How to balance your digital and print marketing

where to put your advertising budget

Now that the panic-provoking headlines of “print is dead” have toned down to “well, not quite”, it’s safe to say that we all know there is value in both print and digital marketing.

The question that businesses are now asking themselves, is how exactly do we work out how to divide our budgets between print and digital marketing? (more…)

Why the customer relationship should now be TOP priority for any business

why the customer relationship is key for businesses

In the past, company leaders were focused first and foremost on the development of innovative products and operational excellence.

Today, customer satisfaction is the absolute number one priority – a point confirmed by almost every recent survey of top managers, with 89% of company leaders now seeing customer experience as their biggest differentiator.

Here, customer expert, Prof. Steven Van Belleghem explains why every business leader should view the customer relationship as the key to their future business success.

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4 Simple Steps to finding more customers

How to get customers

Finding customers is a vital skill for all startup and small business owners.

Without big advertising budgets or marketing campaigns to bring new customers to your door, you need to know the smart ways to attract clients.

To help you succeed, we asked growth coach and author, Robin Waite to reveal how to cut through the noise to reach customers.

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The Changing Face of Digital Marketing: What small businesses need to know for 2018

digital marketing - new developments & key trends 2018

Digital marketing never stays static, and 2018 is going to be no exception.

As a small business owner, or the person responsible for marketing in a small organisation, what do you need to know at the start of this year to stay ahead of your competition?

We asked Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual, to reveal the key digital marketing trends that every business owner will need to get to grips with in 2018. (more…)

How to overcome your speaking nerves by turning fear into your friend

When you’re starting a new business or part of a small team, public speaking is an essential skill and yet one that many of us fear so much.

As a small business owner you need to be the face of your own business and being able to impress rooms full of people will open lots for doors for you.

So how can you overcome your fears of speaking to an audience? Lyn Roseaman, explains. (more…)

5 Ways to make your blog content SEO-friendly

Better SEO with blog

Blogging is something a lot of small business owners do. When it’s done well it can be a great low-cost way to reach out to potential customers.

However, many new businesses can find that the effort they put into their blog isn’t as well rewarded as they’d hoped.

So to help you realise all the benefits blogging can bring to your business, we’ve asked Luke Budka, of TopLine Comms to reveal 5 ways to make sure that your blog gets the desired results. (more…)

5 ways small businesses can effectively communicate brand messages without big budgets

Branding tips for small businesses

The number of businesses in the UK is at a record high. It’s exciting the country is a fantastic place to start a business, but, it also means today’s business landscape is more competitive than ever before.

With lots of competition for customers it’s imperative you find ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace and set yourself apart from your competitors.

Creating strong brand messaging is one of best ways to get your product or business noticed. So how can smaller businesses do this effectively, without it costing too much? (more…)

9 of the Best & Fastest ways to improve your website results

The majority of startups and small business owners recognise the power of digital marketing and that having a website is a must have.

With limited funds and marketing budgets, the majority of small business owners tend to buy their website from a creative agency or designer that does everything.

However, as Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual explains, this might not be the best course to take.

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Intelligent Customer Service: How AI is transforming experience of customers

how AI will change customer service

The growth of AI is set to be one of the most disruptive technologies in the coming years for businesses of all sizes. Even in these relatively early days of AI, it is already affecting customer experience.

The younger generation have grown up in a world where they are used to a quick and effortless service, and as a result, will lose interest with anything that takes too long or requires too much effort from them.

Here, Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in customer focus in the digital world, examines the evolution of customer service under Artificial Intelligence. (more…)

How to harness the power of Google for your business

Using Google services to boost your business

Google is the world’s most popular search engine, controlling 79% of the market share and dealing with 3.5 billion searches every day.

The power of Google is staggering, but many businesses aren’t fully harnessing this power.

To help ensure you’re not missing out, we’ve asked Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual to outline how you can make the most of Google for your business. (more…)

How to use stories to make your business communication memorable

Making memorable communication with stories

From primitive cave-paintings, etched long before words were first recorded, to modern-day classics such as Harry Potter, the power of stories has been used to move people.

Stories we heard as a child – whether it is Aesop’s Fable of the Hare and the Tortoise, or fairy tales such as Cinderella – can create created ever-lasting memories, so the power of a good story should not be under-estimated.

And when it comes to business, there are lots of ways we can use stories to really get our message across. Whether it’s to our colleagues in a team meeting, an audience at a speech, prospective customers at a trade show, or potential investors at a pitch, you can use the skills of a great story-teller to win people over.

But how exactly can we do this? We asked Christopher Hirsch of Toastmasters International, to tell us his story. (more…)

Onsite & Offsite SEO: How to optimise your output

SEO - Writing page title & meta description

For startups and small businesses, getting down to the nitty gritty of SEO can be incredibly daunting; there are over 200 signals that Google looks for when ranking your website, and few small business owners will even have ever heard the term ‘offsite SEO’ before.

With attracting customers to your website becoming an ever-more crucial task for small businesses, we asked Magnus Linklater, MD of content and SEO agency, Bespoke Digital to outline what you need to know about onsite and offsite SEO. (more…)

8 Ways to turn buyers into loyal customers

Customer Loyalty Service

In marketing, there a million ways to reach your customers. You can go big with a billboard, or far with a Facebook post, targeting potential customers city-wide, nationwide and globally.

