Need marketing expertise, why not invest in yourself….and your business?

I have always found that winning new business is something that is actually quite complicated as  marketing-expertiseit can come as a result of so many different marketing activities and initiatives and these initiatives are actually quite hard to locate as to which one worked. However, one thing to consider is that it is highly unlikely that you as a business owner, can keep on top of every one of these many initiatives yourself to keep the new business tap flowing.
Similarly, if you are a business that employs people, the people you employ are also unlikely to be experts in every field of marketing so I feel you have 2 options:

1) Invest in training yourself so that you can do certain initiatives in house
2) Outsource to a specialist

For example, if you want to take control of your companies’ social media then, in this Blog I have written some 25 odd articles that are all social media related so you may well be able to fulfill certain requirements simply by reading my articles. However, if you read my articles (or books from the library) and they do not give you the answers you seek then you have the option of signing up for a social media course or outsourcing to an expert.

If outsourcing is a route you might go down, be very careful before buying in services that will come into direct contact with prospects.

Whatever you decide to do, try and see any costs incurred or time allocated as an investment rather than a direct cost to your business and this investment should pay off over time.

Direct mail or do you mean direct marketing?!

Direct Marketing

Let’s just clear up one thing to start with…do not get confused between direct mail and direct marketing! Direct Marketing is NOT direct mail! Direct marketing is a marketing method and direct mail is just one of the media available. It traditionally formed a large part of direct marketing, but it has now been overtaken by press and TV advertising who display a response device like a dedicated Facebook webpage.

I feel direct marketing is a key element to business growth and the main objective of the activity a business undertakes should be entice the prospect to emerge from your “warm prospect” list and respond so that you can start a conversation which will lead to a meeting which will lead to a problem-solving conversation, a first job and eventually a business relationship.

But….do not forget existing clients. If you have got something new to say, or something new to offer,  then they should be the people who hear from you first. After all, existing clients should be the fertile ground for your marketing and should be the group that are most likely to respond to a cross sell or an additional product or service!

Remember when you are trying to generate a response that there is not “ideal” per cent response rate – just the profit per reply calculation. However, if your direct marketing does elicit a  response, you must react promptly to the requests that come in.

But…..before you can even think about response and profit, prospect or existing client, you must face the biggest challenge of direct marketing – your own database/mailing list. 

If you are considering direct marketing and need some help, get in touch with Bath Marketing Consultancy.

Create Content for SEO

Having quality content is a fundamental requirement for all websites if you want them to perform organically within search engines. There are probably 3 main considerations when looking at the wording you use that will influence SEO-driven content:

1) You must be as prolific as possible in your content creation.
2) You must balance the speed with which you create content with the highest possible quality of that content as possible.
3) You must also have an effective promotion strategy beyond onpage SEO + possibly some sort of link-building strategy for the content you produce.

Write original content.
In Bath Marketing Consultancy’s opinion, try to write content that is likely to attract links on its own and make sure that the content is written to a high level of literacy and is at least 300 words per page (more is often better). Also, if there are pages within your site where the content is written by someone else within your organisation, if possible, give them access to that page so that they can control the relevancy of that page.

By applying these initiatives, you will have the high quality content you wrote yourself and another part of the site that is kept fresh by other users.

Always try and make your content original and compelling and be warned, if you copy content from someone else, search engines will eventually detect that and will penalize you by removing your pages from the search engine rankings all together.
If you need help, engage a dedicated copywriter like The Copysmith in Bath….(or talk to a marketing company with a good track record in SEO about your online marketing requirements!)

Why hide things? Be transparent!

……..why hide things indeed and what exactly would I be hiding?!!

Be clear!

The reason for this post is to share some experiences which have helped cement client relationships for me in the hope that it will reassure you that there is nothing wrong with being transparent in the way you work.

For nearly 20 years I have been working in the advertising and marketing industry and in that time I would like to think I have learnt a great deal…….. I will also admit that I have made some mistakes, some bigger than others!

At a previous “agency” I was taught to say “yes” to every client request and then worry about how to deliver it. For example, “do you do xyz” or “can you help me with xyz” ? Basic questions, yes,  but the agency in question didn’t have strengths in areas like SEO and therefore it was outsourced……unbeknown to the client. We then took the credit for the work marking up the actual suppliers cost. This is actually quite common in my industry and it made me feel very uncomfortable.

