Author Archives: Yafit Davis

Buying styles.gif

What are the key buying patterns and why are they key for sales success?

In the world of sales and business development, people are always judged by their sales success. Their job longevity depends on developing an ever-growing pipeline with a high percentage of deals closed quickly. This has been my world for much of my professional career and whilst I got some great training along the way there was a key thing they all seemed to miss. I recently came across some research undertaken by Disc which basically states that only 35% of the population are likely to make a buying decision quickly. The remaining 65% like to take their time, which could be anything from days to months depending on the product.

This means two important things to a Sales Director who wants his team to succeed:

  • Identifying early adopters is key to getting some sales in quickly and keeping senior management happy.
  • Keeping in contact with the rest of the medium to late adopters through structured follow-up is as important.

So, how to go about doing this? Read up on buying styles. As always, there are a quite a few theories and numbers. I like the Disc approach, which identifies four styles:

  1. The Decisive: These buyers have a clear picture in their mind of what results they want. They are more often interested in “winning” or “promoting their own agenda” so they like to buy when they feel they have “gotten their way,” so to speak. They are attentive to actions or communication that will speed up those results. Discussions about details and minutiae are distracting to these individuals. They prefer to discuss top-line, big-picture concepts when considering the value of any offer.
  2. The Interactive: These buyers want to shape events and enjoy “getting their way” when it comes to negotiations or buying something. They are interested in people and like to interact with others. They are most receptive to making a buying decision when they feel a sense of connection with the person, are in a more social environment and have had the opportunity to express their emotions about the offering first. This person is also particularly inattentive to details, preferring to stick to the big-picture and emotional benefits of the solution.
  3. The Stabilizer. These buyers are more passive and introverted and interested in the how and why of a solution. Their primary interests are in maintaining stability within themselves and whatever situation they find themselves in. Messages that don’t address the specifics, or that champion radical change, are likely to alienate rather than resonate. They prefer to “take their time” more than any other dimension so any offering should give them plenty of time to decide.
  4. The Conscientious: These buyers are also more passive and introverted. They too take a much more detailed and accuracy-based approach to their buying habits. Without sufficient data to prove any statements made to them, you will fail to achieve their buy-in. They are therefore receptive to offerings that provide proof that the solution works and proposals that are meticulously detailed.

The next thing to do is to make sure that you are able to identify the type of buyer hiding in new leads coming in as quickly as possible. This will allow you to ensure that they are approached correctly for the best outcome.

Your sales team should be hot on the heels of early adopters whilst the medium to slow adopters should be followed up appropriately. This sometimes means taking it away from your eager and impatient sales people. Often, everyone in your business is very busy and as a result non-urgent, but essential, activities such as lead nurturing and systematic follow up, get put to one side.

We have recently developed a lead nurturing solution to support this situation. Click here to read more.

Colourfull plasters

What’s more important, new leads or conversion and what does it have to do with colourful plasters?

I am sure it will not surprise many if I said that both were as important because one will not work without the other. So far so good, but here are a few questions for you:

  • Why do most companies invest more time and money in new lead generation and much less in improving their conversion rate?
  • How come every time you increase your lead numbers your conversion rate actually goes down?
  • Why should you consider it?

It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on this but as it’s my Blog, I’d better give you my take on things:

  • Why do we seem to value new leads over conversion?

Simply put, because it’s easier to measure and influence. It’s not that anyone is particularly stupid but we are all very busy. So, when it comes to lead generation, as it’s a simple number, you can easily work out how many you are getting from each channel, job done. In addition, new lead numbers tend to increase if you throw time and money at them so again, job done.

Improving conversion is much less obvious, which is why we often don’t get around to doing it. To make a difference, you need to work out all or a few of the following:

  • Your target markets
  • Their problem
  • The best solution for it
  • Your sales process
  • Your follow up system
  • Why does improving lead numbers, negatively affect your conversion rate?

