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The way schools buy really is changing


Schools are now making their buying decisions in ways that are very different from five years ago

I’ve been selling to schools for over 30 years, and I can count on the toes of one foot the number of times I’ve advertised a product or service that is so wanted by my audience that I could advertise it any old how and still get huge sales.

The rest of the time I’ve not only needed to have a product that meets a need that the schools have, but I’ve also had to offer it at the right price to the right people and to advertise in a way that meets their current thinking and their current behaviour.

In the last few years teachers have adopted a new mindset. If you have seen declining returns on your adverts this is probably why it is.  Advertising processes that worked five years ago don’t work now.

Today, in order to get sales from schools (assuming you don’t have one of those rare products or services that will sell no matter what), you need to engage with the teacher in a totally new way.  If you don’t sales will decline.

The first thing to do in this new approach is to make the teacher think you are a jolly nice person.  Generally, but not always, this is done by offering something for free which actually opens a channel of communication between you and the teacher. 

I’ve made this part of the process happen for clients with an articles on such topics as how the colour of chairs in the school reception area and meeting rooms can affect the behaviour of colleagues and visitors, an offer of a free list of theatre in education companies to drama teachers, a review of the problem with conventional minibus purchasing, a report on how to reduce the level of interruptions for school administrators…

However, many firms that I deal with tell me that they don’t think that it really is possible to do this in their line of business - but I’ve not been defeated yet.  I think it is always possible.

Sometimes I’ve had to send out a very short questionnaire to teachers to find my angle, and true, sometimes I’ve had to try a couple of approaches, but ultimately we’ve found something that opens the door and makes teachers think, “hey, these guys are ok, let’s see what else they do.”

In short, we find a way of opening the door to the sale.  It’s a bit like having a nice display at the entrance to a shop.  It doesn’t get a sale – it gets the person inside.

So after you have worked to establish yourself as a nice person what next?  The advertising email?  The sales letter?

The answer to this has for a number of years been yes, let’s send out the email or sales letter.  But again the world moves on, and I’m very much of a mind now that one should look at one’s website, while doing the initial promotion of the free item.

The reason is that so many websites I see are not right. They are set up by web designers who know less about how to sell than my aforementioned toe.  They are quite good at devising pages of pretty pictures – and these can be very helpful indeed in certain contexts but only within those contexts.

I can’t tell you what you need on your website because it is different for each product or service, but if you want to send me your website address, and a phone number, I’ll take a look and call you back.  No charge, no obligation, total privacy assured, no horseman… you know the drill.

My point is this.  A large number of email campaigns go out with some quite decent text that draws people into the associated website.  But the website has not been considered from the point of view of securing the sale and so at that point the sale fails to materialise.

This doesn’t mean you have to change your website totally – because, of course, you can just send your reader to a landing page specifically designed to promote this product.  It’s not that hard.

But there’s one more point before I stop for today.  A substantial number of teachers (still a minority, but a substantial minority) don’t look at emails or postal campaigns.  They search for product information on the internet.

That is why you do need to have a major web presence – not just an unchanging website, but one with links from elsewhere, blogs, articles…

So, in short, this is the way it is going. You need to be able to offer something free, to establish your credentials.  Meanwhile you need to get your website to be a selling tool, not a generalised list of products that looks nice but doesn’t focus on benefits.

It needn’t take long nor need it be expensive. And indeed this is one of the approaches we are now adopting with many of our Velocity clients.  Not everyone, of course, because each client has different needs and is in a different position when they come to us.  But quite a few.

There are details of Velocity on www.velocity.ac – or call 01536 399 000, or email me details of your website or a recent advert to Tony@hamilton-house.com and I’ll call you back.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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How school purchasing is changing

 

 

The way teachers choose which products and services to buy is changing. 
So what can we do about it?

School budgets have had a bit of a strange ride under the coalition government of the past four years. 

The government famously said they would be maintained, but then the free school programme kicked in, and the Department for Education was caught with its finger in everyone else’s pocket, taking money from everywhere to allow the building of every new free school it agreed to.

Next the figures came through about the dramatic rise in the number of school pupils, and yet more money has had to be found.  In fact school budgets have overall had a massive increase.

So why are some firms saying that they are really not getting the sales they expect?

Looking at the evidence, several different factors seem to be at work.

First it is clear that teachers can and will respond to postal and email campaigns.  But the need for the advert to be written in a particular style is now clearer than ever.  It used to be possible to get away with announcement advertising – but not now.

