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So you exhibited at BETT. Now what?
There’s a good chance you spoke to a lot of teachers. Scanned lots of badges. Posted some team pics to social media with all the #BETT2024 hashtags.
I expect your stand visitors took plenty of brochures, or freebies, or asked for free trials. You probably received lots of nice, enthusiastic compliments.
In fact, you’re probably feeling pretty good.
Then it’s over and…back to reality.
Permission to market to teachers
All you have for your herculean efforts is a spreadsheet of teacher contacts, a croaky voice, and sore feet.
And £1000s of event investment to justify.
The hard miles begin after BETT, because that’s when you need to recoup your exhibitor expenses.
And one thing BETT is not, is cheap:
But there’s good news!
You now have the holy grail of marketing: permission.
This means teachers have ASKED to hear from you.
But how to turn marketing consent into marketing gold?
The pressure to sell, sell, sell
Companies put in an enormous effort to getting teachers to visit their stand. The pre-BETT grind is real.
Almost every teacher will visit dozens of stands, sit in multiple talks, and sign up for loads of demos.
At the end of the day, their bags will be bulging with flyers, brochures, and branded giveaways (and it pains me to say it, but most of that stuff will go straight in the recycling when they get back to school).
Their heads will be buzzing with all the options, costs, and exciting opportunities.
Inevitably every one of them will see their inbox flooded with emails from edtech companies over the next few weeks as vendors “blast” their lists. And we guarantee many of those emails will be along these lines:
Thanks for visiting our stand at BETT! It was great to meet you! We had an amazing exhibition and we hope you did too!
As requested please click the link below to access your free 30 day trial.”
Or variations thereof.
Then, probably, a couple of follow up emails, perhaps with a BETT discount code, or trial extension offer.
Maybe you even call their school, hoping to get past the dreaded school office administrator and leave a voicemail.
But those tactics won’t really work.
You’re not standing out. You sound the same as everyone else.
And it’s not like teachers inboxes are empty – they’re likely to be even busier having been out of office for a few days.
And then radio silence. They’ve moved on and, with a resigned sigh, you let those (expensive) leads turn cold and you write off BETT as a loss.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
How do you cut through the noise?
You just need to be smart digital marketers, and deploy a range of marketing to schools tactics that are more likely to turn leads into prospects into customers.
Because getting ROI from events like BETT means, probably for many months to come, you work on building trust and making sure your brand sticks.
Get teachers to take action post-BETT
We believe the key is to be relevant and provide value without being overly salesy. BETT and other education exhibitions are often only one part in the decision making process.
Teachers will appreciate follow up that feels tailored to their needs, budget, and offers genuine solutions or insights.
But most of all, make sure your message makes its voice heard and tells a story that’s pertinent to the challenges your stand attendees need solving.
Carefully segment your BETT list
Sending different messages to different chunks of your BETT list is one of our most important recommendations.
How you segment is up to you.
Commonly, in the education sector, segmentation is done by job title, geography, or by phase of education. Any of which can be tailored to a particular message.
But what else did you find out beyond a data point when you spent time face to face with all these teachers?
Hopefully, you recorded the problem that they were looking to solve which drew them to your stand.
Armed with that insight you can segment your BETT contact list by top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel by thinking about where your lead is in their decision making process. Are they…
- Not problem or solution aware = Top of funnel
A serendipitous visit – your stand triggered something in the teacher and they thought they’d investigate.
💡Example post-event marketing activity: Invite to a thought leadership style webinar centred around a shared pain point or belief that your product or service solves.
- Problem aware, but not solution aware = Middle of funnel
A broad desire – “We need new interactive whiteboards” – but don’t have a specific supplier in mind.
💡Example post-event marketing activity: Send an email drip series that shares blog posts about the common challenges and solutions facing teachers like them.
- Problem aware, and solution aware = Bottom of funnel
They know what they want and you’re on their hit list. They’re in the buying zone.
💡Example post-event marketing activity: Exclusive invite to a 1-2-1 Teams call looking at the product features that show off the product’s ‘Wow’ moments. Incentivise attendance by promising a 10% discount to all attendees.
Create an upsell toolkit
Sure, a teacher or two from a school may have had a positive and informative demo on your stand.
But what about the other half a dozen of their colleagues who didn’t go to BETT? They’re probably still part of the decision making process or have budget authority.
Your stand visitors now understand your value proposition, recognise the advantages, and are keen to buy your product for their school.
However, this usually requires approval from a higher-level staff member.
So, to streamline this process, an Internal Upsell Toolkit for teachers is essential.
This toolkit should provide a variety of ready-to-use resources, making it significantly easier for teachers to “sell” your product to other stakeholders in the next staff meeting.
Improve your post-BETT email open rates and click rates
Humanise your post-BETT follow ups
This doesn’t just mean merging their first name into an email 😜
We talk a lot in marketing about ‘personalisation’, but what our leads really need is humanisation.
