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
Read Andy’s article here

Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Buying Personas Target Customer Target Market

Your Brand – what is it? Fluffy nonsense or something fundamental to your business?

Your Brand – what is it?  Fluffy nonsense or something fundamental to your business?

There are so many articles and papers written on what a brand is or should be.   I’ll add my thoughts to these and touch on a recent example where getting your branding wrong can make a huge difference to your share price!

So then, what is branding?

Firstly, what it isn’t:   It’s not just about your logo!
It’s about meaning. It’s about what you and your business actually mean in people’s heads and hearts.” (Simon Middleton).  You must connect with customers and audiences emotionally, authentically and inspiringly, making sure what you say and believe you are, really is how you are perceived.  And it’s really important to understand this;  if not you may be portraying a brand image to your prospects and customers that is not necessarily the key value that is associated with you by your customers.   It could be something quite different…..   So you need a survey, a questionnaire to your users to ask them, and then a process to consider the results, educating your team about the findings to develop a clear positioning statement, a list of brand values/traits, the brand promise and the brand story

Your brand personality can help your brand by

  • helping to suggest the kind of relationship that a customer has with your brand
    Brand Loyalty
    Brand Loyalty
  • brand loyalty – think John Lewis
  • giving a vehicle for differentiation which is difficult to copy

Successful Branding: Five key elements

Think of it as a set of human characteristics associated with your business.
Brand Position: this describes what you do and for whom; what makes you unique, special and different from your competition and why should your customers buy from you.   Back to target customer, of course, thinking also about gender, age, socioeconomic position and also emotional characteristics.  Once you’ve defined this, make it available in 25/50/100 words – which can then be developed into your Elevator Pitch.
Brand Promise: this is what you promise to deliver to your customers EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU CONNECT WITH THEM.  To come up with your promise, consider what customers, employees and partners should expect from every interaction with you and ensure your brand promise reflects this.
Brand Personality: How does your brand ‘behave’?   Brand Traits illustrate what you want to be known for – think about specific personality traits you want prospects, clients, employees and partners to use to describe your organization.   Work towards 4-6 traits – single adjectives.  For example, this could include sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and strength
Brand Story:  Your brand story illustrates your history showing how your history has added value and credibility to your brand.  It also usually includes a summary of your products or services.
Brand Associations:  This is the bit people often mistake for being ‘brand’ in itself.  So the specific physical ‘stuff’ that make up your brand – name, logo, colours, taglines, fonts, imagery.  All of this must reflect your brand promise, your brand traits and support your brand positioning statement.
One Vital Mantra from this:  Consistency.    It’s no good spending time and energy in creating all the above if you then don’t ensure its CONSISTENT execution.  There’s no excuse to falter ‘ even once’.  Without consistency, brand awareness becomes impossible to achieve, no matter how much money you spend on marketing.
So you’d think in a large company all of this would be understood and these basic steps followed.  How then can it all go so wrong?

“Fashion retailers, Mulberry, based not a million miles from here, faces a painful fight to recover past glory as profits dive”

(Times June 13th 2014)

What did they do wrong?

