By Jacob Hanson
At EdNET this week, I was talking to a colleague about how to improve sales in the ed tech marketplace. She joked, “Well, I’ve got a great marketing department, and marketing drives sales, so I don’t need PR, right?”
I’ll tell you what I told her: marketing, PR, and sales are spokes of the same wheel. If any of them are missing, the wheel won’t turn quite as fast as it could.
The key to effective educational Public Relations is the human connection. It’s about telling your company’s story to potential customers and weaving their stories in with your own to form that personal bond. After all it’s the 21st century, so everybody knows when he or she is being sold something. In the long run, the “hard sell,” won’t be as productive as building a genuine relationship with your audience.
Ed tech decision-makers don’t buy from just anyone. They buy from people and companies they trust.
Gaining your audience’s trust is a process that takes time and effort. You can begin by offering them free information and input about topics where you have expertise. Blogs, articles, and webinars are all ways to nurture your relationship with your audience and provide them with content that is valuable to them.
By offering great, free content that may not directly lead to your product, you are showing your audience that you are an expert in this field who understands their challenges and are there to help them when they need it.
When creating this content, you first need to know your audience, what are their needs, wants or challenges. Having a deep understanding of who your buyer(s) are and what they need, you are able to anticipate their questions as well as develop content (that they can find!) to answer them. Many of these potential customers don’t know you exist, so keep in mind they aren’t searching for you yet.
They are searching for answers, your answers. Taking this approach to being useful and helpful will attract them to your website (your best marketing tool by the way) and eventually lead them to your product(s).
You wouldn’t approach a teacher with the same message as you would a superintendent. In the same way, your PR message within ed tech needs to change depending on which customer you are trying to help, trying to reach.
This relationship you form with customers should inform the entire sales process. Before the sale, provide your prospects with valuable information. Once you’ve gained your audience’s trust, you can begin to show them how your product is relevant to their challenges. Even after the sale is closed, the relationship is just beginning, each of your customers has the potential to become brand ambassadors, advocates for you and your solution, it is in your best interest to treat them as such.
Becoming a resource for your prospects builds trust, and maintaining relationships with your end users sets up a virtuous cycle. Happy educators will share their stories as part of your PR campaigns, which will, in turn, lead to new sales. By being buyer-centric in your ed tech PR, you will set yourself apart from the competition and become a trusted resource for your customers before, during, and after the sales process.
Thank you for sharing!