The perfect advert: its style and form

Below you will find an example of an email written for mailing to schools and a commentary on why the style and approach is as it is.

Although this email obviously is written to sell one particular product, it is written in a style that has been proven time and time again to work both in emailing to schools and to business.  It is not a style you will see often in terms of advertising to schools because the approach is not common sense.  But it does work.

The style is called “conversational marketing”, as it aims to reproduce the way a good salesperson might speak to an interested visitor at a show.

It was written to be sent to Language Co-ordinators, Deputy Heads and Heads in primary schools.  The exact market, however, is incidental since the basic rules always apply.

Example advertisement (scroll down to see the commentary)

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Subject: Using the natural enthusiasm

What is the most effective way of embedding foreign language teaching throughout Key Stage 2?

One of the most common observations made by teachers who have introduced KS2 children to a foreign language is that at the start of this great new adventure they are excited, stimulated, interested, and keener to learn than normal.

For them, this is not another lesson in a subject that they have experienced a number of times before.  This is new and therefore, by definition, exciting.

Indeed many of the children expect to be going home after the first lesson speaking fluent French, German or Spanish to admiring and awe-struck parents.

In their vision of reality the parents won’t be able to understand them, the children will be able to communicate with each other in a secret code… This is going to be so exciting.

Unfortunately it can be hard to maintain such a heightened interest level, especially for some of your colleagues who are called upon to teach the language when they are not themselves as proficient in the foreign language as they might wish.

Thus the question arises: how can we maintain the pupils’ enhanced level of interest after the first couple of lessons?

This is the problem that we have faced head on.  And as a result we have produced a website of teaching activities, covering the whole of KS2 and linked to the KS2 Framework For Languages’ objectives.

Using a variety of games and songs, our website supports the class teacher in teaching French, German or Spanish.  There is additionally a tracking system which allows you to follow and, where appropriate, reward pupil progress.

If you would like to learn more about New Languages there is an immediate opportunity on the website – just click “Try Now” at   www…………………….  

And if you have any questions or queries about Language Today please do call 01234 567 890 or email   tony @……………………………………..

Tony Attwood

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Commentary

Subject: The subject line doesn’t have to describe the product, just arouse interest

An open question based around a benefit written as a headline focuses the teacher’s attention

The opening paragraph then moves on to  focus on the setting.  The readers might well skim this looking for the answer to the question in the headline, but their reading will slow down because of the unexpected nature of the opening.   We are gradually getting attention.

It is quite possible to take up several paragraphs expanding on this opening theme, again remembering that many readers are just going to skim through this looking for the answer to the question at the start.  But never forget, some will read.

Because we are taking our time to get to the selling point, slowly the reader comes to believe that this is not an advert but an informative piece of text.  As such their willingness to take us seriously and believe what we say increases.  Without doing this, credibility is not established.

Meanwhile the short paragraphs and space between paragraphs encourage reading, but also make it easy for to speed read, coming back to read again in more detail later.

Now however we point out the problem that the children’s perception brings.  We are formulating a problem in our own terms in a way that the teachers will accept, because we have set out the problem as a little story. 

We then get to the key issue that is one the teacher is facing  “how can we keep the pupils’ enhanced level of interest at its new level, after the first couple of lessons?”

And then we summarise our solution.  Rather than reducing sales by delaying the announcement of our product we have enhanced interest by taking the reader on a journey which is nothing like that of the ordinary sales email.   And we have enhanced belief.

Finally comes a bit of detail about the product.  Not every feature, no bullet points, but the basic details in relation to the problem solved.  Remember anyone interested can go onto the website.

So we approach the end with a link to an individual landing page that tells the reader more.  Not the home page normally, but a page related to this product.   

And we sign off with a phone number and email address.

Tony Attwood (it is always good to finish with a name)

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