How to do educational PR


Posted on 25th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What is the most effective way of undertaking PR so that it actually has an effect?

Go back 20 years and most firms that sold to schools would do some PR, writing press releases and sending them out to the multiplicity of magazines and newspapers that teachers were known to read.

Now it has all changed. Over time the specialist educational magazines moved from subscription to free publications to on-line publications. Press releases were no longer accepted for free, but started being paid for. Everyone turned to the internet.

However the notion of bringing teachers’ and parents’ attention to products and services via press releases still does exist and can indeed still be very effective.

In essence, PR now exists in three separate forms.

The original notion of sending out press releases to the national media does exist – but it is often focussed on the results of a survey which discovers something about children, teenagers, schools, parents, governors, etc, which no one quite knew before.

So, if you are selling a maths course and you establish that 60% of parents can’t add 23 plus 57 in their heads, then you have the start of a story. If you are selling management products to schools and find out that 80% of school administrators are doing unpaid overtime three or more days a week, you have a more specialist kind of story but it is still a story.

A second approach works for companies that sell products and services that themselves have a certain publicity value. This might be the arrival of a mobile recording studio at the school for the day through to the launch of a new sports facility.

What happens is that the company supplying the service or product asks the school if it would welcome publicity in relation to the recent supply of the service or product. If they do, the company can write a press release and send it to the local paper and local radio stations, focussing very positively on the school.

Such an approach can encourage other schools to take up the product or service – especially if the contacting of the media is followed by a postal promotion to schools in the locality.

The third approach involves getting listings on a variety of websites in connection with your product or service.

If you have used Hamilton House services of late you will know that in many cases we will put details of what you offer on UK Education News, Teacher News, Parent News and various other websites that we run. This is done at no extra charge.

If on the other hand you are not a Hamilton House customer we can do this for you for a very limited cost. A listing on UK Education News (the prime on-line rolling news service for teachers) costs just £25.00 plus VAT, while a listing across our eight main websites for two months of the school year will cost just £49.99 plus VAT.

And as a bonus on the two month programme, if you book in now we’ll put your press release or advertisement on our sites for the rest of July and all of August for free with the advert continuing until October 31.

You can read about all our sites at where there are links to all the education news sites that we run.

UK Education News is at

If you would like to work with Hamilton House undertaking research for you which can be used in a PR project, you can do this through the Velocity programme ( or as a one-off project.

To discuss any of these options or to get an overview, please do call 01536 399 000. If you would like to book in either to UK Education News alone, or all the sites, just email

Tony Attwood



Hit them hard from the start…. or softly softly?


Posted on 23rd July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Is it best to aim for a sale from every advertisement or is it best to try a step by step approach?

In the broadest of terms there are two ways of running a direct marketing campaign aimed at teachers. On the one hand you can see each advert as a way of generating sales. On the other you can see adverts as part of a journey which starts with generating interest and only gets the sale at the end of the campaign.

In the first approach – in which every advert aims to get sales – a series of adverts will have each advert ending with an order form for the product. Each might have a different benefit for the product or might have a different incentive, but either way the message is, “Buy now!”

This style of advertising feels as if it ought to work best because over and over again you are saying to the teacher, buy this from me. And the hope, of course, is that eventually the customer will do just that.

But research shows that the alternative approach – known as the Sequence Approach – actually achieves many more sales, even though it looks like it might not.

The Sequence Approach can be arranged in a variety of ways, but here is one popular approach.

Advert 1: Generate awareness of the problem that the product solves – discuss the issue. By all means have a link to the product, but make sure the prime point of the advert is to create awareness of the problem.

Advert 2: Return to the theme of the problem and look at the way in which your product solves the problem. Again you can link to the product, but the key element here is the methodology that the product uses for raising grades, cleaning the floor, teaching algebra, or whatever it does.

Advert 3: Reminding the reader briefly of the problem and the way to solve the problem, the advert now focusses on the product and induces a sale.

