Reaching Out to Small Businesses
Results of a recent telephone survey by the Opinion Research Corp. commissioned by The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. yielded good news for small business owners. Released just days before National Small Business Day on May 10, the survey found that 77 percent of respondents rated small businesses as "excellent" or "good" at providing courteous service; 74 percent rated them "excellent" or "good" at being knowledgeable or professional; and a whopping 93 percent stated that supporting local ownership of small businesses factors into their buying decisions.
With small businesses winning such rave reviews from customers, it stands to reason that B-to-B marketers would want to capitalize on such a popular sector. Indeed, the Who's Mailing What! Archive is rife with offers for businesses of all sizes, small in particular. Most notable are mailings from credit card companies, such as one sent by Citibank for its CitiBusiness MasterCard (Archive code #544-171691-0504).
Mailed in a #10 envelope, the CitiBusiness mailing includes an 81/2" x 101/2" one-page letter with a 61/2" x 81/2" perf-off reply form, a 4" x 8" four-color lift note and a BRE. The main highlight of the offera free Palm Pilotis presented on the outer, which features a picture of the Palm Pilot and the card's major benefits0 percent APR on balance transfers until Aug. 1, 2006 and no annual feeprinted on the PDA's screen, with "Yours FREE!" written below.
This image steals the show, appearing again on the letter and on one side of the lift note, outshining the actual benefits of the card. According to Susan Fantle, a B-to-B specialist and direct response copywriter and consultant, this focus on the premium is no surprise. "The 'no interest until August' routine, that's just getting boring," says Fantle. "That's what you see on all [credit card offers] now. So that doesn't really delineate them. It's just one of their benefits. So they're looking for some way to say 'here's something different that you can't get from anybody else' with the Palm Pilot."
A perusal of the Archive shows credit card mailers luring prospects in with special offers above and beyond the benefits of the card for both consumer and business mailings. For example, a mailing from the American Express OPEN: Small Business Network itemizes the benefits of the Business Green Rewards Cardunlimited points, no expiration dates, a waived fee for one year and a $50 gift cardon the outer envelope, with the gift card copy printed larger on the face and the back (Archive code #544-172047-0502D).
While getting a special offer out to prospects to entice them inward is
important for all mailers, whether consumer or B-to-B, Fantle says the prospect for a small business mailingusually the owneris someone who has more of a personal stake, which might explain the heavy focus on added benefits. "Every penny spent literally is coming out of this guy or girl's pocket," says Fantle. "In larger business, you've got different people who have different pains. Basically in small business, you've got one person who has all the pains."
Fantle adds that the owner with all the pains is easier to sell to as opposed to someone in a big business, where there are different decision makers who each need to be approached differently.