AIDA – explain it please.

I am pretty sure you have all heard of AIDA – the 4 key areas of advertising – but do you know exactly what they stand for and how to encompass them into your advertising strategy?
A – Capture the customer’s attention and make him AWARE of the product/service you are offering
I – Make an IMPACT and stimulate his interest.
D – Persuade him that he is deprived because he does not possess the product/service you are offering and therefore stimulate a DESIRE or demand for it.
A – The actual purchase made or ACTION taken.
There are however, difficulties associated with assessing the effectiveness of your promotional expenditure, mainly because of the possible delays taken to yield a result or action. In the case of advertising, a distinction must be made between what is known as direct response advertising and brand awareness advertising. The former is widely used when selling a product i.e. the retail industry where a sofa is on sale for a limited time. Whereas the latter type of advertising might be used to build awareness in the first instance.
In Bath Marketing Consultancy’s opinion, the objectives of an advertising campaign may need the following –
1. To support a brand by stressing its advantages
2. To attack a competitor (directly or indirectly!) and hence increase market share
3. To increase total sales by aiming to increase market share within the existing market
4. To co-operate with producers of jointly used products = mutual approval
5. To appeal to a new segment or market
6. To convey and image of the firm rather than an actual product/service
7. To support a particular marketing strategy
8. To support a decision to buy after the purchase has actually been made
Most advertising does much more than maintain an existing position, but I feel it should be an essential part of an organizations overall marketing strategy for areas like brand loyalty are very fickle and hence, organizations need to continue to remain “on radar” with their customers and prospects. I am not saying that regular advertising will bring you one step closer to retirement; more that it certainly has a place within your marketing activity so dismiss it at your peril.

Keep Sight of the Bigger Picture in SEO

Having a website that ranks in the top 5 or 10 search positions for competitive search terms can be very lucrative especially as a single marketing initiative. As such, there are numerous highly successful organisations who market this one thing: rank pages in the top 10 for various competitive search terms. Yet for most companies, the huge effort that it can take to achieve a top position is not worthwhile unless there are secondary marketing goals.

Secondary goals may be to actually sell your goods/services, or get people to register on you site etc.  A very important distinction that you should always keep in mind is that some search terms may be highly converting (get the users to do what the webmaster wants them to do) and some search terms that seem like they should convert, do not.

So…..sometimes a customer “sign up” following a specific term might be the best way of converting a browser to a customer as you will then have the email address to run dedicated emarketing. 
Get your SEO ducks in a row!

Either way, my suggestion is to make sure that your site will actually be capable of ranking in a top10 position for some searches; maybe look at regional terms initially (feel free to do a search for marketing company bath and see who dominates the first page of Google – me!), but……… warned, there are many things you can do to influence where your website appears so be sure to tick as many of the SEO boxes as possible and do not expect to be there within weeks of going live. 

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!)

Lower Your Expectations

Organic SEO

In order for your website to be successful as a marketing tool it needs to attract traffic.This traffic usually arrives from one of three sources, namely –

1 – by typing your address directly into the browser
2 – from a link on another site another
3 – via a search engine

The latter is one of the most important aspects of online marketing and it is the new website that I am going to address for this. 

In a nutshell, new websites have very little trust, no authority, usually only a few pages and therefore, very little unique content. If need be, see this site to check where your site is –

In my experience, expectation from clients are always high as they invest in a new website and immediately want to see it perform in Google and hence offer a potential for a return on the investment.

Fact – there is absolutely no way that new sites can get high levels of traffic from SEO or rank in the top10 for high-volume and competitive searches.

Once your website is “trusted” by search engines, you can produce relevant and SEO friendly content and see your new pages in the top-10 or top-20 of Google. Unfortunately for new sites, it takes much longer to achieve high rankings in search engines. New and untrusted sites without much authority must take to heart the old “it takes six months for SEO to work” approach.
Instead of hoping for immediate results, new sites must instead focus on making long-terms plans. There must be a plan to build trust and authority in their niche, consistently create optimized content, and a great overall product to which people will find it natural and helpful to link.If you expect strong SEO traffic in the first 6 months of your site’s existence, it is not going to be easy to accomplish.

