Section A: Client Information
Part of A Gift For Teaching’s mission is to demonstrate how impossible it is to ask students in need to try to write without a pencil, read without books or dream without the tools to put their ideas onto paper. It’s a situation that’s tough to even imagine, but it’s one that a huge percentage of students have to go through every single day. A Gift For Teaching envisions a future where no child ever has to set foot in a classroom without being equipped with the necessary tools needed to better their education and their future. They work towards a future where no child is at a learning disadvantage because a parent or teacher is simply not able to provide them with the supplies that they need. A Gift For Teaching serves almost 400 public schools with the vision of improving the education of over 65% of students in Central Florida who can’t afford lunch, not to mention school supplies.
A Gift For Teaching is a nonprofit organization that helps provide surplus supplies to teachers with high-need students. Teachers can get free supplies at the physical store, the online store (Pencil Boy Online), or the traveling store (Pencil Boy Express). It is ideal for providing necessary supplies to teachers so that their students in need can be prepared for class and not have to worry about not being able to afford supplies or be at a disadvantage. A Gift For Teaching is different from other supply stores not only because it is free for teachers, but also because it offers a free online supply store and a traveling store that deliver supplies directly to classrooms. Since more than 50% of teachers that A Gift For Teaching surveyed said that they are providing their students with supplies several times a day, A Gift For Teaching can help remove the financial stress that teachers encounter so that they can put all of their focus into educating their students.
A Gift For Teaching focuses on targeting two main audiences: local public school teachers and local corporate executives. Below are the consumer personas used in the week 4 exercise:
The main audience that A Gift For Teaching targets is made up of eligible public school teachers that are interested in utilizing A Gift For Teaching’s services. The A Gift For Teaching brick-and-mortar free store, Pencil Boy Online, and Pencil Boy Express benefit them and the students in their classroom. This is why they take interest in what supplies A Gift For Teaching has to offer them: they know that the supplies that they get can boost their students’ self-esteem and classroom performance.
Executives working in local corporations are a secondary target audience for A Gift For Teaching. This is because they are able to benefit from a mutual relationship with them. The executives are interested in improving employee morale and making sure that their perception of the company is a positive one. By taking on the social responsibility of donating to or volunteering at a local nonprofit as a group, a sense of community is created which positively impacts the company. A Gift For Teaching obviously benefits from receiving their volunteer hours or supply/monetary donations.
The Importance of an IMC Plan
A Gift For Teaching should utilize an integrated marketing communications strategy because coordinating all brand messages on multimedia channels allows a brand to have synergy. Since it takes 7 touches for someone to take notice or act upon a call to action, (Week 2 Lecture) making sure that all brand messages are synchronized can make it easier for customers to remember and recognize a brand. Furthermore, by utilizing this integrated strategy spread across different types of media, a wider audience can be reached. While it is obvious that Millennials are tech-savvy and research products and services online, it is less known that the top source of coupons and deals for Millennials is the newspaper. Just because a certain demographic mainly utilizes digital media, doesn’t mean that they are not drawn to nor seek out more traditional marketing methods. Having an IMC plan can cover all of the bases and reach audiences over varying multimedia platforms.
Section B: Website
Utilizing Best Practices
While using best practices for social media profiles allows businesses to improve their SEO and have locations for informal connections and brand building, social media sites aren’t actually owned by individual companies (Week 5 Lecture). Meaning that all of those great opportunities mean nothing if a business can’t bring users back to what they actually do own online- their website (Week 5 Lecture). A Gift For Teaching has very visible, static social links on their site, and has their website link on their social profiles.
They also share content from their website and blog directly on their social profiles, encouraging users to visit their main website.
As another method to further integrate their social sites and website, their latest Tweets and Instagram posts are embedded at the bottom of the page so that a visitor and simply scroll through their most recent updates.
The information and images on A Gift For Teaching’s current website are easy to consume because the website is easily navigable. Not only is the menu essentially set up for their two main target markets and related action words, making it simple for first-time visitors to navigate to their desired page, but the homepage offers any information that a site visitor might need no matter what their purpose for visiting is. The organization’s URL makes it easy for a user to identify that they’re on the right site, and the URLs of the site’s pages are related to the page and easy to remember. According to HubSpot, the homepage contains features that make it a good website homepage design. It quickly and clearly answers what the visitor can do on the site, who the organization is, and what the organization does in a fluid way.
The homepage resonates with the desired target audiences because the menu of links is catered to them. It is mobile optimized, includes call-to-actions with very vibrant, eye-catching buttons asking visitors to donate, get involved with A Gift For Teaching, and join the email newsletter list.
The homepage design is consistent throughout the website and the theme matches the organization’s purpose of working with and helping kids with childlike font and bright primary colors.
