Category Archives: General marketing tips

Take away Value: Promotional Products

In our last blog we took a look at some of the more traditional physical ways of getting your products in front of audiences and grabbing their attention with balloon displays and window dressing. We’re continuing this theme of real world marketing approaches this month, with a low down on some ideas for giveaway marketing materials.

The first pointer we’d make here is not to be derivative with the choice of materials you create to distribute. Whilst for business to business marketing, perhaps more office oriented freebies such as the traditional go-to option of branded pens might be appropriate, is this going to stick in the memory of a business to consumer audience? It’s likely to be lost and forgotten and unless your business is oriented around stationary then your unlikely to trigger any sort of memory or association in the mind of your audience, which is the real purpose of this marketing strategy.

Tying the giveaway product to your business somehow ought to be a priority in your planning. Have a brainstorm. You’ll be surprised at the variety of marketing products which are available to brand with your logo or messaging. Everything from memory sticks, small toys, booklets bags, gloves, pet products, puzzles and various other novelty items can be found. For inspiration, have a look through the catalogue of a promotional products creator, GoPromotional and OutstandingBranding are two recognised suppliers, but a quick Google search will likely find a more local supplier who’ll be able to guide you through the process.

Promotional Badges

For non governmental organisations, charities and other groups promoting membership for example, pin badges are a good method, allowing people to display their support and creating a public familiarity with the branding of different groups and contributing the awareness drive. This isn’t just an approach to be taken for charities and other organisations. Brands can also benefit from this kind of exposure and with several options for different styles of badge presentation to suit your brand and messaging, from classic button badges to enamel pin badges, you can be sure to find something which is ideal for a giveaway to the public.

Finding your audience

Once you’ve settled on promotional product which properly matches your brand and objectives, the next stage is to settle on a location to give these away where they’ll find a relevant audience. Giveaways in public spaces with heavy footfall is one approach for mass market promotion. If your product or service is more niche however, a more targeted strategy might be required to ensure that your giveaways aren’t wasted. Finding a specialist agency in promotion or product sampling might be a good start and take some of the logistical pressure off getting your product out to the chosen market. This is especially true of those who opt for a product sampling direction.

Otherwise, a good tack is often to target trade shows, conferences and other occasions where relevant audiences are gathered together within the framework of an event. Getting in touch with organisers and offering to contribute free materials to attendees can nail you a winning delivery channel through to your target audience. We’ve all been given a canvas bag with course materials and branded products at the end of a conference or training course and this is a great place to start when targeting select groups.

The lesson here is that whilst getting a good choice and good quality of product made is vital, unless these reach a relevant audience it is money wasted! Both sides of the equation need to be brought together to ensure success.

The Use of Video in Marketing – Using an Agency

People respond to video. This of course includes your potential customers. This is particularly true online, where studies have found many users are reluctant to read extended pieces of text content. Whilst it may be important for your websites visibility through search engines to have text content on your page, when it comes to real users’ behaviour on your site, video content conveys information quickly, persuasively and keeps them there longer.

Agencies are the Cost Effective Solution

The vast majority of companies won’t have in house teams to put together video content, whether it is for online purposes, on the landing page or home page of a website for example, or whether it is for a broadcast commercial. This is both for reasons of budget (why pay for a team of experts on your wage bill for a whole year when you’re only likely to need them for short periods of it) and also because agencies offer a level of additional expertise having done this so many times before, and likely for clients, or purposes, like yours. This previous knowledge of what’s required to make your video work is part of the expertise that you pay for with an agency, whereas an in house team might not be able to boast experience from working with the breadth of projects.

Using an agency is the cost effective solution for creating tailored video content for your needs, without having to put up the money for a permanent in house team. Depending on your budget, there are also further ways to make your money go further.

Considering the Different Video Options

Many video agencies offer a variety of different services when it comes to the creation and style of the video. Using character animation and motion graphics for example is a very cost effective way of creating video. The reduced cost from camera equipment and editing, lighting and the need for a team either in the studio or on site is noticeable in the price. That’s not to say that all video that use some digital graphics are cheaper.

At the other end of the spectrum is the higher budget option of mixing camera footage with sophisticated animation or computer generated imagery. Some of the more spectacular adverts seen on television feature a mix of footage and animation, with the increase in cost of production largely dictated by the need for more photorealistic imagery to go along side real imagery. Whilst the blend of cartoon style graphics with organic footage might be an interesting look to play with, if the situation isn’t right, it can look incongruous.

Finding the Right Video Agency for your Needs

Ask colleagues or contacts in the industry for recommendations or search for an agency to work with in your area, most cities will have a concentration of video and content agencies to choose from, giving you options to consider and a variety of price points. In Leeds for example, there’s Manto Films , Motiv Productions  and Doodle Direct, who all specialise in creating video content, whether its animated ‘explainer’ videos, or client testimonials or case study films. So have a look at your agencies examples and consider whether the budget options might work for your campaign, or if you might need to invest in a top of the range piece of video.

