How to effectively target teachers on Facebook

Promoting the right content at the right time via Facebook advertising, with its powerful audience targeting tools, could be the driving force for your next lead generation campaign.

Despite recent criticism about its practices, Facebook appears to have weathered the storm and continues to be the most popular social media network among adults in the UK.

Teachers regularly access Facebook for personal and professional use providing a great opportunity for you to reach them.

However, creating a successful and well-targeted Facebook ad campaign takes time and there are many things to consider, from what you’re offering to how you can find the people who are most likely to engage with your content.

Here we share some top tips to make your next Facebook ad campaign a success.

 

Engaging and inspiring content

Teachers do not want to share their name and email address with just anyone, so you need to provide them with a good incentive to encourage them to do so.

Content is at the heart of any successful lead generation campaign and according to HubSpot, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy so the best approach is to “give before asking” to capture leads.

If you offer valuable free resources, teachers are more likely to provide contact details to access it, providing you with an opportunity to engage with them in the future.

Here are some examples of the type of content that you could offer to teachers:

  • Useful resources such as lesson plans or classroom exercises
  • Webinars or training courses
  • Free reports and guides providing tips and advice e.g. behaviour management
  • Free trial of software

One successful content strategy you could try is to produce content that is aligned with a particular awareness week or time of the year. For example, you can produce back-to-school resources that you could promote in August/September or a Stop Bullying guide for Anti-Bullying week.

Landing pages that convert

Once you’ve decided and created the content that will incentivise teachers to share their information with you, you need to set up a landing page.

Landing pages are a critical part of your Facebook ad lead generation campaign and the start of the process from turning a visitor into a lead.

You need to make sure that your landing page has a single call-to-action e.g. fill in the form to download the content. Avoid additional links or other calls to action on the page as you don’t want to distract from the end goal – to capture their details.

You will also need a thank you page set up. Once someone has signed up, they will be directed to this page, be thanked for signing up and signposted to the content. It is also a great way for you to track conversions and create retargeting or lookalike audiences, which you will read about later on in this blog.

Ads that stop the scroll

You may have an amazing offering and a great landing page but if you don’t have an ad that stands out and grabs your target audience’s attention, then even with the best targeted campaign tactics, it’s more than likely that you will experience a low clickthrough rate on your ad. This will not only result in a low number of leads, it will be costly too.

A lead generation ad should use an image, video or infographic that makes someone stop the scroll and take action (click on it).

Here’s an example from Whizz Education who we worked with on their Mathvember campaign.  The ad successfully grabbed the attention of hundreds of primary school teachers.

Facebook ad for Mathvember

Remember…

It’s important to keep the imagery and messaging consistent throughout the lead generation process from the ad to the landing page to the content, so your target audience is being exposed to core messages and visual creative, solidifying familiarity and trust in your brand.

Setting up an audience targeting teachers

Interest-based targeting

Facebook knows a lot about its users, including their location, job title, hobbies and interests. This offers you a valuable opportunity to fine-tune your audience so you can target people who are more likely to engage with your content.

If  you have created a persona of who you are trying to target, interest-based targeting is perfect for setting up an audience based on the persona’s demographics, behaviour and interests.

In the absence of a persona, you can target a broader audience like deputy head teachers (pictured).

You can also exclude interests that might not be relevant to your audience e.g. if you want to target Maths teachers, you can exclude other subject teachers like English teachers.

With an interests-based audience, the more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to choose the demographics, interests and behaviour that is most closely aligned to who you are trying to engage with.

 

Facebook custom audiences

One of the most valuable tools for ad targeting is the ability to target people who have already engaged with your business before.

The custom audience option on Facebook ads enables you to target people who have visited your website, followed/liked your Facebook page and if you have one, engaged with your app.

What’s more, you can also create a lookalike of these audiences (see below) to find people who are similar to your custom audience, increasing the chances that they will engage with your ads.

There are two important caveats of using custom audiences:

 

A/B Testing

Once you’ve created and set up your content, landing page, ad and audiences, you are ready to launch your campaign.