A recent email advert for a free report by the School of Education Administration and Management got around 5% of the teachers contacted via email lists to respond – showing that given the right subject line and headline people will read.

The SEAM does sell – but it does so through a two-step process now.  The free report sets up goodwill, interest and recognition, and ensures the follow-up selling email is read.  Credibility and interest is the name of the game.

Second, it is clear that postal shared mailings and emails to the generic list (i.e. campaigns that go through the school administrator) must be written in a very specific way in order to stand any chance of getting to the teacher.  I’ve written on this before, but if you want to explore the topic call me on 01536 399 000.

Third direct selling must focus on benefits not features and must answer the two prime questions, “why should I buy this” and “why should I buy this from you?” in original ways.  Claiming you are the cheapest, or very friendly or very fast, doesn’t work because everyone says this.

Fourth, attitudes to products and to the way to deliver the new national curriculum are changing, which is why research into teacher attitudes is now more important than ever.  That’s why we recommend to all our Velocity customers that they become engaged more and more in research in relation to their products.

Finally, there clearly are some teachers who for different reasons don’t read postal campaigns and/or don’t read emails (or perhaps never get emails, if the school admin has decided to block your emails).

These teachers tend to do website searches when they want products – which is why it is vital that you give them every chance of finding you.

We’ve always recommended running blogs – and for the last few years we have been running a series of websites aimed at teachers who only use the internet to find product.  These sites get over 80,000 visits a month from teachers who have sought out the site because they are looking for a particular item of interest to them.

You can now advertise through articles on as many of these sites as are relevant to you, from now until 30 September 2014, for just £49.99 plus VAT.

The sites are

The format varies from site to site as you can see from clicking on them. 

To book in, 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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Planning is good for you


Which adverts always work best when selling to schools?

Actually I could have made that headline a bit shorter and asked, “which adverts always work best?”  For the answer to the question is the same whether we are looking to reach teachers, doctors, businesses, very rich people, or anyone else.

There are all sorts of possible answers to this – and all of them are right.  For example, adverts which have a real attention grabbing headline always work best.  Also adverts that do something which no one else does – they always stand a good chance of doing well.

But most of all there are adverts which are planned.  Not adverts which are quickly put together or adverts which use up old leaflets or copy that was written a year ago and happens to be on the computer. But adverts that are created over time.

Let me give an example. The next postal shared mailing doesn’t happen until August – we need the printed copy by 27 August.  Allow a week for printing and delivery and we still have eight weeks to write the piece and get the design done. 

That’s forever. Wimbledon, the World Cup Final, the school holidays – all that comes first.  No need to rush. Eight weeks!!!

Except, what you could do is take a look at this article on the school marketing blog which explains very specifically why some postal shared adverts work far better than others. 

It looks at the unique elements in a postal shared mailing, such as the fact that it goes to the school administrator first, and works out why some items get through that filter and some don’t.

As far as I know it is the only article of its time that considers specifically what works in a shared postal campaign.  It only takes a couple of minutes to read, but it contains key information that could transform your response rates.

Then you could sketch out your advert, and if you want to, send a copy to me.  You don’t have to, but I’m sitting here, and it would be nice to have someone to talk to.  I’ll call you back and talk the advert through with you.  You don’t have to take any of my advice but at least you’ll have another perspective.

Now of course this sort of planning is tougher when you are trying to take in this type of information and do a re-write, and the deadline is much closer.

So, I’d suggest you might start thinking about the next postal shared mailing now. Here are the key points…

  1. We are continuing with the offer of a free listing on UK Education News for everyone who goes into the shared postal campaigns with us.  Just send a text only version of your advert and we’ll put it up. The result will be that getting on for 1000 more people will read your advert than would otherwise be the case.  (And that is not 1000 people glancing at it, but 1000 actually reading.)
  2. On certain selected shared postal campaigns we also offer a free email campaign as well.  So you get to reach the teachers twice.
  3. We’re running a nursery schools shared postal mailing in September. It is the first for a long time, and it might well get booked up quite quickly, so that’s another reason to act sooner rather than later.  (And we’ve never ever offered a free email campaign with a nursery mailing before.)

All the details including which mailings get the free email campaign are on www.shared.org.uk.  And all the prices are on http://www.shared.org.uk/prices.html

However to save you having to click thither and yon, here are the opening mailings of the new term:

Largest 5000 primary schools: 
Leaflets by 27 August, despatch 3 September. 

