Three discount offers for the end of the financial year

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Posted on 2nd March 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

March is one of the key months for school buying. Here are three discount offers to help your campaign along.

This is the time of year when local authority schools budgets end and any money that was due to be spent before April 5 has to be spent – pronto.

Although Academy budgets tend not to end until next term, they too quite often use this term as one of catching up with expenditure on key items as they start putting into effect all the plans that they outlined last year.

To accommodate what is in effect one of the big buying seasons of the school year Hamilton House traditionally organises some helpful low cost promotional facilities – and this year we are most certainly doing this.

We have discounts on solo postal campaigns, discounts on personal email campaigns, and another 3-Media offer in which you can get a free internet campaign and a free email campaign when you undertake a shared or solo postal campaign with Hamilton House.

With all these offers the key point to remember is the dates. Most schools will be closed between 30 March and 10 April – although some will be closed the following week.

So you can still email teachers during this period (they continue to look at their emails on their tablets, phones and the like through their holidays) and they’ll take decisions and email the request for a purchase to be made into the school office.

So, here are the details in three areas of promotion: Solo postal, Personal email, 3-Media

Solo postal campaigns: If you provide your leaflets so that Hamilton House can undertake the work of filling the envelopes, etc, between 30 March and 10 April we’ll give you a 20% discount on the cost of envelopes, labels and labour.

You don’t have to have the mailing posted at this time – we can hold it over despatch until any time up to the end of April – you just have to let us do the physical work during that period.

Personal email campaigns: Any personal email campaign that goes out between 30 March and 10 April will either be charged at half price, or will be free if you book in another promotion with us before the end of April.

This means primary and nursery mailings will cost just 4.5p per address and secondary mailings will cost 6p per address when buying any of our lists.

3 Media Campaigns: If you book in any solo postal mailing of over 4000 addresses or a shared postal campaign to secondary schools which goes out on 28 April, you will also get a free email campaign to any secondary personal email list plus listings in all of our education web sites, including UK Education News.

This particular 3 Media Campaign allows you, if you wish, to send out the email campaign prior to the end of the financial year, and then follow up with the postal campaign in the new financial year. Or of course you can do both mailings at once.

5000 leaflets printed for £20. If you book into the 3 Media campaign we can, if you wish, also print 5000 leaflets for the mailing, black on white, for just £20.

To talk through any of these offers please do call 01536 399 000. Or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Follow us: @HHMailings

Over 26000 school email addresses for £59.99

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Posted on 26th February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Generating higher response rates from schools when using generic email addresses

The lowest cost way of reaching schools is through generic emails – and once again Hamilton House has a new list of email addresses including virtually all primary and secondary schools for just £59.99. The list also comes with a free report on how to maximise your response rates when using this type of list.

The email list also includes the school name and county, and separates out the primary and secondary schools. Special and nursery schools are also available separately – there are details below.

What’s more, if you have bought the complete list from us in the past, you can have the new fully updated list of primary and secondary schools for the reduced price on an unlimited use licence of £49.99.

Maximising sales and enquiries using generic lists

Generic email addresses can be very effective if the advert is written in a particular way which encourages the school administrator to pass the email on to the relevant teacher or manager.

Indeed in one study we were able to get a response rate of around 7% from teachers when we offered them a free report (as a way of gathering interest).. It proves that such emails are indeed forwarded when the message is written in the right way..

So, to help you maximise your response rate, when you buy the list from us (or book in for Hamilton House to run such an email campaign on your behalf) we’ll also send you our detailed report on how the most effective promotions have managed to generate their high response rates.

Here are the prices for buying the lists for unlimted re-use, and the latest numbers:

  • The list of primary and secondary schools contains 22038 primary and 4733 secondary schools and is available for £59.99
  • The list of 1453 special schools is avaialble for £25
  • The list of 6939 nursery schools is available for £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.

