As marketers we have a variety of options to reach schools including email, phone, snail mail, door knocking, social media and fax. Each of these options have strengths and weaknesses.
So what works best?
1. In recent years there has been a move back to snail mail but it is also the most expensive option by the time you pay for the postage and printing. Snail mail will be more effective if you include a personalised letter in the pack. The letter should contain the recipient’s name, position, school and a Dear John.
2. Email you may suggest? The barriers to emailing schools include poor opening rates and even poorer click through rates. To improve the chances of your email being a success make sure it includes the name of the person you are speaking to. You can also improve your chances by adopting the following ideas to improve the success of your email campaign.
3. Phone is a legitimate way to communicate with schools. Firstly you must know who to ask for. Get a list that includes first and last names and positions. Armed with a name your chances of the receptionist helping will increase dramatically.
4. Door knocking is also a tried and proven way to reach teachers however with issues of security now days it can even be a challenge to get onto the campus without being stopped and questioned.
5. Social media tools are used to bring teachers on side. LinkedIn, as with all social media, is about connecting with another human, not with organisations. This person to person relationship is of utmost importance and will open doors you hadn’t thought possible.
So what’s left?
6. Did you know schools still use fax? It is a tried and proven method of communication and a fax almost always gets through as it is put into the “pigeon hole” of the intended recipient. It’s just like a letter without the envelope.
7. Pigeon holes are a physical message box – generally a small space mounted on a wall for keeping letters or papers. Teachers exchange information throughout the day by placing notes and paperwork in another staff member’s pigeon hole. It is a “throw-back” to the good old days but in schools and other locations such as local councils and some government agencies it is still a legitimate form of interpersonal communication.
As marketers we can use a combination of fax, email and the “trusty” pigeon hole to communicate effectively with teachers. A proven method of communicating with schools that we have found effective is to:
- Send a personalised fax with first / last name and position at top of fax. The fax will explain what you have to offer and why the teacher should get involved
- The fax will be put in the teacher’s pigeon hole to be collected throughout the day. Teachers generally check their pigeon holes at least twice a day.
- Next day the recipient will receive your email – their curiosity having been spiked by the interesting fax the day before
- Send the email to the same person you sent the fax. Ensure it contains links to information the teacher will find valuable such as teaching resources or special offers
As with all marketing campaigns ensure your communication is targeted to the right person – addressing them by name. It’s called one-2-one communication for a good reason!
Your offer should also contain a clear call to action.
Limit all offers to within the same school term you are sending the offer. By including a time limit to respond it will condense the response time and solicit an action / response by the customer within a time frame set by you.
A-ZGovBIZ school lists include first / last name, position, school name /campus, mailing address, email, phone / fax numbers, size and type of school.