As a teacherpreneur, you are an educator and entrepreneur using your teaching skills, expertise, and knowledge to develop educational products and services that can be used in thousands of classrooms… IF other teachers are able to find them. So how do you ensure your products make a broad impact on education? And what steps can you take to increase your reach and exposure when you release new resources?? Your email marketing strategy is a big part of that!
Email marketing is an incredibly effective way for teacherpreneurs to connect with customers, build relationships, and drive sales. However, writing compelling email campaigns requires time and a well-planned email marketing strategy. Whether you’re new to email marketing or have some experience under your belt, here are key email marketing strategy tips to keep in mind.
Why Email Marketing Matters
Email is, by far, one of the most direct ways to reach your audience. Unlike social media platforms where algorithm changes can limit your reach, email allows you to speak directly to subscribers who have already expressed interest in your business.
Email marketing provides an opportunity to showcase your products or services, share discounts and promotions, and build relationships over time. Email also gives you full control over your brand messaging and visuals.
It can also be extremely cost-effective compared to other marketing channels, especially when you’re just starting out and paying for a smaller number of subscribers as you begin to grow your business.. Once you clearly define and utilize your email marketing strategy, you’ll have an invaluable way to connect with your customers.
Start With The Basics
When you’re just starting with your email marketing strategy, the first step is to make sure you cover the basics by sending these three types of emails on a consistent basis. Once you have a plan in place for those, it’s time to build on them with evergreen email sequences. These automations will free up time and send based on customer behavior to help market for you with “set and (almost) forget” emails.
Most importantly, you need to understand a few dos and don’ts when it comes to creating your email marketing strategy. I’ll share common mistakes I’ve seen teacherpreneurs makes, as well as proven strategies to steer your campaigns in the right direction. With a few simple changes, you can create emails that engage subscribers and boost conversions.
It’s easy to damage your email deliverability and engagement if you don’t follow email marketing best practices. Here are some of the most common mistakes teacherpreneurs make, along with tips to correct course and headed back in the right direction.
Don’t: Always sending the same emails to everyone on your list at the same time.
Do: Segment your list based on customer attributes like interests, purchase history, demographics, etc. This allows you to personalize your emails and provide more relevant content. You can learn more about email segmenting in this post.
For example, you could create one sequence for subscribers who opened a back-to-school email in order to send them specific back-to-school promotions.
Another option is to segment your list with specific subject or grade level tags. Customers who have purchased math related materials are added to one list, science another list, reading a third list, etc. This way you can get strategic with your email marketing by only sending math related specials to the math list, etc. Building targeted emails lists in this way will result in better engagement and higher click through rates.
Don’t: If your subject lines seem spammy or don’t match the content of the email, subscribers will be more likely to delete (or even worse, send it to their junk folder) and less likely to open future emails.
Do: Aim for subject lines that are clear, compelling, and speak to the unique value of your content. For example, “5 Teacher Tips for Classroom Organization and a Better School Year” tells subscribers exactly what to expect. You can also use intrigue or other marketing tactics on occasion to add personality to your emails, but don’t overdo it.
Don’t: Avoid sending emails that don’t showcase your unique brand voice and expertise.
Do: Subscribers want content tailored to their interests and written in your unique voice. They want to feel like you sat down and spent time crafting the email just for them AND that your email marketing is inline with the content they’ve come to know and love from your other platforms (like your blog or social media accounts).
If you’re still developing your brand voice and content, visit these posts to learn more: 5 Content Pillars and How To Make Them Work for Your Small Business or How To Plan Blog Post Ideas.
To further keep your emails on-brand, you can include some type of branding at the top of your email. Whether it’s a logo or brand colors, carrying your brand vibe over to your email marketing will help readers automatically know who the email is from and further connect with your brand.
Another way to avoid sending generic emails is to utilize custom fields/custom tags. Every email provider seems to have a different name for this, but it basically inputs customer information into the email. So instead of a generic greeting of “Hi!” or “Hey!” you can say “Hey, Christi! As a lover of all things math, I’ve got something just for you!”
Don’t: Don’t let mobile design fall through the cracks! More than half of emails are opened on mobile devices today. If your emails aren’t mobile-friendly with easy-to-read fonts and properly-sized images, you’ll lose subscribers due to a poor experience.