Emailing via Hamilton House

As an alternative to undertaking the mailing yourself (which will require you to have software suitable for bulk mailing or be using an agency that allows you to email addresses that start admin@ and office@) we can undertake the email campaign for you.

To read more about our lists and the option of having Hamilton House mail out for you please take a look at our Generic List page or call the number below.

To make a booking or find out more information please call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Free personal email campaign, very low cost printing

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Posted on 19th February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

How can you print 5000 leaflets for £20, get a free email campaign to schools, and obtain inclusion on the UK’s prime education websites?

There are three different ways of attracting the attention of teachers: via the post, via personal emails and via education news websites.

Use all three approaches at once and you really can attract the attention of teachers – and that is why we launched our Three Media service.

In essence, for £450 you can have a leaflet directed to the teacher of your choice in a secondary school postal shared mailing (reaching 5000 schools), plus an email campaign using any of our personal email lists plus an article, advert or press release appearing on UK Education News.

But of course we don’t like to stand still – so we have just expanded the Three Media Service offer even more! For an extra £20 we will print the 5000 leaflets that can go into the shared postal mailing. This price applies to printing on 80gsm black on white one side.

The next Three Media round kicks off on 10 March, with the postal shared mailing. If you want to buy into the printing for £20 we need a PDF of your leaflet by 27 February. If you want to print your own leaflet, then the date for receipt of those leaflets is 3 March.

And I would add that our last “3 Media” promotion sold out completely, so it is worth getting in touch as soon as possible if you want to be part of this approach. To book in, email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Here’s what you get in summary form.

1: A leaflet weighing up to 15gms directed to the teacher of your choice in all 5000 secondary schools in the UK. You can also enclose a second leaflet for a small additional charge, and you can go over the 15gms limit if you wish, and again there will be a small additional charge.

If you only want to reach schools with sixth forms, we can do that – and if you do take that option we’ll give you a further discount.

There are some hints on how to prepare your leaflet to maximise the impact in a shared mailing pack – there’s a link to this on the Shared Mailing web site.

2: An email sent to any of our personal teacher lists. These lists reach teachers directly (they don’t go to the school administrator) and the cost of these is normally around £250 to use, so there is quite a saving there. Again if you wish we can offer support and advice on how to write an email that will really work on these lists.

3: A listing on UK Education News. This is the prime education news website in the UK, running stories all day long from the major educational news sources such as the BBC, the Guardian and so forth. The average story on this site gets read about 700 times – which is the equivalent to sending out another 5000 emails!

Three Media advertising is undoubtedly the most cost effective way of reaching teachers. There is more information on www.shared.org.uk – but please do note the key dates (below).

  • Delivery of art work to be printed (if you wish us to print for £20): 27 February
  • Delivery of printing if you are printing it yourself: 3 March
  • Despatch to schools: 10 March

And please don’t forget that these very special 3 Media campaigns can get booked up very quickly, so it is worth booking in sooner rather than later: 01536 399 000 for more information.

Tony Attwood

Everything ends, everything changes

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Posted on 16th February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

No matter how well your sales are going they will ultimately slip back unless you have either a new product, a new offer or a new approach.

Nothing lasts for ever – and certainly nothing lasts for ever in terms of selling to schools.

You might well have a range of products that are selling very well, and which have been doing so for some time, but ultimately those sales will decline.

This will happen because either:

  1. Everyone who can be attracted by your adverts has seen the advert and bought, or decided not to buy, your products.
  2. The market has changed and teachers are looking for something new.
  3. You have new competitors and teachers are attracted to them.

(There are of course other reasons for sales declining but these are the ones we see most often. If you want to talk about other reasons and what can be done – please do give me a call.)

The first thing to do is to recognise the simple fact that nothing continues for ever. Just because you sold lots of your product last year doesn’t mean that it will sell this year. Schools might still need key stage 2 English books, desks, carpets, paper, pens, etc, but that does not mean that they will continue to buy your books, desks, carpets….

The second thing to do is to work out your response.

