How to use the last few days

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Posted on 19th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

There is still a chance to get a free personal email campaign in January

Depending on exactly when you read this, we are either at or have just passed the final delivery date for a postal shared mailing to schools at the start of January, with a free personal email campaign attached.

But don’t worry too much if you missed that first despatch, because due to the popularity of that mailing we are running another one with a free email facility alongside it a little later in the month.

This time the date for despatch of the postal mailing is 20 January and the last date for delivery for the leaflets is 8 January.

Which means that it is probably worth using the last couple of days before Christmas (or even a day or two between Christmas and the New Year if you have time after returning from the Seychelles, Goa, the Gambia, or wherever has taken your fancy this year) to get the design done and the copy over to your printer.

If you are contemplating a different type of leaflet design this time (or indeed if you have not used a postal shared mailing before) you might care to look at our article on which sorts of design work particularly well.

Additionally, if you are new to this very low cost form of postal promotion, please do call us on 01536 399 000 and we’ll send you a sample of a past pack we’ve sent out.

When you get this you’ll notice in particular the cover page, a newsletter from the school administrators’ national organisation (the School of Educational Administration and Management) dealing with key issues of the day, which encourages administrators to open the pack and distribute the leaflets.

As always, you will have a choice of using any of our secondary school personal email lists as listed here free of charge – and you can use the email service at any time in January, providing we have space in the week you select. (Which is another good reason to get the booking in sooner rather than later.)

We will also give you a free listing on UK Education News – the very popular rolling news service for teachers.

The prices haven’t changed – it is £360 to reach all the schools with sixth forms, and £450 to reach all 5000 secondary schools.

If you want more than one leaflet in the pack there is a small additional surcharge, and in the unlikely event of these leaflets together weighing over 15g again there is a surcharge. Full details are given on our pricing page

There is more information as always on the Shared Mailing website – or please do call 01536 399 000. If you are ready to make a booking now, please email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Do you sell to any of these teachers?

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Posted on 17th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

If you sell to any of these teachers we can offer you some either free or highly discounted email advertising.

Looking at our schedules for next term I’ve noticed that we have few bookings at the moment for anyone selling to PE, Art, Religious Studies or Drama teachers in secondary schools.

So, quite naturally, we want to do something about this. Therefore I can say that if you are in any of these fields then there is a very good chance that we can help you with your email marketing next term in any one of three different ways.

First, if you are interested in our free advertising programme through which you pay nothing up front, but just pay a commission to us on each sale you get, then we would be most interested to hear about your product or service.

There are details of the Free Advertising service here and, once you have had a look, if you would like to open discussions please do email Stephen@hamilton-house.com with details of your product or service. It would be helpful if you could attach a copy of any advert you have sent out of late, along with information about what it is that you sell and how much you charge.

There is, of course, no obligation in approaching us in this way; if we all agree to go ahead with the Free Advertising scheme there is an agreement to sign – and nothing happens until that is done.

Second, if the idea of paying commission on each sale doesn’t appeal, we are able to offer a 50% discount on bookings for email advertising on our Sports, Art, Religious Studies and Drama lists in January.

This offer is limited to the first couple of customers who sign up for each list (or just the first customer if that company books in more than two emails for the month).

Here are the list details:

List Total number of email addresses Standard cost per email address January discount price
Head of Art 2308 12p per email 6p per email
Head of Drama 2492 12p per email 6p per email
Head of PE/Sport 1882 12p per email 6p per email
Head of Religious St. 1595 12p per email 6p per email


Finally, if you would like to work much more closely with Hamilton House in any of these four selected areas then we have also added a special offer for our Velocity service.

If you sign up for the Velocity Service, through which we work closely with you in developing your advertising message and getting new emails out to schools week after week, then we will give you your January marketing completely free.

Velocity costs do vary depending on how many email lists you want to use each month and whether you want to write the emails yourself or have them written by the Hamilton House team. But by way of example, if you want to send out three emails a month with the Hamilton House writing them, and have a full analysis of the results, plus our marketing input, the cost is normally £495 a month.

This “January free” offer requires you to stay with the Velocity service for February and March – although you might like to know that the majority of our Velocity clients stay with us for a year – some much longer.

There are full details of our Velocity programme here, and if you want to see our full range of email lists they are listed here.

For more information on Velocity, or indeed any of our services please call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood

Why we all need to be more creative

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Posted on 16th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Weekly email marketing can work, but it doesn’t mean that one can get away with sending schools the same ad week after week.

