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Should you take a stand at an exhibition?

February 27, 2018  |   Communications,Marketing tips  

Should you take a stand at an exhibition?

For small businesses, exhibitions and conferences can be a great way of building up contacts. How do you decide whether to make the considerable investment that is usually required? 

Ask yourself these questions first…

How to make your exhibition worthwhile

How to make your exhibition worthwhile

Exhibition stands aren’t cheap. The space in itself is significant, and when you add in the cost of building a stand, creating props, marketing materials, handouts and displays, and having staff to man it for days at a time it’s a considerable investment.

So it’s really important to consider “What’s your purpose in exhibiting?” Have you got a new product to launch? Are you trying to spread the word about your business? Are you looking for sales leads?

Success or failure relies on getting the details right

January 26, 2018  |   Email marketing  

Success or failure relies on getting the details right

Two different items have arrived in the post lately which provoked entirely different reactions.

One was a personal card from the vet after we sadly took the decision to put our elderly dog to sleep. It was a lovely card, featuring an image of dogs and cats on the front, signed by the team and it contained a poem and a packet of forget-me-not seeds.

The other was a handwritten envelope addressed to me at my business address. It was from an executive car company and contained a letter inside addressed to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, printed on cheap, flimsy paper.

The first one was very timely, reassuring us that we had made the right decision and extremely thoughtful. We have always thought well of the vets, but this reinforced that feeling and makes us feel confident and happy to recommend them.

The second started out well with the handwritten envelope which was very personal. But the contents completely let it down. An executive car company with substandard stationery? What are the cars like? What are the drivers like? Will they be reliable? Are they really ‘executive’? And if they’ve taken the trouble to hand write the envelope and know my name, why put such an impersonal address as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ inside? It’s really easy to either do a mail-merge, or even to simply hand write ‘Dear Jane’ at the top of a standard typed letter.

Writing a personal letter can be very effective, especially in the frantic environment of email and social media. If you’re going to go to the considerable trouble of communicating personally (and it’s worth it!), think it through and do it well. Otherwise your efforts will go to waste and you will end up leaving entirely the wrong impression.

Is your commute more valuable than you think?

January 26, 2018  |   Communications,Marketing tips  

Is your commute more valuable than you think?

As an independent marketing consultant, I normally work from my home office, or at clients’ offices, typically within a short drive from home so I don’t have a regular journey to work. A couple of times a month I travel into London by train, and I’ve realised that I enjoy that time to catch up on my personal twitter, read a magazine or browse some articles that I normally feel I don’t have time to read. (I’m lucky enough not to have to travel at rush hour).

Coincidentally, I just read a post this week about somebody lamenting their lack of commute – that opportunity to switch mode from ‘home’ to ‘work’ and using the journey time to mentally adjust to the next phase of the day, putting the previous one behind you.

It’s too easy for me to switch straight into ‘busy mode’ as soon as I get downstairs, and I often work until the last minute when I need to be doing something else, such as cooking dinner, leaving little or no time to switch off! So I’ve decided to try a fake commute, using the time between getting up and arriving in my home office as pretend travelling time. I will find myself a seat somewhere in between bed and office, flick through twitter without purpose, read a book, listen to music or catch up on some articles I’ve been meaning to read … or maybe even just stare out of the window.

Downtime (or ‘switching mode’ time) is important – what do you do to make sure you get yours?




Maximise your efforts for best effect

Maximise your efforts for best effect

Have you been on a British Airways plane recently? They have managed to transform the humble safety video with a star studded cast and a refreshing approach. The video with a difference was created in conjunction with Comic Relief and launched in September.

I first saw it on a weekend trip and giggled along as they went through the various safety elements with different actors (Rob Brydon demonstrating the jacket was my favourite …) I thought it was a great way to refresh an important series of messages and re-engage jaded frequent flyers. On the return trip 2 days later, they showed the same video which lost some of its impact as I had already seen it.

As it happens I had a work trip the following weekend, and yes, the same video. And again on the return trip. My colleague and I ended up predicting and joining in with the lines.

It strikes me that gathering all those celebrities and actors together must have been an enormous feat – and surely they were hanging around with potential to say more than one or two lines. Why not make the most of it?

