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



The Objective Of Your Marketing

What’s the objective of your marketing?

I would assume it’s to win and retain new customers.

There are a number of steps which need to be gone through before someone decides to become a customer.

I’m talking about the “Know, Like, Trust” process.

To this end I send out an email to my database every week.

Last week one of my list unsubscribed.

She sent me quite an angry email explaining why:

“I generally have found them thought provoking and interesting reading, but the crossover with your political agenda is not conducive to a light hearted informative newsletter/marketing message. To say the least it becomes confusing as to what the objective of your marketing actually is!”

I replied to her explaining that I look at what’s happening in the world and in my life for inspiration each week, that I have absolutely no political agenda and that I deliberately express opinions in order to show a bit of my personality to help the know and like parts of the process.

Her reply was:

“Of course you look for inspiration from what is happening around you, current affairs etc, but perhaps you don’t realise that your political leanings (bias?) shine through for all to see.”

My reply was that I have never endorsed any particular parties or put forward my own political views.

She had obviously made certain assumptions about my political affiliations and decided she doesn’t like them.

But they are just that – assumptions not facts.

I could have pointed out that coming to conclusions without substantiating facts is very dangerous.

But life’s too short.

I went on to explain the thought process behind my approach.

This is where know, like, trust comes in and it’s the marketer’s job to achieve this.

By revealing aspects of my personality through my opinions and humour I enable people to get to know me a bit.

Whether they like what they find out about me or not is outside of my control.

But that’s my aim.

Another objective of your marketing I expect is to attract like-minded people and repel the others.

They’re never going to become clients or advocates so don’t worry about them.

For this reason I don’t worry about unsubscribes and nor should you.

The last item – trust – I try to engender by:

  1. Providing good, real world advice that everyone can use
  2. By being reliable and turning up in their inboxes every Wednesday morning.

So my advice to you is to avoid being vanilla in your marketing.

Have the courage to be outspoken.

Some people will be repelled but others will love it and be drawn to you.

These are the people you should focus on as they may well become your clients.

So if the objective of your marketing is to win and retain new customers, I’d love to help.


Marketing your business

Classic Marketing Mistakes

Theresa May has been guilty of some classic marketing mistakes recently.

I’m referring to her trip around the country trying to sell her Brexit deal to the people.

I really wouldn’t suggest that you get her to do your marketing as I see two classic mistakes in what she’s doing.

  1. The wrong target audience

She’s trying to sell her deal to the general populace.

I don’t really understand what she hopes to gain from this.

The audience she has to convince are her fellow MPs.

On December 11th the Commons will vote on the deal and will probably throw it out.

She’s like a business owner who’s targeting the wrong group of customers.

Marketing is all about the 3Ms – market, message, medium and unfortunately she’s talking to the wrong market.

It doesn’t matter how good what you’re (or she) is saying, if you’re saying it to the wrong people, you’re not going to get the result you’re looking for.

This means her road trip is unlikely to influence the chances of getting it through the Commons.

The only other thought is that she’s canvassing early for a second referendum – now there’s a thought.

So that’s the first of her classic marketing mistakes.

  1. An unattractive proposition

The second and more fundamental mistake is that what she’s trying to sell (her proposition)  isn’t attractive enough for MPs to buy.

Now I know I go on about this a lot but if your proposition – what you offer to your prospective clients, isn’t appealing enough and doesn’t set you apart from your competitors, then you’re going to struggle to persuade new customers.

I think May’s got a real problem here.

More than anything her problem is in communication.

How many people really understand the backstop and its implications.

It’s exactly the same for you in your business.

If prospects don’t understand exactly what you do, the problems in their lives that you solve and how you will benefit them, then they’re very unlikely to do business with you.

Your proposition has to be crystal clear.

Your audience must understand what you do and how you will make their lives better.

So if you’re determined to avoid these classic marketing mistakes, among others, simply email me on or call me on 01483 200387.


The Right Kind Of Marketing For A Small Business

Nothing highlights the difference between small business marketing and corporate marketing more than the annual John Lewis Christmas ad.

This has become an annual phenomenon.

All the other retailers release their ads but we all wait for John Lewis’s.

In case by any chance you haven’t seen this year’s, here it is:

So is it any good?

Firstly, stylistically it’s quite a departure from their normal approach.

Apparently they spent around £7million on it.

Elton John doesn’t come cheap.

By using Elton they’re buying into a national treasure – his songs are parts of all our backstories.

While their ads normally pull at our heartstrings, this one leverages existing emotions around the central character.

Because next years’ tour is his last ever and the upcoming biopic, he’s currently super high profile.

So instead of the ad creating the emotional pull, they’re piggybacking on our connection with the man.

You could say this is a bit of a cop out.

But when you’ve got 7 million quid you can do what you like.

What they have done is tell a story – showing us his development from little boy to elder statesman.

By telling stories you engage your audience on an emotional level and draw them into your narrative.

That and the sign off line “Some gifts are more than just a gift” embed both emotional and intellectual hooks into us.

So what can we learn from this?

The answer is just about nothing.

No that’s not true.

The story telling aspect is really important.

Introduce stories into your small business marketing and you too will engage your audience in a way no other approach does.

Apart from that you should avoid this type of brand marketing like the plague.

This ad says nothing overtly about the business, about what it will do for it’s customers and the reasons we should be shopping there.

As small business owners we should all be focussing on direct response marketing.

Your job isn’t to build brand awareness.

Your job is to generate sales, hard cash in the till today.

Brand awareness advertising will take years and loads of money to do that.

