Generating higher response rates from schools when using generic email addresses
The lowest cost way of reaching schools is through generic emails - and once again Hamilton House has a new list of email addresses including virtually all primary and secondary schools for just £59.99. The list also comes with a free report on how to maximise your response rates when using this type of list.
The email list also includes the school name and county, and separates out the primary and secondary schools. Special and nursery schools are also available separately - there are details below.
What’s more, if you have bought the complete list from us in the past, you can have the new fully updated list of primary and secondary schools for the reduced price on an unlimited use licence of £49.99.
Maximising sales and enquiries using generic lists
Generic email addresses can be very effective if the advert is written in a particular way which encourages the school administrator to pass the email on to the relevant teacher or manager.
Indeed in one study we were able to get a response rate of around 7% from teachers when we offered them a free report (as a way of gathering interest).. It proves that such emails are indeed forwarded when the message is written in the right way..
So, to help you maximise your response rate, when you buy the list from us (or book in for Hamilton House to run such an email campaign on your behalf) we’ll also send you our detailed report on how the most effective promotions have managed to generate their high response rates.
Here are the prices for buying the lists for unlimted re-use, and the latest numbers:
These lists can be supplied as a file attached to an email, without any extra charge, or on CD, with a £4.95 charge for delivery.
Emailing via Hamilton House
As an alternative to undertaking the mailing yourself (which will require you to have software suitable for bulk mailing or be using an agency that allows you to email addresses that start admin@ and office@) we can undertake the email campaign for you.
To read more about our lists and the option of having Hamilton House mail out for you please take a look at our Generic List page or call the number below.
To make a booking or find out more information please call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com.
What are the five steps you must take that will enable you to write the perfect advert for teachers?
The answer is actually rather simple - five steps and you'll get the perfect advert every time.
But there is a problem… carrying out these five steps can be a little more complex than it seems at first sight, and sometimes a little practice is needed.
But even so, five steps is all there is, and here they are...
1: Given that you know what you are selling, take a look at the competition
Go on their website, order up a catalogue if they have one, and if they invite you to sign up for their newsletter do that.
Better still, make a note of exactly when you have done that, because it is always good to see how long they take to send you the first one. (Some companies have a news letter sign up form and no newsletter service - which is a bit odd - but a nice bit of information to have if that is what your competitors do.)
2. Having studied what the competition is doing, decide on how you are going to offer your product or service and the price that you are going to charge
This is the marketing stage - getting a product that people want at a price they are willing to pay.
For example, if you are selling a music GCSE text book, just announcing it and giving the number of pages and listing the contents may not work since that’s probably what everyone else does.
What you might do is lead with the point about what takes a D grade student up to a C? You might answer this by highlighting one key point, and then proclaim that your book does exactly that.
3. Choose the medium through which you are going to advertise
Email? Post? Internet?
What we certainly can say is that phone calls don’t work very well, and going to trade shows can be very expensive.
In fact the ideal approach is to try all three. Although the post looks expensive it generally gives a much higher response rate - and for most firms the best thing to do is to try a trial mailing of 500 or so schools and see what comes back. (The exact number you need to trial is dependent on a number of factors - do call Hamilton House on 01536 399 000 if you want to talk this through.)
Also we would always suggest that you should put your promotions onto a blog, so that they are available for anyone browsing.
4. Work on your message
The basic rules are, simply announcing the product doesn't work, and offering the lowest price is tough going. The alternatives work better - in particular, asking interesting open questions (i.e. not questions with yes/no answers), promoting benefits, being quirky or humorous, and above all, being very different from your competitors.
But don't show the resultant advert to people who will read it through carefully line by line. That's no good because your audience isn't going to do this. Any potential customer seeing your message is going to glance and then, if you haven't grabbed attention in the first two seconds, will look away.
And even if your reader does look further he/she will simply skim.
Run the adverts in small scale units, measure the response, and be ready to experiment and try again, and again. Even highly experienced direct mailers tend to have to try quite a few times to get this right.
But they do in the end.
If you would like help with this in terms of your product, call Hamilton House on 01536 399 000 and talk it through. No charge, no obligation.