They tried to get into the ultra-expensive bags for millionaires at £15,000 a pop (how much?) instead of their more modest selling price of between £500 and £800 a bag. A completely different target market which clearly wasn’t ready to embrace Mulberry.   Their pre-tax profits dived from £26M to £14M.  They had appointed a new Chief Exec,(now no longer) –  a former Hermes Executive who wanted to take Mulberry into the top echelon of European designer labels as he had been used to with Hermes….   Mulberry accepted that their CE’s approach had been fundamentally “flawed”.  “You need to build up a reputation over decades in leather goods to charge those prices”.  I imagine they didn’t do their basic Brand Positioning exercise, customer research, target customers etc.  What a fiasco…
So even if Fearne Cotton and Katherine Jenkins choose to spend £15K on a handbag (or maybe they were freebies to promote them??) suddenly changing your Brand Position without doing your homework first may not be the right way to go.
Update November 2014:
I’ve just spotted in the local Bath Business News that they have slumped into the red with a half-year loss of £1.1m after the disastrous attempt to go upmarket backfired. It has suffered a 9% fall in sales while wholesale revenues tumbled 31%.
Update Summer 2015
And another update reports that profits have plunged again – a mere 86% drop in profits from £14M to £1.9M in the year to March – a legacy of the group’s disastrous attempt to move into the ultra-luxury end of the market.   But they are confident that their ‘turnaround strategy is well on track after ‘upping the creativity button’ and designing more ‘desirable’ handbags.  And they have appointed Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry’s former girlfriend, as its ambassador.
Hmmm… watch this space!
Update June 2017
“Luxury brand Mulberry has fashioned a jump in sales and profits for the last year as shoppers were won over by new creative designer Johnny Coca’s handbags.  Pre-tax profits have increased 21 percent to £75 million which is good news.  A new range of more affordable bags, designed by Johnny Coca, has hit the right note with shoppers.  One of the best sellers is the revamped lighter-weight zipped Bayswater, which is his take on Mulberry’s best-known product, with its signature postman’s lock”.
So the moral of the Mulberry story is?  If you need help in creating a buying persona for your target market, please call on 07789 778 335.  A really important exercise.

Armstrong Beech Marketing Business Growth Coaching Funding for your Business

Grants and Funding for your business

Grants and Funding for your business in and around Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire, Bristol, Somerset, Gloucester – UK

I’m working with Business West and Wiltshire Business Schemes with business owners who want to grow using grants and funding for your business. Like to know more? just give me a call or email me for my one pager on these schemes.
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Business West’s GrowthAccelerator

Designed to support ambitious business growth with established businesses on a part-funded basis. Plus a brilliant match-funded offer for leadership and management training.  I’m so enjoying working with my clients on this scheme, do contact me if you’d like to know more.

Business West’s Superfast Business

A fully funded support programme to help exploit digital technologies for your own specific Business needs, improving every day working practices and tasks as well as finding out whole new ways of doing things.  Designed to support rural businesses the programme excludes Bristol and Swindon, specialist advisors are available to visit your business, complete a review of your website and open your eyes to the latest digital technologies.  The Superfast Business  website has a huge amount of really good “How To” guides, Case Studies and Videos – from developing your website to deciding on a CRM.  Here’s a link to some fab seminars put on by Superfast Business and a further link for eligibility to attend.   

Business West’s Ready4Business for start ups

Currently free support and facilitated support for SWIG and Virgin  loan applications at 6%.    Full details here

Approved Growth Voucher Adviser

I’m also 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 customersr

The Criteria for applying for growth vouchers to help your business grow are :

  • ither registered with Companies House or HMRC if self-employed). ie NOT UK but England. 

Growth Voucher Website and Market Place Website

How the Growth Voucher Programme works


Wiltshire Business Support Service
Wiltshire Business Support Service

Currently there are no schemes left with funding available under the Wiltshire Business Support Service.    Probably no more available until April 2015.

Fredericks Foundation

Fredericks Foundation is a charity that helps people wishing to set up, or expand their own business as a means to achieve financial independence whilst rebuilding their  confidence and self esteem but are unable to access the finance required from conventional sources.  Check out their details here
This information is prepared in good faith and correct at the time of issue. But do please check exact current details of funding.  Thank you.

Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Feedback Customer Journey Customer Loyalty Value

Do your customers feel valued?

OK then, it’s Valentine’s Day next week; don’t just keep this day for your loved ones, but think about your special customers in your business too..
man with gift iStock_000014527125XSmall
When did you last tell them they were valued? Last week, last month, last year?      Scary stats for why people stop buying from businesses (quite a few variations here but this is the ‘average’):
1% die.
3% move away.
5% follow a friend’s or relative’s recommendation.
9% find an alternative they perceive to be better quality or value.
14% are dissatisfied with the products or services.
And a massive 68% of people leave a business because of… indifference.
They take their business elsewhere simply because they do not feel valued.
Since you spend a lot of time, money, and effort to get a visitor to your business, if you let them leave because of indifference, you might as well be flushing £20 notes away.
Do you know what your customers think of you/your business and service/product?  If you haven’t asked them recently, maybe now is the time to do that survey that’s been on your ROUND TUIT list.  It’s such a great way to get feedback, build your testimonials and ask for word of mouth recommendations.  If you would find it difficult to ask such questions of your customers, then I’m sure I know someone who would be delighted to undertake this for you – just call…
Customers love it when you
Customers love it when you

