Don’t be worried – schools are not hoarding all their funds

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Posted on 29th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

The regular shock-horror stories about schools hoarding their money are circulating at the moment – but all is not as reported in the press

Every year the same story appears with suitable amounts of exclamation marks and shrieks of horror. Schools in the UK are “hoarding” £2.4 billion of unspent government funding.

The story looks worrying – especially if you are trying to sell to schools. But actually the situation isn’t that bad.

Yes, it is true that this sum is considerably up from the £500m “hoard” recorded in 1999 – but that is largely because 1999 was near the end of the Blair administration when the watchword was “Education, Education, Education.” Money was still flowing at that time, and secondary schools tended to retain about £50,000 from one year to the next. That is about 1% of their turnover.

The year of the last general election saw cuts to education funding, some of it in terms of money that had already been promised as payments to be made during the course of the year and which schools and other bodies were reliant on.

So the schools learned their lessons and upped the funds that they hold in reserve to about 5%, just in case the government tried that trick again.

But hidden in this story there is a very important point. Schools salted their reserve capital away during the first couple of years of the Coalition government. It is still there, sitting in reserve, and there is no sign that they are looking to increase the reserve pot.

That means that the money the schools get each year, is more or less what they spend each year. We’ve had the two years of privation during which the funds were built up, and now everything is running smoothly.

An average secondary school might get £4m a year, and it spends £4m a year. The reserve fund of £50k just sits in the bank, one year to the next.

This is why many companies that upped their level of marketing in the Summer Term 2014, and indeed during the summer holidays, saw a good return on their marketing investment.

Indeed, if you have been advertising you’ll probably want to keep going. If not you might well want to join in our next shared mailing to secondary schools, which has a free email campaign associated with it.

In the postal shared mailings with a free email campaign, you can send a leaflet to the teacher of your choice for around 9p per teacher – less if you have a leaflet to two different teachers in the same pack.

Details of how the system works, and how to ensure your leaflet brings in lots of sales, are given on www.shared.org.uk

In terms of the email – you can choose any of the personal email lists that we have. You send us your email and we email it out to the personal email addresses of teachers on the list you choose. We will also run your email free of charge on UK Education News, which will bring in ever more replies.

If you have not undertaken a shared postal campaign with us before, please do call 01536 399 000 and we can talk through any particular points.

If you do want to book into a shared postal mailing with a free email campaign here are the details:

  • To book in a place on the secondary school shared mailing on 14 October just email Chris@hamilton-house.com
  • We will then need your leaflets delivered to our warehouse in Northants no later than 7 October.
  • Once the booking is arranged you can then also make arrangements for the transmission of the free email and to have your advert on UK Education News.

Tony Attwood

01536 399 000.

An index to all our services can be found on our home page.

Doubling response rates

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Posted on 29th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the simplest way of doubling response rates when advertising to schools?

A recent survey of advertisements reaching heads of department and senior managers in schools revealed that the majority of them are continuing to use the traditional approach of talking about the company selling the product or service and giving the details of the product or service.

Now reading this, you might well say, “Well of course they do”. Because introducing yourself is only polite, and anyway, how can you sell a product or service without actually talking about it?

But rather oddly these two approaches – talking about your business and announcing the product, are just about the worst possible ways of selling to teachers.

To understand why, it is worth remembering that for most of us, what is interesting is, not to put too fine a point on it, ourselves. Our wants, our needs, viewed through our perception of the world – that is what we focus on.

Countering that, people who favour the common sense approach to advertising in which they talk about their company and their product, argue that nothing else can be done, since when sending out emails or postal advertising one doesn’t know anything about the teacher and what he/she thinks.

And yet, and yet… there is an answer to this dilemma. And it is on the first page of almost every marketing book ever written. It is…

Sell benefits, not features.

Thus, if you have a new GCSE chemistry book for sale the issue is not that it covers the whole syllabus or has 100 colour pictures of experiments. The issue is, does it help the students to get higher grades?