Largest 10000 primary schools
Leaflets by 27 August, despatch 3 September

All 24000 primary schools: 
Leaflets by 27 August, despatch 3 September

*All 5000 secondary schools:  
Leaflets by 28 August; despatch 4 September.  

*All 3800 schools with sixth forms: 
Leaflets by 28 August; despatch 4 September.  

*10,000 largest private nursery schools:
Leaflets by 5 September; despatch 12 September 

* These mailings come with a free email campaign and free article in UK Education News

To book into a specific shared postal campaign, please email Chris@hamilton-house.com with the details of the date, the selection and if you are sending one item per school or more.

For any enquiries, to request a copy of a past pack, to discuss your text or design, to enquire about UK Education News, or indeed to talk about England’s world cup performance please call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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Think first of what you want to achieve - then choose the medium


Should I start with an email or a postal campaign
when promoting to schools?

That question – should one start with an email campaign or a postal campaign when mailing schools? - is a perfectly reasonable one to ask.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a straightforward answer.

The problem is that different situations indicate the need for different media – as I’ll try to explain below.

The basic rule of direct marketing is that on a one-off basis postal mailings get much higher response rates than email campaigns.  Because of this, it is possible to mail through the post a much smaller number of addresses and expect some sales than is possible with emails.

While 30 schools out of 1000 mailed through the post might buy a particular modestly priced product – the number who would do so from an email campaign using personal addresses is liable to be around 6 or 7.

This means that if you want to do detailed selections – for example, just advertising to independent secondary schools, or free schools, or schools that specialise in music, or schools in one or two counties - then you are probably going to need a postal campaign to get a decent response.

The other benefit of the potentially high response rate with a postal campaign is that you can do trial mailings of just a few hundred addresses to see if the advert is working.

For example, when looking at adverts for the books published by our company First and Best, we will often send out just 300 adverts by post to check the results. This might cost around £150, and since most adverts get some response, we normally get our investment back.  

Of course, what we are looking for is the advert that works really well – and once we have found that we then roll out the advert across the schools in our intended market.  So that means (assuming, for example, that we are aiming to sell to secondary schools) mailing in a test run 300 schools chosen totally at random from the 5000 secondary schools list  – and then, when we are satisfied with the result, mailing out the remaining 4700.

To explain “satisfied” in the above sentence – if we were looking for a 3% sales rate, then 9 sales or more would mean we are on target.  As long as the 300 selection is truly random (and not, for example, geographical) it is more than likely that the mailing to the 4700 would get the same result as long as it was completed very soon after the trial.

However, this testing approach is much harder to carry out with email lists because the response rates are lower – to get a measurable response you normally have to mail 1500 or 2000 – and that often means the whole list of personal email addresses of a particular subject teacher.  If you are using generic email addresses (which have a much lower response rate) all 5000 will be needed – so no testing is possible. You just have to email everyone!

Of course, it can be argued that you can still test using the full list by repeatedly emailing the same teachers with different versions of the advert. The problem with this is that, unless each version is radically different, teachers just turn off and don’t read after two or three emails have hit.

Therefore, if you are going to email the same teachers repeatedly with emails for the same product, the very least that you must do is radically change the subject line, the headline at the start of the email, and the opening two paragraphs, plus the last paragraph before the order details.

Overall, the thing to remember is that it is hard to reach all teachers in your selected group by email, but you stand a much greater chance of doing this by post.

If you would like to talk about all the ways in which schools can be selected – or indeed if you would like to discuss which selection and which medium might be best for your product - please do call 01536 399 000 and we’ll be pleased to talk it through.

I’ll also be happy to let you see the sort of adverts that we send out for First and Best books both by post and by email, so that you can see the style and approach we have found to be the most helpful in getting sales.  Indeed, if you call I’ll also explain exactly why one approach works and another doesn’t.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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Does free advertising work?


Selling to secondary schools without paying for the advertising sounds too good to be true.  But it isn’t.

If you have been reading my regular ramblings here on the subject of marketing to schools you may have noticed that Hamilton House offers three ways of achieving the goal of more sales from school.

a)      You select a one-off mailing and then monitor the results before deciding what to do next.

b)      You work on a regular basis with us, and get most of our services are half price or less.

c)       We send out the advert for you but you don’t pay anything until the sales come in.  Then you just pay a commission on each sale.

This third approach – in which you only pay according to the sales you get – has become more popular of late, so I thought I would expand on it a little.