In essence there are three possible responses you can have:

  1. Change the product or service you are selling.
  2. Change the offer.
  3. Change the advertising.

You can, of course, change all three, but it is worth considering each approach separately.

Changing the product or service is only viable if you can see a new version of what you want to sell. But even then you still have to persuade the teachers that they need to change. If they are quite happy with what they already have, you won’t get new sales just because you need them.

So changing the product needs to be allied to finding new and meaningful benefits for the new product. For example, through my work for the School of Educational Administration and Management I know that lots of school offices are struggling along with computers that have far too little memory for the tasks they are being asked to do, but selling computers for admin work is tough. One needs to stress the benefit to the school as a whole of bringing in a new machine.

Changing the offer means that you are still selling the same product but in a different way. For example, your offer of free next day delivery might have been a winner for years, but now all your competitors are doing it. It is still needed, but is no longer the way of getting customers.

Here you might try offering something else for free with each sale, or maybe a free CD version of each book to put on the school’s network when ten printed copies are sold. The free items can be something that will benefit the school (a free chair with each office desk) or something of interest to the buyer personally (chocolates, diary, quality pen, Amazon voucher…)

Changing the advertising is your third option. This can involve moving away from big announcements about the product and its price to asking interesting questions, talking about benefits, using humour and emotion, etc.

You can also add in something new, like a video on your website showing the product in use, a free trial, a free upgrade, a second product at half price…

Or you can find a new virtue in the product. So instead of selling school furniture you can sell school furniture that enhances positive behaviour. (And if that sounds curious, there are numerous research papers showing that different colours and styles of furniture affect behaviour in different ways. But few furniture retailers use this information in their advertising.)

My point is twofold. First, that successful companies selling to schools expect that the market will change and that strong selling lines will fade away.

Second, that there are a lot of ways of revitalising sales – but it can take a bit of time to find the right one for your product.

Of course, if the product simply isn’t wanted any more by schools, then there is nothing you can do – you have to move on; but if the product is still in demand it is simply a case of having lots of different ideas and trying each one out until you hit on the new winner.

And because this can take time, it is worthwhile starting the search for the new approach long before sales drop to a level that is alarming.

Solving the problem of maintaining sales over a long period of time is just of what we do via the Velocity programme. Using our personal email addresses of teachers and working with our clients we try out different ideas, different adverts, different offers and different products to find out which ones will deliver the best results in the coming year or two.

There is more about Velocity on www.velocity.ac – or you can call 01536 399 000 and ask for the Velocity team. If you would like to know more about what Hamilton House does overall, there is an introduction on www.hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Be continuous, be different

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Posted on 12th February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Selling to schools is not hard, but you can generate many more sales if you follow these ten rules.

If you ever take a trip to the home page of Hamilton House Mailing you’ll see a note at the top that says, “Be continuous, be different”

It is a simple command, but it is something that I’ve found to be one of the most important rules that I’ve discovered in selling to schools.

Of course it is not the only command I give myself when writing emails, sales letters and web pages. In fact it comes from my magic list of ten marketing commandments. I’ve set out my list below.

But “be continuous, be different” is important because in those two concepts one has the essence of why it is that many companies do well when selling to schools, while others do poorly.

“Be continuous” of course means advertising regularly. “Be different” means keep changing the message and at the same time always differentiate yourself from your competitors.

And although when set out like this, these ideas seem fairly obvious, the interesting thing is that quite a few firms do exactly the opposite. They either just do one advert and stop or else they keep running the same advert over and over again.

Running one advert and seeing what the results are like is fine; except that if the results are poor that doesn’t tell you much other than the fact that this advert didn’t work. You need to try various adverts in different styles and approaches to learn what is going to work for your product or service.

Of course, sometimes you can get it right first time, but sometimes it takes half a dozen attempts to find the right approach. You need to be ready to persevere and to experiment with forms of advert that you might never have thought could work.