It is at this point that matters can stop again. As one publisher said to me last week, “How do I know if it is going to work in getting higher grades? It depends on the teacher.” And as a retailer of school furniture said to me, “I wouldn’t say this to a customer, but at the end of the day what we sell is what a lot of other people sell.”

This is where we come in. Because what the Hamilton House team does is take products and services and find the benefits behind them. We use 30 years of experience of doing this, our skills as writers, and a massive amount of research.

In fact, it is often the case that we know more about the benefits behind a particular range of products than many of our clients.

Indeed this is where a lot of our relationships with our clients start – with a challenge to find a unique benefit-driven way to advertise a product. And that is exactly what we do.

Of course, benefit-driven advertising isn’t all there is to it – the advert has to be crafted in a particular way. After all, a dull and boring advert that talks about the benefits of a product is still a dull and boring advert that won’t sell.

But if you would like to know how we might advertise something that you produce or retail, in a way that will get a much higher response rate than might otherwise be the case, please do either phone 01536 399 000 or email Tony@hamilton-house.com

Meanwhile, if you would like to see an overview of all the things that Hamilton House does, please do have a glance at www.hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Reaching the teachers you can’t reach

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Posted on 24th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the most cost effective way of reaching teachers who don’t read your emails?

I noted before the issue of teachers who don’t read emails – and suggested one way forwards was to us the site UK Education News. Now I want to go a stage further by looking at two ways around this problem.

One is to use a shared postal campaign alongside an email campaign – meaning that for £450 you can have a leaflet sent to a teacher of your choice in all 5000 secondary schools and have a personal email sent to the secondary teacher of your choice without any extra cost.

The next mailing goes out on 14 October (leaflets are required by 7 October). More details are here.

The alternative (or indeed additional) approach is to develop a website that gets further and further up the rankings so that when a teacher who never reads email adverts goes searching for a product he/she finds yours.

Now the problem with the notion of pushing a website up the rankings is that this activity has fallen into disrepute, for two reasons.

First because of the large number of companies who claim to be able to do this, but who then deliver nothing in return for your money. (Many of these, despite claiming to know a vast amount about the internet are trading from Gmail addresses – which is a bit of a giveaway.)

And second because just getting up the rankings isn’t enough – you also want teachers to stay on your site, and buy. Or at least phone you or email you.

This is an issue that Hamilton House has researched for a number of years by developing a range of websites and then using different techniques to build the audience to the websites.

We have done this through various educational websites selling among other things special needs on-line assessments, courses for school administrators and a variety of copiable resources.

We’ve also experimented extensively in non-educational arenas (in order to learn about contrasting responses to websites from all sorts of people – see here and here to look at non-educational sites in different stages of development).

It isn’t possible to write down the details of everything we have learned about how to make websites go up the rankings without damaging your readership, but here is one finding we have made.

If, at the foot of each page, you put a link back to one particular page that is likely to be of interest to everyone, your ranking will rise. If you don’t have such a page that you think everyone ought to take a look at, create one just for this task.

As always, Hamilton House is constantly testing this technique, taking some sites where we have not done this, making the change, and then seeing if that change works, while ensuring other sites have this self-same link on all articles, blog pages and the like. We are now confident that this is the approach that works under current Google rules.

Hamilton House can work with you to get your site up the rankings, either as a one-off project or as part of our Velocity programme.

Either way please do call 01536 399 000 so that we can talk matters through, show you what we have done, and suggest (without any obligation or cost) what might be done on your website.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tony Attwood

There’s more about all our areas of work on the Hamilton House home page

A new way to email teachers on a regular basis

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Posted on 22nd September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the most effective way of generating ever higher sales when emailing teachers?

The best approach to email marketing to teachers is fairly simple – and yet it is one that very few companies follow. Which means those that do adopt this approach tend to do particularly well out of it.

