It is not downtime it is time to try some more marketing.

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes your marketing wont hit the levels you’re after. I know I always write about successes and success rates; about how to overcome answerphones or how to get the best from key marketing initiatives, but don’t panic. Marketing is not all about sales. It’s about making sure that when your prospects are in the market for what you offer, you get a crack at selling yourself and/or your company.

Nothing you would have done to date will have been wasted when it comes to marketing. Marketing is a process, an activity that keeps going and shouldn’t have an end. If there is downtime in your business, don’t turn the marketing tap off. Invest that time into additional marketing activity. Write articles for your Blog, use social media to make new connections, speak to your existing clients or work on your website. Maybe even run some sort of offer to incentivise a sale – “For the next 30 days, I am offering a free 1 hour review of your xxxxx” or “for the next 30 days you can buy xxxxx at 50% off.” These elements all require time and not necessarily budget.

If you could “invest” in some paid for marketing, what about aligning your organisation with another complimentary one and hold some sort of seminar. I ran one at a hotel in Bristol many years ago with another company entitled, “Why cant I find my website on Google” and we packed out the room! We also had key media there who did a write up about the seminar afterwards.

Remember, the success of a brand is measured in decades not months or weeks and your success remains mostly in your hands. Plan your marketing for the next 3 months and stick to it. Set yourself a realistic target such as 1 new meeting per week. Collate the names of the key people you want to speak to and pick up the phone. You are the expert in your field and people need to know about what you can offer them. Make sure your marketing talks about the benefits you bring not the features. Send an eshot in advance of the phone call with a case study.

What you can do for someone is a lot more attractive than telling them what you do, trust me! When in a social situation and someone asks me what I do for a living, the mere mention of marketing tends to send people to the bar! Mind you, by the end of the night those people who head to the bar are the ones usually asking me questions about what they should do about their marketing!

Website and SEO still in demand, but dont forget the other stuff

The title of this post pretty much sums up a lot of what we at Bath Marketing Consultancy are being approached to do by prospective clients in 2012 and, as a result, we have designed, built and launched 5 sites in the last 3/4 months –

http://impronta.co.uk/

http://mastercocompacttractors.co.uk/

http://www.mastertradesbath.co.uk/

http://helpchildrentoread.com/

http://www.steineracademyfrome.co.uk/

However, what we are also finding is that organisations still very much need help and guidance with regards to their ongoing marketing activity. Yes, “online” is still proving to fill the bulk of the marketing work we do; especially search engine optimisation and social media marketing, but we are also seeing a shift towards businesses needing tangible marketing collateral to use as hand outs at events like mini brochures or having direct mail pieces as well as strategic sales literature.

Relying on a singular marketing initiative is something we would not advocate and therefore, suggest that each organisation “test” a number of initiatives to see what works and what markets are most receptive. Bath Marketing Consultancy has even written a post about suggestions to try!

Social Media – do it now!

Following on from Bath Marketing Consultancy‘s last post on social media and effective SEO, I thought it would be helpful to elaborate on certain key points to try and demonstrate how effective these 2 initiatives can be for an organisation, especially those who operate as small to medium businesses.

One area I think is key is that social media is not a generation initiative. I have lost count of the number of clients I speak to who dismiss Twitter, Blogging and Facebook as things that “teenagers do.” Yes, teenagers do use Facebook and Twitter, but the fastest growing group of social media users are adults in their 40’s. Twitter has only been around for 6 years, but is already used by 200million people and over 1billion “Tweets” are posted each week. Similarly, Facebook is nearly at 1billion users so platforms like these cannot simply be ignored or dismissed.

The big question a business should ask itself is whether its target market are using Twitter etc. If so, and it is very likely that they are, why would you not want to interact with your target market on a free platform?!

Social media doesn’t have any geographic boundaries to it and allows organisations to create trust with their brand. It allows people within an organisation to develop relationships, share knowledge, interact and above all, meet new people.