It means sending messages that are meaningful to the recipient. You may have had a positive conversation with them at BETT, but you’ll soon lose them if they feel like they’ve been mass marketed to afterwards.
If you gathered specific information about the teachers (like subject taught), segment your email list and tailor your messages accordingly.
A subject line like “Enhancing [subject interest] with [Your Product/Service]” speaks directly to the recipient’s interests.
But you should also lean into more stimulating areas like curiosity, surprise, and delight.
Subject lines that get emails opened
Use a striking subject lines that resonate with their experience at the exhibition.
Be playful and intriguing. Teachers’ inboxes are full to bursting and you have a fight on your hands to get your email noticed, let alone opened.
So take the copywriting gloves off and try some fresh approaches.
Example email subject lines to capture attention:
- “[First name], tell us (honestly!) what you thought about [product name], we can take it 💪”
- “[First name], 3 ways to use [product name] that we forgot to tell you at BETT 🤨”
- “[First name], what we loved ❤️ (and hated 👿) about BETT”
Personalised Video Messages
Create short, personalised 90 second video messages for your highest value teacher leads, addressing them by name and referencing something specific from your conversation at the exhibition.
This requires more work, but making the extra effort and applying a more personal touch can work wonders to keep the relationship growing (plus they may recognise your face from speaking to you at BETT!).
These videos can be sent via email and offer a warm, personal touch that stands out. We use Loom to do our outreach. TIP: Try “looming” with your website or product in the background.
Social Media Shout-Outs
A 🧵 about #Bett2024... Whilst it's a trade show, it's the people that make it such a stand-out event, and I just wanted to say thank you to all of the amazing people I got to connect with these last few days at this brilliant #EdTech event. pic.twitter.com/8HIaxa9pGz— Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist) January 27, 2024
👆Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist) doing it right on X/Twitter
Teachers interested in your product or service may check you out on social media.
So make sure you are posting regularly during and post-BETT. A ghost town social media channel during a major edtech event doesn’t speak well about your brand.
Plan and create post-event content according to the 4 content pillars – Inspire, Engage, Entertain and Inform:
- Inform posts can include: product updates, upcoming post-event webinar dates, case studies, stand statistics
- Inspire posts can include: inspirational quotes about the show, transformation stories you heard, and customer successes.
- Engage posts can include: event polls, conversation starter questions, and giveaways.
- Entertain posts can include: relevant memes, show reels, and visually inspiring images.
Seek out some of the teachers or their schools on your social media platforms, and follow them, sub-tweet them, and celebrate their dedication to education. It creates a community feel and shows your appreciation. It also nudges them to follow you back.
Fact 1: #Bett2024 was awesome!— Jon Neale | #Bett2024 (@JNealeUK) January 28, 2024
Fact 2: The people and community made it so!!
I wish I could have captured a picture with everyone generous enough to share in some forward facing, learning focused, accessible-for-all, AI embracing conversation! This GIF shows just some of the… pic.twitter.com/EnxaW6u66C
👆A perfectly pitched thank you montage from Jon Neale (@JNealeUK) on X/Twitter
Engaging your event leads
Content about YOU (”See why we had an awesome time at BETT!!”) won’t be as persuasive as content that tells an interesting story that they can relate to (”Check out this montage of teachers who visited our stand at BETT – are YOU in it?”).
You might think your leads want to know you won a BETT Award (which is pretty compelling, we have to admit) because it validates your product. But, truthfully, they’d be more thrilled by an outstanding customer service interaction.
You need to try to capture attention more effectively than text can alone.
Invite your BETT list to visit a landing page that has a kick ass lead magnet like a short, engaging video or infographic, that recaps the product highlights that teachers who visited your stand were most enthused about.
A subject line hinting at this multimedia content can pique curiosity, like “See what teachers thought were the best bits of [product name] at [Exhibition Name] in 60 seconds“.
Why not just send them directly to your Youtube instead of a landing page?
Unless you have a number of other videos on your channel that they can browse, it’s almost certainly better to build a landing page to host your video. That way you can control the conversation more easily and offer a further conversion point like booking a demo.
Highlight exclusive offers or resources
It’s a common tactic to make event exclusive offers, free trials, or valuable resources available for a limited time.
But note these will only tend to work for prospects that are bottom of the funnel, or in the “buying zone”.
After all, a discount is only helpful to teachers who need pushing over the sales line.
A subject line like “[First name], your exclusive post-[Exhibition Name] offer inside” can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
Storytelling and testimonials
Teachers connect with stories and social proof, especially from their peers.
Share success stories or testimonials from other educators who’ve benefited from your product or service.
A subject line like “How Ms. Smith transformed her classroom with [Your Product/Service]” can be very compelling.
For more insights into making your social proof work for you take a look at Don’t believe the hype – How to get the best out of your social proof when marketing to schools on Edtech Impact.
Position your product as a problem-solver
Pose a thought-provoking question related to their challenges or interests.
For instance, use a subject line like “Are you one of the 8 out of 10 teachers that visited our stand at BETT struggling with student engagement?”