The approach involves emailing the teacher you want to reach fairly regularly, while always changing the text of the advertisement, and constantly adopting a positive conversational tone.

These emails should always be highly informative about the issues surrounding your product or service and should incorporate the three key features that I always stress – grabbing attention and answering the “why should I buy this?” and “why should I buy this from you?” questions.

Now to help in this endeavour, Hamilton House has set up a couple of programmes. One has been around for a while – but one is completely new.

So to deal with the new approach first. In response to a number of requests from our customers we are now offering our secondary school personal email address lists on short-term re-use licences.

What this means is that you can buy a database containing the school name, postal address, phone number and the personal email address of a teacher, and use it as often as you wish for four months. The price is 15p per school.

To give an example, assuming for a moment that you sell to English departments, if you buy our database of 2267 secondary school addresses, which includes the personal email address of the head of English, you can mail and email these addresses as often as you like for the following four months.

Now one thing we would strongly urge you to do is to keep changing your message to these teachers – if you do send out the same, or a very similar message over and over again, you will find that they will quite quickly block you.

If you want to talk this through before purchasing a list of postal and email addresses, please do call 01536 399 000 or alternatively email a copy of your proposed email, and your phone number to Tony@hamilton-house.com and I will come back to you with my thoughts.

If you are not experienced at writing ever changing messages our alternative approach is via the Velocity programme in which we will write the messages, to your brief and send them out ourselves.

Meanwhile if you would like to see our list of email addresses of secondary school managers and heads of department we have that on our website too.

But as always, if you have any questions, please do call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood

A full list of all our services is given on the home page of the Hamilton House web site.

What is the most effective way of making a shared postal campaign get a high response rate?

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Posted on 19th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

A shared postal campaign involves your leaflet or leaflets being sent to schools in a pack along with other firms’ materials. The items are sorted by the school administrator and then handed out to the relevant individual teachers.

In terms of getting the highest response rate possible, this is what you need to do.

1. Choose a shared postal mailing that comes with a free email campaign.

The next mailing with a free personal email campaign goes to 5000 secondary schools and takes place on 14 October. We need the printed leaflets no later than 7 October (but you can deliver earlier if you wish).

The free personal email campaign (which would normally cost over £200) can be to any of our secondary school or FE personal lists. These are emails that go directly to the teacher in question and not via the school administrator. Details of the lists available are shown here http://www.emails.gs/Secondarynamedlist.html

2. Choose a shared postal campaign that comes with a free entry onto the UK Education News rolling news programme.

In the 14 October mailing the text of your email advert will also appear free of charge on www.ukeducationnews.co.uk. If you have not used this service before do click on the link, and do call 01536 399 000 and we’ll talk it through. It is certainly worth focussing on this free element of the campaign because it can bring in a considerable number of sales.

3. Write your leaflet in a way that ensures the school administrator will pass your leaflet on.

All the normal rules about grabbing attention, etc, apply of course, but also there is one more facet of the postal shared mailing that must be considered. It is going to be looked at first by the school administrator.

Thus you must put, top right, a clear note (using something like 16 point Arial font) along the lines of “Attn: Head of English” so that the administrator knows whom to pass the leaflet to.

Next you should look at your advert not just from the teacher’s point of view (as noted above) but also the administrator’s.

If the advert seems at first glance to be a general one about something that the school already has (such as signs, noticeboards, paper, pens, CCTV, a website, staging for the hall, etc, etc) then there is every chance that the administrator might not pass this on.

So instead of showing pictures of school hall staging with an announcement that you are the best at supplying and installing school staging, you write a big headline that says, “What is the lowest cost way of installing, modifying and removing school staging?”
4. If your sell to two or more different departments, or you have two different products to sell, put in a second leaflet – at the heavily discounted rate.

The price for putting one leaflet in the postal shared mailing and obtaining the free email campaign and the free listing on UK Education News is £450, while the second leaflet takes the cost to £575. If you want to reach schools with sixth forms the prices are £360 for one leaflet and £435 for two.

