Retailers love the winter holiday season—it’s the time of year when almost everyone is celebrating something. That said, smart retailers don’t just sit and wait for the one-time-rush shoppers when they can instead focus on building a long-term relationship with a year-round customer base: educators!
As we enter the final push of holiday shopping and get close to post-Christmas sales, retailers should continue to nurture their relationship with educators. Educators are financially stable and brand-loyal, and they shop both in stores and online.
Research conducted by my company found that educators have a mean combined household income that’s about $30,000 higher than the national average. Plus, almost 90 percent of them have credit cards, and they’re more likely to make a purchase when they can find a deal or discount. They’re also considerably more likely to do shopping over the internet and research products online before buying them. Beyond that, educators influence their students, parents, and the community.
Doesn’t that sound like a customer any retailer would want?
3 Tips to Win Over Educators
These tips should help you build a relationship with educators that will last well past the holiday season:
1. Prioritize Email
Educators are more likely than the general population to make a purchase in response to emails sent from e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers. Email should still be your bread and butter for educators. Econsultancy’s 2017 “Email Marketing Industry Census” found that 27 percent of marketers say email provides excellent ROI — and that ROI is even greater when targeting educators.
During the holiday break, educators will have a little more time to spend browsing their favorite sites, which would be a great time to reach out to them with an email marketing campaign. The holidays are also a time when many are reaching out to help others. By donating a portion of sales to a charity, a retailer can stay top of mind and appeal to educators who appreciate philanthropic efforts. Rent the Runway uses this tactic to great success by donating 10 percent of customers’ orders to one of four charities supporting causes that empower women.
2. Use Multichannel Marketing
Of course, there are other marketing tools and new resources available to reach consumers. Email alone won’t always score you an A from educators. More than 90 percent of educators use smartphones, and close to 70 percent use a tablet, according to our research. That means that digital marketing campaigns optimized for mobile devices will greatly improve your reach to this demographic.
A multichannel marketing strategy can help brick-and-mortar and online retailers. Many brands use digital advertising to drive awareness, and where e-commerce is available, brands can also directly track and attribute conversions from web ads. Banner ads, pay-per-click, native advertising, sponsored content, and retargeting campaigns can all support your email marketing strategy. In a survey of holiday shoppers by Toluna, 45.5 percent of consumers said retargeted ads influenced their decision to buy a product around the holidays.
In February, Amazon showed how to supplement online activity with other marketing efforts when it started giving 5 percent back to Prime members when they make Whole Foods purchases with an Amazon-branded Visa card. Then, in June, Amazon introduced Whole Foods deals exclusively for Prime members. Educators, who have higher-than-average brand loyalty and are always looking for bargains, will be especially receptive to deals that reward that behavior.
3. Be Savvy on Social Media
Educators are a little different when it comes to social media. For them, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram are not just ways to connect with family and friends; they’re learning tools. That’s true when they’re researching new ways to connect in the classroom, and it’s true when it comes to researching product information.
According to our study, about a third of teachers said that they trust social media for product information, and 61 percent have become fans, friends, or followers of a company’s social media accounts. Setting the right social strategy is about choosing the right channels and crafting informative posts that a targeted segment will want to retweet, share, or pin.
But retweets aren’t the only advantage of ramping up your brand’s social media use — your social channels can also help with SEO and growing your email lists. Pinterest boards and individual pins rank highly in Google searches, making them great tools for boosting your website’s SEO performance over time.
Because educators are often on Pinterest searching for materials related to upcoming holidays and events, adding pins to relevant content during these times of the year can improve overall SEO performance. If you’re not on Pinterest, Facebook can be a great channel to host a giveaway or contest exclusively for people who sign up to receive your emails, growing your opt-in list with engaged potential customers.
Retailers should be reaching out to educators for their holiday cheer this season by creating marketing campaigns that appeal to their penchant for email, bargains, and community engagement, as well as their loyal personality. In turn, these educators might spread the word to their students, parents, and the larger community.
MDR, a division of Dun & Bradstreet, provides education marketing data, services, sales tools, and digital marketing services to the education industry and Fortune 500 brands.