Room for Improvement
A Gift For Teaching’s website doesn’t meet all of the requirements on HubSpot’s list. It doesn’t really communicate the value proposition very well. While the homepage does showcase that A Gift For Teaching is involved in providing kids with the tools that they need for school, it doesn’t communicate the mission very obviously- in order to read the mission, users have to click on the About Us link in the menu. Since it doesn’t offer the site visitor a USP upon arrival, there’s no easy way for a visitor to quickly determine why A Gift For Teaching is a better option than its competitors. The site also has a few broken links and lacks a search bar, making it less accessible than it could be, and the Contact Us page could use more visuals, as it is quite text-heavy. Another aspect of the site that’s really lacking is that it is not constantly changing; only events are added to the slideshow at the bottom of the homepage. By incorporating some updates and even uploading higher quality images in place of the ones already on the site, its content could be improved, making it look more official.
The site could also benefit from an increase in SEO strategy. By creating a flickr account and linking photos uploaded there to the website, dates and tags in the uploaded photos can make it easier for search engines to find the photos on the main site. Also, by actually having a meta description and including title tags in the code, their site’s SEO could improve exponentially and would appear more professional. Additionally, by integrating content communities like Pinterest on their social links, theycould incorporate additional useful channels that their target market is interested in, improving their visibility.
Provide 5 keywords or phrases they should focus on during the campaign to help with SEO and overall search engine results:
- teacher appreciation week
- thank a teacher
- give local
- spa package
These keywords are related to the campaign strategized in this project based on the national event going on (Teacher Appreciation Week), the hashtags used throughout the duration of the campaign (#ThankATeacher & #GiveLocal), the contest (Spa Package), and the location of the contest and of the A Gift For Teaching’s stores (Orlando).
Provide examples of competitors’ websites with suggestions on how to mimic success:
The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County is a local competitor whose website has some features that A Gift For Teaching could mimic and benefit from. The first thing that I noticed on their site was a Top 50 badge in their header.
It is impressive and makes the site seem more prestigious. While A Gift For Teaching is nota part of the Top 50 Education Foundation’s, they could either apply to become part of it, or make a badge of their own celebrating their 18th year helping kids in need or their $100 Million worth of school supplies that they’ve distributed since their conception. Having a badge that says something as simple as Helping Kids in Need Since 1998 or something similar can add a touch of expertise to the website, making them seem like the authority of this type of organization. The Education Foundation’s website also includes an Amazon Smile social link that leads directly to a sign-in where Amazon members can automatically donate to that charity whenever they make an amazon purchase. Since A Gift For Teaching is registered with Amazon Smile, having this button readily accessible on their website could benefit them. Furthermore, the Education Foundation’s website contains a general contact email and phone number at the bottom of the page.
It eliminates the need for users to click Contact Us and have to fill out a contact form like on the A Gift For Teaching website. This would make it easier for site visitors to contact them and have their inquiries forwarded to the right person without making visitors search the website for the right person to email or call.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is another local competitor and their site also has aspects that A Gift For Teaching could mimic to increase success. It includes stories and a case study on the homepage, creating both a pathos and ethos appeal to site visitors who are looking to see how the Second Harvest Food Bank helps others either through personal accounts or through hard data.
The organization provides detailed accounts and stats to make users aware that they are the experts in this field. A Gift For Teaching already has some accounts and stats saved, and could benefit from sharing them on their website like the Second Harvest Food Bank does. They could also take some pointers in the event department. The Second Harvest Food Bank has a calendar of events which creates a visual of upcoming events for users. A Gift For Teaching could incorporate a calendar of events on their website and link those to specific Facebook Event pages, which would keep users back linked on their social sites and main website. Lastly, the Second Harvest Food Bank’s website has a search bar incorporated which makes it easy for users to search for a specific topic and find what the need quickly. A Gift For Teaching could benefit from having a search bar to make their site more user-friendly.
Section C: Blog
The structure of the A Gift For Teaching WordPress blog is organized in list form. It is formatted with blog images on the left and a few sentences of the post introduction on the right. The blog content includes tips for teachers, discussions revolving around teaching, upcoming A Gift For Teaching events and recaps on past events, and relevant class projects based on upcoming holidays.
According to the Week 7 Lecture, professional blogs like the A Gift For Teaching blog are generally of a high standard, produce content several times a day and focus heavily on news and features. While the A Gift For Teaching blog is not technically revenue-oriented, the blog posts are still written with the idea that users will want to donate time, money, or school supplies to the organization. This makes the blog oriented towards an end goal of profiting off of users, even if it’s not requiring them to purchase a product or service.I would also consider them a professional blog even though they only post a few times a month, simply because their posts get seen by a large portion of their 20,000 email newsletter subscribers and their social media followers.
