For the end of the year, we focused on pushing sales of matric exam material as a priority and other supplementary school material too. This was to be our most profitable season based on the success of the previous season. Our marketing efforts consisted of the following:
- press releases to media contacts on our work with Pelikan Park (PP) High School and Silverstream Secondary (SS) School (see ‘Turning school sponsorships into great PR’ article for more details)
- newsletter pieces and blog posts encouraging outlets to commit to in store promotion
- Gumtree and OLX adverts offering a door-to-door delivery service for past matric exam papers
- an smsweb email to school principals introducing what Paperight can do to help their schools access study material
- a Facebook conversation plan and paid Facebook advertising
- three adverts in The Good Times school newspaper (Hout Bay/Llandudno, Atlantic Seaboard and Constantia).
We intended to also place an advert in Free4All (the free school newspaper that is distributed nationally) with the help of a copy shop partner, but this did not come together in time.
Our Facebook strategy was to fill our page with advice to matric students for their exams and links to relevant products, while targeting parents of matric students through paid advertising. This helped us to increase our page likes, yet did not lead directly to many sales, as far as we could track.
Our door-to-door delivery campaign completely failed with not even a single request for the service.
Our door-to-door delivery campaign completely failed with not even a single request for the service. We offered to print and bind matric past papers and drive them to customers’ homes and offices, and we advertised the papers at very affordable rates. Despite posting adverts on Gumtree and OLX, as well as posting our offer on Facebook and scheduling a paid Facebook advert targeting parents, it did not have the desired effect. The only conclusion we can come to is that the offer may have been arranged too late for most parents to take advantage of. Similarly, the offer only applied to the Western Cape (within driving distance of Claremont) and perhaps the need for the service may have been more pressing in other provinces that we couldn’t get to simply due to a lack of resources.
The press release I sent out about our work with PP and SS was picked up in numerous regional newspapers and again showed our extraordinary ability to generate free press.
we were faced with feedback from unsatisfied customers, explaining that they were turned away by front of house employees who did not know about Paperight or did not know enough about the service
Many outlets committed to instore advertising to drive sales of study material. However, as with most work with copy shops, we were faced with feedback from unsatisfied customers, explaining that they were turned away by front of house employees who did not know about Paperight or did not know enough about the service to a) recognise the query as a request for a Paperight book or b) assist the customer immediately. Yet more evidence that trusting Paperight sales to another business that has control over point-of-sale is a major hurdle that needs to be addressed. Regardless, we made many successful sales too.
The Good Times newspaper is a great publication to advertise with to reach parents directly. Made up entirely of news items about schools in different areas across the Western Cape, parents dip into the newsaper to find photos of, stories of and work produced by their offspring. However, the publication went to print far too late in the year (2nd December 2013) and therefore had no impact on sales. However, our paid advert was featured alongside a full page article about the work that Paperight does and I am sure that it will stick in parents’ minds during future buying cycles.
Based on the results of our Adopt-a-copy-shop/Adopt-a-school project, we did not send any marketing materials (posters or flyers) directly into schools.
Overall, this buying cycle was more lucrative than 2012, even though the number of study aids (past papers and study guides) was significantly less. This is perhaps because in 2012 past exam papers had no license fee. From 2013, Paperight began charging $1 (or 1 credit) per document to help inch our way towards sustainability.
These titles are our most valuable content and have been essential to defining ourselves to the public. Any and all future marketing strategies that Paperight implements must build on the strong base already in place.