When I set up Bath Marketing Consultancy, it was my aim to deliver the best marketing to each client and if that meant I couldn’t physically deliver a certain initiative, I would work with an associate who is better at it than me. Why hide this from the client and pretend that it is me doing everything? Surely no client would expect you to be the best at absolutely everything so tell them what you are doing and the benefits they will have from this situation….??!

In another “coming clean” scenario, I have previously put a proposal to a client based on an initial brief, done some more detailed research and market analysis and then discovered that I could actually do the job better and cheaper if I did it differently – sometimes meaning a cheaper re quote. I could have kept quiet, but I informed the client and the result was real appreciation and gratitude.
Both the above scenarios demonstrate that it never hurts to be clear in how you work and what resources you employ. In my opinion, people buy people and, like any relationship, transparency is key.

If you cant do what you want, find someone who can. After all maybe that particular door will swing both ways and, you can also tell the client that, because of your connections and relationships, you can bring in an expert to help you solve his problem saving him/her time and money. In addition, if you feel that you have to back track from a proposal, be honest about why and outline the benefits to the client. I am confident that this will lead to a long and lasting relationship.

Does any of this strike a chord? Do you have any similar experiences?

What is marketing all about?!

To me marketing is not just about making sales or having a glossy brochure as a leave behind, it is about following a number of initiatives that all work together producing clarity about your USP and facilitating business growth.
To clarify this, below are what I feel, the process of marketing should include:

1.Winning new businessWhat is marketing all about?!
I still feel that 5 or 6 initiatives should be running at one time and that each new initiatives needs testing. For example, do you use cold canvassing? It can be incredibly successful

2.Understanding your market
How well do you know your market? What sort of experience do you have from your contacts? Is there potential to do a real SWOT analysis?

3.Brand building
My personal favourite. Ensure you use a mix of corporate id, advertising, PR, sponsorship, SEO, corporate literature etc. All of these are great brand building elements so use them, maybe in connection with visibility at seminars, networking or conferences.

4.Plan your strategy
Make sure you know exactly what you are doing withyour business or marketing plan. Are you the sole driver in this or can you outsource?

5.Managing existing clients
Put in place manageable deliverables and some way of monitoring activity.

6.Internal marketing
This might not be something that you need if you are a small business, but internal communications and training are essential.

Some might say that marketing is a bit of an obsession for me, but how well do you know your market and your position within it? How much more turnover could you make if you increased your market share or were on more radars?

Too often marketing is a knee jerk reaction to falling sales rather than a planned process. In a crowded market place, you must shout to get heard. You mush shout to get noticed and to be remembered. Jump in and take control or someone else will. Make sure you have a simple, clear and differentiated offer.

After all, there is nothing worse than seeing some other business/organisation doing really well when you know your offer is better. Don’t let it happen!

Marketing is more than new business.

Although I am a great fan of business plans, it is having a marketing strategy that will make the difference to your business. Such a strategy should be based on the results of the research you have conducted. It should also include existing clients. There’s nothing worse that producing exciting promotional material aimed at potential clients (see last week’s Blog posts on “The Company Brochure”) and forgetting to circulate it to your existing ones. It goes without saying that existing clients are still going to be your mainstay; your foundation and must never be sacrified on the altar of new business.

There will be people within your business who are simply not motivated by new business or even by the whole idea of marketing. You, yourself may be the sort of person who just sees marketing as increasing sales. This is not a crime! However, there does need to be a dedicated person to drive the marketing process forward and this someone can even be an external person such as a marketing consultant who you “tap into” when you need him or her.

I feel that there are 20 golden rules when looking at marketing and these will be posted later in the week.

Do you have any comments on this or any of my other posts? Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me direct via my website.

The Role of Marketing

In my opinion, businesses must make selling a high priority within an overall plan, but such a plan is likely to be labelled a marketing or business plan. However, as I have indicated in Twitter, I see marketing as considerably more than just selling.  The Role of Marketing

I continually hear from businesses quotes like ‘we have got on really well all these years without marketing and selling so why do we need it now?’ In fact, I met a business yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce Event in Frome who told me categorically that their business does not do any marketing relying on word of mouth to grow their business. When I asked why they had a stand at the event and wasn’t that a part marketing, I was given a rather blank look!

