When marketing to schools, how much impact does the design have on your response rate?
To give a short answer to the question above, everything matters. The product and the offer matter (in that you need to be offering a product that teachers want at a price they are willing to pay), the text matters, and the design and layout also matter.
However, the problem is that quite often it is easy to focus a lot on one or two of these elements (such as the offer) and to forget exactly how design and layout can be used to generate extra sales.
So one sometimes finds advertisers that can be quite good at creating layouts that look nice, but which don’t positively impact on making teachers buy this, rather than that, product or service.
Such a lack of focus has been enhanced by the tradition of A/B testing in which you send out two emails, or two leaflets, so that some schools selected at random get the A approach and some get the B.
This notion has led some people to believe that which leaflet or email works best is not predictable in advance – but this is not the case at all. In fact it is normally possible to predict exactly which design and offer will work best – as long as one knows what makes one design work better than another.
By way of example, let’s consider the shared postal mailing, which I mentioned in my last post.
When we started shared mailings over 30 years ago, our first job was to get more and more administrators to open our packs, and we achieve this by printing a letter from the School of Educational Administration (the school administrators’ association) on the coversheet – a letter which often offers something free. That gets them reading!
Having got the pack open, the next thing to ensure is that your leaflet is passed on to the relevant teacher by the school administrator. This is achieved by using an A4 leaflet and placing the phrase “Attn: Head of….” in large letters top right, with white space around it.
Experimentation then found that designs which have a headline of about 15 words in 14 to 16pt Arial bold about 7cm of the way down the page, surrounded by white-space, got higher response rates than others. (If you want to know why, give me a call!)
And then we found that if the headline suggested that the page offered some knowledge that would be of great help to the teacher or manager, but dealt with an issue which the administrator could not make a judgement upon, that helped best of all.
This knowledge of how the design, the text and the offer combine on the page is vital, for it can move a leaflet from having just one or two enquiries to 40 or more from a mailing.
Our next postal shared mailing to 5000 secondary schools goes out on 28 April, and as part of our “3 Media” programme comes with a free personal email campaign and a listing on the UK Education News website. We are also able to print the leaflet for you for just £20 if you wish – please call for details.
We’ve still got a couple of places left for this mailing – but it will be worth calling quickly to secure your place. This is, as I mentioned in my last note, the term in which academy schools use up their money while LA schools have access to their funding for the new school year.
Because of the growth in the number of pupils and students at schools in the next academic year it could be a particularly important moment to advertise.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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