Sales _ marketing by gjmpzlaezgx

VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 34

									Sales & marketing

“Connect with people, grow your customer base”

1.
H1 Winning with exceptional customer service

I You cannot afford to satisfy your customers, you must delight them by delivering exceptional
customer service to win the retention game by building value relationships.

P1 Customers today are more discerning – and dumbfounded with more options of where and from
whom to buy from – than ever before. You cannot afford to satisfy your customers, you must
delight them by delivering exceptional customer service to win the retention game by building value
relationships.

P2 In this article we will cover:

* What service do you offer in the market?
* Delivering loyalty and exceptional service
* Seven top tips for turning customers into devotees

H2 What service do you offer in the market?

How do you name your market – customers, clients, collaborators, friends or fans? Or all of these?
Do your customers feel inspired to buy from you over your competitors for your passion, product
knowledge and inspiring personality? Or are you competing on convenience – being cheaper or
closer than someone else? It only takes one new entrant into the market, undercutting your prices
or moving in closer to your customers to steal your thunder. You need to consider what unique
service you can offer to your customer - which is as much about how you deliver as what you
deliver.

H2 Delivering loyalty and exceptional service

Business is not just about servicing customers „fast food-style‟ on a conveyor belt with a „have a
nice day‟ approach. Customers are now more discerning – time poor, cash rich and with limitless
choices and options and there are a multitude of competing willing, global suppliers enabled by the
internet. Price comparison websites like {Price Runner} http://www.pricerunner.co.uk and the
global marketplace enabled by {Ebay} http://www.ebay.co.uk means that proximity and price are
rarely unique selling points. It costs seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain an
existing one so it is imperative that you value loyalty in your customers by being loyal to them.
Furthermore, 75 percent of customers are likely to leave you because of indifference – they just
don‟t think you love them any more.

Your customers want to be delighted by your exceptional service – dazzled by design, impressed
by your delivery and attention to detail. They want to feel the love – or at least to feel special and
important to you. You need to turn regular everyday customers into evangelists for your business
and your brand. The best way to advertise your business is word of mouth – it‟s free, it‟s viral and
it will have them queuing at your door. Just think: next your options will be to scale up the
business or be picky and only accept the most exciting or profitable prospects.

H2 Seven top tips for turning customers into devotees

H3 1. Over deliver
Promise delivery in seven days knowing you can nearly always manage it in four. Promise eight
design samples, then deliver nine.

H3 2. Work on your image
Is your logo design as fresh, vibrant and dynamic as you believe your business is? How about
your office or shop – could it do with a fresh coat of paint in your company‟s colours, some stylish
artwork, a more „zen‟ layout or just a little less clutter?

H3 3. Offer exceptional value for money
It‟s not just about 2-for-1s or delighting by your cheapness – could extra service, like gift-wrapping,
loyalty discounts or just a great after care solution help you to differentiate from the crowds? Think
quality, not quantity.

H3 4. Make it personal
Make your customers feel exceptional. Personalisation – in emails, product design and even
compliments slips will make your customers feel less of a commodity and more like their valued
friend in business.

H3 5. Be an inspiring connector
Connectors are the people who make business spark by lighting up the dots between others.
Could you help your own network by spotting opportunities for others to do business together?
Customers are more willing to pay out if there is a return to them in more than one way.

H3 6. Be a fountain of knowledge
Could your customers see you as their „favourite aunt‟ or „favourite uncle‟ in your sector? Are you
the person with the knowledge who has an answer to solve every problem? Setting up a blog will
help you become perceived as an expert in your field and allow you to scale up your flow of expert
knowledge manageably.

H3 7. Get your customers to become your testers

Ask your customers what they think of your products and service. Carry out a poll. A service like
{Survey Monkey} http://www.surveymonkey.com will store, manage and analyse the results online.
Be honest about the results and use them to influence the development of your next line or
product. Give away samples, hold a fun, sociable focus group. People love to be asked their
opinions if they are interested in the outcome. Invite your best clients to your office party. Give
away a „secret‟ beta or early version of your product. Being inside the club makes people feel
special and they will talk about it to others.

P4
{1,000 true fans} http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php
Kevin Kelly‟s iconic article on turning fans into devotees.

P5
[1,000 true fans: how to build evangelical customers]

P3
Your customers want to be delighted by your exceptional service – dazzled by design, impressed
by your delivery and attention to detail. They want to feel the love – or at least to feel special and
important to you.

Tags
customer_service loyalty customers
2.
H1 1,000 true fans: how to build evangelical customers

I Your customers want to be delighted by your exceptional service, from which your business can
start to build up a database of evangelical customers.

P1 In his empirical blog post, Kevin Kelly declared that you only need one thousand true fans to
build a sustainable business. Your customers want to be delighted by your exceptional service –
dazzled by design and impressed by your delivery and attention to detail. Through exceptional
service any business can start to build up a database of evangelical customers.

P2 In this article we cover:

* Kelly‟s definition of 1,000 true fans
* Who are your super fans?
* Using digital technologies to build loyalty

H2 A definition of 1,000 true fans

Growing evangelicals customers is hard work, but there‟s some good news: Kevin Kelly wrote a
piece called {1,000 true fans} http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php
which really shook up the blogosphere in 2008. Based on Chris Anderson‟s theory of the „long tail‟
(sustained, niche markets for products enabled through e-commerce), Kelly believes that you only
need one thousand evangelical fans to build a sustainable business. Relating it particularly to
bands and their fans, Kelly says that super fans:

“They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set
of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your
name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your
openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They
can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”

H2 Who are your super fans?

