Free report on changes to the way teachers and school managers make buying decisions

Schools have always been a particular market – different in fact from virtually every other market. Which means it has always been necessary to approach schools in a very particular way.

That has long been understood, but what is less well noticed is the fact that the schools’ market can and does change very rapidly.

First came the 2010 Academies Act which said all new schools would be set up by groups such as academies and free schools. But the local councils would remain responsible for finding “a place for every child”.  So there now aren’t enough school places.

Second Michael Gove relinquished central government responsibility for teacher supply in 2011. So there now aren’t enough teachers.

Third, funding of schools is linked to the number of pupils and students in each school with no accounting for the building.  So we have supersize schools and not enough teachers. Not surprisingly, the way schools are spending their money is changing. If they can’t spend it on teachers, they spend it on something else.

But the money is still spent by the teachers – who perceive themselves to be busy-busy-busy.

However, there are two problems. One is that schools are trying to work out how to cope with rising numbers and fewer teachers. The other is that many people in schools perceive themselves to be too busy to read their emails.

Indeed our colleagues in the School of Educational Administration and Management (who rather conveniently work in the same building as Hamilton House Mailings) report that many teachers refuse to read internal email memos as they are too busy even to do that.

So you need a way to get to those who don’t read emails as well as those that do – ideally without increasing your costs.  Such as combining emails with a free online service which teachers and managers are turning to in increasing numbers.

All of these points mean that the whole world of schooling has changed. In effect successful selling to schools is now quite different from all that has gone before.

And this is why we have produced a new report with the snappy title, “The ten key issues that you must get right when advertising to schools in 2016/17.”

If you would like to read a copy (and we’ve kept the size right down to make it manageable) all you have to do is to drop an email to Chris@hamilton-house.com and write in the subject line “The 10 key issues” and we will send it to you.

Of course, if you want to have a look at the other services we offer you’ll find them on www.hamilton-house.com.

Or if you want a chat you are very welcome: just call 01536 399 000 and we’ll be happy to talk through our various services so that you can see which one is particularly suited to your needs.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tony Attwood

How to get full postage discounts and pay less for envelopes, labels, and labour on solo postal mailings

This summer, as we have done for a number of years, we will be completing solo postal mailing projects for our customers at a considerable discount.

All you need to do is get your leaflets, brochures, sales letters, etc, to us in time for us to complete the work by 26 August.

Then, having put the mailing together we will store your work until such time as you are ready for the mailing to be released – as long as the mailing is despatched by 30 September.

Obviously the costs depend on the number of items being mailed in each envelope, how many schools you want to reach, the weight, and the type of envelope, but as a general rule prices start at around 45p each.  And that includes envelopes, address labels, labour, and postage.

Now given that if you went to the post office to post your mail the starting price for a stamp is 55p, this is a fairly good deal – although to be fair I should add that our price is only available for mailings of over 4000 items at once.  We will, however, still apply the 20% discount for envelopes, labels, and labour to shorter runs.

To get an exact price please do call 01536 399 000 and let us know what you wish to mail, how many addresses you wish to send to, etc, and we’ll give you the price.

Once we have received your materials, we will prepare the items ready for handover to Royal Mail, and then issue you with the invoice for the work we’ve undertaken – an invoice which has to be paid within 30 days.  We’ll also invoice you for the postage, and that invoice has to be paid before the mailing goes out.

And that’s it. There is no charge for storing your materials up to 30 September, and you can choose when you want your mailing to go out – as long as we have one week to get the items ready.

However there is one other point I should add. We do get quite a few companies taking up this offer each year, particularly with materials coming in towards the end of August.  Therefore it is worth booking in and getting your materials to us sooner rather than later, so that we are able to process your mailing at our discounted summer rate and post it on the day you want.

Chris Searle

Chris@hamilton-house.com

Phone 01536 399 000.

What is the one thing you really ought to do before you set off for your summer break?

As you will know if you’re a regular reader of my ramblings on matters relating to selling to schools, my view is very strongly that the companies that do well in September are those that continue to consider their marketing campaigns throughout the summer.