I am sure you worked this one out yourself. As your conversion rate is a percentage based on the number of new leads, if that number increases but your conversion stays the same, it will be a smaller percentage overall. This is particularly true If you have a problem converting new leads.

  • Why is this important?

Getting these two numbers right, is the key to the success of any lead generation strategy. There is little point in generating leads if you cannot convert them. Many companies I come across are looking for smart solutions to generating new leads and in the process, get carried away with some shiny new methods. From my perspective, it seems like many are looking for colourful plasters to patch up the real cracks. Unfortunately, this can often result in wasted budgets.

  • What can you do about it?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Review your strategy
  • Work out your actual conversion rate
  • Set monthly targets
  • Improve your follow up system
  • Put aside time and resources for lead nurturing
  • Who is affected most?

This is a universal problem but if you are a growing business and employ a sales team, this topic is absolutely key to nail. Often, everyone in your business is very busy and as a result non-urgent, but essential, activities such as lead nurturing and systematic follow up, get put to one side. This means that the money you spend on lead generation is often wasted.

We have recently developed a lead nurturing solution to support this situation. Click here to read more.

PPC marketing guide

GDPR is coming: Expert advice from Helen Moloney of All Things Web®: Pay Per Click Marketing Guide for Beginners

Pay Per Click Marketing can be a very valuable tool for businesses to gain visibility and drive traffic to their website.  Whilst many have heard the term we often find they don’t fully understand what it is, how it works and more importantly when to use it within their marketing strategy.

In this beginners guide to Pay Per Click Marketing we provide an overview of this useful digital marketing channel.

What is Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing?

PPC is essentially a form of advertising in which the advertiser pays a fee to the advertising platform every time their Ad is “clicked”, hence the term Pay Per Click.

Advertising on the search engines is the most common form of Pay Per Click Marketing as it allows businesses to buy not only visibility (rankings) within the search results, for their targeted search terms, but also visitors or “traffic” to their website in a much quicker timeframe than would be achieved by “earning” their positions with an organic search strategy.

Google Adwords is probably the most well known PPC platform in use by businesses, and enables them to advertise their website within the sponsored links section of the search results (see below) and get a share of the traffic generated for their target search phrases.

Google ad words

How Does Google Adwords Work?

To set up a Google Adwords account is completely free.  You only pay Google when your Ad is clicked and the visitor is taken to your website.

When a search is completed on Google, the search engine trawls through the millions of advertisers it has and selects what it feels are the best Ads to place within the sponsored links section of the search results for that search query.

For Ads to be selected they need to beat the competition for that search phrase.  The decision on which win the fight is based on a combination of factors; the relevance and quality of the advertisement for the search (Quality Score) and the amount the advertiser is prepared to spend (Bid Value) to get that visitor to their site.

How to Set up A Google Adwords Campaign

When setting up a Google Adwords Campaign you first need to decide which keywords or search terms that the people you want to attract to your website are likely to use.

These Keywords will be the trigger for when your Ads are displayed.  Careful keyword research is imperative to the success of a campaign; too generic will waste your budget as whilst they may generate lots of visitors to the site the lack of clear intent will result in poor conversion rates.  Very niche and specific keywords will give you a much better potential for conversion but with much lower volume.  A combination is therefore the best option.

Keywords identified, you then need to decide how much you are prepared to spend to obtain that all important visitor to your website for that phrase or group of phrases.  How much you “bid” will be determined by a number of factors; how much your competitors are prepared to spend to “win” one of those coveted spots, the lifetime value of a client to your business and overall budget available, after all it is a numbers game to a certain extent.

Once you have your keywords and decided how much to bid, you then need to write your Ads.  Space is limited and there are some quite specific criteria to meet so you need to be creative.  Ad content not only needs to be engaging to elicit a click but you need to get a good quality score – so relevance to the search phrase being targeted, intent of visitors and also the landing page you are delivering them too need to be taken into account.  This will not only bring better click scores but will also ensure your Ad is more likely to be placed within the results, plus you will be rewarded by lower cost per click rates.

