Marketing lessons

Some Important Marketing Lessons

I received some important marketing lessons last week.

I came home one day to find a large, flat, brown box on the door mat.

It was from a company called Bloom and Wild and it was obvious that it contained flowers.

Assuming they were for my wife, I was very surprised to find they were for me.

In fact they were from a client who was saying thank you for a recent job.

When I went through the package in detail I was very impressed with their commercial nous.

This is obviously a switched on company as there were a whole load of marketing lessons in the package.

  • There were several messages printed on the packaging, written in a warm, friendly, tongue in cheek manner – such as “You could excitedly rip your box open …………… but lifting it here is much easier”.
  • They ask for feedback (testimonials by another name) on the packaging and offer a prize in return. Testimonials are so important but often hard to get.
  • They make great play of the fact that their customer service people are available 7 days a week until 10.00pm. The message here was how much they care about the customer experience.

Inside the box they had included several bits of marketing collateral:

  • A leaflet full of information about how to arrange the flowers, what sort of vase to use, how to look after the flowers and information about the bouquet itself – all of which build value into the product.
  • Each bouquet has its own name so further personalising the service.
  • An envelope containing material from third party companies which would generate additional revenue for the company.
  • A leaflet and a discount voucher for Mothers’ Day – giving me a reason to use their service.

Out of interest, I later went on their website where they have a huge range of Mothers’ Day bouquets, all of which have different names.

They have “The Incredible Mum”, “The Brilliant Mum”, “The Fantastic Mum” etc – another clever touch to personalise and differentiate their service.

  • They don’t limit themselves to just flowers. Their bouquets can be augmented with chocolates, biscuits even vases so increasing the transaction value.

All in all a very well thought through package which contained several marketing lessons we can all learn from.

And the flowers – yup they were nice too and are currently brightening up our hallway.

I don’t give marketing lessons but if you’d like help putting together a similarly well thought through marketing campaign, give me a shout on or call me on 01483 200387.


Marketing mistakes

Classic Marketing Mistakes Of Small Businesses

I was reminded of the classic marketing mistakes small businesses make on a recent family holiday in India.

In India, you know you’re going to get constantly hassled by people trying to sell you cheap tat.

Their approach always reminds me of the marketing mistakes of so many small businesses, which is why so many struggle.

  1. They approach anyone and everyone.

The first rule of marketing is to clearly identify your target audience as precisely as possible and then build your marketing to appeal directly to that audience.

They try to sell to anyone who happens to be in the vicinity.

  1. They sell too early.

Customers need to know, like and trust you before they will buy.

Obviously this isn’t possible for these guys. They have one chance and if they don’t sell first up, they never will.

And the sad fact is that they very seldom do.

  1. People buy benefits not features.

Now precisely how they could sell the benefits of a carved elephant or a bunch of gaudy bangles I’m not sure.

But again the point holds good.

You’re unlikely to be successful if you’re just selling the item without explaining how the customer will benefit and how it will solve their problems .

  1. They don’t differentiate themselves

In a crowd of hawkers they’re usually all selling the same thing.

If everyone’s product is basically the same why should I choose one over another.

In your marketing you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

You do this via the product itself, elements of your service or pricing so that there’s a real reason to choose you.

  1. They have no pricing policy

Classically a hawker will start at an unrealistic price and will rapidly come down.

Now I’m not saying that you should never negotiate, but you must retain your credibility during the negotiation process.

Used correctly, pricing can be a fantastically effective marketing tool.

Unfortunately too many people get it wrong and end up giving their stuff away too cheaply.

So there you have five classic marketing mistakes that small businesses so often make.

But assuming you’re selling a quality product, I can help you get all these points right.

Just give me a shout on or call me on 01483 200387.

Marketing success

Marketing Success – The Key Ingredients

What are the key ingredients for marketing success.

I’m going to explain by using the example of the England rugby team

Now I’m a big rugby fan.

I had been really looking forward to last Saturday’s England/Wales game.

