Let’s Go Sale-ing!

Creating a successful sale flyer is an art honed by consumer marketers over many years. You can enhance your sales by adapting this proven media to the education market.

Some of us publish catalogs once each year. Often, we are reluctant to put sale prices in such a vehicle. Partly because we may not have control over our cost of goods for the life of the catalog. Partly because we fear we will lose margin to customers that might purchase our products at full price.

Some companies augment their general catalog with sale flyers. In some cases, the revenue from their sales flyers exceeds the sales from their general, yearlong catalog.

If you are looking for guidance on how to create a sale flyer, turn to your mailbox at home.

Sale flyers can vary in size from small to large.  Postage is an important cost factor and even the largest flyers can fold down to qualify for lower postage rates. Larger flyers are also capable of including more products. More products at sale prices help the flyer appeal to a greater audience. Generally speaking, the more the merrier, and the greater the ROI. 

Make an Offer

Sale flyers that offer a variety of products at differing discounts generally perform better than those that offer all products at the same discount. Varying the discount amount allows you to employ loss leaders. Products offered at high discounts promote a wider readership. Often, when one purchases a loss leader, there is a tendency to purchase additional products at lesser or even no discount. Purchasing all the products you need from one supplier is more convenient than making several purchases from different suppliers.

Define Your Audience

While sale flyers develop new customers, the lion’s share of profits come from existing customers. The most responsive will be customers that are more recent.  Recent customers have higher response rates, and larger average orders. They will also purchase more products offered at lesser discounts or no discount at all.

Some product lines appeal to educators across all grade levels, but many product lines are specific to grade spans such as PK-3, K-6, 7-9, and 9-12. Many educators teach more than one grade, but often those grades are from a single grade span. When we expand the number of grades beyond a single grade span, the more we dilute the appeal to educators who are focused within that grade span.

As an example, if we have room for 30 products in a flyer and they cover 3 different grades spans, there are only 10 products that appeal to an educator in a single grade span. On the other hand, if we have the same number of products and they cover just a single grade span, we have 30 products with which to capture the reader’s attention. The higher the number of products per grade span the better our chances for sales success.

Timing Is Everything

The education market is seasonal. There are three seasons, Fall (August), Winter (January), and Spring (March and April). Fall mailings perform better when put into the mail stream between early and mid-August to arrive in schools between mid-August and Labor Day. Winter mailings perform better when put into the mail stream between December 31 and mid-January to arrive in schools between mid-January and February 1.

Promotion materials that arrive when schools are open receive more attention.

Spring mailings present a unique challenge. Twenty-five percent of all schools close the week before Easter and an equal number close the week after. Educators returning from a week away often find a full mailbox. When they clean the mailbox out, they tend to pay less attention to promotion materials accumulated over their week away. Promotion materials that arrive when schools are open receive more attention.

Set a Theme

Many sale flyers have themes such as Back to School, Winter or Spring Sale, End of Year Clearance and so forth. Themes help lend credibility to sales. Themes can also help suggest which products to include in the flyer.  For example, physical education flyers may perform better selling equipment for sports that are in season. Remedial products may sell better later in the school year when educators are more likely to recognize the need for them, while on-level materials may sell better at the beginning and the end of the school year.

Go Sale-ing

If you are looking for guidance on how to create a sale flyer, turn to your mailbox at home. Retail stores of almost every kind mail a sale flyer seasonally, monthly, even weekly. Study how they organize their products, and how they present their pricing. They do not offer across the board discounts but rather vary the discount based on the product. They have loss leaders. They have expiration dates.

Large retailers are expert in creating sales flyers for consumers. They have trained and conditioned consumers about what to expect in a sale flyer. Ultimately, all educators are consumers.

Bob Stimolo, School Market Research Institute

Bob is EDmarket’s Official School Market Consultant and president of School Market Research Institute. As a member of EDmarket, Bob will advise you on your promotion materials and list selection free of charge.