While it would be great to launch the campaign and see great results from the offset, the likelihood is that you will need to test different elements of the campaign to find what is working and what is not.

A/B testing is a method of finding the most effective ad by changing one variable at a time, such as creative, audience, body copy or call to action. An example might be testing a picture of a report against an image of a student.

Sometimes it will be clear within the first few days of launch which ad is performing better so you can switch off the other one. Other times, you might want to keep the A/B testing running a bit longer to see a significant difference.

It’s very important with A/B testing that you only test one variable at a time. You can always test another variable once you’ve completed the first A/B test.

 

Retargeting and lookalikes

Once your ad campaign has been running for some time, you can set up a retargeting and/or lookalike campaign.

You may be familiar with retargeting if you’ve ever browsed an online shop and then gone on to Facebook to find an advert promoting the item you were looking at earlier.

With a Facebook pixel on the site, you can do exactly the same type of retargeting if someone goes to your landing page but doesn’t complete the download form. People who have already visited your website are much more likely to convert as our client PS Financials found when we introduced retargeting during their lead generation campaign.

A lookalike audience is another option to give your campaign a boost once you’ve reached 50 leads and above. This is a great feature in Facebook ads that allows you to create a lookalike of everyone that has engaged with your campaign.

If you have a Facebook pixel on your website, tracking everyone that visits the landing page and also who completes the sign-up process, you’ll have an opportunity to do a retargeting campaign.

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Thinking of launching a social media advertising campaign targeting school leaders and teachers? We can help. Please get in touch if you would like to find out how.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is finding out the exact phrases people use to search for services and products, find answers to questions or solutions to problems, using search engines.

Keyword research gives you a better understanding of your target market so you can then offer them helpful and relevant information in return.

This is useful in so many areas of content development for your education business, from website copy to articles, email campaigns, blogs, video content and social media posts.

Creating content that people are searching for also has a positive impact on your search rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find you online.

But how can you find out what terms your target audience is using to search for the content they need?

1. Brainstorm your keyword list 

Start by listing all of the possible keywords and phrases potential customers are likely to put into Google. These will be your ‘seed’ keywords as they will help you find more relevant words and phrases.

Think about long-tail keywords too. These are phrases that are more specific than single words. They get less traffic, but they have a higher clickthrough rate because if someone is very specific about what they are searching for, it is more likely that they will click through to your site when they see your content.

Say you’re an education business that provides fun and engaging science lesson plans to schools. Your list might start with keywords like ‘science lesson plans’, ‘science teaching resources’, ‘science lessons for primary schools’ and you’d keep building on this list.

Then when it comes to long-tail keywords, you’d consider phrases like ‘how to make science lessons more interesting’ or ‘how to make science fun in the classroom’.

Once you’ve done some initial brainstorming, there are some tools that can help you expand and prioritise your list. We find Google Trends is a good place to start.

2. Use Google Trends for keyword research

a) Enter key terms into Google Trends to see levels of interest in specific search terms set out by region and date. This will also show you similar topics these same users have searched for. For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into Google Trends, you can see that those who searched for this term also searched for ‘biological life cycle’ and ‘butterflies’. The tool can help you understand more about what teachers are looking for online and develop the right content for them.

b) Google Trends also lets you compare search wording to see what is the most searched for term. For instance, people have searched for ‘Biology lesson plan’ three times more often than for ‘Physics lesson plan’. Insight like this helps you to better focus your content according to what your target audience is searching for online.

c) You can also use your own Google search bar to check what other searches automatically come up. By typing in ‘science lesson’, you can see that the most popular searches are ‘science lessons online’, ‘science lessons for kids’ and ‘science lesson plan template’. This makes it easier for you to find out what your potential customers are searching for and give them the right content.

3. Expand your research

Take your research a step further by entering key search terms, like ‘science lesson plan’, into a free content insight tool like AnswerThePublic.

This will pull up more granular detail on the types of questions people are asking Google and give you more ideas on how to target them. The tool breaks up the data into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical lists and other related searched-for topics.

