This past Wednesday, September 5, MDR hosted a free webinar: Selling in a Challenging Environment: Practical Strategies for Finding Funds, Creating Value, and Closing Deals. Nearly two hundred sales and marketing professionals in the education space listened to Anne Wujcik, Senior Education Research Analyst for MDR, and Larry Sugarman and Pat Walkington, partners at Walkington/Sugarman Education Sales Advisors, share information and tips on navigating the industry challenges given the current state of the market.
In Anne’s segment, she gave an overview and update of what’s going on with education funding, and why there is reason to be optimistic or, at the very least, hopeful that things are stabilized for now.
Pat and Larry shared expert sales advice for creating a customer focus and making your product or service a necessity in the eyes of the client.
If you missed the webinar, feel free to play back the presentation and/or download the deck.
Definitely stay tuned for the Q and A–some great funding related questions were posed and answered, along with discussions about how to reach decision-makers that sales professionals will find valuable.
Kim Booth, Web Advertising Product Manager, MDR
Web advertising is a perfect complement to your multi-channel digital marketing strategy, providing another way to reach educators online, generate leads, and drive sales. To maximize your banner advertising campaign ROI, it’s critical to create ads that enhance your campaign so you see better results. Get started with these four simple tips:
1. Create Banner Ads That Clearly Support Your Marketing Goal
Whether you’re trying to promote brand awareness or customer loyalty, or drive user engagement or conversions, the goal of your campaign is the foundation for a successful campaign.
Campaigns with a defined goal executed through a clear consumer-facing message or call to action garner higher click-through and conversion rates.
If you don’t identify the desired goal of your banner campaign, your audience will most likely shift their attention elsewhere on the page.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Who is your precise educator audience? Elementary special education teachers? High school teachers in the Northwest? Once you’ve defined your target audience, remember who you’re talking to and why you’re reaching out. Step outside of the digital product and marketing expertise box, and use the words and design that will grab the attention of your target audience.
If you’re using MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising solution, your ad will only be served to your desired targeted audience, so you can tailor your message specifically to that audience with confidence.
3. Use Animation
Animated banner ads stimulate the eyes and typically generate a higher click-through rate than static banner ads.
Following the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards, avoid filling your banner ad with excessive animation: jumping, flashing, blurring, text going in and out, etc.
IAB recommends that a banner’s animation length should be a maximum of 15 seconds includinga maximum of three loops, making it easier for the consumer to read and digest messaging. Be sure your call to action is clear on every frame of your banner ad.
4. Test Different Versions
Create two or more versions of your banner creative. At MDR, we encourage testing multiple creative ad units, and we don’t charge additionally for multiple creative versions of banners within a reasonable number.
We typically recommend weighting and serving your test creatives equally, and unless a customer specifies otherwise, we run our customer test banners in this manner. As clicks and conversions start to come in on an MDR web advertising campaign, it automatically optimizes and begins to serve a greater percentage to the better performing creative. This type of marketing automation makes following best practices simple and effortless for marketers.
These are just a few ideas for creating effective banner ads. Need more tips and information on web advertising? Visit our Web Advertising Learning Center!
Vicki Smith-Bigham, EdNET Conference Manager
The annual EdNET Conference is the industry’s premier networking event. It brings education business leaders together to connect with each other, discuss the market, and find opportunities for growth.
If you haven’t yet registered for EdNET 2012, here are five reasons you should do so—today!
Meaningful one-on-one and small group discussions are the hallmark of EdNET. You can forge new business relationships at receptions, roundtables, networking breakfasts, luncheons, and breaks. EdNET’s Kickoff Reception and Business Opportunities Fair exhibits reception provide a perfect atmosphere for conversations.
EdNET’s program offers a unique combination of compelling speakers, energizing roundtables, and in-the-trenches reports. Focusing exclusively on the most pressing business and economic issues impacting our industry, this year’s agenda addresses major market forces affecting education companies, such as school budget uncertainties, technology developments, and relevant curriculum initiatives and concerns.
Our powerful program concludes with a vision of tomorrow in the highly rated “View from the Catbird Seat” presentation. An expanded panel of our industry’s leading market analysts share their views on where the market is going and what it means for vendors and then lead attendees in an interactive exploration of the critical threats and opportunities for the next few years.