Your business may be a long way from the latest skinny-trousered rockstar darlings, but think
about how this could apply to your business. Kelly says you will need to do the maths to calculate
how many fans you will need. 1,000 may be enough for a solo artist, but you may be supporting a
whole band or small orchestra – but it‟s unlikely to be in the millions. So think how technology
could enable you to develop evangelical, true fans and how you can guarantee that your super
fans will not just buy once from you, but buy everything that you do. You then need to invest the
time in servicing these „super fans‟.

H2 Using digital technologies to build loyalty

H3 Get social networking

* Start a blog – an online conversation about your business and your way of seeing life – people
buy from people and this is a great way to scale conversations with customers you may never
otherwise meet.
* Start a {Facebook group} http://www.facebook.com – people can „become a fan‟ of your company
or product and it‟s a great way to promote upcoming events, product launches or special offers.
* Use {Ning} http://www.ning.com to create a free social network – imagine people gathering to talk
about a niche sector which you can captivate with your fantastic products.
* Start gossiping – seed your networks and email newsletters with latest exclusive news on
products like new releases and features and special discounts – and talk about the people and
work behind the scenes. If there are delays to releasing version 2, talk to your fans about it.
H3 Make it viral

Offer incentives to people who refer a friend to your service like a discount or gift. Using voucher
codes in your online store is an excellent way to do this. Create videos or animations around your
brand that people will be thrilled to share. And remember: it‟s all about data, data, data. Always
collect your prospects email for future marketing – mobile numbers and postal addresses too if you
can.

You need to put in the hours, but through evangelical customers you could soon have 1,000 or
even a million „true fans‟ for your business.

P4
{1,000 true fans} http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php
Kevin Kelly‟s original article on growing super-fans.

P5
[Winning with exceptional customer service]

P3
Think how technology could enable you to develop evangelical, true fans and how you can
guarantee that your super fans will not just buy once from you, but buy everything that you do.
3.
H1 Starters guide to email marketing: beginners tips

I Email is still the fastest growing and strongest medium for online marketing and can become the
lifeblood for building a winning combination low-cost and long-term relationship with your
customers.

P1 In today‟s halycon days of Web 2.0 - when consumers and business clients are seemingly
spinning in a whirr of social networking, RSS, {twittering} http://www.twitter.com and mobile
messaging – it‟s easy to relegate the humble email as yesterday‟s marketing medium. Don‟t throw
the baby out with the bathwater: email is still the fastest growing and strongest medium for online
marketing and can become the lifeblood for building a winning combination low-cost and long-term
relationship with your customers and future prospects.

P2 In this article we cover:

* What is permission marketing?
* Data collection
* Mailing consistency
* Using a professional mailing service
* Checking for errors

H2 What is permission marketing?

Don‟t confuse email marketing with spam: in order to [comply with UK online trading regulations]
you should follow the principles of “permission marketing”, a term coined by Yahoo! Head of
Marketing {Seth Godin} http://www.sethgodin.com, which means that rather than interrupt your
customer with invasive sales messages, allow them to sign up or leave your mailing list through
choice and provide them with value – in the form of discounts, wisdom, quality content, or great
new products – which encourages them to stay.

H2 Data collection

It‟s all about the data: to succeed in email marketing, first you need a list. It may be possible to
hire someone else‟s list or buy into one for a one-off email during your awareness phase.
Importantly, use every interaction as an opportunity to collect your customer‟s vital statistics – the
more details the better, but email and name are essential. Put a „free email newsletter‟ easy
subscription box on your home page, and anywhere else you can on your website. Ask for emails
when you do a trade or customer fair. Send a polite email asking if they would like to subscribe
(make it clears it‟s free: many consumers find the term subscribing confusing), and make it easy to
do so. The uptake of „email us to join our list‟ compared to an email box on your homepages is
several hundred times higher. A good email campaign service like MailBuild, available to [Inspiral
subscribers], will automate the process for you. Remember: your data is the raw marketing stuff
that will transform prospects into customers, and for some businesses it becomes the most
valuable part of their balance sheet at the sale of the business.

H2 Mailing consistency

Be consistent – regulate the amount you send out sales messages. CD sellers {CD-Wow}
http://www.cdwow.com lost credibility and subscribers through bombarding users with daily sales
messages: make your messages as frequent as appropriate to your customer but be consistent or
give subscribers the option to receive more or less frequent mailings and always try and format the
emails with the same layout, branding and types of offers and content they can expect so your
messages are more likely to be valued and read. One or two newsletters per month, with perhaps
an occasional special offer is as much as most readers are likely to accept and probably will leave
you with your work cut out to write the most succinct and compelling pieces of content.
H2 Using a professional mailing service

Don‟t make the mistake of sending out mass email lists using BCC or (worse CC) email fields,
which will largely end up in customer‟s spam box and cause annoyance. Your database is valuable
and every message must get through. If you have more than 100 customers you should be using a
managed mailing system hosted online which will provide the means to attempt multiple deliveries
to email addresses, automatically unsubscribe, clean out bounced addresses and provide
sophisticated tracking. Chose your host wisely and check for references or testimonials on forums
and places other than their website: it‟s very difficult to „port‟ your email opt-in list to another
provider without having to ask all your subscribers to re-confirm their subscription which will cause
a large drop out.

H2 Check for errors

Links that don‟t work, poor spelling, offers that aren‟t available, and copy that says Dear {insert
customer name} are all inexcusable in an email message. Test to a closed list before sending your
killer pitch to 10,000 subscribers.

