Low cost emails to schools that can get significant responses

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Posted on 20th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Email lists of nursery, primary, secondary and special schools with a new free report on how to enhance response rates

Generic email lists of nursery, primary, secondary and special schools represent the lowest-cost way of reaching schools, which is why they are so popular – and indeed why we sell these lists.

But such lists come with two problems. First you have to have access to a service which will deliver these emails to schools, and second it is important to adopt a particular way of writing the emails to ensure that the email gets through to the person you want and generates the sales you desire.

In terms of the service you use, we do suggest that you check with your service provider or the agency that you are using that you are clear to use this type of data in the volume you wish to send out. Some such services do have restrictions.

As to the way of writing which brings in the best results – there is a way that is proven to enhance the response rate. Indeed in experimenting with this approach we have at times had response rates from generic emails which rival personal email rates.

In relation to this Hamilton House has produced a report which is sent out free of charge with each list we supply.

If you buy one of our generic lists for your own use you can use the list as often as you wish, but it can only be used by yourself and your company – it can’t be sold or loaned on to or given to another company.

When using the list of primary and secondary schools, you can select schools by whether they are primary or secondary, you can select by county and by school name (so you can still do a random selection when testing an email or doing a split test).

All you have to do is drop the list (which comes on a spreadsheet) into your email transmission program and send it out.

  • The list of primary and secondary schools is available as a download for £59.99
  • Also available is the list of generic email addresses for 1450 special schools (£25) and a list of 7308 nursery schools (£45)

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.

If, however, you would prefer to have Hamilton House send out the emails for you, we can do this, and full details are included on our Schools Generic Email Lists page.

For more information and to place an order please email Chris@hamilton-house.com or phone 01536 399 000.

There is more information about all our email services on www.emails.gs

Half price emails or free emails

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Posted on 17th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

 

There is a way of sending out emails to schools for half the normal price – or even for free. But time is short.

In the coming weeks we have two separate special arrangements for emails which are available on a first come first serve basis – but they both need action in October.

First off, we are offering a 50% discount on all our email lists that we send out for our customers between now and the end of the month.

This applies to primary and nursery personal email lists, secondary personal email lists, generic email lists, overseas schools lists and further and higher education lists.

The reason for this discount is the school half term. And, as we have found before, half term can be a particularly good time for advertising to schools as teachers still read and take action on their emails but get far fewer emails (and so pay more attention!).

The only restrictions on this are that first, we still have space available (as always we limit the number of emails we send out) and second that we are able to send out your email by the end of October. The offer doesn’t apply to situations in which you buy one of our lists to email out yourself.

Second, we’ve another special offer coming up with a secondary school shared postal campaign in which participants can have a free email campaign at the same time.

This shared postal promotion goes out on 4 November and leaflets are required by 28 October. The free email campaign can go out at any time – and you will also get a free promotion in UK Education News

There are more details of the shared postal campaign and the free personal email campaign that goes with it on our shared mailing website.

If you would like to know more or talk about a booking please call 01536 399 000. Alternatively to make a firm booking email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

In the end, it’s the sales that count

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Posted on 15th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the biggest danger when trying to generate
more sales to schools?

We all of us sell to schools through technology. We use computers, develop videos, personalise emails and sales letters, set up web pages, track people who visit our website but don’t buy…

But, there’s a problem.

Because all this exciting work can look very pretty and seem very attractive, but it bypasses the key issue. And that is the issue that has beset anyone selling anything since the first caveman made an axe he didn’t need and then offered to exchange it for an extra slice of mammoth.

It is the separation of technique from result. The separation of technology from actually making the sale. It is the asking of the question that some of the IT gurus hate you asking. That one, most annoying question:

“Does it get me more sales?”

Because Hamilton House operates three companies that sell to schools (First and Best, the Dyscalculia Centre and the School of Educational Administration and Management), we are able to create approaches, test them out, and judge whether each new tactic works or not.

And it is because we have the Velocity programme through which we work very closely with our clients, analysing out the results of each and every promotion, that we can see if the results we have got are replicated when they advertise. If not, we ask why.

Thus we test short copy against long copy. We test web pages with videos against web pages without. We test emails that are nothing but text against emails that are highly designed.

We test links put at the start against links at the end. Then we test three links against having just one link, and we test links at the start and the end with… well you get the idea.

Finally, when we get the results, we ask ourselves why. Why is it, for example, that, on average, highly designed emails (often called HTML emails) get worse results than text only emails?

Why is it that, generally speaking, personalisation either makes no difference to sales rates or actually reduces sales, click throughs and the like?