But then, even when you have the right approach, you can’t keep running the same advert and expect people who didn’t buy first time, to buy it second time. You need a new headline each time, and if you are writing emails, a new subject line each time. Plus you must always change the first two paragraphs.

Which is why Hamilton House offers all sorts of incentives to customers who want to work with us over time in order to allow them and us time to get the approach right. Whether you are writing the advertisements or you are asking us to write it, we do offer major discounts to companies that agree to use our email or postal service three or more times a month.

So, having done my introduction, here’s the list of ten key things you really should do if you want to create brilliant direct marketing to schools that sells, sells and sells.

  1. Always grab attention. Never shirk this duty.
  2. Don’t announce the product or the company, talk about the benefits.
  3. Be personal, be light, be charming, be jolly.
  4. Try not to sell on price alone.
  5. Focus on the reader not on yourself.
  6. Be creative in your writing – which generally means “practise being creative in all aspects of your life” (See the series of articles noted above for more on this.)
  7. Allow the teachers to skim through your message – don’t expect them to read every word.
  8. Always be different from your competitors and different from your last advert.
  9. Keep on communicating with your potential customers – you can write to them every week – even twice a week, but always with a different message.
  10. Never mix pictures and words until you’ve really grabbed attention and slowed the reader down.

If you would like to know more please do call 01536 399 000. Or if you have a bit of time, and you’d like to read an in-depth review of how to produce direct advertising that really works there is a series of articles which covers this in depth. The series starts here.

If you would like to talk about any of this, or about putting it into practice when selling to schools, please do call 01536 399 000. Or email Stephen@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Emails for free; emails at half price

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Posted on 9th February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Half price and free emails during half term, plus printing 5000 leaflets for £10 in our next secondary school postal shared mailing.

Emailing schools during half term weeks has for several years now been found to be particularly attractive, as teachers and school managers continue to pick up their emails on their phones and other mobile devices.

But the majority of firms that sell into schools tend to stop emailing during half term and thus leave the marketplace more open for those who do. For as teachers get fewer emails during this period, those that are received by teachers tend to be discounted.

As a result Hamilton House regularly runs two special offers for emailing schools during the school half terms.

In the first case, you can have an email to any of our personal email lists of teachers during the half term week commencing 16 February at a 50% discount. This means secondary personal emails are 6p each and primary 4.5p each. An email to the 5000 largest primary schools’ headteachers would be 3p each.

Alternatively, if at the same time you book into a personal email during any of the following three weeks we’ll give you the half term email for free.

The list of our personal email lists for secondary schools is shown here. The primary lists are here. As always the number of slots that we have available are limited, so it is worth booking in sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile we still have one place left available in our postal shared mailing of 24 February to secondary schools with the printing of your leaflets for just £10.00. Delivery either of your art work (if you are printing it yourself) or of copy for us to print is 17 February.

There are more details here – but just to give the detail on the special print offer – if you are joining in the shared mailing and you would like us to print your leaflet, we will print a black on white one sided leaflet on 80gsm for just £10.

If you wish to know more please do call 01536 399 000, or if you wish to make a booking please email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Finally, you can read more about our latest offers in education marketing on our dedicated web site.

Tony Attwood

Pay nothing; earn lots

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Posted on 5th February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Imagine paying nothing for an advertising campaign, and as a result getting £90,000 worth of sales in a year.

That is what happened last year to one of our “Payment by Results” customers.

Like all our PbR clients they didn’t pay a penny up front, but simply sent us their advert and we sent it out to schools through the year. When they felt it a good idea they sent through a second advert, and we moved over to using that.

The only payment they made to us was a commission on the sales – a commission that was agreed at the start and which they paid to us between 30 and 60 days after each sale was made.

Of course, not all our clients on Payment by Results made this sort of money – it would be nice if they had, but it can’t happen to everyone. However many clocked up very decent sums through advertising to schools via PbR email advertising through Hamilton House.