It is perfectly true that one can buy an up-to-date list of the generic email addresses of schools for just £59.99 – and get a very good return indeed for your money from such a list.

Indeed if this were not the case, we wouldn’t sell such a list. But, there are several things to remember.

First, schools, academy groups and local authorities do have a tendency to block regular emailers unless they liaise closely with the relevant internet service providers. This can be done, but it takes time – and you need to watch your bounces. (Which is why we offer to send them out as an alternative – see the site above.)

Second, although 90% of school administrators will pass on some of the emails they receive in this way, whether they pass on the email or not depends totally on way the email is written.

To be clear about this last point, the key issue is not what you are selling or how much the teacher might want the item. It is to do with the way in which the information is presented in the email.

What’s more, if the administrator thinks that she has seen the advert before, she will tend to hit delete. You really have to do more than change a few words or a picture each time you re-email.

The fact is, you really, really do need to make your advert stand out from all the rest.

One thing that some companies have done in this regard is to try to outdo each other with pictures – but here another problem comes to the fore. Most schools have picture blocking software on their email systems, so they don’t actually see the pictures.

So what then is to be done?

At the heart of it all, nothing beats inventive, creative and above all enjoyable, prose. If you can write in an original and interesting way, and you can do it regularly, then you will find that, yes, teachers will buy.

And so to help in this matter we have done several things.

First, as I said, we not only sell the generic email list of schools, nurseries and special schools, but we can also email them out for you. The link above has the details.

Second, we can also email for you the personal email addresses of both primary and secondary school teachers. And third, we can write the copy for you via our Velocity programme.

But if you want to handle the writing yourself, that is fine – and to help with this we have started to publish a series of articles on creativity in direct marketing.

These articles are appearing on the Hamilton House “Direct Marketing Secrets” blog. The first articles were published last week and you can follow the series on from that point. We’ll be publishing a couple of pieces each week for the next month or so.

But whether or not you choose to follow my approach to creating exciting and adventurous advertising when writing to teachers, I would say that simply writing a description of your product or service and saying how good it is doesn’t really work with email advertising. Too many people have done that already.

If you would like to talk about creativity or anything else to do with selling to schools, please do call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

And please, don’t forget, if you want to take up the offer of a free email campaign to schools alongside a postal shared mailing, we need your leaflets here by 19 December. Details are on www.shared.org.uk

Tony Attwood

Don’t wind down for Christmas

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Posted on 15th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Of course, if you can get one, you’ll want to take a break. But don’t shut down completely

Every year there are executives in firms that sell to schools who tell me that there is no point in advertising in December because “schools are only thinking about their Christmas concerts,” at the moment.

Mind you, some of them also tell me that they don’t advertise at the start of term either because everyone is “too busy”.

And yes, having gone to see Cinderella Rockerfella performed by the entire school (i.e. 55 children) at a nearby primary school last week, I know what they mean in relation to the end of term at least.

Except that aside from the massive input of nervous energy by the staff at the school into this event, life is still going on. Classes are being taught, emails are still being read, next year’s lessons and projects are being prepared.

True that school will not be placing many orders for anything at the moment, and equally true, when the school finally closes for the end of the Autumn term, there will be total stoppage of most brain activity among the four members of staff.

But by Boxing Day they will be thinking again and accessing their school emails on their mobiles, laptops and the like, preparing for the new school term in January.

And that is with the smallest of schools that we have – the traditional village primary. We now have many primary schools in parts of the UK that are ten times the size of the Northamptonshire school I visited, and for them the regular round of ordering products, solving crises, and simply doing education hardly stops.

As for the secondary schools, come December 27th or 28th many of the heads of departments will be thinking about teaching again, and once more considering what new items they need for the January term.

For myself, I believe that marketing to schools never stops. I’ve always argued that advertising right up to the end of term – and indeed in the holidays – is a good idea (which is why we offer free adverts in December to companies that advertise with us in January).

For every teacher who drops down with exhaustion there is another who starts work again on the first day of the holiday, preparing for the next term. You may not read about them, but they do it – and even if they don’t place their orders there and then, they drop a note into the school administrator’s in-box, ready for her return after the New Year.

But even if you are not convinced of that notion of teachers working in the holiday, I would urge you to consider using any spare time you have now to start planning your advertising for January.

We’ve already taken a number of bookings for that month, and of course our Velocity clients (for whom we work all the year round) have got their spaces reserved on the schedules, with new advertising and new approaches already lined up.

There are three ways in which we work with our clients – the Velocity Programme, the one off bookings and the “Payment by Results” approach – they are all described at http://www.hamilton-house.com/projects.html

Or if you want to have a chat, do call us on 01536 399 000.

