Patience isn’t just a virtue in education marketing — it’s a necessity. The education sales and purchasing cycle spans many months. And along that journey, information about your products and services passes through the hands of a number of different educators, from influencers to final decision-makers. You can move this process along, turning leads into prospects and prospects into customers, with lead nurturing.
(Agile Education Marketing has a free, in-depth guide to lead nurturing online. I’ll cover some of the topics here, but I highly recommend it if you're looking for a deeper dive into lead nurturing in the school market.)
What Education Lead Nurturing Looks Like
In general, educators make buying decisions as they move through a four-phase cycle that coincides with the school year calendar, with a majority of budgets finalized in Q2.
Educators, like many consumers, have taken most of the early research phase into their own hands. In fact, more than half of teachers use search engines as their primary source of information about education, teaching and learning products.
It’s during this early research phase that a teacher or administrator might stumble upon your site from a search result or online ad. If you hook them with the information they’re searching for, and get their contact information in exchange for that content, then you have everything you need to start nurturing them through the remaining phases of the sales cycle.
As educators move through each phase, they require different information. When you anticipate these shifts and deliver the information they’re seeking before they ask for it, you can naturally guide educators from one phase to the next until they’re ready to buy.
This, my friends, is lead nurturing.
How to Nurture Education Leads
Nurtured leads generally produce more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads. That’s because the process of lead nurturing not only promotes your brand and products, but also naturally builds thought leadership, encourages engagement and generates stronger trust between you and potential customers.
Use the right tools. Lead nurturing is possible through a basic email provider, but a marketing automation platform can make setting up and managing campaigns much more efficient by automating every task. With marketing automation, you can track lead behaviors across multiple channels and automate every action throughout the nurture, setting messages to deploy based on set time intervals or specific actions. Marketing automation also makes it easy to segment your educator data, create targeted lists with personalized messaging and score leads for sales.
Use the right tools to deliver the right content. Educators desire different kinds of information during each phase of the purchasing cycle. With lead nurturing, you can deliver information exactly when educators need it. In general, your early goal should be to inform. Deliver helpful, educational information that lets educators know that you understand their pain points and have the knowledge to support them. Call-to-actions (CTAs) should focus on driving educators to additional content to learn more. Then, as they move through the cycle, your leads will require product-focused details like pricing structures and evidence of effectiveness. During these later stages, your CTA should focus on scheduling demos and free trials and securing sales.
Use the right tools to deliver the right content on the right platforms. You might have exactly the information educators need, but that doesn’t matter if they can’t find it. Meet educators where they’re searching for information about education products and services — which is everywhere. Create multiple points of entry into your lead nurture campaigns with a multi-channel marketing strategy, from the web to conferences to webinars. Once an educator receives a piece of digital content, they should be retargeted online.
Deliver the right content on the right platform to the right people. There are many individuals involved in education purchasing. Ideally, you’d create different lead nurture campaigns for every educator involved in your purchasing cycle. Start by identifying your core audience segments, and take steps to better understand them and their buyer’s journey. Compile all of this information in a documented audience persona that you can keep referencing to ensure your messaging and delivery is on point.
Learn More About Lead Nurturing
Download Agile’s popular Lead Nurture Playbook for more in-depth information about the four key elements of lead nurturing as well as example audience personas and a sample lead nurture strategy. You’ll find everything you need to start building winning campaigns.
Derek Dallmann is Vice President of Sales at Agile Education Marketing. Throughout his 20 years in education marketing, Derek has worked with hundreds of organizations in the early childhood, K-12 and higher education markets. Derek’s expertise lies in helping organizations define their core audiences and develop targeted, multi-channel marketing strategies to reach educators and achieve sales and marketing objectives. Reach Derek at firstname.lastname@example.org.