One idea to consider when thinking about Back to School is forming a Teacher Advisory Group. This group would consist of teachers and educators from a variety of backgrounds who are friends of the store. They could help “advise” on books, programs, events, and more.
When forming a Teacher Advisory Group, Here are some items to consider:
- Participants. It’s important to choose advisers from different grade levels and different schools to expand the reach of your store. You should also consider inviting a librarians, principals, and those from the homeschooling community.
- Timing. The group should meet on a scheduled basis. Monthly seems too frequent. Quarterly not quite frequent enough. So I suggest bi-monthly beginning in August. The individuals in your group could help determine the best day of the week to meet.
That takes care of the who and the when. Now the why.
- It’s good for business. If an educator serves on your advisory group, they will become proponents of the store. They will recommend your services because they will know about your services.
- School liaison. Members of this group can serve as a liaison between you and other teachers. Do you have teacher discount cards or a flyer about the upcoming Teacher Appreciation Day? Members of your advisory group will have access to the little mail boxes at school. And if you create a special coupon for you group to distribute at their discretion, they’ll feel empowered because they are a part of the store.
- School/author events. This group can not only spread the word about potential author visits at schools, they can also help educate the schools on why its important to buy the books.
- Book fairs. If you offer in-store or on-site book fairs, members can advise on procedures. If you have a calendar of book fairs scheduled, they can also take it back to their schools to discuss available dates with their peers.
- Text books. If you can order classroom sets or individual texts for students, an advisory group can help spread the word of this service to others who could use it.
- Readers. Teachers and librarians in the advisory group can help you read some of the ARCs you can’t quite get to. They can also write trusted and respected reviews.
- Content providers. If you have a blog or a newsletter for educators, members of the group could be invited to write guest posts. This could help vary the voice, free up some staff time, and provide valuable content.
If teachers are willing to meet with you on a regular basis to discuss ideas, consider thanking them by extending the employee discount to them, offering full access to the ARCs, and making them special guests at appropriate events. They can provide valuable insights.