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Even experts can be wrong

 

 

The curious tale of not seeing the obvious

It seems that no matter how many advertisements one writes, it is not possible to get every single one right every single time. 

This was very much brought home to me recently when I produced an advert for a client of ours that began with the headline, “A free review of one or more of the leases that your school holds could well reveal that you are being overcharged.”

Now that looked perfectly reasonable to me, and I had expected a decent, if not an exciting response rate.  But it failed.

I quickly followed up with “The curious tale of the photocopier that ate money,” and changed the subsequent text, and that worked much better.

So, what went wrong first time around?

It is quite hard to be definitive about it, but it seems to me that the first headline probably looked too much like the endless “you have probably been mis-sold insurance by your bank” type of adverts.   By adding a tiny twist of humour to the second advert (something the insurance industry never does) I gained more attention.

Now that I’ve reached that conclusion the whole thing seems rather obvious – but I didn’t see it at the time.  And that’s why it is often necessary to experiment with headlines and text in order to get the format and approach right.

In simple terms, writing adverts is both a science (in that we can generalise from the successes we have in order to generate a range of approaches that work) and an art – which is far less predictable.

And this is why I always suggest experimentation – and it is this experimentation that many of our Velocity clients benefit from.  When we see our clients’ product or service, and get a grip on their past publicity, we will come up with ideas which are different from those used before.

Most of the time we get good results – on which we can them improve over time.  But sometimes we get it wrong.

However, this is never a total disaster because a poor promotion will give us information on where we went wrong – the stats will show us if it was the subject line, the copy itself or the landing page that caused the problem, and from there we can proceed with new copy.

Whether you come to Hamilton House as a Velocity client (see www.velocity.ac) or whether you write your adverts yourself, there is always the chance that you won’t hit the jackpot the first time around.  That is when the analysis starts – which should in turn, lead on to success.

If you would like to know more, please do call 01536 399 000.  If you would like an advertisement that has not worked analysed to see if we can spot what might be wrong please email Tony@hamilton-house.com and I’ll get a report back to you.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Personal email addresses of academics

 

 

Emailing heads of departments in universities and colleges at their personal email addresses

During the course of this academic term, we’ve been researching the direct email addresses of a number of staff in colleges and universities throughout the UK.

Below is a list of those lists we have got so far... but here’s an extra thought. If the list you are after is not here, then there is every chance we can research it and have it available for you within a matter of weeks.

Of course I can’t give an absolute guarantee on this – if the list is particularly obscure or difficult we might not be able to research it, but I would say that most of the time we are able to generate new lists in this way.

Here is the list of what we have so far...

 

Total list

FE only

HE only

 

14p each

18p each

18p each

Additional Support (special needs)

411

283

128

Bursar

213

213

 

Business Studies

279

279

 

Careers

260

260

 

ICT

391

276

115

ICT technicians

275

203

72

International students

207

207

 

Media studies

297

297

 

Site Manager

477

277

200

Special needs: see additional support

 

 

 

PGCE English

58

58

 

PE/Sport

353

245

108

If you would like to discuss any of these lists or talk about lists that we are currently researching or could research, please do call 01536 399 000. If you would like to have us send out an email for you, simply send in your order to Chris@hamilton-house.com We need emails either as Word documents (without illustrations), or as HTML documents.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Why half term emailing works, and why it's half price

 

 

Half term emailing works because most teachers now read their emails on mobile devices or at home.

During the term teachers tend to read their emails quickly, scanning messages rapidly before deleting the majority and keeping the few.

During the holiday periods they have more time and so, when they do pick up their phones, laptops and their tablets, they read that little bit more slowly – which, of course, is a good thing for all advertisers.

That’s why we promote advertising at half term. But we keep our 50% discount because the resistance to advertising at half term is still quite strong.

In some areas – such as advertising to heads and deputy heads – there is no half term discount because those lists are now as busy during half term as they are during the term.  But for some heads of department, numbers are down – so the price goes down.

However, there is another bonus: because there are fewer adverts, the likelihood of readership is higher.

