Posts Tagged ‘Marketing to SMEs’

Further to my last post, here’s 5 more tips…

Five tips geared to making sure they read it, then call you 

1. Address your letter “Dear Mr & Mrs Jones”, not “Dear Homeowner”.
2. Make the Headline enticing – Split-test it before hand (duplicating what works best in your Google Adwords campaigns is a good way to start ). [*SuD – not on Google AdWords ? Get £30 free when you register with the marketingdonut]
3. Short, sharp, punchy paragraphs please.  Use AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).
4. Make sure you have a call to action.  “Contact us by the 14th and receive a free Widget”
5. Sign each letter personally.  Pre-printed signatures (unless a very good quality scan) immediately take away the personal, one-on-one, contact your trying to establish with your reader.


Bonus Tips

1. Little yellow post-it notes with a couple of handwritten words, stuck on the front of each letter, has proven to increase response rates substantially.
2. Try adding a ‘P.S.’ at the end of your letters.  Again, this has proven to increase response rates.
3. As with any marketing campaign, make sure you test with a small number first, before rolling out to large quantities.

Good Luck!

More great marketing tips can be found in the Donut group and the experts blogs and websites – here’s mine, it gives advice for small business

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* Added by Start Up Donut team

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This week I was reading an e-newsletter sent by a well-known US IT company to its small business customer database. It struck me how large IT companies, which presumably have all the infrastructure to ensure that their staff live in a technology bubble, write to their SME customers as if they too live in this bubble. 

Maybe there are small businesses running the latest connectivity solutions. And that some businesses do gain competitive advantage by being able to access their file server whilst waiting in the queue at Terminal 3.

But for most small businesses I bet the IT headaches and pain points are around boring, mundane things like back-ups, networking offices and not having any procedures in place. If an IT company talked about these real issues and did not always try and sell me the latest thing, I think I would listen.   

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Ambitious corporate marketers will try to swerve the ‘SME marketing brief’ as they climb the career ladder. After all, it’s much more exciting to be working with a cool creative agency on a big budget telly campaign (and the expenses are bigger, too).

But the real reason marketers avoid the SME marketing brief is because, well, it is so damned difficult. How do you sell into a vast but fragmented marketplace? How do you create an SME marketing strategy for a brand when you have little understanding of what it is like to run a small business? Questions, questions…

It is always fascinating to watch public sector and corporate marketers wrestle with these issues. No doubt senior marketers with big budgets face a lot of pressure. But the pressures of running a start-up business are arguably greater. After all, it’s someone’s house on the line.

And an owner-manager must juggle a hundred tasks. Working capital, finding premises, commercial insurance, the list goes on and on, and they all need attention. No one can be an expert in all these functions; yet small enterprise owners have to wear many hats to survive.

Imagine you are running a hair salon. You want to put prices up. What needs to be done? Well, most people would say: ‘reprint the price list’ or ‘tell the staff’. That’s fine, but hold on, don’t we first need to work out how much we want to increase the price? And how much business we can afford to lose while retaining the same turnover? Will that actually make us more profitable? Will we need the same number of staff? Who is looking after our marketing literature? How will we pay for that? What do we tell our customers about the price hike? There are so many steps involved in implementing one simple price change… and this is just one task you face at your salon today.

There were 447,000 mainstream business starts in 2006 and current government figures quote 4.5m UK SMEs . So why doesn’t the number of new businesses rise by half a million each year? Simple: the number of closures more or less matches the number of starts. That’s how hard it is to steer a new business past the survival stage — a lesson we should all remember when helping brave entrepreneurs.

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