Ready to make your email even more dynamic? [Check our intermediate email marketing tips]

P4

{Innocent Family} http://family.innocentdrinks.co.uk/
Innocent‟s Smoothies‟ e-newsletter are a much read delight at Inspiral – full of quirky stories,
pictures and new yummy recipes, this is value-added e-marketing on a new level – you don‟t just
get sold stuff, you join the Innocent family!

{Permission marketing} http://www.sethgodin.com/permission/
Download four chapter‟s from Seth Godin‟s legendary e-book, the roots of modern email
marketing.

P5
[Starters guide to email marketing: intermediate tips]

P3
Links that don‟t work, poor spelling, offers that aren‟t available, and copy that says Dear {insert
customer name} are all inexcusable in an email message. Test to a closed list before sending your
killer pitch to 10,000 subscribers.

Tags
email email_marketing campaign viral permission_marketing
4.
H1 Starters guide to email marketing: intermediate tips

I Got the basics? Here are more advanced email marketing tips including personalisation,
segmentation, measuring results, creating campaigns and increasing email open rates.

P1 In today‟s halycon days of Web 2.0 - when consumers and business clients are seemingly
spinning in a whirr of social networking, RSS, twittering and mobile messaging – it‟s easy to
relegate the humble email as yesterday‟s marketing medium. Don‟t throw the baby out with the
bathwater: email is still the fastest growing and strongest medium for online marketing and can
become the lifeblood for building a winning combination low-cost and long-term relationship with
your customers and future prospects.

P2 In our article [basic guide to email marketing: beginners tips] we covered permission marketing,
data collection, mailing consistency and checking for errors. In this article we cover:

* Personalisation
* Segmenting your database
* Measuring results
* Creating campaign messages
* Increasing email open rates

H2 Personalisation

An email saying „Dear Alan Sugar‟ is more likely to be read than one saying „Dear Customer‟.
More advanced email marketing tools, like MailBuild, available to [Inspiral subscribers], will have
fields to allow you to customise the email by name, location, date and other variables which you
sync with a simple spreadsheet – as simple to do as a mail merge. Personalisation immediately
brings warmth to your message and makes the reader want to know more; just think how much
personalisation could be used to strength your key sales messages.

H2 Segmenting your database

If you have collected data on your users upfront, particularly from people who have purchased from
you before, you can start to „segment‟. This is sending out customised emails messages to
purchasers of certain products (like sending out a notice of an upgrade feature to software
purchased, or a complimentary product), geographic areas, ages, genders etc. It could be as
simple as splitting off your „miss‟ and „mrs‟ from your „mr‟ to send out a „what to buy her for
Valentine‟s Day‟ versus a „what to buy him‟ which is guaranteed to hone in and target your
message – and importantly, get read.

H2 Measuring results

Use your tracking software to regularly monitor results. What links are people clicking on? Are
some features working better than others? What is the uplift on a particular product‟s sales after
featuring in the newsletter? The beauty, and the fun, of web marketing is that it‟s totally iterative –
try, win, repeat or try, fail, change. Try it differently another time and always remember to measure
the results again after making a change.

H2 Creating campaign messages

What‟s the call to action? Why open the email? Why read it? Why click on the links – and which
one first? What‟s the journey or experience you want your customer to take with this particular
email? Are you planning a campaign or series of related messages – or is the purpose of your
mail to update on what your company has been doing? Do some basic campaign planning before
every message you send out.
H2 Increasing email open rates

One of the biggest faults, and inevitable for all internet marketers, is that of failure to open emails.
There are many reasons for this. The main ones are:

H3 Relevancy
The content has ceased to be relevant to the subscriber.
H3 Spam
The email is going to the subscriber‟s spam folder, either unintentionally or because they found it
easier to hit the „spam‟ button on your emails than unsubscribe, or fatally, because your mail server
has ended up on a „black list‟ for ISPs – often because they allow too many rogue spammers to
share your service.
H3 Proliferation
Too many emails, either from you or in general.
H3 Poor subject lines
If a subject line is not compelling, the subscriber will often leave it unopened.
H3 Bad keywords
The wrong words in an email can set off the spam wall alarm bells at the subscriber‟s email
provider. Obviously ones like naughty words and „spam‟ are bad but even „click here‟ or „free‟ used
with frequency can tip your message into the danger zone. Use a testing service with your email
campaign software or use an online service like {No Spam Today}
http://www.nospamtoday.com/emailsecurity/ to test the contents.

Again: approach the problem iteratively – measure, change, test, measure, change, test.

Email marketing is one of the must frustrating yet also creative and rewarding forms of marketing –
when you get it right. Enjoy the journey!

P4
{Innocent Family} http://family.innocentdrinks.co.uk/
Innocent‟s Smoothies‟ e-newsletters are a much read delight at Inspiral – full of quirky stories,
pictures and new yummy recipies – this is value-added e-marketing on a new level – you don‟t just
get sold stuff, you join the Innocent family!

{Permission marketing} http://www.sethgodin.com/permission/
Download four chapter‟s from Seth Godin‟s legendary e-book, the roots of modern email
marketing.

P5
[Basic guide to email marketing: beginner‟s tips]

P3
Email marketing is one of the must frustrating yet also creative and rewarding forms of marketing –
when you get it right. Enjoy the journey!

Tags
email email_marketing campaign viral personalisation tracking segmentation
5..
H1 Profit from pay-per-click online advertising

I Have you ever clicked on the „sponsored links‟ on Google or Yahoo? This is the world of paid
search or pay-per-click advertising where keywords are king.

P1 When your potential customer carries out a web search, it‟s a sure bet they‟ll be using either
Google or Yahoo!, which together making up almost nine in ten web searches. Have you ever
clicked on the sponsored links at the very top and right hand side of the page? These websites
aren‟t just lucky to be here, they‟ve paid quite a premium on Google or Overture‟s advertising
platform to rank the highest. This is the world of paid search.

