Nearly half of all small to medium-sized business now use direct mail as part of their marketing activity, with three-quarters of those saying the medium delivers a good return on investment, according to a new study.
The research – Smart Marketing for Small Businesses, published by Royal Mail MarketReach – follows the launch of Royal Mail’s new online tool MailshotMaker, mailshotmaker.com, which enables companies to create thier own professional, cost-effective mailshots.
It reveals that the vast majority (81%) of UK SMEs believe marketing is ‘critical’ or ‘essential’ to their business growth, with 37% seeing it is the primary driver of their business.
SMEs also reported that they understand multi-channel marketing and apply it regularly, with an average of 3.5 media channels used in their marketing. Many are choosing to ‘do it for themselves’, with 69% preferring to develop and manage all marketing in-house.
However, SMEs are held back from using new channels by a range of concerns. The most commonly cited barrier was a concern about measuring the commercial return on their investment. The second greatest barrier was the cost associated with using the new marketing channel. Capacity to handle customer responses as a result of marketing activity was third, with SMEs saying that a lack of knowledge about who to contact to set up marketing in a new channel was the fourth greatest barrier.
Given the budget constraints, it is perhaps not surprising that the most popular channels for SME marketing are email (82%), social media (62%) and online advertising (50 %), although direct mail is also seen as highly cost-effective, with 46% of those surveyed saying they regularly run mail campaigns. Only 16% of SMEs currently use search marketing and 7% use telemarketing.
Among users of direct mail, confidence in its commercial value is strong, while 75% of SMEs using direct mail said that consumers were more likely to keep a piece of marketing mail than an email.
Royal Mail MarketReach managing director Jonathan Harman said: “Our research shows how important marketing is for UK SMEs. It helps them grow by acquiring new customers and building better relationships with their existing ones.
“But it is clear that lack of knowledge, fears about cost and concerns about measuring their returns could be holding them back. Our SME guide offers solutions to help SMEs overcome some of their concerns and gives them insights from industry experts that they can put into action right now.”
The research coincides with the launch of a separate study, The Seven Life Stages of Mail report, which finds that people of all lifestages read, engage with, share, appreciate, and respond to mail – regardless of their use of digital communications and social media.
For a free copy of the Seven Life Stages of Mail Report click here>
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