Engaging Edu Community


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Tips on creating and engaging community of users to foster distribution to education market (schools, teachers, parents)

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  • Objective: Get a sense of the edu world and some tips on talking to teachersCrafting and telling a compelling story to break through challenges of getting users in edtech space.Goals:help new edtech startups understand the challenges of marketing/selling in edtech marketIdentify and attract ‘seed’ users, building customer evangelists and then applying broader adoption strategies--
  • Ed Consultant with Stellar K-12: http://www.stellark12.com/about-us.htmlGoal has been to build and engage the community– CS with parents/families– strongly believe this this sense of shared responsibility is what is needed to improve education outcomes for all studentsFostering an offline community- education as an experience/learning and not about functionalityAngel– pitching coaching– storytelling
  • Establish your essential story (web/social)Refine your message (beta testing)Reach out (targeted marketing plan)
  • What is (status quo): Climbing this pyramid historically has been very hard. Has required a massive sales force, 12-18month sales cycles, heavily relationship and reputation basedDecision making and purchasing power is shifting down the pyramid and this is creating massive opportunities– not just for sales but for sharing your storyTeachers spend millions/yr out of their own pockets on toolsMon 1/23 KQED Forum- OUSD PTA raised money to buy a math software programChoice empowers students/parents/consumers to be more involved and engaged in their education/learning experiences ----------http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_United_States55.5 million:The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation's elementary through high schools (pre-kindergarten - 12th grade) this fall.Source: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 215 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>VC’s almost categorically pass on any company that requires sales into schools and districtsRead more: http://robgo.org/2012/02/17/why-vcs-almost-never-invest-in-k12-reflections-from-a-discussion-with-the-ed-tech-community/#ixzz1nAIpwhHn
  • $50B Market- starting to move more quickly– timing is right, now! Obama tech grants for public K12.Technology: Current infrastructure (ie. AWS, Rackspace) makes it easier than ever to build a startup and pc/tablet penetration is increasing ( there is a 3:1 ratio of kids to computers (on avg))Talent: 40% of teachers are under 30 years old and feel very comfortable using technology in the classroomCommon Core is laying the framework to consolidate learning goals/standards across the country (adopted by 43 states already)Budget constraints: strapped districts, now more than ever, are looking for tools/systems to help them do more with less------according to statistics released last week by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the market for educational software and digital content has reach a new high: some $7.5 billion for the U.S. alone. - http://www.edutopia.org/blog/educator-voice-in-edtech-diy-audrey-wattersWhen 75% of teens own a cell phone--40% of those phone are smartphones--more learning is on mobile devices than ever before. Karen Cator, United States Department of Education director of technology, said, "I think 2012 will see an expansion of a variety of ways of getting access to the materials that students need for learning." The confluence of gadgets and learning is yielding a rise in the blended learning movement. The DOE plans to spend $30 million over the next three years to bring blended learning to 400 schools around the country.
  • Teaching is a lonely profession-- Know the context when establishing your story– acknowledge teacher skepticism and time limitationsReferences:Bellwether Education Partners: http://edcrunch.tumblr.com/post/10451719752/strengthening-demand-for-innovation-in-educationIt’s Complicated: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2011/11/the_relationship_status_of_teachers_and_educational_technology_its_complicated.htm
  • Crafting your Story- Words MatterTeachers are very skeptical– how are you crafting your story to break down that skepticism and develop trustHow can your story foster authentic engagement? Encourage teachers to become natural evangelists-------http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2011/11/five_school_reform_sound_bites_that_hurt_teacher_buy-in.htmlSales: I buy a product to help me get a job done. What job are you trying to help people do or do better? That’s how you build your value proposition/sales pitch- Clay Christiansen http://gartner.mediasite.com/mediasite/play/9cfe6bba5c7941e09bee95eb63f769421d?t=1320659595 (~47min)
  • How is your tool helping them reach their learning/classroom management goals?What’s the backup plan?Empathy, user-centered designTeachers are a sensitive audience- imagine you’re in front of 30-40 middle schoolers, what is your backup plan?Form-fit your solution to their problem– outline options for how your product/tool helps address their various needs
  • Identifying and engaging your community– listen to your power users!!Part 2: Telling the story of who you are- setting up your basic web presence, using FB effectively, HootSuite, beta testing-----Do this first– work with your ‘seed’ user to make sure your product is addressing their needs– power users (based on session length, engagement, feedback)Build your initial following, first 1-10k users: Find teachers, friends, parents, etc to help test your product, gauge the sentimentEstablish a basic online presence: FB page, twitter, website, blogYou’ll know you’re ready to move on the phase 2 once your users start: rating, sharing (fb, tweet, school community?), commenting, word-of-mouth--------Incorporate social media plan here- more as the talking points
  • http://www.quicksprout.com/2011/09/08/21-big-marketing-ideas-for-small-marketing-budgets/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Quicksprout+%28Quick+Sprout%29