Below I have highlighted some of the key events and opportunities through the summer – with a summary of dates at the end.

Scotland: Teachers return around 11 August.  Email all schools in Scotland for £89.95. Primary only for £69.95, secondary only for £39.95.  Rates apply until the end of August.

Nursery schools stay open through the whole summer (although the schools get very few emails compared to the rest of the year).  We can email the owners/heads of the schools, the deputy heads, and the Sure Start centres. The price of each mailing between now and 31 August is £49.95 for each list. All three lists can be mailed for £99.95.

Secondary schools. Headteachers, deputy heads, heads of sixth form, and heads of careers in secondary schools generally return early to coincide with A Level Day and GCSE day. You can email any of these lists (or indeed any other secondary teacher list) for £75 each on any day you specify (subject to booking availability) up to 31 August.  Any two lists for £125, any three for £145.

Primary Schools.  All our primary school lists can be emailed from now until 31 August (subject to booking availability) for £129 each.  Or two mailings for £159.

Australia and New Zealand.  These schools are open through July and August (the southern winter) and can be emailed as usual. See our overseas lists for more details.

Forthcoming School Weeks: Following the success of the series of School Weeks this term, these will continue next term. Organisations that were involved in Special Needs Week will be involved in Special Needs Week II free of charge – but if you missed out on Special Needs Week there is a chance now to join.  Please do call 01536 399 000.

We are still taking bookings for School Business, Admin and Management Week and Preparing for Leavers Week.  For details of these two Weeks and the emails associated with them please click on the links.  If you want to see the websites for teachers associated with the Weeks there are links to these in table below.

Here is the list of events.  Bookings and copy are required at least one week before the day of despatch.  As usual, here is the advance notice of this summer’s education dates.

Event Date Copy for adverts to HHM…
Scottish teachers return to schools 11 August 4 August
A Level results announced 18 August 11 August
GCSE results announced 25 August 18 August
Most teachers in rest of UK return 2 September 26 August
Special Needs Week part II 12 September 30 August

 

First postal shared mailing with free email campaign 14 September 31 August
School Business, Admin and Management Week 19 September 5 September
Preparing for Leavers Week 4 October 19 September

To find out more about any of the services mentioned here please do call 01536 399 000 or email Chris@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

There is only one way of advertising to schools that will not risk a single penny of your money.

The approach is, of course, Payment by Results.  And as a method of getting sales it is simplicity itself.

You let us know what you want to advertise, and we agree with you a commission rate for each sale achieved through the adverts you place. You then write the advert or adverts, we run them, and at the end of the month following the sales you pay us the agreed commission.

But that’s not all because we’ll also run your adverts on UK Education News (again free of charge), and put them on our school blogs, to increase the chance of sales even further.

The advert is written by you, and we arrange the dates when the adverts go out to schools. If you want to change the advert at any time (and we do think that this can often be helpful) then you just send in a new advert.  If you want the adverts to alternate, we can arrange that.

And there’s more, because if by any chance your advert doesn’t bring in the level of sales expected, you can just let us know, and we’ll get our copywriting team to undertake a review of your advertisement and make suggestions as to how you can make a few changes so that the sales do come in at the level you would like to see.

Of course, you don’t have to accept our approach – it is entirely a matter for you – but many people do find that having an alternative version of the advert written by ourselves can really help boost the sales.

What’s more, if at any time you find that because of the publicity we can bring you, you get too many orders to cope with, we can pull back and not run any more adverts until you are ready again.

Overall, this is a way of trying out advertising ideas, as well as a way of getting regular sales, all without any cost to you apart from the agreed commission on each sale.

Payment by Results advertising is available for promotions to nursery, primary and secondary schools in the UK, plus schools in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and some parts of the United States.

However the number of advertising spaces that we do have each month is limited because we like to ensure that we don’t overload teachers with our advertising. Therefore for some lists the number of adverts we can run is limited.

Because of this restriction on the number of clients we can take on, if you are interested it is worth becoming part of the Payment by Results programme now, rather than waiting for September.