  • know them, remember them by name and remember their preferences;
  • make it easy for your customers to do business with you;
  • treat them with respect and make them feel special;
  • treat your 20% VIP customers like royalty (more about your 20% in my Pareto article);
  • let them know you’re accountable when problems arise;
  • ensure they  know they can communicate with a live person;
  • deliver what you say by when you promise it and on the first time of asking; even      better would be to deliver ahead of time;
  • anticipate their needs, even before they do;
  • sort any problems that arise promptly and efficiently;
  • make offers clear and transparent so that customers don’t feel ‘cheated’ by not      getting exactly what they thought they were going to get;
  • grow with them;
  • and let them know they are valued.


Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Communications Marketing

Is the Marketing Campaign Dead?

Challenging article by Hubspot’s Mike Volpe…
… “My blood curdles every time I hear someone talk about doing a ‘social media campaign’ or ‘blog campaign.’ Blogs and social media behave like compound interest, so if you treat them like ‘campaigns,’ you lose all the benefits. Marketers should be permanently creating, optimizing, promoting, converting, and analyzing.”   ……
“Stop the madness of coming up with an entirely new theme and creative concept every three months. Start having a long-term view of your brand, message, and voice — and what value your company can add to your industry. Stop blasting and interrupting people with advertisements about  you. Start being helpful . Start listening. Start communicating. Start publishing. Stop advertising. Start marketing”
Read the article here
Armstrong Beech Marketing Sales

Can you send me some literature?

It’s Monday morning and you’re sitting in the office planning your week of sales calls. The phone rings and suddenly you’re in a friendly conversation with a new prospect, Bob. Bob seems like a nice enough guy… knowledgeable about your industry, interested in your products and eager to ask all sorts of questions.
Up to now this is starting to look and feel like a real opportunity for you. But when you ask Bob about his decision criteria you hear those words that all sales people dread…”Oh, I’m just gathering information for someone else in my organization.” The atmosphere of the call has been positive, so you decide to ask Bob who the ultimate decision maker is. The conversation stalls for what seems like an eternity and then Bob says, “Sorry but I can’t do that.”
Sound familiar?   Great article from Tim Wackel. What do you do?

Armstrong Beech Marketing Email

List Building for Success

Good email marketing starts with a quality list

by Alec Stern,  Constant Contact Vice President, Strategic Market Development

You might put together the best looking and most compelling email campaigns ever, but without a permission-based list of people to receive them, your messages will go unseen. Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to build and maintain your contact list so you can reach the people your business or organization covets the most: Your loyal customers and members.

Ask in person

When your customers or members come into your place of business or attend one of your events, are you asking for their email address? Letting them walk out the door without asking is equivalent to losing a valuable asset. Why not ask?

You’ll be surprised that customers will give you their address more often than not. You just have to ask for it.

There are multiple ways to do so. One way is to give your team an incentive to ask. I recommend making it a contest to see how many email address one can collect over a given shift or time period. Everyone likes to win, so make a game of collecting email addresses. 
You should also advertise the availability of your newsletter throughout your establishment or event venue. Put placards on tables, a signup book by the register, and signs on the walls. At your event, ask people when they check-in or register if they would like to be added to your email list. (Constant Contact offers an easy way to order signup books, display placards, and signup cards for your business or organization. Find out more here.)

Ask online

Asking online might be a little easier for some, since it removes the human fear of rejection. And there are multiple touch points where you can solicit your customers for their email address on the Web.

Add a Join My Mailing List (JMML) box: Make the Join My Mailing List tab a key feature in your website’s template so that it appears prominently on just about every page. Through search engine queries, you never know where people will land on your site. Adding the JMML box to every page ensures that no matter how a visitor finds you, he or she will have an opportunity to join your list.

