Three ways education service providers can share great content to build their customer base in tough times

Sharing genuinely helpful educational content is the most powerful thing you can do to increase your client base — especially in these challenging times.

There can be no doubt that this year has brought massive, unprecedented change to society and the economy. The economy fell by over 20% in the second quarter — the largest decline since quarterly records began.

But there are opportunities for positive change too. In the world of education services, it has often been hard to implement innovation, even if you’ve got a great product you know will have an amazing impact on students and education professionals. With changes of government or Ofsted inspection frameworks, the focus of the sector can rapidly shift, leaving service providers disoriented.

But the impact of Covid-19 has given innovation an urgency. Online and blended learning is now a reality for everyone involved in education, and despite the naysayers, it’s proven to be effective. According to a recent TES report, a study from the University of Dundee has found that online and blended learning are ‘often more effective than traditional instruction’.

Schools and academy trusts are swiftly re-evaluating their priorities, and if you’re a CPD provider, a tuition agency, or if you’re selling a digital learning platform, you need to make sure you can be heard amidst the clamour.

These three ways will help you to build your customer base in trying times.

1. Share great content freely with people working in schools.

Great content has the power to bring people to your website. It showcases your products and ensures that you’re perceived as a thought-leader, which is great for establishing trust between you and your prospective clients.

With an annual turnover of £5 million, Firefly Learning is a hugely successful example of an educational services venture. What sets them apart from everyone else is the plentiful content that removes some of the crucial barriers to securing a sale. Their blog offers useful content for teachers, students and parents, and it’s not content leading up a hard sell. It’s content that lets people know they’re on their side. Their case studies showcase how their products have been used successfully by others, offering visitors the ever-important assurance of social proof: if some people have bought-in, there’s a compelling reason for others to join them.

Looking around at the majority of education service providers’ online platforms, it’s often hard to know as a consumer what it is you’re going to get for your money. Sharing content means people know what they’re getting before they buy, which takes away one of the most powerful barriers to buying: uncertainty. If you’re not sharing content, you could be sabotaging your chances of bringing new clients to the table.

Of course, content has to be genuinely useful. Don’t approach content sharing half-heartedly or cynically. If you believe in the power of your product to solve problems and make life better for people, why wouldn’t you want to share some of that with them?

Regular blogging is the perfect way to share content. Like the one you’re reading, a blog post can offer ways of solving problems, delivering results, initiating change and piquing curiosity. It’s also a great way to grow your mailing list, which you can build by including a pop-up to encourage visitors to your website to subscribe. Offering some additional content, perhaps in the form of a blog post, set of resources or an e-book can incentivise this even more.

2. Make your mailshots valuable.

Don’t believe the hype. Email isn’t dead. The inbound marketing experts at Hubspot claim that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.

But your mailshots should add value. If they don’t, the chances are people aren’t going to engage with them. Email is still the most valuable way to get a return on your investment, especially if you segment your email list so people get content in their inbox they actually want, rather than stuff they’re happy to send to junk without even opening it.

Your email newsletter can share original ideas, curated content and industry best practice. You can share things that people are intrigued by: ‘behind the scenes’ at your organisation or a chance to virtually ‘meet the team’. Most of all, give something away — a resource that people can download and use. Once prospective customers know your work is valuable, they’ll seek it out. This is especially true in education, where freely available resources and even those available through established outlets such as TES resource hubs can be of variable quality.

3. Make sure social media content is genuinely useful.

Sharing content on social media can be very effective if you get it right, but remember, it’s a crowded street. So what kind of content is good to share on social? Allow your social shares to create a snapshot of a story: ‘This is the problem we know you’ve got. This is how our product or service can solve it.’

Inspirational content works really well on social media, as does content that gives us perspective and content that gives us faith to believe in bigger things. Given that the user experience of social media can be a fleeting thing for most of us, ‘hacks’ or ‘tips’ work well too, and they’re extremely shareable.

If you’d like to find out more about how content marketing can bring traffic, turn leads into prospects and increase your revenue, get in touch.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

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