P2 In this article we cover:

* Understanding why keywords are king
* Finding your niche keywords
* How to run a pay per click campaign
* Tips for self-managing a pay-per-click campaign

H2 Keywords are king

In pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, keywords are king. This is about targeting the words that
people actually use to find the product or service you supply. It‟s not about what YOU do but it‟s
about what they need. You need to provide the solution to their problem. For example: if you sell
spot cream, „acne cure‟ is more likely to be searched for than „buy spot cream‟. Also avoid using
industry jargon or buzzwords to describe what you do if your product or service is for ordinary
consumers, and even for industry products it‟s best to keep the language simple.

H2 Finding your niche keywords

If you‟re already online, use your web stats package to track how people are finding your website –
what words are drawing people to your site? Are there very specific searches for particular
products, more general descriptions or is all of your traffic coming from a few search terms? This
may tell you not just how to skew your content but maybe what products or markets you should be
creating products for and promoting heavily too.

You can use {free online tools} http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com to find out what terms people
are searching for, and also the competition for those terms across the web. Niche keywords are
those clocking up sustainably high numbers of searches but with less websites in the market are
using those words or phrases in that combination. These are particularly important for your pay-
per-click campaign: less popular words will be cheaper to target and you can achieve scale by
spreading your budget across a number of words and phrases.

H2 How to run a pay-per-click campaign

Pay–per-click campaigns are a dark art: not only are they monstrously difficult and time-consuming
to get right but they can be an expensive proposition and it can be hard to measure the campaign‟s
impact if you are not selling goods directly online. If you have any serious budget, it is well worth
considering hiring a campaign manager who will have the highly nerdy and technical skills to get it
right – both from a marketing perspective and for your return on investment. They will understand
how this complex programme works and importantly how to write adverts that are engaging and
relevant which deliver against your sales objectives in a haiku–style succinct amount of words.

The down-side of the pay-per-click merry-go-round is that you need to pay more than your
competitors to be higher up the page, yet if your ads aren‟t clicked on you will lose your right to bid
on that keyword in the future. This is the magic recipe that benefits those who are searching: all
adverts must be relevant (i.e. used and useful) to the user‟s search. But the beauty of pay-per-
click is that it‟s also pay-per-result: you only pay when someone clicks on one of your adverts.

The PPC campaign is the polar opposite of traditional advertising like glossy magazines or TV – it‟s
not about the „catchphrase‟ but just about describing what your product does, which means
creating hundreds if not thousands of different adverts for different keywords – and then testing,
testing and testing again to see if they work through creating different variable advert displays and
different „landing pages‟ (sales pages on your website that are designed for the particular
audience, campaign or even that particular search terms).

Even contemplating managing a PPC campaign is exhausting, but do-it-yourself campaigns can
come into their own when you are targeting relatively uncompetitive terms or specific audiences.
Geo-targeting means you could test a campaign to only display to people in your town, city or even
just your suburb. If you sell a product related to the night-time economy, you could chose to just
advertise in the early evenings.

PPC is an environment where, unlikely billboard, radio or television advertising, there is no barrier
to entry. A campaign can be started at a small, manageable level for as little as £20 and they are
highly suitable for small marketing budgets or where flexibility to turn „on‟ or „off‟ or „pause‟ a
campaign is needed to fit it with what cash-flow you have available.

However, PPC is not a game for the fool-hardy, and many businesses do make the time-
consuming and expensive mistake of trying to manage complex or competitive campaigns in-
house. Your keywords need to be monitored at least daily to achieve results in even seemingly
un-competitive genres.

H2 Tips for self-managing a pay-per-click campaign

* Do a search for „Google Adwords voucher‟ or „Yahoo search marketing voucher‟ as both often run
promotional campaigns offering up to £60 worth of credit when you open an account, making it the
perfect time to test the service risk-free.
* Decide on a maximum budget you wish to spend and closely measure results and conversion.
Once you have the „recipe‟ right, you can scale up to improve your volume of sales conversion to
investment.
* Decide on the conversion goal – do you wish users to sign up to a newsletter? Make a
spontaneous purchase? Order a brochure or sample? Beware of just using PPC to „drive‟ traffic to
your website – it‟s an expensive, big budget way to do it – leave the cash burn to the big
corporates.
* Optimise your website so traffic is directed to a specific page or product most relevant to their
search term; avoid sending all traffic to your home page.
* If your budget is limited you need to be selective; consider just promoting a small number of
products or those with a seasonal, holiday or topical relevance.
* Consider targeting a selective geographic area – perhaps in tandem with a print campaign or
press you have managed to generate there.
* Google Adwords allows you to advertise keywords on other publishers websites using a
programme called {AdSense} http://adsense.google.com, which can also be an additional source
of revenue for your own site based on the keywords used in each page, or sometimes across a
whole site with a relevant subject. Many advertisers feel AdSense doesn‟t give the best
conversion, but you may want to try advertising on the most relevant sites and testing the results.
* Be smart: go for the „long tail‟ niches. Competitive keywords like „flights‟ „insurance‟ and „cars‟
can go for as much as £20+ per click. That‟s expensive business and potentially less targeted to
your users needs. „Home office computer insurance‟ as a term is more specialist, so if that‟s what
you sell exactly, it‟s a perfect match for the search and bingo! A cheaper keyword too. You‟ll need
to consider having a scale of cheap adverts (in the pennies) to more expensive adverts (up to £1)
and work out which one has the best sales conversion.
*Also remember to add negatives words. This could be people searching specifically for a
competitors brand, or if you sell premium package holidays you may want to exclude the word
„cheap‟ or „free‟ from searches.
* Watch out for click fraud – although the advertiser networks do have safeguards in place, if much
of your traffic is coming from the same IP address this could be either a publisher trying to raise
income or a competitor trying to ruin you.

