Why Market to Teachers?
Educators make up a large consumer group. There are about 7 million teachers, college professors, and administrators in the US, and they have $329 billion in spending power.
And teachers aren’t just spending that on personal items. According to our annual teacher survey, 94% of teachers used their own money to purchase supplies for their classrooms, with more than 1 in 3 (35%) spending more than $500.
Teachers also have a vast network of educator friends they’re deeply connected to, and offering a teacher discount is a great way to leverage and activate it. Sixty-five percent of teachers will ask colleagues about a brand when researching a purchasing decision, and 98% said they would share a teacher discount with other teachers.
Offering a teacher discount is a smart way to grow your business, reach new customers, and improve your brand image, especially at a time when their work deserves even more recognition.
Marketing to Teachers Year-Round Wins Loyal Customers
Michaels is a great example of a company succeeding by marketing to teachers with a special offer just for them. The craft store retailer highly values teachers, so rather than running a Teacher Appreciation campaign during obvious times of the year, like back-to-school, the company created a 15% off teacher discount and tied it to their loyalty program so teachers could automatically apply the discount to every purchase.
Steve Carlotti, Michaels Executive Vice President of Marketing, considers this program central to the company’s outreach to teachers. “Our teacher discount is one way we show our commitment to educators, as we serve as the go-to headquarters to help them create one-of-a-kind environments that are creative and inspiring places for students to learn,” he said.
Michaels’ commitment to teachers is paying off. When the company began digitally verifying its personalized offer for teachers, seniors, and the military, it verified 200K customers. And digitally verifying teachers gives Michaels zero-party data it can use to further nurture their loyalty through Michaels Rewards.
The Teacher Market: By the Numbers
The total number of teachers in the US is about 7 million. This is comprised of:
- 4 million K-12 teachers.
- 1.7 million post-secondary educators.
- More than 1 million administrators
Teachers tend to be women (80%), and 56% are over the age of 40. For K-12 teachers in the US, the median salary is $64,524. And that median salary is higher than the median salary for men and women in the US, coming in at $52,004 and $42,238, respectively.
Teachers as Consumers
In general, price and discounts are extremely important to teachers. When companies offer teachers a teacher discount, 60% feel valued, and four in five teachers will try a new brand.
Marketing to teachers goes beyond school supplies. More than two-thirds of teachers would use a discount on restaurants, computers, mobile devices, and electronics, and more than half would use it on clothing, travel, entertainment, and subscription services. So you don’t have to be a classroom supplier in order to access this consumer community.
Teachers like a wide range of promotions. According to our annual survey, 62% of teachers said the most appealing offer would be free perks, such as free shipping, free checked bags, etc. But they also said other promotions were also highly appealing, including:
- Periodic opportunities to receive a 20% discount off their purchase (45%).
- 10% off every purchase (40%).
- Buy One, Get One Free (37%).
Teachers are avid consumers of media and active members of social media communities, which makes it easy for marketers to effectively reach and engage them online. But don’t overlook what’s tried-and-true. As more and more brands go online, traditional marketing channels become less crowded. And teachers are still interested in those traditional channels: more than 1 in 4 teachers say they’d like to hear from brands through direct mail. If done well, direct-mail campaigns can boost your brand’s ability to get noticed.
But however you decide to engage teachers, it’s likely to pay off. More than 90% of teachers believe that receiving a personalized offer from a brand would improve their brand relationship.
Strategies for Marketing to Teachers
The most successful ways to market to teachers are through social media, email, and word of mouth. Eighty-four percent of teachers prefer to hear about teacher discounts from other educators, and teachers are almost 50% more likely than other audiences to be moved by an email promotion.
Teachers turn to social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to swap stories, plan classroom activities, and perfect lesson plans. In fact, 95% of teachers use Facebook and 82% of teachers use Instagram, with 90% of those Instagram users seeking inspiration from their peers on the app.
Teachers prefer messages to be simple and genuine, offering sentiments of appreciation. It also helps to acknowledge the challenges many teachers face. For example, you can recognize the extraordinary efforts they’re making to educate students during the pandemic, or you can acknowledge the stress they deal with as the school year ends. You can also honor them with a personalized offer during National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Showing teachers you’re grateful for their work creates an emotional connection that can help your brand stand out. Sixty-four percent of teachers said receiving an exclusive offer makes them feel valued.
The Best Way to Market to Teachers: Personalized Offers
One of the most effective ways to market to teachers is to create a gated, personalized offer that appeals to their desire for discounts.
These personalized offers are available only to teachers, and brands use an identity marketing platform to digitally verify their eligibility. This underscores the exclusivity of the offers and makes them highly appealing. Ninety-eight percent of consumers said they want to hear about promotions being offered to people in their profession or life stage. And according to research, two-thirds or more of teachers, nurses, first responders, seniors, and the military said a personalized offer would make them feel “thankful”.
Best of all, when you ask teachers to digitally verify their eligibility for your offer, they happily provide their personal information to redeem it. This opt-in exchange gives you zero-party you can use to nurture and retain them, making personalized offers a highly effective way to acquire loyal customers.