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Basic Marketing Techniques For A Local Business

In this post I want to outline some basic marketing techniques which would be suitable for a small local business.

I had my hair cut yesterday in the same place I’ve been going to for years.

Are they particularly good?

No not really but I get on very well with the woman who cuts my hair and I look OK when I come out.

Unfortunately I reckon the business is in danger of going under simply because they don’t have enough customers.

This is leading to the classic downward spiral.

There isn’t enough money coming in so they don’t invest in the fabric of the building, but they’ve whacked up the prices and stopped taking credit cards.

You get the idea?

So why is this business in trouble?

You guessed it – because they don’t do anything to promote or market the place.

It’s a very simple business and a few very basic marketing techniques would get people coming through the door again.

Hairdressing is the classic sort of business where if you get them in once and they like the experience, they’ll come back time and again.

So what basic marketing techniques should they be using?

I won’t even bother to talk about a website, which of course they haven’t got.

  1. A customer database would be the most sensible place to start – segmented into women and men and then by the kind of service they have and the regularity they visitOnce they have that they should send out an email a week or two before the customer normally visits to remind them to book an appointment.

Of course in this post GDPR world they would need to get consent before they start communicating with them.

2.They could also at the same time do an upsell and make a special offer on hair colouring or some other complicated process that women have done to their hair that that segment isn’t currently buying but would be relevant to them.

3.Then I would suggest a referral scheme, in which existing customers refer new customers with a significant discount off their first visit and also provides the referrer with a worthwhile benefit.

4.Another obvious technique would be to launch a loyalty scheme. Once the customer has received say 5 stamps on their loyalty card they would be eligible either for a discount or some other benefit.

5.And the last super simple, old school technique that would definitely deliver new customers would be a good old fashioned door drop.

If they distributed 1000 or 2000 leaflets to near- by houses with a powerful incentive they would without doubt generate a load of new customers so that next time I have my hair cut I’m not the only person in there.

These are all old style, basic marketing techniques but they would be the right solution for the business in its current state.

It’s not about doing whizzy new stuff. It’s about doing the right stuff.

If you have a business which is crying out for some hard hitting marketing help, get in touch by emailing me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or calling 014183 200387.

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Differentiate Your Business From Your Competitors

For all small businesses, one of the key marketing issues is how can you differentiate your business from your competitors.

You must give your customers real and tangible reasons to choose you.

I was at a marketing seminar last week, part of which was given over to a case study as to how one business had done this.

The business featured was a florist with both a shop and an online business – a seriously crowded market place.

The point was made that if you’re ordering flowers for delivery from a bog standard florist, after the order’s been taken you may get a confirmation email and an invoice.

But that’s all the contact you likely to have.

The featured business’ process is very different and was designed to differentiate the business.

  1. After you’ve placed your order, the first contact is an email confirming all the details of the order.
  2. Next you receive an email with a photograph of your flowers made up and the name of the person who made the bouquet for you.
  3. The flowers are then delivered in an elaborately wrapped van which looks like a mobile bunch of flowers.
  4. Only happy, outgoing, helpful people are recruited as delivery drivers or “Deliverer of happiness” as they’re known.
  5. As soon as the flowers have been delivered, the driver sends you an email from the van telling you the time the flowers were delivered.
  6. If the recipient isn’t in, the flowers are left with a neighbour who’s given a “Good Neighbour Award” of a thank you card and a box of chocolates there and then.
  7. The day after the delivery, the recipient is sent in the post:
  • Flower food
  • Information about looking after the flowers
  • Discount code for their own purchase
  • A polite request for a testimonial

That’s a lot of customer care.

What these people have done is to look to add value at every stage of their service and to make it literally world class.

Now you might even think that this is a bit over the top.

But who are you likely to go back to or refer to your friends – a business that demonstrates how important their customers are to them or the bog standard florist who takes the order and, you hope, delivers the flowers.

So if you want your business to truly stand out, you should look closely at every contact point you have with your customers.

See if there is something extra you could do to add value to your service and to demonstrate to your customers how much you really care about their satisfaction.

I promise you it’ll be worth your while.

If you want any help with this or any other elements of your marketing, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , call me on 01483 200387.

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Why is Email Marketing So Important?

There are many different marketing channels to communicate with your audience.

