Soon, thousands of educators will flock to Chicago for ISTE 2018, the ed tech industry’s largest trade show. Attendees will pursue the mission of discovering the latest in ed tech as they contemplate the best products and services vendors have to offer. ISTE overlaps two years in the school-buying cycle, creating a unique opportunity to sell your product while acquiring valuable leads. To set your team up for success, we’ve put together an education marketing game plan of what to do before, during and after ISTE.
It may seem obvious, but one of the keys to success at any event is to set goals before ever setting foot on the show floor. Start by establishing a few primary objectives, then consider which consumers you’ll be targeting and what you’ll be offering them.
Determine the metrics that will indicate how you stack up against a bottom line prior to attending. This will make it easier to evaluate your ROI at the end of the conference. Some key metrics to establish goals for and evaluate are:
- Social media impressions
- Total website sessions
- New website visitors
- Sales meetings booked
- Customer meetings scheduled
- New leads acquired
With measurable goals in place, it’s time to set your education marketing strategy in motion. Start by spreading the news across social channels that you’re attending ISTE – draw in your target audience through engagement. Consider an email marketing campaign to raise awareness. Reaching out at least two weeks before the event ensures customers and prospects know you’ll be there and what you’re offering.
Chicago is a busy place, so it’s vital to consider your travel logistics as far ahead as possible. Double-check flights, hotels and transportation to eliminate potential hiccups. If you need to ship booth equipment, plan ahead on how and where it needs to go. Also consider brushing up on a few coffee shops and eateries if you’re taking a customer, prospect, business partner or journalist out for a meeting.
Tradeshows provide a valuable opportunity to make personal connections and engage prospects in conversation. Take the time to listen, network and build relationships instead of simply pitching your product. And don’t forget about media contacts who may be attending the conference. Engaging these influencers may inspire an article that you can use in your promotions. Record interviews with your key customers. Conduct a focus group to inform your 2018-19 marketing plan.
Consider live posting on your social channels to build excitement about what you have to offer. Using #ISTE18 and #edtech hashtags is a great way to build social media momentum. Fun activities such as giveaways and discounts can drive traffic to your booth and be sure to engage the customer or prospect in a conversation that covers their needs and your solutions.
So, ISTE is over. Now what? Your work is just beginning. Time to nurture the leads you collected and cement the relationships you established to build momentum for the back-to-school season. Design a topical, targeted email campaign with a call to action to dive deeper. Engage your leads through social media to refresh the connection and remind them who you are. Highlight renewal opportunities for current customers. More specifically:
- Develop an action-based drip email campaign
- Launch social media ad campaigns targeting prior website visitors
- Devote time and resources to send meaningful, personalized outreach to those leads you had more in-depth conversations with
Host a post-conference evaluation meeting with your team to identify what went right, and what to improve for next year. Taking detailed notes of this meeting will pay dividends when ISTE planning resurfaces the following Spring.
Looking for more ideas to make the most of ISTE 2018? Or need a double check to make sure your bases are covered? Download our ISTE 2018 Marketing Guide.