PbR doesn’t mean you have to stop other forms of advertising, and indeed it doesn’t even mean that you have to write and prepare your own adverts. If you want to try something new you can ask us to write an advert for you for a small fee.

Use of our PbR service is limited, and we do restrict the number of clients we have at any one time, but we do currently have a few vacancies for more companies to use the service.

If you are interested, I would suggest you take a look at www.hamilton-house.com/PBR.html and then, if you do want to open discussions, send details of your product or service to my colleague Stephen Mister at Stephen@hamilton-house.com If you can attach a copy of any email advert you have previously sent out, that would be helpful.

Tony Attwood

Print 5000 leaflets for £10

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Posted on 2nd February 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

For the shared postal mailing to schools on
24 February we have two spaces.
We’ll print your leaflets for just £10!

Normally in a shared mailing to schools we ask our customers to print their own leaflets – or pay our regular commercial rate for printing.

But we have a situation on 24 February mailing in which we have two places available in the shared mailing to secondary schools.

And so we are offering these places with the bonus that if you just supply us with a single print of your leaflet – black and white only, one side only – we’ll print the 5000 copies needed for the shared mailing for just £10.

Of course if you want to supply us with leaflets you have already printed that is fine – and indeed if you want to have two sided leaflets or colour leaflets you will have to work in the normal way, supplying us with your own leaflets or booking in at our normal print prices.

And just to confirm – our normal free offer of a free personal email campaign and a free listing on our www.ukeducationnews.co.uk rolling news website ALSO applies.

So to be clear, for £450 plus £10 print fee, we will print 5000 leaflets black on white, one side, and put them into the shared postal mailing to 5000 secondary schools, and give you a free personal email campaign to the secondary schools teachers of your choice, and give you a listing in UK Education News.

Here are the dates…

  • If you want us to print your leaflets we need the copy to print from by 11 February
  • If you are supplying your own printed leaflets we need them by 17 February
  • The shared mailing goes out to secondary schools on 24 February 2015.

The mailing goes to all 5000 secondary schools, and the cost is £450 plus VAT. If you want a second leaflet included and the weight of the two leaflets together is under 15g the price is £575 – but this is subject to availability.

There is a lot of information on shared mailings on www.shared.org.uk including information on the way in which leaflets need to be designed in order to maximise sales. Or you can call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood

The total guide to selling to schools

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Posted on 29th January 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What exactly do I have to do in order to
sell successfully to schools?

In the end selling to schools comes down to a series of points – and all of them have to be met for the sale to work. In short summary they are:

1. Do you have a product or service that schools want at a price that they will pay?

The answer might be yes, because you know they are buying it from others or because you think they ought to want it – but one way or another you need to be sure. If you are not sure, a little research among the audience is needed.

This is usually done with a simple questionnaire to relevant teachers, often sent through our subscription service (where teachers subscribe to receive our emails). It is not a question of “if this were available would you…” but rather “Do you buy this?” “What type of supplier do you use?” “How often do you buy this?” “If you are not buying this what are you doing?” That sort of thing.

It gives you a feel for the market place, rather than asking about your particular approach, and can be enormously helpful in getting the answers you want as to why your product is not selling well.

2. To write successful adverts you need to be well versed in being creative – which is not something that we can all switch on or off.

I believe almost all of us can be creative writers, just like we can all learn to dance or play the piano or put on a credible performance on stage, but like any other skill it takes practice. Most of us can ride a bike, but we need to practise quite a lot at first before the everyday easy skill arrives.

If the writer of your adverts has had no tuition in creativity then you might like to read some articles on the topic – starting here And above all you need to take time. It really cannot be turned on without having done it before. Allow plenty of time to practise.

3. After that the creativity has to be applied to the particular task of writing emails, web pages, postal letters, brochures, etc.

This means you need to spend time writing subject lines and headlines that really do grab the attention of the recipient who has a finger poised over the delete button. You have to get your thoughts in order, but never descend into bullet points or basic descriptions. You must never lose the buzz.

