 percent achieved lower opt-out rates.


  • Include a clear call-to-action (CTA).


    Make sure your message gets results by clearly stating what the audience’s next steps should be. Be specific about the action they’re supposed to take. Rather than “click here,” write “get in touch” with a link to your email address. Then go on to explain why they should do what you’re asking them to do. What’s the benefit? Repeat this CTA at least twice in your message.

References and Resources:
Free On-Demand Webinar: Email Smarts: Optimizing Your Campaigns to Improve Response
Free Guide: Email Marketing Best Practices
Research Report: 2016 Understanding Teacher Spending and Loyalty Survey


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