The benefit to you is that there really is no upfront fee.  In the highly unlikely event of you getting no sales from an advert you would not pay us a penny.  But if you do get sales then you pay us an agreed commission on each sale. 

All your selling procedures stay as they are – orders come straight to you, you despatch the goods and issue the invoice, and then at the end of the month you tell us how many sales you have made.  We invoice you with the commission.

If you want to change the advert at any time, you can do so – just send us a new advert.  If you would like us to write an advert for you, we can do that, although for that there is a fee.

Now the problem is, all this does sound too good to be true.  It isn’t – and I think the 70+ companies that are already working with us on this scheme would testify to this.  But I know how anything that is supposedly free can look suspicious!

The key thing is of course to try it – and the way to do that is to send an email to Sam Bates at Hamilton House with details of the product or service, how much it sells for, and a copy of an advert that you are currently using.  We’d also like to know the address of your website.

Just send all the details to Samanthabates@hamilton-house.com   But please do note that at the moment we do not have any further vacancies for products aimed at primary school on this service.

We can’t evaluate products for this service over the phone, but if you want to explore a particular issue please do call Sam on 01536 399 000.  

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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How to get teachers to read your email


What is the most effective way of getting teachers to read your email rather than hitting the delete button?

In my last post I suggested that most of the emails that are sent out to schools are not actually read at all. 

The article (which is available now on www.blog.educationmarketing.org.uk in case you missed it) shows that there are various points in the life of an email in which it is lost from the readers' attention, but the most likely time for losing your readers is the first two seconds.

The teacher sees the email hit the in box, glances at either the sender, the subject line or the opening lines of the email itself, and hits delete.

Now because this is the moment where about 75% of emails get rejected, it is the obvious place to focus if you want to write better emails.  Indeed, my colleagues and I who write emails for our customers on the Velocity programme spend more time on the opening lines than on all the rest of the email put together.

Because the message is clear: if you can get people through those first two seconds, you will greatly enhance your chances of success.

So how do you get teachers to read for more than the first second?

Quite simply you have to do two things. You have to grab attention in the first place, and having grabbed it you have to make the teacher believe that this is something that really affects him/her.

This is done in two ways. By being original and by being relevant.

Because we monitor the emails going into schools from all sorts of sources, I can tell you that most of these emails are highly similar. They by and large focus on the product or service and what it does rather than on the benefit of using this product rather than another.

Thus a new geography A level book comes out, and the advert tells the teachers of the contents, comments on the high number of colour illustrations and the experience of the writer, but does nothing to say why one should buy this book rather than a rival volume from another publisher.

On the other hand, advertisements that instead start with the benefit of this particular book or which ask interesting questions, tend to work far better.

Thus an advert that starts with the headline:

What is it that makes one student get a A in A level geography and another a C?

instantly grabs attention because it is unusual and relevant. The reader is likely to go on reading, and, instead of being part of the 75% that hits delete in the first second, starts skimming down the page looking for the answer.

An advert that says, “ABC Publishers are proud to announce the launch of their new A Level Geography text book” generates less excitement and encourages the pressing of the delete button.

Now it can be argued that even with the first headline readers are still going to leave pretty quickly, because the answer to the question is patently obvious: the students that get the As have a combination of intellect and an ability to work hard. 

And indeed, if that is all you have to say, then true, you are still going to lose your readership.  But if you can develop the story in such a way that the reader begins to think – actually there is something else in this, then you can be a long way down the road to making a sale.

In this case you might be talking about the fact that it is the way the student revises or the way the student builds up his/her knowledge that makes the difference – and this book is written with that in mind.  In short, you generate interest in the notion that there is another answer to your question.

My point then is that being relevant is not enough – you have to be original too.  Claiming to be the cheapest is relevant to the teacher but doesn’t get sales, because half the firms trying to sell to teachers do this.  What you have to do is be both relevant and unusual.

I admit this is not easy, which is why Velocity exists.  Within the Velocity programme we write the emails for our clients and send them out.  The price works out at about 8p an email – which in fact is less than if you write your own and ask us to send it out using our personal lists.

As to why we make it a lower cost for us to write the emails than for you to write your own – well, that’s another story and I’ll answer it another time. But if you want to know now, do call 01536 399 000.

There is more on Velocity at www.velocity.ac

Tony Attwood



 

 

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 happens to email campaigns when you press send?


For every 100 emails that are despatched how many are actually read? (And what can you do about it?)

Of course, all statistics relating to emails involve approximations and assumptions.  How many of your emails arrive, are read and ultimately acted upon depends on the quality of the list you are using, how clean the sending process is, how exciting your subject line and headline are, and so on.

