Most business cards are about as much use as a scrap of paper with a name and number scribbled on it. That’s fine if you are looking for a date, but not so good for showcasing your business.
With a little thought, however, it’s easy to create a business card that packs a real promotional punch and helps you, and your small business, stand out from the crowd. (more…)
The more people feel, the more people buy. That’s the clear conclusion from the last decade of work by two of Britain’s top marketing analysts, Les Binet and Peter Field.
They delved into the IPA DataMine – a huge database of ad effectiveness case studies – to find out how advertising really leads to meaningful business effects, going beyond short-term sales spikes to look at profit growth and market share gain.
So what is the key to effective marketing, and how can businesses apply this to their marketing techniques to boost sales and grow profits? We asked Tom Ewing to explain;
Technology has enabled us to communicate faster than ever. In the digital age, email tops the list of many people’s favoured way of communication, mainly because it’s faster than letters – or even phone calls.
So, in a world where communication is dominated by instant messaging, email and social media, is there still a place in the marketing mix for direct mail?
As David Manton explains, direct mail may be slower, but it still has a lot to offer businesses. (more…)
When you are looking for ways to promote your new start-up or small business you will, without doubt, soon hear the words, “content marketing”.
There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing at the moment, but what does it actually mean and how can small business owners use content to help grow their business?
This guide answers those questions, and also offers useful, practical advice if you are considering incorporating content marketing as part of your marketing strategy. (more…)
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…)
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.
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…)
Making the leap into starting your own business takes a lot of bottle and brings a lot of new challenges.
Those early days, as you work to drum up business and generate new customers, will be among the hardest you face.
Making sure that your business stands out in your niche is crucial to your success. But how can you do that?
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…)
If your new business is going to be operating in a competitive marketplace, it’s crucial that you find a way to differentiate your business from all the competitors out there.
In short, why should customers choose your products or services over what’s already available?
If you can’t answer that question, then you need to read on to find out why it’s essential startups and small businesses find a niche, and how you can spot a potentially profitable gap in the market.
The dream for many entrepreneurs is to come up with a great new product, find the funding to develop it and then for it to fly off the shelves.
The reality for most is different, but when this does happen it’s worth finding out how this success was achieved because the lessons we learn can help us to replicate the achievements for our own business.
Yuu is one such success, so we asked co-founders, Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes to share their story with us; (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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;
…continued from Part 1 of Build a Brand, Build a Business (more…)
Your business may offer amazing products and a fantastic service. It may have a clear, determined vision of what it is doing and where it is going. But if your potential customers don’t know it exists, your wonderful business is likely to disappear without trace. As Alan Sugar put it: “Your start-up will be a cock-up if you don’t learn marketing communications”.
But what can a small business do to get themselves noticed?
There are two options: pay lots of money to a marketing company, or do it yourself. The DIY route costs less (if anything at all) and lets you use your unique insight to create the kind of personalised, precision-targeted marketing message that an external marketing consultant could never pull off.
So let’s dip into the marketing communications pic ‘n’ mix to see what methods are at your disposal;
In a world dominated by ever-updating newsfeeds and 140 character exchanges, it seems that the traditional practice of direct mail has no place in modern communication, particularly as businesses look to utilise cheaper, faster ways to communicate with their consumers.
However, overloaded inboxes and newsfeeds that update faster than you can blink means that direct mail still delivers impact in a digital world.
Direct mail may be one of the oldest marketing methods but it is also one of the most adaptable. Here are 7 key factors for any direct marketing campaign., combine these successfully and you can transform your return on investment (ROI):
If you can develop a competitive advantage for your small business, you will be able to sell your product or service more easily and more profitably.
Ultimately a good competitive advantage will mean that your business is more likely to succeed and is able to grow.
With the ability to develop a competitive advantage being so important for small business owners, we asked Garry Smith, co-author of Creating Business Advantage: Setting Up and Running A Successful Business to explain more about it;
If there’s one marketing skill you should focus on developing above all others it is copywriting.
The ability to passionately sell a product or service in the written word is something that will never go out of fashion. And the reality is that few people will be able to do it as well for your business as you.
Yes, you can pay a copywriter to create the content for your new website or write a sales letter. But you have it within you to do a better job yourself. Your business gets your full focus day in, day out, so you are more likely to understand it properly and convey it more passionately to other people.
All you need to do is follow these seven simple copywriting secrets to write copy (another word for content) that potential buyers just can’t resist (more…)
We’ve all heard it; “You just have to be using social media marketing.”
And the response from many business owners is; “I’m keen to try using social media to promote my small business but I’m not sure where to start.”
If this sounds like you, here are ten simple but effective tips that will help any business starting out with social media, no matter how big or small your budget.
Your brand is your identity and in a tough market place it can be the thing that separates you from the competition and grabs the attention of potential new customers.
Remember you’ve only got a very short space of time to capture the attention of new customers, so whether it’s the design of your business cards and marketing collateral, your website or even the name of your company, these things really make a difference when it comes to winning business. (more…)
No longer uniquely the home of shaky phone cam footage of comedy pets, YouTube has become a truly global broadcasting powerhouse. Sure, there are still grainy home videos aplenty, but these days YouTube is as much about film trailers, news channels, comedy sketches and even dedicated web series.