All said, pay-per-click is an art as much as a science and it will not work for all businesses,
particularly those selling high value or heavily branded services where traditional PR and
networking may have the greatest impact.

P4
{Five tips for small Adwords budgets} http://www.netimperative.com/news/2008/august/4/five-tips-
for-small-adwords-budgets
Net Imperative offer more tips for PPC on a budget.

{Wordtracker Keyword Suggestion Tool} http:// freekeywords.wordtracker.com
Free tool to find the most popular and least competitive keywords

{Google Adwords} http://adwords.google.com
The leading small business pay-per-click advertising platform.


P5
[How to optimise your website for quality search engine traffic]

P3
In pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, keywords are king. This is about targeting the words that
people actually use to find the product or service you supply. It‟s not about what YOU do but it‟s
about what they need.

Tags
pay_per_click search_engine_optimisation advertising search adwords
6.
H1 How to optimise your website for quality search engine traffic

I When your potential customer carries out a web search, it‟s unlikely they will visit the websites
appearing in any less than the top 20 results, strong websites for what is called organic search.

P1 When your potential customer carries out a web search, it‟s unlikely they will visit the websites
appearing in any less than the top 20 results, as by this point they will probably already have had
their problem solved. Those appearing in the top 100 search results are strong websites for what
is called organic search.

P2 In this article we will cover:

* Search engine optimisation specialists
* Why keywords are king
* Finding your niche keywords
* Using keywords in your content
* Web design usability
* Improving website link popularity
* Copywriting your website
* Avoid dirty tricks

H2 Search engine optimisation specialists

Many organic search top ranking websites may have paid premiums to search engine optimisation
companies to rank highly, particularly with competitive high-value business markets like insurance,
finance and cars. Beware of companies that promise „results‟ which are the name of your
company or brand, or in very obscure terms. It‟s all very well being in the top 10 for „Leamington
spa creative marketing‟ but few people, if anyone, will be using that search term! Optimisation is
as much concerned with raising your website‟s traffic flows from search engines as it is with
ranking highly on specific Google search terms.

H2 Keywords are king

In organic search, keywords are king. This is about targeting the words that people actually use to
find the product or service you supply. It‟s not about what YOU do but it‟s about what they need.
You need to provide the solution to their problem. For example: if you sell spot cream, „acne cure‟
is more likely to be searched for than „buy spot cream‟. Also avoid using industry jargon or
buzzwords to describe what you do if your product or service is for ordinary consumers, and even
for industry products it‟s best to keep the language simple.

H2 Finding your niche keywords

If you‟re already online, use your web stats package to track how people are finding your website –
what words are drawing people to your site? Are there very specific searches for particular
products, more general descriptions or is all of your traffic coming from a few search terms? This
may tell you how not just to skew your content but maybe what products or markets you should be
creating products for and promoting heavily too.

You can use {free online tools} http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com to find out what terms people
are searching for, and also the competition for those terms across the web. Niche keywords are
those clocking up sustainably high numbers of searches but with less websites in the market are
using those words or phrases in that combination.

H2 Using keywords in your content

For more niche products and search terms it is possible to fill your website with good content. That
means good text, articles images and video and audio. You should be using well-designed
website templates that conform to best practice which are designed by professional web designers
or professional website build programmes like {WordPress} http://www.wordpress.org.

Once you have found your winning combination of keywords which describe your offer to your
audience, you will need to embed these and think about how you use these in all your online
marketing copy – and perhaps offline too for consistency. Speak to your web agency about how
you can use your keywords in page titles, paragraph subjects, linking texts and „meta data‟ inside
each web page and media asset. Avoid „stuffing‟ by using keywords everywhere – your website is
a mutual value proposition: the text and content on your website should be engaging and written
for real people to use, not just search engine „spiders‟ to find.

H2 Web design usability

Websites should be designed using the latest best practice guidance in order to help both search
engines and humans to find your perfectly profiled content. This includes no use of frames, no
websites designed entirely in the flash programme or homepages with flash intros, no dynamic
URLs (with strings of letters or numbers, instead use only real words) and avoid all links to pages
being from picture or graphics but include linking text alongside images.

Ask your web designer whether you can add descriptions as well as page titles to your website.
This is the two line description which appears in the search engine which people will skim down to
determine whether they will click on your link to see whether you will offer the solution to their
need.

H2 Improving website link popularity

Search engines greatly appreciate the popularity of a website which is determined by its time in the
market and how many people are linking to it and who they are; links from bigger websites like
{Wikipedia} http://www.wikipedia.org and {BBC} http://www.bbc.co.uk as highly rated sources. You
should consider submitting your site into the {free Yahoo! Directory}
https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit and {DMOZ directory} http://www.dmoz.org/, and also
if you can add a link to an appropriate {Wikipedia article} http://www.wikipedia.org to drive up link
value. You could also specify a standard „link to us‟ copy on your website which is optimised for
your crucial keywords.

H2 Copywriting your website

Your titles and descriptions must be enticing as well as appropriate to the user‟s search enquiry.
Employing a good copywriter with specific expertise in search engine optimisation may help when
you have already created your content and wish to tweak your site to improve traffic.

Fortuitously, search engines read pages rather like humans: they skim headlines rather than read
everything line by line so to please both, add keywords and clear descriptions of the content below
into paragraph titles. Front-load each web page with the important keywords, i.e. what that article is
about, used frequently in the opening paragraph. Avoid overly short (under 200 words) or overly
long (over 2,000 words) web pages and try to group content together in manageable and
consistent length pages.