If you would like to see the sort of questions people ask when working through this process in a lot more detail (and it really is a lot more detail) please do take a look at our whole approach on the Hamilton House blog. The review starts here.
Finally, if you want to know who we are and what we do, take a look at the Hamilton House index to services page.
How can you print 5000 leaflets for £20, get a free email campaign to schools, and obtain inclusion on the UK’s prime education websites?
There are three different ways of attracting the attention of teachers: via the post, via personal emails and via education news websites.
Use all three approaches at once and you really can attract the attention of teachers – and that is why we launched our Three Media service.
In essence, for £450 you can have a leaflet directed to the teacher of your choice in a secondary school postal shared mailing (reaching 5000 schools), plus an email campaign using any of our personal email lists plus an article, advert or press release appearing on UK Education News.
But of course we don’t like to stand still – so we have just expanded the Three Media Service offer even more! For an extra £20 we will print the 5000 leaflets that can go into the shared postal mailing. This price applies to printing on 80gsm black on white one side.
The next Three Media round kicks off on 10 March, with the postal shared mailing. If you want to buy into the printing for £20 we need a PDF of your leaflet by 27 February. If you want to print your own leaflet, then the date for receipt of those leaflets is 3 March.
And I would add that our last “3 Media” promotion sold out completely, so it is worth getting in touch as soon as possible if you want to be part of this approach. To book in, email Chris@hamilton-house.com
Here’s what you get in summary form.
1: A leaflet weighing up to 15gms directed to the teacher of your choice in all 5000 secondary schools in the UK. You can also enclose a second leaflet for a small additional charge, and you can go over the 15gms limit if you wish, and again there will be a small additional charge.
If you only want to reach schools with sixth forms, we can do that – and if you do take that option we’ll give you a further discount.
There are some hints on how to prepare your leaflet to maximise the impact in a shared mailing pack – there’s a link to this on the Shared Mailing web site.
2: An email sent to any of our personal teacher lists. These lists reach teachers directly (they don’t go to the school administrator) and the cost of these is normally around £250 to use, so there is quite a saving there. Again if you wish we can offer support and advice on how to write an email that will really work on these lists.
3: A listing on UK Education News. This is the prime education news website in the UK, running stories all day long from the major educational news sources such as the BBC, the Guardian and so forth. The average story on this site gets read about 700 times – which is the equivalent to sending out another 5000 emails!
Three Media advertising is undoubtedly the most cost effective way of reaching teachers. There is more information on www.shared.org.uk – but please do note the key dates (below).
And please don’t forget that these very special 3 Media campaigns can get booked up very quickly, so it is worth booking in sooner rather than later: 01536 399 000 for more information.
No matter how well your sales are going they will ultimately slip back unless you have either a new product, a new offer or a new approach.
Nothing lasts for ever - and certainly nothing lasts for ever in terms of selling to schools.
You might well have a range of products that are selling very well, and which have been doing so for some time, but ultimately those sales will decline.
This will happen because either:
(There are of course other reasons for sales declining but these are the ones we see most often. If you want to talk about other reasons and what can be done - please do give me a call.)
The first thing to do is to recognise the simple fact that nothing continues for ever. Just because you sold lots of your product last year doesn’t mean that it will sell this year. Schools might still need key stage 2 English books, desks, carpets, paper, pens, etc, but that does not mean that they will continue to buy your books, desks, carpets....
The second thing to do is to work out your response.
In essence there are three possible responses you can have:
You can, of course, change all three, but it is worth considering each approach separately.
Changing the product or service is only viable if you can see a new version of what you want to sell. But even then you still have to persuade the teachers that they need to change. If they are quite happy with what they already have, you won’t get new sales just because you need them.
So changing the product needs to be allied to finding new and meaningful benefits for the new product. For example, through my work for the School of Educational Administration and Management I know that lots of school offices are struggling along with computers that have far too little memory for the tasks they are being asked to do, but selling computers for admin work is tough. One needs to stress the benefit to the school as a whole of bringing in a new machine.
Changing the offer means that you are still selling the same product but in a different way. For example, your offer of free next day delivery might have been a winner for years, but now all your competitors are doing it. It is still needed, but is no longer the way of getting customers.
