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New year "marketing letter"..
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 2:31 am    Post subject: New year "marketing letter".. Reply with quote

As most of you know, I am always trying to come up with some way to not only keep former clients but get new ones as well.

I drafted this letter this morning and will go over it many times to "fine tune" it before sending it out. The main thing is I want to keep it one page so to start with I made the font size 11.

Feel free to use all or any part of this letter you see fit.

Dear

The holidays are past and another new year is upon us… Thanks to all who booked their events with us in 2008! It is now time to settle in and welcome 2009 and we all hope it will be a better year than past. Over the years, I have come to realize and be grateful for many things: my health, my family, my friends and still very grateful for being able to serve you as a Barbecue Caterer.
Sadly to say, the “economic crisis” has taken its toll on many of those in my profession. One example is a small catering company that started in the catering business at the same time that I did, 1994. They have recently left the industry because the career path they chose was to focus mostly on high cost “high end” catering (fancy stuff). I chose a different path, I wanted to help my customers no matter what their financial situation, get the best possible food at reasonable prices even when other catering companies would charge more simply because… they could. That is why I became proficient in providing a catering service that is affordable to anyone, and is the reason I am still in the catering business today. I have a strong conscience as well as a high code of ethics, and strive to serve my clients with the best catering possible.
Nationally, hundreds of catering companies have “gone under” and more than a few right here in our area and all for different reasons. Mainly because they were focusing their goals in a different direction than I do. I focus on providing professional service, on site cooking with quality, sanitary, state of the art equipment and using the highest quality products available and many small extras that are not easy to see. Another reason I have succeeded where others have failed is because I don’t have the overhead most other caterers do. I buy products fresh for each event and cook at the site of your event. I also don’t have to hire extra staff to prepare and cook your food ahead of time (at another location) and then transport it to your site “pre-cooked”.
So…if you need help with catering…whether it is to boost morale in your work place, employee recognition, wedding, birthday, retirement…funeral (we have catered many), even if you think you can’t afford a caterer-call me and let’s discuss your situation. As you already know, I cannot cater for free, but I am more reasonable than most people think a caterer can (or should) be. Please think of me if friends or family members need a caterer as well. I have stayed in this business because of you-my past clients and contacts who have allowed me to serve you with your catering needs. Please help me so that I may continue to assist you and other clients with fair, ethical pricing options for years to come! Thank for trusting me with your catering needs and referrals in the past-I look forward to being part of your future as well.
Happy New Year!

Marv Tuter
“Your friend in the catering business!”
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DawgPhan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess you aren't looking for comments on the letter since you didn't ask for them, but hell I am going to give them anyway. I find the parts about the "other guys" going out of business distasteful. I would leave that out and focus on why they should hire you or remember you.

I also think that a simple christmas/new year/thank you type note would be much better than this letter.

I would do your logo on the front, and simply say happy new year and thank you for your patronage. We look forward to serving you in the future. I would remember that much more than some letter telling me why you are better than the other people that went out of business.

The rationale being that, they know you are good. They have had your food and they chose you in the first place. They are already sold. Just remind them for their future events and thank them for their past events.
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes i agree with dawphan. i kept asking myself if i received this from a business that i had already done business with would i again do business with him? answer was no. the letter seems quite verbose and full of hot air...
i would completely rewrite the whole thing if it were me.
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course I wanted responses or I would not have posted it....and thanks for taking the time to do so.

I have posted the same letter on some other forums that I belong to and have received all postive remarks. Funny how diffent people have a different point of view...but hey, that's what makes the world go round...right?? Laughing

Like I said, this was just my first draft and I plan to re-work it (some) before sending it out. But I plan to keep MOST of what I already have.

I was mainly trying to give others ideas of offering a letter of some kind and was having trouble coming up with something on their own.. Wink
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smokin Jim
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Marv, I don't know what the other forums are saying, BUT I agree with Dawg on this one. Keep it a simple thanks for past business and hope to serve you again type of letter. But that is just my opinion.
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Of course I wanted responses or I would not have posted it....and thanks for taking the time to do so.

I have posted the same letter on some other forums that I belong to and have received all postive remarks. Funny how diffent people have a different point of view...but hey, that's what makes the world go round...right?? Laughing

Like I said, this was just my first draft and I plan to re-work it (some) before sending it out. But I plan to keep MOST of what I already have.

I was mainly trying to give others ideas of offering a letter of some kind and was having trouble coming up with something on their own.. Wink


this is meant to be constructive. a lot of business's that may be cutting back on catered events for their employees cause of rocky financial times may not want to do business with someone who seems to be bragging or even condescending towards other caterer's. the printing company that i used to work for printed stuff for the auto industry and we printed a lot of form letters for dealerships that did exactly what you are doing and i dont ever remember them having the tone or making the kind of statements that you are.
again im not trying to be mean. i just think that this letter doesnt convey the message that you are trying to get across.


Last edited by Oregon smoker on Thu Jan 01 09 12:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am seeing excessive use of the word "I" , I think it would read much better by replacing that with "We".

And it I am agreeing with Dawg and Jims thoughts too.

I would shorten it down alot, and just make it a simple thank you and hope to do business with you again statement.

But I got to know, is the cost of this mailing going to be added into the bills of next seasons clients to make up for the cost?
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:

But I got to know, is the cost of this mailing going to be added into the bills of next seasons clients to make up for the cost?


It will come out of my "marketing budget".