H2 Avoid dirty tricks

Avoid the „dirty tricks‟ of search engine optimisation which can see you getting blacklisted entirely
from major search engines, a crippling blow to any startup. This includes putting keyword data
„invisibly‟ using the same colour text as the page background, „cloaking‟ of numerous identical
pages or using „link farms‟ of pages set up to direct traffic to websites.

P4
{Wordtracker Keyword Suggestion Tool} http:// freekeywords.wordtracker.com
Free tool to find the most popular and least competitive keywords

P5
[Profit from pay per click online advertising]
[Sell the sizzle: better copywriting guide]

P3
Search engines read pages rather like humans: they skim headlines rather than read everything
line by line so to please both, add keywords and clear descriptions of the content below into
paragraph titles.

Tags
keywords website content organic_search search_engine copywriting
7.
H1 Using offline marketing to grow online sales

I 70 percent of UK businesses have a website so you need to think about how to drive traffic to
your site using both online and offline marketing techniques.

P1 If we build it they will come‟ was the mantra during the dotcom bubble days of the late 1990s.
But today, 70 percent of UK businesses have a website so you need to think about how to drive
traffic to your site using both online and offline marketing techniques.

P2 In this articles we cover:

* Print flyers
* Landing pages
* Affiliate marketing
* Gifts and freebies
* Creative design with consistency
* Launching a dotcom

H2 Print flyers

Whereas email marketing is almost free and can be highly effective, sometimes you need to
combine email with print marketing to get your message heard – or even through to the doormat of
your customers as most people pick up and open all their mail compared to those receiving and
opening every email. A bright, colourful postcard flyer advertising your new online sale or product
line with a discount coupon is a clear call to action and may reach and have an impact on your less
net-savvy customer. An invite to a launch party always looks more attractive as a card than an e-
flyer.

H2 Landing pages

Consider having a landing page focused around your special offer or latest range, with an idiot-
proof URL like mywebsite.com/summer. Landing pages are also a way to test how your offline
media promotions are working, like mywebsite.com/eveningmail. However, many people just won‟t
bother with the /eveningpost, unless there‟s a special offer or reward (bring out those discount
coupons again!) awaiting them there.

H2 Affiliate marketing

You may wish to set up an affiliate marketing programme to enable your allied businesses or other
publishers to benefit from promoting your website – both on and offline. This could be from a
simple voucher reference from which you can calculate referrals using your e-commerce system,
to low-budget, low-quality affiliate networks like {Clix Galore} http:///www.clixgalore.com through to
{Commission Junction} http://www.cj.com, a major network for publishers and affiliates with fairly
pricey entry levels.

H2 Gifts and freebies

Consider giving away a gift like an e-book or downloadable art on your promotional landing pages.
Remember the rules of segmentation: where demographics or purchasing patterns of your
customers are known, think about how you can target them with specific offers.

If your business sells physical products, use postal giveaways or samples as a lure to get visitors
back onto your site – again, a discount or special offer should incentive them to visit you now.
Print marketing is ultimately a disposable medium so once it‟s hit the bin of your customer, you
have to start again.
H2 Creative design with consistency

You can take a different approach with offline marketing to online. Offline marketing can be more
creative if you don‟t need to consider search engines or disability access for your website.
Experiment with slogans and bold designs which have an element of intrigue that draws users to
your website to find out more, perhaps because you need to go online to get the second half of a
curious story or puzzle.

Within all of your print, email and advertising campaigns, try to maintain consistency. Make the
offer the same or similar, the design should be homogenous, the key messages and language
used should repeat. This ensures that when your prospect sees one message, then another similar
message may prompt a call to action. The sales theory that you have to be exposed to a product
seven times before you purchase still rings true.

H2 Launching a dotcom

Although offline media may not appear to be the primary tactic for launching a dotcom e-commerce
business, you will need the power of the traditional print media (and its online versions) to generate
a „buzz‟ which will convert into traffic. Journalists hear about new dotcoms nearly every day, so you
will need to prove your credibility and the unique benefits of your website, or create a story or
personal narrative that will inspire journalists to write about you and their readers will log on to your
site to find out more.

P5
[The power of social marketing]
[Beginners guide to email marketing]
[Key questions for developing your marketing strategy]

P3
Within all of your print, email and advertising campaigns, try to maintain consistency. Make the
offer the same or similar, the design should be homogenous, the key messages and language
used should repeat.

Tags
online_marketing marketing advertising campaign
8.
H1 The power of social marketing

I Web 2.0 is a term which links to social networking – it‟s all about creating websites for users to
share ideas and build their community‟s wider knowledge.

P1 Social networking may be a term you associate with teenagers and {MySpace}
http://www.myspace.com, college students and {Facebook} http:/www.facebook.com or school
friends and {Friends Reunited} http://www.friendsreunited.com, but not what you would relate to
marketing your business. Web 2.0 or the „semantic web‟ is a term which links to social networking
– it‟s all about creating websites for users to share ideas and build their community‟s wider
knowledge.

P2 In this article we cover:

* The benefits of social networking
* Social media tribes and privacy
* Crowd sourcing
* Formats and uses of social media
* Social media for business networking

H2 The benefits of social networking

Social networking has revolutionised the internet in recent years; it has grown too powerful to be
ignored by conventional marketers. {MySpace} http://www.myspace.com, instant messenging and
{Facebook} http:/www.facebook.com are replacing conventional email for many, particularly the
younger generation of „digital natives‟ who believe email is what their parents do at work but it‟s not
for them!