If you would like to consider Payment by Results advertising further, please write to Stephen@hamilton-house.com and give:

  • Details of the product or service you are selling.
  • Who you wish to promote to (eg Secondary School Music Teachers, Nursery Schools etc etc).
  • The address of the web page that you send potential customers to.
  • A copy of a recent advert that you have sent to schools, if at all possible.

Stephen will then take a look and if he and his PbR team feel that we could bring you in reasonable sales, we’ll come back to you to discuss commission rates.  But please do be assured – nothing happens until the commission is agreed, and then if at any time you wish us to stop advertising you just have to let us know.

Tony Attwood

RECENT POSTS from the Hamilton House Blog

●     What is the single most effective way of improving sales quickly?

●     What on earth can be done if you have developed a product and then find no one wants it?

●     What is the most effective way of writing a sales email that will sell, sell, and sell again?

Advertising to schools in the summer is free – and can bring in extraordinarily interesting results.

It is a common perception that schools shut in the summer, and thus there is no point advertising to teachers at this time.

And this is despite the fact that teachers continue to use Facebook through the summer and can be readily persuaded during that time to consider various educational products and services.

What’s more, every year we find that the companies that report that they are doing well in September and October are those that advertised in the summer.

The old objections (that the schools are shut and the teachers on holiday) have long since ceased to be valid.  Teachers receive their school emails on their home computers, they read UK Education News for the latest news and promotions, and they read blogs and websites.  And they still have Facebook.

But, of course, the number of adverts they get sent is lower in the summer, so each one they do see has a greater impact – especially when repeated in the autumn term.

And yes, you can have advertising in August for free – in any one of three ways.

The latest Four Month Marketing Programme gives you email and website advertising each month through to October for just £99 – which means August is free.

If you join the Velocity programme now, all our work with you (including work on your landing page and on social media) will be free throughout July and August – including work on your Facebook programme.

And, of course, if you join our Payment by Results service, all the advertising you get through this approach is free, all the time.

But there is more to July and August than free advertising. For around 50% of the advertising campaigns that we are invited to look at need work not just in terms of re-writing the adverts to make them more powerful and more successful, but also because we need to work on the web page.

This is something that is often forgotten by companies that advertise to schools. A web designer might well put up a page about a product or service that looks awfully nice, but which rather than converting readers to buyers, actually turns them away.

To understand what is going on we need to see how many of the people who go from the email to the website then go on to buy.  If the percentage is very low, then it means the web page we are sending the reader to is not doing its job.

Indeed there is one simple thing that can be added to around 90% of web pages which will immediately treble their effectiveness.

But no… I have meandered on too much today. If you want to know what that one simple thing is that will transform the page you send readers to into a selling machine, you can call me and ask.

Although, of course, if you sign up for any of our free summer services such as Velocity, the Four Month Programme, or Payments by Results, we will happily talk about it in much more depth as part of the campaign.

In fact with Velocity we’ll actually sort it out for you for nothing as part of the programme.  And if you want to talk about Facebook – we’re here for that as well.

The choice of which approach is taken is always yours, of course, but if we have one message at all for the coming months it must be, don’t stop.  If you want to do well in the autumn term, you need to be working in the summer.  (Or at least have us working for you).

Tony Attwood

RECENT POSTS FROM THE HAMILTON HOUSE BLOG…

●     What on earth can be done if you have developed a product and then find no one wants it?

●     What is the most effective way of writing a sales email that will sell, sell, and sell again?

●     What is the biggest barrier that there is to making a sale, and how can it be overcome?

Reach classroom teachers and heads of departments regularly through the summer and autumn from just £99

The Four Month Marketing Campaigns give you the chance to advertise once a month to heads of departments and (if you wish) classroom teachers in primary and secondary schools.

These adverts will all be written and prepared by you and can be supplied as text or HTML files (depending on the source).  They are sent to personal email addresses, and with our Four Month programme you can have one email a month through July, August, September and October for £99 (secondary) or £129 (primary).