In this sort of approach adverts 1 and 2 would have no mention of discounts, special offers, or anything like that. If you want to include such offers they come with the third advert.

To give an example of how this approach can work with schools, I’m currently running a series of adverts with this sequence:

  1. Most school administrators are so used to interruptions that they find it hard to imagine that they can do anything about it. It seems to be the bane of their lives.
  2. All school offices suffer from interruptions, and most people think interruptions are inevitable. But the volume of interruptions can be reduced. We have a free report that tells you how. Email me to get a free copy.
  3. If you can improve the efficiency of the school office by reducing interruptions you can improve the efficiency of the school and save money. The School of Educational Administration course for administrators can help you achieve just this..

Sequencing is hugely effective in advertising but is rarely used in adverts to schools. This approach of always going straight for the sale can work – but it is always worth considering the alternative, slower approach.

If you would like to keep tabs on ways of increasing your response rates and making your advertising more effective overall through tactics like this, you might like to receive my twice weekly free newsletter on direct marketing methods: Direct Marketing Secrets.

To do this please click here then click on the link to subscribe to DMS and complete the two line form. You can also read past issues of the newsletter on my blog at

And as always, if you want me to have a look at an advert or website, or you want to discuss any aspect of selling to schools, please email me at or call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood



Advertise to Secondary Schools for Free


Posted on 21st July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

We offer free email advertising for one simple reason. We know that our email marketing services work.

As you can imagine, no one would ever offer a marketing service which is free at the point of delivery unless that person was confident that the system worked.

We can do it, not only because we have over the years run a vast number of campaigns for companies, but also because we ourselves own companies that supply books, special needs testing, and distance learning courses to schools. And we see the sales we get.

What’s more, if you want to use this type of free advertising in which you simply pay a commission on the sales you get but nothing for the advertising itself, and you want some help with creating the advert, we’ll even do that for you, free of charge.

So, to return to the process and how it works… You submit the email adverts you want to send out and we’ll despatch them using our lists as and when we have space in our schedules.

As a bonus we’ll also give you a listing on some of our websites such as and – sites that between them get 80,000 visits a month. These sites will also generate enquiries and sales.

At the end of the month you tell us the sales you get and pay the agreed commission on each sale.

Of course, I can’t guarantee the sales levels. Those depend on the way you write the advert and the level of demand there is for your product. But for most customers who have joined in this “payment by results” service the results have been very worthwhile and have encouraged them to want to stay with us.

If you have a product or service that sells to secondary schools and you’d like to advertise through Hamilton House on the understanding that you just pay an agreed commission on each sale you get, then please email with the details of the product or service and the approximate value of each sale.

If you have a copy of a recent advert that you have placed, it would be interesting to see that too – although that’s not obligatory. Either way, once we have heard from you we’ll come back with our thoughts on how we can proceed.

Tony Attwood



The first thing to think about is A Level Day


Posted on 18th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

When are the A level results – and how can we communicate with schools in the summer?

On Wednesday 13 August A Level results go on “restricted release”. Then on Thursday 14 August A Level results are published across England, Wales and N Ireland. The following week, the same pattern is followed with “restricted release” on 20 August, and the full publication of GCSE results the following day.

What this means is that sixth form tutors and careers teachers are likely to be in schools at this time. Since, as we know, many teachers now pick up the emails to their professional accounts on their home computers, phones and tablets, it means it is worth communicating with them from the start of A Level week – ie 11 August.

These members of staff can be reached either through the post (which has the benefit of reaching every school with a sixth form) or by email using our Personal Email address list of head of sixth form.

Better still, because these mailings happen in the summer, they both qualify for discounts. The postal campaigns get 20% off the cost of envelopes, labour and labels, and the email campaigns are at half price. What’s more, uniquely for this email list at this time, we do not impose the normal surcharge for excluding Scotland from the list.