You may want to rethink your initial goals and lower the expectations from SEO until your site is trusted and has built up some authority.

The next article will focus on Trust.

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?

2011 – 20 pointers to look at to ensure success

What can be better for a small business than looking at a full diary; a diary that has lots of potential new clients booked in?!

Marketing Check List for 2011

In my opinion, getting a meeting with someone new is a great achievement and essential to business growth as, without these sorts of meetings, your business is likely to really struggle. Yes, it is great to “network,” to get referals and to interact on Twitter etc, but it is getting new business that is the core to business development.

So……always be thinking of that little bit extra. Perseverance and tenacity will always be rewarded, especially if accompanied by flair. Don’t expect results overnight, but do expect results from your sales and marketing.

Below are 20 golden rules to try and stick to –

Create a fire; you cannot just flick a switch
Invest time AND money
Treat your business as a brand – research it and define your USP
Remember marketing is not just new business/sales
Construct a clear vision of where you want to be
Aim high – but have a safety net
Do a few things brilliantly rather than loads averagely
Remember the competitive framework
Look after your database
TEST new ideas and initiatives
Use all the tools you can
Invest in training if need be
Consider contra deals
Work on “selling” a meeting in the first instance
Try and get to know local editors
Make sure you have a good team & suppliers
Keep in touch with clients and prospects
People give business to people who really want their business

With 2011 pretty much upon us, why not give Bath Marketing Consultancy a shout or come in for a coffee and a chat to discuss your marketing?

Overcoming the dreaded answerphone

voicemail message

How many times do you pluck up the courage to make a sales call either as a cold call or as a follow up and you are met with the answerphone?? It is definitely one of my pet hates as there is no industry standard procedure with regards to what to do and how to deal with it…! Calling at the best time when answerphone might not be on is definitely one of the key objectives, but knowing when this is is hard, in fact it is pretty impossible.

So……… do you not only meet, but actually beat the dreaded voicemail?

Certainly the nervous “Hello xxxx, this is yyyy and I would like to speak to you re zzzz and my number is 01225 xxxxx ” is likely to have limited if not any effect at all. After all, how many of us have actually called back someone who is obviously selling something?

But how about giving this a go…………when the answerphone beep sounds, you deliver your script in a clear and steady voice, spelling your name etc, but, emphasizing that, if you do not hear from this person by a specific date, you will call again. This is not meant as some sort of threat!
As you cannot “close” in this situation, you have to give specific details of when you will call back so that you can try and achieve your goal of making an appointment. When you call again… I am sure you will have to……you open by referring to the previous message. If need be, repeat the process and make a joke of it!

If this situation continues, make each message more lighthearted and emphasize the importance of the chat you are looking to have. Maybe even drop in the odd benefit the call will bring to the person. In my experience, this procedure should result in actually speaking to the required person within about 4 or 5 calls and it is actually possible to develop a sort of “virtual” relationship.

This is not pesteting. This process is about you overcoming hurdles/obsticles that are in your way. But, be warned, if the prospects does actually call you back, make sure you are fully prepared and know who he or she is. This might sound obvious, but I know from bitter experience that, not recognising a persons name when they call back and treating it like a sales call can actually undo all the good work you have put in!

Bath Marketing’s next post could be on the answers you can give to questions like “who are you” and/or how to fill your diary. What do you think?

The Christmas period and how it impacts on the Small Business

After one of the most hectic ends to one month/start to another I have ever experienced on both the professional and personal front with some large projects coming to fruition, a number of new client wins and a new baby, I am back on the blog trail and have decided to write about………this time of year and 2011 as I am very interested in hearing any thoughts on the below….

Christmas Party

Traditionally the Christmas and New Year period become labelled the “silly season” where people in business let off steam after a hard 12 months and generally work a 2 or possibly 3 week month before taking time off to recharge for the next working year.
This was very much my experience of corporate life; an easy month for the same disposable income as the busy months with the possibility of a bonus and always a very good pi** up at the end. In addition, being senior management for a long period of time, I knew that any Christmas/New Year work wouldn’t fall onto my lap as I was off from Christmas eve until Jan 2nd at the earliest!!