For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into the search bar in AnswerThePublic, you can see frequent searches like ‘science lesson plan with experiments’, and ‘science lesson plan with technology’. You can also see that the most searched for format is a pdf. See example results from AnswerThePublic here:

Science lesson plan results diagram from @answerthepublic

From a strategic perspective, you could also use an SEO analysis tool, like Ahrefs or Moz to check out your competitors and see what keywords they’re ranking highly in to help you build and define your own list. You may want to target the same keywords or look at building a list of less popular search terms that are still relevant to your business, where there is less competition.

All of these steps should help lead you to a strong keyword search list you’ll be able to use to plan and develop your content.

4. Decide on the best type of content

Once you have a targeted and comprehensive list of keywords, go through the list and think about the best types of content for each topic.

Taking our example of a science lesson provider and the research we have carried out, we might propose these four content ideas:

  • A video for teachers on how to make science engaging online
  • A series of science lesson plan pdfs with the top experiments to carry out in a science class
  • A blog post on how to prepare the ideal plan for a biology lesson

Once you’ve got a strong list of keywords that are right for your education business, you can be as creative as you like in using them to shape your content, developing blogs, videos, webinars or lesson plans.

5. Monitor progress with Google Search Console

Keep an eye on your keyword list and make a note to review it every quarter.

When you start to create content using your keywords, regularly monitoring engagement levels will help you to make adjustments where needed to keep you climbing the search rankings. This means more people will discover your content, visit your site and potentially convert into customers.

Google Search Console is useful for monitoring content posted on your website. You can use this tool to find out how often your site appears in Google search results and which pages have the highest, and lowest, click through rates from Google search results.

You can see how your search traffic changes over time too, where it’s coming from and what search queries are most likely to show your website. And you’ll get a clear idea of what keyword searches come from mobile devices so you can optimise specific content for people searching on their phones.

Being able to see which keywords and types of content are performing well will give you greater insight into the topics and formats your audience prefers on an ongoing basis.

If you’d like to find out more about how to get the attention of school leaders, read our white paper, Influence Schools.

 

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How to use PR to change teachers’ opinions

A successful PR campaign can totally change the way teachers think about your offering.

Whether that’s an IT system that helps manage school admin, an online game that diagnoses difficulties children have with reading, or STEM training courses for teachers.

Maybe teachers think your educational software is too expensive. Or it’s too difficult to implement in their classroom. Perhaps they simply don’t have the time to take part in a demo and bring in a change at a time when they’re busier than they have ever been.

So what do you need to do to change their opinions?

We’ve broken down one of our recent campaigns to give you some ideas.

1. Find out more about your target audience

The first step we always start with is to understand which teachers you are specifically trying to reach. Think carefully about who you want to influence, be that primary or secondary school teachers, SEN leads, teaching assistants, head teachers or subject leads.

And then ask yourself: how can you help them?

Let’s take the example of a campaign we worked on for Maths-Whizz, an award-winning online programme that raises the maths attainment of children aged 5-13. Not many teachers were aware of the difference it could make to children studying maths in their classrooms.

Our task was to let primary school teachers know about everything Maths-Whizz had to offer, and to get them talking about it. We wanted to encourage them to get in contact to find out how the product could help in their schools.

To get the attention of primary school teachers, whatever we did had to save them time – they simply would not engage otherwise. So, we came up with the plan to rebrand the month of November as ‘Mathvember’ and launch a month-long series of daily lesson ideas, social media challenges and competitions. These would provide primary school teachers with the tools and inspiration to ‘Make Maths Magical’ in their classrooms and encourage them to find out how Maths-Whizz can help them.

2. Put your Education PR plan in place

Once you have worked out exactly how to meet the needs of your target teachers, you can develop your plan. What can you do to let teachers know about your offering, or change the opinion they have of it?

You need an integrated campaign that combines the best of marketing and the best of PR. This involves creating great content, carrying out media and influencer relations and running social media advertising campaigns.

With Maths-Whizz, we engaged teachers in the daily lesson ideas, social media challenges and competitions we had developed via daily posts, social advertising and by getting key influencers on board. We also partnered with the influential teacher community, UKEdChat, which allowed us to tap into their 72,000 strong audience.

