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Posts Tagged ‘business marketing’

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How to define your business brand…

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I love the process of creating a brand (and this is more than just a logo – watch this space for my next post) and for small businesses this often involves their entire business proposition and positioning.

So when I work with my clients, the majority of whom run small businesses, when we talk about brand, we are talking about their whole business, their offering, their target markets and how they can differentiate themselves from the competition and entice their target markets to spend their money with them.

Many small businesses will start marketing and promoting their small business without really thinking through what it actually is they are marketing and promoting and this often means they end up spending money on marketing that’s not working as well as it should for them – because they haven’t thought it all through. So here are the three key things I get my clients to think about when we are defining their business brand in preparation for marketing it.

The WHAT, the WHO and the WHY…

If you know inside out, in detail, with clarity (you get the picture) WHAT it is you are offering then you can clearly communicate that offering in your marketing.

If you know WHO you are offering your products and services to then not only can you identify the particular needs of your target market but you can create communications to them that are targeted specifically for them and to address those needs – this means they are more likely to respond to your marketing because they will relate to what you are saying and how you are saying it.

If you WHY your target market would buy from you rather than a competitor – i.e. you know the benefits of your business for your target market and you know your competitive advantage – then again communicating this information to that target market becomes easy and more focused.

If you would like to know more about defining the WHAT, WHO and WHY for your business to make your marketing more effective and get more business then please feel free to contact us on 0845 272 3539 or visit our website for more information.

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IS content KING?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

I read this great post last week called “60 Proven Ways to Increase Your Online Marketing Influence” on the Hubspot blog and I bookmarked it because I knew I would want to come back to it: 1) to refer to and remind myself of the ways mentioned and 2) because I realised it would be a good basis for a post of my own.

Out of the 60 ways included in the list, 12 of them (that’s 20%) mentioned directly or referred to “content” or “message”.

So IS content King?

Errr simply: YES. Without content you would have no blogs, no newsletters, no websites, no sales letters, no stream, no feed, no… anything. So yes it IS king, but only if you get it right.

Your content is the real vehicle for getting your business, message, brand and more out there – the ways you do it i.e. Twitter, your marketing material, your video tutorials etc are just the carriers. So what’s more important in content? What you say, the way you say it or how you deliver it?

Opinions differ. Some people may say that no matter how good your content, if it is not presented in an easily digestible and/or visually attractive way, then it doesn’t matter what the content says. I agree.

Others say that the channel is the most important and dictates the perception and expectation your reader/your audience will have of the content and will influence their reaction to it. So if your content isn’t that hot but you disseminate it through the latest technology then the wow factor may be enough to get a positive reaction and carry you through. Again I agree.

Yet another point of view I have read and heard booted about (especially from clients) is that if your content is good, if what you have to say is earth shattering or completely unique (well they think it is), this will override all other considerations. Here is where I would disagree.

It’s not just what you say…

Just like body language, just like tone of voice, the way you present your content depends on the way it is presented and the method of delivery you use as well as what you are actually saying.

On the flip side to this, no matter how glitzy your presentation or how wow-y or trendy your channel of communication, if your content is rubbish – there’s just no coming back from that.

So yes! Content IS king but presentation and delivery of that content are the throne that the content sits on and the crown that tops it all off – and what’s a king without his (or her) throne and crown?

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Social Media and Marketing: Using Your Head

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

During my usual weekly rummage through the delights of the Internet I came across this absolutely wonderful post by Frank Strong, the director of Public Relations at Vocus & PRWeb, a client of TopRank Online Marketing and featured on Top Rank Blog.com. It was called “7 Social Media Lessons from Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid”.

A well crafted, currently relevant (vis a vis Karate Kid 2010) and a fondly nostalgic blog post, it really summed up the best way to approach social media and the ways I myself try to approach it. However, out of all the words of Miyagi wisdom “using head for something other than target” hit home the most for me as I see this applying to all forms of marketing and promotion, not just social media.

The biggest mistake businesses make in marketing is trying to sell.

Marketing (removing advertising and direct mail from this) is not about selling. It is about communicating. It is about building relationships with your customers and those people you want to become your customers. It’s about trust.