However, is this really the case for the small business owner? Do we also see December as a time to take it easy (…sorry, easier) or do we see December as a nightmare month where time available to do things is dramatically reduced, income potential is reduced, bills take longer to be paid, the people we need to get hold of are very rarely available and the chance to have an office party is non existent?

The Grinch

Well, I am afraid that after 16 years of corporate life, for the last 2 years I now fall into the category of December being a very hard month as the person who owns and runs Bath Marketing Consultancy. That is not to say that I am a “Grinch” when it comes to the Christmas period! No. What I am saying is that when a working month is dramatically reduced and the workload stays the same or actually increases, it makes it very hard to let off steam in the traditional way!

When it comes to the industry I operate in – Marketing – I am already seeing a trend towards some businesses taking a serious look at their Christmas marketing with email marketing, Christmas cards, gifts,  new initiatives etc and some of my clients are looking at 2011 in terms of putting together a strategic plan focusing more of SEO or Social Media.

Unlike the vast majority of my blog posts, I am not going to give advice on what to do. What I am interested in however, is your experience of December. Are you taking the foot off the pedal or are you furiously working at home late into the night?!

p.s. don’t feel too sorry for me as I am going to the Sole Traders Christmas lunch at Babington House on Friday and will not have my phone on…….purely to support my clients of course!!

Social media – a case study

What do you do when one of those notification emails arrives in your in box letting you know that another person/business is “following you” or that someone has left a comment on your blog? Do you simply delete it feelign quite smug that someone else has noticed your business, do you make a note to look at it later or do you click on the link to see who they are are and what they may have said?
The power of Twitter
If you are a small business, time sometimes comes at a premium so actually acting on one of these notification emails might not be at the top of your list. However, I wanted to share with you a little story about what happened to me as a result of a notification email.
Many months ago, Bath Marketing Consultancy received an email saying that someone else was “following my tweets.” I immediately clicked on the link of this persons profile to see where they were based and if they had a website. What I found was that this particular follower was Bristol based graphic designer. I then looked at their website and it looked really quirky and cool.
Now I am not ashamed to admit that I outsource to people when I identify a particular marketing need for a client such as graphic design, back end coding or print and thought that being “connected” to another graphic designer who was local to me was probably a good idea. I, therefore, followed this person back.
Now as you fellow social media people probably know, Twitter is a platform that allows people to interact with each other over the internet and allows you to develop sort of virtual friendships online. It also provides a platform for businesses to manage their reputation and to stamp their personality on their brands. I am not a fan of the “it is cold outside” or “I am off to make a coffee” tweet so I tend to post (what I feel) are useful snippets of marketing information as well as links to my Blog posts and I also enter the odd online conversation.
When I noticed @mangoink (the business in question) Tweeting, I sometimes retweeted or made the odd comment and Mango Ink also retweeted my tweets etc….a relationship developed. I also noticed that @mangoink were on Skype so I added them to my Skype contact list. I then thought to myself, why not call @mangoink to see what they are like and to see whether it was worth meeting up as I knew I was heading into Bristol for a meeting shortly….
What resulted was a lovely, lenghty conversation with a lady called Emma Lewis @mangoink. (You can probably guess where this is go….and, no, not a date!!).
We did cross paths at Emma’s offices and swap notes and got on like a house on fire. So much so that Emma emailed me at the start of November about a pitch she had been invited to do for a prospect in Bristol. Emma said that there was a graphic design + a marketing requirement and would I be interested in getting involved.
We went through the brief together and bounced some ideas around and then Emma and her team started putting together brand identity visuals and ideas while I looked at the prospects’ online offer and made some suggestions about mystery shopping and gathering existing marketing material.
We pitched the prospect in Bristol yesterday morning as a “design and marketing team” where both Mango Ink and Bath Marketing Consultancy presented their skills. We were up against an incumbent plus one other “agency.”  The result………………………..we have been awarded the account where both Emma and myself will work together to deliver the full suite of design and marketing initiatives. Welcome to Abode Property Management in Bristol.

For those people who do not believe in the power of social media, I hope this gives you some cause to re think!