Although a few companies feel that late July and August are not good times to advertise, many find this is not the case.  Most teachers now read their emails on laptops, etc, at home and use the summer to plan next term’s work.

Additionally this year it is particularly relevant to advertise in the summer and early autumn because of the rise in the school population, including the new super-sized primary schools with 800+ pupils, and with secondary schools now getting their first big taste of the rapidly growing 11-13 year old population.

Also, of course, careers and sixth form tutors are particularly active in August as the exam results come out, and Scottish teachers return around 11 August.

What’s more, if you supply us with a text only version of your advert we will run it as a story on UK Education News, and give it a page on one of our teacher websites (such as for example Teacher News) including it on the Exceptional Teaching website and place it on our Facebook and Twitter “Savings for Schools” adverts.

The great benefit of your message being publicised in four ways (monthly emails, UK Education News, the blog, and the Exceptional Teaching website) is that, no matter which medium each teacher prefers, your message is there.

Overall “Series 7” of our Four Month Summer and Autumn marketing programme gives you:

●       One email to schools in each month of the programme using any of our email lists.

●       One story placed in UK Education News each month

●       Coverage of the UK Education News story/advert on a Schools’ Blog.

●       A full listing on the Exceptional Teaching website.

●       An entry each month on our Facebook and Twitter services, “Savings for Schools”.

Please do note that we cannot guarantee specific dates for the adverts. The July adverts will go out in the latter part of this month (although we do have a small number of spaces for earlier in July for a few secondary school lists), and if you  indicate which week you wish to go out in during August, we will try to meet your requirements. There will always be at least a two week gap between each mailing.

Furthermore, if you wish to run two adverts a month you certainly can do so by buying two “Four Month” packages.

We now also have lists of classroom teachers in secondary schools for English, Science, Maths and History, with other lists being created in the coming weeks and months.  If you wish  to reach these lists, please do get in touch.

Response Rates

You will receive, at the end of each month, a report on the number of people who have seen the advert as an email, on UK Education News, and the Schools’ blog.

We find most of our customers on these programmes gain very satisfactory sales levels.  However in the unlikely event that you receive either a poor number of click throughs to your website or a good number of click throughs with a limited number of sales, we’ll offer a free consultation by phone or email in which we analyse what has happened and suggest exactly why, giving you detailed pointers as to how matters could be improved very quickly with either no, or a very small, additional cost.

If you are interested you can call 01536 399 000 and ask to speak to one of us about “Four Month Marketing Programme”.  Or if you have a specific question please do email Chris@hamilton-house.com.

Tony Attwood

When I suggest there is much to do in terms of advertising during the summer, I often get a few laughs.

And when I suggest that Hamilton House will do all these “lots of things” for new customers for free during the summer, the reply I get suggests that the reader tends to be a little under-impressed.

And when finally I then give a list of all the things that tend to be done in the summer by the most successful of the companies that sell to schools, there tends to be silence.

The point is that in the olden days summer promotions didn’t exist beyond perhaps sorting out the autumn catalogue.  But since then the world has changed, and there is a lot of evidence that the companies that really do well in the autumn term lay the preparations for their success during the summer.

These activities include developing their Facebook position, testing out articles, building an audience, and understanding exactly what teachers on Facebook are looking for.  Developing a Twitter presence also happens at this time.

Re-working the website and landing pages is also a key area of work.

Many firms find that only a tiny percentage of people who go to their landing page then buy from them and as a result two things need doing.

First a simple re-design of the landing page can have a major effect in terms of upping the percentage of visitors who go on to buy.  Plus, offering a free report to those who don’t place an order can also give you an ever growing email list of people who are interested – but not yet interested enough to order now.

For companies that sell to Australia and New Zealand there is still school emailing to be done, and, of course, schools in Scotland return in August and can be promoted to.  Also careers and sixth form tutors tend to be in school about that time in the rest of the UK as they deal with the aftermath of A Level and GCSE results.