Why is it that (again generally speaking because there are always exceptions, dependent on what you are selling), videos reduce click throughs and sales?

And yes, we do find answers. Videos reduce responses, we believe, because teachers hate other people dictating the pace of a presentation. They want to make up their mind, in their time, at the speed they decide. They are literate, they want to read.

Personalisation has no effect because everyone knows that personalisation is a mechanical device. It has a negative effect sometimes because some people get sucked into an advert by the personalisation and then feel they’ve been tricked.

HTML reduces response rates because, as the recent School of Educational Administration and Management research showed, most schools have a default setting on their email systems not to reveal pictures. So the ads are simply not seen.

And so on, and so on.

Selling to teachers – indeed selling to anyone – is not common sense. There are always dozens of issues behind the way that we see and react to advertisements, and it is these issues (which are revealed by the scientific study known as the psychology of perception) that determine sales.

This is why we offer companies the chance to discuss their adverts and websites with Hamilton House free of charge. You don’t have to be a Hamilton House customer to benefit – just email across the advert or a link to your website, and we’ll have a look and call you back or email you back – as you wish.

The results we give might well be radically different from what the salesman who told you to use personalisation or install a video said – but at least we will give you a view backed up by some detailed reasoning, analysis and logic.

This is also the service that our Velocity clients get. They don’t have to listen to us, of course, and many of our Velocity clients create their own adverts. But if they do get a poorer response rate than they expected, they know they can call us, and we’ll give a detailed analysis and review to explain what has happened.

Plus they get the offer of us creating the next advert so we can see if our approach gets a higher sales level.

There is more about Velocity on our web site and there is a review of all our services on our home page. Or you can email Chris@hamilton-house.com or call 01536 399 000.

We are mostly harmless, and by and large quite friendly. No horseman will call.

Tony Attwood

Why bother with new headteachers?

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Posted on 14th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Newly appointed headteachers are often even more overworked than their more established colleagues. But they are also big spenders and recommenders.

Getting the attention of recently appointed headteachers can be difficult because they tend to be more swamped by their newly acquired administrative systems than those who have been in the post longer.

But they are also people who in some cases have more funding (although this does depend on the financial system they work under) and they are mostly people who feel the need to make changes.

Maybe not changes all at once, and not in their first month in the job, but changes which start to emerge within their first term.

We’ve offered lists of recently appointed heads for many years, but this year we’ve added an extra element to the service. If you buy one of our lists of recently appointed heads, you’ll not only get a wide range of data but you’ll also get a free email to the headteacher – in most cases using the head’s personal email address within the school.

As always, we’ve cut out most of the heads who have gained their position after having been acting heads at the school, and that gives us…

  • 336 secondary heads
  • 633 primary heads

Our data provided to you gives you the head’s name, school postal address, school email address, school telephone number, school funding system, number of children and (where applicable) the local authority.

The price of the lists with a licence that the postal address and email address can be used just once is 9p each.

If you want an unlimited licence for the use of the postal address and email address for one year the price is 27p each.

And, as mentioned above, you also get one free email to the personal email address of the headteacher, at any time you wish after purchase. You just send us either the text or an HTML that want to send out, and we’ll do the rest.

But let me add a further word here. As I noted at the start, these heads are even more busy than most heads. So you really do need to work at getting their attention. If you would like to talk through how to do this, or you would like to forward a copy of the email or letter you want to send out, we’ll give you all our thoughts and advice either on the phone or by email. That is another free part of the service.

For more information or to make a booking please call 01536 399000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

PS: Just one final thought. We don’t provide fax numbers for the simple reason that most schools have registered with the Fax Preference Service, meaning that they do not want to receive promotional and informative faxes. If you have some fax numbers of schools you have not previously dealt with, we would urge caution. Do call if you would like to know more.

Discount Friday: the new approach to emails

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Posted on 10th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Curiously the day we find gives us a big response to emails is the day no one seems to want

If you read my occasional notes on direct marketing on Good Ad you might recall my recent piece on which day is the best day to email out.

Should you not want to click on the link and read the whole piece, I’ll give you a quick summary.

Because most people won’t consider emailing on a Friday, we have kept our servers running on Fridays by advertising products for our three companies: First & Best, The Dyscalculia Centre and The School of Educational Administration and Management.

And would you believe it – we’ve been getting exciting results.

But, the dominant thought continues – Friday is no good. Not because anyone I know has done any research into selling via emails on a Friday, but rather because everyone believes that Fridays are no good.

I think that the reason behind Fridays being good selling days is that people are looking forward to the weekend, and so welcome a distraction. They don’t want to start any new work, and they are not getting any emails in (because everyone believes that Fridays are no good) and so, they look in more detail at anything they do receive on a Friday.