There is also a 20% discount if you just buy the address labels to do your own postal campaign. This data can be purchased for once use, one year’s re-use or eternal reuse.

Here are the totals:

  • Postal addresses of schools with sixth forms in England, Wales and N Ireland: 3118
  • Personal email addresses of heads of careers and sixth form in England, Wales and N Ireland: 1618

Although I’ve excluded Scotland from these lists (because of their different exam structure and timetable) we can include Scotland (or do a separate mailing for schools in Scotland) if you wish.

Finally, we also have our very active Education Management News service for heads of sixth forms and heads of careers. This is a subscription service (everyone on the list opts in by filling in a form on line). The list has 2273 subscribers and full details of this service are given on

If you would like prices for any particular promotion via email or postal campaigns, and to get an exact price for your promotion, please do call 01536 399 000.

Tony Attwood




The schools that stay open through the summer


Posted on 16th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

What schools are open all the way through August –
and how can I reach them?

There are, in fact, two types of school that are open all the way through the summer months. One is independent nursery schools, and the other is schools in Australia and New Zealand.

The nursery schools that are open tend to be independent schools, and they stay open to help parents to stay at work throughout the summer. They can be reached by email where we have 5000 nursery heads / owners and over 4000 deputy heads, and via the post where we have 9639 addresses.

We also have both email and postal addresses for Sure Start centres including 3690 email addresses at 2896 different centres.

These email lists, along with all our school lists, are discounted throughout the summer. So an email to any of these lists will cost 4.5p each until 30 August, while postal campaigns can cost anything from 45p to 55p each, although heavier and larger items will cost more.

In terms of Australasia, by the third week in July most Australian and New Zealand schools have returned from the mid-winter break, meaning this is an ideal time to advertise.

Full details of the lists we have for Australia and New Zealand are available at We also have some experience ourselves at selling on-line services and books to schools in Australasia and will be pleased to offer our advice if you have not entered this arena before.

Finally you might also want to note that Scottish schools return in mid-August. There are around 400 secondary schools in Scotland and over 2000 primary schools. Address labels are available at 4p each for once use, 12p for a one year licence.

Emails can be sent to certain teachers in Scottish schools. The price is 15p each address including transmission where you take any of these complete lists:

Secondary schools

Heads: 287
Deputy Heads: 566
Senco: 210
Site Managers: 148
Heads of English: 268
Heads of Languages: 267
Heads of ICT: 312

Primary schools

Headteachers: 1831
Deputy Heads: 1065
Literacy co-ordinators: 161
Bursars/Business managers: 175

For more information please call 01536 399 000 or email

Tony Attwood


Velocity free through July and August


Posted on 14th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Sign up to the Velocity Marketing Service now and there is nothing to pay between 21 July and 30 August

Now I know that on occasion when I have mentioned this offer to directors of companies that sell direct to schools they have laughed saying, “Well there’s nothing to do in July and August, so of course it is free.”

And I mention this because I think that response helps to illustrate our approach to selling to schools. We see July and August as incredibly important.

Velocity is the marketing service from Hamilton House in which we become fully involved in your marketing activity. It is an approach which incorporates emails, post and website marketing – and beyond everything else it incorporates planning of and experimenting with advertisements to schools, as well as sending the adverts out.

So, what do we do in the summer when the English schools are shut? What is it that we could possibly do that makes it worth boasting about a “free for July and August” offer?

For some companies we continue undertaking email campaigns to such organisations as nursery schools, where they stay open in the summer, and secondary schools, in the lead up to and aftermath of the announcement of GCSE and A Level results.

Indeed, where companies are selling to senior managers in schools, we think it is also worth undertaking a few emails during the holidays because most senior staff continue to read their emails through the summer – either at home or at work.

For others we undertake promotions to schools in Australasia (which are in the midst of their winter term) or in August to schools in Scotland (which return before the schools in the rest of the UK do).