Suggestions for Improvement
A Gift For Teaching’s blog could increase subscriber numbers or views by incorporating share buttons on each post so that users can easily share posts on social media or via email with their friends. They could also benefit from creating guidelines for featured images so that the images are not all different sizes. Even more cohesiveness could be accomplished by incorporating guidelines where maybe the font styles on the featured images are the same or some similar colors are used. That way the posts actually flow together and look like they belong on the same page even though they’re written by different contributors. The blog could use some stylistic updates as well to make it more appealing. For instance, the Hootsuite blog has all of the posts arranged in what almost looks like a collage, making it more visually appealing than the list format the A Gift For Teaching currently has.
Here you can find an example blog post for A Gift For Teaching. It’s an example of a post that could go out describing my campaign idea to partner with the Rosen Centre for teacher appreciation week. The target audience is public school teachers in the Orlando area.
Section D: Social Media
Is A Gift For Teaching using social media channels to their full capabilities?
A Gift For Teaching utilizes some best practices on their social media sites, but they definitely don’t utilize all of the social media tools at their disposal. They do always include imagery with any post or status update, which is great considering that social media posts with visuals deliver 180% greater engagement than those without imagery. They also recently started to take advantage of new features like Facebook Live. They use it for live coverage of events, like their annual all-day telethon, to encourage others to participate in events by attending them, donating, or spreading the word about them. Other helpful strategies that they use include @ tagging companies and organizations when relevant and using flipagram for photo slideshows. They also update their cover photo often to reflect upcoming events or related information and have their business information set up in their About section to help improve SEO.
However, they have never used any Facebook features like Polls, Countdowns, or Facebook Ads. Their hashtags are sparse on all of their social media accounts, which doesn’t really allow them to reach a wider audience. They also don’t utilize helpful tools like Twitter lists to categorize followers or Twitter favorites to reflect their brand image by strategically liking certain tweets. While they do have some messenger replies saved, they’ve never been used because they’re not catered to any specific topic; they’re very general “How can I help you?” messages, and that question is usually irrelevant because people message their question or inquiry immediately as their first communication with A Gift For Teaching.
What relevant channels could A Gift For Teaching add to their mix that they are currently not using?
A Gift For Teaching would benefit from creating a Snapchat account because they could use it to engage with young volunteers. Since they’re already using it while they’re volunteering at A Gift For Teaching to communicate with their friends, it makes sense for the organization to make an account where volunteers could interact with brand. A Gift For Teaching could create interactive snaps like a scavenger hunt where they have to find and send the letters AGFT to the organization while they’re volunteering around the free store. Alternatively, A Gift For Teaching could challenge users to dress up Pencil Boy on Halloween like Sour Patch Kids did with their Snapchat. They could also interact with volunteers during teacher appreciation week by having them send a snap with their favorite teachers so that A Gift For Teaching could feature some on their Snapchat Story. There are so many creative ways for brands to engage with users on Snapchat, and A Gift For Teaching could benefit from creating an account.
A Gift For Teaching could take advantage of content communities like Pinterest by adding them to their marketing mix. Their main target audience consists of teachers, and since 87% of teachers already look for class materials on Pinterest, it is the perfect channel for A Gift For Teaching to reach this target market. Since the Content Communities assignment from a few weeks ago where I only made two A Gift For Teaching boards with absolutely no activity since then,they have still already gained WeAreTeachers, another education related brand, as a follower. Imagine how many followers A Gift For Teaching could gain with their own Pinterest account and boards. They could also establish themselves as an education/teacher authority by creating their own helpful and relevant pins as well as repinning others.
A Gift For Teaching could benefit from proximity marketing tools to engage volunteers and teachers in the free store. New volunteers and teachers could be prompted with a store tour when they walk inside. Volunteers could also use beacons placed around the store as a cheat sheet or refresher in case a teacher that’s shopping asks them a question about certain items or sections in the store. Teachers could use it to answer their own store questions or use a live chat to communicate with more seasoned volunteers or staff. Recurring volunteers and teachers could be prompted with a page to leave a review of A Gift For Teaching or a page with premade social media posts that they could share to spread the word about the organization.
What are their competitors doing effectively?
Both the Education Foundation and the Second Harvest Food Bank share clear, crisp photos on all of their social media accounts. A Gift For Teaching could benefit from sharing higher quality photos along with their posts to make their accounts appear more professional. The Second Harvest Food Bank also has Twitter lists and makes sure to post on all of their channels multiple times per day. A Gift For Teaching only posts several times per day when there’s an event going on. To increase the frequency of their posts, they could make sure to have daily scheduled posts ahead of time and have a few ready-made posts about volunteers, teachers shopping in the free store, or donors who stopped by to drop off supplies for slow social media days.