I do hope you’ll give this mailing a try. For more information please call 01536 399 000 or have a look at www.shared.org.uk

Tony Attwood

For a complete overview of what Hamilton House does. Please visit www.hamilton-house.com

Reaching teachers who don’t read emails

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Posted on 17th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Emails will reach huge numbers of teachers. But what can one do to get to those who don’t read emails?

In some of my recent ramblings I’ve looked at the various ways of getting to teachers via emails, using generic, personal, subscription and your own “enquirers” list.

Now to round this off, I’d like to mention what one can do to reach teachers who simply don’t read emails. (It’s a shocking thought, I know, but there are some teachers like this.)

One approach is to use the post. Now postal direct mail has gained a reputation for being expensive, and it certainly is more expensive than email campaigns. But it also offers far higher response rates and a greater return on investment.

Indeed a successful postal campaign will invariably give a return that is far higher, per £1 spent, than that which can ever be achieved on an email campaign. In fact it is fair to say that the companies that are doing well in selling to schools are using the post.

However, none of us likes to risk lots of money trying to get a postal campaign right. So what is to be done – at a modest cost and without high risk?

The answer is that we do small scale random test mailings. In an example of such a project that we undertook last week for one of our clients, 200 schools were mailed. The cost was around £110. A small number of schools replied and took up the product that was on sale. The profit was around £600.

So our client now knows that a promotion of this type brings in a profit of £600, less the cost of mailing (£110). A good return. Being cautious our client quite reasonably has asked for a second test, which we are doing to a different random selection of schools. If the results are repeated the client will then mail 1000 schools, and so on.

Thus postal campaigns are one way of reaching teachers who don’t read emails. But there is a second approach: working via websites.

There are two main ways of doing this. The first involves placing an advert on UK Education News. This service is used avidly by many teachers – if you haven’t seen it do have a look. You’ll find that some of the headlines link to news stories and some to adverts.

Most stories on the site attract an average of around 700 readers – and remember these are readers who have clicked on the headline to find out more – so they are already interested when they get through.

You can advertise on UK Education News free of charge when you undertake a postal or email campaign with Hamilton House or you can book a slot on the service as part of our website advertising programme. Details are here.

Finally, we also recommend running a blog. In recent years we have set up blogs of all sorts that gain massive audiences and bring in lots of orders and enquiries ranging from direct marketing to the history of Arsenal FC. Our latest experiment (a blog on Bob Dylan) has been set up to market a book on the singer/songwriter – a venture we expect to be profitable since our blog is already picking up 150,000 visits a month – in a market where Google estimates there are over 5 million websites already in existence.

Blogs really are the most cost effective way of reaching people who don’t read emails, and I am very happy to explain how and why they work, and how much it costs to build one. (You’ll be surprised how little it costs.)

All of these projects (emailing, building your own list of enquirers, setting up and running a blog, postal experiments), can all be undertaken via our Velocity service which is described at www.velocity.ac

But if you don’t want to wade through any more of my writing, just call 01536 399 000 or email Tony@hamilton-house.com and either I or my colleagues can talk through the best approach for your company.

Tony Attwood

Subscription email lists are brilliant, but there’s something even better

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Posted on 15th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the single most effective email list for selling to teachers?

In my view there is far too much stress in the world, so I won’t keep you waiting for an answer to this question. I’ll give you the answer in just a few lines.

I’ve written about generic email lists, which if handled in the right way can produce interesting results.

Then I’ve covered the personal email lists of teachers, which go directly to their own in-box, rather than via the school office.

Finally my last article looked at subscription lists, which teachers have to apply to be on, and which generate the highest response rates of all three.

But still there is something even better. And that is the list of your own list of people who have expressed an interest in your product or service, or your line of work.