  • http://ryanspoon.com/blog/2012/01/29/how-to-leverage-facebook-for-startups-part-i-off-facebook/Teachers are apprehensive about using FB with their teacher-hat on.At Facebook's 2010 F8 conference, they revealed the three ingredients of the algorithm:Affinity score: between edge creator and viewer (just viewing their profile, pics, etc)weight: for that particular edge type (like, tag, create, connect, share, status, etc)time: decay factor based on how long ago that edge was createdPageLever- Best tool right now for FB analyticsOther free tools available to tell you when is best to post, based on your fan base--Here are some examples:"Click 'like' if you're excited that we just released our iPad app.""Fill-in-the-blank: All I want for Christmas is ___. Our latest Christmas special is X.""Yes/No: I brushed my teeth last night. We just announed a new brand of toothpaste.""On a scale of 1-10, I think Obama is a great president. Watch this video of our CEO shaking hands with Obama."-----Understand edgerank- FB’s algorithm to determine what content gets surfacesAccording to Tim Chae (PostRocket) four components to optimize for: Each dependent on your users, brand:Time: optimize for when to post based on users, geoType: status update vs. images vs. polls etcFrequency: stay relevant without being annoyingContent: must be interactive and more than marketing
  • There are tools you can use to help with FB engagement and EdgeRank- PageLever, PostRocket
  • HootSuite- start with this– easy to use, comprehensive features, fully web-basedOther resources: TweetDeck, OneForty, QuickSprout
  • Solving a better problem– ex. ClassConnect from cohort 1Customer Development: http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/search?q=%22customer+development%22BetaClassroom is it’s own startup story- edUPGRADEJennie started as a blog, got a lot of feedback, expanded site to social networking platform for beta testers1-2 posts on Edmodo- got 150 teachers reply, invited 40-50 to start testing
  • Expanding your marketing/sales campaign to reach the massesEsp important for teacher sensitivity around testing this out in front of 30-40 antsy students– cannot be slow/break------------Keep iterating until you know your product doesn’t suck.How do you know?SlowBugsUI not intuitive
  • Understanding the difference between marketing and sales.Plans for both will likely overlap, but keep in mind that you will employ a different approach for eachMarketing: everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects (brand, value proposition, sentiment) (advertising, public relations, brand marketing, viral marketing, and direct mail)Marketing is identifying consumer needs and then messaging product in a way that shows how it meets those needsValue Proposition: unique, relevant, meaningful for an organization- what do they provide that no one else does?Think of marketing as everything that an organization does to facilitate an exchange between company and consumer.- advertising is one piece of thatBrand strategy- overall sentiment (logo, mission, tone, advertising)call to action: drives user behavior, guide/tell them what you want them to doSales: everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract (often done by a one-on-one meeting, cold calls, and networking)
  • Before expanding your marketing efforts, understand what drives general web traffic.Direct (referral/offline): hear about your site, type in the URLSearch (Ads): CPC, SEM (AdWords= 80%)Search (Free)- organic search results (Google, Yahoo, Bing)FB (Ads, Feed) : someone ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ to their newsfeedTwitter : includes regular and sponsored tweets (ads)Website Link (blogs, banner/text ads) – links to your site in blogs, ads on content sites (ex. HackEducation, NYTimes)Paid: SEM– target by interest (search queries)AdWordsStumbleUponDisplay/content ads: banner, text adsFB adsUnpaid: SEO- organic search results, site maps, landing page optimization
  • Edtech traffic comes from these specific, trusted groupsStart with the 1-2 that are most likely to adopt and then expand from there
  • Highly fragemented audience- by state, district, school, grade level, content area, school-type (pbl, direct instruction)Edmodo traffic stat is from compete.com- which is US only-----Go to where your users already are!Teachers: PD, online tools, learning communities, PLNs (professional learning networks) segmented by grade level, content area, teaching style (direct instruction, PBL, etc)------Via EdSurge: Other players are seeing accelerating growth, too: ePals, which launched as a for-profit site in 2006, had 6 million users earlier this year and has been aiming for 10 million by year end. (Stay tuned: earnings--and numbers--are due out at the end of November.)
  • Teachers are reading:PLN blogs- wordpress, sometimes GoogleEdWeekEdutopia-- follow teacher comments on edutopiamost teachers on betaclassroom have networks of hundreds of other teachers-- lead teacher will have a blog that many other teachers who follow itnational council of teachers of English- once a month journal-- each dept gets memebNEA today- assuming AFT has it tooFB pages are desertstwitter is huge-- also have their own blogs, wordpressteacher blog sites- through Google- easier but limitedhttp://edublogawards.com/2011-3/best-teacher-blog-2011/https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AnuR2-1MSEbqdFo3Nm1YQlR4dWRLMk42bmR1cFFEeGc&output=htmlEdLeadership MagazineEL is ASCD's flagship publication. With a circulation of 160,000, EL is acknowledged throughout the world as an authoritative source of information about teaching and learning, new ideas and practices relevant to practicing educators, and the latest trends and issues affecting prekindergarten through higher education. EL is published eight times each year, September through May, with a combined December/January issue. Copies are mailed to all ASCD members. Subscriptions and individual issues are also available for sale.Still struggling? Check out the comments sections of the local newspapers. Many teachers feel connected to and are active in these local communities/networks and will often identify themselves.
