By Tony Attwood
The standard, classic approach for advertising to schools is to write an email which talks about the benefits of your product or service to the teacher and the school. Then at the end you offer a link to the page of your website which deals with that specific product.
I know there is a temptation to take the reader to your home page or another general page so that the reader can see all the different things you sell, but every bit of research I have done suggests to me that a link to a general page does not work as well as a link to a page that just deals with this specific product or service.
So, the general rule is: advertise the benefits of one product on the email, link to the web page showing the features of that product.
After that, at the foot of the page, you take the reader through to your selling process, offering to accept orders by phone, email, on line, fax, and post.
But, as my headline above suggests, there might be times when you might not link to your web page.
First, you might want to change the advert for the simple benefit of variety, because by creating an advert that doesn’t link to your website you have to re-think how you are promoting the product or service – and that is never a bad thing. Can you combine benefits and features into one email? It’s not easy, but the challenge can help add variety to the advertising.
Second, it is a fact that some websites can load very well on contemporary computers but might be slower at loading on older machines. And you shouldn’t forget that some teachers may well be reading your advertisement on their phones – so it is worth checking that the process and pages work on a phone as well as on computer.
As for my third point – this is a technical one. If you have not moved your website from the old http:// format to https:// then it is possible that some schools will have problems reaching your site.
Now I don’t want to cause a panic here, because the evidence on this is incomplete, but basically https:// is now the standard for secure websites, and there is always a chance that your link to an http:// website might bring up a warning on a school computer.
Which is why the occasional advert which covers the benefits and features within the email and offers the sale straight from that point, without going via a website, is an interesting alternative.
I have also reported in the past that when occasionally a company does get poor sales from an email advert, we also find that the number of teachers reading the advertisement and then going on to the website is such that one would expect good sales.
What is in fact happening is that the teachers get to the website and then don’t proceed. In such a case all that is then needed is a bit of work on the landing page, and everything can be resolved.
Certainly, I would always say, if you do ever get a situation where sales are disappointing, please do get in touch, sending us a copy of the email, and we’ll take a look and offer you a free report on where we think the problem is.
We’ll then, again at no cost to you, offer to work with you to resolve the issue and get your sales back to normal.
If you do want to explore this further, please do write to Stephen@schools.co.uk or phone 01604 880 927.
Meanwhile we also have a report: The most common reason why email promotions fail, and what to do about it. For a copy of this free report please email Sam@schools.co.uk