Rules of marketing

The Rules Of Marketing

It’s vital that you understand and adhere to the rules of marketing.

In other areas of life rules may be there to be broken.

A headline in the Times earlier this week read:

Tory Brexiteers rewrite the rules in fresh bid to oust Theresa May

Basically sections of the Conservative party are so desperate to get rid of her that they hope to change the rules so that they can have another vote of no confidence.

So while perhaps in politics you can change the rules to suit yourself, the rules of marketing can’t be played around with in the same way.

One of the golden rule of marketing is that if you give the right messages to the right people in the right way you will get the right result.

No amount of plotting or scheming will change that and it relates to large corporates and SMEs alike.

So what does this mean in real life?

  1. The Right People

You need to identify your target audience as precisely as possible.

The more you can get inside the heads of your ideal customer the better.

The best way to do this is to create an avatar – so that you know what age and sex your ideal customer is, where they live, what job they do, how much they earn, what are their leisure activities, do they have kids, what TV programmes do they watch etc etc.

Only when you really understand precisely who you customer is, can you ensure that all aspects of your product or service match their requirements.

2. The Right Messages

Having identified your target customer, you can now craft the most appropriate messages:

  • What do you do/sell?
  • What problems in your customers’ lives do you solve?
  • What benefits do you deliver?
  • How do you differ from other suppliers in your sector?
  • How do you avoid the classic mistakes that people hate about your industry?
  • How can people trial your product or service?
  • What guarantees do you provide?
  • What special introductory offers can you make?

3. The Right Way
This is all about selecting the right channels to communicate with, which will be determined by your customer avatar.

You have to make sure that the communication channels you select are ones that your audience use.

At the risk of being crass this means that you wouldn’t use Facebook to communicate with an elderly audience and you wouldn’t advertise in the parish mag if you’re trying to reach millennials.

So unlike the Tory brexiteers you can’t rewrite the rules of marketing but you do need to take notice of them.

If you need any help with any aspect of this, get in touch on, call me on 01483 200387.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads Need A Different Strategy

Facebook Ads is of course a Pay Per Click advertising platform but it’s very different to Google Ads.

With Google people are actively looking for a solution to their problem.

So advertisers can basically say “here’s what I’ve got, come and buy it”.

Facebook Ads is very different.

People aren’t searching.

They’re scrolling through their newsfeed and your ad is basically interrupting them.

At this stage they know nothing about you so you have to woo them, impress them and gain their trust.

It’s a bit like a blind date.

I put a new Facebook Ads campaign live a couple of days ago.

My campaign is a seven step process.

It starts with the ads themselves.

I’ve produced a few, all with basically the same wording but different creative treatments.

I have no idea at this stage which will work best.

The ad offers a free gift – an ebook entitled “How to double your business in the next 12 months”.

At this stage I’m giving them something which I hope will be of interest to them.

When they click on the ad, they’re taken to a landing page where they fill in their details before being able to download the ebook.

The purpose of the ebook is to build trust  – I’m demonstrating my knowledge and expertise.

I will now send them a series of emails.

The first one simply introduces myself and thanks them for downloading the ebook.

The next one (two days later) details a case history of a client, showing what problem she was suffering from, my solution and the outcome.

The ultimate objective of the campaign is to get a phone conversation with these prospects.

If I have a chat on the phone, I may then get a meeting  where I may close them to become a client.

So each email has a link where they can arrange a no obligation phone call to discuss what they should be doing to win more customers.

The next email contains a video in which I explain a basic digital marketing campaign to grow their business.

The video introduces me to them so they can decide whether they like me and whether they’d be happy to work with me.

The next email is another successful case history.

The sixth and final element of the campaign is another email this time single-mindedly promoting the telephone conversation.

Will it work?

Well it certainly should but if it doesn’t I’ll tweak and amend it until it does.

If you’d like a Facebook Ads campaign implemented in your business, give me a shout on, call me on 014183 200387.

Follow up

How To Follow Up

The way you follow up your leads will probably determine the success of your business.

Marketing generates the enquiry and it’s the job of sales to convert the lead into a customer.

But the problem is you can have all the leads in the world, but if you don’t convert them, you still haven’t got a business.

I was having this conversation with a client recently who was complaining that she wasn’t converting enough of her leads.

In the on-line lead generating process it’s normal to ask for a name and email address.

While the phone number would be very useful, asking for a phone number can reduce response rates by up to 50%.

People don’t want to run the risk of having someone hassling them on the phone.

My client was lamenting the fact that she does her follow up by email but often gets no response.

So I dug down a little deeper to discover what else she does to make contact and the answer was nothing as she only has the email address.

So we did a little experiment.

By looking at the email address and using an amount of creativity and guesswork we were able to identify the websites of three out of five leads.

Once we had the website we now had the phone number, physical address and name of the main man.

Armed with this information my client can now follow up:

  • On the phone
  • Via social media – especially LinkedIn and Facebook
  • By letter

My point in all this is that if the prospect has taken the trouble to make contact, they must have an amount of interest in what you sell.

God knows why they haven’t responded to emails.

It is of course possible that the emails may go into the junk folder and have never been seen or the prospect is away or who knows what.

Whatever the answer the success of your business may well depend on your perseverance at the follow up.

We all know that the majority of buying decisions are made somewhere between the 7th and 12th  contact.

It’s also well known that the average sales person gives up after 2 – 3 attempts.

So it may well be that it’s not more leads you need at all  but a bit more determination, creativity and bloody mindedness in your follow up.

As always if you need any help or advice with any aspect of your marketing, give me a shout on or 01483 200387.

Successful marketing

Successful Marketing

Successful marketing is vital to the success of almost any business.

Yet when I think of the way many businesses approach marketing, it reminds me of Theresa May’s approach to Brexit.

Personally I’m so sick of Brexit.

I can’t bear to listen to the unending debates and arguments any more.

God knows what Theresa May must think.

I’ve been stunned and amazed how she’s taken her deal back to the House of Commons three times.

This is where the similarity with so many businesses’ marketing comes in.

So many businesses continue to do marketing that doesn’t work.

They continue making exactly the same unsuccessful pitch to their prospects time after time.

They don’t change the words, the offer, the medium, the delivery method or anything.

If your marketing is not showing a return on investment you should stop it immediately.

Take stock and then see if by changing it – either small tweaks or larger changes you can make it work.

You need to turn your unsuccessful marketing into successful marketing.

So let’s take email marketing as an example.

I’ve been sending emails out every Wednesday morning for the last five years.

So does it work for me – absolutely.

I get about a 40% open rate and a steady trickle of enquiries.

But I’ve had to tweak and amend things over the years.

Successful marketing doesn’t just happen.

So if you’re doing email marketing and it’s not working, what should you look at?

  1. The subject line – this is one of the key elements that influences whether the email is opened or not.
    You must make sure that your subject line interests people enough to click on it.
  2. The subject matter – unless you’re writing about subjects that people are interested in, they’re not going to engage. You must ensure content is relevant to your audience.
  3. Special offers – special offers can be very powerful. If you’re emailing regularly you can’t have a special offer every time otherwise they lose impact.
  4. Call to action – if you want people to take action you have to tell them what action to take and make it very easy for them to do it.
  5. Regularity – how often are you going to email? The answer is as often as you can provide value. Your emails can’t be too regular they can only be too boring.
  6. Timing – what is the best time of day/day of week to email. There’s no definitive answer to this. Just experiment and see what results you get.

So if you want successful marketing stop doing any that isn’t working and tweak and amend it until it does.

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

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.