Establish your brand

The more you look around, the more it becomes evident that most service professionals are alike in relation to winning new business. You may be not be a marketing person or working within marketing services. You may be an accountant, an architect or a solicitor, but whatever the title and sector, we all have tangibles services to offer. Too often these services remain hidden secrets.

This must change!

We must make our services known. We must make our audience aware of our knowledge base and

experience so that our new business suspects could become business prospects and business clients. In every sector competition is fierce and everyone is clambering for attention. Most prospects will find it hard to differentiate between us and find it tricky to understand what the offers are so they need to be marketed to.

Prospects deserve to be spoken to in a professional, informative and considered way. Advertising is everywhere these days. On petrol pumps, on a screen in the post office, on the back of toilet doors, on buildings or even in the air so how do we decipher who is who and what is what?

People play a vital part when deciphering who is who. How may times do you meet the person before the company and say that he/she was so and so from somewhere? Similarly, how a company presents itself, the messaging it uses and the language it employs are also contributory factors. This is called……………the company “Brand.”

I think “brand” is one of those words that is widely used but never 100% understood.  What does “brand” mean, and how has the word’s application changed over time? The first definition of “brand” is the name given to a product or service from a specific source.  Used in this sense, “brand” is similar to the current meaning of the word “trademark.”

However, a brand is not just a logo or an icon. It is what the company stands for. It is the name. How it acts. How it makes people feel. Getting this right and marketing it correctly will ultimately influence whether a business succeeds or fails.

Yes, I am a marketing person and marketing people always go on about the importance of marketing, but take your time before rushing out and buying a cheap website, having a logo designed from an online store for $10, setting up Facebook and then hitting the networking groups. There are companies out there that can help you get it right first time. Yes, they charge, but that is what they do. They are called marketing companies. They are not called advertising agencies, website design agencies or social media agencies. These are likely to be companies “specialising” in 1 or possibly 2 areas of marketing and not the whole suite of marketing techniques.

We receive a lot of enquiries from people who have set out of the traps with their marketing only to regret it 12-18 months later. Cheap can be very expensive so do your research. How do the marketing companies you talk to present themselves? What is their “brand.” Do they speak your language and ultimately, are they nice people who you’re going to get on with?

We are here if you need us and are happy to meet people at our offices for a free initial conversation.


Search Engine Optimization – what not to do.

Play with a straight bat.
Following on from my previous article about what to do for SEO, please find Bath Marketing Consultancy’s list of don’ts –
1. Avoid cloaking – Cloaking is when you give your visitors one page and then give search engines another page. Google and its friends want to see and index what your visitors see. Getting caught cloaking can have dire consequences on your site ranking.
2. Avoid keyword stuffing/spamming – This is stuffing your webpage with keywords that are only intended at tricking the search engines. Google is wise to this so, to get the best outcome, just write your text, with keywords in mind, towards your audience.
3. Avoid using flash or javascript for your navigation methods – Search engines usually can’t read these, or read them well enough to be dependable. Always use standard html links to be sure your site is easily walk able by search engine spiders.
4. Don’t submit your webpage url too often, if at all – You can submit your url directly to search engines, though search engines prefer to find your website via a backlink or incoming link. Resubmitting weekly or monthly can heavily damage your ranking with the search engines.
5. Avoid the “quickly get submitted to thousands of search engines” deals – While many of these do what they say, keep in mind that 98-99% of all search engines are powered by Google, Yahoo, or MSN. Just keep these 3 in mind and you’re covered.
6. Don’t forget backlinks – Link popularity plays very large into how your site is ranking by search engines, and is always a key element of SEO. Miss the backlinks part, and your SEO will suffer quite a bit.
7. Avoid excessive graphics and flash presentations – This is not to alter how the search engine looks at your site (directly), but at how your visitors view your site. There are many ways to make an effective website without overloading your visitors, and if a website takes more than 5 seconds to load, you will likely lose your visitor before they even get to visit your website.
To me SEO is about ticking the right boxes and making things relevant and easy for Google. Yes, there are tricks of the trade, but playing with a straight bat and making your site relevant, trustworthy and, above all, trustworthy will really help in effective SEO.

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?

My tips on how to make the dreaded cold call

Like many areas of business, to be successful a great deal is to do with planning. Have you done your homework? Do you know the prospects’ name, job title, role within the organisation, areas of responsibility, business sector, email address and correct phone number – direct line is a bonus? In that case, you are pretty much ready to pick up the phone and dial…

This is not the best way to prepare!

However, before doing so, there are some very beneficial little habits I have included in my routine that I feel give me a better chance of getting that all important meeting. These are confident building steps and little personal elements that I am going to share with you. I know cold calling is a nasty initiative, but I never see cold calling as a numbers game. The people I contact are relevant and I truly believe I can add value to their business. This makes me feel positive before I start! I appreciate that cold calling makes people nervous and rejection rates are high so don’t laugh at the next paragraph!

1) I always make my calls in an empty office or room. This may sound obvious, but you never want to be overheard or have the possibility of being interrupted. If you work from home and have a family, wait for them to go out!
2) I always stand up. This actually makes me more alert and able to move about. Sitting down might seem relaxing, but it is far easier to be aggressive or defensive if you are in one place.
3) Smile. This is pretty much industry standard, but a smile projects the correct mood in your voice and, believe it or not, a good, positive smile can be heard down a telephone!

4) I have been known to play a song from i tunes in the background and sing to it as I dial. This actually makes me happy and feel like the call is going to be a positive one.

My next post will be about the call itself such as, DON’T start with “how are you?” Always say who you are and your role clearly. So many cold calls that I receive just go straight into the sales pitch following a “how are you” opener. The person on the other end of the phone will most likely receive loads of these calls so concentrate on what you can do for them and why.

I hope this little snippet from Bath Marketing Consultancy helps.

Why outsource?

When you stop and think about just how much is involved with marketing, you may stop and ask yourself how can you possibly do it all yourself. The answer is that you can’t. Not on your own and especially if you want to cover all your other responsibilities. This is where outsourcing comes in. While you might think this is just a way of paying someone else to do something you might be able to do, don’t. Outsourcing is the best way to bring in an expert to do the jobs that you are either not very good at or simply don’t have time to do.

One of the many reasons why it makes sense to outsource is that it will let you take advantage of the principle that 80 per cent of your value comes from 20 per cent of what you do. If you can put more effort into that 20 per cent, you’ll be able to bring in someone else to do the other tasks you are shedding. As a small business, the temptation to do everything yourself is great especially as outsourcing will normally mean a cost, but don’t forget specialists will actually save you time and money in the long run. In addition, in areas like marketing, a specialist will be able to open doors for you that will bring in business actually helping your business grow and actually make you money.

Outsourcing is all about bringing in the right person or people to do a job that you don’t have the skills to do effectively yourself. In my opinion, outsourcing is a positive step in business as it means that you have identified a possible weakness in your business plan and brought in someone who can turn it into a strength; adding value to the process.

What can be outsourced:

Accounting services
IT support
Phone answering
Logo design + other graphic design projects
Website design
Search engine optimization
Copy writing
Producing audio or video
PR + promotion

Whatever you outsource, you must find someone who is right for you and your business who cannot only do the job you need, but can do it at the right price. To start the ball rolling, right down exactly what you want and do some research. Maybe ask other people who they use, or use search engines to find what you want. For example, if you want “marketing advice Bath“, put that phrase into Google and see who comes up top – Bath Marketing Consultancy!