Do: Stick to a few images, use large text, and preview your emails in various formats to ensure they deliver seamlessly.
Don’t: Take an aggressive sales-only approach. While the ultimate goal of email marketing is to make sales, avoid constantly bombarding subscribers with promotion-heavy emails. This approach annoys recipients, hurts your brand reputation, and leads to unsubscribes.
Do: Remember one of the first rules in email marketing is to always provide value to your audience, which can be done with both free and paid options. Focus on providing value through informative content and entertaining stories alongside promotional content. This nurtures relationships and engages your audience. An occasional promo-only email is fine and sometimes necessary, but don’t make it the norm.
Don’t: Data isn’t everyone’s favorite topic, I get it. But you can’t ignore your email metrics if you want to grow.
Do: To improve your email marketing over time, you need to monitor performance metrics like open rate, click rate, conversion rate, unsubscribes, etc. You’ll need to take time each month to identify which emails generate the most opens, clicks, and sales. With time, you determine what resonates most with your audience. Then use those insights to craft targeted emails and refine your strategies. Regularly analyzing metrics will help you make optimization a continual process, rather than a one and done project.
Don’t: Don’t over do it or under do it. Finding the right email frequency is crucial. Too many emails annoys subscribers, but infrequent emails means they’ll forget about you.
Do: You need to find the right balance for your unique email list and content, which is a multi-step process that involves testing different frequencies and different days/times to determine the sweet spot for your audience. This goes back again to utilizing your metrics to make changes that will evolve your email marketing and put it to work for you. A general rule of thumb for most teacherpreneurs is to send 1-2 emails per week to start and adjust from there.
As an example, one of my teacherpreneur clients averaged 7.5 emails per month when we started working together in 2021. After seeing success, we increased the frequency in 2022 to 8.4 emails per month. So far in 2023, we’re up to 10.8 emails per month while still maintaining an active, engaged subscriber list as one of her main income sources. Those also only count the regular weekly emails, so her nurture sequences and automations aren’t included in those numbers. It’s email marketing strategy magic!
Don’t: Do not get attached to every subscriber on your list. No one likes to purge subscribers and watch their numbers go down, but it’s important to keep your list clean for deliverability (and cost!) Failure to prune your list by removing inactive and bounced subscribers hurts your sender reputation and email deliverability.
Do: Keep your subscriber list clean. An easy way to accomplish this is to set up automated workflows that tag inactive/bounced subscribers and eventually remove them if they remain disengaged. Keeping your list clean ensures your emails reach engaged recipients, so it’s worth seeing your overall numbers go down in order to see your engaged numbers go up. I once ran an email list cleanup for a client that removed over 15,000 subscribers, but the open rate went up 15% in the months after the purge and click rates increased 6%. You shouldn’t be paying for subscribers on your list who aren’t engaged!
With these email marketing strategies, you can transform your email campaigns into invaluable assets for your teacherpreneur business. As a recap, here are a few tips to take your campaigns to the next level:
- Use emails to off specials, like free shipping or coupon codes to incentivize purchases. Just don’t overdo promotions and remember to focus on providing value in addition to calling for purchases.
- Send behavioral-based emails when subscribers take specific actions, like signing up for a webinar or abandoning a cart. This makes sure subscribers are receiving targeted, relevant content.
- Test different calls-to-action to see which ones drive the most clicks and conversions. Strong CTAs can significantly lift results when you tell subscribers exactly what to do.
- Pay attention to timing. Sending emails on low-traffic days (like Saturday) can sometimes boost open rates since inboxes aren’t as full.
- Make subscribing easy with opt-in forms in a variety of places so visitors can join your list seamlessly. Offer an irresistible lead magnet to boost conversions.
The more you nurture subscribers and provide value in an informative way, the more receptive subscribers will be when you also promote your products or services. Focus on consistently providing value, and the sales will naturally follow!
I know it can seem overwhelming figuring out all the do’s and don’ts of marketing while simultaneously creating and launching new products and services. If you need help, this Newsletter Start Up package can help you get your email marketing strategy started on the right foot.