What is the one mistake that most companies advertising to schools make, and which is easy to rectify?

One of the most effective ways to make email advertising to schools work is to extol the benefits of the product or service on the email, and then provide a link to the features of what you offer on your web page.

With such a system one can easily undertake an analysis of how many people opened the email, how many clicked through to the web page, and how many then either phoned or went straight on to buy the product or service via the website.

When such analyses are done what one finds is that the most common problem arises at the web page.  Lots of teachers look at the email, and a fair number then click through to the web page, but the number placing an order is very modest.

I suspect the reason for this is that whereas emails are often written by people who focus on results some websites are created by website designers who emphasise style and attractiveness, but have little knowledge as to how this relates to sales and enquiries or indeed to the mindset of the potential customer.

Fortunately, even when a website has been designed by an expert in such a way that he/she is the only person who can update or change the website, it is still possible to create a web page that translates a fair percentage of the enquiries into orders.

The secret is simple and it involves an understanding that websites have several functions.

One function (the one that concerns us here) is to receive past and potential customers who have an interest in a specific product. Other functions involve receiving those who are doing an internet search and catering for people who at this stage only want background information.

 Each of these functions requires a separate page or set of pages, and so the simple answer is to create a straightforward page (generally called a landing page) designed specifically to take the customer forward from the email to a purchase - or at least a fulsome enquiry.

In this case you don’t want the potential customer put off by lots of information about other products or services. This is not like a department store where people might wander around for half an hour, looking at options.  Unless already committed to your company, most visitors will be in and out in little more than 30 seconds.

Thus the page related to the single product advertised in your email can be very straightforward, and doesn’t even have to be indexed from the home page.  Indeed it doesn’t even have to be on your main site.

In fact quite often when a website designer has made it difficult for a firm to update their site themselves, we build a very simple second site which exists just to hold their landing pages.

Research shows that the best landing pages follow some key rules - a clear headline, several sub-headings, illustrations kept in one column (not dotted about right, left, and centre), a maximum of 15 words a line, and a focus on the features of the product, leading straight to buying options.

If you feel that you are in a situation in which you are getting interest from your email promotions but these are not turning into orders on your website we are very happy to offer a free service in which we will look at your email and your web page and give you our thoughts on where the problem might be, and how it can be solved.

This really is a free service. Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and provide the address of the web page you send customers to, and we’ll send your back our written analysis, along with our recommendations as to the specific changes (if any) we think you should make.