But there is one other place you might like to look at, it is where we describe our free offers and special projects. www.educationmarketing.org.uk – always worth having a glance down the list – you could be surprised what you find.

Tony Attwood

Marketing to schools made easy

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Posted on 10th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

At one level, marketing to schools looks incredibly complex. But it doesn’t have to be.

There are 29,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK, four different administrative authorities, over 100 local authorities, plus nursery schools, colleges and universities.

Plus there is always the option of selling to Canada, Australia, the US, New Zealand, Ireland… And the special schools. And…

As if that is not enough, selling to teachers also involves having the right product, offering it in the right way, finding a way of grabbing attention and getting the message right, and choosing the right medium.

In effect, if you want to make a huge success of selling to schools there are at least ten questions you need to ask for each promotion…

  1. Am I really certain that teachers actually need this?
  2. If so, how much are they willing to pay?
  3. What can I say to persuade them that they need to buy it?
  4. And how can I persuade them to buy it from me?
  5. Of all the schools, which are most likely to buy – and which teachers do I need to communicate with.
  6. Should I use generic email or personal email – or both?
  7. Should I use shared postal mailings or solo – or both?
  8. Do I need a blog – and if so how do I set it up, what do I write about, and how do I promote it?
  9. If I advertise more than once a half-term, won’t I turn the teachers off?
  10. What are my competitors doing? Does it matter? Should I respond?

Actually I could list many more questions, but if I do I might put you off advertising to schools totally!

But my point is that there are a lot of questions to be asked, and many of the companies that don’t sell as many products as they would like get into that position for one simple reason.

They don’t ask the questions.

Of course, this can be due to the fact that the company directors and owners haven’t actually thought through the questions. And that’s fair enough – because none of us can think of everything.

But it can also be the fact that they simply don’t have the time to think of all this, make all the decisions, write all the copy, undertake the research and do everything else.

Which is why we have Velocity.

Velocity can work in many ways, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by all the ifs and buts of selling to schools, it can work best for you by taking all that work off your shoulders, leaving you to get on with product development and fulfilling orders.

What happens is that you simply tell us the product that you want to be advertised and give us any other information you want to supply, and we do the rest.

Now, of course, you can direct us as much as you want – but if you simply want to hand the advertising and marketing over to us we’ll do it, tell you what we propose, and you just tell us if it is ok to go.

There is more about Velocity at www.velocity.ac

Or call 01536 399 000 or email Laura@hamilton-house.com

And just one final thought. If you would like to take on Velocity in the new year, it can be very much to your advantage to sign up now. That gives us a chance to get to grips with your product or service, book in the adverts and get everything prepared ready to roll once the schools start again.

Obviously there’s no charge for this preliminary work – but it does mean you really can make the most of next term – the term when LA schools spend what is left in their account.

Tony Attwood

How to reach thousands of secondary heads of department free of charge in January

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Posted on 8th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

In January 2015 it is possible to send out an email to the personal email addresses of secondary school heads of department of your choice – without any payment.

What’s more, your advertisement will also appear on UK Education News, the leading education rolling news service used by thousands of teachers across the country as their prime source of education news. Again at no cost to you.

To get these two free services, all you have to do is book into the postal shared mailing to secondary schools on 7 January.

Now that might well seem a bit of a way away, but if you want to be included we do need your material for this mailing in our warehouse by 19 December at the very latest.

The price for a single leaflet reaching all 5000 secondary schools is just £450 in total. If you would just like to reach the schools with sixth forms the price is £360.

There are also huge discounts for including a second leaflet in the pack – and remember that the second leaflet doesn’t have to go to the same teacher as the first.

Now there are more details about all this on our Shared Mailing Website – and there is a particular reason for looking at that site at the moment because we have added a couple of articles that can be of particular help in this regard.

One relates to How to get the highest response rates in a postal shared mailing – and I would say this is particularly worth reading because the simple design and writing points raised here are not immediately obvious, but are very easy to implement and do make a huge difference.

The other compares anticipated response rates between postal shared mailings and other forms of advertising.

If you want to make a booking please email Chris@hamilton-house.com – or if you want more information or would like to see a sample pack from earlier this year, please call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood

The Highest Response

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Posted on 5th December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

How to get the highest response rates of any emails to teachers

By far the most effective email service to teachers in terms of response rates has one very specific component.

It is the email service to which teachers have subscribed.

Now subscription is not the same as “opt in” – a phrase that has evolved into so many different meanings that it has now become impossible to define.