Now I’m going to beg you not to turn away at this point even if you have read previous comments of mine in which I go on and on about having your own list of potential and past customers – unless of course you already have a comprehensive list of this type and you are using it every week.

So please don’t turn away, because the majority of companies selling to schools don’t have their own list, or, if they do have one, they have only a very incomplete list, or they don’t use it properly.

And so in this article I’m going to set out how you can go about getting such a list – a list that will be worth its weight in some very heavy and valuable mineral. And I am going to do this under three simple headings.

1. If the list is that valuable how come many companies don’t have lists of their own customers and potential customers?

Quite simply because it is just a little difficult to get all the details and a bit time-consuming to keep it up-to-date and turn it into build a proper mailing list in a usable format. What you need is someone who is good at data research and good at data entry and updating.

2. “We’ve tried getting the email addresses of teachers who buy but all they do is give us the school’s office address.”

This is a common problem but not an insurmountable one. There are things you can write on your order form that will get more addresses of the actual teacher ordering, and there are tactics for getting teachers who don’t reveal their email address with the order to reveal it subsequently.

True, you don’t get everyone, but you can get most by using a stage by stage process. It takes a little while, and it is worth doing, because the resultant list is so powerful.

3. Teachers won’t like us emailing them regularly

This all depends what you write. Just send them a note each week about one of your products, perhaps with “10% discount!!!” written at the top, and yes, they’ll unsubscribe.

But if you write interesting, conversational articles, they will not only stay on your list but they will also read what you write. Quite shortly, you will become, in the teachers’ minds, the dominant supplier of your line of product – simply because you keep writing about things they want to know about.

* * * *

The simple fact is the email list of past customers and of teachers who have enquired is the most valuable marketing tool you can have. It will never be complete but even if it is only 50% complete it will still be invaluable.

Hamilton House has worked with a number of companies to develop their own email list of past customers and enquirers, invariably with significant success. And we also work with a number of companies to create and/or send out regular emails to these teachers.

Normally speaking this work goes through our Velocity programme with Hamilton House advising on how order forms, campaigns and websites should be developed to get all the email addresses in and then creating regular emails to send to these teachers. Details of Velocity are given at www.velocity.ac

As a result of this programme we can help you build a database of interested teachers which you own and which is constantly growing while at the same time building your own brand and stopping past purchasers wandering off to buy from anyone else.

Howeve,r the work doesn’t have to fit our format, and we can adjust totally to your requirements, picking up specific issues within the programme that you can’t handle in-house and working alongside your requirements at all times.

If you would like to discuss exactly how your company can develop the most powerful marketing tool possible, please call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood

Emails to teachers that are more responsive than the personal list

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Posted on 12th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Personal emails to teachers work better than generic emails. But what works better than either?

 

The answer to that question is simple. Email lists made up of teachers who have willingly subscribed of their own volition to receive the emails, work much better than both the personal and generic lists.

Now we need to be clear about such email addresses – for they are not email addresses gathered by phone calls to schools (which is what personal email address lists are) or through other research of this nature.

They are email addresses of teachers who have themselves gone onto a website and completed a form saying “please send me a copy of Education Management News each week.”

Education Management News is a service delivered by email and is only available where the teacher directly requests it. There are 12 separate editions published each week of each school term, each edition focussing on a separate segment of education.

Subscribers receive a news item each week relevant to the topic to which they have subscribed, and in a separate email a review of a product that may be of interest.

The 12 separate editions to which teachers can subscribe are:

Senior management, secondary schools
Senior management, primary schools
School marketing and PR
Careers and sixth form issues
School Administration and finance (for bursars, SBMs and administrators)
ICT
English, literacy and drama
School efficiency and savings
Motivation and behaviour management
PSHE
Special needs
Sustainability, learning outside the classroom and the environment
Because of the nature of these email services, the reviews have to be written in a particular way to fit in with the general nature of the editorial commentaries that the teachers receive each week. More details, along with the total number of subscribers in each case, are given on http://www.emails.gs/emailteachersdirect.html

Response rates for reviews that appear in Education Management News tend to run at about double the rate for equivalent personal lists – and one can of course understand why given that the teachers receiving these emails have asked to receive them.