If you want to place an advert which will go out sometime between now and November 1, please call 01536 399 000 or else email Chris@hamilton-house.com You can see a full listing of our email lists on www.emails.gs 

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Why are teachers so difficult to sell to?

 

 

Teachers are unique, and it is important to understand why if one wants to sell to them successfully. 

All groups of people are different – and so, logically, they need advertising which addresses them in their own unique way.  To put it at its most obvious, you would not write to a 65 year old as you would to a 21 year old.

But there is one group that is particularly difficult to understand from a marketing point of view, and that is teachers.

So what is it that makes teachers so difficult to sell to?

I feel I have a certain inside knowledge as to how teachers react to advertising as I underwent teacher training, I have taught and risen a little up the hierarchy, and I write weekly newsletters to a number of teachers.  (The last is interesting, since many teachers write back to me with their comments on my weekly outpourings).

First, I think it is vital to remember that teachers spend their working day with children who en masse have their own issues and behaviours, and it is not surprising that it affects one’s world view.  You don’t become a child but your view of the world and your place within it changes.

Second, while most of us not only move jobs but also move between business areas, teachers tend to stay in teaching.  Those outside education often find employing teachers in other work hard going – and as a result teachers often have less chance to see the world from very different perspectives.

Matters are made harder, however, when it comes to writing adverts aimed at teachers as all of us have been to school, and so we have a view of teachers which is almost certainly out-of-date and based on just a handful of examples.  Thus most of us believe we know teachers and schools, but in fact the truth is that we don’t. But it is hard to shake off old preconceptions.

And if all this were not difficult enough, there is one final point that really makes selling to teachers tough.  Across schools, there is no agreed way of working – nor even an agreed set of objectives.  Yes, a national curriculum exists in England, but there’s no agreement on the best method of teaching, no unified approach on how to raise grades, no agreement on discipline and behaviour.

Even the inspectorate don’t help much.  They point out when something is not meeting government-imposed regulations, but they don’t tell the schools how to resolve the situation. They are just given a bad mark.

So there we have it.  Teachers have their own world view, and we have a view of teachers which is often very out of touch with the teachers’ own world view. It is a £50bn a year operation, 93% paid for by the taxpayer, and yet doing its own thing.

In my view, only when these factors are taken into account does it start to become clear exactly how one might go about selling to teachers.

If you would like to know more, please do call 01536 399 000.  We’re happy to look at your advertising and make our suggestions without charge or obligation.  We’ll even show you a few examples of how we write to teachers (with full explanations).

There is more about selling to teachers on www.blog.educationmarketing.org.uk and a guide to some of our latest services on www.educationmarketing.org.uk

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Second Chance Advertising; the free additional email service.

 

 

Imagine a form of advertising where if you don’t get the responses you want, you get a second try – for free

Some adverts work perfectly – and when they do that’s fine.  Having had success you’ll come back, place another advert, and keep going.

But sometimes adverts don’t achieve the success you want.  And that is where “Second Chance Advertising” comes in.  Because if you don’t meet your target we’ll run either the same, or a newly written advert again, without charge.

Here’s how it works.

Before you place your email advertisement with Hamilton House, you let us know the target that you have, be it in terms of click throughs, phone calls, sales or any other form of measurement that you have.  

We then send the advertisement out, and the result of the campaign is measured.

If the target is reached then we’ll be hoping that you will advertise with us again, but of course that is entirely up to you.

However if the target has not been reached, then you have a choice.  You can either ask us to run the same advertisement a second time (in order to top up your results), or you can re-write it or ask us to re-write it. 

Whichever way you want to proceed we’ll send out your advertisement once more, to the same list, without any extra charge.  All you have to do is pay the normal price for the first email.

In short, you either get a winning advert which meets your target, or you get a second bite of the proverbial cherry without any extra cost.

“Second Chance Advertising” is available on all our secondary school email lists except those aimed at the headteacher and deputy headteacher.  It is also available for promotions to the Primary Schools Business Managers and for Nursery Schools heads and deputy heads.  

If you are interested please call 01536 399 000, we’ll talk you through the process, and once your prediction of the results you want is agreed we’ll make the arrangements to run your advert.

If you would like to see a list of the lists that we have available for the Second Chance Advertising service they are on www.emails.gs

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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What's so special about half term?

