The Road to Edtech Success: Essential Steps for Product Launch

Road to Edtech Success: Essential Steps for Product Launch

Picture of Aimée Rosenstein

Aimée Rosenstein

Senior Brand Manager at Whistle, with over 8 years of experience in marketing and digital advertising.

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Table of Contents

You’ve got a great Edtech idea. Maybe it’s an app, a new learning platform, or an innovative tool for teachers. You know it’s going to revolutionize education. Now you just need to get it out there. Easier said than done, right? Bringing any new product to market takes time, money, and a whole lot of strategy. Below we’ll walk through a roadmap to launch your Edtech product successfully. You’ll learn how to refine your MVP, build a marketing strategy, get funding and distribution, and scale your solution. We’ll share tips on partnerships, pricing, and more based on real experiences in the Edtech space. Grab your pen and paper – you’re about to get a crash course in launching the next big thing in education technology.

 

Understanding Your Target Audience for Edtech Product

As an Edtech startup your success depends on truly grasping who your target customers are – teachers, students, schools or districts. The more you understand their pain points, priorities and workflows, the better you can build solutions that solve real problems.

Talk to educators and administrators, ideally in person. Ask open-ended questions to uncover challenges they face daily. What tasks take up most of their time? What do they wish they had more time for? Look for trends across schools and roles. These insights will fuel ideas for tools that can streamline processes or enable new opportunities for learning.

Once you identify a promising product concept, find a few innovative schools willing to pilot it. Offer your solution for free in exchange for candid feedback. Work closely with them to refine features and functionality. Their input will ensure you’re building something that fits seamlessly into classrooms and impacts learning in meaningful ways.

As your solution evolves, keep engaging new groups of educators. Form an advisory board, host focus groups and surveys, encourage reviews and testimonials. By involving educators in shaping your product, you’ll cultivate champions who are invested in its success.

When you do start charging, keep the lines of communication open. Continue enhancing your solution based on customer feedback and the changing needs of schools. An Edtech product that’s truly built for educators, with educators, will transform learning in powerful ways. The impact will be real, and the benefits to students will be lasting.

 

Researching the Competition in the Edtech Space

You have your big idea for an Edtech product, but before bringing it to life , you need to do your homework. That means researching the competition to see what else is out there, how it’s being used, and where there are gaps you could fill.

Speaking with educators, administrators, and students is key. Ask them about the tools they currently use, what they like and dislike, and where they see room for improvement.  You’ll gather valuable insights that can help ensure your product actually solves real problems.

Scour websites like EdSurge, eSchool News, and Tech & Learning to stay on top of new products, trends, and innovations in Edtech. See what’s getting attention and funding. Study how other startups describe and market their offerings. Look for clues about what’s working and what’s not.

Search online for media coverage of Edtech companies similar to yours. Analyze what they’re doing well and not so well. Check sites like Capterra and GetApp to compare features and reviews of competitive tools. See how existing options are rated on factors like ease of use, value for money, and customer support.

Attend industry events like ISTE, Bett, and EdTechXEurope to network and learn from other entrepreneurs. Strike up conversations, ask thoughtful questions, and listen for pain points you could address. You might discover new applications of technology or find partners for potential collaborations.

Doing your research upfront will help ensure your Edtech product actually provides value. You’ll build something schools really need, not just another shiny new toy. And when it’s time to launch, you’ll have a much better story to tell about how you’re improving education. The homework will have been worth it.

 

Choosing the Right Medium for Your Product

The medium you choose to deliver your Edtech product directly affects  its success. Do you build an app, web platform, or physical kit? Each has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your target users and their needs.

As an educator, I’m always on the go – between classes, meetings and extracurriculars. An app I can access on my phone or tablet is ideal, since I usually have one of those with me. Apps are also familiar and easy for students to use. However, developing an app requires technical skills and can be expensive. If your product needs to be used on desktop computers, a web platform may be better.

Web platforms are accessible from any device with an internet connection. They’re often cheaper to build and update than an app. But they rely on schools having reliable tech infrastructure and internet connectivity, which isn’t a given. If your product requires hands-on materials or manipulatives, you’ll want to consider a physical kit.

Kits provide tactile learning experiences perfect for science, math, and engineering concepts. However, they require warehousing, shipping and logistics to distribute – adding major costs. Hybrid options, like an app with an optional kit, may give you the best of both worlds.

Think about how your users want to access and interact with your product. An educator’s time is in high demand, so make it as easy as possible for them to implement your solution. Choosing a familiar and flexible medium, with options for different learning and teaching styles, will set your product up for success.

Whatever path you choose, start simple and build from there. Focus on solving one key need really well before expanding into new areas. A refined , high-quality first version of your product will resonate much more with educators than an overcomplicated one that tries to do too much. Keep your users at the heart of every decision, and you’ll build something truly transformational.