So we are talking here in generalisations – but I am going to take an example of emailing a clean list of teachers’ personal email addresses at schools.  I am not assuming these are teachers who are your past customers or teachers who have opted in to receive your message.  I assume just an up-to-date list of the personal email address of relevant teachers.

And I am assuming that the sending program is checked constantly to ensure that schools, authorities, and big players like Microsoft are not engaged in wholesale blocking of the sender – something which is quite common, unfortunately.

With those assumptions, what is likely to happen to each 100 emails you send out?

First off, a few will always fail to get through, either because the email address has just changed, the school’s server is down… we’ll assume that’s maybe 2% lost.

Of the remaining 98 the biggest loss comes through teachers who just look at the subject line, sender and/or opening line of the email, and then hit delete within a second.

That probably accounts for three quarters of those sent.  So within seconds, most emails have been lost.

This delete tendency is huge, but it is rarely possible to get the perfect subject line, headline and opening paragraph first time around.  All you can do is experiment, study the results, and re-write in the light of those results. 

And this is where people who are particularly successful with their emails put in a lot of effort.  What they do is send out an email advertising a particular product, and then when the results come back in, they re-consider the subject line, headline and opening paragraph in the light of the figures.

Indeed a substantial part of what we do for our Velocity clients involves this process of looking at the stats, considering what they show, and then re-writing these elements.  If you can reduce your loss at this opening point, you can do a lot to enhance your eventual sales.

But assuming none of this is done, we must take the original figure of losing 75% of our readers in the first seconds, so we now have 23 of our original 100 left.

Of those 23 some will be lost when they start skimming.  If they don’t immediately see what it is all about they will go – and indeed an email written without detailed consideration of the opening of each paragraph can lose virtually all the readers.  

But I also believe one can get the loss at this point down to as low as 3%, leaving 20 people still with you.  It is all down to how you write the first four words of each paragraph.

By the end you can be left with maybe 5 readers, who might phone you, click on your website, save the email for another read through later, send you a fax, or perhaps at that stage do nothing. 

The solution – the way to get that number up – is by working hard on the sections of the email where the losses occur.  Stop people leaving you, and you have a great chance to sell. 

But even so, of those left, some will give up at the end, not convinced by your pitch.  What you also have to do is to ensure, among all the techniques for keeping readers with you, is that you have answered the two key questions:

  • Why should I buy this?
  • Why should I buy this from you?

So overall what do these figures tell us?

The key thing they tell us is where readership is lost and what you can do about it.  The traditional response in email marketing to this loss of readers is simply to send the same old stuff out to more recipients.  The smart approach is to consider where the readers are lost and then do something about it.

As I have intimated, there are techniques that are known to work – especially in relation to headlines and the way to create interest in the first four words of each paragraph.  They are never guaranteed, but they can ensure that many more recipients read the advert in full than would otherwise be the case.

Hamilton House writes adverts for many of its customers and the price for writing and sending to one of our personal email lists works out at around 8p each – and you do get a lot of analysis and other input with this as well.

There is more information on this on www.velocity.ac – or please do call us on 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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 is the biggest problem in selling to schools?


Three hidden factors are the cause of most problems in selling to schools.  Here we go through each of them – and offer a solution.

New schools are opening, old schools are expanding, the inspectors are getting ever more active, the curriculum is changing radically…

It’s an expanding market, so in terms of selling to schools everything should be going swimmingly.

And for many companies it is.   But for some there are still issues – and so my colleagues and I have been looking into where the problems are for companies that are not getting the sort of sales from schools that they might expect in this boom time. 

As a result we’ve found a number of areas that seem to keep cropping up as problem zones and which are, on occasion, ignored by companies as they seek to boost their sales.

To be clear, I am not saying that these areas of work are the only ones that can affect the level of sales you could experience when advertising to schools. 

What I am saying is that these areas can have a huge impact and yet are sometimes not seen as the cause of poor sales.  Of course, there are many other factors, but these are as good a place as any to start if you think you should be doing better than you are.

1:  The landing page or the brochure

To be clear, the landing page on a website is the page that is specially constructed to receive visitors who have seen a particular email.

The problem is that sometimes the landing page is just a page packed with products and details – but not the right product and detail.  And worse, it can require the reader to click to move on from one page to the next. The landing page should be the only page the reader needs to go to before moving on to placing an order.