The final stage and one that many overlook, is optimising your campaign landing pages.  Are they relevant to the search phrase triggering your Ad?  Again this will result in a better Quality Score from Google as well as ensure you don’t waste the click by taking visitors to an irrelevant page which they immediately leave.

Landing pages for PPC campaigns need to be much more focused than other generic pages on your website as visitors from Adwords behave very differently to those already familiar with the brand.  They need to be clear, concise, with strong calls to action and immediately give credibility to the business.

There are a lot of other things to consider when setting up your campaign including geographical targeting, timings of when Ads are displayed, additional content to display alongside your main Ad content (Phone numbers / Ratings etc.) but the above are the basic things to get you started on setting up your first campaign.

When should you consider using Google Adwords?

Google Adwords can be a particularly effective marketing tool either as part of a wider integrated digital strategy or for some very specific situations:

Starting out on your digital journey

If you are just starting digital marketing for your business or have just launched a new website and want some immediate visibility, PPC is a good channel to select. In general Pay Per Click is a faster and lower cost option; although more competitive search phrases can be expensive. In addition to saving on costs and bringing immediate results, it can provide useful data to help inform future marketing activity as it helps to demonstrate website performance, as well as identify which keywords generate traffic and conversions.

Targeting customers in a specific location

Do you target or want to target a market, not in your local area in the UK, or even another country? To achieve 1st-page search results organically at a National level or internationally, can be difficult as well as needing a long-term approach with a higher investment. With Pay Per Click you can target potential customers in specific areas and be on the 1st page of the search results immediately.

New Products and Services

When launching a new product or service it is unlikely that you will have or be able to build immediate visibility organically.  Using PPC campaigns will enable you to launch your product and service effectively and generate sales whilst you develop your long-term and sustainable organic rankings over time.

Further Help and Advice

All Things Web® is a full-service digital marketing agency with offices in Bristol and Swindon.  They provide PPC campaign management or tailored PPC training to help businesses on their paid search journey.  Find out more about Helen or visit the website to find out more.

Donuts

GDPR is coming: Expert advice from Lisa Williams of Atom Content Marketing- six top tips to make content marketing work for your business

There’s no longer any need to make the business case for content marketing. When done well, it can be highly successful and businesses of all sizes and types now use content marketing to attract and retain customers. But that’s part of the problem – most of us are bombarded with content every minute of the day. Some of it is good – some of it isn’t. So, how do you make sure your content marketing hits the spot?

  1. Be authentic: If you copy others blindly or try to be something you’re not, your audience will see right through it. It will undermine your credibility. Think about your brand values and make sure that every item of content you put out is in tune with what your business really stands for. Be who you are.
  2. Be committed: Running a business is very demanding, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect content marketing. It shouldn’t be allowed to become low priority. Lose momentum and the value of previous content marketing can quickly diminish. Create a sound content marketing plan for the year ahead and stick to it. Regularity is crucial.
  3. Be helpful: Your content marketing should encourage people to know, like and trust your brand. Be friendly and helpful. Provide genuine value. It can help to raise your profile and attract fans, followers and customers who value the things they get from the relationship they have with your business.
  4. Be relevant: If your content isn’t relevant to those you need to reach, it won’t engage them. And if it doesn’t engage them, it won’t offer any value. To make sure your content remains relevant, always focus on your target audience’s needs. Create content that’s relevant to their lives and provides them with genuine value. Don’t just broadcast sales messages.
  5. Be original: Don’t jump on the latest bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it. Instead, find ways to set yourself apart. Be pioneering. Find new angles. Be refreshing. Find new things to talk about. Be different. Don’t be boring and predictable.
  6.  Be the best: Never underestimate the importance of quality. Set a budget, of course, but spend it wisely and make sure your content is good as you can make it. Don’t cut corners. Work with good people. Keep your content free from silly mistakes. Your content must create the right perceptions of your brand. Quality matters.