But for many others the issues are not in sending out more emails but in topics such as looking at the web page that emails link to. Time and again we find we can send teachers to a landing page, only for the teachers then to lose interest. So spending the summer seeing what is wrong and then re-writing landing pages can be highly beneficial to sales in September.

Beyond that there is the issue of the blog. Most companies selling to schools don’t have a blog even though the blog is proven to be a highly cost-effective way of selling to teachers.

This is simply because blogs can be found by people who don’t read emails or postal campaigns. They like to go searching for information – and so we make sure that when they do, they find our clients.

(Incidentally this is why we spend so long writing our own blogs. As you are reading this you’ll either have seen our education blog or the text of that blog which is sent out as an email. But it is just one of three blogs that we run – you can find another at

Going even further we often spend part of the summer working on research programmes for our clients, both looking into what their competitors are doing and preparing questionnaires for teachers to find out information that will help our client campaigns in September.

And there is still one more thing to consider. If you want to email schools at the start of September we will need to be working with you to have the copy ready for September and booking you into the list that you want on the day you want.

There is a full set of details of what we do for companies that sell into education via the Velocity programme at

If you would like to get five weeks of Velocity free, please do call 01536 399 000 and press option 2. We’ll be pleased to talk through what we can do.

Tony Attwood


Why the “don’t promote in the summer” concept is slipping away


Posted on 11th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Free emails to schools through the summer

I wrote the other day about discounts that can be gained by having postal campaigns prepared in the summer.

But you may have noted (if you had a mo to read my report) that I wasn’t suggesting you post the promotions to teachers during the summer. Rather that you use a time when our warehouses are not full to get a discount on the creation of the mailing (the envelopes / labour / labels fee) which can then be posted in September.

Now there are exceptions to this rule in you are mailing in connection with the release of A Level and GCSE results – which I’ll come to in a moment and deal with in detail in a later email. However, first off I would suggest that you consider emailing teachers during the summer.

For this is a time in which you can email schools (excluding nursery schools – which remain open through the summer) for free. If you book in an email to teachers to go out in September, we’ll send out another one for you for free at any time between 14 July and 30 August.

Or if you don’t want a September email, but just want a July or August email, we’ll do that at a 50% discount.

The reason for the difference – the fact that we don’t recommend posting to teachers (other than for A Level Results Day on 14 August and GCSE Results day on 21 August) but do recommend emailing – is because of the way teachers behave during the summer holiday period.

Some managers do go into schools, and some schools have an administrator handling the post – but of course even these people take time out for their holidays in the first half of the summer break.

But during most of the summer most heads of department pick up their personal school emails at home or on their mobiles. And this situation makes the summer very appealing for several reasons.

First, the teachers have more time to consider your sales proposition. They are not rushing off to teach another class, they are not marking homework. Yes they will do some preparation, yes they will go on holiday, but they do have much more spare time to consider the autumn term.

Second, the number of adverts that are sent to teachers during the holidays is tiny. Hamilton House (which owns the School of Educational Administration, First & Best, and the Dyscalculia Centre) continues its promotions – but most of our clients don’t.

Indeed that’s why we offer free emails through the summer. During the term time our schedules are often full (because we limit the number of promotions per school per week that we email out) but during the holiday periods we have lots of space because of the prevalence of the old idea – teachers don’t want to know because they are on holiday.

The big question is, do you get sales in the summer? In many cases the answer is not many – so if you want orders coming in during this time, you might be disappointed. But what you will get is some teachers emailing their order to the school administrator for processing in September.

You will also enhance the awareness of your product so that when you advertise again in September there is an extra chance of you getting sales because of that, “oh yes I remember looking at that in the summer” feeling.

So, book into any email mailing in September and you can have a free email between 14 July and 30 August. You don’t have to use the same message – indeed you don’t even have to email the same teacher – but to make most of the summer effect, that is what we recommend.