Also open are private nursery schools, and of course we should not forget that now with over half of all teachers reading their emails on their mobile device, many will pick up emails that go to their personal (rather than the school’s generic) email address.

And that is still not all because we spend much of the summer preparing for the various special School Weeks that we run, entry to which is free for Velocity clients.  Indeed if you have not come across this area of our work, take a look at our School Awareness Weeks website.  These events do take several months to set up so again the summer is the ideal time to do the preparation.

Finally there is the question of research.  Most companies need to understand more about teachers’ attitudes towards their products in order to be able to write better adverts, and yet most never get around to doing the research.  Once again, the summer is an ideal time for preparing the questionnaire that can generate a much greater understanding of the market one is selling into.

If you have not used our Velocity service before, we will work with you at no cost during July and August so that come September your marketing hits the ground running.

You can read more about Velocity on our website, or simply call 01536 300 000, press option 2 and we’ll answer all your questions, plus some you never thought of.  Or alternatively please email Jenny@hamilton-house.com

Tony Attwood

Recent research into when schools start preparing for Leavers’ Week might take you by surprise.

During the past 12 months Hamilton House has run five special “Weeks” for schools, each on a different topic, each consisting of a series of email and PR promotions, stories on news sites, and a website focussing on the issue.

Now we are preparing to run a week in October that focuses on preparing for Leavers’ Week in 2017.

I realise this may seem a bit odd, after all June/July 2017 is self-evidently over a year away.  And yet our research in preparation for this event has shown that significant numbers of schools start to prepare for Leavers’ Week in October.

What’s more, if you think of Leavers’ Week as a secondary school affair, you might be surprised too. Our research is showing a significant level of interest in primary schools and nursery schools as well.

Companies that join us in these special Weeks get two exclusive emails to schools written by themselves and sent out by Hamilton House which can advertise your product as well as mention your involvement in the Week.

Those working with us also get a page on the website written by the sponsor which includes links to that company’s website.

Then there is also a sponsor listing (with a link to their own website) on the home page plus a listing in four emails we send out to schools to promote the Week, reaching year heads for the relevant years, plus heads and deputies in primary and secondary schools.

There will also be at least four headline stories in the main news listing on UK Education News, each linking to the site and listing the sponsors, and additionally full coverage on UK Education News of both of your individual news pieces that are being sent by email.  We will also send out a full listing on the Exceptional Teaching website which is regularly promoted to schools by Hamilton House.

We are already engaged in a variety of “Preparing for Leavers’ Week” research projects aimed at secondary, primary and nursery schools, and we shall be publishing the results on our forthcoming website, as well as ideas for Leavers’ Week and a full analysis of what schools are doing. Our aim is to make this a site that schools will use to locate useful suppliers and find ideas to make their Leavers’ Week different.

But that’s not all. Once “Preparing for Leavers’ Week” is over we shall re-work our website, and re-focus it for schools that are still working on their arrangements for, although many do plan Leavers’ Week in September, others work on their plans until March, and we shall aim to engage with them throughout the year.

Cost and deadline

Members of our Velocity programme who sell products relevant to Leavers’ Week will be included in the Week free of charge. For other companies the cost will be just £195 plus VAT, including the listing on the site and all the email campaigns.

We will not accept any directly competing sponsors and thus bookings are very much on a first come basis. The site will be released and promoted to schools at the very start of September, and it will stay online through to May next year.

If you would like your company to be associated with the Preparing for Leavers’ Week please do call 01536 399 000 and ask for me, Jenny Burrows. Or you can email me at Jenny@hamiltonhouse.com or fax us on 01536 399 012.

If you would like to see what one of our websites for this type of activity looks like, please do take a look at our Special Needs Week site.

Jenny Burrows

Email over 26,000 schools for under 1.5p each, or buy the whole list for £79

The lowest cost way of reaching schools is through generic emails – the email addresses that deliver mail directly to the school office, and usually start office@ or admin@.

The Hamilton House list of schools’ generic email addresses is available for sale on an unlimited use licence, or (if you don’t have your own bulk email software) we can undertake the campaign for you, for under 1.5p per school.