 

 

 When selling into schools it is never a good idea to rely on your own memory of school days.

There was a time when every teacher more or less abandoned school work during the half term holidays and returned, supposedly refreshed, after a solid week’s break.

Many do indeed still go away – but they, like their colleagues who stay at home, still stay in touch.  They read the emails that reach them directly through their personal email accounts by transferring the account to their home PC, their laptop, phone or any other device they happen to have.

The implications for advertisers are profound – and that’s why memories of what happened to teachers in the past are not always a good guide to what happens now.

Nevertheless we know that very few companies actually advertise to teachers during the school holidays – which means that a lot of the background noise (in terms of competing advertisements) is not there, making this a good time to advertise.

What’s more,  there is more time available.  Announcements from companies seen during the term tend to be seen as part of the daily rush – read as a quick interlude between teaching and preparation.  (Or in my case, when I was in education, between teaching and the pub, but we’ll skip over that detail for now.)

Additionally, there is not just time for the teacher to read advertisements, but there is also time to consider them and to consider how advertised products could be used.

And finally, there is every chance of an order or other follow up action.  The teacher can simply email the school admin department with a request that an order for a product be put in, or email the advertiser with a request for more information or clarification.

In short the holiday is not the shut-down time that it used to be in schools.  It is a time when matters can be dealt with by teachers at greater leisure and with more thought.

If you would like to experiment with advertising in the school half term this autumn you can do so at half the normal price, providing your advertisement goes out at some time between 26 October and 3 November (you can, of course, choose the specific date you want, as normal, subject to availability).

A full list of all our personal email lists can be found on www.emails.gs – just choose the list type you want from the menu on the left side, and you’ll get all the details.  And of course when looking at the prices, just cut them in half. 

Or if you prefer just call 01536 399 000, or email Chris@hamilton-house.com   

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Is regular advertising really necessary? Results of our experiments.

 

 

Is it really a good idea to keep telling teachers about your product or service, or is once every half term enough?

It is a fundamental question: just how often should you advertise to teachers? Do they really get fed up with you if you keep emailing them? Does too much advertising actually do more harm than good?

We’ve known for a long time that sending out the same advert over and over again will persuade people to remove themselves from your mailing list. But the question has remained – even with constantly changing advertising is it possible to increase sales by mailing the same people more than once?

For our experiment the School of Educational Administration and Management (part of the Hamilton House group) decided to vary its approach to advertising the courses that it sells to administrators, school business managers and bursars, in order to see if the response rates could be enhanced.

The courses that the SEAM sell, however, are not only selected by those people who come on the courses. There can also be a certain involvement from others within the school – the head, deputy, teacher i/c CPD – all recommending, or making suggestions as to who might go on the course.

Through our experiments we found that by not only changing the copy that we wrote, but also by rotating the people who were mailed, while also rotating the lists that we used, we were able to increase the number of applications that we got on some courses by over 300%.

To explain the issue of changing lists – when it comes to most of these members of staff, two or three lists are available.  For administrators, for example, one can email them using the generic school lists.  But there is also the weekly email that goes out to subscribers to our administrators’ news list.   For Heads and Deputy heads there were actually three options: the generic list, the personal list (going to their own personal in box) and the weekly subscription newsletter.

Of course, not every individual is going to get each message.  In some schools generic emails are not passed on. Only a minority of individuals subscribe to the newsletter service we run.  Personal lists tend to cover about 50% of the total number that could be on the list.

But even so, we found that changing the email each time helped – which suggests that quite a few people were having emails forwarded to them from other sources.

Thus the message is clear – if you want to maximise sales you should look at this threefold approach:

a) Email regularly but with ever varying texts;

b) Email all the people in the school who might be interested – including both the end user of the product and the senior manager who might have to ok expenditure, if that might be an issue;

c) Use all the available email lists, including the subscription, personal and generic email lists.

What we ended the experiment being absolutely certain of was the fact that mailing the same email copy twice was a disaster.  All it does is bring in a lot of unsubscribes.