Section E: Email
This email was sent out to all of A Gift For Teaching’s subscribers in August while the Back-to-School Drive event was going on. It was called Pick up the phone and call Pencil Boy! in reference to the telethon information at the bottom of the email. While that title is eye-catching, it is confusing because the email doesn’t start off with any telethon information. The email fails to have a header preparing the reader for what the top half of the email, the first thing that they will see, is about. While there is a large image at the top of the email, it has no indication that it is related to the Back-to-School Drive or Opening Day, as it is just a photo of five teachers who are not mentioned in the email. There should be a Back-to-School Drive logo at the top of the email and a separate telethon one at the bottom so that it is easy for the reader to distinguish each part of the email. The email should also be less text-heavy and include more visually appealing and related imagery. Visuals are memorable and effective, because they help people process, understand, and retain more information more quickly. Since people process images up to 10 times faster than text, it is important to include more related imagery and keep text concise. The top portion of the email could have been composed of a brief intro and a link to a blog post that went out that same day sharing the same stats given in this email. The bottom half of the email could have been shortened and a link to the Facebook event, which contains the exact same information, could have been put there in its place. A Gift For Teaching’s email strategy could also benefit from including social media share buttons so that emails can be shared directly by users.
How can A Gift For Teaching increase new email clients and inquiries via Facebook?
A Gift For Teaching could increase email clients and inquiries by adding an email newsletter Sign Up button or Send Email button on their business page.
A Gift For Teaching could also use Facebook Campaigns to create ads targeted at locals in the area interested in education to attract public school educators to the website and eventually the free store. I created an example ad that offers teachers a promo code for free pencils if they enter their public school email address.
Clicking on the ad would lead to a submission form like this and once submitted, an A Gift For Teaching staff member would be notified.
Once that email is put in the A Gift For Teaching system, a staff member can send the user an email with the promo code, a link to the A Gift For Teaching website, and an invitation to ask any questions or attend an upcoming Show & Tell event where they can learn all about the organization while enjoying a free lunch provided by Olive Garden. A Gift For Teaching can also make sure to be prepared for incoming inquiries by saving premade messages in Constant Contact or within Facebook Messenger in order to have a quick reply ready for common questions.
Automated Email Response for General Inquiries
The embedded video is a brief introduction on what A Gift For Teaching does and can be viewed here.
Facebook Messenger Automated Responses
Section F: Goals & Metrics
What suggestions do you have for analytics or planning tools?
Currently, A Gift For Teaching uses a combination of various analytics and planning tools. They use Hootsuite and Scheduled Posts on their Facebook Business Page to plan posts ahead of time. To collect data on how their social media is performing, they use a combination of Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, & Twitter Analytics. Since they don’t use any tools to measure their Instagram metrics, I recommend incorporating that into their data collection. A Gift For Teaching could start using Instagram Insights and/or other analytical tools tailored to Instagram like Iconosquare to measure success on this platform. I think that would be a mistake to overlook how this platform is performing because Instagram is their least successful social media site and using an analytics tool could really improve their follower base and engagement rate.
What are your metrics for ROI and success?
In addition to the analytical tools mentioned above, I use a handful of other tools in order to measure ROI and success on social media. It is important to incorporate a variety of third-party platforms to gather more data. For instance, while the competitor’s landscape can be seen briefly on Facebook Insights, more detailed analytics about one or multiple competitors can be found on other platforms like RivalIQ. Tracking hashtags with Keyhole and URLs with Google Analytics can also be helpful when measuring success because they can retrieve data on the user who is engaging with either the hashtag or link.
What goals or milestones do you hope to accomplish?
With the Teacher Appreciation Week social media campaign, I hope to increase A Gift For Teaching’s followers on Facebook and Twitter by at least 200 users in the week of the contest (Up to 2,953 on Facebook and 3,777 on Twitter). I also hope to improve brand awareness by increasing audience reach through hashtags and as contest participants share the main contest post with their friends. With this growth in brand awareness, I hope to reach eligible teachers that have never taken advantage of the free supplies that A Gift For Teaching has to offer them and encourage them to come in or shop for it through Pencil Boy Express or Pencil Boy Online.
By creating a Snapchat account and adding volunteer beacons around the store, I hope to increase A Gift For Teaching’s amount of engagement with young volunteers. I also hope to further engage teachers by creating a Pinterest account and placing beacons with teacher information around the store to make A Gift For Teaching a trusted, reliable source for them.
A Gift For Teaching has a strong multimedia presence covering most of the important online platforms and traditional media channels. The purpose of this plan is to create synergy amongst all of those channels to achieve an Integrated Marketing Communications strategy.