If you’re doing any Christmas marketing, you should include:

  • A powerful headline to grab eyeballs
  • The benefits your product/service will deliver
  • A special offer with a short cut-off date
  • A call to action telling people what to do now
  • A variety of contact options

If you need any help with any aspect of your small business marketing, just give me a shout on  or call me on 01483 200387.

The best way to sell

The Best Way To Sell

What is the best way to sell?

Once you’ve learnt the best way to sell, business becomes so much easier.

The sad truth is that most people are rubbish at sales.


Because they’re selling.

While most people love to buy they hate being overtly sold to.

Traditionally selling is all about overcoming objections, pushing people into corners and then closing the deal.

Instead of wooing them it’s more like beating them up.

This kind of selling is a tough job which is why most people are rubbish at it.

Now you may very well have excellent products which will do a great job for me but because I feel I’m being manipulated, that the salesman isn’t thinking about me and my needs, but thinking about his month end figures, I react negatively and become very unlikely to buy.

Just like people react in a relationship when their wants are ignored.

The top sales people don’t sell – they woo their customers by building relationships and satisfying their every need.

Does it satisfy my desires?

Now if you’re going to buy something, you’re going to want to know how the product satisfies your desires.

  • What does it do?
  • What benefits does it deliver to you?
  • What problems in your life does it solve?
  • What guarantees does it come with?
  • Can you trial it in advance?
  • How can I get hold of it?
  • Do other users recommend it – what social proof is there?

You need to market your products to your prospective buyers so that it satisfies their every need.

You need to use the basic principles of marketing:

  • Identify your ideal customer
  • Craft sweet nothings for each of your target groups so that your messages are totally relevant to them?
  • Know where your potential dates hang out? Only when you know where these people spend their time can you decide which methods of communication to use.

I go through this process with my clients to ensure that their marketing hits the spot.

The upshot will be that you no longer have to hard sell your prospects as you will have created the environment in which they become putty in your hands.

So to discover the best way to sell and become a sales Casanova, get in touch by emailing me on , by calling me on 01483 200387.



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Traditional And Digital Marketing

It’s great in my job when traditional and digital marketing work together.

I went to see the most niche business you can imagine the other day.

They’re a start-up hiring out gowns for student graduation ceremonies.

Certain elements of their marketing are very straight forward.

Their target audience couldn’t be any more clearly defined –  students graduating in about a month’s time.

The message is also simple – they’re about 30% cheaper than the only significant player in the market, who historically have had a virtual monopoly.

So far so easy.

It’s when you come to communication channels that things become more interesting.

The 200 year old market leader is deep in bed with all the universities who endorse them as their approved supplier and tell all the students to get their gowns from them.

So the marketing for the guys I was talking to has two very specific objectives.

  1. Generate awareness that they exist and that their gowns are massively cheaper than the existing supplier and so drive the students to their website.
  2. The website needs to convert visitors into customers.

So what channels should they be using to drive them to the website?

Well obviously 20 year olds spend all their lives on line especially on social media.

So that seems a no brainer.

But which platforms?

We know Facebook’s has reduced the reach for organic posts through the algorithm changes earlier this year.

Additionally for 20 year olds Facebook  is no longer as cool as it once was.

But Facebook posting, especially in groups should still be part of the mix as should Facebook advertising.

But Instagram is the cool platform of choice for kids this age.

What about Google – both the organic listings and Google Ads.?

Will kids search gown suppliers when the university tells them where to get their gown from?

The Keyword tool will give us an idea of search volumes.

But this will be an area where we’re likely to try it and see.

At this stage you can’t know what the result will be.

So what else should they do?

Although we’re talking to such a digital audience, interestingly we’ll need to revert to traditional channels.

We’ll need to make traditional and digital marketing channels work together.

Bill boards and posters around the campuses will be perfectly targeted and have space to communicate the key messages.

Likewise handing out flyers – hardly cutting edge but absolutely appropriate.

Whether we can get a bit clever and find audiences of exclusively final year students I don’t know yet.

And student ambassadors – individuals who are incentivised to generate word of mouth referrals and bring people into the brand one at a time.

In a world fixated on digital marketing it’s kind of refreshing to make old style traditional and digital marketing channels work together for such a digitally orientated audience.

So if you’ve got a marketing challenge that you need resolving give me a shout on , call me on 01483 200387.

The Importance of Marketing Regularly

The importance of marketing regularly cannot be overstressed.


Because a major problem that small businesses suffer from is that nobody knows they exist.

If every company in your target audience within a thirty mile radius knew about your business and how you could help them, do you think you would do more business?

Of course – loads more but becoming known is not an easy job.

You can’t just communicate once or twice and leave it at that.

To become well known you need to market regularly to your audience over an extended period of time.

It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Your prospects have to get to know you over time.

They have to go through the “know, like, trust” process.

Think about it.

Would you do business with an organisation you don’t know anything about?

Is what they’re offering something you’re interested in?

Are their values the same as yours?

Do you like them, do you think you could work with them?

And crucially, do you trust them?

Have you got confidence in what they’re saying?

Unless you can say yes to all these points, you’re probably not going to work with them.

Of course none of this happens overnight.

You have to be in it for the long haul and commit to marketing regularly to them.

It’s estimated that you have to have upwards of 11 contacts before the average person will make a decision.

I also suggest that you mix up the marketing channels you use.

Different people will respond differently to different approaches.

So instead of only using one approach, consider:

  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Video
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google My Business
  • Remarketing
  • Social media

But if you stick at it and market regularly to your audience you will get the results you’re looking for.

I communicate with my audience every Wednesday and I have been for the last 5 years.

That’s a hell of a lot of contact points.

So if you’re still at the starting line of your own personal marathon but are determined that your business is going to win the race with your competitors and your committed to marketing regularly, get in touch on  or call me on 01483 200387.