We compared the number of people we recruited onto the year long course in school administration starting this October with last October.  This year, using our new approach we got 13 people on the course. Last year we cancelled the course because of the lack of interest.

If you would like to explore the development of a campaign approach to your advertising to teachers, the most cost effective route is via Velocity.  There are details on www.velocity.ac  Or you can call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Free personal email campaign to secondary teachers

 

 

Mail teachers for less than the cost of postage, and get a free personal email campaign at the same time.

On 6 November 2013 we are running a postal shared mailing campaign to the 5000 secondary schools, and each company that puts in a leaflet will not only reach schools for far less than the cost of postage, but will also get a free personal email campaign. 

In fact there is even more being offered as a free bonus, but since two free offers at once looks a little over the top I’ll hold on that second offer for the moment.

In a shared postal mailing your leaflet travels with around 10 other items in a pack which goes to the school administrator. 

The top item is the regular newsletter from the School of Educational Administration and Management (the association that runs courses and distributes regular news for school administrators and bursars).  This newsletter grabs the administrator’s attention and incorporates a list of the leaflets enclosed, with details of who they are to be forwarded to. 

If you would like to go into this mailing we need your booking as soon as possible as places are limited.  Just email Chris@hamilton-house.com to place the booking.

We will then need leaflets no later than 30 October.

The cost of the mailing is: £435 for one leaflet, £560 for two leaflets.  There is a small weight charge if the leaflet/s weigh over 15g.  (A sheet of A4 8gsm bond usually weighs 5g or 6g.)

If you wish only to mail the 3500 schools with sixth forms the price drops to £345 (£420 for two).

Additionally, there is the free offer: if you want to have an advert sent out to any of our secondary school personal email addresses just send in a text only copy of your advert, and we’ll book it in.  The list of lists is on http://www.emails.gs/Secondarynamedlist.html

Last, the bonus free offer.  Your text only advert can also appear on  www.ukeducationnews.co.uk    On average this means that an extra 700 teachers will read your announcement.

To compare response rates between postal shared mailings and other forms of advertising please see http://www.blog.educationmarketing.org.uk/2013/09/13/how-many-will-i-sell-when-i-promote-to-schools/

To check on availability and any points of detail relating to our postal shared mailing please call 01536 399000.

To book into a mailing please email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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The email headline that forced me to read on

 

 

What made me read one particular advert
all the way through?

I tend to delete far more emails unread than I actually read, so finding an email that forced me to read it all the way through, makes me think “How on earth did they do it?”

And the simple answer is, they did it through the headline.   That headline, produced in large print in bold at the top of the email text, was…

First e-book on “The future of 3D Education” released

So, why did that headline, more than any other subject line, headline or opening, attract me so much?

I think part of the answer is that I had never heard of “3D Education.”   Had the headline been “The Future of Whiteboards” I wouldn’t have given it a second glance, because (rightly or wrongly) I have the view that I know about whiteboards.  Just as I believe I know about the National Curriculum, and the problem of talented young people hiding their talents to avoid bullying, etc, etc.

It’s my job to stay in touch with educational matters, so I tend to know a bit about what’s going on – and past experience suggests that many of these “the future of” announcements tell me less than I already know, so I don’t bother with them.

Now I think there are two lessons to be learned from this.   The first is that new topics (if you can find them) are a good way to lead an advert.  The second is that if you get your headline right in an email, then you put your readership up by about 1000%.

Let’s take these in turn.  First the issue of the “new topic”.

“Ah,” I hear you say (although not literally you understand), “my product is not a new topic.  We’ve been selling it for years.”

That, of course, is the norm – but if we can find some words that appear to transform the old into the new, that can help.  My company sells personal email lists of teachers, for example, and we’ve been doing it for many years, but I still have to find something new to say.  I can’t say, “The Future of Personal Email Lists of Teachers”, because that’s dull. 

But I could say, “The Future of Marketing to the Reluctant Teacher”.  That is more specific, and sounds as if it might contain something new.  So it encourages readership.

My second lesson learned from the “3D Education” advert concerns the power of the headline.   The overwhelming majority of emails carry no headline at the top of the text, relying totally on the subject line.   This is a terrible mistake in my opinion, because it misses a major opportunity to grab attention.

