How to market to SMEs by SMEs – They Know Best

The SME market is of course huge. With a turnover of over £1350 billion, it's no wonder why many of us engage in direct marketing to this lucrative sector, in fact as a whole, we spend nearly £6 billion in doing so. How much of that £6 billion could we have saved or increased our return had we known how the SME market wants to be communicated with?

Luckily, a new report from the DMA and partners entitled The SME Voice have provided the answers and now we can enjoy a more fruitful engaging dialog with our SME target market. Ok, let's cut to the chase.

First and foremost, the notion that Social Media is greater than Email Marketing is not cut and dried according to this report. Email was the most preferred option of contact, with usage even showing an increase from 69% to 80% as the year progressed. One possible reason for this is the rise in popularity of Smartphone's which enable email to be accessed on the move.

So we now know how to contact SMEs, the next question is when? Simple, there was a resounding response to support Monday & Wednesday mornings and not more than once a week. It's a risk though to stick to this mantra as we know from working with our clients, the SME market is never stagnant and marketing communication strategies often have to be updated.

Finally, what should we send to these guys? Well its always tempting to bombard them with trumpet blowing and sales propaganda (zzZZZ) but what they actually prefer is a healthy mix of messages that are changeable throughout the year. In the summer months, price-focused messages are favoured whilst the winter months are better served with product-related updates. Overall the message here is: Don't just presume your marketing material and messages are best suited to your target market - if possible, ask them what they want and that feedback will be vital to improving your direct marketing ROI and we all love that!

Here's the summary for the skim readers:

- Email rules ok. 80% say so.

- Weekly contact works for email. Calls and direct mail - monthly.

- Tell me why they like Mondays

- Get your message in early in the week.