Uniforms as Marketing? The brand messaging of staff clothing

Even though marketing is a creative industry, we can sometimes be a little closed-minded when it comes to considering exactly what marketing can constitute. Whilst we take for granted all the new facets of marketing and advertising that the 21st century has thrown at us, sometimes going back to the core principles of marketing as communication with the consumer can throw up some interesting new approaches.

Many experts in marketing and branding in particular, will be keen to point out that branding doesn’t simply cover marketing materials, company logos and colour schemes and packaging design. The brand of a company is the culture of the company, and this has to run through everything the company does. This is something that large international names such as Nokia take very seriously.

In this vein of though, a lot of establishments, particularly in the catering and hospitality sectors, invest a great deal of time considering the presentation of staff and what this communicates about the company and brand. This is of great importance in catering and food services in particular, where the reputation of the cleanliness of an establishment is deduced from the appearance of staff. There is an old adage about restaurants that you need to look at how clean the bathroom is to learn about the standard of hygiene throughout the business. The same is true of the appearance of staff. Get this wrong and you’ll put potential customers off eating at your restaurant or staying at your hotel.

So maintaining good standards of presentation is an important place to start when considering the message you’re giving to customers, but the opportunity to communicate your brand through the presentation of staff doesn’t end there. Again, to use an example from the hospitality sector, if you’re running a hotel, considering where the brand of that hotel sits amongst its competitors. Is it a casual modern hotel, is it boutique, is it a corporate hotel with a lot of business and conference guests? Is the hotel traditional? The uniforms of the staff ought to reflect these choices. What is the colour scheme and can your staff uniforms match the scheme? Do your concierge staff wear traditional waistcoats, double breasted suit jackets and pleated trousers or more modern fitting slim suits and flat front trousers? Are your bar staff in shirts and aprons or in branded polo shirts? These are all possibilities to be considered, and everything your staff wear will reflect on your business. As such, many suppliers of uniforms for hotels and restaurants will reflect this variation in what different establishments require from their uniforms. The same principles of marketing and communicating your brand through the stylistic choices you make in your staff’s work wear.

So whilst there may be a great deal of value in looking closely at online marketing materials and channels, social media, viral videos and screen advertising, let’s not forget that one of the key impressions that is made on our customers and potential consumers comes from the staff they deal with, which are the point of contact with the business. Shouldn’t this also be the territory of marketeers and branding experts and not just human resources?

Social Media is here to stay!

http://www.marketingdoctorleeds.co.ukLove it or hate it social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to name but a few, is here to stray. So the old adage “If you can’t beat them, join them” rings true. We asked Social Media Marketing Specialist, Jodie Klein for her top tips to improve how your small business uses Facebook.

1. Spruce up your page
With just a small effort at housekeeping on your Page, you can make a big difference. Make sure that your business information is all up to date, including contact details and hours of business. It’s also a good idea to update your Page’s cover photo. Using either approriate seasonal images or Small Business themed images show that you care about your business and your fans and these little steps let visitors to your page know that it is an active extension of your business.

2. Post regularly
Maintaining a steady rhythm of posts can help keep your business in your customers minds. This is particulalry important in the days leading up to a big event. Be sure to highlight your best merchandise or services, but don’t forget not to restrict yourself to just self-promotional posts. There is great benefit in posting content that gives people some kind of extra value, such as highlighting other great businesses either nearby or taking part in the same event. Sharing interesting and informative content that relates to your business is also important.

3. Create photo and video Page posts
They say a picture tells a thousand words. Posting great photo or video content is an easy way to make your business come alive on Facebook. Photo or video posts generally have good levels of engagement and can become a key part of an ongoing relationship with your customers. If you can combine quirky motion graphics or whiteboard videos (such as these) with your marketing strategy you have the potential to go viral.  Another idea is to create a photo album with images of products that people can preview before coming into the shop, a sort of shop-window. It might be worth appointing a video production company Leeds or UK wide.  Visit manto.tv for more information.

4. Try an Offer
Posting special offers or discounts is a fantastic way of offering your customers even more value. You can start by offering a discount to people that mention Facebook when they come into your shop, or if your a web-based business, people who “Like” your page.

Or, if you’re looking for more reach, you could subscribe to Facebook Offers which make it easy for you to distribute your promotions to an audience beyond your fan base. Redeeming these is simple for your customers too, making them more likely to participate.

5. Boost your important posts
Boosted Posts can help you reach wider audiences with greater accuracy. Simply enter whatever amount you can set aside for the promotion and Facebook will tell you instantly how many people your post will reach. Boosted Posts also has a built in feature which allows you to make sure the right people are seeing your posts. For example, you can direct your posts toward people who live nearby, or to people of the right demographic.

However you choose to use it Facebook is here to stay and with the right amount of effort and input from you, it could seriously improve not onlu how you engage with your customers, but the number of people who come to you.

Are you getting the most out of Twitter?

http://www.manto.tvThe idea behind Twitter is so simple: a great way to connect with clients or customers and get your message across in just 140 characters, Twitter is at the forefront of the social media revolution. However, although Twitter sounds simple, getting to grips with using it and then getting the most out of it can prove to be extremely confusing!
Whether you’re new to the world of Tweets and Twitter or have had an account for some time but feel that you’re not getting the most out of it, there are various things you can do to help you maximise the potential of what can be a powerful marketing tool.
The first thing to do is to fill in your Twitter profile as completely as you possibly can. Don’t try and get away with the bare minimum here: the more effort you put into this, the more success you’ll have and it’s worth bearing in mind that people (potential clients and customers) spend just three seconds deciding whether to follow someone or not. So make sure you what you write is well written.
The icon or image that you choose for your account needs to be good. Don’t use a ‘selfie’ that you’ve taken with your phone! If your business has a logo you should use it but if yours is to be a personal feed, a photo (ideally a professional photo) is the best option. Trust is important on Twitter and if you want to be trusted, respected and followed, you must include a link to your business website or blog. Without this vital link, people are unlikely to follow you.
Next we come to the potentially thorny issue of who to follow and whether to follow them back. When you start out on Twitter the temptation is to follow lots of people at random, organisations etc. However, if you connect with people you find genuinely interesting, friends, anyone connected with your field and organisations you respect, your feed will be of more interest and value to potential clients or customers. Following back is simpler: if someone follows you and you think that what they do seems interesting, following them back is a good way to find out more.
Advice can be found with http://www.marketingdoctorleeds.co.uk or similar UK wide and they will all tell you that Twitter is not the place to try and sell things. When thinking about what to write about, avoid a sales message at all costs. A little occasional promotion about your services every now and then won’t hurt but that’s all it should be: occasional. Telling people a little about you is good, though, and sharing news and views is great. Finding your Twitter voice can take time so try to relax and your ‘voice’ should begin to develop.
Last and by no means least is the question of how often you should Tweet. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing but you do need to make regular appearances. Make sure you keep tabs on what other people are saying about you and if you reply, make sure it’s quickly.

Email marketing – making it work for you

Ask any marketing consultant in Leeds or UK wide and they will tell you that Email marketing has become an incredibly popular way for small businesses to reach new customers: cheap and very fast, email marketing is a great way to put your marketing message across.
Whilst increasing numbers of small businesses are tapping into email marketing, many are missing the opportunities that email marketing can offer to target their message to the right people at the right time and in the process are missing opportunities to bring in new business.
Email marketing offers a number of advantages over direct mailings: response rates to bulk emails are known to be higher than for direct mailings and results can be easily measured, making the fine-tuning of future campaigns much simpler. Marketing your products or services via email is perfect if you rely on your website for the majority of your business and emails can be used to showcase new products and publicise special offers.
However, when done badly, email marketing can be a disaster and unless you adhere to the watchwords of relevance and responsibility at all times, your email marketing campaigns will simply be seen as annoying spam by potential customers. To avoid this, you must always have permission to get in touch with the recipient of your email and if you want a positive response, your email needs to offer something that is of genuine interest or of value.
Building a database of customer or client email addresses should be the starting point of any email marketing strategy. Permission-based is the key phrase here: make sure your management of the database is vigilant at all times and that you delete the email address of anyone who wants to opt out, so don’t forget to offer an ‘opt-in’ box in your initial contact with them. Your email address database should not only include customer email addresses, finding out as much as you can will make it far easier to ensure that the emails you send them are relevant.
Email marketing databases are much easier to manage if they’re divided up into groups of people with similar interests. This can be done by categorising customers or clients into what they’ve bought in the past – this will enable you to send marketing emails to the right customers. If you sell footwear, for example, a middle-aged man is unlikely to appreciate a discount offer on kids’ wellies.
At this point it is important to note that sending spam emails is against the law; to receive emails from you, your recipient must have ‘opted-in’ and anyone who has registered their details with the Direct Marketing Association’s email preference service must be removed from your contact database.
Every message you send should be relevant and of interest to the recipient; if you send just one or two irrelevant messages and it’s likely that they’ll simply delete your messages or unsubscribe from your list. By all means grab the attention of the recipient but make sure you’re not offering over-exaggerated claims as this is likely to be perceived as spam. Try to keep things simple yet relevant and interesting with a call to action and a reason to respond or click through to your website.
Last and by no means least, make sure you spend time monitoring the response to your emails. This can be done two ways: either with specially designed software or through your internet service provider. You need to know how many of your emails were delivered, how many opted out (best practice is to remove these straight away), and how many recipients clicked through to your website. Remember that the response rate to email marketing campaigns is usually much higher than for other direct marketing methods and if your email is sent to large groups of customers, think about whether you can handle an increase in orders.