With one billion unique visitors every single month, it’s also an invaluable marketing tool, capable of reaching the kind of audiences that TV ads sandwiched between slabs of prime time soap can only dream of.
Of, course, if it were as simple as plastering the web with marketing videos and waiting for your inbox to fill with sales enquiries, everyone would be enjoying the fruits of their YouTube labours.
In the world of marketing, Word of Mouth has great, well … word of mouth.
According to WOMMA (the Word of Mouth Marketing Association), word of mouth marketing is considered to be more effective than traditional marketing by 64% of marketers.
You may be thinking they would say that, wouldn’t they, but their survey is backed up by research from Nielsen that revealed 84% of us trust recommendations from people we know; and research from Market Share that found marketing impact can be increased by up to 54% by social voice (i.e. online & offline word of mouth).
One of the time-tested ways of establishing yourself as a standard in your industry is to win an award. An industry-recognised award serves as an independent endorsement of your company’s quality. And more importantly it’s an evaluation that potential customers are more likely to trust, than any marketing material you can produce.
We know that social proof is one of the most influential factors in a consumer’s decision making. In a survey by Zendesk, 88% of participants were influenced by an online customer service review and consumer reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than descriptions that come from manufacturers.
Awards are like the ultimate review or testimonial. Usually, they come through from a trusted, independent authority with the expertise to give a well-informed judgement on your business, so your customers and the wider marketplace are going to see that as proof that your business can be trusted.
Writing a book can be an extremely useful tool to help you promote your business or new start-up. Being a book author, immediately gives you kudos and extra authority, but only if your book is produced properly.
In most areas of business, winging it is rarely (if ever) a good idea. Each aspect of your business – be it recruitment, or marketing, or cash flow – requires a strong strategy. You need to know what you want to achieve before you can plan how that goal will be attained.
Publishing a book to support the growth of your business is no different. It may seem a bit more showbizzy – and it does involve a large amount of creativity – but it must never be a vanity project; there needs to be a valid business case for it. (more…)
Every business – even yours – has a brand.
One common misconception is that your brand is your logo. Your logo is a single visual representation of your brand, but it is not your brand. (more…)
Many business owners now recognise what a powerful tool a book can be to help them build credibility for their brand and raise the profile and visibility of their business.
A book gives you a terrific platform from which to share your purpose and your vision. In the main, people who have written books about their expertise gain huge respect from others as not very many people ever get around to doing it!
So how should you go about writing and publishing a book that will help you grow your small business? (more…)
Ever heard the saying: jack of all trades, master of none? That saying has never been more true than when it comes to marketing your small business.
There are restaurants that have people queuing up to dine, products that you have to pre-order months before they are released, tickets that sell out within hours and shares that shoot up in value right after they float.
There are cars that are snapped up before they are constructed and apartments that are sold before the first brick has been laid.
But, why are a select group of people and products in such high demand? And more importantly, how can you recreate a similar desire for your business?
As a start-up, you often don’t know the best ways to market your new business, or what works and what doesn’t.
The good news is; whether you’re selling to a market of ten or ten million, one of the most effective ways to learn how to improve your marketing is to talk with a single person and sell something to them.
Here’s how you can develop stronger sales messages, build your customer base and grow your new business by harnessing the power of one-to-one marketing.
Take a close look at any business that has been thriving over the last few years, and there’s a very strong chance you’ll see it has a clear USP, or Unique Selling Point.
It’s something you need to develop as you start your own business. A USP is much more than just a way of positioning your business in marketing materials. It’s something that needs to be at the very core of what you are doing – part of your business’s DNA, if you like.
When it comes to promoting your business, the focus these days seems to be almost exclusively on online marketing. Of course, since the social revolution it’s important for businesses to have a strong ‘digital footprint’ but what about the traditional offline marketing methods?
Does the proliferation of Twitter, Facebook and co. mean that you should stop all forms of offline marketing? Of course not, particularly if your business is B2C (Business to Consumer) and especially if you have a clearly defined geographical reach.
They might seem low-tech, but traditional methods of marketing your company such as, leaflets, targeted advertising, local PR and local awareness campaigns can have great impact.
Marketing your business should be fun and simple. Surely there can be no better way to spend a day than working on something which is going to help you achieve your objectives more quickly?
Sadly many business owners don’t see marketing that way. They see it as a necessary evil; something that “must be done” rather than something to look forward to and clear time for.
Often this is because they’re not really sure where they should be spending their time and marketing spend.
If this is you, you need a plan. And the good news is you don’t have to spend hours on it. You can put together a very good marketing plan for your business in just 60 minutes. It’s just a case of answering a few simple questions, doing a little bit of thinking, then adding the magic ingredient: (more…)
In the first four parts of this series, we looked at online and offline marketing techniques, how to build some buzz around your promotional campaign, and how to adopt a positive approach in other aspects of your business.
With this fifth and final part, we tie it all together by looking at a final few topics relating to streamlining your business, getting your affairs in order, and maximising your profit.
Over the past three parts of this introduction to bootstrap marketing, we’ve looked at the different ways in which you can promote your brand. But obviously there are different approaches to adopt, even to the same marketing method – and it’s up to you to choose the style that’s best suited to your business.