In the first two games of this year’s Six Nations Championship England had been really good.

When they lost therefore the disappointment was so much greater.

So where’s the parallel between international rugby and marketing?

Admittedly you don’t get your head ripped off by hulking giants when doing your marketing, but bear with me and I’ll explain.

To be successful at sport 3 key elements have to come together.

  1. Having the appropriate level of skill and fitness is a must
  2. You need to have a plan and tactics plus the mental flexibility to alter the plan and tactics if they’re not working.
  3. The right mindset is vital – to be focused and up for it.

You can see where I’m going now can’t you because marketing success is just the same.

Firstly you need the requisite amount of skill and knowledge.

You’ve got to know what you need to do and have the skill and experience to execute it effectively.

But the good news is that you can learn most things.

The second thing is you have to have a plan.

You can’t just wing it.

You need to put your plan together and then be disciplined enough to execute it but while staying flexible enough that you can tweak what you’re doing if things aren’t working or circumstances change.

Marketing success doesn’t just happen.

Allied to this you need to use the right tactics for your target audience.

If your audience is elderly women then the media, the language and the offer you use are going to be very different to if you’re talking to teenage boys.

And the third point and this is probably the most important of all is your mindset.

Without the correct mental attitude you’re never going to succeed.

If you haven’t got the right determination and motivation you shouldn’t be running your own business.

You should go and get a job.

Running your own business is hard and lonely.

Shit happens and you have to have the mental toughness and determination to cope with it.

Above all you have to want it enough.

If you want it enough, you’ll do what it takes to make it happen.

Shame England didn’t have that mental toughness last Saturday.

If you’re struggling for marketing success I can help.

I’ve got the skills and experience to identify and execute the right tactics for your business, I can put together your plan and if need be I can give you a kick up the backside.

Just give me a shout on  or call me on 01483 200387.

Landing pages

Landing Pages That Convert

It’s vital that your landing  pages convert visitors to enquirers and customers.

So while the key first stage in the process is getting the click, converting the click is just as important, if not even more so.

So what makes good landing pages?

Firstly I think it would be helpful to identify exactly what landing pages need to achieve:

  1. To attract and engage the prospect
  2. To sell the benefits of your product
  3. To build trust in your product and business
  4. To compel the prospect to take action.

So how are your landing pages going to achieve all this?

  1. A Powerful, Benefit Rich Headline

The job of the headline is not to sell the product itself, but to draw the reader into the body copy.

It must answer a concern or need of the reader, whose response should be “I must read on because this has information which I’m interested in and is relevant to me”.

  1. A List Of Benefits

People will only buy something if it is going to solve a problem they may have.

By including a bulleted list of benefits you can show how much better off the prospect will be after they’ve bought your product.

  1. A Video

Remember at this stage the prospect probably hasn’t got a clue about you or your company.

Before they will buy anything they have to trust you.

A video is a great way to build that trust.

If you as the business owner present the video, you have the opportunity to present yourself as both trustworthy and likeable.

  1. Social Proof

While the video should have created an amount of trust, social proof will back it up.

There’s nothing as reassuring as hearing of the great experiences other customers have had with your product.

So include a couple of persuasive and relevant testimonials on your landing pages.

  1. Call To Action

Like any piece of marketing, you must finish off by telling the prospect what to do next.

The most powerful way to do it on landing pages is with a brightly coloured button.

Buttons are obviously for pressing, the colour attracts attention and the wording must encourage them to do it.

Text that promises a benefit such as “Yes I want the information” is perfect.

So there you have it – the elements you need to ensure your landing page maximises the uptake of your PPC ad offer.

If you need any help with putting your landing pages together, you know what to do – email me on, or call on 01483 200387.




Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads Are Different

Facebook Ads are different to Google Ads and your approach should be too.

However both are great ways to generate leads and lead generation is the key marketing challenge for most SMEs.

Obviously each lead has to be converted, but generating the lead in the first place is still the primary issue.

A high converting website is vital. But you’ve got to find a way to get them to the website in the first place.

