Small Business News from 4imprint
Everything from listening to music to booking holidays has been digitised in recent years – and there’s always plenty of chatter that we’re heading for a paperless society … yet, on the contrary it’s also muted that actually we don’t attach much value to digital content, as it’s easily disregarded as we move on to the next source of information in an instant. It goes without saying this isn’t great for marketers who want to grab people’s attention and make a lasting impression. So, perhaps it’s no wonder that many SMEs want to offer customers, clients and prospects something more permanent to remember them by.

A new survey by Royal Mail has revealed that 71% of SMEs want to create marketing that customers can keep hold of for future reference. After all, an email can easily be deleted before it is even opened, while social media updates can be swamped by other statuses in a matter of seconds.

So what options are open to SMEs who want to stay foremost in the minds of existing customers and potential leads alike?

Direct Mail
The Royal Mail survey found that three-quarters of SMEs believe direct mail delivers a good ROI (return on investment). That’s a sizeable proportion and it might be down to direct mail’s physical nature. Indeed, the same proportion of respondents said they think recipients are more likely to keep a piece of marketing mail (such as a brochure or catalogue for future reference) than an email, so it’s clear to see how it can add value to their marketing efforts.

Promotional Merchandise
Another way to offer something more permanent to prospects or customers could be to give them something they can use on a regular basis. Small businesses can help make their brand more recognisable by putting their logo and contact details on handy everyday items such as pens, keyrings, tote bags or mugs. These could be posted out as a mailshot or given out anywhere your target audience might be, for example at networking events, trade shows or exhibitions. And what’s more business gifts can work equally well as a sales incentive or as a reward to thank customers for their business.

More than 8 out of 10 SMEs polled by Royal Mail agreed that marketing is critical or essential to their business growth – something that’s a priority for nearly 9 out of 10 respondents. With almost three-quarters of SMEs investing up to a fifth of their turnover on marketing, it’s vital that they get the best possible ROI – especially as budgets for marketing or promotions might be limited.

Interestingly, many small firms are embracing a multi-channel approach, with 82% using email, 62% active on social media, 50% using online advertising and 46% sending out direct mailshots. But with more than two-thirds acknowledging it can be difficult to get customers to take action, it’s probably fair to say that businesses can’t view digital platforms in isolation and that physical marketing materials should still be part of an SME’s marketing mix.


Further Reading / Sources
Ambitious SMEs say marketing is “critical” to growth, but measuring return on investment holds them back Royal Mail Group