Targeting Teachers: Three B2B E-Mail Case Studies

Want to impress teachers? Forget the bright, shiny apples. What teachers really value are study guides. Study guides give educators ideas on how to use products or services within an established classroom curriculum.

Michael Gauthier, president of e-tractions, finds study guides are the “incentive of choice” for teacher campaigns created for The History Channel, Polaroid, and Boston’s Museum of Science.

“Frontier Homes”

The History Channel was Gauthier’s first experience marketing to teachers. To encourage teachers to assign the TV show “Frontier Homes” as homework, e-tractions created an interactive game (play it here). The idea is to match historical objects with four different types of pioneer homes. From the puzzle page, teachers could download a study guide and email a friend or colleague.

The campaign generated a high registration rate — and incredible viral results. A full one-third of registrants were not on the original mailing list. (See my ClickZ colleague Heidi Anderson’s column on this project for more details.)

Polaroid Education Program

Polaroid wanted to encourage use of its instant cameras for teaching. An email created by Brian Connelly & Partners and executed by e-tractions featured a sample lesson on using “Picture Story Circles,” in which the children in the circle tell stories based on their photographs. The email offered a free classroom activities guide, a film coupon, and a forward message. The viral effect is when children come home from school excited about their camera activity, it encourages parents to buy a Polaroid to keep the lesson going at home.

Several Challenges for the Museum of Science

That study guide experience came in handy for another e-tractions client, Boston’s Museum of Science. The museum’s first foray into the online space started with online ticket purchases. Almost overnight, they began to account for one third of the museum’s admission revenue. Hoping to feed the phenomenon, the museum brought in e-tractions to increase online ticket sales further. It did, through a highly successful campaign created in conjunction with the museum’s advertising agency.

The next challenge was to increase museum traffic by tapping into the education market. The museum knew from experience school fieldtrips generate lots of follow-up traffic when parents take kids back for a second visit. So e-tractions emailed teachers to encourage them to use the museum as a resource and schedule school visits.

The list was generated from a number of sources: Teacher’s Nights attendees, sweepstakes, and teachers in the museum’s existing database.

A simple text email was mailed with the subject line, “Museum of Science — News for Educators.” As the museum’s brand is highly regarded by teachers, it got a great open rate. Inside was a short note offering a free educators’ newsletter and a link to a landing page.

The registration rate was an outstanding 63 percent. Also interesting is that the link for an electronic Field Trip Guide generated the same 18 percent conversion rate as the special discount link. This shows the high value teachers place on these study guides. You don’t always have to offer a discount, sweepstakes, or giveaway to get a good response with this market segment.

The viral factor for the campaign was also amazingly strong. For each referral made, 1.5 visitors came to the museum. Of those who visited as a result of a referral, 35 percent registered.

The high viral response is consistent with Gauthier’s experience with the education market in general. He says teachers are enthusiastic forwarders of relevant information. (He also mentioned teachers are meticulous registrants — they usually provide error-free contact information!)

The museum’s marketing vice president, Cindy Mackey, said they will expand outreach to teachers. The next step is to send a postcard announcing a new IMAX film and encourage teachers to log on to the Web site. This should help expand the teacher email database, which is still small.

Conclusion

As “economic gatekeepers” of the classroom, teachers are often the key to reaching students — and, by extension, their friends and parents. If you’re selling to the education market, start doing your homework — and start writing the study guide that will open the door to profitable new relationships.

Our case study quest continues! One reader recently requested case studies on investor relations campaigns. Share what’s worked for you by sending your story to Karen.

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