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Market strategies EdTech startups should look out for in 2022

With rapidly changing customer expectations comes the need for adaptive marketing strategies

Two essential components of designing the ideal market strategy for your edtech startup include piquing audience interest, and further stimulating already present interest till it translates into a purchase.
Two essential components of designing the ideal market strategy for your edtech startup include piquing audience interest, and further stimulating already present interest till it translates into a purchase.

By Sanket Narkar

A transformation in India’s education system had long been overdue, but none of us could have foreseen just how dramatically the entire sector would change in a couple of years. Not even the ones on the other side of the fence. Now we’re all living through an edtech revolution of massive proportions. The numbers clearly reflect this quantum leap – by 2022, India’s edtech sector is forecasted to be valued at $3.5 billion! To put this in perspective, the aggregate revenue of the top 38 edtech startups in India in 2019, was $303 million.

As this market continues to thrive, it also continues to change every day. Right now, there are more than 4,530 active edtech startups in India, and this number is growing. So when you’re competing in a market this big, this promising, and this volatile, how do you leave your own unique brand of mark.

Well, I can tell you that a great product in itself does not translate to success, but to what extent you convince potential users of the necessity for your product, can. I can also tell you that nearly every edtech startup started with a period of pure experimentation. How they achieved success is by zeroing in on what works for their unique business model the most. Speaking from my experience and expertise, these five market strategies have yielded higher ROIs than the others for Indian edtech startups:

Freemium Acquisition

The freemium model is one of the most effective, and thus popularly used product marketing strategies for edtech startups. In a 2015 study, researcher Jongbum Kim found that 98% of AppStore’s revenue in 2015 came from freemium apps! This makes sense, as a freemium model hits the perfect spot between acquiring new users by letting them get a taste of your product and keeping your customer acquisition costs low. Essentially, by letting the user experience what they may miss out on if they choose to continue for free, the transition to a premium user is more appealing for the customer, and reduce their resistance to adoption. So in a nutshell, freemium models make users more inclined to take the plunge. Meanwhile, you’re free to leverage analytics to study user behaviour, and figure out the quickest paths to conversion.

Buyer Journey Mapping and Keyword Labelling

If you’re a new player in the edtech sector, one point worth noting is that buyer journeys here are often longer than in the case of other products or services. There’s typically more decision-making and back-and-forth involved. But this presents an opportunity you can make the most of. Cue, detailed buyer journey mapping. If you outline the exact steps between a potential customer discovering your product and making that final purchase, you can determine the use cases or problems leading to a need for your product, the pros and cons of competitor acquisition strategies, your USPs that trigger purchase behaviour, along with a host of other business indicators. By creating marketing content perfectly aligned with different points of the buyer’s journey and different kinds of buyer personas, you will be able to move them along faster from researching to purchasing. To make buyer journey mapping more fruitful, on can do it in conjunction with the keyword research, and I strongly endorse the practice. Labelling different keywords to different junctions of the buyer journey meets the dual purpose of attracting customers with relevant content, AND keeping the search engine gods pleased.

Omnichannel Customer Engagement

These days, reaching the point of purchase is rarely a linear path for customers. Instead of stumbling across your product followed by buying the product, today’s user is much more likely to research and interact with your business on multiple channels, while periodically pausing and resuming their buyer journey. Just think about it, when was the last time you bought anything without first reading its reviews or looking through the company’s social media? With so many balls in the air at all times, edtech companies need to synchronise multiple channels, unify data, personalise customer experience, and build rapport, all while reducing customer churn.

Omnichannel engagement strategies are a fantastic way to achieve all of this and more. This simply means using a multi-channel sales approach to facilitate seamless transitions between channels, and create integrated experiences. According to the results of a survey conducted by Aspect Software in 2014, companies that adopt omnichannel engagement strategies see 91% higher year-over-year customer retention rates than the companies who don’t.

The steps to build your own omnichannel strategy include analysing your buyer profiles, narrowing down your most used channels, creating and matching content with the appropriate channels, instituting cross-channel customer support, and finding the perfect marketing platform to help you assemble and make sense of all data.

Conversions through Remarketing

Two essential components of designing the ideal market strategy for your edtech startup include piquing audience interest, and further stimulating already present interest till it translates into a purchase. For the latter objective, remarketing or retargeting can be a useful digital marketing technique. Remarketing is essentially the process of creating personalised, targeted ads for users who have previously visited your website or any other channel. The reason remarketing works so wonderfully is that first, you’re focusing on converting customers who are already aware of your brand, and thus are more likely to convert, and second, you’re customising your brand marketing to attract specific user types. You can do remarketing in different ways and across different platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

Leverage Smart Campaigns

Particularly useful for new edtech companies, smart ads can help you tap the right customer in the right locality at the right time. You can think of a Smart campaign as multiple versions of an advertisement, with the version most likely to lead to conversion showing up for a customer in a locality when they search for certain keywords. Smart campaigns are economical, and offer hassle-free execution along with easy lead tracking.

On a parting note, I’d like to re-emphasise that there’s no such thing as the perfect market strategy. Depending on multiple factors related to your business, some may work for you better than they did for others, and vice versa. The key here is to keep refreshing your offerings, improving your product, conducting periodic due-diligence, and staying updated with your potential audience’s feelings and motivations. With rapidly changing customer expectations comes the need for adaptive marketing strategies.

The author is head of marketing at LIDO Learning. Views expressed are personal.

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