If you are sending out your own emails to schools, or if you are using a commercial service which allows you to send through their servers, it can sometimes be hard to know how many of those emails are arriving, and if any are not arriving, why that is the case.
Emails can fail to arrive for all sorts of reasons, but the prime ones are
a) the email address is wrong
b) someone somewhere along the email chain is specifically blocking you as a sender
c) there is something within the email which is causing the school, or a group of schools, to block this email.
Obviously if your system is set to give you a list of undeliverable emails then you can deal with part a). But you may not always be aware that somewhere in the chain of events that takes an email from you to the recipient someone else has a block in place, and that can take quite a while to get sorted. It could be a major industry player, or a local authority. Until you start looking it is hard to know.
Even then once you have sorted the block, there is still the problem of what you say. Obviously you are not going to use swear words when writing to schools, but it is a fact that certain words have dual meanings, and may have a perfectly legitimate meaning within one context, but which in another context have a different connotation.
In such cases you can find your email being blocked for a reason that you could never have imagined. I don’t want to write such a word here, in case it affects delivery of this message to you. But if think of the slave trade and the way in which children were sold into sl and bo (complete the second those two words) you’ll see how easy it is to use a word that has a double meaning.
Sadly, most blocking systems have no concept of context so blockages do occur. (They also don’t know much about humour, word games or the sudden usage of a foreign language).
All of which adds to my feeling that if you do want to send out your own emails to schools then it is often a good idea to work with a company that is expert in the IT side of things, and which knows a thing or two about the creative side of writing to teachers.
What caused me to think of all this was a conversation last week with a educational supply company who told me that email to schools doesn’t work. When I told him that First and Best (the publishing company owned by Hamilton House and which we use to test out both our system and our creative ideas) promotes itself primarily in this way and does quite well, he was disbelieving. It was only after we explored matters further that we found that this company had no policies or activities in place to check if the emails were actually getting through.
If you have any doubts – we are always very happy to help with your promotions. It is, after all, what we exist for.
http://www.educationmarketing.org.uk/Services.html gives a run down of what we offer while http://www.educationmarketing.org.uk has a list of our current special promotions.