And it’s hard to trust someone who just wants you to buy something and doesn’t really appear to care about anything else. This is why successful Twitterers are those who engage and share. This is why successful online (and offline) networkers are those who ask questions and listen. So coming back to social media and Mister Miyagi:

Here are my three Once A Day Tips to help you Use Your Head in social media:

  1. Share something relevant to your area of expertise with your community or
  2. Answer one question or reply to one comment, using your business expertise or personal experience, or
  3. Create a communication that is simply fun, spontaneous or interesting and nothing to do with your business expertise.

If you can do one of these once a day and avoid the sell, then your profile on social media platforms will become more credible and more valuable to the people you share it with. And in turn you’ll find it will become a more effective marketing strategy for you.

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Authentic Networking finally takes shape

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

You may remember (or may not as it has been a while since I updated this blog – just blame the fact of being Just Too Busy!) that I did a post on how to make networking work for your business. If you don’t remember, and I won’t blame you if you don’t, then here is the full article from last November : “Networking: How to make it work for your business”.

Well, I am delighted to say that the authentic networking I mentioned in that article has now taken shape as an actual, real-live event: the new Authentic Networking group for small businesses based in Horsham, Worthing and everywhere in between.

Now in the context of a potentially (if not actually) global blog, that probably doesn’t sound like much. But for me it is a personal achievement that I have been wanting to do for some time.

I am a member of some excellent networking groups, but I’ve always felt that networking isn’t always undertaken with the right mindset – hence the formation of Authentic Networking.

Our first meeting is on 28th September at Whites Bar & Kitchen in Steyning, West Sussex and the attendee list for this fledgling group is looking very healthy indeed. So if you are, or know of, a business based in West Sussex that would like to do some authentic networking for their business then have a look at the site. And I hope to see you (or them) there.

Not much else to say on this, except hopefully it won’t be so long between posts. :)

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Quick-Start, Kick-Start Marketing Checklist

Monday, February 15th, 2010

How to quick-start, kick-start your marketing….

If you know you should be doing marketing for your business but aren’t getting round to it then here are a few ideas to get your marketing off the ground, quickly:

  1. Find ONE networking group in your area and go along as a guest – more groups will let you participate as a member and you can meet new people quickly and easily without spending a fortune. It will also give you the opportunity to see if you might even want to join that networking group. If, however, you don’t think it’s for you then you haven’t spent a fortune to find this out.
  2. Sort out your email signature – if this doesn’t have – at the very least – your website address and your phone number in it – along with your logo, then you are wasting a FREE marketing opportunity every single time you send out an email. Ideally your email signature should also have a client testimonial in it and you can think about changing that every few months or so and perhaps promoting any special offers you have going on.
  3. Either start a blog or find one that perhaps you can guest post on. This is more simple than it sounds: go into Google Reader, browse or search for different types of blogs that have a relevance for your area of expertise or knowledge, visit the blog and send the owner an email offering your guest post services. You will get yourself some quick and easy online exposure (especially if it is a well-read blog) as your post will have your name, business and web link in it.

That’s it: a 1,2,3 way to quick-start, kick-start your marketing. It’s always hard to find time to market your business but if you need more customers then, without marketing, how do you think they are going to know about you?

Go on, get started today!!

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Internet Marketing versus ‘real’ marketing – a RANT!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Yes I am having a rant!

Very simply, it really frustrates me to see “Internet Marketing” being touted as the answer to a small business’s marketing dreams. I come across so many instances of pure marketing being substituted with Internet marketing that I wonder if anyone who reads that information will ever move beyond the IM holy grail of building a list, selling online products and holding teleseminars and workshops (oh and don’t forget the flagship product of exclusive one-to-one coaching.)

So yes I am having a rant about how Internet marketing is portrayed and then perceived by its intended audience. What do I mean?

(more…)

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Marketing Basics: Article Writing & Submission

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Spreading the word – proving your expertise!

Article writing and its online distribution is an excellent, low-cost way to market your business and it achieves a number of very positive things for your business and your profile. It:

  • Establishes your knowledge and expertise on your chosen topic
  • Enables you to communicate with your target market (and more) on any topic of your choice (of course it should be relevant to them)
  • Provides a forum via your author biography or article resource box for you to ‘brazenly’ promote your business (in conjunction with the expertise piece this works really well)
  • Creates inbound links to drive people to your website or blog (as long as you remember to include the URL in your bio or resource box!)
  • Raises your profile and adds to your credibility as an expert
  • Gives your target market the opportunity to learn more about your field of expertise (and your business) in a non-sales way
  • Has a positive impact on your website’s page ranking and SEO results rankings
  • Provides you with a range of information that you can leverage in a number of other ways such as using the information for a newsletter, a blog post, put it on your website, use in a presentation, part of an ebook or series and more….