If you just want to do a summer promotion, the discount is 50%. And in both cases you’ll get your promotion placed on

The promotion applies to all of our personal email lists – which are shown here for secondary teachers and here for primary teachers

For more information please call 01536 399 000. To make a booking please email

Tony Attwood



Major discounts on postal campaigns to schools despatched between now and September 30


Posted on 10th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

If you have a postal campaign that you want to get out to schools at the start of the Autumn term (or indeed at any time between now and September 30), we can undertake it and cut 20% off our normal warehouse fees.

And that’s in addition to some rather impressive postal discounts.

All you have to do is provide the materials so that we can do the work before August 31. After we have prepared the work we will hold it in the warehouse until you want it despatched – which can be on any date between now and September 30.

To give an example of current rates, a mailing to 5000 secondary schools consisting of two A4 items folded together into a C5 envelope would cost (including envelopes, labour, address labels and postage) £2135 on our normal rate card.

If we can do the work in July or August the cost comes down to £1948 – applying a 20% discount to envelopes, labels and labour.

But what is particularly interesting here is that the postage on this example job is costed at 24p each item. If you undertook this mailing with a franking machine that price would go up to 37p each. If you bought stamps (which I know you wouldn’t but just for example) it would be 53p each!

So there’s already a fair saving on the postage. Our postal charge is £1200 – you would pay £1850 if you used a franking machine and £2650 if you used stamps.

One final point about the timing – if you do want to take up this offer I would strongly urge you not to wait until the end of August to book in and let us have your printed items. You might be lucky of course, but each year for the past few years we have reached our maximum workload in August under this discount scheme and we have turned some work away.

So if you can get us your materials in July, not only will you make us very happy, you’ll also be certain of getting a place on the discounted service.

To check the numbers of schools, colleges, universities, nurseries, etc, etc in any part of the UK, or indeed to talk about using our overseas lists, please call 01536 399 000.

To book in a job please email letting Chris know the number of leaflets per envelope, approximate weight, and which addresses you want us to post your work to.

You will have to pay the postage before the work leaves the warehouse, but the production costs (the envelopes, labels and labour) won’t be invoiced until the job has been posted.

But please, if you do have any questions about this service, do call 01536 399 000. We’re awfully nice people and by and large fairly harmless.

No horsemen will call.

Tony Attwood




Low cost ways of advertising to teachers


Posted on 7th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

Are there any really low-cost ways of advertising to teachers that actually work?

It might surprise you if I answer this question with a “yes” – not least because you might assume that my main interest in life is selling you the most expensive ways of advertising to schools possible.

But no, that wouldn’t be fair. There are low-cost ways of advertising to teachers that work.

However, none of these approaches is really that straightforward, and in each case I have had people say to me, “Oh, we tried that and it didn’t work.”

I can tell you, working for the companies that Hamilton House own and which sell into schools, I’ve used all these methods of marketing, and they are all low cost, and they all work.

But the point is that they take time to get right, and you have to be able to spend that time and be willing to learn your way around the foibles that each one carries.

In fact there are four such low cost ways of advertising products to teachers, and I set them out below.

At this point I’m not going into details concerning each one or details of how it is that some people fail to get good sales with them – to do so would involve an article running to pages and pages.

What I will say is that if you want to phone Hamilton House and talk about any one of these, we’ll be happy to talk, and we’ll also talk about the problems that can be inherent in using these low cost services and how you can overcome them.

And in the coming weeks I’ll try to cover some of the problems – and the solutions – in individual articles.

But for now, the list, and the briefest of descriptions.

1. Collect the email addresses of people who buy and email them with attractive new offers regularly

Just collect the addresses from the order forms or emails sent in, and add them to an Excel spreadsheet. Of course this approach only works if you have multiple products and your experience is that people who have bought one product from you will buy another.

Then every week send them all an email with details of one other product.

2. Build a blog

Item 1 above was about getting in touch with past customers. Blogs allow you to find completely new customers – including people or companies you have never heard of and whose addresses you don’t have.

