One way for a business to go looking for sales is simply to write to every prospective customer and tell them what’s on offer. The cost of a second class stamp is 54p, so notionally we would be spending about that much per prospective customer in order to advertise. Although this may look expensive, it is money which we can spend as we go, or stop spending if we get a rush of orders. A little bit of “direct mailing”, at least, is something for every business to consider.
Now let’s think about the other ways in which we could advertise. Should we go for the Internet, for a newspaper advert, a radio advert, a big splash in Yellow Pages, an airship, leafletting or men with sandwich boards? Whatever we do, we ought to try to estimate or measure return on investment for each type of promotion. If the ROI which we expect, estimate or measure is poorer than the ROI which we would expect to achieve by direct mail, then that type of promotion is obviously best abandonned. This is one reason why the skies are not full of airships, but I have seen it done by a water company wanting to plug its shares.
The point of these comments is to reiterate that a little direct mail is always worth considering. See what sort of return you get, and then use that as the benchmark by which to judge other forms of promotion. An alternative to direct mail is leafletting in the local area, and this could also be the alternative benchmark.
David Porthouse & Co are Carlisle accountants serving clients in Cumbria and North West England. They have a substantial interest in new technology and have developed an optical number recognition/datepoint system for scanning bank statements, with the intention of ameliorating the cost of accounts preparation. They also have a spreadsheet system which can be e-mailed back and forth between the accountant and clients. In addition, they have now developed an online quotation system for instant quoting. A letter about all this may be on the way.