Frequent flyers are notoriously the hardest to communicate with when it comes to safety advice, and it’s most likely to be seen week in, week out by them.

If they had mixed it up and swapped people around, they could have created 4 or 5 versions of essentially the same video but with different characters playing different parts each time.

Having said that, it’s had more than 7 million views on YouTube so perhaps it’s doing what it’s supposed to do! You can see it here if you haven’t already.




A new way to manage social media posts

November 14, 2017  |   Marketing tips,Social media  

A new way to manage social media posts

I am currently trialling a new social media tool that enables you to schedule posts across the various different platforms. There are of course several tools such as Hootsuite which already do that, but what I like about this one is it’s attractive and user-friendly visual appeal. You can also schedule posts ready for approval if somebody else needs to see them before they go live.

  • It has visually appealing calendar format so you can clearly see what’s been posted for when, and on what platforms
  • You can move a post simply by dragging it to another day, so it’s easy to organise
  • You can preview a post as it will appear on the platform
  • It’s easy to ‘re-use’ a post – handy for those evergreen ones

I have yet to find a tool that does everything I want, all in one place (that would be a miracle!) but this is close, and they are continually developing it. For instance, when it started out you could only schedule a week at a time. You can now do it months ahead!

If you want to give it a go, it’s called ContentCal – you can create a free trial account here



How far should you take the humour?

October 31, 2017  |   Branding and Personality  

How far should you take the humour?

If you ever travel by train you may have come across a quirky coffee shop called Puccino’s. In fact, they have high street café’s too. I love the fact that they aim to brighten up a commuters’ journey with a fun and informal approach.

Waiting for a train into London one evening, I noticed the sandwich and cake display was pretty sparse, but had a sign up saying “This item has disappeared. It will re-appear soon”

The font they use is casual and friendly. Every item has a cheeky message instead of a brand message. For instance, brightly coloured coffee cups feature the message ‘can I get a receipt with that’ and sugar packets say ‘use as small pillow’

Silly stuff that can put a smile on your face when you’re least expecting it.

Are you familiar with your sales funnel?

October 31, 2017  |   Sales  

Are you familiar with your sales funnel?

Dictionary definition of a funnel: a tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening.

Imagine a funnel that guides your customers, rather than liquid or powder. At the wide opening there will be lots of potential customers. As the process goes on, and the conditions are satisfied (or not) people will drop out until you narrow it down the ones that will make a purchase.

If you’re selling a corporate software solution your sales funnel will be very different to somebody selling chocolate bars. A long, carefully thought through decision likely involving many individuals over a few months compared to an instant purchase by one person requires a very different approach.

Which is why it’s important to think about your sales funnel. In other words, the process your buyer goes through in order to reach the point of sale.

How to choose your customers

September 26, 2017  |   Marketing tips,Target Market  

How to choose your customers

It can be difficult to narrow down your target market, perhaps because you’re worried that you might miss an opportunity. The problem is, you simply can’t be all things to all people. And when you’re promoting your product, it has to talk to somebody. Somebody has to look at it and think ‘that’s just what I need’ or ‘that looks interesting, I’d like to know more’.

Facebook done military style – with a twist!

Facebook done military style – with a twist!

I’m always a bit dubious about facebook for business, as it’s a bit of a hit and miss environment. Most people are on facebook for a bit of light entertainment, and don’t really want to see work-related stuff. 

But where facebook comes into its own is when it involves a group or community, so it’s perfect for a business that relies on a group of people interacting. 

One in particular stands out for me as actively engaging everybody, being genuinely informative and most of all fun. 

It’s for a military fitness club and it manages to do all of the following: 

  • Provide information 
  • Provide entertainment 
  • Impart a sense of fun and belonging 
  • Encourage members to turn up to the classes and participate 

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latest articles

  • Should you take a stand at an exhibition? Should you take a stand at an exhibition? How do you decide whether to take a stand at an exhibition or conference and make it count?
  • How to make your exhibition worthwhile How to make your exhibition worthwhile

    Exhibition stands aren’t cheap. The space in itself is significant, and when you add in the cost of building a stand, creating props, marketing materials, handouts and displays, and having staff to man it for days at a time it’s …