This approach not only draws attention but also positions you as a problem-solver.
Go the extra mile
There’s a decent chance your stand visitors actively sought you out.
But, unless your product operates in its own product category, then they probably visited a number of your competitors too.
So standing out and staying on top of mind when they’re ready to take to further action is key.
If you don’t want to become a distant memory you probably need to share more than an email with them.
Customised teaching resources
Send a digital or physical teaching resource customised to their subject or year group.
For example, a set of creative lesson plans or interactive activities that incorporate your product or service. This not only demonstrates value but also how your offering fits into their classroom.
Interactive digital quizzes or surveys
Design a fun, interactive quiz or survey lead magnet related to your product or service, and the challenges teachers face.
It can be a playful way to engage them while subtly educating them about your offerings.
In an age of digital communication, a handwritten message can have a huge impact. Send a thank-you card referencing your discussion at the exhibition.
It’s a personal touch that’s rare and appreciated.
Host an invite only webinar specifically for exhibition attendees, covering topics relevant to education and how your product can be integrated. Make it interactive and offer a Q&A session.
Try not to just make it a product walkthrough 🥱
Pick a controversial position or make a statement that your audience can empathise with, and your company aligns with. It will help your potential customers feel in tune with you and your mission.
Also see our blog post: How to improve your webinar sign up rate
Customised gift boxes
Did you capture the attendee’s school address?
Send a small, customised gift box with items that are useful for teachers, like classroom supplies, a book on educational strategies, and some branded items from your company.
Yes, this has a unit cost but this physical reminder of your brand can be very effective, long lasting, and will tend to draw admiring (and jealous) glances from other staff members.
Exclusive access to a beta program
A hard truth is that BETT might be a school’s first tentative step towards a purchase.
School leads may not buy for years, especially if your product is a big investment, or falls in the middle of a budget cycle.
So play the long game and an offer them an opportunity to be part of a beta testing program for a new product or feature.
This not only makes them feel special but also gets them directly involved with your product and a chance to get to know your team.
Psst! Want even more exclusive marketing to teachers advice?
TAIT, our marketing to schools newsletter, hits the inboxes of our industry’s smartest education marketing professionals every other Wednesday.
Notes from the edtech marketing community ❤️
“An important trick that I advise, is that although leads might not convert right now, that doesn’t mean communication needs to stop. So what if right now isn’t the right time? It might be in 6 months, so you need to really nurture those leads. Keep sharing important information that resonates with them, keep that communication flowing. It shouldn’t deem on stalkerish, but an email every few weeks or so keeps your brand in mind.”
Rachel Coles from Convert Marketing
“A really important area, as you know. All too often, those engaged leads are all excited back in school talking about what they saw….but are now waiting to be nudged into action!
And another bunch of people have forgotten about you altogether after the show because you didn’t stand out in their mind in the hubbub and excitement. Now is the time to start standing out!”
Jodie Lopez, The Edtech Ninja
“When speaking to businesses trying to tackle reaching out, a couple of things come to mind:
- Where are your target personas listening for information (LinkedIn, TES, X etc)? Remember they are bombarded with comms.
- What types of messaging seem to resonate already with your target persona (look at companies that are successful in the market already)? This includes the type of language used. As an example; you wouldn’t use the same language for a graphic designer as a gamer if you were selling a laptop… your communication needs to rise above everyone else’s.
One more point (but there are a thousand points): what works well in education is building community, through thought leadership and delivering examples of best practice”
Nick Finnemore, Finnemore Consulting
“My main advice would be when following up on your BETT leads, irrespective of whether you gathered 20 leads across the whole show or 100 leads per day, don’t treat them all the same and go for the broad brush approach. A blanket email to everyone saying “Thanks for visiting us at BETT, would you like to know more/buy our product?” is unlikely to be successful.
Instead, focus on what you learnt about them when they visited your stand (hopefully you captured their challenges and needs on your lead form but that’s a whole other conversation!) and communicate with them about THEIR needs and how YOU SPECIFICALLY can help them. Providing them with something valuable will build trust and move the conversation along far more successfully than a stream of emails.
Remember, the leads gained at BETT would have likely cost a fortune to generate – treat them that way!”
Sarah Finnemore, Finnemore Consulting
Personalised, targeted strategies convert contacts into committed customers
Ultimately, the goal is to transform BETT leads into loyal customers.
In the aftermath of the BETT exhibition, every exhibitor knows this is a daunting task.
Providing valuable and customised content, whether through interactive digital content, exclusive offers, or educational resources, is key to maintaining interest and building a relationship with the teachers you met at BETT.
Smart, interesting, and remarkable post-exhibition marketing not only elevates your brand above the competition but also establishes a lasting connection with the educators, ensuring a higher return on investment from events like BETT.
By focusing on relevance, humanisation, and value addition, you can effectively turn your exhibition efforts into successful sales opportunities.
And, if all else fails, have you heard the story of the nine word email?