The truth about sending flyers to schools

You've spent a fortune on graphic design and printing. Your team locked themselves in a meeting room, paced around a whiteboard and drank coffee that smelled more than a little questionable until you had the perfect copy for your promotional flyer.

All you have to do now is wait for the sales to roll in... right?

So, why haven't you had a surge in calls and emails from teachers desperate to get their hands on your resource? Does this sound familiar? If so, then you're not alone.

The flyer myth

At ESM Inbound, we are often asked about the possibility of creating flyers and other printed materials to form part of a brand's promotional campaign. Our first question is always 'What would you like to do with the flyers?'

More often than not, the excited response from educational suppliers is 'We are going to send them to all the schools in the area!'

The logic behind this plan seems sound - it's easy to ignore a tweet, a Facebook post or an email. It's hard to ignore a flyer - something that you can physically hold in your hand. Busy teachers will appreciate the hard copy reminder of the great opportunity that you're offering them.

I'm sorry to say it but this is far from the truth. And there's a very good reason for it. Let me explain by introducing you to the typical school staff room.

Enter the staff room

ESM's team of former teachers knows school staff rooms well - we've been in quite a few. While each one is unique, there are a  few constants that you'll find in them all.

There's always coffee. Lots of it. Admittedly, it's not great coffee but it's a vital source of energy for busy teachers.

There's always a noticeboard. It probably includes the dreaded cover list, showing who is taking over absent teachers' lessons for the day. There'll be a list of the day's meetings, the names of pupils whose behaviour is causing concern and probably a passive-aggressive message about a stolen sandwich.

Not too far from the noticeboard will be the pigeon holes. The place where teachers go to collect their post.

The pigeon hole ritual

Teachers approach their pigeon holes with a degree of trepidation. 'Has the head teacher noticed that I was late submitting my reports?' 'Has Mrs Smith sent another letter to complain about Sally's detention?'

As teachers sort through the contents of their pigeon hole, they're dividing their post into 'needs action' and 'get rid'. School leaders know this, so they make sure that the pigeon holes are always next to another vital feature of every school staff room...

...the recycling bin.

The vast majority of items in teachers' pigeon holes end up there. In other words, that flyer you and your team sweated over in the meeting room is on a fast track from pigeon hole to recycling.

Better ways to spend your money

The copy that you created is valuable. The design is beautiful. It's just in the wrong format.

Carefully crafted landing pages, emails and social media campaigns may end up being ignored by a few but they'll be seized on by others.

After sending out your last promotional flyer, did you know how many people looked at it? Did you know how many people viewed your website and forgot to come back?

With a great digital marketing campaign, you know all of the above and you're in a position to take action on it.

Digital marketing gives you a second chance

When a teacher clicks on a link in your digital marketing campaign, you know about it. They arrive on your website and you know about it. They make a purchase and you know about it.

More importantly, however, you know if they don't make a purchase. That gives you get a second chance.

You can retarget those individuals with social media adverts, display ads and email campaigns. Did they put an item in their basket but not purchase? You can ask then what they need to complete the order.

When selling to schools, that relationship is really important.  The chances are that the teacher isn't the one who can fulfil the order - that is the responsibility of their finance department. A well-timed email could be the difference between them completing a requisition order or forgetting about your offer. Your email could even offer to fill in the school's paperwork on their behalf!

This means two things - more sales for you and, even better, more children benefitting from your fantastic product or service.

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