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DEMAND GENERATIONS NEWS: London Evening Standard pushes SME resource site

The London Evening Standard is preparing to step up the marketing on its new resource site for SMEs.

Business Connections is a paid-for service designed for entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses in London and the South East. Matt Harrison, sales and marketing director of The London Evening Standard, The Independent, The Independent On Sunday and The i, said it would be targeting this particularly difficult to reach audience with press advertising in The Standard and its sister titles, as well as other national and trade press. Email marketing using its existing database will be used alongside search and social.

Speaking about the social media marketing strategy Harrison said, “We’ve just got a Twitter account – @esconnections but felt Facebook wasn’t the right environment for us, we want to get the website and Twitter right first.”

Business Connections was borne out of feedback from B2B brands struggling to leverage the marketing potential around the London Olympics. The website has been live for four weeks and the first Business Connections event took place shortly after the launch. Harrison said the second event will be officially announced in a couple of weeks but it would have less focus on the Olympics and be about encouraging SMEs to leverage technology.

For the £40 annual membership fee users get full access to the content on the site, free tickets to events and access to the user forum – due to be created in the near future. Despite charging for the service when other schemes and initiatives designed to help SMEs are free, Business Connections is hoping the one-off fee will mean better engagement among users on the site. Opting for a quality not quantity approach, Harrison said, “We’ve sacrificed numbers for better engagement among members.”