August is the launching pad for the entire year.

Now’s the Time to Build Awareness

As I post this, it’s mid-August. We escape the remaining dog days at the pool, the beach, and maybe even in air-conditioned offices. But if you market products or services to K-12 education, then now’s the time to build awareness. Now’s when you announce to the market who you are, why you’re special, and what makes your products so amazing.

Since K-12 education mostly purchases on a school year cycle, the marketing work done now for most products and services feed into the 2014-15 year that culminates in a summertime purchase. So right now, you’re firmly on the launching pad of your entire sales year.

So the clock is ticking. Loudly. You’ve got until mid-November to work past introductions and into the range of familiarity. That’s because in January, your core marketplace – K-12 school districts – are entering into the “Consideration, Trial, and Purchase” phase. So are you ready?

If so, here’s what you’ve got at your disposal:

An Outbound Plan

An integrated approach is key, since the best plans won’t tie themselves to a single outbound mechanism. We put a lot of weight on email marketing these days. Part of the problem with that is so does your competition, so prospecting lists are overused. While email communications should be a strong arrow in your quiver, an email only strategy might leave you lean in the leads department. Augment email with other viable direct-contact techniques.

An Inbound Plan

We hear a lot about inbound these days, but rest assured it’s not a fad. Inbound marketing programs build highly qualified leads, critical for smart business acquisition and to kick your outbound email campaigns into overdrive. By creating great content and making sure that it’s discoverable, you’re developing your potential customer base in an unassuming way. Tie together your inbound and outbound tactical approaches for best results.

A Wickedly Good Sales Presentation

If you have a strong sales channel, now’s the time to tweak the sales presentation to make sure it’s incorporating your most recent positioning and accurately represents your product offerings. A more modular approach to a sales presentation is always the way to go. It allows the right flexibility so your sales team can be nimble during the range of sales situations they’re likely to encounter.

A Top-Notch Web Presence

It’s the first place that your market will go when exploring the pros and cons of signing on as a customer. The money you invest in a quality website loaded with great content is money well-spent. Without a doubt, it’s the face of your business. The more that face is friendly, current, and loaded with customer-facing content that shows you understand and can help solve the biggest problems out there, the easier closing business becomes.

The Right Disposition

Hopefully July allowed for rest, relaxation, and some time to recoup. Because now comes crunch time, followed by the long-haul. And then it begins all over again! We serve an amazing, important, and at-times quirky marketplace. It takes a lot of work, but it’s always worth the effort. The rewards can certainly be amazing.

For more on seasonality: Timing Outbound K-12 Marketing

Matt

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