EdTech is one of the few industries that has seen a surge in growth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as schools and universities suddenly pivoted to online instruction, with, frankly, mixed results. Although some school systems and colleges have returned to some level of classroom teaching, the need for more effective remote learning technologies remains critical. So how can marketers cut through the clutter in an increasingly crowded market? Here are some tips and tricks EdTech CMOs should be utilizing today.
1. Invest in social listening tools to stay ahead of rapid industry change: Ever since the pandemic hit, the thoughts and feelings of educators, parents, teachers and students have constantly been changing. EdTech marketers should invest in social listening tools—such as Brand24, BuzzSumo, Sprout Social, and Agora Pulse—to monitor ever-evolving end user sentiment, which will equip EdTech companies with the information needed to adapt messaging around the company, products or services in real-time. These insights should immediately be factored into internal and external communications and can be particularly impactful on company social media channels.
2. Position your execs as EdTech experts to build credibility: COVID-19 has driven a surge in interest surrounding the EdTech industry and ever-shrinking newsrooms are having trouble keeping up with the writing demand. As a result, publications such as EdSurge and THE Journal are more willing than ever to accept well-written, vendor-neutral contributed content. Placing thought leadership bylines that tap into key trends, provide solutions to industry challenges and align with your company's value proposition and core values offers an ideal way to increase brand awareness and build credibility.
Another effective thought leadership strategy is guest posting on other educational websites such as Inside Higher Ed, The New York Times’s The Learning Network, Edutopia and Classroom 2.0. By sharing your expertise with these extremely targeted audiences, you can begin to establish yourself as a thought leader in your market, build ongoing relationships and create awareness around your brand. Before reaching out to different blogs, make sure your content provides value; this is an opportunity to share knowledge and present solutions to fundamental problems. Avoid writing content that has too much marketing jargon or appears to be more like an advertisement. It is important to remember that all contributed content submitted to blogs or other publications should be vendor neutral.
Since we are still living in a COVID world and the future is still uncertain, identifying evolving—or even revolutionary— trends will garner a lot of media interest. Conduct sourcing calls with the thought leaders at your company and gather their predictions for the future of EdTech. By leveraging these unique insights, you’ll be able to establish thought leadership for your brand as a whole and drive news coverage.
3. Don’t sleep on email marketing: Although email is one of the oldest digital marketing activities, it is still one of the most effective in the EdTech space according to SalesIntel. Email marketing is also one of the most cost effective ways to reach your target audience. According to a report by HubSpot, for every dollar spent on email marketing you can expect an average return on investment (ROI) of $38. This type of ROI is something EdTech marketers should not ignore.
4. Increase your pay per click (PPC) budget: The pandemic hit during the height of the spring/summer education conference season and disrupted the buying cycle as we've known it. This shift has severely affected lead generation, and as these events get pushed or go virtual this spring, allocating marketing dollars towards PPC campaigns will be money well spent. PPC advertising is a powerful tool for driving website traffic and marketing-qualified leads. According to WordStream, the average click through rates for EdTech has surpassed pre-pandemic rates resulting in a larger ROI for marketers. Through careful campaign development, keyword research and establishing geofences, your PPC strategy can reach your ideal customer and have an impact on their purchasing behaviors.