The internet has allowed us more reach than ever before, and while powerful, this means that we can easily lose the humanity of our marketing.

When it comes to retaining your customers, this humanity is crucial. Will your customers still be with you once serious product competition appears on the horizon, ready to snap up your valued buyers with slashed prices and easier delivery means?

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Why the human touch is crucial when it comes to customers

Artificial Intelliegence driving customer satisfaction

Customer service is accelerating towards ever greater automation. In some sectors we’re already seeing chatbots and virtual assistants transforming the customer experience.

But at what point do the cost efficiencies that technology provide become less compelling, and can the human touch ever be fully replicated or replaced?

We asked Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at outsourced customer contact specialist, Echo Managed Services, to assess the changing consumer communication landscape and to explain how businesses can incorporate new solutions alongside traditional methods of customer contact. (more…)

How to Make Your Small Business a BIG Hit Online

social media tools resources

For many small business owners, the term ‘digital marketing’ could very well generate a concerned or baffled look, and the temptation to turn around and hide in a darkened room.

As an established small business, or even someone setting up a new business, you might know all about offline marketing like posters and billboards, flyers and direct mail, and word-of-mouth advertising, but when it comes to promoting your business online, it’s unchartered territory.

So to help you safely navigate the online marketing landscape, conquer new marketing activities and promote your business in the digital world, here’s a small business guide to the basics of digital marketing; (more…)

The 3 Pillars of a successful promotional video

successful video marketing

Video is a potent and wildly effective marketing tool, but only when it is part of a measured and considered content strategy.

It is no easy task to succinctly and effectively communicate your brand values and core messaging to an audience in a way that is original and compelling.

Before you even begin you need to have spent time seeking to understand who your customers are in the first place. (more…)

Building your influencing skills and mastering the art of persuasion

Start-ups and small businesses have to be prudent in their go-to-market activities. There isn’t the budget to splash out on extensive marketing campaigns, or the time for spray and pray customer targeting.

As a business owner, you are often the face of the business at every turn. Whether you’re dealing with customers, suppliers, partners or staff, what you do matters and sets the tone for your whole business.

How successful you are often comes down to how good you are at persuading and influencing people. With these skills being so important, we asked behaviour expert, Ally Yates, to outline how you can become more persuasive in business. (more…)

Real-time marketing – How to do it right

real time marketing word cloud

Real-time marketing (RTM), the strategy and practice of reacting with immediacy in digital channels to external events and triggers, has been steadily growing in use and popularity.

An expanding array of tools and digital channels (e.g., social media and listening capabilities) has made real-time accessible, in theory at least, to virtually every marketer.

As digital channels increasingly function in real-time, all marketing organizations must consider to what degree they, too, will adapt, so here are 12 steps to help you get ready for real-time marketing; (more…)

5 questions you should ask a prospective SEO agency before you consider hiring them

Questions to ask about SEO

A website can be a very powerful marketing tool for start-ups and small businesses. An effective site helps smaller firms to reach out to a huge audience of potential new customers and take on bigger rivals.

However, the battle to be found online can be fierce, so if you want your small business website to be successful, you will need to look at search engine optimisation, or SEO as it’s commonly referred to.

With SEO becoming more complex and specialised, many small businesses look to outsource the work to an agency. But with so many practitioners and firms out there offering SEO services it can be tricky to find the reputable providers.

To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, here are the 5 questions you should ask an SEO agency before you think about hiring them.
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PR Tips for start-ups

PR tips for new businesses

As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.

Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.

In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.

So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;

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How to avoid death by PowerPoint – 9 Practical tips to captivate an audience with your presentation

You may have attended presentations that dragged or others that gripped people throughout. Perhaps you have given talks yourself and wondered what really makes the difference.

Whatever the situation, there are numerous factors that affect your chances of success. Everything you do contributes to the overall audience experience and even small things make a big difference.

This guide gives you 9 proven, practical tips to deliver more engaging and more effective presentations. Each one makes a positive impact, and you will know best which will be most useful in your own presentations. (more…)

Transforming your sales strategy with research-led prospecting

research-led prospecting for sales

Prospecting is the foundation of B2B sales strategies. Or at least, it should be. Many businesses aren’t prospecting as well as they could be, if at all.

Research-led sales prospecting is a highly targeted, measurable way of identifying businesses for your salespeople to approach. It is important to realise that prospecting is not lead generation.

While prospecting can provide a framework that the sales team can use to qualify leads that come in (as we’ll explore), it is otherwise a distinct activity wholly concerned with finding and approaching the businesses that make up your target audience.

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How to harness the power of business blogging

Power of business blog

Setting up and running a small business isn’t easy. We all know that.

The first few years are often spent seeking the answers to — what seems like — a never ending list of questions, like, “Who is my target audience?” and “How do I reach them?”