The month culminated in a webinar, which allowed the education experts at Whizz to demonstrate their obvious passion for generating ideas that help children enjoy maths. It gave the team an opportunity to talk about the Maths-Whizz product to an engaged audience too.

This integrated campaign gave us lots of opportunities to start a dialogue with teachers about how to ‘Make Maths Magical’ in the classroom and encouraged them to get in contact to find out more about Maths-Whizz.

3. Take stock

The outcome of an effective integrated campaign is raised awareness of your brand, as well as a change in opinion and behaviour of potential customers, making them more likely to buy your product.

The results of the Maths-Whizz campaign were impressive:

  • Web traffic rose by 53% year-on-year
  • 293 people viewed the webinar, which provided advice on how to ‘Make Maths Magical’ in the classroom as well as promoting the product
  • We earned support from key social media influencers such as @VicGoddard of Education Essex fame and @MartynReah. We also received coverage in TeachWire and Teach Primary. This resulted in a 2.8 million reach for the campaign
  • 1525 teachers signed up for the campaign and agreed to further marketing contact from Maths-Whizz

A change in teachers’ opinions can be seen in changes to their behaviour. For the Maths-Whizz campaign, teachers most certainly became more aware of the product and understood how much it could help in their schools. Then they went a step further and purchased the online programme.

We can see this from the huge uplift in sales:

  • Sales leads increased by 168% in the first month of the campaign and 244% in the following month

With this type of integrated campaign, you can engage with, and also help, the busiest of teachers. You never know, this may well shift their opinion, and interest, towards your brand.

To find out more about getting teachers to notice you, read our white paper, Influence Schools or have a look at our video and blog on how to get the attention of school leaders

 

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How to write a winning education award entry

Award entries are a great way to get recognition for your brand and your products.

Winning a gong for one of your products or services means potential customers have external confirmation that your offering is best of class.

Awards can lead to additional media coverage too, letting more people know about you and your products – not to mention the social media buzz that brings a welcome boost to SEO.

The downside is the entries themselves can sometimes take a long time to put together, so you only want to invest the time if you are certain you will get the recognition you deserve.

So what do you need to do to increase the likelihood of you winning the award you’re after?

Here are our tips:

  1. Choose something that deserves to win

Talk about stating the obvious, but it is likely that if you designed the product, you will think it is the best thing since sliced bread. However, if there are 10 other products on the market that do exactly the same thing, it is unlikely that yours will make the award judges sit up and take notice.

A well written award entry alone may get you into the shortlist for an award but it is genuinely the best products, or the most innovative services that actually win the accolades, so choose what you put forward wisely.

  1. Start off strong 

Think about it from a judge’s point of view. They may have 100 award entries to sift through in a day. If yours is number 89 in the pile, it will need to be pretty special to make them pay attention.

Your first couple of paragraphs will be key. Start with a strong quote, or illustrate what impact it has with an example. If it is a lesson planning tool for teachers, instead of stating that ‘it is the best lesson planning tool available’, why not start with something around how much time a lesson plan takes an average teacher to complete and why it is such an important job, to set the scene.

  1. Assume the judges know very little

It is easy to forget how much internal company jargon you use – a phrase you think is in everyday use in your company may be unfamiliar to a judge.

Spell out any benefits too. The judge may not automatically see that making a core process quicker for a teacher will mean that they can spend more time teaching or planning lessons, so make this link for them.

  1. Prove it 

Every time you make a claim, try to prove it. You saved schools or colleges money – great – but how much money? Use comparisons if possible – 90% of schools are satisfied with your product – fantastic – but even better if you can compare that to an industry average that is much lower.

  1. Get your customers to back you up 

It is one thing you saying that you are fabulous, but it is quite another if you can get a customer to do it. Ideally, quotes or case studies you use should be peppered with facts to back up any claims being made.

  1. Think about the language and examples you use

Use emotive language to demonstrate the importance of your offering – rather than stating ‘our system is reliable’, you could demonstrate it by saying that ‘1,000 teachers rely on our system to deliver engaging maths lessons on a weekly basis so it cannot fail.’