Even the major brands and companies across the globe use Twitter. If you want to test this, put something negative about BT or Eon on Twitter and watch how quickly someone replies to your comment! Why do they do this? Well, the users of a product or service are who control marketing to a certain extent. Would you base your decision on where to go on holiday on the glossy brochure? Unlikely. More likely is a visit to Trip Advisor to see what other people thought about the hotel or the beach. People trust other people and if you came across a review from someone you know from a social media platform, you are even more likely yo believe them!

A very famous quote from E Qualman, Socialnomics, a while ago was “we dont have a choice of whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”

Social Media and effective SEO

For the first time in ages, I finally took myself out of the office yesterday and attended a workshop in Ilminster entitled “Master class for business: Social Media & Effective SEO.” Despite the weather conditions and the early drive, Bath Marketing Consultancy, along with 139 other people, arrived ready to spend the day soaking up (!) information about SEO and Social Media.

What was my objective for the day?
Networking – to a certain extent, but more importantly, I wanted to further my knowledge in 2 key areas of marketing so that my business can continue to advise and add value to its clients’ marketing activity.
Was this achieved?
Well, in a word, yes. The speakers were all experts in their fields and, although time was limited, they all presented well and were very informative. In particular the workshops delivered by Garry Ennis of NS Design and Jim Hardcastle of Viper Marketing were not only thought provoking but really well delivered.

One of the key areas for me to research was confirming the potential value of the work I do for my clients by hearing the views of other people within the “marketing” industry. Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media are very complex marketing initiatives and are key influencers in raising brand awareness, establishing the credibility and authority of a brand and for developing online relationships. Not only that but, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook really do make a difference to search engine results. Yes, social media is a wide topic and can be daunting to the layman, but, if embraced and planned strategically, it can become a key driver in the area of new client acquisition.

I do recall one question from the audience yesterday which went something along the lines of “when do you know that you have done enough social media.” When answered, I certainly agreed with what was said, namely that you shouldn’t ever really just stop. One of the speakers admitted that direct, paying work as a result of the activity they do on Twitter has only just materialized after nearly 2 years. Is this a good ROI? Well, on paper, probably not. After all a business shouldn’t continue with something like advertising if it takes 2 years to yield, but I feel that direct business shouldn’t necessarily be the only objective of SEO and Social Media. Bath Marketing has made over 1250 connections through Twitter, found new suppliers and (hopefully!) established itself as a key player in what is a very populated field – that of online marketing.

As a result of the work BMC does, if anyone is using Google to source a marketing consultancy, BMC now appears top of the organic positions out of over 8 million search results and top or second for the term marketing consultant out of 114 million. Not bad for a business that is not 3 years old yet!

Bath Marketing would also like to say a special hello to some new Twitter followers. So welcome to you all!

What is a marketing plan?

Put simply, a marketing plan provides direction for your marketing activities and I feel that having one can make the difference between business success and failure. Marketing plans need not be long or cost a lot to put together and should detail what you want to accomplish with your marketing strategy and will therefore help you and your colleagues meet your objectives. They give focus to your business and help you stay on track.

Some have likened a marketing plan to placing a required destination on a road map and the journey to get there is the plan and this plan has detailed directions on how to get there in one piece, quickly and effectively.
But be realistic, within this “journey” as there may be a few bumps in the road, perhaps even a route diversion or two, or a stop for petrol, but if the marketing plan is carefully researched, thoughtfully considered and evaluated, it will help your organization reach its destination.

Anyway, I digress.

The SWOT analysis is probably the first step in putting together a marketing plan for your product/business. Within this SWOT you will be able to decipher where you stand currently, what your strengths and weaknesses are, what opportunities you see in terms of the size of the market etc as well as what threat your competitors pose.

Next, what is your brand? You should be able to answer this in 3 words. Your brand identity is a promise to your customers and this promise should stand for your professionalism, your USP and your reputation.
Once you have decided what your overall company destination is and gone through the process of defining your marketing objectives, what marketing tools would be the most suitable for achieving your goals – click here to see some of them you could use. Also, what have you tried to date? Have you tested using social media for example?