What we are often told is that it can take a long time and a lot of work to change a landing page.  But even here there are ways around the problem – and these must be found.

The landing page should follow seamlessly from the email for the reader – a natural continuation of information and reasons to buy.  If you can’t do this you need to make the email the selling mechanism and leave the web page as simply a way to order on-line.

2:  The message

Emails and sales letters that just announce that this product is available with a little extra information (such as the fact that there is a discount, that the company has been in business for 10 years, that you are very friendly and the like) don’t work.

You must establish that you are different from everyone else in ways that mean something to the reader.  Being the same doesn’t work.

In short you must answer the two key questions that dominate all sales:

  • Why should I buy this?
  • Why should I buy this from you?

By way of example, take Hamilton House.  We advertise on the basis that our services allow you to reach teachers and sell things.  Buy from us, rather than our rivals, because we will get you more sales. 

How we get you more sales is not always described, but the reasons are there.  We own three companies that sell to schools, and we know about how to write adverts (because we know about how people read emails and sales letters), and we work in the main direct media (email, post, websites).

If you can’t find an immediate answer to “why should I buy this from you?” which is not about being friendly or cheaper, there are still ways forward.  Call 01536 399 000 or email me a copy of a recent advert, and I’ll explain how it is done.  No charge. No obligation.

3:  Knowing the competition

You have to know what the opposition is up to, in order to ensure that in your advertising you are doing something that differentiates you from them.

Now the most common response to this point is to cut prices – but generally that is the most disastrous approach.  What you need is a different way of writing adverts and a different way of selling.

This, of course, can be difficult if your focus is on your product or service (as it most likely is), but it can be done – most readily by an outsider who looks at your market afresh.

The solution

Here is one way forward… Velocity.  You pay us a monthly fee and we take on all these issues.  As a guide price, under the Velocity contract we can write and despatch emails using our personal teacher lists for about 8p per address for secondary schools.  (Primary are cheaper).

But maybe you don’t want us to write for you – you just want to email out using our addresses.  Then in that case the cost comes down to around 6p per school.

Velocity is much more than this, and there are details on http://www.velocity.ac/education.html or you can call 01536 399 000 and ask for the Velocity team.

And if you want to send me an email I am at Tony@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood



 

 

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 research findings most marketing companies don't like to reveal


What is the most effective way of reaching every teacher you want to reach?

The highest number of sales that one will ever get from a marketing campaign comes with a combined campaign which uses all the different media at once.

Quite why this is so is not difficult to understand – and quite why this finding is not widely publicised is also, when it comes down to it, fairly straightforward. 

The fact is that most teachers, like most people in our society, have their own preferred method of receiving information about new products and services. Some are quite happy to get emails. Some will willingly have a quick glance at whatever turns up in the post. 

Others prefer to go onto the internet and type their wishes into Google, to see what comes up. And a few others simply check one or two websites a day, for the latest information.

This gives us the answer – if you want to be really effective in your advertising, you need to cover all four approaches, so that whatever way the teacher has of staying in touch with new products and services, you will be seen.

And this also tells us why most marketing companies won’t pass this simple fact on to you – because they only cover one or two of these media.

As you will anticipate, I’m about to tell you that Hamilton House covers all of these media – but that’s just the start of the point I want to make.  Because if you undertake a postal campaign with us between now and the end of the school term, we’ll then arrange – or help you to arrange – coverage in the other media as well.

Let me take these media one by one and explain what I mean.

Postal direct mail is by far the most responsive of all the direct marketing approaches. You can select exactly the schools and teachers you want (academies, larger primary schools, schools by county, etc).

What’s more, you can also run a test mailing of a small number of schools before you do a full mailing, to make sure the message works.

If you do any postal campaign of any size with Hamilton House we will, without cost, put your promotion on the unique education news site www.ukeducationnews.co.uk  Since this is the only new accumulator site specialising in education the readership can be quite considerable.

Second, you can roll out your postal advert via email. If you post out to over 1000 addresses through Hamilton House we will then undertake an email campaign to all the relevant schools using our generic email list.  There are details on http://www.emails.gs/generic.html - we’ll even help you write the email if you want.

Third, if your postal mailing is above 4000 strong, then we’ll not only run the advert on UK Education News and on our generic email list, but we’ll also send it out to whatever personal email list is relevant. Free of charge. You can see all our personal email lists on www.emails.gs

And last of all, in combination with this third level, we’ll also help you put your advertisement on a blog for you – either on a blog of your own or on one of our blogs such as www.teachernews.org.uk or www.parentnews.org.uk

OK – I know that is a lot of options, and it is getting a bit complex, but let me try to summarise.