Early research suggests that making the headline different from the subject line works best, but even the same headline and subject line is a lot better than no headline at all.

So, two simple lessons from one advert that grabbed my attention.   If you would like to talk about email or postal marketing in terms of both the creative and the list (not forgetting the technology, so beloved of many email marketing firms) do call 01536 399 000.

If you would like to know about some of the latest initiatives and offers in relation to education marketing, they are on www.educationmarketing.org.uk

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Zero cost advertising?

 

 

There's no such thing as a free whatnot,
but on this occasion...

I'm not going to hype this advertising option because it is genuinely free - if you want to make use of it, it is there, and brings with it no obligation.

We've started a new site called Going to University, and it is being developed with the aim of being read by sixth form tutors, careers teachers, sixth form students, first year undergraduates and those at university who are concerned with advertising to schools and students, and settling the students in.

It is taking the form of a blog - so each article is put up, and stays there.   We haven't started indexing yet, but will do soon.

The site is at www.goingtouniversity.org.uk - and you can see the sort of articles we have put up so far.

If you would like to put up an article/advert, then just email it to me as a Word or GoogleDocs file, without any pictures, but with a headline, and I will put it up.

You can have as many links in it to your own site as you wish (just embed them within the document - please don't leave them for me to sort out!) but I would recommend only one or two.

You can make the piece of any length and about anything, but all my experience in advertising tells me that 300 to 1000 words is best, and that you should not be strident and should not SHOUT OUT !!! your advert.

Be conversational, point out the benefits, and give a clear indication of what you want to do next.

Send the article/advert to Tony@hamilton-house.com and I'll put it up.   We are already getting about 1000 visits a week and it is growing quickly, so the offer of putting up a piece at no charge will not last forever - although once your article is up, it will stay up without any charge, unless you write and ask for it to come down.

If you have any enquiries please do call 01536 399 013.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

We work hard to ensure that you only receive emails that are relevant to you delivered to your email address.  If you would prefer to receive emails at a different or additional address or if you have any other comments please let us know by replying to this email.  If you do not wish to receive further emails from us please click on this link  If you choose not to do this we will take it that you are willing to receive emails from us until such time as you indicate that your preferences have changed.




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Telling teachers what they already know doesn't work

 

 

Starting an advert by stating the obvious is a big turn off.  But it is what lots of firms do.

We're not cruel people in the Hamilton House creative team, but when we see adverts which begin, "With Christmas nearly upon us" or "Now that the sun is out..." or even "As we approach the end of term" we do occasionally get the giggles.

The point is that these scene setters which state the obvious are among the biggest turn offs in advertising.  And yet they are the most commonly used starting points to adverts - which is what makes them a little more amusing.

What you have to do instead is hit the reader hard with something that makes him/her sit up and take notice.

This doesn't mean that you should never speak about the background to the world - it is just that most of us are fairly aware when Christmas is just around the corner or that this is the time of year for sun cream, and so we tend to get ourselves organised in good time for such events.  Being told the blindingly obvious in a headline or subject line doesn't help.

But talking about a key topic in which the teacher is currently very interested is quite different.  And fortunately, there is a way of doing this.

The website www.ukeducationnews.co.uk is a rolling news service which contains stories from all the major sources of school news, along with some company adverts and indeed some school notices.  All you have to do is to flip down it until you find a story that you think will be of relevance to you.

So if we imagine that you are selling a product or service that relates to school inspections, you might note (at least on the day I write this) a story about schools needing more meaningful reports from Ofsted.  A quick flip through that story could give you a starting point.

Likewise if you are selling a grammar book you might note the article that proclaims that teachers don't know enough grammar to teach the new curriculum, and start from there.

Of course, such stories need manipulating - you can't start telling teachers they are rubbish when you are trying to sell to them.  My point here is only that these stories (and there are about 200 on the site at any one time, updated every five minutes) are worth contemplating as you search for a headline.

And, as I mentioned, you can advertise on the site among the stories.  There are details on http://www.blog.educationmarketing.org.uk/2012/11/29/advertise-on-major-teacher-websites-49-99/

Or as always, call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd
 

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