With epic investment, millions of users and unrivalled media profile – you have to place your
products and brands in social networks to exploit them to the max. Done well, it can create
increased brand awareness, website visitors and natural links. It increases „stickiness‟ and brand
engagement with those you already do business with.

Investing in social media is particularly important in difficult times for your business, it is important
to be able to retain and nurture your business contacts as it costs, on average, seven times more
to recruit a new customer than to keep an old one.

H2 Social media tribes and privacy

Social media is a return to tribes and villages – away from the rise of the individual and towards
finding new ways of connecting with people for common good – be it social or commercial. You
may be part of dozens of different groups – mailing lists, social network groups – and interact with
hundreds of people in different virtual ways, which inevitably lead onto face-to-face interactions
and phone calls where deals are made.

Many people are, justifiable, concerned about the impact of loss of privacy and importantly the loss
of time through engaging in social platforms. It‟s such a new area that it can be difficult to strike
the right balance – but do not think of instant messenging or Facebook chat as being unlike more
„businesslike‟ telephone or face-to-face meetings, they are just new forms of dialogue.

H2 Crowd sourcing

Social media allows you to upscale your question – particularly if you are seeking an expert or
have a business dilemma you need answering – anything from a recruitment issue to looking for a
new accountant – and your wider network may have the answer. This is know as „crowd sourcing‟
and it works on the „bow tie‟ principle that there is a wider pool of people, and thus business
opportunities, in the „friends of friends‟ than in your immediate network of contacts.

But social media is a two-way process: it‟s not a „push‟ medium like print or TV advertising where
you push out your marketing message, it‟s a conversational medium – you need to share valuable
information and invest in your network – share in the highs and lows and lend a hand to help those
in your wider network and you can hope, in due course, to benefit from the power of referrals.

It‟s about sharing between peers which include your business network as much as personal. More
importantly, it‟s all about transparency. You cannot use social media for overt „spin‟ or pushing out
advertising messages without reason – although many brands are starting to do this. Without
individuality, humour and personality your social media strategy, like that of {Chevy Tahoe}
http://digital-lifestyles.info/2006/04/07/when-corporate-mashups-go-wrong-chevy-tahoe/, may
massively backfire.

H2 Formats and uses of social media

Social media includes a number of different types of platforms including:

* Wikis (user editable website like Wikipedia)
* Blogs
* Consumer review website
* Bulletin boards
* Email news groups
* Community video websites
* „Tweet‟ micro-blogging platforms like {Twitter} http://www.twitter.com and {Plurk}
http://www.plurk.com
* Mainstream and niche networking sites

Read more in our article on [using social media platforms].

Social media lends itself to being a rich media format. It‟s less about long-form articles or e-book
downloads seen in traditional web publishing; it lends itself to fun, short content like short-form
nuggets of video, audio tracks, bright visual images, games and concise bits of wisdom or insight.

H2 Social media for business networking

{LinkedIn} http://www.linkedin.com, with millions of members worldwide, is an invaluable business
networking website to meet experts and ask questions of other professional from around the world.
Closer to home, the {Inspiral website} http://www.inspiral.biz allows you to engage in dialogues and
networking with other startup business entrepreneurs.

P4
{Social networking for business} http://digitalconsultant.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/guide-to-social-
networks-for-creativity-or-i-finally-found-a-use-for-linkedin/
Article on using LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace for a small business.

{Book Launch 2.0} http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxschLOAr-s
Author Dennis Cass‟s witty video, appropriately on YouTube, on how to promote a book using a
bizarre range of social media tools – including trying to get a song on Guitar Hero.

P5
[Using social media platforms]

P3
It‟s about sharing between peers which include your business network as much as personal. More
importantly, it‟s all about transparency.
Tags
social_media social_networks web_2.0 viral_marketing
9.
H1 Social media platforms

I Defining social media platforms: social bookmarking, wikis, social networking websites, forums,
mailing list, bulletin boards, tweeting and blogs.

P1 Social networking may be a term you associate with teenagers and {MySpace}
http://www.myspace.com, college students and {Facebook} http:/www.facebook.com or school
friends and {Friends Reunited} http://www.friendsreunited.com, but not what you would relate to
marketing your business. Web 2.0 or the „semantic web‟ is a term which links to social networking
– it‟s all about creating websites for users to share ideas and build their community‟s wider
knowledge.

P2 In the previous article we covered the [power of social media] including: benefits of social
networking, social media tribes and privacy, crowd sourcing, formats, and social media for
business networking. In this article we describe the following social media platforms which are
perfect for promoting your products and solving your business puzzles:

* Social bookmarking
* Wikis
* Social networking websites
* Forums, mailing list and bulletin boards
* Tweeting
* Blogs

H2 Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking websites allow users to „tag‟ the articles and content they read. On many
websites nowadays you will often see a bookmarking widget at the end of each page. The major
bookmarking platforms are {del.icio.us} http://www.delicious.com, {Digg} http://www.digg.com,
{Reddit} http://www.reddit.com and {StumbleUpon} http://www.stumbleupon.com.

You could also use one of these services to tag interesting news you read, which can then be
integrated as a feed into your website or blog, as we have done here at {Inspiral}
http://www.delicious.com/inspiralonline. You can then share your own bookmarks with your
network users.

H2 Wikis

{Wikipedia} http://www.wikipedia.org, the encyclopaedia written by millions of real people, is the
ultimate social network. Wikis use the same technology and design as Wikipedia and allow a
group of users, either open or a closed invited group, to contribute to content by adding and
modifying it, and enriching it with their own knowledge. This works particularly well for
development teams during an R&D process, or a way that you can encourage an open process of
feedback on a new project from your client user-testing group.