I feel the answer to this sort of questions is that, when a company performs well to date without what they perceive as active marketing, it is unlikely that this will continue as competitor activity will ultimately mean a loss in business. Everyone loses clients periodically or has clients that spend less and it is winning new business that grows an organisation.

Whether you are doing the marketing yourself, motivating others to do it for you or outsourcing it, remember marketing is not just about having a nice brochure or a website with animation (please do not talk to a printer or graphic designer about marketing!). Marketing is about differentiating your business from anyone else. It is not about what your logo looks like; it is about giving your customers a coat hanger for them to hang their coat on and ultimately, I see marketing as 6 key areas:

1.Winning new business – using cold canvass, online marketing, D/M, emarketing etc to open doors.

2.Understanding your market – ensure you have a thorough knowledge of your own market through a SWOT, competitor analysis, discussions with existing and prospective clients.

3.Building your brand – corporate ID, advertising, PR, literature, sponsorship – all are brand builders; elements of the marketing mix + exhibitions, conferences, seminars etc.

4.Planning – you must have a proper plan (use a Consultant if need be!)

5.Managing existing clients – maybe implement an SLA & monitor quality

6.Internal Marketing – for the larger organisation, communicate activity internally.

None of the above is set in stone, they are just my suggestions…….based on nearly 20 years in the communications industry! As always, I say to people that anyone can learn marketing, but it takes a lifetime to get right and ultimately, it is an essential part of business and should not be undertaken lightly. Too many business owners seem to think that they can do all these elements. Wrong. There is nothing wrong with building a relationship with an external party and working with them to get marketing (and selling) right and I happen to know of a very good Consultancy!


Social Media Optimization

Ranking high on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing is not a paid endeavour, but rather a combination of factors, including:
• How long your Web site has existed.
• How much traffic your site has.
• How relevant your content is to the term being searched.
• How many relevant links you have, inbound or outbound.

To fully understand the wherewithal’s my suggestion is to firstly add analytics to your website. What is analytics? It is a code that your web developer can insert into the html template (before the ‘body’ tag) that allows you to actually monitor how traffic arrtives at your website. It also allows you to see what the browser did when on your site, what percentage of browsers pressed the dreaded ‘back’ button, what terms were used to get the there etc etc. Put simply, this free tool is essential in SEO and SEM.

More Traffic
Once the foundations have been laid (see a previous article), a well-crafted SEO campaign can really make a difference to driving the right sort of traffic, but more and more techniques are being developed every day. One of the emerging techniques is Social Media Optimization (SMO). SMO is a great way to amplify the strength of an SEO campaign. It uses social media to promote a site. And with a vast number of social media sites being developed, SMO is the future of SEO.

There are a number of sites that spring to mind when constructing SMO, but YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are the major players. These three sites are commonly used by browsers for search functions and there are already arguments that Facebook is fast becoming the number one source of referring traffic— even ahead of Google.There is already a foundation for social media, since almost everybody has social media profile or a YouTube account. The browsers are there, and it’s just a matter of turning them into clients.

If you need help in this key area of marketing, please get in touch with me by emailing or by filling out the contact form on my website.

The definitive explanation of marketing!

Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion …

You’re a woman and you see a handsome man at a party. You go up to him and say, “I’m fantastic in bed.” That’s “Direct Marketing.”
You’re at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome man. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says, “She’s fantastic in bed.” That’s “Advertising.”

You see a handsome man at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, “Hi, I’m fantastic in bed.” That’s “Telemarketing.”

You see a man at a party, you straighten your dress.You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, “May I,” and reach up to straighten his tie, brushing your breast lightly against his arm… And then say, “By the way, I’m fantastic in bed.” That’s “Public Relations.”

You’re at a party and see a handsome man. He walks up to you and says, I hear you’re fantastic in bed.” That’s “Brand Recognition.”

You’re at a party and see a handsome man. He fancies you, but you talk him into going home with your friend. That’s a “Sales Rep.” Your friend can’t satisfy him so she calls you. That’s “Technical Support.”

You’re on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you’re passing. So you climb onto the roof of one situated towards the centre and shout at the top of your lungs, “I’m fantastic in bed!” That’s “Junk Mail.”

Bath Marketing Consultancy hopes you now have a complete understanding of Marketing !!!