 

Building an MVP for your Edtech Idea

The key to launching any new product is starting small by building a minimum viable product or MVP. An MVP is a basic version of your product that allows you to test key assumptions and get feedback from early users. For Edtech startups, your MVP should solve a core problem for teachers or students and have a simple but compelling user experience.

Focus on one or two must-have features that provide value right away. Don’t get bogged down trying to build the perfect, all-encompassing tool before launch. Start with the essentials, then improve and expand from there based on how people actually use it. Some questions to consider for your MVP include:

  1. What key problem does your product solve? Define the simplest possible solution.
  2. Who is your target customer for the MVP? Teachers, students, administrators? Focus on one primary audience to start.
  3. What features are necessary to address the core problem or need? Add only what’s essential. You can always build more later.
  4. How will you get feedback and input from early users? Surveys, interviews, focus groups? Incorporate insights into future iterations.
  5. How will you measure success and impact to determine next steps? Think about key metrics to track how well your MVP is performing.

 

Launching an MVP is a crucial first step, but don’t stop there. Continue improving your product based on real-world use and feedback. An MVP is meant to be a starting point, not the final product. Keep your customers at the center of every new feature and update. Measure, learn and adapt to build the best solution for their needs. With the right MVP and a commitment to continuous improvement, you’ll be well on your way to bringing your Edtech vision to life.

 

Testing and Iterating 

Creating an Edtech product is an ongoing process of testing, refining and improving. The best products are built on feedback from real users in real classroom environments. As an Edtech founder, make building trusted partnerships with a small group of innovative schools and educators a top priority.

Offer to provide your product for free in exchange for their input and data. Start with just 5 or 6 “lab schools” and use what you learn from them to enhance your product before expanding to more schools. Provide special previews, betas and updates to your first 100 dedicated users and champions to keep them engaged in the development process.

While generating revenue is important for any startup, don’t rush into selling your product before thoroughly testing and optimizing it. Clarify for your test users that they are contributing to an ongoing innovation that will ultimately benefit students. Many educators want to be part of improving and shaping the next generation of Edtech.

The needs and realities of students, teachers and schools are complex. There is no “one-size-fits-all” product that will work for every learning environment. Build in options to customize and personalize your product to individual learners and educators. Use data and feedback to refine your understanding of how your product can have the biggest impact.

As an Edtech startup, do your research to fully understand the specific problems you aim to solve. Don’t assume that just because you have built an exciting new technology tool that schools and students have an unmet need for it. Align your product vision with the priorities and challenges identified by teachers, students, parents and administrators. Be open to making major or minor changes to your product based on field testing and customer feedback.

The process of testing, adapting and optimizing an Edtech product is messy, unpredictable and nonlinear. But following the lead of your customers every step of the way will result in something that is truly transformative for education. Build for the students and schools you serve, not just to realize your vision as entrepreneurs. By putting users first, your product has the best chance of improving learning outcomes and gaining mainstream adoption.

 

Crafting a Marketing Strategy for Edtech

With a solid product in hand, now comes the work of getting it in front of educators. How will you spread the word about your Edtech solution and convince schools and districts to give it a try? A strategic marketing plan is key.

Think about your target audience and how they currently find resources. Many educators rely on recommendations from colleagues, associations, and education publications they trust. Building relationships with influencers in the Edtech space, like well-known educators, bloggers, and journalists, can help raise awareness of your product through word-of-mouth marketing. Offer to provide demos, free trials, or donate subscriptions to high-profile schools and districts. Their endorsement and reviews on social media or in industry publications will give you credibility.

Attend relevant conferences and events, like ISTE or EdSurge Summits, to network face-to-face with potential customers. Set up an exhibitor booth to showcase your product, collect leads, and schedule demos. Sponsoring or presenting at these events positions you as a thought leader in the community. You might even offer special conference promotions and pricing to spur interest.

Don’t forget about social media as a way to directly engage your target audience. Start conversations in education groups and hashtags on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Share blog posts, videos, and other resources highlighting your product’s benefits and success stories from early adopters. Paying to promote key social media posts and run targeted ads on these networks helps raise visibility.

A good content marketing strategy also brings customers to you. Publishing useful resources on your website or blog gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your product’s value. For example, creating a video series on implementing a new teaching technique provides helpful information for educators while subtly featuring how your Edtech solution supports that approach.

With relentless outreach, social sharing, content creation, and relationship building, you can craft a sustainable marketing strategy to bring your Edtech product to schools across the country and around the world. But never stop listening to customer feedback and refining your product to best meet their needs.

 

Building the Sales Process 

Once you’ve identified your target customer segments, it’s time to build a sales process tailored to their needs. For Edtech startups, relationships and word-of-mouth referrals are key. Focus on finding early adopters and champions who will help get the word out.

Start by identifying a handful of “lab schools” — innovative schools with leadership open to new ideas. Offer your product to them for free in exchange for feedback and case studies. These early adopters can become your first reference customers and help build credibility.

