5 Steps to Winning Loyalty with Teacher Verification

Posted on Sep 12, 2019 · 4 min read

Barnes & Noble knows that teachers love to read and are committed to sharing that love with their students. That’s why it created the Barnes & Noble Educators program giving teachers special offers and discounts. But when the company first launched the program, it used a manual process for teacher verification. This was time-consuming and left the brand vulnerable to discount abuse.

Barnes & Noble knew that rewarding teachers with personalized offers was a winning strategy, so it decided to reinvest in the program. But to make the program more effective, the company needed a faster and easier way to verify teacher eligibility. 

Digital teacher verification was the solution. Once Barnes & Noble put that in place, it had a program guaranteed to win the hearts and minds of teachers. Here’s how you can, too.

5 Steps to Making a Great Teacher Loyalty Program

01 Use Digital Teacher Verification to Create the Ideal Customer Experience

Barnes & Noble could have turned to an affiliate-based verification provider to confirm teacher eligibility. But that would have forced customers to leave bn.com to create a separate account with a third party. This extra step introduces an unnecessary inconvenience that adds no value. 

Instead, the company decided to implement a solution that provided instant digital verification. This gave customers a streamlined, in-brand experience. Teachers simply sign-up for the program on the Barnes & Noble website and keep shopping.

02 Make the Offer Appealing

Teachers are a dedicated group who will do whatever it takes to help students learn. In fact, Agile Marketing’s Teacher Survey revealed that 99% of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies—an average of $418/year. 

Barnes & Noble addressed this head on by creating a personalized offer that cash-strapped teachers would love: 20% off all books, toys, and games for classroom use.

03 Give Teachers Access to the Discount All Year

Many brands give teachers discounts only during back-to-school season. But the Agile survey revealed that nearly three in five teachers shop for school supplies once a month or more. 

That’s why Barnes & Noble made their offer evergreen. The company encourages greater loyalty giving teachers a benefit they can use every day. 

04 Personally Recognize Teachers for Their Service

In addition to their evergreen discount, Barnes & Noble periodically gives teachers extra perks, such as 25% off any personal purchase. This sends teachers the message that the brand really cares. That’s a smart move: 58% of teachers say receiving teacher discounts makes them feel valued.

It’s also good for business. According to Agile’s survey, teachers would use a teacher discount to purchase a wide range of personal products and services: 

  • 71% of teachers would buy electronic devices.
  • Nearly three in five would purchase apparel, travel, or entertainment. 
  • 37% would even use their discounts on insurance.

05 Leverage Teacher Verification to Promote Long-Term Loyalty

Using digital verification gives Barnes & Noble customer data they can use to nurture teachers. Affiliate-based verification doesn’t. 

This is perhaps the most critical component of the program’s success because it launches a brand relationship built on trust and consent. Teachers willingly give their information to Barnes & Noble in order to access the discount. And Barnes & Noble gives back to teachers by providing additional benefits, including:

  • Teacher Awards. The My Favorite Teacher Contest invites high school students to submit an essay, poem, or thank-you letter sharing how a teacher has influenced their lives. The winning “Barnes & Noble Teacher of the Year” receives $5,000 and recognition at a special event. The teacher’s school receives another $5,000, and the student is rewarded as well.
  • Special Events. Barnes & Noble hosts Bookfairs as fundraisers for schools and not-for-profit organizations, which receive a percentage of the proceeds.
  • Classroom Resources. The company also curates an engaging list of recommended books for educators.

Reaping the Rewards of Teacher Loyalty

Barnes & Noble’s enhanced program is ripe for success. Companies that use digital teacher verification to deliver personalized offers will:

  • Increase brand preference. 95% of teachers are more likely to purchase classroom supplies—and 81% are more likely to buy personal items—from brands that offer teacher discounts.
  • Benefit from word of mouth. 71% of teachers would share a teacher discount with their colleagues, and 78% hear about teacher discounts from other teachers.
  • Tap into a high-value consumer tribe. The US has nearly 4 million K-12 teachers who spend more than $1.7 billion of their own money on classroom supplies alone.

Recognizing teachers with personalized offers is a great way to acquire new customers and keep them coming back.

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Tony Coray by Tony Coray