Out of Office….Too Late?

With the summer upon us (allegedly) thoughts turn to holidays and beaches or mountains or whatever takes your fancy. While you are away, back in the office you have (hopefully) remembered to set your ‘Out Of Office’ automatic email reply. This is fine but, as a customer, there is nothing worse that sending and email to your supplier only to get an automaed reply telling you they are out of the office for a week or more. If only they had told you before they went…. If you are anything like me, you try to let your clients know you are going to be away in good time so that you can work with them to make sure everything is up to date before you go. But what if you don’t actually speak with them? These days a lot of regular business can be done using only email which gives a great opportunity to make sure everyone knows , in good time, that you are going to be away. A week or so before you leave, simply amend your regular email signature to include an extra line telling people about your absence. This way, every time you send and email you are spreading the word. I have used this a few times and found it really helpful. I’m surprised I don’t see it more widely.    

Brain Teaser – Diamond Opportunity?

Having escaped Chatty Man Alan Carr’s dastardly game of Russian Roulette (details here if you want to know more) I have now made it to Africa and the diamond fields of Namibia where I have fallen in with some equally unsavoury characters led by none other than hard-man diamond tycoon Dale Winton (he hides his true personality well on In It to Win It!) He has presented me with a challenging but potentially lucrative offer… On the table in front of us are 10 piles of cut diamonds. Each pile contains 1000 stones. They all appear identical but in fact only 1 pile contains genuine stones. The other 9 piles are actually worthless. The only difference is that each genuine stone weighs 8mg, just 1mg more than a fake. The deal is that if I can identify the real diamonds, I get to go free and, even better, keep the diamonds. If I fail I will be forced to work in the WintonCo Inc. diamond mines for a long time. As luck would have it, I happen to have a highly sensitive electronic balance about my person and Dale, being hard, but fair, allows me to use it – once. How can I determine which is the pile of genuine diamonds with only 1 weighing? Key facts

  • Ten piles of diamonds.
  • Genuine stones weigh 8mg, 1mg more than the fakes.
  • Highly sensitive electronic balance.
  • Only one weighing

Challenge Identify the genuine stones…..or the mines are waiting The Answer…is here

Maximise Deliverability with this On-line Spam Check

Pretty much all email boxes will now have some form of spam filter, and after carefully crafting your email newsletter, you want to be as sure as possible that your email will end up in the inbox and not the spam filters junk folder. With this in mind, we thought it would be worth sharing a tool that we use as part of the process of checking the deliverability of our emails. It is an online tool, which can be accessed by sending the email in question to check@isnotspam.com. Their system will then perform various checks on the email, and compile a report which will be sent to the reply address on the email. You can find more details about this tool at www.isnotspam.com The tool is free, and although it does not guarantee that your email will be delivered, it is a great tool in maximising the chances that it will.    

I'm too busy – I don't have time to do any marketing

The Company

  • Specialist high-spec sub-contract engineering
  • Manufacture high value, mission-critical components
  • Key supplier to Petrochem, Automotive and Power Generation sectors

   

The Problem

  • Management team focused on high quality service delivery
  • Attention to detail with existing clients left limited time for consistent marketing
  • Risk of the company ‘losing profile’ with the wider market
  • Solution had to demand only minimum input from management staff

The Solution

With limited budget and time available, BSA Marketing recommended email as a cost-effective communication tool. We put together a programme that included:

  • BSA designs layout for emails
  • BSA produces copy – based on informal discussions with the client
  • BSA drafts newsletter for agreement by client
  • BSA sends email to client’s target list
  • BSA reports outcomes and stats to client
  • 4 newsletters per year

The Benefits

Now they are keeping in touch with customers, our client is receiving more enquiries than ever before. Conversations with their clients have proven this method to be successful, with the emails refreshing the memory of what is on offer. We have specific cases of enquiries being placed specifically because our client is actively keeping in touch with their market.As well as being a stand-alone marketing programme, the newsletters form an effective platform for other targeted marketing and sales contact activity. – A great success at a modest budget.

How Often Should I Send Marketing Emails?

This is a question that came up in a meeting with a client yesterday and I thought it would be worth a short post as it is a good question! Under normal circumstances, I would suggest that the answer has more to do with your internal resources and how much you have to say than it does with the optimal frequency from a marketing perspective as one of the biggest issues with email marketing is sustainability. To be effective, email marketing needs to be considered in the medium and long term. Rather than being about “sending out an email”, It is more about developing a sustainable email campaign, that builds your profile in the market over time. To do this, the programme needs to be sustained, so there is no point in committing to sending out an email newsletter every month, if after month 2 you have run out of things to say and are stuggling to meet the deadlines. Better initially to commit to an email every 2-3 months, and be confident that you will be able to keep the programme going indefinitely. As a small company ourselves, we apreciate the pressures that are put on the management teams of SME companies, and the issues this creates in sustaining ongoing marketing initiatives. That is why once we agree a programme with a client, we see one of our roles as ensuring that  focus is kept on marketing, and initiatves are sustained even when things are busy, as it is by doing this that hopefully things don’t get quite! So back to the question:

“How often should I send marketing emails?”

The answer is:

“As often as you believe that you can reliably sustain in terms of resources & things to say”

If you are looking to develop a sustainable email marketing programme, we would love to talk to you.

Guest Post – Breaking into Export Markets

We all know that export is going to be one of the keys to getting the UK economy going again, but often just getting started in an export market can be a huge barrier for small companies. For those who feel that there may be potential in the French Market, that is where this scheme run by a local export consultant in partnership with French Associates, and the University of Rouen comes in. Through the scheme, teams of French Marketing students are available to conduct market research for UK companies from October to April. Their research follows a specification  agreed with the companies, and the results are presented in Manchester in the Spring. The discussions and feedback from the presentations determine the follow up actions for each company, and these are completed before June when the academic year ends. It’s great experience for the Students who get valuable experience in the real world, and participating companies get real world market research on the export potential in the French Market at little or no financial outlay. The scheme is run in the UK by Cheshire Based Export consultancy Exportaid, in Partnership with French Associate Philippe Demarest who also lectures in International Trade at the University of Rouen “This year we organised five teams of two students to work on behalf of five companies from four different sectors: fashion & clothing, construction, food & drink, and cleaning & maintenance. Only one of the companies had previous experience of selling products into France. The research programme is entirely cost-free and requires minimal input from the companies once the research specification is agreed.” Explains John Reed of Exportaid Although research does not always guarantee positive results, this entry level work can help the UK companies in a number of different ways…

  • it can determine that the French market is not right for their products/services at this time
  • it can result in companies modifying their product/service offer to suit the French market
  • it can lead to buying opportunities as well as selling opportunities
  • it can identify the best initial route to market
  • it can locate a number of possible distributors or selling partners
  • it can establish the level of both national and regional competition
  • it can generate confidence that France is a good market to sell to

…and a number of other possible outcomes. Most importantly, it takes out the initial cost of researching the market so that even if the findings are mainly negative the company does not expend time and resource reaching that conclusion. Exportaid is now looking for UK companies to fill the five research slots for our 2012-2013 programme. Three of the five slots are already taken, by companies involved in healthcare, construction, and metalcraft. If you would like to be considered for the programme, please contact us by email at info@exportaid.com and we will be pleased to consider your request.

Thanks to John Reed at Exportaid for this article.