What is the most effective way of persuading teachers to buy your products and services?
In my series of articles on the Hamilton House blog I have been arguing that getting sales from email advertising involves working through a process which usually runs like this…
Initially you have to grab attention through a clever subject line and an interesting headline.
These are not as easy as you might think, because the most successful subject lines tend to be very short and don’t mention the company’s name – or even the product! And although questions work well in headlines, that is not true for all questions.
What’s more, the most common type of approach used in emails turns out to be the least effective.
Now I am currently writing a series of articles on the HHM blog about this, and if you want to follow them in detail, they start here but here is a quick summary:
Having grabbed attention you have to persuade the teacher to read the first paragraph and then read on. It doesn’t matter too much if they skim the rest but you need to keep them engaged.
Next you need to persuade the reader either to place an order there and then, or get the reader to click through to the web page, and if you use a landing page you need to lead from that page onto a purchase or at least a direct contact with yourselves.
Now the problem is that there are a lot of articles around at the moment that focus on individual elements within this without seeing the overall impact.
For example, one series of articles I’ve seen suggests that click throughs to the website and replies to the email are everything. But that’s not always the case.
Click throughs can be artificially raised by having multiple links from the email to the website or by asking people to reply if they don’t want something to happen (as in they don’t want the sender to phone on a certain day or forward a free gift).
They can also be raised through emailing the generic list of school addresses (those starting office@) thus meaning that the school office has to interact with the email before it reaches the desired teacher.
In another series of promotions it is argued that offering a headline that says, “The 5 most popular ways of….”, or something along those lines gets the most engagement.
That is probably true, but again this has little to do with actual sales. It appears that huge numbers of people who read the “5 most effective ways of” type lists don’t actually then take the matter any further. They just like lists.
It is because of the complexity inherent within these issues that we run the Velocity programme in which we work closely with our clients explaining at each stage why we recommend x rather than y.
We also never hide the fact that advertising to schools is often about experimentation and trying out different possibilities.
What we focus on totally are the sales at the end of the line – and when they don’t arrive we examine each step and explain to our Velocity clients exactly where in the chain of events things have not worked.
Of course, the fact that we have been doing this for 35 years, and also run three companies that are constantly selling into schools via our own marketing services, means we have got rather good at this. But if we have learned something it is that although there are many indicators of what to do and what not to do, there are no absolute answers.
So, although it is always very attractive to think that the simple issues like the number of opens and the number of click throughs in emails tell the whole story, in reality there is more to it than that.
Thus Hamilton House offers an approach which considers all the issues that exist in selling to schools, incorporating the use of email, social media and the post, and provides you with the methods of gaining ever better results from your promotions.
If you are interested please do call us to talk about how the Velocity programme could help you achieve the sales you want.
If you would like to talk about how this approach could apply to your advertising please do call us on 01536 399 000, or email Jenny@hamilton-house.com