And for those who have a Constant Contact account and a Facebook account, there’s an application available to put a Join My Mailing List tab on your Fan Page.

Link to your signup page: Going beyond your website, email marketers should put links to their newsletter signup page in their emails, both those sent through an email service provider such as Constant Contact and the signature of their personal email accounts. This way, every message a customer or member gets from you will have a subtle reminder to join your email list if they haven’t done so already. Also, add a join my mailing list link to your newsletter to help capture those folks that get your email forwarded to them from a friend, associate or other trusted source.

Promote upcoming issues of your newsletters via social media: Another way to get people to sign up for your mailing list is to provide a teaser for an upcoming mailing on your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. A quick “Want to know more about Topic X? Sign up for our newsletter” with a link to your signup page will lure people in.

Partner up

A neighboring or complimentary businesses can be a great resource for list building. You can advertise other people’s list to your own and recommend that people sign up for them, while your partners can make the same offer to their subscriber base about signing up for your list. It’s a great way to cross-promote like-minded businesses and organizations to a wider audience. Doing so also shows that you’re a part of a greater community and not just your own business or organization’s bottom line.

(Note that outright swapping of lists with a partner and other complimentary businesses is a no-no and will be flagged by Constant Contact. It’s problematic because the recipient will question how you got their email address, so having your partner send a message on your behalf is the best approach.)

Set expectations

Whether you’re soliciting an email address face to face or online, it’s important to set expectations for the person signing up. Give people a visual so they can see what they’re signing up to receive. An easy way to accomplish this is to show customers a recent email, either with a color printout of your newsletter displayed next to your signup book or through links to your email newsletter archive.

When asking someone to join your list in person, phrase the question like this: “Would you like to sign up for our monthly newsletter about events and other promotions?” This sets the expectation that those signing up will receive something from you on a monthly basis that contains upcoming event information.

A similar effort should be made online to set expectations appropriately. Tell people when they’re signing up what exactly they will be getting and how often. This way, subscribers are not unpleasantly surprised when your first email arrives.

I also recommend that when you send a confirmation email to new subscribers that it thanks them for joining your list. The message should reiterate what the recipient has signed up for and can be used to provide a coupon or another “thank you” for being such a loyal customer.

Contacts are a valuable asset

Your list is not going to grow magically without any prodding. Make sure you engage your customers and members whenever or wherever you come in contact with them — be it in your establishment, at an event, on your website, or even on your Facebook Fan Page. At every turn, you, your staff, and your electronic presence should be politely directing customers to your email mailing list. 


Advertising Advertising and Design Armstrong Beech Marketing Copywriting

3 Power Tips to Super Charge Your Ads

Some great tips in this article, even though a few years old now. Replace fax for email!

3 Power Tips to Super Charge Your Ads – by Joe Gracia

If you’re like most small business owners you would really love to get a lot more results from your ads. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to place a small ad, or mail a letter or flyer to your target market and then get your phone ringing off the hook. It isn’t that difficult once you know how to construct an ad that attracts your best prospects and gets them to take immediate action.

The problem with most marketing pieces is that they don’t get immediate action. One of the reasons for that is because small business owners are sometimes misled into believing that they don’t need immediate action from their marketing. They believe that getting their name out there in the marketplace builds brand ‘awareness,’ and that’s
all you need from your marketing.
Don’t you believe it.

Armstrong Beech Marketing Coaching Leadership/Management Video

The VW Fun Theory

I love this theory…
  • The VW Fun Theory   This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

Check out my favourite, the Piano Staircase (on the above link):  ”Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do? See the results here.

Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Marketing Website

What makes you unique special and different?

1. Understand what makes you unique special and different..

Brainstorm with your team; undertake a SWOT with your Senior Management Team; arrange meetings with your whole teams – you’ll be surprised at the input and feedback you can obtain.   What process do you have for acting on feedback given from your customers to your staff?  Do you have a process to obtain testimonials? What do you do with the results?  Your customers will tell you how it is.  If you get it wrong, take them out to lunch and learn what happened and then ensure your process is sound so that those errors aren’t repeated.