Don’t fight the crowd to reach schools

With events and tradeshows postponed until March onwards, you may be thinking hard about how to generate sales leads this quarter. Having surveyed 73 sales leaders from EdTech companies, many are planning to focus on cold email campaigns, and you might be thinking the same.

There’s one problem though, and it’s a big one. School leaders really don’t like receiving cold emails.

Cold email is a bigger problem than you might realise

Working in the private sector, cold emails (and LinkedIn messages) are a small inconvenience, and it’s pretty normal to receive 5-10 unsolicited messages each day. 

However, for school leaders, it’s a different ball game. School email addresses are easy to get hold of and this means a lot of companies are mass emailing schools. What is a minor inconvenience for you and me, is a real headache for schools as they’re receiving an avalanche of unsolicited emails.

It can be hard to appreciate the extent of this issue until you experience it firsthand. Having been in EdTech since 2010, I’ve certainly been guilty of being overzealous with an email list or two. Then in 2019, I found myself on the receiving end as I took on the COO position at a small Multi-Academy Trust. Each day I received around 100 cold emails. There were 5 schools in the Trust but we still received an eye-watering 56,000 cold emails throughout the 2018/19 academic year. Break that down by the 190 academic days per year, and it equates to 300 different companies emailing the Trust every single day. 

I explored why this can be detrimental to your long-term ability to sell to schools in a previous blog “As a MAT COO I hated dealing with EdTech companies”.

School leaders are online, but are you showing up?

Done well, cold email campaigns can be effective. If you’re giving away free, high-quality resources or running an exciting webinar with a recognised speaker, mass emailing schools can be a useful activity to build brand awareness. The key is that you have to provide a great deal of value upfront (and for free) in order to break through the noise, and doing so repeatedly is very challenging. 

However, every challenge presents an opportunity and there’s a huge one right now. If you want to build a marketing machine to reach new schools and generate fresh leads all year round, there’s a massive untapped marketing channel at your disposal: online.

Over the past 5 years, how schools buy EdTech has fundamentally changed – yet most EdTech companies have not yet realised.

Here’s something that may surprise you. School buyers are twice as likely to rely on the Internet as they are a recommendation from another school when looking for a new EdTech solution. More surprising is that this research was carried out the year before the pandemic, so the shift towards online research is only likely to be greater. 

At this stage, I want to let you in on a secret. 79% of school leaders start a new EdTech solution search online, but less than 20% of UK EdTechs are investing in digital marketing. 

This is a wide-open goal for you to aim at. The majority of school leaders are shopping online and the majority of EdTech companies aren’t there. There’s never been a greater opportunity to reach more school leaders than right now.

How to generate leads online

Getting to grips with search engine optimisation, paid social ads and retargeting marketing can be overwhelming if you’re new to this world, which is why we’ve made things simple with EdTech Impact. Create your profile, set your budget, and start connecting with school buyers.

Built to help school leaders find and connect with their next EdTech purchase, EdTech Impact is used by 25,000 leaders every month and trusted by the largest Multi-Academy Trusts. Category leaders such as GCSEPod, Unifrog, FlashAcademy, BlueSky Education, Arbor Education, Britannica, Pearson, and many more have adopted EdTech Impact to grow their online marketing.

If you’d like to learn how EdTech Impact can help you generate new interest and leads for your business, arrange a demonstration here.

Updated on: 22 April 2022

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