A key one is email marketing.

Email marketing offers many benefits for your business. It helps you to build relationships with your audience, provide valuable content and demonstrate your expertise.

There are many factors that make email marketing so important. Read more

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Why Your Marketing Must Be Regular And Consistent

The political turmoil in the UK over the last few months has been remarkable.

 

The lessons for business are obvious here.

 

If you offer your customers what they want to buy, they will reward you with their custom.

Sale Keypad

If, however, you offer them what you want to sell them, they may go elsewhere and find a different supplier.

 

The Tory approach smacked of arrogance and probably cost them an outright victory.

 

This brings me back to the issue of complacency and how this relates to your business and your marketing.

 

Many businesses are guilty of sporadic marketing.

 

How it works is that they do some marketing which generates an amount of business.

 

They then become complacent and stop the marketing while they tend to the new business.

 

After a while, they find they’re back where they started with no new business coming in so they restart the marketing.

 

A cycle.

Marketing Strategy

The upshot of this is that they’re continuously in a state of feast or famine, there’s never any certainty or security in the company and the business never actually grows.

 

Marketing should be a regular and ongoing commitment, which generates a constant supply of new customers.

 

In the ideal scenario, you will know that if you spend £x on marketing you will generate £y of new business.

 

The certainty allows you to plan your business, to grow it to whatever level is right for you.

 

The standard response I hear to this argument is “ I don’t have the time for that.”

 

This is where I come in because I can take that weight off your shoulders by running your marketing for you.

 

For more information about this, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or give me a call on 01483 200387 and I will answer any questions you may have about marketing.

 

 

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Misconceptions About Marketing

Here at BDA, I am dedicated to creating powerful, effective and well-thought through marketing campaigns.

However, there are quite a few misconceptions as to what this entails.

Lots of buzzwords – holistic marketing, data-driven content, influencer marketing etc etc only serve to confuse and intimidate people and can confuse the whole marketing process for the business owner.

So, what are the most common misconceptions that people have about marketing in the modern world?

The More the Merrier

Social media, email, PPC, SEO, content, and on and on and on.

There are a lot of marketing strategies out there. Some of them are important for everyone, while others have value but aren’t necessary.

Marketing

A lot of the time marketers will insist you need it all.

But, this just isn’t the case.

What you need is a tailored marketing campaign for your company.

Techniques that work well and are relevant to one business won’t necessarily work for another and you’ll only find out by testing and assessing.

Basically, make sure you don’t run a campaign just for the sake of “doing some marketing”

Good marketing is smart marketing.

Small Businesses Don’t Need Marketing

So, you’ve heard of marketing and it sounds great but it’s only relevant for bigger businesses.

You’re small, maybe just a one-man band, and your customers come from word of mouth or small local paper adverts. You don’t need marketing.

Wrong.

Every business needs to actively market itself. Unless you’re out there giving relevant messages to your target audience your business is unlikely to thrive. This means you need to create a marketing plan.

Natural business growth needs a plan, so if you want to expand you need to make sure you have a marketing plan – no matter how small your business is!

Your Website is All You Need

Some people are under the impression that a website is the width and breadth of a marketing campaign.

It has all your company information, details and sells itself.

This begs the question of how are potential customers meant to find the website in the first place in order for it to ‘sell itself’?

website development

If your website’s on the second or third page of Google, very few people will ever find you..

But with an effective SEO campaign you could be at the top of the first page – ready and waiting for customers to find you.

So, don’t just rely on your website to gain your online sales. It may be a very long and frustrating wait.

You need to be proactive and to have a traffic strategy.

Marketing is all about driving sales, the first stage of which is to get your business seen in the first place.

Do you need some advice about the do’s and don’ts of marketing? Then don’t hesitate to contact me on 01483 200387 or email me at mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk.

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Marketing Is an On Going and Long Term Commitment

A classic mistake that many companies make is to do a short burst of marketing, not get the results they hoped for and so stop.

Read more

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How to Use Christmas in Marketing

Christmas is the peak selling time for many businesses, which also means it’s incredibly competitive.

As the holidays approach, I hope you’ve got a plan to help you take full advantage of the festive season.

Read more

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How to Excel at Mobile Marketing

During my time as a marketing consultant in Surrey, I have come to the realisation that all too often people are focussing their online presence to meet the needs of customers solely using desktops and laptops; there’s a distinct lack of attention paid to mobile devices.

I am here to help you and your business to excel at mobile marketing, understanding the need to be accessible on more than just the traditional world wide web.

mobile-phone-internet

Statistics

According to recent studies SmartPhones have overtaken laptops as UK internet users’ number one device. UK internet users, on average, spend two hours online on their smartphones every day; twice as long as laptops and PCs.

Furthermore, superfast 4G has changed the way we shop, bank, watch television and interact.

Ofcom’s Communications Market report stated that a third (33%) of internet users consider their smartphone as their most important device, compared to 30% who still see their desktop as their device of choice to go online.

By 2020 it is expected that there will be 20 billion devices connected to the web and that 80% of people will own a smartphone. It’s therefore vital as a business owner to get your business mobilised.

If your business is not mobilised, you are missing out on huge market potential.

Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

To attract mobile users, it’s best to create simple apps and calls to actions that are straight forward to navigate through.  The most purposeful apps like Facebook and Instagram are task driven and easy to use.

Simple apps are quicker to build, easier to navigate through and most importantly are easier for the user to load.  Your content shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds to download, if it does than you increase the chance of losing your potential customer. The mobile user is an impatient breed.

Infographics vector illustration of smartphone utilities, people character, multi-ethnic, simple and flat design style.
QR Codes

Include QR Codes or Quick Response Codes on your business cards and ads, flyers and your email signature.

A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by QR scanners which can be downloaded free of charge to any smartphone gadget.

Once a QR Code is scanned, the code allows you to send your customer to a specific page on your website or to a specific special offer.

Text/SMS Messaging

After you have the consent to contact your customers, you should create the right message to get them to click on your link/ad or opt in to a precise promotion using text messaging.

Mobile Search Advertising Programs 

This is similar to traditional Pay-Per-Click advertising but just for your mobile phone.

Google allows you to bid on what you are willing to pay, either pay per click or pay per call from a potential customer. There’s lots of choices for mobile search campaigns, from locally targeted ads to call ads.

mobile-search

mobile-searchMobile Apps

There’s a growing amount of smartphone users who prefer using apps rather than using mobile sites. You can create an app that has exclusive content, that creates newsletters, sells services and drives traffic to your business.

Mobile Directories

You can get on a mobile app by joining a couple of mobile directories; make sure all of your directory listings have a description of your business.

Furthermore, it should have the hours of operations, contact details – such as address and post code – and, of course, a link to your site.

ISTANBUL - SEPTEMBER 18, 2015: Apple Iphone 6 screen with social media applications of Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Periscope while a male finger is about to touch on Facebook app.Social Media

Nearly everyone has a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account, and they’re free to use! Just make sure you keep all your social media channels up to date.

It’s a great way of reaching people on the go – particularly as Social Media is so mobile friendly.

 

There are many ways in which you can excel at marketing your business through a mobile phone.

It’s important to offer your customers and potential clients an accessible way to find and interact with your company; with laptops and desktops being exponentially left in the wake of mobile phone technology, it pays to understand how you can target your demographic.

If you need further information on how you can excel at mobile marketing, or marketing your business as a whole, all you have to do is get in touch! Let’s work together and grow your business.

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Should You Market Yourself on Social Media?

Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to market your business and build your brand.

Each platform offers a unique marketing experience and more platforms seem to be appearing almost every day.

The major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn seem to have become almost mandatory parts of your online presence.

But do you really need social media marketing and is it beneficial for you and your business?

 

 

Advantages

Compared to some traditional marketing channels such as TV for example, social media marketing is very cost-effective.

It’s also the perfect space to build brand loyalty – social media allows for direct interaction with consumers and by showing them your personality and your business’ values, you can build your reputation and make useful connections.

This interactivity enables instant feedback on your products and services and even on your employees. For big companies, social media can be a way of discovering when employees are performing to a high standard or conversely when they’re underperforming.

Facebook, for example, with over 1 billion users, provides you with a huge guaranteed audience.

It allows you to reach consumers you otherwise might not be able to: not everyone buys a newspaper, or watches TV.

Consumers will share your content on other platforms if they like it, which can give you massive exposure.

Social media makes it easier to share videos, images, and articles, which can boost traffic and online sales by ranking in the search engines.

Fun, informative, and creative content will be shared multiple times on different platforms, and has the possibility of “going viral” – the holy grail for marketers.

 

 

Disadvantages

Results from social media aren’t necessarily immediate.

Building a brand and a reputation takes time; you have to be active and update regularly with relevant content and be prepared to hang in for the long term.

Public backlash can be a big problem.

While social media can help to grow your business, you can also find yourself under public attack due to an employee’s actions.

These websites encourage people to share where they work and your employees may not represent your business and your brand in the way you would hope which can potentially ruin your reputation.

Negative feedback is easily visible to everyone and can quickly get out of hand. There are all sorts of people  on line and you can find yourself being attacked by ‘trolls’, ‘scammers’, or ‘spammers’, who enjoy nothing more than attacking companies and destroying their reputation.

 

 

How Does It Fit in Your Marketing Strategy?

In spite of the inherent dangers of social media, the fact is that the majority of companies are active to some degree on social media. These websites are commonly used by consumers to re-assure themselves that a company is who it says it is.

Businesses are expected to have an online presence nowadays and while a website is still necessary, by itself in is no longer enough.

Social media helps build trust and relationships with consumers, making them feel more connected with brands.

Social media platforms play a big part in content marketing and to be successful, your business has to adapt to popular consumer demands and needs, which includes being present on websites like Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Marketing, whether traditional or done through social media, is a vital issue for businesses.

With constantly emerging marketing platforms, developing strategies for your business might be tricky.

If you have any questions about how to market yourself on social media, you can contact me on 01483 200 387 or mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk and I’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, you can also find me on my Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn pages.

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Does Your Business Use Facebook Ads?

Facebook could be described as the world’s second-largest billboard (with Google at number one). But advertising on Facebook is a whole other beast to appearing on search engines using Google Ads or even Bing Ads.

Creating ads on Facebook is a relatively easy process – it’s designed to be as simple as possible, because not everyone has a degree in computer science! What’s more, compared to advertising on Google, Facebook is an affordable way to promote your company online.

If you aren’t currently using Facebook ads, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity.

Facebook ads can achieve a variety of different objectives from promoting specific products and offers, to building brand awareness and engaging and increasing your social media audience.

Social media is what I like to call a ‘fleeting medium’, in the sense that a Facebook post you write today could very well be forgotten tomorrow, replaced by another great post by your business. Rather than seeing this as a negative, advertising on Facebook positively plays on social media’s fast-paced and modular nature.

A/B Testing

If you’ve done email marketing before, you’ll be aware of A/B testing, and how it can help produce superior results. Facebook offers precisely the same ability, in which you can test two forms of the same advert, and see which performs better before launching the successful advert to a wider audience.

Reach a Mobile Audience

Much of today’s browsing occurs on mobile phones – a fact Facebook fully understands, given that they have well over 1 billion mobile users logging in each month. That’s a vast audience you can reach with your adverts.

Take Control

Want to change your advert’s design? Facebook is ideal if you’re concerned about spamming people with the same images and videos over a period of time, allowing a greater level of creative control when it comes to switching out one advert style or message for another.

Facebook, however, has one single killer app that blows search engine advertisement out of the water…

Audience Targeting

While Google, Bing and Yahoo! have a lot of coverage, with around 12 billion searches each month on Google alone, they lack the laser-focus offered by Facebook.

Facebook ads and boosted, or promoted, posts can be targeted to precisely hit the right market for your business. You can choose age, location, gender, and even associated interests, and even what’s known as lookalike profiles; those profiles who are similar to your existing customers in a single country.

The social network even allows you to exclude your existing customers in order to attract strictly new clientele. That means rather than taking a scatter-gun approach to online advertising, you can pinpoint the exact market you want to reach.

There are some huge benefits to using Facebook advertising to complement your wider marketing strategy, and given that much of today’s marketing occurs online – and in the hands of mobile phone users specifically – Facebook offers companies the opportunity to promote themselves, their services and their products to even larger audience than has ever been possible before.

If you’d like assistance in successfully marketing your business both off and online, simply contact me on 01483 200 387 to find out how I can help.