Of course, just telling everyone that Fridays are good for you is not much use – everyone will believe we are just trying to sell some advertising slots that we can’t sell. So we have to offer an incentive.

And that incentive is now on the table: we’re going to make our secondary school personal lists available at half price on a Friday throughout this term.

Obviously this comes on a first come first served basis, and there is a limit to how many we can send out on a specific day, and of course we would not use one list twice on a day. So if someone has booked the Head of Maths, for example, for a specific Friday, then that’s it, it has gone.

There is a list of all our secondary personal email addresses on our Emails website. If you want to check on availability please do call 01536 399 000. But please do note, we normally need to receive the copy to be sent out one week before transmission date. If you want to email in a booking it is Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Free advertising to schools

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Posted on 8th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Free advertising to schools: the latest options and opportunities

The free advertising service from Hamilton House (through which you only pay us according to the sales you make) has a number of vacancies at present..

We only take on a limited number of clients for this service, and we don’t have opportunities in every field. In particular we can’t at the moment take on any more advertising to primary schools.

But we do have spaces for secondary school adverts in certain subjects, and we do find ourselves with a specific vacancy in the area of keeping school roadways, pathways and the like free of ice and snow.

If you provide such products to schools – or indeed if you have them in your range among other things – and you would like to have them promoted to schools without it costing you anything, please first of all take a look at our Advertising For Free web page.

Then if you think it could be of interest, please email Stephen@hamilton-house.com or call Stephen on 01536 399 000.

Obviously there is no commitment on either side at this stage – just have a chat with us, and then if we all feel it could work, we’ll come to an arrangement on what commission we might get for each sale produced from advertising via Hamilton House.

If your product is something other than relating to ice and snow, and it sells to secondary schools, we’d still like to hear from you, but in this case, please write in the first instance to Stephen@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Are teachers reading your emails, or just seeing a blank?

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Posted on 6th October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the simplest way of ensuring that teachers are really seeing your emails, exactly as you intend them to be seen?

A survey by the School of Educational Administration and Management has revealed exactly how schools interact with the internet and email.

And the results are not good news for advertisers who like to send fully designed HTML emails complete with images and design, because what most teachers and administrators in schools are seeing are blanks on the email, with a message above saying “Some images in this message are not shown”.

The person in the school viewing the email then has the choice of clicking the “show all images” button or not.

78.63% of schools that replied to the survey said that they had such a system in place, meaning that emails containing illustrations revealed either a partial advert or indeed no advert at all.

When asked how often they clicked the “show all images” button just under half of the respondents said “Sometimes” while over 22% said “never” or rarely”. Only 24% said that they clicked “reveal” quite often or regularly, while a mere 3.3% said they did so “always”.

What this means is that if you choose to put design into your advert there is every chance that the majority of the teachers and administrators who receive the email won’t see it as you designed it.

This raises the question of how teachers decide to reveal the email images or not. In fact, apart from the 3.3% who always click “reveal”, the decision for the rest can only come based on the subject line and the sender. If they appeal, click through is possible – although far from guaranteed.

But does this mean that emails to schools can’t work? For surely illustrations and design are essential if one is to generate excitement and interest in teachers.

The answer it turns out is yes, they can work, and no, illustration and design in emails is not necessary for getting a response.

In a separate series of experiments, the publisher “First and Best” and the special needs organisation “The Dyscalculia Centre” have been advertising books, reports, resources and on-line testing, using text only advertisements and doing particularly well along the way.

The benefit of the text only approach is that teachers and administrators in schools can see the advert at once and thus don’t lose much of their audience before they start. But for those who absolutely insist on having designed and illustrated adverts, the solution seems to be to produce exciting and inviting headlines in text, above the design.

Of course, one still has to get the headline right – straightforward statements about a company supplying all the school’s needs for a particular subject, never work. The headlines have to be different from what everyone else is doing, and have to promise something really worthwhile beyond.

Indeed one has to remember that lowest prices, best quality, exciting design and all such approaches have been used a million times before.

(OK perhaps I exaggerate but they have been used quite often.)

Elsewhere in the School of Educational Administration and Management survey we can see that Outlook is the email system that dominates schools with fractionally under 65% of schools using the program. In second place is Outlook Express with just under 8%.

Microsoft Internet Explorer is still dominating access to the internet in schools, but increasing numbers of schools now have two browsers in everyday use. Google Chrome is Microsoft’s main rival in this regard and the figures suggest a growing number using both. Firefox came third in the list with just 3.48%.