Here you might try offering something else for free with each sale, or maybe a free CD version of each book to put on the school’s network when ten printed copies are sold. The free items can be something that will benefit the school (a free chair with each office desk) or something of interest to the buyer personally (chocolates, diary, quality pen, Amazon voucher…)
Changing the advertising is your third option. This can involve moving away from big announcements about the product and its price to asking interesting questions, talking about benefits, using humour and emotion, etc.
You can also add in something new, like a video on your website showing the product in use, a free trial, a free upgrade, a second product at half price…
Or you can find a new virtue in the product. So instead of selling school furniture you can sell school furniture that enhances positive behaviour. (And if that sounds curious, there are numerous research papers showing that different colours and styles of furniture affect behaviour in different ways. But few furniture retailers use this information in their advertising.)
My point is twofold. First, that successful companies selling to schools expect that the market will change and that strong selling lines will fade away.
Second, that there are a lot of ways of revitalising sales - but it can take a bit of time to find the right one for your product.
Of course, if the product simply isn’t wanted any more by schools, then there is nothing you can do - you have to move on; but if the product is still in demand it is simply a case of having lots of different ideas and trying each one out until you hit on the new winner.
And because this can take time, it is worthwhile starting the search for the new approach long before sales drop to a level that is alarming.
Solving the problem of maintaining sales over a long period of time is just of what we do via the Velocity programme. Using our personal email addresses of teachers and working with our clients we try out different ideas, different adverts, different offers and different products to find out which ones will deliver the best results in the coming year or two.
There is more about Velocity on www.velocity.ac - or you can call 01536 399 000 and ask for the Velocity team. If you would like to know more about what Hamilton House does overall, there is an introduction on www.hamilton-house.com
Selling to schools is not hard, but you can generate many more sales if you follow these ten rules.
If you ever take a trip to the home page of Hamilton House Mailing you’ll see a note at the top that says, “Be continuous, be different”
It is a simple command, but it is something that I’ve found to be one of the most important rules that I’ve discovered in selling to schools.
Of course it is not the only command I give myself when writing emails, sales letters and web pages. In fact it comes from my magic list of ten marketing commandments. I’ve set out my list below.
But “be continuous, be different” is important because in those two concepts one has the essence of why it is that many companies do well when selling to schools, while others do poorly.
“Be continuous” of course means advertising regularly. “Be different” means keep changing the message and at the same time always differentiate yourself from your competitors.
And although when set out like this, these ideas seem fairly obvious, the interesting thing is that quite a few firms do exactly the opposite. They either just do one advert and stop or else they keep running the same advert over and over again.
Running one advert and seeing what the results are like is fine; except that if the results are poor that doesn’t tell you much other than the fact that this advert didn’t work. You need to try various adverts in different styles and approaches to learn what is going to work for your product or service.
Of course, sometimes you can get it right first time, but sometimes it takes half a dozen attempts to find the right approach. You need to be ready to persevere and to experiment with forms of advert that you might never have thought could work.
But then, even when you have the right approach, you can’t keep running the same advert and expect people who didn’t buy first time, to buy it second time. You need a new headline each time, and if you are writing emails, a new subject line each time. Plus you must always change the first two paragraphs.
Which is why Hamilton House offers all sorts of incentives to customers who want to work with us over time in order to allow them and us time to get the approach right. Whether you are writing the advertisements or you are asking us to write it, we do offer major discounts to companies that agree to use our email or postal service three or more times a month.
So, having done my introduction, here’s the list of ten key things you really should do if you want to create brilliant direct marketing to schools that sells, sells and sells.
If you would like to know more please do call 01536 399 000. Or if you have a bit of time, and you’d like to read an in-depth review of how to produce direct advertising that really works there is a series of articles which covers this in depth. The series starts here.
If you would like to talk about any of this, or about putting it into practice when selling to schools, please do call 01536 399 000. Or email Stephen@hamilton-house.com
Half price and free emails during half term, plus printing 5000 leaflets for £10 in our next secondary school postal shared mailing.