I also like (and have since changed) your idea of making it a "we" letter instead of an "I" letter. I was thinking it would be better if it sounded like it came from the heart (me) instead of the company (we). But afer re-reading it many times, I have to agree..."we" would be a better fit....THANKS Harry!


Last edited by marvsbbq on Thu Jan 01 09 12:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a draft of a letter that we (my entertainment provider and I) will be mailing out to new and prospective clients.

One of the emphasis' will be on "affordable" catering options with a theme that "we bring the party to the parking lot" or other locations like local parks.

Most of my repeat corporate clients are cutting back, so affordable is a key these days......................

Attendance is also higher at work place events (captive audience and all), and if they use their own facility it leaves more money for food and other incentives (like door prizes).

It's hard to beat an employee thank-you that only cost's as little as $10.95 a person.

Like the others, I would concentrate on positive images and ideas, and let it go at that...............................
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Bluegrass BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marv, I agree with the other folks. Lighten it up. I spent 20yrs doing this type of letter writing and the one thing I was taught was keep it up beat positive and informative. People don't want to hear about your problems, they have there own to worry about and they sure don't want to hear about the catering problems of the industry from a marketing letter. Tell them how much you appreciate their business in the past and how you can help them have an affordable and exciting event this year. Just my 2 cents.
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Grnmtn BBQ Chef
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do this twice a year... I keep it in the direction of my positives both present and past. Pointing out the failure of others... I don't think my client base would appreciate it, but others many not be affected by it. It should reflect your personality and business practices with the catch that your schedule is filling fast even within these economic times so book your parties now if you want the dates.. Just my thoughts.
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I REALLY appreciate your advice...I trust the advice on this fourm more than anywhere. That's why I call The Smoke Ring...HOME!

Upon your advice, I have re-worked my marketing letter and would really like you folks to take another look at it and again...pitch your thoughts.

Dear

The holidays are past and another new year is upon us… Thanks to all who booked their events with us over the past fifteen years! It is now time to settle in and welcome 2009 and we all hope it will be a better year than the past. Over the years, we at Marv’s BBQ have come to realize and be grateful for many things: our health, our family, our friends, and we are very grateful for being able to serve you as your Barbecue Caterer.

As most struggling caterers are keeping their focus on high cost, “high end” catering (fancy stuff). We chose a different path, we wanted to help our customers no matter what their financial situation, get the best possible food at affordable prices. That is why we became proficient in providing a catering service that is affordable to anyone, and is the reason we are still in the catering business today. We have a strong conscience as well as a high code of ethics, and strive to serve our clients with the best catering possible.

As your barbecue caterer, we focus on providing professional service, on site cooking with quality, sanitary, state of the art equipment and using the highest quality products available along with many small extras that are not easy to see….all at an affordable price.

So…if you need help with catering…whether it is to boost morale in your work place, employee recognition, wedding, birthday, retirement…funeral (we have catered many), even if you think you can’t afford a caterer-call us @ (360)-459-7729 and let’s discuss your situation. As you already know, we cannot cater for free, but we are more affordable than most people think a caterer can (or should) be. Please think of us if friends or family members need a caterer as well.

We have been able to stay in the catering business because of you-our past clients and contacts who have allowed us to serve you with your catering needs. Please help us so that we may continue to assist you and other clients with fair, ethical pricing options for years to come! Thank for trusting us with your catering needs and referrals in the past-we look forward to being part of your future as well.

Have a Happy & Prosperous New Year!

Marv Tuter
Marv’s Marvlus Pit Bar-B-Q Inc.
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smokin Jim
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01 09 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that is much better Marv. Again, just my opinion. I would however look at getting this line removed and just focus on your own business.
Quote:
As most struggling caterers are keeping their focus on high cost, “high end” catering (fancy stuff).

Otherwise I would not be offended in any way with receiving this in the mail. Good luck. All the best for 2009.
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Grnmtn BBQ Chef
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be ok with that. It is showing the path he is taking/taken and no matter how successful an opperation is there is always a bit of a struggle whether it is finacial, staffing or just the work itself.

It puts you in a much better light without anything overtly negitive towards competition.... besides you don't what to beat up the guy down the road, because you never know when they will hit a gig they can't do and need someone to recommend and vice versa.
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Big Tom
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the changes in version 2. I held back on any posts about version 1 because of the timing of when I logged in and read that post.

I think if you don't compare your self(business) to any other caterers you will keep the focus on what you can offer the clients, not what you think others are doing wrong. Just a thought.
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice on version two Marv!

I don't mind the comparision between what you offer (affordable) and high end (read "not affordable these day's) put the way you re-worded it.

I'd like to use that one (with a little tweaking of course) myself........................
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Jeff Hughes
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd still leave out references to others...

Other than that, it looks good...
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browe
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marv...just end it with this:

P.S. The other guy's food sucked anyway.

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kingconsulting
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely like the second version better.

I would reword "struggling caterers" Maybe "As most other caterers"

I don't think the word struggling should be in it. It just sounds negative to me. People don't want to be reminded of others tough times. Just my opinion.

I like it though other then that.
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02 09 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kingconsulting wrote:
I definitely like the second version better.

I would reword "struggling caterers" Maybe "As most other caterers"

I don't think the word struggling should be in it. It just sounds negative to me. People don't want to be reminded of others tough times. Just my opinion.

I like it though other then that.


Thanks, good point...change made Wink
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