Google Ads has always been mechanism I suggest to drive traffic but these days Facebook ads is equally important.

So what’s the difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads?

There is a huge fundamental difference between the two.

Google Ads are served to people who are searching for a particular thing.

They have a need and are looking for a solution.

They are in buying mode so you simply need to take them to a landing page where you make them an offer and ask them to buy.

Facebook Ads however is very different.

Your ad appears in their newsfeed while they’re probably relaxing.

They are not in buying mode and your ad is interrupting them from looking at hilarious videos of cats.

Your approach has to therefore be fundamentally different.

It’s too early to ask them to buy or make a commitment.

They don’t know you from Adam and there’s no reason for them to trust you.

You have got to nurture them over time – to let them get to know you and to trust you.

To create a sales funnel and guide them through it.

So how are you going to do that?

You want to start off by giving them something of value. A free download, a video, a podcast – anything that will make them take that first step of engagement.

Obviously you want their contact details in return.

Now you send them a series of emails which continue to give them value and which demonstrate your expertise and how you can help them.

How many you have in your series is up to you but at some stage you will have to ask for an order.

But remember they still don’t really know you so are unlikely to commit to a large purchase.

So start with a very low value product – £10 or £20 or offer them a free telephone call or free consultation.

Once they’ve made this initial commitment, you can take them up the value chain until you’re selling your high ticket products or consultancy.

You mustn’t rush it or you’ll scare them off.

So remember with Google you can go straight in for the kill, on Facebook you have to move them slowly through the funnel.

If you need some help with your Facebook ads or with setting up your funnel, just shout – or call 01483 200387.

Increase average spend

The Easiest Way To Increase Average Spend

Average spend is a key metric for small businesses and one of the key levers for growing a business.

My business is all about growing my clients’ businesses.

Growing their turnover and their profit.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are only 4 ways to grow your business.

  1. Increase the number of customers
  2. Increase the number of transactions by getting your customers to buy more often
  3. Increasing the average spend – getting your customers to increase their transaction values
  4. Increasing your customer lifetime – keeping your customers loyal and buying from you for longer

Sorry but that’s all there is.

Marketers seem to always focus on the winning of new customers but each of the four are equally good ways to grow your business.

Today I want to think about increasing the average spend.

One of the classic ways of doing this is bundling.

Bundling is when you package a number of your products together so instead of selling one item you’re selling 2 or 3.

Normally you will sell the bundle cheaper than you would if selling each one individually.

We’re all very used to this happening especially in the grocery market.

Classic examples are the 4 pack of Heinz beans or the mega sack of crisps.

Or even the simpler 4 for 3 offers.

So while the gross margin may fall in percentage terms, the actual cash generated is increased.

Bundling certainly isn’t restricted to grocery.

A classic example these days must be the telecoms companies.

No longer are they happy with just providing your phone instead they shoot for the “Quadplay”.

This is your landline (remember those), mobile, broadband and subscription TV.

The more elements you buy, the more advantageous the pricing and of course you also get the increased convenience.

You’ve only got to deal with one supplier, everything comes on one bill and works harmoniously together.

Well that’s the theory anyway.

Another example you see is with white goods manufacturers who will offer a bundle to new kitchen buyers.

This can include the cooker, dishwasher, washing machine and fridge.

Again the price for all four is significantly less than if you bought all four components individually.

Bundling applies to services businesses just as well as retailers.

Accountants are a good example of this.

You’ll often see accountants offering say three different services bundles at different price points.

There’ll be a basic bundle offering just the basic services and mid-range and premium bundles offering increasing numbers of services.

So the question is how can you apply this to your business and drive up your average spend?

If you need any help with the process, just give me a shout on, call 01483 200387.

The jobs your marketing plan must achieve

Creating Your Marketing Plan

I was on a webinar last week about creating a marketing plan.

What made it interesting was the planning process was built around the jobs your marketing has to achieve.

