Have a Complementary Marketing Strategy
Regardless of how you sell your product, you must create marketing materials to generate leads and build brand awareness.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing (SEM): These are about the most basic things you can do (especially, SEO) but this is one of the “build it and they will come” traps that trips up entrepreneurs. We wasted a lot of time and money on this in 2009-10 when we should have been focused on distribution.
Social Media: These are mandatory channels for brand building since many teachers (i.e. influencers) use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others on a daily basis.
Email Campaigns: This is a great way to reach your customer base and get your messaging out there to both prospective and existing customers. This typically requires using paid products such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, MDR, Agile Data, and many others.
Press Coverage and Releases: Press coverage is one of the best ways to get your name out there--but also one of the hardest. Press coverage in magazine and blogs offers more credibility than advertising. Press releases, on the other hand, are something of a necessary evil. They may not be too effective since editors get so many of them.
Conferences: National, statewide and local district conferences take place on a regular basis. Big ones, like ISTE, can get very expensive (upwards of $50K) and you can easily get lost in the crowd. Conferences are a “glass half-full or half-empty” experience; I’m not a huge fan but I have heard that conferences can bring in revenues that are two to three times the cost of exhibiting. Small companies like BrainPOP exhibit in dozens every year to generate leads for their direct sales team.
Print Advertising and Direct Mail: This is another one of those dying breed of marketing channels that doesn’t provide clickable links to your site and, subsequently, no metrics. Even so, since most schools still rely heavily on printed materials, you might find these options worth considering.
Press Coverage: Yes, schools do still use print magazines to get their information. As with online press coverage, this is easier said than done. If you have a good PR firm, you can indeed get covered.