Response rate and style of writing

These school generic email addresses can be effective for testing the water in terms of advertising copy, trying out new products, and collecting the email addresses of teachers who express an interest in specific topics.

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, ready for a follow-up sale.  It proves that such emails are still read.

Buying the list for your own use

If you buy the list for your own use you can use the list as often as you wish, but it can only be used by yourself and your company – it can’t be sold or loaned on to or given to another company.

To do this you will need a service that sends out bulk emails – but remember these email addresses mostly start office@ – and not all bulk email programs allow this.

On the list itself, you can select schools by whether they are primary or secondary, by county and by name (so you can still do a random selection.)   You just drop the list (which comes on a spreadsheet) into your email transmission program and send it out.

  • The list of secondary schools is available for £49 plus VAT
  • The list of primary schools is available for £59 plus VAT
  • The combined list of primary and secondary schools (allowing you to select secondary or primary) is £79 plus VAT.

Buying the list with updates

We also now offer the option of buying any of these lists and not only obtaining the full list now, but with a completely updated list supplied in late October or early November.

  • The list of secondary schools with autumn update: £79 plus VAT
  • The list of primary schools with autumn update:  £89 plus VAT
  • The combined list of primary and secondary schools with autumn update and allowing you to select secondary or primary:  £99 plus VAT.

Also available is the list of generic email addresses for 1450 special schools (£25) and a list of 7308 nursery schools (£45). In both cases VAT is applicable.

These lists can be supplied as a file attached to an email with an admin charge of £2.00, or on CD, with a £4.95 charge for delivery.

Hamilton House can also email out your advert for you. To email the full list of primary and secondary schools with a text only email is £349. To email the full list of primary and secondary schools with a designed HTML email £399. Please call for prices for primary or secondary only.

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

Tony Attwood

RECENT POSTS

●     Payment by Results advertising now has an additional benefit but you still only pay a commission on the sales you get.

●     What is the most straightforward way of having your product information on a key resources website and sent out on emails?

●     The ten factors that can reduce the effectiveness of your adverts to schools, and what you can do about them.

Reaching the people behind the scenes who decide what a school should buy

I’ve written before about the fact that next term we are running the first national School Business, Management, and Administration Week. We’ve produced a draft of the website that will be at the heart of the Week, and I thought you might like to see it so it is online. But please do note this is only a draft at this stage, to give you an idea of what the website will look like.

Each sponsor involved in School Business, Management, and Admin week will get…

  • Two exclusive emails to schools written by the sponsor and sent out by Hamilton House which can advertise your product as well as mention your involvement in the Week.
  • A page on the website written by the sponsor which includes links to that company’s website.
  • A sponsor listing (with a link to their own website) on the home page.
  • A listing in four emails we send out to schools to promote the Week, reaching heads, deputies, administrators, site managers, business managers and bursars in primary and secondary schools.
  • There will also be at least four headline stories in the main news listing on UK Education News, each linking to the site and listing the sponsors, and additionally full coverage on UK Education News of both of your individual news pieces that are being sent by email.
  • A full listing on the Exceptional Teaching website which is regularly promoted to schools by Hamilton House.

Cost and deadline

Members of our Velocity programme who sell products relevant to the managers and administrators we reach can be included in the Week free of charge. For other companies the cost will be just £195 plus VAT, including the listing on the site and all the email campaigns.

We will not accept any directly competing sponsors and thus bookings are very much on a first come basis. We will accept bookings until mid-July, but of course once a product area is taken we won’t be accepting a competitor’s advertisement.

The full version of the site will be released and promoted to schools in a few weeks’ time, and it will stay on line through to May next year.

You will also see on the site details of our research project in association with the Week on the site, and we shall be conducting this research in the coming weeks and releasing the results next term.

If you would like your company to be associated with the School Business and Administration Week, please do call 01536 399 000 and ask for Jenny Burrows. Or you can email Jenny at Jenny@hamiltonhouse.com or fax us on 01536 399 012.

Tony Attwood