Is it best to aim for a sale from every advertisement or is it best to try a step by step approach?
In the broadest of terms there are two ways of running a direct marketing campaign aimed at teachers. On the one hand you can see each advert as a way of generating sales. On the other you can see adverts as part of a journey which starts with generating interest and only gets the sale at the end of the campaign.
In the first approach – in which every advert aims to get sales – a series of adverts will have each advert ending with an order form for the product. Each might have a different benefit for the product or might have a different incentive, but either way the message is, “Buy now!”
This style of advertising feels as if it ought to work best because over and over again you are saying to the teacher, buy this from me. And the hope, of course, is that eventually the customer will do just that.
But research shows that the alternative approach – known as the Sequence Approach – actually achieves many more sales, even though it looks like it might not.
The Sequence Approach can be arranged in a variety of ways, but here is one popular approach.
Advert 1: Generate awareness of the problem that the product solves – discuss the issue. By all means have a link to the product, but make sure the prime point of the advert is to create awareness of the problem.
Advert 2: Return to the theme of the problem and look at the way in which your product solves the problem. Again you can link to the product, but the key element here is the methodology that the product uses for raising grades, cleaning the floor, teaching algebra, or whatever it does.
Advert 3: Reminding the reader briefly of the problem and the way to solve the problem, the advert now focusses on the product and induces a sale.
In this sort of approach adverts 1 and 2 would have no mention of discounts, special offers, or anything like that. If you want to include such offers they come with the third advert.
To give an example of how this approach can work with schools, I’m currently running a series of adverts with this sequence:
- Most school administrators are so used to interruptions that they find it hard to imagine that they can do anything about it. It seems to be the bane of their lives.
- All school offices suffer from interruptions, and most people think interruptions are inevitable. But the volume of interruptions can be reduced. We have a free report that tells you how. Email me to get a free copy.
- If you can improve the efficiency of the school office by reducing interruptions you can improve the efficiency of the school and save money. The School of Educational Administration course for administrators can help you achieve just this..
Sequencing is hugely effective in advertising but is rarely used in adverts to schools. This approach of always going straight for the sale can work – but it is always worth considering the alternative, slower approach.
If you would like to keep tabs on ways of increasing your response rates and making your advertising more effective overall through tactics like this, you might like to receive my twice weekly free newsletter on direct marketing methods: Direct Marketing Secrets.
And as always, if you want me to have a look at an advert or website, or you want to discuss any aspect of selling to schools, please email me at Tony@hamilton-house.com or call 01536 399 000.