One thing we know about successful education marketing is that our audience keeps us guessing. There are often differences between how we expect people will behave and how they actually behave. And that fact creates complications when optimizing for conversions. What you need is real, tested data on which headlines, images and copy resonate best.
With digital communication being what it is, testing is much easier now than it was even a few years ago. First, let’s start with what testing is, and how it helps your education marketing plan.
Testing is a way to see which of two or even three small modifications to a control best perform with your audience. Smashing Magazine describes it as similar to your Science 101 class back in high school.
“…At different intervals, you measured the growth of plants as they were subjected to different conditions, and in the end, you tallied the increase in height of the different plants.”
In a similar way, you start with an article, email or web page as your control and modify one small aspect of it to see how people respond. Maybe you change the feature photo at the top, or maybe you try a different headline. When you go back and look at analytics, you’ll start to see which option resonates best with your audience.
Now that we know how testing works, let’s talk about the best way for you to implement it into your education marketing plan.
The first thing to do is set a goal. For example, if you want to increase email open rates, you might set an open rate goal of 7.5 percent.
Second, take a look at your audience and create a hypothesis. For example, you might want to look at what time of day emails are most often opened and read by your core audience. Perhaps your hypothesis would be that teachers open their email more after school hours than before or during prep periods.
At that point, create an email and run your test. Using the same email, with the same subject line, send one-third of your audience the email in the morning. Send another third of your audience the email around lunch, and the final third will receive their email at the end of the day.
The following day, look back at your email open rates and see which time of day worked best for your group of teachers and if your hypothesis was correct. Next time you send an email, you’ll have data-backed information on when the best time of day actually is to hit send.
As you gather this kind of data from your audience, you’ll be able to better predict open rates, click through rates, and several other conversion-increasing behaviors. You’ll come to see how sending an email even a few hours earlier or later can increase open rates exponentially.
Wondering what other elements you might want to test for your education market? Here’s a list to consider:
- Sub headlines
- Paragraph Text
- Call to Action text
- Call to action button
- Content near the fold
- Social proof
- Media mentions
Testing can be an incredibly useful tool when marketing your education business. If you would like help setting up email campaigns, determining what on your website could be modified to improve conversions, or have any questions about how to use testing in your business, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.