Beyond lab schools, look for the next 100 or so “champion” schools. Give them sneak previews, beta access, and other perks in exchange for their partnership. They’ll help further refine your product and spread the word to their networks.

At some point, you’ll need to start generating revenue. But in the beginning, clarify that schools are part of the development process. Many educators want to be on the cutting edge and support new solutions. Frame their participation as an opportunity to contribute to something bigger that will ultimately benefit students.

Customer input is key. The more you bring schools into the process, the better. Get feedback on ideas, prototypes, and new features. Ask open-ended questions to understand their challenges and needs. Visit schools in person when possible. Building trust and rapport will make them much more willing to partner with you.

A successful Edtech sales process is all about relationships, word-of-mouth, and co-creation with customers. Identify champions, build credibility through free trials and case studies, and keep an open feedback loop. With the right partners by your side, you’ll gain valuable insights to build a product schools really need.

 

How to Price Your Product?

When it comes to pricing your Edtech product, there are a few factors to consider carefully. The most important thing is to start low and go slow.

As a new company, your primary goals should be gaining customers and credibility. Offering your product for free or at a major discount to early adopters is a great way to get schools and educators invested in your solution. Matt Cole, the Edtech expert, recommends finding “five or six trusted partners” to provide your product to for free. Let them preview new features and give feedback. These champions will help establish your product’s value and spread word-of-mouth marketing.

Once you have some schools on board, you can start generating revenue through a “freemium” model. Provide a basic version of your product for free but charge for premium features. This allows schools to try before they buy while still monetizing your work. John Weathers suggests being “lean and doing it one by one.” Call schools in the area that are already using you and offer a special introductory price. Small wins will build momentum.

When determining how much to charge, look at the budgets of your target customers and the prices of any competitors. You want to be affordable but still able to sustain your business. Talk to school leaders about what they can realistically pay for your solution. Find the “sweet spot” that maximizes the number of schools that can adopt your product.

Pricing an Edtech product requires patience and flexibility. Be willing to negotiate and offer custom plans based on school needs. Provide discounts for long-term contracts and multi-year renewals. Most importantly, focus on value over cost. If your product solves key challenges, improves learning outcomes, and enhances the experience of students and teachers, schools will be willing to pay for it.

Staying engaged with your customers, refining your product to meet their needs, and keeping an open mind about pricing will set you up for success. While revenue is essential, gaining trust and building relationships should be the top priorities for any new Edtech company. Offering your product for free or at a discount in the beginning may seem counterintuitive, but it will pay off through loyal customers and word-of-mouth marketing down the road.

 

Edtech Product Launch FAQs

Launching an Edtech product comes with many questions. Here are some of the common ones we hear from founders:

 

How Do I Gain Credibility in the Edtech Space?

The Edtech industry is all about relationships and trust. Start by networking and building connections with educators, administrators, and others in the field. Attend industry events, join online communities, and look for opportunities to contribute value. Over time, as people get to know you and see your passion for education, your credibility will grow.

 

What’s the Best Way to Validate my Product Idea?

The best validation comes from your target customers – teachers, students, schools, etc. Set up phone calls or focus groups to get feedback on your concept. See if they understand the problem you’re trying to solve and whether your proposed solution resonates with them. Be open to making changes based on their input. Early validation will save you time and money in the long run.

 

How Much Funding Do I Need to Launch?

This depends on many factors, like how complex your product is and your business model. Many Edtech startups bootstrap in the early days to keep costs low. Once you have initial traction, consider applying for grants, participating in accelerators, crowdfunding, or pursuing angel investment. Make sure you have a solid plan for how you’ll use the funds to achieve key milestones before raising outside capital. Start with a small amount, prove your model, and go from there.

 

Where Do I Start with Marketing and Sales?

Focus on educating your audience first. Develop content like blog posts, videos, and podcasts that provide value to your target customers. Build an email list so you can stay in touch with interested people. As for sales, start with a pilot program at a few schools. Offer a trial or discounted access in exchange for feedback and testimonials. Word-of-mouth marketing and case studies from early adopters are very persuasive to other potential customers.

 

Keep learning, stay flexible, and don’t be afraid to pivot. Launching an Edtech startup is challenging, but following your passion for education can lead to great rewards. With hard work and persistence, you’ll gain traction and start making an impact. 

So there you have it, the essential steps to get your Edtech product off the ground. By validating your idea, carefully planning your finances, building a solid team, and developing an effective marketing strategy, you’ll set yourself up for the best chance at success. It won’t happen overnight, but with dedication and perseverance, you can make your Edtech vision a reality. The journey will have its challenges, but the reward of bringing innovative solutions to the education space will make it all worthwhile. You got this! Now if you’re ready to share  that creation with the world, get in touch with us

Students, teachers, parents, and administrators are waiting for you. If you missed our part 1 of this series, find it here