At this stage you are now able to move into the decision-making process for defining the actual tactics you will utilise……

What I will say is that, a marketing plan is not something to just pay lip service to or a box to tick in business. Without a coherent and well thought plan that you communicate internally, you really are missing a trick.
I have come across organisations who have said that they were too busy to do one or were doing well enough so didn’t want to commit time and resources to putting together a marketing plan only to regret it!

There is always the option of bringing in a marketing consultant to help you!

How much marketing consultancy do I need?

This is another question I have been asked recently – “how much of your time do you think I need?”
The answer is, of course, a little like the question “how long is a piece of string??” as, from simply talking to someone over the phone (or via a DM from Twitter!), it is pretty much impossible to determine how much marketing consultancy “time” a company would need.

But……………what if you could bring in someone to go through your business from a marketing perspective to get your company back on the right track or to check that what you have done is correct? What if this person was totally impartial, independent and had nearly 2 decades of marketing experience? What if you could hire Bath Marketing Consultancy for a week’s worth of marketing consultancy for a heavily reduced set fee that included travel, expenses etc?

No need to clock watch!

Well, what I am seriously looking at is exactly this – a week’s worth of marketing consultancy where Paul Tagent would spend up to a week at a time with a single organisation at their offices doing a full marketing and brand audit and basically going through everything marketing related so that an actual, strategic, marketing plan could be constructed at the end of the week.

But that is not just it!

As Bath Marketing Consultancy is a full service marketing consultancy, we could also implement the plan for you (or parts of it if if you wish) for a reduced rate using your initial weeks consultancy payment to off set some of the actual marketing initiatives costs.
For example, if, as part of the weeks marketing consultancy, how the business markets itself online needs re considering to include social media etc, BMC could configure the social media accounts and then train you how to use them.

What do you think? Is this something you would consider? If so, please email me for prices or use the “share” button below.

2012 – what marketing are you planning?

Well, 2012 is now here and for most of us in business, it is back to work; back to the daily routine, back to the grindstone; back to the corporate treadmill.

However, don’t feel down or gloomy about being back at work or the year that lies ahead as a new year is actually a perfect opportunity to really go for it and make strides into building (or growing) a great business platform.

I am not a great one for making resolutions, but I stand by my suggestion that putting together an effective and cohesive marketing plan could make the difference to what you and your business achieves in 2012. So……..if you havent started thinking about this, do it now!

To get you thinking, I put together 30 questions to test your business and, although these were done a while ago, they are still very much worth looking at as they may well prompt you into thinking about things in a different way.

Already in 2012 the internet is awash with Blog sites making marketing predictions about which initiatives to employ. One of the best I have read places great emphasis on how to get the best from your website in terms of how to use title tags effectively. For those already baffled by the term title tags, title tags are the primary text that defines a web page. They are required for all HTML documents. Search engine bots use them to help identify the content of a page so begin the tag with the most valuable and relevant keyword phrase.

Continuing on from the trends from 2010/11, social media and the importance of unique, quality and relevant copy for your website have been highlighted as areas that will be key for successful online marketing and I am very much in agreement with this. I came across a website recently called Hub Spot Blog that gave a string of facts to do with social media and its power for marketing. See here.

But what about more traditional marketing avenues? Well, there will always be a place for traditional advertising, but bunging in ads willy nilly as a result of a sales call selling “last minute space” is not the way forward. Plan what you want to advertise i.e are you looking to make direct sales as a result of the ad or simply generate website traffic.

Email marketing is also an area where I see continued growth in 2012. Why? because email marketing is incredibly cost effective and can provide excellent stats as to actions made as a result.

One area I do think may well become important for the medium sized business is exhibitions and trade shows. They can be expensive, but done correctly and marketed for 2-3 months in advance using Twitter etc, prospects can turn up to meet you on the day who are very “warm.”

Watch this space I say and if you need to talk to someone about what you should do in 2012, get in touch with Bath Marketing Consultancy.