When First Impressions Fail

I read an article on EdSurge this week, Why Edtech Companies Can’t Explain What They Do. Essentially, it argues that most ed tech websites are vague, leaving educators (and prospective buyers/users) feeling confused, uninterested, or apathetic about the tool they just learned about.

Ed tech companies primarily create digital tools that require a web or mobile connection to work, so what does it say about the company (or the product) when its own website can’t communicate what it does? It’s not a great way to make an impression in an industry swamped with competitors vying for buyers’ attention.

Not gonna lie, it’s something my company struggles with, especially as we pivot to reach a new buyer and user. For a long time, our buyer and user were the same person. Now, we have multiple targets—our buyer differs from our user, and both are demographics we’ve never reached before. Not to mention our products have a lot of moving parts, and explaining it in a 20-second elevator pitch is not easy. The struggle is real, but we are making strides (my team is meeting or exceeding its goals with new and sales-qualified leads, woot!).

The article suggests sending the marketing team to schools, and speaking with target audience one-on-one. While we didn’t go to meet in person, we did speak with several educators in our community via Hangouts to get feedback on our pages. It was a humbling experience. Our first draft, which we felt was strong, turned out to be hella confusing and vague. Since then, we have made iterative improvements, and with the help of our awesome new product marketer, our pages have improved tremendously.

This is a prime example of why community is so important. When you have strong and real relationships with people in your community, they will give you genuine and candid feedback. They will tell you when that list of benefits rules, the phrasing in that intro paragraph sucks, and maybe you want to include some information about XYZ to better appeal to the buyer. Randomly collecting feedback from strangers will not garner the same type of feedback—but talking with community members will.

Asking the people who will be using and buying your product for feedback on the pages that will introduce them to said product… what a novel idea!


For those of you looking to do the same for your ed tech tools, I have connected with many great folks through #EdTechBridge and EduMatch, who tell us what we’re doing wrong, and how we can improve.

“Feedback” by Giulia Forsythe is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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