Wired for engagement – the Schoolwires blog

Schoolwires technical support: Passionate about K-12 district success

Posted by Debbora Woods on 11/18/14 9:00 AM


Guest Bloggers: Blake Cohen, Manager, Technical Support and Ben Norman, Manager, Strategic Account Support

Each K-12 district’s picture of success is as unique as the community around which they are built. Here in Schoolwires Technical Support, we believe that we succeed when our clients succeed. What does this success look like? We’ve assembled a world-class Technical Support Specialist team with over 45 years of combined experience that’s ready to respond to the diverse and ever-changing needs of our clients. Additionally, our Advanced Support Engineering team helps us out when it comes to the database and server portion of our clients’ websites. Together, our objective is to provide our clients with the tools and resources they need to be successful in achieving their goals.

Our entire Support team is passionate about, and dedicated to, client success. How do we contribute to that success? We answer our fair share of the typical how-to questions, and fulfill all of the standard website technical support needs. However, we’re also here to assist our clients in utilizing the best available tools and technologies to most effectively communicate with their parents, students, staff, and community. So, we offer more than just yes/no or step-by-step answers to their questions. A large part of our job is working with clients to understand their goals, and guiding them to define the best means to achieve those goals. This consultative approach provides a fuller understanding of the available options, and allows our clients to make the decisions that are right for their websites. But don't just take our word for it. Here's what Linda Zintz of San Diego Unified School District has to say, "It is very evident that customer service is a top priority at Schoolwires. I feel confident that the company is committed to the success of our website development."

As the need for support has changed over the years, we’ve responded. One of the more recent additions to Technical Support Services is our newly re-vamped Share Help Center. Our Technical Communications and Web Properties teams have created a new self-service help portal that provides our clients with an intuitive, friendly way to find the answers to their questions. Whether it’s a tutorial or article from the “How Do I…” tabs, an instructional video from our Webinar Library, or one of the new “APPetizers” which showcase specific features, our clients find what they need, when they need it, to succeed.

Schoolwires Technical Support understands that our clients aren’t just account numbers. They are more than a voice on the other end of a support call or words in an email request. We know our clients are continually working to develop a website that serves as an integral part of the way they connect with their staff, students, parents, and community at large. We enjoy developing strong relationships with all of our clients because strong relationships help achieve our mutual goal of optimizing K-12 districts’ community engagement.

Want to learn more about our services and support? Check this out>>

Topics: Technical Support, K-12 districts, K-12 Websites

Recognizing the Value of 100% Hosting Uptime for K-12 Clients: Schoolwires among Top CERA Honorees

Posted by Debbora Woods on 11/6/14 9:00 AM


The first annual Customer Experience Recognition Awards (CERAs) were presented at a luncheon ceremony this past week. A highlight of the Information Development World (iDW) conference, the CERAs recognized achievement in the same key areas as this multi-discipline conference “dedicated to helping organizations create exceptional experiences centered around content.”

Organized by TechWhirl.com, the CERA program recognizes the customer experience as a sustainable advantage in business. CERA honorees demonstrated this advantage, and how content-driven customer experience creates value for organizations and their customer bases, in seven distinct categories: Translation / Localization, Social Media, Customer Support / Technical Communication, Information Discovery, User Community, Employee Engagement, and Accessibility.

Winning projects ranged from the content supporting zero downtime for K-12 school districts at the start of a new year to the transformation of legacy policy into usable content. And who was in the list of prestigious winners along with notable organizations such as Cisco Systems, LinkedIn, and Content Science? Our very own Schoolwires Hosting Operations Team winning the Accessibility category with their nomination“Hosting with Confidence & Demolishing Downtime!”

Congratulations to our Hosting Operations Team, dedicated to ensuring 100% uptime to our 1,600+ K-12 district clients during the critical, high peak usage, back-to-school months. We are so proud of your accomplishments!

Check out TechWhirl's article about the CERA event>>

And to learn more about our Hosting Operations Team's efforts, read their blog posts Dreams in the K-12 Cloud: Part One and Part Two

Topics: K-12 districts, Hosting, Awards

Congratulations, you’ve got competition. Five ways to win in the new competitive K-12 environment.

Posted by Marc Rubner on 10/10/14 9:00 AM


Guest Blogger: Marc Rubner, VP of Marketing, Schoolwires

Part 2: Segmentation and Targeting

In the first post of our five-part series on the new competitive K-12 environment, we discussed how to effectively position your K-12 district to compete in the new era of school choice. In Part 2, we continue the discussion with a focus on segmentation and targeting.

Product managers and corporate marketers realize their products can’t be all things to all people.  However, this is a hard concept for district leaders to grasp. Even if you want to attract all students to your district you’ll still have to develop messaging that appeals to varying constituents within your community. One universal message will not resonate with all audiences. Focus your messages on what’s most attractive to smaller audiences that have the greatest chance of hitting the mark.

There are two steps to effectively segmenting and targeting audiences that will be attracted to your district.

1. Conduct Research

Competitive marketers focus their energies toward the buyers that are most likely to be receptive to their messages and ultimately use their products.

How do they know who is most likely to become a customer? They conduct quantitative and qualitative research to find out. District leaders who want to identify the most receptive audiences should too.

Quantitative research is most commonly conducted via survey.  Surveys can be conducted via email (using the Forms and Surveys tool in Schoolwires Centricity2, for example) and can cover a wide range of topics. Surveys are a great way to gather demographic information and attitudinal perspectives of large groups as well as preferred communications methods, technology usage, and other engagement related trends.   Conducting consistent surveys over time allows K-12 districts to establish benchmarks and trends among their community that might help with the development and refinement of district positioning and messaging.

Qualitative research in the form of focus groups and one-on-one interviews can provide deep insight into constituent perspectives.  Best conducted via a third-party researcher without ties to either the community or the district, qualitative research can uncover messaging and positioning opportunities at a detailed level.

2. Create Community Personas

In the product world, these are called Buyer Personas, but for the purposes of K-12 school districts, we’ll call them Community Personas.

District leaders must decide and focus on specific audiences. Who are you targeting? Are you targeting all potential students within your district? Students outside of your district?  Parents? In order to effectively target, competitive organizations create buyer personas that help to define the key characteristics of their target. Here’s a link to how Hubspot, a leading marketing automation solution provider, approaches Buyer Personas.

This approach humanizes the target (because your targets are, in fact, people!) and identifies their challenges, aspirations, and decision making criteria for selecting a school or district.

These personas may differ from school to school along with your overall targets, so take care to develop personas on a detailed level.

Community personas can be as detailed as you need them to be, but should always include the following information (see the Hubspot template for more details)

  • Demographics
  • Personal Goals
  • Personal Challenges
  • How Your District Helps
  • Some Quotes From Your Research Interviews
  • Common Objectives
  • Marketing Messages
  • Elevator Pitch (see last week’s blog post)

Effective segmentation and targeting will significantly increase your chances of reaching and attracting the most receptive audience. Taking the time to conduct illuminating research and create focused community personas are important steps.

Topics: K-12 Competition, K-12 districts

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