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Before You Market to Schools Here Are 4 Questions to Ask Your School Mailing List Provider

Posted: Jul 20, 2017

At some point in time, almost all those marketing to educators will work either directly or indirectly with a list provider. List providers in the education market offer a lot of variety, ranging from traditional direct mail and email lists to web banner ads, content marketing, and social media, all of which center around a targeted group of educators.

When considering a list you want to market to, there is more to it than saying, “I want a list of educators.” List providers in the education market have a great deal of information, but you have to be sure to ask the right questions.

Question #1: I think my product or program will benefit all educators, so do I really need to target my list?

Yes. Whether your product is grade or subject specific or benefits the whole school, you need to spend some time targeting and refining exactly who will be on the list you acquire. You need to consider things like whether your end user is the purchaser, and if not, which of these makes more sense to market to. Are you in the pilot stage of your program and looking to get feedback from districts of all sizes? Then you’ll want to make sure your list offers some diversity. Do you have the capacity to handle an influx of calls and inquiries? If not, maybe consider starting regionally rather than a national push. Explain your product and what you’re trying to achieve to your list provider and ask for guidance on job title, school type, district size, and any other ways they think you can best reach your target audience.

Question #2: Email has done well enough for us in the past, so I should just stick with that, right?

Wrong. After sharing with your list provider the goals and objectives of your campaign, ask them whether you should consider other ways of reaching educators and what alternatives they’d recommend. They may know that the educators you’re trying to reach tend to respond better to web banner ads that run on the weekend or direct-mail postcards sent during the summer. And, just because an email, letter, social-media post, or whatever marketing tactic you’ve done in the past worked well, doesn’t mean that another won’t perform just as good, maybe even better.

Question #3: My product is unique, so why would I want to market the same way as my competitors?

The question shouldn’t be how you want to market your product or program, the question is how should you market it. List providers see campaigns to educators all day long, some with similar products and programs to yours. Don’t be afraid to ask how other campaigns have performed or what tactics they’ve tried. While the list provider can’t tell you who the campaigns were for, they can share what they’ve seen work, what hasn’t gone so well, and what you might want to try. They may even know of a new and up-and-coming tactic that hasn’t been tried before and you may want to jump on. Sometimes considering a different angle or approach can make all the difference between a slightly successful campaign and a hugely successful campaign.

Question #4: I need to get my marketing out the door, so I should just send it as soon as it’s ready, right?

Not always. Definitely ask your list provider for advice when it comes to timing your campaigns. You may get so focused on getting your messaging and creative ready that you may not realize schools will be closing for spring break or that major testing weeks are coming up right when you want to deploy your campaign. List providers are well aware of school start and end dates, holiday breaks, and testing periods, as well as whether educators are active and responsive to campaigns when they’re not in their classrooms or on summer vacation. Be sure to ask if any there are any important timing considerations to take into account when planning your campaign. Even if you are unable to shift the timing on your end, you can manage expectations better if you know what to expect.

MMS Education has worked with clients for the past 40 years, helping them build their nonprofit education program into one educators love. We can help you do the same! Call us today at 866-382-6116 or fill out this form to learn more.

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