What’s more, reviews that appear on our subscription lists then also appear on UK Education News, the rolling news service, without any extra charge.

If you have never seen UK Education News I would certainly suggest you take just a moment to have a look at the site. It carries all the latest education news and is updated every five minutes 24 hours a day. On average a review that appears on UK Education News will be read by a further 700 teachers – and this of course means 700 teachers who have particularly picked this article to read.

If you would like to discuss the use of this service please do call 01536 399 000.

Previously in this series of articles I’ve considered generic emails and how their response rate can be greatly enhanced by ensuring that the school administrator passes them on, and personal emails

In the next email I shall look at a list that can get even higher response rates than emails sent via the Subscription list.

Tony Attwood

It is better when personal

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Posted on 10th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Personal emails to teachers generally work very well – and they don’t have to be expensive to send out.

 

The lowest cost way of getting a message to teachers is via generic emails – as I explained in my last article.

As I pointed out there, there is a way of writing generic emails which manages to get them through to the teacher in question. But sometimes even this doesn’t work – which is why we also have the personal email system.

Personal emails go directly to the teacher at school via an address such as BJSmith@stjohns.sch.gov.uk So no one gets to see it before the teacher does.

Such emails have the additional advantage that many teachers – it now appears to be a majority – access their personal email account not only at school but also on their mobile, tablet, laptop or home computer. Thus they can read your email at a time convenient to them.

Personal email lists are constantly being updated, because teachers change and school email systems change, so the lists are in an endless state of flux and need to be updated daily.

Nevertheless for most heads of department and senior managers in secondary schools we have email details for about 50% of the relevant teachers. The remaining half are in schools that either don’t have personal email services or won’t release the details.

Thus, while generic email lists get to almost every school but can suffer a high delete rate before reaching the relevant teacher (unless of course you are able to write the email in such a way that it encourages the administrator to pass the email on) personal email lists get to only half the teachers you want to reach – but do get directly to that individual.

However, despite getting the immediate delivery, there is still work to do in getting these teachers to read your email.

Our research shows that generally speaking straight text emails work better than highly designed graphic adverts which may not be visible to the recipient without the teacher clicking on “show images” in his/her email system.

But even so, a lot does depend on how the email is written and designed.

In this regard Hamilton House has done a lot of experimentation via our three retail companies, First and Best (the educational publishing house), the Dyscalculia Centre (which sells to special needs teachers) and the government sponsored School of Educational Administration and Management which runs courses for senior staff.

Through this work we’ve evolved completely new ways of selling to schools via personal emails which include the use of long headlines (in addition to the subject line) and the raising of educational issues in the first couple of paragraphs, before getting into the solution (ie, advertising the product).

We’ve also found that the use of conversational English and the absolute avoidance of any suggestion that we know how difficult the teacher’s life is always help our response rates.

An additional finding is that it can be highly beneficial to write regularly to the teacher concerned – as long as one changes the headline and opening paragraphs in each and every email.

Thus if one is advertising a particular GCSE course book one might lead in one email with the fact that students benefit from getting an overview of the course at the start – which is what this book does.

In the next advert one might stress that students can easily lose focus as to where they are in the course, which is why it is vital to have regular revision activities throughout the course, not just on the current topic but on all the topics covered so far.

A full list of all our secondary school email addresses is given here while there is a list of primary school addresses here.

You can, of course, buy these for individual use as you need them – just call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com. However, if you are going to use emails as part of a regular campaign there is an alternative approach.

The cost of sending out a personal email to secondary schools is 12p including transmission (with discounts available if you are not specific on the date or if you have not used our service before). But if you commit to doing three email campaigns a month, the price can come down to under half that price via the Velocity programme.