You can find out more about Lisa Williams here.  Visit Marketing Donut for more help and advice on content marketing. Marketing Donut is published by Atom Content Marketing and is one of six market-leading Donut websites helping small businesses to succeed.

5 ways to use LinkedIn to offset GDPR

GDPR is coming – Expert advice from Mark Stonham: 5 ways to get more from LinkedIn as GDPR changes the data management rules

When the law changes and the penalties increase, I don’t know about you but I become fearful of being caught. Mobile speed cameras in 20mph zones are the latest hazard for drivers around Bristol. Whatever our views about whether they actually make the roads safer it’s undeniable that they are designed to change our behaviour. They probably make us drive more slowly. They may also encourage us to consider alternatives, such as walking or public transport. Personally, I’m looking forward to self-driving cars.

I see GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulations – in a similar light. This EU legislation that is taking effect from May 25th 2018 (easy for me to remember as it’s the day before my birthday) could well have a similar effect on how businesses of all sizes handle data.

GDPR – a trigger to rethink our contact and communications strategies

You can find specifics about the GDPR rules and their interpretation in many places online. At the end of the day, most businesses will need to make changes in order to comply.

However, this legal change is also a good trigger and be viewed as an opportunity. It’s a great prompt to review our contact management and communications strategies, and in my field, the way we use LinkedIn.

As LinkedIn is a public system we as individuals can in effect let LinkedIn deal with GDPR on our behalf. Data within LinkedIn has been provided by users, they maintain it, and they specify how visible it is through profile parameters. It’s when we take information out of LinkedIn, into a CRM or Email marketing system, that we need to be careful. Here are a few strategies to consider.

  1. Get closer to 1st connections in LinkedIn: One of the biggest opportunities created by LinkedIn is to be able to view activity and interact with our 1st connections. While many will be inactive, and relationships have gone cold, that doesn’t mean we need to be passive and cold too. Identifying people who are active on LinkedIn and who we can help and who can help us is the first fundamental step to take. As with any networking and relationships, being interested is a great way to become interesting. And giving to others will lead to receiving in return, especially as our generosity is visible through this public platform.
  2. Messaging through LinkedIn: Email inboxes are often very cluttered, and deliverability rates of email can be questionable. Personalised email messages are known to be far more effective than blanket emails, but they do take more time and effort to create and send than broadcast emails. Using LinkedIn Messaging to communicate on a personal 1:1 basis with 1st connections is very powerful when done well. Developing a range of template messages to copy, paste, amend and send means messages can be sent in a productive way.
  3. Content marketing through LinkedIn: As email marketing becomes even more regulated under GDPR it’s worth reviewing and revising the balance of communications. Using Social Media to communicate with people at the top of the funnel is a very powerful strategy, in part because our message can be amplified by others in the social community. It’s a great way to demonstrate our expertise. Status updates and articles that combine text, images and video are formats to leverage in LinkedIn. Creating a mix of messages that engage, inform and educate readers is the foundation. Creating shareable content that others Like, Comment and Share is a way to capitalise on the LinkedIn publishing platform.
  4. Lead Generation through LinkedIn:  Inviting and encouraging people to declare their interest is one of the marketing metrics that are most significant in lead generation. Tracking how many people sign-up to offers of various types, such as information product downloads, webinars and email marketing nurture are the main devices used in campaigns. GDPR is making sign-up and permission even more important.There are several ways that LinkedIn can be used to invite people to visit sign-up pages. Articles with a call to action, either as text or an image is one. Status updates leading through to blog articles on our website or directly to a landing page for an ‘offer’ is another. Advertising on the LinkedIn platform is a third. Finding the right approach and tone for our target audience(s) and for the LinkedIn community is an evolving process.
  5. Collaboration through LinkedIn: Partnering with complementary people and businesses at various levels is a way to leverage the strengths of the relationships they have with their connections. This is a reward for having fewer but stronger relationships, which is one effect that GDPR may have. To work well there needs to be an understanding of the value that both parties offer and gain. This can be as easy as sharing an article by one of the influencers or established players with your LinkedIn connections and commenting on relevant articles by others. Asking one of our 1st connections for an introduction, and encouraging people to provide us with referrals takes it up a level. And then joint campaigns, co-marketing, joint ventures etc. through to full partner programs promoted through LinkedIn are top-end options.

