Sending an Email Doesn’t Work: Sending Email Campaigns Can Work Great

Market Insight
By: 
Charles Sosnik

In deference to cats everywhere, the old adage that says there is more than one way to skin a cat is very true when marketing in the school biz. That said, in each cat-skinning scenario, you must follow some proven rules in order to be effective. There is no magic bullet when it comes to marketing to schools, and a good rule of thumb is to do everything you can afford to do, as often as you can afford to do it.

If you follow the guidelines below, you are sure to find more success.

The first rule to remember in email marketing is that sending an email doesn’t work. In marketing, one-offs aren’t going to make a noticeable difference. Today’s marketing folks like to try something and gauge results before spending any real money. The problem with email, however, is that trying one email to gauge results is just foolish. It’s great to be careful with your money, and it makes sense to try and measure results, but if all you are willing to do is try one email, you might as well save your money (you can start by getting rid of your marketing person that suggested trying an email to measure results). Think of email marketing in terms of a campaign. Once you determine who a reasonable market is for your product, you then need to find someone who can deliver that market for you.

You can either buy the email addresses and send the emails yourself or find an organization that already sends emails to that market. Whichever way you go, you need to have reasonable expectations. If you buy the email addresses and decide to do it yourself, you need to understand that only a limited number of recipients will open an email from someone they don’t know. If you go this route and send to, say, a list of 100,000, you’ll be lucky to have 2000 (2 percent) opened. If you buy a sponsorship in someone’s newsletter, that open rate may be closer to 20 percent. You can do the math and see the difference in value.

Once you make the decision as to who will deliver your email campaign, you need to decide on the details of the campaign. Here are some simple rules:

  • Have an end goal in mind. What do you want to accomplish with this campaign?
  • Create an offer. Make this offer reasonable. It doesn’t have to be a free trial, but it needs to be an offer that contains a value proposition. The cost needs to be perceived as less than the value. Remember this axiom – it may be the most important one in business: Anytime the perceived value is greater than the perceived cost, the prospect has no choice but to buy.
  • Decide on a frequency for your campaign. Three is a bare-bones minimum. Many successful email campaigns contain nine deployments. I know that sounds like a lot, but you are trying to get someone’s attention and then change buying habits that have been established over time. What is a sell worth to you? For a really great example of a successful nine part email campaign, follow this link to  the Blueprint Strategy number two on K12prospects.com and download the details of the email campaign example.

If you want to buy email names, a good source is George Stajanov at K12 prospects. You can also purchase email addresses by category at k12-data.com at a very good cost.

If you want to choose an organization to send out emails for you, there are many choices. The more exact you can define your prospect, the easier it will be to choose an organization with whom to market. For example, is your prospect limited to the U.S.? Do you need more administrators or teachers? Do you want to sell at the school level? The district level? Which job titles are involved in the purchase of your product?

After you make these decisions, you will know which questions to ask your potential business partner. When you begin speaking with organizations, ask questions. What is your typical open rate? What is your typical click through rate? What types of advertisers usually have the best results? Can you give me an example of an advertiser that has had good results? What were the specifics of those results? Finding an organization with a strong following and a strong reputation among its email recipients has an intangible benefit of leveraging that organization’s reputation and trust factor to help you sell.

When doing email marketing, frequency and persistence pays. Most of your prospects receive hundreds of emails per week. You need to not only stand out, but send often enough to be seen. Email can be very effective but sending effective email campaigns is a skill. Following the above rules will help. Having someone on your team with experience can help as well.

About the Author

Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel

 

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