I've started up a business that's focused on free and open source software installation and support for the K-12 schools. Most of my activity has been focused on marketing over the last four months and based on data from my newsletter campaign and the interest is very high. Readership is around 20 percent and click-thru's are about 5 percent. However, I'm having problems finding and identifying the key decision makers and moving from interest to a sale.
If you can concentrate on a small geographic area to start, I suggest calling the schools individually to get the names of the decision-makers. It's a time-consuming process, but considerably less expensive than renting a mailing list. Then you should make cold calls to them and follow up with literature by mail or e-mail or, better yet, a meeting. If you are unhappy with the initial results you get from cold calling, you can send letters first and then follow up by phone. And if you are trying to reach a very large geographic market, such as your entire state or a nation, then you should contact a mailing list broker to find the right list and create a direct mail campaign.