Prepare for GDPR sooner rather than later. Viewing GDPR as an opportunity is a positive way to approach the changes. Taking time to review contact and communication strategies now, and in this context review your LinkedIn strategies will put you in a stronger position for the arrival of GDPR and all that goes with it.

If you’d like to have a chat about ideas, opportunities and options around GDPR and LinkedIn, and pro-actively approach the changes, then do contact me, Mark Stonham, or  Yafit Davis.

For more information about Mark and his company visit his website here.

GDPR-Online marketing intro

GDPR is coming: Cutting edge marketing tactics

I have always liked Jude Law but I liked him even more when I read this quote from him about being cutting edge: ‘I feel more and more at ease because I think the older I get, the less pressure there is. People say, “Well, he’s not cutting edge because he’s not in his twenties, so he’s not expected to be.”’

Here is another good quote: In his book, Build Your Brand in 30 Days, Simon Middleton says, ‘Your brand is what your company means to the world. Getting that meaning right is the most important thing you can do in business’.

So, how are the two connected and what does it all have to do with GDPR (Click here if you still don’t know what GDPR is)?

Well, GDPR represents a big shake up in direct marketing practice and will limit your ability to approach new business via e-mail and text. As I have written before, this is a great opportunity to review your marketing and lead generation strategy. By definition, this would mean considering new tactics in order to continue generating leads effectively. In the past month, I have shared expert advice on old fashioned tactics such as leafleting and direct mail. It is now time to consider what online tactics will be compliant and useful to consider.

Using online marketing is hardly cutting edge: platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have been around for a while.  Yet, many SME’s still struggle to find a truly effective way to use online marketing that fits their brand and budget. This is particularly true in the B2B world where many companies either use Social Media to tick a box or choose to stay out of it all together.

I think that online marketing is so varied that every business can benefit from it as part of an overall strategy. I agree that there is a vast amount of information out there and much of the communication we produce is not read. I agree that SEO is hard to grasp and can be costly. I know it all comes down to time and attention. But I still think that the potential is there as long as you consider your overall strategy carefully first.

As I am devoted to getting you all GDPR-ready this year, I have asked a few of my esteemed colleagues in the online marketing world to help. As a result, I will be posting guest Blogs covering great tips and ideas particularly around targeting new business.  So, watch this space and share your own ideas and experience where applicable.

If you are unsure about how to approach GDPR compliance, we have come up with a package designed to support the shift in your lead generation approach.  Click here for more details or get in touch for a chat.

Leaflet campaign strategy

GDPR is coming: Expert advice from Greg Clemett on making leaflet marketing work for your business

Leaflets are a very effective marketing tool but to make it work you need a distribution plan strategy… A great delivery plan but an average leaflet will win over a great leaflet but poor or non-existent delivery plan every time. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Make sure that your leaflets are considered, professionally designed and have:

• A great headline on both sides
• An attention catching image
• Been printed on the right stock
• A compelling call to action
• A time limited offer
• Even Ideally a unique tracking phone number

2. Don’t waste your money with unplanned, unprofessional delivery (no matter how cheap!). Consider the following:

  • Demographics & Geography:

-Know the demographics and the total number of letterboxes in your target area.

-Don’t be too narrow in targeting – especially on the first couple of drops – as you find and learn about your audience. You may get surprising results.

-A drop area of less than 5,000 isn’t going to give you value in terms of measuring, for future tweaks. It would be just too small of a sample to be reliable.

  • First Impressions count:

-Make sure your leaflet reflects the way you want your business to be seen and your brand perceived.