It was basically a five step process, where your marketing has to take someone who is completely unaware of your business and turn them into not only a customer, but a regular customer and referrer of your business.

The process  your marketing plan has to cover is:

  1. Awareness
  2. Engagement
  3. Conversion
  4. Buying
  5. On going excitement

a. Awareness

To build awareness of your business and what you do you’re going to need to think about:

  • Your website
  • Advertising – PPC/traditional/online
  • Remarketing
  • Social media
  • Leaflets and flyers
  • Direct mail
  • PR
  • Talks/webinars

b. Engagement

They now need to get to know you better.

They’re very unlikely to spend money with you until they’ve spent time with you.

They must engage with your stuff.

  • Visit your website and consume the content
  • Download your free stuff/lead magnet
  • Read your emails/ blogs/newsletters/leaflets/flyers/letters.
  • Watch your videos
  • Follow you on social media
  • Visit your shop

c. Conversion

So they’re now aware of you and they’re liking what they’ve discovered.

Now you need to convert them.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be making a significant purchase from you.

They’re not far enough down the funnel for that.

You’re likely to still need to do more nurturing.

That could be:

  • A face to face appointment
  • A phone call
  • A subscription or an opt in to a service
  • A trip wire – a very small introductory purchase
  • A demo
  • A free trial

d Buying

This is of course the key bit.

If you’ve done the other processes properly they should be pretty much ready to buy.

  • You still have to close the deal.
  • Now you must ensure your on-boarding processes are in place to avoid buyers’ remorse and the order being cancelled.

But your marketing has still got more work to do.

e. Excitment

You’ll probably be hoping for on-going business and regular referrals, testimonials and reviews.

For this to happen your marketing will need to keep them excited and engaged in your business.

This will need:

  • Emails
  • Special offers
  • Newsletters
  • Loyalty schemes
  • Customer events
  • Hospitality
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Phone calls/personal visits
  • Social media

Now of course I’m not suggesting that you should be doing all the above.

But given the jobs your marketing has to achieve, these are the areas you will need to consider in your marketing plan.

All you have to do is select the channels which are going to be right for your business and build them into your marketing plan.


If you answered no to that I can help you out. Just email me on, call me on 014183 200387.




Google Ads

Google Ads Will Ensure Your Business Can Be Found

Google Ads is probably the most important tool at the disposal of marketers.

Google Ads has been through a lot of changes in the last few years.

The concept is still the same but a lot of the details have changed.

And yes it has become more complicated.

Now that Google has embraced AI and machine learning, the potential of Google Ads is greater than ever.

To get the absolute most from Google Ads you probably do need an expert to help you but you can definitely do a decent job by yourself.

However I regularly hear the same objections from people who are obviously scared of the mighty Google:

  1. Google will take all my money

Yes given the chance Google will empty your bank account.

But it’s up to you to make sure you don’t give it the chance.

You set your daily budget and Google won’t spend more than that.

My daily budget is £8 so my maximum monthly exposure in under £250.

The other point to add on this subject is about ROI.

Returns of £4 or £5 for every £1 spent are common.

If you’re getting that return why would you limit your budget.

  1. How can I compete with the big boys?

This is a legitimate concern.

If you’re going head to head with corporates you won’t outbid them so you need to outsmart them.

Use long tail keywords. Not the obvious, high volume keywords but the more esoteric ones that the corporates don’t target.

Also as it’s your money, you will be much closer to the campaign.

You will be able to manage and monitor it much more closely than your larger competitors.

  1. The ads are too small

Google has made the ads much larger recently.

  • You can now have 3 headlines up to 30 characters each
  • Two description lines of up to 90 characters each plus two URLs and a whole range of extensions.

A full Google ad is now well over 300 characters which gives you real presence.

  1. My competitors will waste my budget by clicking on my ad

It is possible but personally I’ve never experienced it.

Do you do it to your competitors’ ads?

No – well there you go.

So my recommendation, if you’ve never tried it, is to give Google ads a go.

If you’re still unsure, there is a website that’ll give you a second opinion.