  1. The word count is there for a reason

The judges will not have time to read 10 brochures or watch a 20 minute video you have attached to the award entry. A personalised two minute video walk through recorded specifically for the judges will be far more effective than a professional advert you usually use in sales presentations. Select what you send carefully, and make sure it supports the claims you make in the award entry.

Good luck and if you need any help with your entry, just give us a call.

If you liked this, you may also like our guide to good PR Planning

 

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How can a PR strategy help my edtech start-up?

It’s no surprise that start-ups offering remote working solutions, online learning tools and food delivery services are among the companies that have achieved considerable growth in 2020.

The current climate is bringing significant challenges to some education-focussed businesses, while others have thrived from adapting their offerings or bringing new products and services to market to meet the changing needs of schools, colleges and universities.

But short-term growth doesn’t guarantee long-term business success.

In 2019, there were 5.9 million small and medium sized businesses operating in the UK – but 11% of all businesses ceased trading that year according to government figures.

So, what can fledgling edtech businesses do to help them deliver sustainable growth?

How to help your edtech start-up business succeed

The challenge is that launching a successful new business is all-consuming. Your blood sweat and tears have gone into developing a product or service that you know will help solve the problems your prospective customers are struggling with. Naturally, you want to get your new offering out to market as soon as possible.

The temptation for many edtech start-ups at this point is to focus all efforts on selling to schools. An announcement might make its way on to the news page of your website or an ad could be placed in the print and online media your prospects read. There might even be a handful of social media posts created about the launch. This won’t get your business noticed by your target audience.

All too often, a more strategic plan to raise awareness of the new business or offering is put on the back burner to be picked up once the brand is more established.

However, putting a well-designed integrated PR and marketing plan in place from the start can make the difference between a new business that flies and one that is at risk of falling at the first hurdle.

Here are three tips from us to help your start-up or SME get great results from education PR.

  1. Get the messaging right

Let’s say your company has developed a new tracking tool to help schools monitor the impact of catch-up lessons on pupils’ achievement and your sales success relies on teachers knowing that it’s superior to other solutions on the market.

Launching a campaign designed to knock or discredit your competitors might bring short-term gains, but this approach will put you at risk of damaging your brand.

You will get much more positive and sustainable results from shaping a strategic plan of PR and marketing activity that incorporates language that resonates with your target audience, highlights your credentials as thought leaders in pupil assessment and showcases testimonials from customers that back up what you’re saying.

  1. Make the most of positive customer stories

You are much more likely to spark the attention of heads and teachers in schools by having other educators talk about how great you are in a radio interview or podcast boosted on Facebook than you will talking about what you do well yourself.

Customer advocacy has been shown to increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts by as much as 54% and word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind up to half of all purchasing decisions

Make sure you have a way to identify and capture the great stories and experiences of your existing customers as the business develops and grows. When 80% of word-of-mouth comes directly as a result of personal experience, you can see why positive customer stories are so critical to the successful promotion of any new product or service.

  1. Create great content

Don’t be tempted to blast your prospects with technical details of your product – few teachers will be interested in the fact that the new app you’ve launched to support children’s literacy development is built on API technology.

You are much more likely to turn your prospective customers into sales if you focus on creating quality content that adds value and helps them solve the problems they face.

It’s getting harder to reach senior leaders in schools and academy trusts. So, if your company provides CPD to primary schools, a series of blogs on how to support the wellbeing of under-fives is more likely to be read by your target audience of school leaders than a company newsletter. If they have found the content useful, they will be much more likely to contact your organisation when they need to arrange behaviour management training for teachers across the school.

Avoid peppering your digital content with too many keywords and phrases designed to influence your SEO too. Google is getting much smarter at spotting corporate generated promotional materials and this will have a negative impact on your SEO ranking, making it less likely that your content will be seen by the people you are trying to reach.

It’s better to choose a few strong keywords, rather than overdoing it.

Find more information on how we can help your start-up get the most from PR here.

If you want to know how to get your brand noticed by senior leaders in education, you can download our Influence Schools White Paper.

You may also be interested in our blog What marketing messages will teachers want to hear in September 2020/21

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