-Print on the best / heaviest paper you can with the best finish you can. We recommend at least 150gsm and up to 280gsm (depending on your product or service). 100gsm or lower and you are compromising your brand image.

  • Campaign Strategy: 

-Repetition to build Reputation: In almost every situation the default delivery plan should be a campaign, not a one-off drop. Here is how it works:

  • Drop 1. Low hanging fruit
    They were ready to buy and you have landed on their doormat at the right time.
  • Drop 2. Vague Familiarity. More considered buyers and low hanging fruit.
  • Drop 3. Building a name; Response levels are 2-5 times what they were at drop 1. You are starting to ‘own’ the area.
  • Remember that trust comes with recognition.

-Time between drops: Err on the side of more frequent. We suggest repeating areas between 4-6 weeks, to achieve the memory effect. Frequent drops also enable you to learn quickly what is working and what isn’t to refine your campaigns.

  • Solus or Shared distribution? Both work well…. but there is a trade off with each method:

-Solus:  your leaflet alone, pretty much where and when you want, ideally exclusively capturing attention. However, there is no control on what other leaflets or post is arriving immediately after. Also, this is of course at a premium price (3-4 times shared) to cover all overhead costs.

-Shared : with other leaflets. Cheaper as you are also sharing the costs of the delivery company.The trade-off being an amount of flexibility – you are restricted to going where that company has scheduled rounds.

  • Be Ready for the response: Make sure who ever answers the phone is well briefed. No point in doing all this work and not being able to capture the new business!
  • GPS tracking, checking and measuring: For piece peace of mind, you might consider what checks can be offered by your distribution company. Be sure to gather feedback, responses and trackable data from each drop. Most of your competitors don’t bother.

For more information check out Greg’s website on http://www.bristol.dor2dor.com/
The above is adapted extracts from the free Dor-2-Dor booklet: ‘How to Make Leaflet Drops Work – Brilliantly!’

GDPR experts forum-Promotional gifts

Get GDPR Ready: Expert advice from Matt Richardson of Recognition Express on why you should use promotional gifts in your marketing

Day to day we live in a world where we are bombarded by technology.  If it’s not emails, its ‘likes’, tweets, snaps, shares, PM’s, notifications, requests to link etc etc etc. It’s all noise.  Noise that we are all familiar with and by being used to it, we sometimes don’t see it or even ignore it.

That’s where promotional products come into their own.  What I mean by this, is pens, mugs, key rings, rules, torches, coasters, mouse mats…. the list is endless.  These items are loved by many, borrowed from others, picked up at an exhibition and given by companies. Why do we love this stuff?  Cause it’s free.  And everyone loves something for free.

That free pen, as long as it’s good quality, may well be your writing instrument of choice for years and the cost to you is zero.  You didn’t have to buy on Amazon or go to Smiths, it was given by someone who wanted to make YOU aware of THEIR brand.  Every day you use and love that pen, you’ll see them, subtly reminding you of who they are.  You know what, when you are in the market for that service, you’ll probably think of them!  It’s VERY powerful.

Why do people like Coca Cola advertise? we know who they are! They hope that when you are thirsty, there’s will be the brand you think of and it’s the same with that branded office mug, it’s always there silently selling that company.  It may well be used 6 times a day, that’s 6 messages being burnt into your subconscious mind. Keep that mug a year… I’ll leave you to work out the maths.

People often worry that the pen or items will ‘go into the wrong hands’, ‘be given away’, ‘the kids will take it’.  You know what, that’s awesome.  That’s perfectly fine, as the product is still out there.  The key is HOW it’s been given, HOW it was followed up and what sort of quality it is.

The question of ROI is often asked of me.  What will be my return on investment? I have no idea! But I have stopped counting the times I’ve spoken to clients who have kept my water bottles and a year later have ordered from me because the time is right!

