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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Writing an effective sales letter - checklist

There are so many ways to keep in touch with customers or approach new prospects. But a well-written sales letter still has the power to persuade. Follow our steps to writing an effective sales letter.

  • Consider why you are sending a sales letter rather than using another form of communication or marketing. Whether announcing a product launch or trying to get a meeting, weigh up whether it is the best means of making your initial approach.
  • Try to ensure the letter gets past gatekeepers. Address the envelope personally so it is not dismissed as junk mail. A handwritten envelope should help get the letter to the prospect's desk, and is more likely to be opened.
  • Be personal. Look at the customer's sales history and adapt the letter to reflect their particular buying habits. If possible, sign each one individually.
  • Show that you understand your customer's problems and explain how you can provide a solution. Don't talk broadly about your business - talk about how you can help them, specifically.
  • Use the right tone and language for your target customers. For example, you might use colourful language to sell organic baby food to parents, but adopt more practical terminology to offer a window-cleaning service.
  • Include testimonials from customers. Endorsements will give prospects more faith in you.
  • Take your time and avoid spelling or grammatical errors. Mistakes look unprofessional and could undermine your letter's credibility. Get somebody to proofread your letter before it is sent out.
  • Put some thought into the design. Ensure it is clearly laid out and easy to read. Include a maximum of three or four lines per paragraph, and add bullet points if necessary.
  • Include a call to action, for example 'Call us now on this number'. A direct command is likely to be more effective than a sentence that suggests 'You can contact us…'.
  • Include a web address with other contact details. A dedicated landing page on your website, with information that directly references the letter, is best.
  • Follow up a sales letter by calling the customer.

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