Across the years I think we have undertaken research into answering this question maybe a dozen times – and each time we have found that headlines can improve response rates.
Except, not all headlines.
The headlines that tend not to work are the ones that are shouty, such as “Spring Sale!” and “Limited stocks!” along with those that simply announce what is available as with “Wide range of school calculators and mathematical text books for sale”.
Put another way, if the piece either does not carry a headline, or it has a headline which is merely an announcement of what is on sale, or is about price, it tends not to have an impact.
This finding does surprise some advertisers as there is a general feeling that schools are short of money so they buy on price. But the fact is that so many firms sell on price, teachers long ago stopped believing that claims of cheapness are valid.
However, there is an alternative approach, and this is to have a headline that asks an open question. But here the word “open” is vitally important.
An open question is one that cannot be answered “yes” or “no”. So the headline:
“Would you like to save money on your next school computers?”
will probably not work particularly well, because it is a “closed question” – that is one that can be answered “yes” or “no”. It is also rather boring, since obviously everyone wants to save money, so it hardly encourages readership.
However if the question is turned into an open question, which cannot be answered “yes” or “no”, then it is likely to have much more success. Thus…
“What is the most effective way of reducing the cost of school text books, without compromising on quality?”
will most likely be far more effective in getting people to read than the simple “Would you like…” style closed question.
The question suggests that within this advert there is some information that could be of use to the reader. The reader isn’t yet convinced that you are the supplier to go to, but she or he is willing to read on and find out what your answer is.
In effect you have slowed the reader down and engaged the reader – which is the most important first step.
There are, of course, other ways of writing adverts, and we are always happy to discuss them – you can send us your proposed email if you wish and we’ll give you our thoughts (at no cost to you and without obligation).
There is a list of all the different email lists that we have on sale on our website.
To discuss how your email promotion might be enhanced to get more sales please do call 01604 880 927 or alternatively send a copy of your proposed email to Stephen@schools.co.uk and we’ll send you back a written review – at absolutely no cost and with no obligation.