Selling to schools in the new financial year
Did you know that 88% of schools start planning for the new budget at least three months before the start of the new financial year?* And now, with less than two weeks to go until the new financial year, they will be busy finalising plans in preparation.
*According to the results of our 2017 Schools Surveys.
The education budget
The education budget for 2018/19 is confirmed as £86 billion across UK education. To successfully sell to schools, it helps to understand how the education budget works. You can see Our Guide to School Spending for everything you need to know about the education budget.
Is now a good time to sell to schools?
The new financial year is a busy and significant time of year for all businesses. But like anything, it can take a little time for the incoming funds to be allocated to the different school departments. So, whilst we’re unlikely to see a sudden influx of schools making purchases on 6th April, what we will see is teachers and decision makers starting to implement their plans, generate ideas, research new suppliers, and request information.
The weeks leading up to and following the start of the financial year are the ideal time to raise awareness of your brand in UK schools, in time for when spending starts in earnest later in April and into May.
We’ve looked back at our email campaign statistics to see how effective marketing to schools in April and May can be.
In the first half of the year, we see April and May achieve consistently good engagement rates, with April seeing the highest click through rates and May seeing the highest open rates.
Who to target?
We know that the key decision makers when it comes to school spending are Head Teachers, Business Managers and Heads of Department.
But remember, in schools there are both purchasers and influencers. This means that although Head Teachers and Business Managers may approve the final spending decisions, they can be heavily influenced, and indeed they often do rely on other staff members to research and recommended certain products and services.
We can look at the staff member’s responsibilities to determine what role they play in the purchasing process, and therefore which decision makers are the best targets for your marketing campaign.
According to our 2017 School Surveys, 84% of Head Teachers have the final say in large purchasing decisions, which would usually be anything over £5,000.
We also found that 35% of Business Managers are required to approve all school spending and 28% approve certain levels of spending. Although called upon to approve spending decisions and advise what budget allowances are available for certain areas of the school’s development, Business Managers would more commonly be classed as influencers and usually approve purchasing decisions made by other decision makers.
Heads of Department are purchasers and 64% of school departments manage their own budgets. The Heads of Department work with other staff to identify where resources are required and make decisions on purchases.
70% of Subject Teachers have a small budget to manage. The can be both purchasers and influencers as they are best placed to identify what resources will work well in their classrooms.
Looking at April and May, we see that Heads of Department open emails the most and Deputy Heads click the most.
When to send email marketing campaigns?
Our yearly averages show that Wednesdays and Thursdays see the highest engagement rates.
But when we separated out the statistics for April and May, we found that Mondays saw the highest open rates in 2017, followed by Wednesday. Thursday was the best day for clicks, and Wednesday was the best day overall.
Check out our 2018 Top Trends here for more email marketing to schools trends.
Is there anything else to know about selling to schools in the new financial year?
So that’s it – April and May are great times raise your brand awareness and promote your products and services at a key planning and decision-making time for UK schools. As we already know, teachers and decision makers will be busy planning and researching in readiness for the new budget becoming available. And as discovered by looking at our statistics, we see great engagement rates during these months.
Do be aware though that the new financial year often falls during the Easter break. This year the Easter break will be between 29th March and 16th April, with most UK schools closed for either one or two weeks during this time. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. We know that 86% of teachers check their emails during the school holidays, and no lessons means they have more time to read and take note of your marketing messages during this time.
If you want to take advantage of the increasing momentum of school spending during April and May, and get your marketing seen first, please get in touch now to find out about our special new financial year offer.
I keep our clients up to date with the key information and education knowledge needed to plan a successful marketing to schools campaign – whether it’s our website, our blogs or our social media. Contact me at email@example.com