How to make each advert more effective

When you are selling to schools there are four key rules to follow in creating your advertisement. If you can keep these simple rules in mind when writing, you will find that the number of sales and the number of enquiries you get, will both go up. Here are the four rules…

1: Separate benefits and features. In the email write primarily about the benefits of your product or service. So for example if selling a GCSE book you might be tempted to state that the book covers an entire syllabus – but in fact this is a feature and it needs to be transformed into a benefit.

In this case, the benefit you should focus on is the fact that each student just needs this one book as a basic reference point for the whole course. You may suggest that stronger students will want to go over other issues covered in the extended notes you have handed out, but this book is the core text for everyone.

Likewise if your company specialises in going into schools and putting lights along the footpaths that lead from the road to the main entrance, the benefit is that they make the path visible of a winter evening, and they make the school seem warm and welcoming to parents and other visitors.

2. At the start of your email, have a headline. And if at all possible make this headline an interesting open question as these tend to draw the reader in.

The temptation of course is to announce what you have for sale, or to stress a selling point, as with the headline, “School storage units, 30% discount!” But experience shows that educationalists respond poorly to these simple announcements.

What they do respond to is something which draws attention to the benefit in an open question, such as “What is the most effective way of reducing the loss and theft of student property?”

The reason this approach works is because even if the reader thinks that she or he knows all there is to know about cutting losses and thefts in the school, there is always the temptation to read a headline like this, just to check.

3. As far as possible stay with the benefits on the email. Then at the end direct the teacher to a page on your website. This should not be your home page, but a page specifically constructed for people who have read your advertisement; it is known as a “landing page”.

So the reader sees the email, clicks on the link and goes to this specially constructed landing page and here finds two things…

First the features of the product or service and then second the way to place an order or find out more information.

4. This approach reveals incredibly valuable statistics.

The fact is that it is not too difficult to measure the number of people who have travelled from the email to this page – and if your email is sent out by we will always give you this information once the email has gone out – along with the number of people who have then clicked through to your website.

If that number of people who have read the email is lower than hoped for, the email needs to be changed in order to draw in more people.

But if the number is as hoped for, and the number of people who have gone to the website is what we might expect, but sales are low then you know that the landing page on your website needs to be tweaked.

In other words part four of this approach is a very simple analysis of how people have responded to your advertisement. This allows you to know what to tweak to improve your sales – and that means that if things don’t work as expected, you know exactly what to do next.

To be clear you don’t just find out if the advert worked or didn’t work. You also know exactly what to change to get it to work better next time.

In other words if your advertisement gets you good sales, everyone is happy. But if the sales are not as good as expected you can immediately see whether the problem lies in the email or on the landing page. And then you can change that.

But if things don’t work out as well as you expected, don’t worry because putting matters right is easy. All the information you need is here.