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Is your commute more valuable than you think?

January 26, 2018  |   Communications,Marketing tips   |     |   0 Comment
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   |     |   0 Comment
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 http://www.contentcal.io/

 

 

How far should you take the humour?

October 31, 2017  |   Branding and Personality   |     |   0 Comment
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   |     |   0 Comment
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   |     |   0 Comment
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 

The pitfalls of writing a sales letter

The pitfalls of writing a sales letter

It’s no easy task, putting together a letter to a prospect. You don’t know their personality or their current situation so you are making a lot of assumptions. But if you make assumptions about people and get it wrong, it can backfire. 

There are always several schools of thought on the ‘right’ approach, but in my view you should imagine yourself receiving that email and how you would respond to it.  

This was forwarded to me recently  

“Joe Bloggs our CEO asked me to introduce myself should you require any assistance with *our service* in the future. I have also signed you up for our alert service to assist with any needs you have in the future. You will not receive any junk mail or sales calls on the back of this, it is just a service offering which Joe thought you might find useful. Please do let me know if there is anything I can help with in the future.  

Have a great week,  

Fred Smith, Head of Sales” 

… which prompted the response below  

Business people are also family people

July 05, 2017  |   Business Networking   |     |   0 Comment
Business people are also family people

Last year a friend of mine was leaving the country with her family for a new life overseas. There was a family BBQ held in her honour, and at it I got chatting to one of the neighbours.

We discovered that we had complementary businesses and to cut a long story short, have now been working regularly together for 9 months.

This reminded me of a number of other occasions where I have done business with somebody that I initially met in a completely non-business environment. Talking to people in the school playground, the stables and even a fitness class have all resulted in lucrative business opportunities over the years.

If you get on in a social environment, it’s likely that you will work well together too. So be curious, ask people about what they do and you never know. It might be an opportunity for both of you. 

From Slough to Milan

From Slough to Milan

Several years ago, I was a guest speaker at a business event in Slough. There was a sign-up sheet for my newsletter and I collected quite a few contacts that got added to my mailing list. One of them was Abhi, a video producer, and she has received this newsletter ever since.

About 18 months ago, she invited me to join her networking group as a guest. As we had met so briefly years before, I couldn’t remember her and it was an early morning slot and I was unable to go for some time. For some reason though (perhaps because she was gently persistent) I did end up going along and was quite taken with her brief presentation about a video she had just finished filming. It was a sensitive but fun promotional video for the Great British Skinny Dip and it was her sense of fun but also responsibility that appealed. 

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