  • Parents: Social media, Moms groups, MeetupsCircle of Moms,GreatSchools: maybe 10-15% of the site's users are actually students, CollegeBound (90% moms aged 18-24)
  • Identify school-based players that can help evangelize/test your productCMOs, TFA network, Citizen Schools, Boys and Girls Club, etc
  • Covered a lot– 3 main take-awaysTell your story- Twitter, FB (EdgeRank), HootSuite- Web/SocialUnique value propositionWhat are you building? For whom?Cultivate your beta testers- make them feel invested in the product development processBuilding your messageReaching OutTargeted, explicit marketingTargeting marketing plan-comm, promotions, Customer development- go to where they are and solve a real problem they have
  • Engaging Edu Community

    1. 1. Engaging theEdu CommunityCreate and broadcast your story
    2. 2. About.me @Jessie_Arora edcrunch.wordpress.com angel.co/jarora
    3. 3. Overview• Once upon a time in edtech land…• Establish and refine your story• Share your story with target audience“People naturally want to be a part of somethinglarger… a movement, a community” Caterina Fake, Founder- Flickr & Hunch
    4. 4. K-12 Edu Landscape 14,000 Districts 138,000 Schools 4M Teachers 55M students
    5. 5. Edtech Market EverythingYearly Expenditure on Schools (billions) else, $50 Talent & Infrastructure, $600 “Out of every dollar spent on education in 2005, only 3.5 cents was spent on materials, tools, and services.” - Larry Berger, Wireless Generation
    6. 6. Cultural ChallengesStakeholders/users are not purchasersLonger sales cyclesCultural aversion to change Traumatic intro to tech (ex. NCLB)Teachers are interested but skepticalTime is a huge constraint
    7. 7. Don’t Tell Teachers… "We need "We know what transformational works!” change!” “This will solve all your problems”
    8. 8. Lesson Plan vs. Pitch
    9. 9. Social Web Presence Branding Frequency Tidbits - Custom background - 2-3 times/day #edchat - a - Develop a schedule regular - Set tone/themes conversation - Consistent hashtags about edu Tue12pm/7pm EST - FB fan page - 2-3 - Pictures and - Landing page times/week links are more - EdgeRank - Free apps to effective than help determine status updates best time - Re-sharing is golden - Detailed updates - Weekly/bi- - FB comment - Product plans weekly widget - Invite guest bloggers - Videos
    10. 10. Low Budget StorytellingComment on blogsLeverage message boardsStart blogging Utility drivesLeverage social networks adoption, community drives retentionBecome a guest authorCase studiesSpeak at events
    11. 11. Mastering FB NewsfeedOverall you‟re reaching <10% of your fans through any given postEdgeRank = affinity * weight * timeOptimizing your fan page merely means getting the EdgeRankalgorithm to think that your fans will want to read your status updates.Don‟t start until you‟re ready-- once you start you can‟t stop
    12. 12. FB EngagementWho is „talking about‟ you?Aim for 5-10% talking about this ratio Only 1% = Terrible
    13. 13. HootSuite• Advanced scheduling of tweets• Easy monitoring of trends in streams• URL analytics• Multiple editors/users
    14. 14. “Get out of the building”Did you really solve the problem? Or did you discover a bigger problem to solve?
    15. 15. Ready for the masses? “Make sure your product doesn‟t suck!” - Dave McClure, 500Startups“It‟s easy to get lost in the soup of „X companyraised $Y‟ and forget that it‟s not aboutfundraising, but building a business.” - Brad Feld, Foundry Group
    16. 16. Broadcasting your StoryEverything you do to reach and Everything that you do to close the salepersuade potential customers-- and get a conversion-- often done by abranding, advertising, PR, marketing one-on-one meeting, cold calls, and networking
    17. 17. General Web Traffic Search (Free) FB (Ads, Feed) Search (Ads) Twitter Website Link Direct(referral/offline) website (blogs, banner/t ext ads)
    18. 18. Edu-related traffic School/District Leadership Teacher online Parent/School communities/PD Community Teacher Social Partnerships Networks/BlogsTwitter Website Parent Groups
    19. 19. Teachers and Schools hit 4 million users as of October 2011~6M users
    20. 20. Teachers are reading… ~200k Monthly uniques#esinstruct
    21. 21. Parents and Students 3.6 million unique users/yr and reaches 1/3 of US households~700k uniquemonthly users
    22. 22. Distribution PartnershipsInnovation Lab
    23. 23. Do nowEstablish your essential story (web/social)Refine your message (beta testing)Reach out (targeted marketing plan) …and they all lived happily ever after!