If you do a postal mailing with Hamilton House between now and the end of July 2014, you will not only get your mail sent out as you require it, you will get your advert onto UK Education News, and then the more schools you mail, the more extras you get – so that you have the chance of reaching the teachers you want in every direct medium there is.

If you want to know more please do call 01536 399 000 and we’ll take you through each aspect of the approach.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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Act now, sales expected


There is every reason to believe that the next six weeks will be a time of very high levels of school purchasing.

June and July are looking to be bonanza months for companies advertising into the UK education market.

For many firms May itself was disappointing in terms of sales, but this was pretty much as expected.  May is always affected by the way in which Easter and the Whitsun holiday falls, and when they are compacted close together, with the May Day holiday in between, schools always delay their purchasing.

However those firms that did continue their advertising through May did not waste their money, since they will now be benefitting from orders which have been generated by that continuing promotion.

For everyone else, now is certainly the time to be advertising – and there really is no time to lose.

School budgets have increased because of the increase in the number of pupils in schools next term.  Academy conversions are continuing, and more Free Schools are coming on stream in September, and so are busy equipping themselves.

As to how one reaches teachers, the choices have never been bigger.

First off there are the shared postal campaigns.  You’ll need to move fairly rapidly to get into the last shared mailings of term – but it is worth it, especially for secondary schools since we are giving away a free email campaign to each customer.  (As well as our free advertising on UK Education News – see details below).

Here are the dates – full details on www.shared.org.uk

  • Largest 5000 primary schools: Leaflets by 11 June, despatch 18 June. 
  • Largest 10000 primary schools: Leaflets by 11 June, despatch 18 June.  
  • All 24000 primary schools: Leaflets by 11 June, despatch 18 June. 
  • All 5000 secondary schools:  Leaflets by 13 June; despatch 20 June.  
  • All 3800 schools with sixth forms: Leaflets by 13 June; despatch 20 June.

If you prefer you can do an email campaign either to the personal email addresses of teachers, or to the generic email addresses.  In each case you can undertake the emailing yourself, or have Hamilton House send it out on your behalf.

Details of our email lists are on these pages:

And there is an additional free bonus on all of these promotions.   We will also give you a completely free listing on www.ukeducationnews.co.uk – which on average leads to around 700 teachers actively choosing your announcement and reading the details.

To find out more or to arrange a booking please call Hamilton House on 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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 the Queen said about education this week


Although the Queen’s Speech was modest in its education content, there are clear signs of a growth in spending by schools.

To say that the Queen’s speech was a bit thin on education, is putting it mildly.  But education in England did get a mention, and that mention had a profound implication. 

Here is what Her Majesty said in full…

“In England, my ministers will help more schools to become academies and support more Free Schools to open, whilst continuing investment to deliver more school places. Further reforms to GCSEs and A Levels will be taken forward to raise standards in schools and prepare school pupils for employment. My government will increase the total number of apprenticeship places to two million by the end of the Parliament.

“My government will continue to work to build a fairer society.

“To improve education attainment and child health, my government will ensure all infants will receive a free school meal. Free childcare will be extended to more of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds and a Bill will be introduced to help working families with childcare costs.”

This Queen’s Speech covers events in the next 12 months up to the general election, and in essence what we have got is a continuing increase in expenditure, partly forced through the huge increase in the school population, and partly through a determination to push through Coalition reforms which the government knows the opposition would not revert, if it were to win power.

What the government clearly looks like it’s doing is supporting right up to election day, four areas:

a) Conversion to Academy status for all schools that are deemed failing or satisfactory and               which are in local authority control,

b) the rapid processing of the applications for more and more Free Schools (with no hold-back             due to budgets – we have already seen a lot of  money moved in from reserves and other               budget areas to help the free schools),

c) additional funding of nurseries either directly or through money for parents to pay for child care      in nurseries,

d) the free school meals for all programme for all KS1 pupils.

In relation to this latter point the School of Educational Administration and Management (which is part of the Hamilton House group that brings you this newsletter) is currently researching how schools are coping with this approaching event (it starts in September) and I’ll be reporting further on it shortly.

And that’s about it – more of the same, with pending files (for academies and free schools) being pushed through to conclusion as fast as possible.

Certainly, the results of these changes are being seen in schools, with this June and July looking like being bumper months for school spending.  I’ll come back to this in my new newsletter.

