Marketing to schools – do’s and don’ts

It seems everyone from the smallest B2B home business to the largest global corporation is targeting schools. Marketing is a process driven discipline – not a leap into the unknown.

There are 4 steps to success when marketing to schools:

  1. Getting emails opened
  2. Elicit a response with a clear call to action
  3. Communicate with prospects on a personal level
  4. Understand the customer’s requirements so the sale can proceed

Getting emails opened

  • Subject line must be relevant and intriguing. You will only put schools off with slogans in your subject line or words like “sale” or “discount”. These words may also set off spam filters and thus reduce the number of emails delivered. Read more about subject lines HERE.
  • Don’t say too much. The most common fault suppliers make when sending emails is they try to say too much. The purpose of the promotional email is to tease the prospect into wanting more information.
  • Include case studies and testimonials. A case study should talk about how your product or service added value to the customer. Include real life examples and photographs of your solution being used in the school. Be sure to seek permission to publish the pics.

Call to action

This is the point when you begin to engage with the prospect on a deeper level. Completing a call to action is a step of trust on behalf of the prospect. They may have to supply their personal details, which can create concerns over their privacy, or they may have issues they want addressed before they take further action. Make sure information they need is readily available. For example, they should not have to go hunting for delivery charges or a return policy. You will need to advise those signing up for a newsletter about the frequency you will email them. They will also want to know it is easy to unsubscribe.

Communicate with prospects on a personal level

Create a 1:1 communication by personalising emails with name, position and school name at the top of the email then use the person’s name and / or school name within the body text.

The key to dealing with schools effectively is connecting with decision makers on a personal and emotional level. While it is easy to break up the school market according to geographical location or type of school, it is important to remember that behind every school are people.

An accurate and reliable list from an experienced list supplier should be sourced that provides comprehensive contact information for all education sectors, including all contacts in Schools (Public, Private and Catholic) and cover positions including Principals, IT managers, Librarians and more. This allows you to tailor the contacts you require and create a target marketing campaign.

For more on this go to Selling to Schools Part 2: Tips to monopolise the K-12 market.

Understand the customer’s requirements so the sale can proceed

Pre-qualify the prospect by getting the answers to the following questions:

  • What needs to happen before they can buy?
  • Timing – when do they intend to purchase?
  • Do they have the authority to make a purchasing decision?
  • Do they have the ability to pay?
  • Have you provided everything they need in order to make a purchasing decision?


For further reading go to:

Marketing to Schools – How To Get Started

10 Tips to Successful School Marketing


Michael Bleakley is a journalist, communicator and marketing professional of 25 years. His career began in his early 20’s publishing tech magazines for education. Michael’s career then moved into online and book publishing for a global business publisher, then finally into database publishing and marketing at A-ZGovBIZ.

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