In the next few years, the ability to cold call or cold email will be taken from us, and we need to get smart and be prepared!  Lumpy mail sent to your prospect is the next big thing.  An item, sent in a jiffy bag, too big for a letter box that has to be received I the hand.  THAT’S THE KEY.  A parcel that makes the recipient think ‘what on earth is this’?’. You follow that up, and your hundreds of times more likely to be remembered than a SPAM email that’s in the Junk folder.

You can’t unsubscribe from direct mail, you can’t put it in the junk folder, you can’t block it.  Sending promo items in the post is the new marketing goldmine and you need to get onboard. Promotional products are great; they make people smile, they show you are happy to invest in your prospects and existing clients.  it’s dead powerful and dead personal.

Worth a try!

For more information visit Matt’s website here

 

GDPR experts forum- PR advice

Get GDPR ready: Expert advice from Rupert Janisch of Elmhay PR on the benefits of story telling

There’s a slightly upsetting chicken and egg situation with Public Relations as a marketing tactic for small businesses. I come across it all the time and it’s this:

Conjure up an internal image of a PR agency, and you’d be forgiven for thinking sparkly office, blue sky thinking, expensive champagne lunches and power point presentations.

It’s not something which many small businesses have the inclination or the budget for, especially when their marketing funds are limited and money can be better spent elsewhere.

But the problem is one of perception – the view that PR is the sole preserve of big businesses who can afford big agency fees. It’s a self-perpetuating myth which drives the opportunity away from smaller companies. I’ll never forget hearing Deborah Meaden on Dragon’s Den saying that unless you have £30k to spend on PR it’s a waste of time. QED! I have clients who have spent a tiny fraction of that amount and achieved new sales as a direct result of the work I have done for them.

Of course, the end result of an effective PR campaign is media coverage – media these days meaning online press as well as traditional print coverage. Work backwards, and how do you get the press to publish something about your business? The answer, by giving the journalist something which they and their readers are likely to find interesting. And what’s that? It comes down to storytelling.

Yes, people like reading stories about big business, about who’s doing what, about new developments and about scandals and controversy. But they also like stories about the little guy – inspiring success stories, human interest pieces about people doing amazing things, articles about those flexible and nimble companies at the cutting edge of innovation, about the start-ups which are going to become the next Renishaw, Facebook or Virgin.

So the next time you write off PR as a marketing tactic because – I hear it all the time – you don’t think you’ve got anything to talk about, as yourself a few questions:

  • Have you won any big contracts recently?
  • Made any appointments?
  • Moved into bigger offices?
  • Completed any significant projects?
  • Won an award? Received any funding?
  • Achieved growth? Taken on an apprentice?
  • Merged with or acquired another business?
  • Overcome any personal adversity?
  • Done something truly innovative?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you’ve got a story to tell! Either in your local business pages, or a trade title, or a small business publication. Apart from anything else, most journalists are swamped by the same old stories from the same old businesses put out by the same old agencies. They love to hear from new businesses! It makes their publications fresh and makes their readers – most of whom are involved in small businesses anyway – feel that they’re relevant.

An extra tip – supply good photos! I’m not talking a lo-res job from your iPhone (although it may do for online use). If you’re putting a proper press release together, spend a few quid and get a professional to take a good quality picture which helps tell the story. Or get a mate to do it for free. Either way, the combination of a good story and a great photo is something that journalists, who are a) pushed for time and b) inundated with the PR fluff which puts such a strain on the journalist/PR relationship, will be extremely grateful for.

The benefits? More than you can count. Even the much-derided local papers (tomorrow morning’s fish and chip wrappers) not only have huge readerships in print, creating powerful word-of-mouth publicity, but these days have massive followings online too, greatly helping with your search engine presence. And more often than not they’ll also have a business website which they’re affiliated with, as well as sending out a digital daily newsletter. So you’re getting much more than one hit, and a highly credible one too when compared with a paid-for advert.

What else? It’s something you can boast about on your website and in your other marketing collateral, giving you a feather in your cap against your competitors. And it will be well-written copy which you can use for newsletters, blogs and so on, too.