For example, if you wanted to email the Deputy Heads, Heads of English and Bursar in secondary schools each month, the cost would be the aforementioned 12p per email. But if you did this through the Velocity programme the price would be around 7p per school – and we’d write the emails for you at no extra charge.

Alternatively, if you wanted to write your own emails, you could do four emails a month, and the price would be around 5p per school.

There is no long term contract with Velocity – you can leave with one month’s notice. There are more details on www.velocity.ac – or please do call 01536 399 000.

If you missed my first piece on emailing schools, which covered generic emails, you’ll find it on www.blog.educationmarketing.org.uk Next time I’ll have a look at the subscription email lists. But in the meanwhile if you have any questions, please do give me or my colleagues a call.

Tony Attwood

Getting teachers to read your emails

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Posted on 9th September 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the most effective way of increasing the response rate of emails sent to the school’s generic email address?

 

The most widely known approach to emailing schools, and most certainly the cheapest, is through the use of generic school addresses.

Emails such as these are sent to the school office (with addresses such as office@ or admin@), and can then be directed to the teacher you wish to reach by placing the text “Attn: The Head of Music” – or whoever you wish to reach – on the subject line.

The benefit of this approach is that it is very low cost, But unless you plan your mailing carefully this low cost itself comes at a price.

First, you must recognise that although most school administrators will open these emails, the overwhelming majority of administrators then make a decision as to whether to forward the email to the relevant person.

So if you are emailing 5000 secondary schools and assuming you have an accurate and up-to-date list of email addresses, you could find that anything between 500 and 4500 of the teachers you are emailing actually get the message you sent.

Now research has shown that whether you actually get your message to 10% of the teachers you want to reach or 90% depends not on what you are selling but totally on how you set out your email.

As far as I know, Hamilton House is just about the only organisation that has conducted research in this sphere, and we’ve been aided of course by the fact that we own three companies that sell products and services to schools.

I won’t bore you with all the details of the research and its findings – I’m happy to discuss it on the phone if you’d like to give me a call – but the key point to remember is that it is not what you are selling that influences the administrator – but rather the way you are presenting the product or service.

So – that’s the first issue: getting the generic email to the teacher you want. But there is a second issue, and that involves your transmission system.

There are many companies that will allow you to send out bulk emails using their transmission system, but it is important to note that some of these will block certain emails sent to what they consider generic addresses. So you can find that all the emails sent to “office@” get through but the “admin@” get blocked, etc, etc. The only way to be safe with this is to get the company you want to use to give you a written statement to confirm that such addresses are acceptable to them.

Finally we have the issue of blocking. If a teacher in a local authority or academy group of schools complains to its IT department about your emails, your email address can be blocked.

This happens to everyone – but if you work through a recognised emailing company, such as Hamilton House, that company should be constantly monitoring its transmissions for any signs of difficulty and then opening discussions with the authority or academy chain in order to gett things rectified.

So if you are going to use a generic list this means that you need to understand the specifics about writing this type of email and be clear how you are sending it out and how you are going to ensure it arrives.

If you do want to go ahead and send it out yourself we are very happy to supply you with a mailing list of the generic email addresses of the vast majority of schools in the UK for £49.99.

Alternatively we can send the email out for you ourselves, thus ensuring that it does get to virtually everyone on our list. The price is £149 for the list rental and a mailing to secondary schools, £199 for primary schools or £299 for a mailing to all schools. There is more information here.

Finally, if you would like the Hamilton House team not only to send out the email for you, but also write the email, this can be done most cost effectively via our Velocity programme. The cost is £165 for each primary or secondary mailing, including the writing, and all you have to do is commit to three emails a month (using either the generic or the personal email lists). There are more details on www.velocity.ac

If you would like to know more about generic emailing to schools, including how it can be used to help you create your own list of potential customers, please call 01536 399 000 or email me: Tony@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood