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Business Growth Funding for your Business Growth Vouchers

Growth Vouchers to support your marketing/sales strategy

Growth Vouchers to support your marketing/sales strategy

This scheme is due to finish 15th March 2015 and from reports I hear there is still a considerable amount of funding available.
I’m an approved Growth Voucher Adviser for “Marketing, attracting and keeping customers”:  advice in this area aims to help businesses develop effective marketing strategies, and to ensure that they provide the right product/service at the right price, in the right place, at the right time. The advice could be used for market research, targeting existing and potential customers, using social media to extend your reach into new markets , developing pricing strategies and closing sales.  Here’s the PDF about what’s covered here:
Marketing, attracting and keeping customers
What activities will Growth Vouchers fund?

  • Analysis of your market, including your competitors, opportunities and threats
  • Customer analysis: Who are they? What do they need? How can you reach them?
  • Advice on how to satisfy customer needs profitably
  • Help to divide your customers into groups and target them effectively
  • Advice on how to develop a brand and improve your competitive edge
  • Help to innovate around new products and ensure these are marketed to the appropriate audiences
  • Help to make your communications planning more effective and integrated across your business
  • Analysis of your sales strategy

Vouchers will cover up to half of the cost of paying for strategic advice up to a maximum of £2,000 (non-inclusive of VAT).  So a decent amount of money.  
Check out the various links here
171214
 
 

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Business Growth Buying Personas

Your business growth in 2015

Your business growth in 2015

Have you thought about using a coach-cum-marketing professional to grow your business?   Before you zap away I promise it’s not fluffy nonsense!
1. Why might you need help and support?  The value of business coaching is brilliantly explained in 45 seconds by Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.   See here 
A coach gives you someone who is outside of your business who you can support you and whom you trust. A bounce.
2. Update your business plan for 2015 – including short and long term goals, time scales and “who/what/by when”.
3. Update your marketing strategy for 2015 including

  • an overview marketing audit so you can reflect on what has worked, what hasn’t, how you can improve
  • your marketing communications – thinking about your different buying personas, how is it best to communicate with them; what would they most prefer?

4.  Having monthly conversations gives you a focus to look objectively at your financials to see what could be improved/adjusted. Test and Measure. Always.
5. Having a bounce for issues in the business, from leadership to HR to whatever has presented itself as a challenge to you.
Whether using the great GrowthAccelerator support scheme, or directly with me, I’d be delighted to talk to you.
Email Debbie Newman

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Armstrong Beech Marketing Article writing Copywriting

Why emotional words are essential in selling copy

Why emotional words are essential in selling copy

– and why so-called intellectuals who dabble in marketing – can be a pain in the ass…
I always enjoy receiving newsletters from Andy Owen of Andy Owen Copy and Creative.   I heard him speak at a seminar in London a few years back.   He says it as it is and there’s always lots to learn and improve on.  This is his latest newsletter.  He talks about using ‘everyday words’ and further on in the article he lists  the ten most frequently-used words in Schwab’s 100 good headlines – which is interesting!  I hope all my clients know to write all about YOU/the reader…. I go on about it often enough!  Nice to see endorsement, nonetheless…..
“You – 31 Your – 14 How – 12 New – 10 Money – 6  Who – 8 Now – 4 Why – 4 Want – 4 People – 4             (Not many intellectual words in that lot, is there?)
“I use the oldest words in the English language. People think I’m an ignorant bastard who doesn’t know the ten-dollar words.
I know the ten-dollar words. And they don’t work in copy…”
Ernest Hemingway
Read that and digest it. Read it again. And again. And believe it. Because it’s true.  Hemingway was one of the greatest writers ever.
His work has touched so many people – and will continue to do so, for as long as this world of ours keeps on turning.
One of the secrets of his success, was he was ‘real’. A man of the people…
The way he wrote, connected readily with people. Rich and poor. Of all races and creeds. People of all types and profiles. And, of all ages.
This was down to his genius – and the words he used. Copywriters today could learn so much from him.
If you are writing copy to generate a response and a positive reaction, then here are three essential copy commandments that I’m sure Ernest
would have endorsed, had he been around today.
1. Never use a ‘clever’ word when a simple one will do.
2. Use everyday words that connect to the reader and sound as if
you are talking naturally to them.
3. Keep any so-called intellectuals as far away from your copy as
possible.”
Read Andy’s article here

Categories
Business Growth Buying Personas

Your New Year Reminders and Actions

Your New Year Reminders and Actions

Who loves your business more than you?  Answer: No-one. No-one will ever love your business as much as its owner – do remember that when delegating your marketing within your company and /or if it’s up to you to ‘do’ the marketing. How much time are you going to allocate yourself each day /week to spend on marketing and all that makes up this wonderful word?
Don’t make working harder on your marketing one of your New Year Resolutions –  Statistics show that these resolutions generally don’t last too long.   “Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.” Jay Conrad Levinson.   So a rush of energy into your marketing in January only to forget it for the rest of the year won’t give you the success you want.
Focus on what you want to achieve in 2015 –  Not just “more of the same without a plan”. But make goals. Write them down. Pin up above your PC/laptop where you can see them every day and calculate how you’re going to get there.  They won’t just happen.
Start an Action Plan and a Marketing Calendar –  doesn’t have to be complicated.   I’ve added most of the ‘national’ dates , then you need to add your local industry dates, look at your peaks and troughs, add specific dates for the business, eg birthdays/ anniversaries, milestones. Think too about your ‘buying personas’ and the different ways you’ll be communicating with them.   Then think broadly about the marketing activity to support what you’ve written.

  • So for lawyers and accountants, what new legislation is coming in that you need to communicate to your clients and prospects, and how are you going to do this?   If say you produce a quarterly hard-copy newsletter, how about introducing an email update between times?
  • If you’re into hospitality jot down all the key dates throughout the year including the special ‘food ones’ and see how imaginative you can be
  • And for a florist, with so many dates throughout the year, it’s easy to find a new reason to keep in touch.
  • Does your business have a ‘big’ birthday this year you can use to gain some PR?
  • Will you be involved with any of the ‘fun’ fund raising campaigns  you can post to your web and use social media to talk about?

Show your customers you ‘love ‘em’ – with Valentine’s Day around the corner – it’s a great way to show your customers you appreciate their business and support and that you look forward to a great ongoing relationship.  What are you going to do to demonstrate your customer/client is important to you?    Being ‘unique, special and different’ doesn’t only apply to you and your own business but also in what you do.  Think what impact a New Year or Valentine’s Day thank you could have on your clients.  Far more powerful than something in December when it could so easily be ‘lost’.  And I’m not necessarily talking about ‘gifts’.  A tasteful hand written card from the ‘boss’ can be very effective!
Buying Personas – Do you really understand who your Buying Personas are?  This is a drilling-down from just thinking about your ‘target customer’  Give each segment a name, a persona, consider the type of language they would use, what they need to know.   This makes a great sales training session with your team – very happy to oblige!
How effective is your Data Base?  Such a hugely important asset to your business  – and yet some businesses don’t think that ‘a data base is for them’.   There’s no excuse at all for a customer not to know all your offerings and services, but it’s down to you to tell them.   Your communications don’t have to be intrusive or pushy, in fact they mustn’t be either of these, but it is down to you to keep in touch and not for your prospects and clients to be experts on your business and all that it offers.  You want to keep uppermost in your customers’ and prospects’ minds when it comes to their next buying decision that affects you.
When did you last read your web site?   Does it grab your attention in those first critical few seconds?   Is it all written to show the reasons why a prospect/customer should buy from you, showing the problems / issues you are solving for them?    Does your web copy have ‘you’ all the way through it?  It needs to if it doesn’t.  Do all the links work?  Is the info all up to date?  How often do you post articles on your blog page?  Are your social media sites linking to/from your website?  Is your web copy and SEO still right for the work you want to do now in your business?
How far have you got with Social Media presence?  All professional business owners must have a proper LinkedIn Profile with a professional photograph (not of you with your kids/skiing etc.). The scope of LinkedIn is growing all the time.  This really isn’t an option any more.
Then you need to consider which of the other social media channels are right for you, decide how much time you’ll spend each week and stick to it.  It doesn’t have to be hours, but you do need to get started.   A blog, using info from your newsletters is easy, Tweeting and using something like HootSuite makes life easier.   Can you get your blogs to auto-fill you Facebook for business profiles and your Twitter feed?
Free Business Directory listings are also a valuable way to raise your web presence.  Yell.com (Hibu or is now Yell again?) can be useful for this.
What Testing and Measuring do you have in place so you can check the effectiveness of your marketing?  Renewing ads ‘blindly’ is not great, even if you’re pushed for time.   Before you place any ‘hard copy’ ads you need to be sure they’re going give you a return on your investment (ROI) .  Look at the size of Yellow Pages now v what it was years ago.  If you attend an exhibition or run a specific promotion, you want to be able to trace response to these efforts.  If someone wants to consider using you or your services, they won’t be guided by the copy in any ad; they’ll Google you and see what others have said, or they’ll ask friends for a referral.  It’s all about customer engagement .  Are you  there or getting left behind?
“Marketing takes a day to learnUnfortunately it takes a lifetime to master “ – Phil Kolter  There are many subscription schemes out there which offer you lots of marketing info in return for a monthly fee.  Trouble with these, on the whole, is that they are ‘general’, can generate a huge amount of data but not necessarily geared to you and your immediate needs to follow your plan.  Would it be any different to buy a large marketing book and take a chapter each month than respond to stuff sent to you to action each month?
Using a marketing professional  – It’s funny if you take the analogy with, say, a legal practice drawing breath in horror, I imagine, at some of the unregulated will writing services out there which don’t have the legal expertise or knowledge to think around all the potential pitfalls which may occur.  Is there such a difference in this principle with marketing when done in house by a non-professional?   Oh,  XXX looks after our marketing – and often XXX also does 101 other jobs and isn’t trained in the subject.  Answers on a postcard, please!
December and the New Year is a great time to start with an ‘audit/health check’ of where you are now – and ensuring you and all your colleagues have a professional profile on LinkedIn. Would be delighted to work with you on both if I can help. Just zap me a mail or give me a call on 01225 869 240.
If you’d like a copy of my calendar and my ‘who/what/when’ table then please email me on debbie@armstrongbeech.co.uk