PR’s not a marketing panacea but it should definitely be considered as an important part of your marketing mix. And although online marketing and social media are changing the game there’s still something about a dedicated news website which adds credibility to your cause and which also suggests a sense of permanence and gravitas which can be a problem with social media and its constant self-reinvention.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the story you have to tell. Don’t put yourself down! Be proud of what you achieve in business and have the confidence to tell people about it. It’s a competitive world out there and, if you want to get publicity, it’s not a place for the shrinking violets.

For more information visit Rupert’s website here

GDPR-offline marketing

GDPR is coming: is it time to revive off-line marketing?

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes how little things can make a big difference and bring about a tipping point thus creating a big change. One of the three rules of the Tipping Point is the Power of Context, defined by Gladwell as the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which change occurs. In other words; while specific people and products can cause major trends, no trend can “flourish” without the right context.

If you had a chance to read my blogs recently, you may have noticed that I have been writing a lot about GDPR which are the new data regulations affecting everyone in the UK from May 2018.  I would say that the change brought about by this new legislation, will create the context in which some ‘old fashioned’ marketing tactics may make a comeback. This is because whilst you will still be able to make use of digital strategies such as Social Media and PPC, your ability to use the power of technology for direct marketing will be limited.

It might surprise you to know that When I started my career, online marketing did not play a big part in lead generation strategies. Instead, many businesses spent their marketing budgets on sending direct mail, leaflet dropping and advertising in magazines and phone books.  Whilst some of these methods may not seem as attractive, many can still be utilised effectively. Nowadays we call it Guerrilla Marketing because it makes us feel daring and special. Call it what you wish, some of these tactics are worth considering as part of your post GDPR marketing strategy. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing some pearls of wisdom from local experts covering some of these tactics.  In the meanwhile, here are a few famous Guerrilla Marketing case studies I liked:

  1. King Ronald

In 2005, Burger King implemented a guerrilla marketing campaign to increase their burger sales in Asia by luring more consumers into Burger King restaurants. Burger King promoters decided to target their number one beefy competitor, McDonald’s, by strategically placing branded Burger King t-shirts on Ronald McDonald statues, planting large footprints from McDonald’s to Burger King, and putting signs on empty benches that read “Gone to BK — Ronald.” Though a bit abrasive and cut-throat, this guerrilla marketing technique gained the attention of Asian consumers… and ultimately was extremely successful.

  1. Di*sel is no longer a dirty word

Another very popular form of guerrilla marketing is “reverse graffiti,” a technique where marketers literally paint the streets with subversive imagery. Difficult to execute, and sometimes controversial, this form of guerrilla marketing can be extremely successful because it catches the eye of hundreds of potential consumers, plus gets the grassroots communication ball rollin’. A prime example of successful reverse graffiti is when the high-end automotive company, Audi, was trying to promote their clean diesel engines. Audi painted the streets with messaging that read,”Di*sel is no longer a dirty word” around selected streets in metropolitan areas.

  1. Baroness Michelle Mone – Ultimo launch

“Sometimes you have got to have balls, and just approach people, because they are not going to come to you.”

With cashflow still an issue, Michelle was left with another problem – how to publicise her new product with a marketing budget of just £500. She said: “I hired 12 actors and dressed them as plastic surgeons and gave them banners saying ‘Ban the Ultimo bra because it is putting us out of work’ and got them to protest outside the store.

“I was hoping and praying it would work. When I was driving to the launch in Oxford Street, the taxi driver said the street was blocked with people. The place was swarming with photographers and it was known as the biggest bra launch in Europe – all for £500! Selfridges sold out six months’ stock in three hours.”

Even if you are not going to go Guerrilla the point is that there are a lot of different ways to approach your new lead generation strategy. The key is to take the time and effort to create your strategy so you can choose the most effective tactics and not the other way around.  Click here to see how we can help or get in touch to discuss further.