If you would like to talk about marketing into schools in the UK and other English speaking countries, via emails, the post and web sites, please do call 01536 399 000.  There is a general, brief guide to some of our activities on www.educationmarketing.org.uk – but of course this can only represent part of our work.

Do call – we’ll be very happy to offer advice and guidance on contemporary approaches of selling to teachers, without obligation, and without charge.  And by and large we’re fairly nice people too.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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 advertising to schools


Advertise to schools with the guarantee that you only pay an agreed commission on each sale you get

If you are short on budget but have a little flexibility in how and when you advertise, then there is a service for advertising to secondary schools that might well suit you down to the ground.

Quite simply, you send us your advert and we’ll email it to the relevant heads of department in secondary schools for you – without charge.  

Then if you get any sales, you pay us a small fee on each sale that you get, as agreed, before we start the campaign. 

The commission rate does depend on the price of the product or service and the expected number of sales so there is no general rule.  Once we have seen the details of your product or service, we’ll suggest what we think is a suitable rate.

In the worst case scenario, if you sell nothing, you pay us nothing, and so the whole operation has cost you nothing.

But even then, where sales are tiny or non-existent, all is not lost, because (if you want us to) we will then do an analysis for you of why we think the project has not brought in the responses we hoped for.  

Better still, if we think we can identify the exact reason for the low response (for example the text of the advert, or the web page that you are sending people to) we’ll give you our findings in a free written report, and offer to put the matter right for you – if you so wish.

Now I do understand that this might all seem too good to be true, so you’ll be wanting to know if there are any downsides or restrictions. 

First let me assure you that there is no catch – the service is perfectly free, with payments made against orders you receive. 

However the adverts go out when we have a space in our schedules, so we can’t say that we’ll advertise at a particular time or on a particular day.  If you want adverts to go out at specific times, we can do that, but there is a charge.

Second, at the moment we don’t have any spaces in our primary school schedules – we are only looking at secondary schools, FE and HE.  We can include overseas schools in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc, if that seems appropriate.

If you would like to explore the use of this service just email Stephen@hamilton-house.com and provide details of the product, the price, and the web page that relates to the product.   If you have been advertising to schools already, or if you have an advert that you are ready to send, please do attach a copy so we can see how you are approaching the topic.

Finally, if you would like to see details of the various email lists that we have for secondary schools these are shown on these two pages:

Personal email addresses: http://www.emails.gs/Secondarynamedlist.html

School email address: http://www.emails.gs/generic.html

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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Can I have a discount when emailing teachers?


How much does it cost to send an
email to a teacher?

The cost of reaching a teacher via email has decreased considerably during the past couple of years, and I thought it might be a good idea to summarise the various options available.

In the table that follows the cost includes transmission of the advert by Hamilton House and in each of these the prices are based on you supplying us with the text in a word file, or an HTML. 

If you would like to send out the list yourself, we can simply provide the data.
Please call 01536 399 000.

Here are the details.  

SECONDARY, FE AND HE LISTS

Personal email addresses of teachers selected by subject

12p per teacher

 

Personal email addresses if you have never used Hamilton House before

9p per teacher

 

Velocity campaign including 3 emails a month, with HHM writing the copy

8p per teacher

 

Personal email addresses as a campaign involving emailing six times a year

6p per teacher

 

Emailing generic email addresses

3p per school

PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND NURSERY SCHOOLS

Personal email addresses of teachers selected by subject

9p per teacher

 

Personal email addresses if you have never used Hamilton House before

6.3p per teacher

 

Personal email to head or deputy head in largest 5000 primary schools

6p per teacher

 

Personal email addresses as a campaign involving emailing six times a year

4.5p per teacher

 

Velocity campaign including 3 emails a month, with HHM writing the copy

1p per teacher

 

Generic email addresses

1p per school

Please note that there are some terms and conditions that apply – the most pertinent of which is that these prices apply when mailing a complete list – such as all the heads of science in secondary schools. A complete set of details of all these lists can be found on www.emails.gs and www.velocity.ac. But to clarify any point before making a booking please do call 01536 399 000.

If you are interested in the way in which the advertising copy that you write affects response rates, you might also be interested in our two other email news services and blogs: Direct Marketing Secrets, and Good Ad.  You can subscribe to either or both by clicking here.

If you want to view the current and past articles on the internet they are on these links:

Direct Marketing Secrets

Good Ad

Many thanks for reading.

Tony Attwood



 

 

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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