As we enter the homestretch of another school year, we also enter the homestretch of another buying cycle in the education market. This is the primary focus of nearly every sales and marketing team in our industry, as it should be. We have all worked extremely hard over the past year to qualify and build relationships with these new leads.
However, it is also time to start thinking about what comes next. Many of you may be thinking back to school time, which is critical for implementation, but what about the summer months? Are they a complete dead zone? Not entirely…
Here are 3 ways to utilize the summer months to set your company up for success in the new buying cycle
1. Most administrators work over the summer
This is especially true at the district offices; however, many principals are also 12-month employees. They are still looking to sure up their plans for the coming school year and utilize their budgets to purchase the tools and services needed for next year. While you may have difficulty touching base near the end of June and over the 4th of July, early to mid-June and again in mid-July, you have windows to catch these decision-makers while teachers are out for the summer.
In addition to squeezing in a few more sales late in the buying cycle, keep in mind that they are also beginning to think about setting goals and completing needs assessments for the new budget cycle. Work to build your opt-in list (think blogs, valuable content, etc.) by providing these administrators with useful, helpful information that will earn their trust as well as get your brand on their radars for all the right reasons.
2. Use the summer months to reflect on the previous year and set goals for the upcoming school year
While this shouldn’t be a once a year activity, this is the perfect time to start analyzing your data, and wherever possible, determine the ROI on your efforts; this may include looking at closed sales that were a result of a chance conversation at a conference two or even three years ago.Identifying the areas where your spend made the most difference is critical to creating benchmarks for the upcoming year.
It is also a perfect time to set goals for the upcoming school. While sales and revenue goals or number of leads are great metrics, there are other metrics that help you get there.How is your SEO performing? Are you getting the traffic you are looking for and is it the right traffic? What are your best sources of web traffic? Is it organic social? Maybe a Facebook campaign or email? Conferences or events? Breaking down these larger metrics like revenue or number of qualified leads will help you determine which areas to focus on to increase leads and sales.
3. Test, test and test again!
While there are still very real opportunities to close sales, this is also an ideal time to test various aspects of your marketing approach. Just create a new infographic or quiz? Test it!Try different email subject lines, if you have a platform like Hubspot, test variations on your landing page to optimize conversion rates.Experiment more with social media or PPC (Pay Per Click), maybe try that LinkedIn ad campaign you didn’t have time for during the school year.
After analyzing your data (see #2 above!), you should have a clear picture of what has done well and what hasn’t.Use that data as your guide to decide what is worth experimenting on and what is not.
Just like the administrators we are looking to reach, use the summer months to conduct your own needs assessments - are you lacking in data or analytics tools? Not able to close the loop on all your marketing efforts? Short on content? Not sure of every funding source that your potential customers can use to buy your products? These months are perfect to set yourself up for success in the coming buying cycle.
Jacob Hanson is the CEO of PR with Panache!, an award winning Inbound marketing and PR firm that specializes in the K12 education market. He can be reached at Jacob@prwithpanache.com or on twitter @PRPanacheJacob.