So you can see that just by writing one article and submitting it online the results of that can be impressive. Of course, the more articles you write the better and more impressive the results will be. It won’t work just to submit one article – but it is a start!

And that’s where most people STOP!

(more…)

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Networking – how to make it work for your business

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

This post covers what I think is one of the most effective ways of generating leads for your business: Networking – the traditional face to face type.

As most networking groups wind down for the Christmas break, now is the perfect time to look at what your networking strategy is going to be for the New Year. And by strategy I simply mean how are you going to be using networking to promote your business?

Networking is Marketing

If you aren’t doing any networking as yet for your business, it is certainly something you should be thinking about. Networking is a very useful marketing strategy. To get the most out of your networking, however, you need to consider the following:

1. Networking is a long-term strategy. You may think that if after your first networking meeting you don’t walk away with a new client then it has been a waste of time. Wrong! Although it is certainly possible to walk away from your very first meeting with a new client (or a potential one), it is not how you should be viewing your networking strategy. Networking is about meeting new people, developing relationships with them and establishing your credibility with those people.

2. Networking is NOT selling. I like to think of networking as a press release rather than an advert. You do not walk into a networking event and shout, “Hey I’m from Just Too Busy, I do marketing, come and buy from me or send me people who will!” That’s networking as advertising and there are some groups who think this is how it works.

What you should be doing is talking and listening to people at the event, perhaps making some suggestions based around your area of expertise, offering advice, giving feedback – basically being helpful and demonstrating that you know what you are talking about and are not at all interested in the sell, but in building relationships with your fellow networkers.

3. Networking is about brand. Taking into account points 1 and 2 above, your networking is about your brand. Your brand is the essence of your business and should be what you aim to promote at every single networking event. Promoting your brand means ensuring that you have a clear “elevator pitch” – one that tells people what you do without the sell attached. It also means that you have a very clear understanding of your business brand including your service/product offering and your target market.

4. Networking is about getting business. At the end of the day, networking should be about getting new business for your business. This must be the point of any marketing in the end. But it is how you approach that getting of new business that defines the type of marketing strategy you use. Networking is essentially about building relationships, establishing your credibility and promoting your business with a long-term view. Any networking that promotes quick wins or instant referrals isn’t promoting the type of networking that really works, the type that I like to call “authentic networking”.

Authentic Networking

So what is Authentic Networking? For me Authentic Networking is:

* Long-term investment of time (not just money)

* Developing new relationships (not just buyers)

* Being there to establish your credibility (not just status)

* Looking to gain freely given testimonials (not just pressured referrals)

* Helping your fellow networkers where you can (not just looking to sell, sell, sell).

So, whether you are already networking or whether you have yet to start, I hope these points will help you approach it in a way that in the long-term, both for getting you new business and for your reputation, will, I think, do you and your business the most good.

If you have any questions about your networking strategy then feel free to get in touch alex@justtoobusy.co.uk.

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Marketing Basics: Save money on your marketing

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Use joint ventures to cut your marketing budget in half and double your list…

Cutting your marketing budget in halfSmall businesses are always looking for ways to save money – especially right now. Joint venture marketing is a perfect way to do this. You share the costs and you share the list.

And it’s EASY!

So in this installment of the Marketing Basics: 17 Ways to Generate Leads for your Business, I am going to give you some ideas on how you can generate leads for your business while keeping your costs down using joint venture marketing. (more…)

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Taking the “SHOULD” out of your marketing

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

How to break free of the marketing activities
that everyone else says you should be doing!

Woman with lots of stickies

As a small business owner, responsible for pretty much everything from running the finances, to making the tea, from organising your diary to doing the marketing, have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the different marketing activities you think you should be doing – because everyone else is?

I know I have done in the past!

I have spoken to three people in the last week or so where the topic of conversation was just this: what marketing should I be doing and how do I know it’s the right thing?

With more and more ways to communicate with your target market, it seems that the choices for marketing activity is just growing. The explosion of social media has just compounded this. For example some people say that to be effective in your marketing you SHOULD be doing a monthly email newsletter, a weekly or daily blog, Twittering like crazy and regular online networking etc.

WRONG! Your marketing, your specific marketing for your specific small business, is just that: specific. Just because other people are doing those things, doesn’t mean you have to or SHOULD.

(more…)

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