Fill out the questions and you’ll get a good idea of whether Google Ads is right for you.

Alternatively of course you can always get me to sort it out for you.

Email me on or call me on 01483 200387.

Visible on Google
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Make Sure You’re Visible On Google

Making sure you’re visible on Google must be a key priority for small businesses.

This is perhaps the most important single thing you can do to ensure your business performance in 2019.

It’s very easy these days to get carried away with the latest shiny toys and think that you’ve got to get into the newest techno wizardry.

Well yes ……………….. and no.

Before you start getting too clever, make sure that you’ve got the basic building blocks of your marketing in place first.

I include making sure you’re visible on Google as a basic building block.

Remember the mantra – marketing’s about the three Ms.

  • Market – are you clear on your target audience’s problems and the solutions they’re looking for?
  • Message – does your marketing message give you stand out from your competitors so making you the obvious choice?
  • Medium – are you using the right channels to communicate with your audience?

As I’ve said the most important things for most small businesses are:

  1. To show up on Google when people are searching for what you sell.
  2. For your website/landing page to convert visitors into enquirers

So starting with the second point first:

Your website must:

  • Tell people precisely what you do
  • Explain the benefits you deliver
  • Show that you can solve their problems
  • Demonstrate why they should chose you and not a competitor
  • Provide plenty of social proof of how good you are from lots of happy customers
  • Make it very easy for them to contact you.

The next thing is to drive lots of traffic to your site.

The best way to do this is PPC advertising on Google and Facebook.

Assuming that you’re in the top 3 or 4 ads, you will now have decent visibility on Google.

But you should also be present on Google My Business.

This is the map with the pins which highlights local businesses.

As it’s a free service, you definitely should be on there.

To become even more visible on Google you definitely should be doing Remarketing.

This is where after someone has visited your site, you then follow them around the internet showing your ads to them.

This positions you as a serious player on line and will bring visitors back to your site for another look.

Of course these are lots of other things you could and should be doing, but by being visibile on Google, you will ensure a regular flow of enquiries into your business.

If you like the sound of this but need some help making it happen just email me on call me on 01483 200387 or contact me via the website


Creative thinking

The Importance Of Creative Thinking

Creative thinking and thinking differently are vitally important in marketing.

Following the herd and doing what everyone else does will give you the results everyone else gets.

Surely that’s not what you want?

A classic example of this is Christmas cards.

I pity the poor postmen at this time of year.

Struggling round the houses, lugging massive heavy bags full of Christmas cards.

Personally I think Christmas cards can be a great way to maintain contact with friends you might not see regularly.

But on a business level I think they’re a complete waste of time.

Why do people send them to their customers?

In essence it’s part of their marketing efforts – trying to stay in touch and in their customers’ consciousness.

But does it work?

In my opinion no and I would urge you not to do it.

They’re opened, glanced at in a perfunctory manner, stuck on top of the filing cabinet and dumped in the bin on the 2nd January.


Because everyone does it.

It’s just lazy thinking – certainly not creative thinking.

They don’t say anything about your business, they don’t stand out, and they don’t differentiate your business in any way.

Businesses do it because they’ve always done it.

It’s easier to keep on doing it than think of something different to do.

And that goes for a lot of businesses whole approach to marketing.

The whole point of marketing is to stand out, to grab the recipients’ attention and give them reasons why they should buy your product.

Christmas cards fail on every measure of marketing effectiveness.

A few years back I persuaded a client that sending their normal card was a waste of time and money but proposed instead to do a Happy January card.

The front image was a bloke who obviously over-indulged over Christmas with the ironic greeting of Happy January.

Inside it explained that they were sending a card in January because they thought differently to others.

It then went on to spell out the benefits they delivered.

I would be very confident that it would have had a significant impact.

It would have been retained for a considerable time and would have differentiated them from the great mass of other suppliers.

Genuine creative thinking.

That is what good marketing is all about.

If you want some creative thinking in your business, give me a shout on , call me on 014183 200387 or via the website