4. Emails and letters that go via the school administrator need to be written in a specific way.

The emails that go via the generic lists and leaflets that go to the school in shared postal mailings must first persuade the administrator to pass the note on, and then sell to the recipient. This is a very different technique from just reaching the decision maker.

5. In many cases although the head might be the final arbiter of the purchase it can help if another member of staff takes up the cause.

So sometimes you have to email two people to get them to talk together, but I would only get into this once you have honed the creative writing skills as it is quite tricky to get right. However do remember that on occasion you need to get two people interested before making a sale.

6. The body of the text of the advert has to take the right approach.

Simply announcing a service doesn’t sell it – you have to use one of the other approaches such as asking interesting questions, selling on benefits, being humorous, appealing to emotion, etc, etc.

What’s more you have to be very careful indeed when trying to sell on price. Most people underestimate the extra sales they need to get to compensate for a price cut – and the effect it can have on business when the discount is removed. 10% off is not a selling point.

7. The final part of it all is the way the email is set out – this is the application of the psychology of perception, and is another complex matter in itself.

The fact is that the brain works in particular ways, taking in information in different ways from what we might expect. You need short paragraphs that open with words that make it look as if this is the paragraph that gives all the information you want.

Remember, you are not writing something that people will read – you are writing text that people will skim, and you have to know how to deal with that skimming, and how the left and right hemispheres of the brain work in this regard.

An example of an email written in this way appears at www.emails.gs/email.html. In the coming weeks more details of this will be included in the series on creating successful adverts which starts here

So what to do?

The prime issue is whether you spend the time and money experimenting to do it yourself or take on the alternative approach.

This alternative is to work with a company, such as ourselves, where you can be guided. Some people let us write the adverts all the time, others ask us to write three or four promotions and then take over the writing, comparing results with what we get, and then discussing with us why advert a) got a good response and advert b) didn’t.

That is probably the most effective way of all. They study the methods with us, and then gradually see how it is that we are getting better response rates than they can.

The two processes we offer in which we can write some and you can write some are Velocity and Payment By Results. The former allows us to work together, the latter puts the effort in the learning process on your side.

I hope that helps. Do get back in touch if I can offer further information on any particular topic I’m on 01536 399 000 or at Tony@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Email, internet and shared postal promotions to teachers

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Posted on 26th January 2015 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

The 3 Media Approach to teachers is the most powerful marketing approach there is. And now you can have a lot of the service for free.

There are three ways of selling direct to schools: through email, through the post, and through the internet. But by far the most successful way of reaching schools is through the simultaneous use of all three media.

But using all three media at once can add to the cost. So from time to time we offer a way of using all three media when reaching secondary school teachers, but with you only paying for one.

If you take part in the postal mailing campaign to schools on 24 February we will give you an email campaign to the personal addresses of secondary teachers on any one of our email lists, totally free of charge.

Additionally, we will give you a free listing on to at least five different websites including www.ukeducationnews.co.uk – the UK’s only rolling news site for education.

To qualify for these two free elements in the 3 Media campaign you need either to undertake a solo postal campaign to 4000 schools or to join the shared postal campaign to secondary schools which goes out on 24 February.

The price of the shared postal campaign to reach 5000 secondary schools ranges between 5.7p and 10p per teacher reached (depending on whether you want to reach one or two teachers per school).

Put another way, if you just want to reach one teacher per school in all the 5000 secondary schools the total cost is £450 plus VAT. If you just want to reach the schools with sixth forms it is £360 plus VAT.

In short, for around 10p per school you can send the teacher of your choice a leaflet about your product, send teachers an email about the product to their personal email address and have your advert placed within the leading rolling education news website.

There are more details of our shared service on the Shared Mailing site – including a lot of help on how to write a leaflet that will bring in the sales via a shared postal campaign. But the key point to remember is that we must have your leaflets no later than 12 February.

If you want to know more please do call 01536 399 000, and if you want to book into the 3 Media Campaign just email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood