The two types of direct marketing, when selling to schools. Why we need them and what they do for us.
In all areas of direct marketing – but particularly when selling to schools – there are two separate approaches. Both are important, and a review of how companies advertise show us that the most successful companies use both approaches.
The first and most obvious approach is that of “now” selling – the approach that offers a particular product at this moment at a particular price.
Thus if you are selling a product or service, you might use this approach to announce a discount in a package that is coming to an end, before later announcing the all-new package which has just emerged, but at a higher price. It is all about the moment.
Such advertising takes place through three media: email, the post, and the internet. The adverts constantly change and evolve, and companies that do this well measure the readership and response rate of each advert while testing and trialling new formats in the background.
Thus a new idea for such an advert might be tried using a segment of a high performing email list (for example, your own list of past buyers or a list of subscribers to a news service).
Then if the advert works you can also try it across the more expensive personal lists and use its message in postal advertising, aiming to reach the schools that don’t respond to emails.
The second, and sometimes forgotten, approach lurks in the background. This type of advertising is low cost and is always there, aiming to draw in teachers who are looking for a particular product rather than being seduced by a new offer.
This second type of advertising – the “background advertising” – typically appears on blogs, directory websites and news services (often in terms of published press releases).
Background advertising, however, should not be thought of as doing nothing other than announcing “XYZ Supplies Ltd: for all your software needs” for such an announcement will get very few replies because it is too general.
Background advertising needs to be specific, but it needs to ensure that the readers recognise that what you are talking about is not a short term one-off deal.
Thus you might say, “What is the quickest and lowest cost way of getting educational software?” or, if advertising a range of behavioural products, “There are 10,000 ways of improving classroom behaviour – but only certain approaches work.”
Such background advertising can be placed on suitable sites for months on end at a very low cost and can itself be supplemented by press releases which appear in papers, magazines and on the news services and websites that your audience read.
Of course Hamilton House offers both approaches, but I’d particularly like to focus on the “background advertising” services that we offer.
Background advertising can also include regular email shots to school generic addresses. These promotions can help you garner your own list of interested teachers (by offering something free which they have to apply for via an email) or be used to get a constant although perhaps modest stream of orders.
Although generic emails do indeed result in modest numbers of sales, they can help keep you in the teachers’ eye, which is why we make our list of 26000 generic school addresses available on CD or by download for just £49.99.
Companies that are part of the Velocity programme will get listings on UK Education News and similar sites for free, as well as use of the generic and personal email lists. Non-Velocity customers can buy into all our various education news and information sites for either two months or a year at a time.
Details of Velocity are on www.velocity.ac while details of how to buy a place on all our various education sites that are read by teachers (and indeed parents) are on http://www.top5.org.uk/Suppliers.html Prices start from just £49.99.
If you would like to discuss the often ignored “background advertising” please do call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com