Emailing schools during half term weeks has for several years now been found to be particularly attractive, as teachers and school managers continue to pick up their emails on their phones and other mobile devices.
But the majority of firms that sell into schools tend to stop emailing during half term and thus leave the marketplace more open for those who do. For as teachers get fewer emails during this period, those that are received by teachers tend to be discounted.
As a result Hamilton House regularly runs two special offers for emailing schools during the school half terms.
In the first case, you can have an email to any of our personal email lists of teachers during the half term week commencing 16 February at a 50% discount. This means secondary personal emails are 6p each and primary 4.5p each. An email to the 5000 largest primary schools’ headteachers would be 3p each.
Alternatively, if at the same time you book into a personal email during any of the following three weeks we’ll give you the half term email for free.
The list of our personal email lists for secondary schools is shown here. The primary lists are here. As always the number of slots that we have available are limited, so it is worth booking in sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile we still have one place left available in our postal shared mailing of 24 February to secondary schools with the printing of your leaflets for just £10.00. Delivery either of your art work (if you are printing it yourself) or of copy for us to print is 17 February.
There are more details here - but just to give the detail on the special print offer - if you are joining in the shared mailing and you would like us to print your leaflet, we will print a black on white one sided leaflet on 80gsm for just £10.
If you wish to know more please do call 01536 399 000, or if you wish to make a booking please email Chris@hamilton-house.com
Finally, you can read more about our latest offers in education marketing on our dedicated web site.
Imagine paying nothing for an advertising campaign, and as a result getting £90,000 worth of sales in a year.
That is what happened last year to one of our “Payment by Results” customers.
Like all our PbR clients they didn’t pay a penny up front, but simply sent us their advert and we sent it out to schools through the year. When they felt it a good idea they sent through a second advert, and we moved over to using that.
The only payment they made to us was a commission on the sales - a commission that was agreed at the start and which they paid to us between 30 and 60 days after each sale was made.
Of course, not all our clients on Payment by Results made this sort of money - it would be nice if they had, but it can’t happen to everyone. However many clocked up very decent sums through advertising to schools via PbR email advertising through Hamilton House.
PbR doesn’t mean you have to stop other forms of advertising, and indeed it doesn’t even mean that you have to write and prepare your own adverts. If you want to try something new you can ask us to write an advert for you for a small fee.
Use of our PbR service is limited, and we do restrict the number of clients we have at any one time, but we do currently have a few vacancies for more companies to use the service.
If you are interested, I would suggest you take a look at www.hamilton-house.com/PBR.html and then, if you do want to open discussions, send details of your product or service to my colleague Stephen Mister at Stephen@hamilton-house.com If you can attach a copy of any email advert you have previously sent out, that would be helpful.
For the shared postal mailing to schools on 24 February we have two spaces. We’ll print your leaflets for just £10!
Normally in a shared mailing to schools we ask our customers to print their own leaflets – or pay our regular commercial rate for printing.
But we have a situation on 24 February mailing in which we have two places available in the shared mailing to secondary schools.
And so we are offering these places with the bonus that if you just supply us with a single print of your leaflet – black and white only, one side only – we’ll print the 5000 copies needed for the shared mailing for just £10.
Of course if you want to supply us with leaflets you have already printed that is fine – and indeed if you want to have two sided leaflets or colour leaflets you will have to work in the normal way, supplying us with your own leaflets or booking in at our normal print prices.
And just to confirm – our normal free offer of a free personal email campaign and a free listing on our www.ukeducationnews.co.uk rolling news website ALSO applies.
So to be clear, for £450 plus £10 print fee, we will print 5000 leaflets black on white, one side, and put them into the shared postal mailing to 5000 secondary schools, and give you a free personal email campaign to the secondary schools teachers of your choice, and give you a listing in UK Education News.
Here are the dates...
The mailing goes to all 5000 secondary schools, and the cost is £450 plus VAT. If you want a second leaflet included and the weight of the two leaflets together is under 15g the price is £575 – but this is subject to availability.
There is a lot of information on shared mailings on www.shared.org.uk including information on the way in which leaflets need to be designed in order to maximise sales. Or you can call 01536 399 000.