Thus the conclusions are clear. If you want as many as possible teachers and administrators to read your email…

  1. Save design and illustration for the website, if at all possible
  2. If you must use design and illustration in the email, have text above the design with something therein which really excites and induces continuing readership. But do recognise that you are immediately losing at the very least 18% of your potential readership through this approach. And you could be losing up to 97% of your readership in the worst scenarios.
  3. Make sure your email looks good in Outlook and Outlook Express
  4. Make sure any web page you are sending people towards looks good in IE and Chrome.

If you would like to discuss any of these findings please do call me on 01536 399 000 or email Tony@hamilton-house.com If you would like to know about what we do overall (apart from run surveys!) you’ll find a guide to all our work on www.hamilton-house.com

And last, if you’d like to know about our email to schools services then its www.emails.gs

Tony Attwood

If you are not trying promotion by post…

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Posted on 3rd October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Why promotions to teachers still bring in the best returns of any medium

Writing a sales letter, putting it in an envelope with a leaflet (if the full details of what you are selling can’t be given on the sales letter alone), and then sending it off to 300 schools chosen at random, is not tough.

It costs about £160 to do – less if you do all the envelope stuffing yourself – more if you are using stamps. But most importantly it will generally not only your money back, but it will quite often open the door to the most profitable promotions imaginable.

All you need is one piece of information. You need to calculate how many sales you will need to recover your marketing costs.

So, given that it costs £160 to send out 300 letters, we can see that it costs about £53 per 100 to do a test mailing like this.

Now let us assume (for the sake of illustration) that you make £25 clear profit each time you make a sale. That means you are going to start making a profit if you sell three items each time you mail 100 schools.

That could be three items to different schools or one school buying two and one buying one item. It doesn’t matter – all you have to do is get those three sales.

But we don’t just mail 100 in our trial mailing, we do 300, just to make sure the figures are accurate and that there is no oddity in the small sample we’ve selected. So we mail 300 schools selected at random, and it costs about £160. Nine sales will bring us in £225 profit.

Take away the £160 it cost to do the promotion and you have a profit of £65.

The next question is, was it worth it? All that work for £65? Probably not, but there are two bonuses that now accrue.

Let’s assume that your selected schools came from the list of UK secondary schools. There are 5000 of these. Because you selected at random from the list, it is reasonable to believe that you can get the same result across the UK.

Such a promotion will bring in 150 sales at £25 profit each which is £3750 profit.

But that’s not the half of it. Because with each sale you can put in a leaflet offering another product – and that costs nothing at all. And you should record the name and address of the teacher who bought from you so you can write directly to that person again to sell something else.

In other words the benefits of this little campaign are starting to stack up. £3750 profit, extra sales from the leaflets enclosed with the products when mailed out, and 150 postal addresses of past buyers.

But there is still more.

Additionally if you use the right tactics you can probably get around 80 email addresses of the actual teachers placing the order. And I stress, these are their personal email addresses – not the email addresses of the school’s office that processes the order.

This is, by and large, the most powerful and effective way of selling to teachers. And in recent years it has been made even more powerful, because many of the firms that used to sell to schools via the post don’t use that medium any more.

So less post reaches the schools, more gets passed on to teachers by the school office, and more gets read.

Why don’t companies use the post so much these days? Largely, I think, because it seems so complicated compared with emails.

I think that concept is quite wrong, but it is a rare bonus for the firms that still use the post.

If you would like to talk about test mailings, about buying lists of school addresses so you can do your own mailing, about having Hamilton House undertaking the mailings for you, or indeed anything else, please do call 01536 399 000.

And here’s two final benefits. If, when you have found a mailing that works, you mail 4000 schools or more, your postage rate comes tumbling down. Plus we will then also do a personal email campaign for you to any secondary teacher of your choice or a generic email to all primary schools, free of charge.

You can read more about our mailing lists on our web site and also see an example of how we write to schools to promote products in this way.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tony Attwood

Tony@hamilton-house.com

The most powerful schools marketing combination

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Posted on 1st October 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Some teachers read the post, some read emails, some read the internet. Only one approach reaches all three.

When you undertake a postal shared mailing with a free email campaign with Hamilton House we also offer you a free listing on UK Education News.

But, you may ask, is that anything to get particularly excited about? A free email campaign with a postal shared mailing is one thing, but what is so special about the free UK Education News listing?

Well, the great thing about the free listing is that it represents a rare opportunity to ensure that you reach teachers no matter what medium they prefer to use. You reach them with a leaflet, you reach them with an email, and you appear on the leading education news accumulator site.

So, given that we have just a few days before the next Post + free email + free internet campaign (the postal mailing is on October 14th, with the printed materials required by October 7), I thought I would explain further.

UK Education News (www.ukeducationnews.co.uk) is the prime rolling education news service in this country. If you haven’t seen it, do click on the link and have a look.

On the site you’ll find a list of headlines – some of which are links to news stories that appear on our major national papers, while others lead you into advertisements.

Typically the site is read by teachers, and amazingly the average amount of time spent on the site per reader per day is about 35 minutes. This shows that the readers look at the list of headlines, click on a story and read it, and then come back to the headlines, choose a second story and so on.

Headlines start at the top of the screen and gradually make their way down as other stories appear above – most stories last on the site about a week. The average story gets read about 700 times.

So using this approach you find that you reach the teachers who read leaflets by getting your leaflet in the shared mailing pack; the teachers who read their emails will see your message via email (which we will send out free of charge via our personal email lists); and the teachers who focus on the internet will see your advert on UK Education News.

It is a unique and remarkably powerful combination. Indeed I don’t know any other company that offers such a method of advertising – especially not for just 9p per teacher (less if you provide us with different leaflets to reach two different teachers).

The cost of the whole package of shared postal mailing, email and UK Education News internet advertising is £450 if you put one leaflet in the postal campaign or £575 if you want two leaflets included. That’s between 9p and 5.7p per school.

The only extras are VAT and a surcharge if your leaflet (or the two leaflets together) weigh over 15g together.

As for the free email – you can choose to use any of our secondary school personal email lists which are shown on our Email lists site.

This is the last post + email + internet campaign offer until November 4, so if you are interested I would recommend getting the leaflets printed and booking your place in the mailing as soon as possible.

There is more information on our Shared Mailing site at www.shared.org.uk But if you have any questions please do call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

I do hope you’ll try this post + email + internet offer.

Tony Attwood

Don’t be worried – schools are not hoarding all their funds

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Posted on 29th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

The regular shock-horror stories about schools hoarding their money are circulating at the moment – but all is not as reported in the press

Every year the same story appears with suitable amounts of exclamation marks and shrieks of horror. Schools in the UK are “hoarding” £2.4 billion of unspent government funding.

The story looks worrying – especially if you are trying to sell to schools. But actually the situation isn’t that bad.

Yes, it is true that this sum is considerably up from the £500m “hoard” recorded in 1999 – but that is largely because 1999 was near the end of the Blair administration when the watchword was “Education, Education, Education.” Money was still flowing at that time, and secondary schools tended to retain about £50,000 from one year to the next. That is about 1% of their turnover.

The year of the last general election saw cuts to education funding, some of it in terms of money that had already been promised as payments to be made during the course of the year and which schools and other bodies were reliant on.

So the schools learned their lessons and upped the funds that they hold in reserve to about 5%, just in case the government tried that trick again.

But hidden in this story there is a very important point. Schools salted their reserve capital away during the first couple of years of the Coalition government. It is still there, sitting in reserve, and there is no sign that they are looking to increase the reserve pot.

That means that the money the schools get each year, is more or less what they spend each year. We’ve had the two years of privation during which the funds were built up, and now everything is running smoothly.

An average secondary school might get £4m a year, and it spends £4m a year. The reserve fund of £50k just sits in the bank, one year to the next.

This is why many companies that upped their level of marketing in the Summer Term 2014, and indeed during the summer holidays, saw a good return on their marketing investment.

Indeed, if you have been advertising you’ll probably want to keep going. If not you might well want to join in our next shared mailing to secondary schools, which has a free email campaign associated with it.

In the postal shared mailings with a free email campaign, you can send a leaflet to the teacher of your choice for around 9p per teacher – less if you have a leaflet to two different teachers in the same pack.

Details of how the system works, and how to ensure your leaflet brings in lots of sales, are given on www.shared.org.uk

In terms of the email – you can choose any of the personal email lists that we have. You send us your email and we email it out to the personal email addresses of teachers on the list you choose. We will also run your email free of charge on UK Education News, which will bring in ever more replies.

If you have not undertaken a shared postal campaign with us before, please do call 01536 399 000 and we can talk through any particular points.

If you do want to book into a shared postal mailing with a free email campaign here are the details:

  • To book in a place on the secondary school shared mailing on 14 October just email Chris@hamilton-house.com
  • We will then need your leaflets delivered to our warehouse in Northants no later than 7 October.
  • Once the booking is arranged you can then also make arrangements for the transmission of the free email and to have your advert on UK Education News.

Tony Attwood

01536 399 000.

An index to all our services can be found on our home page.