Blogs are cheap to add on to a website – if you have the time and IT know-how you can do it for free. If not you can work with Hamilton House and we’ll set one up. And if you are not familiar with blogs, take a look at and you’ll get a good idea.

3. Use the generic email address list

Hamilton House sells its email address list – you can buy the whole list of email addresses for £49.99 and use it as often as you wish. Alternatively we can send out the emails for you – £299 to reach every school, £199 to reach just the primary schools, and £149 for just the secondary schools – including the use of the list.

Generic emails have a reputation of bringing in very low response rates, but they can work – we’ve recorded response rates of over 7% (that is seven out of every 100 teachers not just getting the email forwarded to them by the administrator but also reading it and replying!)

4. Advertising on other websites

Over the years Hamilton House has built a whole series of websites that attract teachers and parents as readers, and it is quite possible for you to have your advertisement placed as a story on any of these sites where it can stay for anything from a couple of months to a year or more.

The most interesting package is that for UK Education News – which if you haven’t seen it, you really should, not just because I want you to advertise within it, but because it carries all the day to day news of education in the UK.

UK Education News is at and beyond that we have a whole raft of other sites which you can advertise on.

In this, as in all cases, the first point of contact is Or you can call us on 01536 399 000. Or you can find details on our websites:

Building a blog

Generic Email lists

Advertise on other web sites

Tony Attwood




Could this be the biggest summer of spending ever?


Posted on 4th July 2014 by Tony Attwood in Uncategorized

In terms of school spending Summer 2014 is set to be a summer unlike any other in the history of education

Some changes come along as a result of government policy. Some just happen. And sometimes both government policy and outside events collide to cause multiple change – which means extra expenditure.

This summer we have both. Or I could say, this summer we have everything – all at once.

To start, and perhaps most widely known, we have the introduction in September of the new national curriculum in England, and we have the unprecedented rise in school numbers due to immigration and changing patterns of birth rates.

But that’s not all because at the same time we have the constant push of schools away from local authority control in England into academy status (meaning they are funded directly by the state).

And if all that were not enough we now have the inexorable rise of the free schools.

I’ve written about these matters individually before – but the numbers just keep growing. Indeed there are 102 new free schools planning to open in September alone – although already a few are backtracking and have put their date back by a term or two.

Now free schools are particularly interesting because they quite often move into temporary accommodation which needs to be kitted out before moving on to their more permanent accommodation a year or two later. But I’ll come back to that in a couple of days – we’ll be making available a list of all the new schools that are opening, and their addresses, very shortly.

Overall this is educational change of gargantuan proportions – and I haven’t finished listing the changes yet. Because this September we have another tranche of University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools opening – while other schools that have been set up in the last few years continue to grow.

Put all this together, and you can see why this is the moment to be promoting to schools. They are buying – whether it is national curriculum teaching materials or everything needed to kit out a new classroom.

As I have said before, I have always found that promotions in July work well – and that is without the mega level of change we now have.

Now, of course, when I say this I know some people reply that “schools are winding down at this time of year” and “they just think about sports day in July” but this is far from the case. This is a moment of mega purchasing, planning, and sorting out.

Reaching these schools can happen in three ways – through emails, through the post, and through websites. The latter are particularly helpful at the moment with new schools and schools that are going through changes (such as the move to academy status) since the tendency here is often for them to look for information on the internet because they have particular items that they want to buy now.

There are details of our various websites and news services on which you can announce your presence at If you book for a slot on these sites now, your announcement will stay on-line until the end of September on all our sites for just £49.99.

Meanwhile although many of our email promotions using the personal email addresses of teachers are booked up we do have some slots left on the subscription lists and on some of the secondary school lists. Likewise there are few slots left on nursery lists.

There are also places available on postal campaigns to all teachers.

To talk about any end of term promotions, please do call 01536 399 000 or email

Tony Attwood