But the subscription service is quite different – because to get onto our subscription lists teachers have to complete an on-line form and send it to us. We don’t phone them, we don’t just place them on the list – they have to take the initiative.

What they then get is two emails each week. The first is a weekly email relating to a topic of education news that will be of interest to them. We don’t send them the news stories that have made the front page of the education magazines – they know those stories anyway.

What we do is find something that they might have missed, but which will be of considerable interest.

The second email each week is a review of a product or service that is relevant to them – and this is where you can make use of the list. If you want us to review your product or service, just let us know. You’ll see our review before it is published, and you’ll have the right of veto – but no one has ever turned down one of our reviews yet!

And that’s not all, because when we have published the review, we will also publish it on UK Education News – the UK’s leading rolling news website.

We have no less than 12 separate subscription lists, each aimed at specific groups of teachers. For example, there is one for primary school senior managers, one for teachers of PSHE, one on school efficiency, and so on.

There are more details of the various subscription email services that we have on our web site.

And there is a special bonus for December – if you want to have the review published in December we’ll do it for just 7p per subscriber reached. Half the normal cost.

For more information please do call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Free advertising now extended to overseas schools

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Posted on 3rd December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Free Advertising to Schools:
the marketing programme which involves no risk and no up-front charges

Free advertising to schools has become an increasingly popular project in the past three years for many of our clients, and for this reason we have been constantly looking at finding ways to extend the reach of the service.

Obviously we can’t increase the number of schools in the UK but what we can do (where appropriate) is advertise products and services to schools outside the UK as well as those across the UK itself.

In particular this allows our clients to reach schools in Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as International Schools worldwide.

As always with activities such as this, we’ve already experimented in advertising to such schools using the products of our own companies, and we’ve sorted out the best way of handling payments, quoting prices and the like – so we can advise on that, and all the other technicalities of the service.

The Free Advertising service involves Hamilton House promoting your service or products to relevant schools without you paying anything at all for the advert.

Then at the end of each month you tell us how many sales you have had, and we invoice you for an agreed commission rate on those sales. In the rare event of us not being able to bring in any sales, there is nothing to pay. If we have brought in sales, you just pay at the agreed amount.

(There is also a bonus – if sales are not up to the expected level we’ll do a review and let you know exactly why we think that is. It will of course be up to you as to whether you make any changes as a result of our report, but you will get an absolutely free consultancy from one of the leading teams of experts in the field of selling into schools, which most firms do find incredibly helpful.)

If you would like to have more advertising going out on behalf of your company in this way, without any payment for the advertisements, please do email Samanthabates@hamilton-house.com with…

a) The details of your product or service, including the price schools pay.

b) The type of schools you sell to (eg all schools with sixth forms across the UK)

c) A link to your web page advertising the copy or service

d) If possible a copy of a recent advert you have sent out.

We’ll come back to you straight away with our thoughts.

If you would like to read a bit more about how this service works, please do see our website page dedicated to Free Advertising to Schools.

If you would like to know more about our overseas schools lists, including the option of buying these lists for you to undertake your own mailings please do take a peek here.

Tony Attwood

P.S. If you want to have a chat it is 01536 399 000. We’re mostly harmless.

Teachers need three things before they buy

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Posted on 1st December 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What are the key three key factors that every advert aimed at teachers should have?

Teachers are busy. If you don’t believe it, ask one or two. They will mostly tell you that their work is stressful, underpaid and requires them to do huge amounts of unpaid overtime.

All of which makes it quite hard to advertise to them. For quite often a really good advert makes no impact at all because the factors in the teacher’s life means that the teacher is unable to focus on the product or service you are introducing in your advert.

So what is to be done? How can one reach these teachers if their levels of work and stress are so high that they have lost the wherewithal to focus on the information you want to give them?

The answer is that you have to create advertisements that recognise the world that they are in. And this is best done through three mechanisms.

First, you need to keep your offer simple.

Even if you are selling something complex, or some highly innovative product or service, you need to keep it simple. And the best way to do this is to focus on the benefit – for if the benefit isn’t simple, there is little chance of getting a sale.

Second, you need to make the advertisement memorable.

There is every chance that the teacher or manager won’t be willing or able to place an order, email you or call you there and then. Life in a school doesn’t permit that. So you have to create an advert that stays in the mind.

Third you need to be imaginative.

You have to be different from your competitors. In many cases you will be asking the teacher to give up on one product or service and move over to what you are selling. And that takes time..