Whatever industry you’re in, we all strive for the same thing: more website visitors, more valuable leads, more sales and more loyal customers. But how can you achieve this? (more…)

Local SEO for Startups: What you need to know before you start

Local SEO tips for startups

According to recent research by Google on search behaviour, a whopping 50% of all people who conducted searches on local businesses visited the business the same day. If you’re a startup owner and serve clients locally, this might sound like music to your ears.

People who conduct local searches are highly motivated and are looking for an instant solution. This is why you should do everything in your power to go after these searches aggressively. (more…)

The 4 Rs of getting more business from your existing customer base

Marketing is about getting more business – and that includes getting more value out of your existing customer base – through delivering them multiple times the value you get.

If all you did was chase new clients, then you would be regularly losing the ones you already have, which means you would need to be constantly building. This is hard work.

There is an important model that will help you understand what to do in terms of sales and marketing for your existing customers, and it is one that every business owner should know and understand. (more…)

5 ways for small businesses to get smarter about using data

Many small business owners view ‘big data’ as something exclusively for large businesses. But that isn’t the case. Astute small business can benefit from using data to grow sales.

To help business owners understand more about ‘big data’ and how they can benefit from it too, we asked Oliver Rowbory to explain;
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6 Steps to setting up your first ‘Pop-Up Shop’

Saturday pop-up shop

Pop-up shops are an excellent way to test new ideas and products, engage with your target market and get feedback from potential customers, without making a big, long-term investment.

In addition to their value as a testing ground for new concepts and new businesses, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular as a way for existing business to take their offering to new locations.

There are lots of different factors that can determine the success or failure of a pop-up shop and it’s vital you consider these before starting your pop-up venture. Here are 6 key considerations to help you get your first pop-up shop running smoothly and generating income for your business. (more…)

“Can you do it cheaper?” – Giving great answers to tough questions about your prices

“Will you give us a discount on that figure?”

“Can you match the lower price I can get down the street?”

“Can’t you do it cheaper?”

These are the kind of questions people running start-ups and small businesses get asked an awful lot.

But what are the best answers to give? Here, we look at how small business owners can respond to these kind of questions, without losing business and without cutting prices and profit margins.
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How start-ups can get the most from digital marketing

digital marketing

Starting your own business means you suddenly become the owner of several hats – one for selling, one for bookkeeping, one for planning, one for looking after customers and one for marketing to name but a few.

The marketing element of a start-up is one of the most complex, especially given the changing ways small businesses need to reach customers in a digital world.

Digital marketing can be a bit of a mystery to many small business owners, so to help you explore how you make the most of the opportunities it offers, we’ve asked Tink Taylor, founder of dotmailer, to share some simple tips to get you started on your digital journey.
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Why trust-based selling will accelerate your business growth

Trusted selling

We live in incredible times of change; there’s no disputing that. Old business models are dying out, new business models and disrupting technologies are being born every day that are turning industries on their head.

At the same time, trust is at its lowest level ever. We no longer trust politicians, we no longer trust banks and bankers. We no longer trust the proven models and establishments that have supported us for years, never more proven than in recent times with Brexit and Donald Trump becoming US President. (more…)

Why 95% of your website visitors don’t buy, and what YOU can do about it

ecommerce website optimisation

If you’ve been involved in running a website, you’ll know that it’s relatively “easy” to get eyeballs on your site. Throw money at it and they will come.

But, it’s getting those visitors to take action, to buy from you – that’s the hard part. So it’s no wonder that a website’s ‘Conversion Rate’ is one of the most keenly tracked metrics in online business. It measures the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, which in e-commerce means making a purchase.

Improving your conversion rate means more sales and higher profits, so finding ways to convert more of your website visitors into buyers is a key plank of ecommerce success.

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Build a Brand, Build a Business

build a brand

If you’re starting a new business you’ll, no doubt, want to establish and build a strong brand. Doing so will bring huge benefits over the long-term, helping you to stand out from the crowd, generate more customers and ultimately build a more valuable business.

But how do you build a brand, and where do you start? We asked branding expert, and author of ‘Winning in Your Own Way; the Nine and a Half Golden Rules of Branding‘, Robert Bean to explain;
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What is the purpose of your business?

Management wisdom

When you are starting a business, you will need to answer many questions. However, one of the most fundamental questions any business owner will be asked is, what is the purpose of your business?

So what would your answer be?

How you answer the question, has a significant bearing on whether your business is likely to succeed, so we asked Jim McGrath, author of The Little Book of Big Management Wisdom to reveal what your answer should be; (more…)

When to get SEO for your website, and when not to

SEO has become an integral part of online marketing. If you want your business to be seen online, the general consensus is that SEO is absolutely essential.

Committing to a high quality SEO campaign can take up a lot of time and make demands on a startup’s budget that not everyone can meet. But seeking cheaper alternatives could mean you soon find yourself facing a Google penalty (the worst of which is your website being complete removed from their index), which can put your entire online presence in jeopardy.

The good news is that SEO need not always be a lengthy commitment and if you have some in-house capacity, it is possible to take on a large portion of the work yourself.

This in-depth guide explains what you can expect from a SEO campaign, and will help you determine if you can do some of the work yourself or whether you’ll be better off outsourcing everything from the start. (more…)