EdNET attendees don’t have to wait until the Conference to start connecting with potential partners. With the EdNET Networking Directory, you can start as soon as you register!
Every registered attendee receives access to the directory before, during, and after the event to maximize their networking opportunities. Registrants can complete their own networking profile—outlining their reasons for attending EdNET and their organization’s goals—and search for possible connections with compatible goals.
With new directory functionality in 2012, EdNET attendees can also join discussion groups and schedule 1:1 meetings well in advance of the conference itself.
4. Early Bird Discount
Of course, a great reason to register for EdNET 2012 TODAY instead of next week is the savings. Through this Friday, August 17, you can save up to $200 on your EdNET registration using the code deSUMMER12.
Did I mention networking? From start to finish, the EdNET 2012 agenda gives you over seventeen hours of possible networking time! Imagine the connections you could make, the relationships you could foster, and the partnerships you could broker in that time. Your face-to-face networking hours will be even more productive when you seek out potential connections in the directory before the Conference begins.
Whether you’re an industry veteran or brand new to the education market, EdNET 2012 can help you chart, navigate, and deliver in a rapidly changing education environment. I hope to see you there!
Want to learn more about EdNET? Listen to an informative webinar with detailed information on the Conference and the benefits of attending.
Derek Fairfield, Leader, E-Marketing Solutions, MDR
As Chris mentioned in his last blog, personalization and relevancy in your email campaigns are critical to success. Our latest research supports this, indicating significantly higher response rates in email prospecting campaigns that are personalized and sent to more targeted audiences. We also gleaned some pertinent information on deployment timing that may surprise you.
I’ve boiled down our findings into three key research-based best practices to help you create better-performing email campaigns.
1. Less is More. The days of casting a wide email net to try to catch any possible prospect are gone. Marketers are successfully targeting smaller, more precise groups to maximize their response rates.
Our 2011 research results indicate a direct inverse proportion between the size of an email campaign and the response rate. Email campaigns sent to 20,000-39,999 recipients in 2011 saw an average open rate of 7.3%. Open rates for campaign sizes of just 100—999 recipients were double that at 14.6%. Click rates demonstrate the same pattern.
Best Practice Takeaway: Market to a smaller, more carefully targeted group to avoid wasted efforts and maximize your response and ROI.
2. For Personalization, Last Name Rules. Generally speaking, personalized emails do better for opens and click-throughs than non-personalized emails. What’s interesting about our market is the types of personalization that are most successful with educators. By far, the best performing type of personalization was by last name (a 14.3% open and 4.7% click rate, as opposed to a 7.5%open and 1.8 % click rate for first name personalization.)
Education is a profession where the use of an individual’s last name is the customary form of address (at least by their students), and the use of a first name coming from a stranger or corporate entity might seem disrespectful. It’s not surprising, then, that the open and click-through rates of campaigns using first name only are actually lower than those with no personalization at all.
Best Practice Takeaway: Personalization is a reliable way to increase response to your email campaigns, but for educators, personalization by last name is clearly the most successful.
3. Don’t Believe the Day of the Week Hype. For marketers, determining the best day of the week to send an email is a hot topic. Many subscribe to the practice of avoiding Mondays and Fridays, but our research indicates that there’s really no good reason for this.
Of the email campaigns sent last year, 15% were sent on a Monday, 8% were sent on a Friday, and 31%, 23%, and 22% were sent on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday respectively. It’s clear that the bulk of us are sending our campaigns in the middle of the week, but is this really increasing our campaign response? Our research says no. Monday and Friday campaigns actually outperformed the other three days in open rates, and click rates are nearly even across the board.
Best Practice Takeaway: Even though conventional marketing wisdom says differently, research results indicate that marketers should feel confident deploying campaigns any day of the week.
As the education market continues to evolve, so do our recommendations for marketing strategies and best practices. Continuing to refine your campaigns in response to the changing landscape helps you get the best results.
Are you using these best practices? What results are you seeing? Let me know in the comments, or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning about best practices for mobile email optimization? Check out our recently published Guide to Mobile Email Marketing.