You are asking them to look away from the teaching, preparation and marking to focus on your product. But these people are busy, busy, busy, and that preparation, teaching and marking has to be done: you can’t put a class off until tomorrow.

So to bring down this barrier you really do need to get grab the teacher’s imagination, show the teacher a better world, an alternative prospect, a world in which their life is better, and the results they achieve are better.

And how can you be simple, memorable and imaginative in one advert?

You have to express a distinct point of view – a distinct vision – that takes the teacher onwards into believing that even if he/she is not convinced yet, there is enough in the advert to make it worth stopping the marking and preparation and instead turning to consider your proposition.

When the Hamilton House team gives free advice on writing adverts, and indeed when we write adverts ourselves for our clients, this is what we do. We aim to be simple, memorable and imaginative.

True, we use one or two tricks that are revealed through a study of the psychology of perception, but in the end we know we have to be simple, memorable and imaginative if we are going to get sales.

Of course, not all those sales come at once – because by being memorable we do allow teachers to ponder and consult. But the point is that they will do that anyway, and with a memorable advert they will still remember the distinct vision of a better future each advert offers.

We work in three ways with customers – you can choose whichever you wish. You can…

  • Use the free advertising programme in which there is no cost to send out your adverts – you just pay an agreed commission on each sale you get.
  • Pay for each promotion as you proceed – such as the shared postal mailings or the personal emails that go directly to the teacher you want to reach.
  • Have Hamilton House become involved in your whole campaign, offering advice, writing copy, dispatching the adverts etc. The great benefit here is that this actually cuts the price of each advert sent out, while removing all the work from you at the same time.

However you would like to proceed, I do hope you have time to consider the notion of adverts that are Simple, Memorable and Imaginative. They really do work.

If you would like to talk about anything to do with selling to teachers, about any of our services, or about being Simple, Memorable and Imaginative all at the same time, do please call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

We are, by and large, awfully nice people.

Tony Attwood

For the teachers, it is all so simple

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Posted on 28th November 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

The magic technique that persuades teachers to try your product or service

OK, there are some teachers who, sadly,aren’t very good at their jobs, but most of them gradually get the hang of it, and so over time life becomes easier. They know what they are doing, it becomes less exhausting and they have the materials they need.

So when you are trying to sell a product or service to teachers you are entering an arena in which they know what’s what and by and large they have what they want.

They still prepare their lessons, they still consider alternative approaches but they’ve more or less got the job licked. If they want product X they know where they buy it, and probably haven’t go enough time to sort out cheaper deals.

Which raises the question, how do you sell to a teacher or manager who has pretty much got the job licked?

Of course, if the government has recently come out with one of its whizzo new ideas, schemes or syllabuses which is puzzling everyone, and you have a solution, that makes life easier for you.

But if you are selling a course book, or a new set of materials, a security system, or whatever, you have a different sort of issue, because almost certainly they have already got one and, besides, if they need one, they’ve already got a supplier.

Indeed, even with a new syllabus, the chances are that they will have bought something before you get to them.

However there is one magic technique that really works with teachers. It took me a couple of years of writing adverts to schools for our publishing company, but I got there in the end. And indeed I’ve been using it ever since.

If you can suggest to teachers that a small purchase will make a difference to them, then you should always use that way forward.

This is not the same as offering an extract of the product that is not much use without the whole product. There is nothing here about “sample” or “try before you buy” because both of those suggest that what you are going to get is by itself not much use. What you are saying is that even a small purchase will make a difference.

This is about saying, “just spend £4.99 on this and you will see a difference”.

Or if you can’t do that, it is about saying, “this report will save you hours a week” (or take up grades or reduce school costs or improve the health and fitness of pupils, or make it easier to recruit teachers or whatever).

The report, if that is what you offer, can be free or can be charged at £4.99 or a similar low price. And the benefit to you is that you get a small sale, and you get the name and address of the person who has bought. They will find your product valuable so now you can work on them in terms of going up a step.

As long as what you sell for a few pounds, or what you give away, is truly worthwhile you will then get enough goodwill to have people read your subsequent adverts and buy your product.

At the heart of this approach is the fact that everything sold to schools has a benefit. You either show them the benefit through a low cost version of the product or you show it through a simple report.

But please, If you feel that this doesn’t apply to you, don’t give up yet. Email Tony@hamilton-house.com and tell me what you sell, and I will see if I can’t come up with a version of this approah for you. Or if you would like to talk about this please do call 01536 399 000. Our advice is free and without obligation.

If you want to know about the sorts of things we do overall, there are details on www.hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood