Advertising Educational Features By Mail
( Originally Published 1902 )
Nowadays, through the mails, you can learn law, journalism, illustrating, engineering, ad writing, editing and about everything taught in schools.
It is not necessary to travel many miles to a city, and in addition to the tuition cash pay the expenses of living there in order to learn a trade, profession or language.
You simply write for a catalogue which gives full information about the course desired—send along your check for tuition, and presently you are receiving the lessons by mail.
If you are an earnest and apt student you will imbibe the knowledge—if you are indifferent or stupid you will not, which can be said of all students in school or out of school.
Let us look at the methods of the gentlemen at the head of these schools that impart knowledge by mail. We will watch sharply their work in advertising their methods.
First of all the manager of the school prepares his catalogue. He analyzes the good points of his instruction and vividly brings these good points out on paper. As a rule he is fond of running in testimonials from "satisfied students." From an advertising point of view such testimonials are good.
The preparation of the catalogue, book, booklet or prospectus--as you choose to call it—is a serious matter. To pro-duce a good one requires not only a facility in writing, but a mind analytical, forceful, logical and strong with individuality. If it has had a business training so much the better. The catalogue struggle may be summarized thus:
1st. A searching study into the good points of the school and proper presentation of these points on paper.
2nd. Several sessions with photographers, artists and wood engravers in relation to illustrations.
3rd. Further thought as to the disposition of illustrations and text.
4th. Heart to heart talks with the printer on the question of display, paper, binding and general arrangement.
5th. The revision of proofs.
6th. Selecting a good list of names.
7th. Sending the catalogue to same.
Then the advertising in newspapers and magazines come up. As this point will be treated of in the article referring to "Advertising A School" it need not be here dwelt upon.
The "Follow Up System " is considered important enough to be treated most elaborately by some schools. Last winter one of these institutions happened to get my name and address, and with great foresight concluded that I was a fit subject for their educational course. Although I never responded to any of their communications yet they sent me :
A catalogue, a long type-written (printed) letter, some testimonials. and a blank application form.
A two page typewritten (printed) letter and another blank. (Two weeks later.)
An immense postal card that annoyed the postman. (A week later.) A two page type-written (printed) letter, some more testimonials and another application blank. (Three weeks later.)
A copy of the catalogue they first sent me with "a special offer." (A week later.)
A rather drastic page type-written (printed) letter. (Two weeks later.) Another prodigious postal card. (A month later.)
Then absolute silence. I guess they thought I was dead. My criticism of their " Follow Up System " was:
The entire lot of matter was poorly written—it lacked argumentative force and convincing powers. The catalogue was the best piece of literature they sent out. There was too much advertising ammunition wasted upon one who did not reply.
Speaking about " Follow Up System," I think that three strong letters—about ten days apart—together with the catalogue-are all that should be used. I have had a lot of mail order advertising experience, and I have watched these things pretty closely. In many cases a catalogue and a letter is about enough.
Printed letters in the written form should only come from a first-class printer. A poor printer will turn out such a job as to "give the whole thing away." The space for the name and address can be filled in by the typewriter.