H2 Social networks

There are numerous social networks, all showing signs of great growth in popularity. Some of the
major ones for business are:

H3 {LinkedIn} http://www.linkedin.com
The world‟s leading business social network with 20 million users. There are two key features:
Linking In with those you know (highly useful when your contact may move jobs to stay in touch),
making links with people of similar interests, joining special interest business groups, and Linked In
Answers where you can pose a question to your own network, or indeed a global audience – the
ultimate business crowd-source!
H3 {Ning} http://www.ning.com
Ning allows you to create your very own social network, like a mini-Facebook, for free where you
can promote a topic or interest which aligns closely with your business or brand.

H3 {Facebook} http://www.facebook.com
Facebook is a great platform because it has critical mass – millions of people around the world are
already using it, so that means that more of your business contact and potential customers are
already in the same store together. You can set up a Facebook group which is another means of
communicating short-form messages. It‟s not as diverse as email marketing, but simply provides
an alternative. {Facebook events} http://www.new.facebook.com/help.php?page=13 are a
godsend: if you are putting on a launch, show or open meeting, create a Facebook event so others
can sign up and see who is coming. Threaded discussions work well on Facebook, making it
handy for crowd-sourcing information. Some people are less precious about the volume or type of
email they receive through Facebook as it sits outside of the work email account and can be
dipped into at their own pace.

H3 {MySpace} http://www.myspace.com
THE original social network phenomena – it‟s popular amongst people of all ages but is particularly
associated with rich media like music and film where many young stars have caught the
imagination of others and rose to fame through the website. The relationship between MySpace
„friends‟ is usually tenuous and it‟s interface is clunky for mass messaging or searching amongst
users geography or interests, however, it‟s a useful platform for light-level engagement for youth
brands.

H3 {Bebo} http://www.bebo.com
Bebo is a youth-focused social network, which is a good space mainly for communicating your
brand messages with 12 to 24-year-olds.

H2 Forums, mailing lists and bulletin boards

Sometimes considered now to be „old new media‟, forums, email lists and bulletin boards are still a
highly effective way to share knowledge with others in your field through open, threaded
discussions - either online or by email. {Yahoo! Groups} http://groups.yahoo.com/ are one of the
most popular free services for group lists. These can all be highly effective, particularly email lists,
as they hit the inbox of your contacts while they are at work. Be warned: these types of network
can get highly political, when certain users dominate the „tribe‟. Their opinions can become king
and cyber-bullying is frequent. {Godwin‟s law} http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law also
states that any internet group will soon descent into discussions which compare other user‟s
opinions to those of Hitler…

H2 Tweeting

{Twitter} http://www.twitter.com and {Plurk} http://www.plurk.com are two „micro-blogging‟ platforms
that allow people to give status updates (called „tweets‟) of what they are doing, however many
people use it to post and share links to theirs or other people‟s articles and blogs, crowd-source
answer to questions and feed their own knowledge from what others are sharing. If you have a
Twitter account for your brand (like {Inspiral‟s twitter account} http://twitter.com/inspiralonline ) it‟s
potentially a very viral and immediate way of sharing knowledge on new products, innovations and
offers.

H2 Blogs

Blogs allow you to post short pieces of content –text, audio, photos and even video – regularly to
communicate what your business is doing, events you‟ve participated in or just your unique view of
the world. Blogging is increasingly becoming part of many corporate strategies: it‟s about making
a faceless organisation (and even a small business can be faceless!) come alive and expressing
your view, values and using two-way dialogues to improve your business offer by giving people
more of what they actually want to buy.

{Blogger} http://www.blogger.com, {Wordpress} http://www.wordpress.com and {Typepad}
http://www.typepad.com are the most popular blogging platform: you can {download Wordpress‟s
powerful platform} http://www.wordpress.org and install and integrate it into your own website.

If you have a blog, or even if you don‟t, it‟s good practice to read what your peers and colleague
are writing also. Use an RSS reader like {Google Reader} http://reader.google.com or {Bloglines}
http://www.bloglines.com to start commenting on others blogs (with than all important link back to
your website) as a way to raise your profile without blogging yourself. Be sure to add value to the
conversation, not just a spam link to promote your own offer.

In old business, people trusted the „media‟ and conventional press. In the new economy, people
trust other people – and blogs will become vital in forming opinions like reviews sites where a bad
customer experience can go viral and global in a matter of hours.

Many people are scared to start blogging because they don‟t know what to write or how to start, or
worse they fret over every word before pressing „publish‟. The key thing to remember is that you
don‟t yet have an audience, so just start to write and find your voice and later your followers. If you
don‟t‟ write well, consider using the blog to show what you do – images, videos, or even podcasts
or interviews that help you tell the story of your own business visions and your products.

P4
{Social networking for business} http://digitalconsultant.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/guide-to-social-
networks-for-creativity-or-i-finally-found-a-use-for-linkedin/
Article on using LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace for a small business.

{Book Launch 2.0} http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxschLOAr-s
Author Dennis Cass‟s witty video, appropriately on YouTube, on how to promote a book using a
bizarre range of social media tools – including trying to get a song on Guitar Hero.

P5
[The power of social media]
[1,000 true fans: how to build evangelical customers]
[Designing and promoting a website for free]

P3
Blogging is increasingly becoming part of many corporate strategies: it‟s about making a faceless
organisation (and even a small business can be faceless!) come alive and expressing your view,
values and using two-way dialogues to improve your business offer.

Tags
blogs blogging social_media social_networking web_2.0 social_bookmarking social_bookmarks
10.
H1 Find your „sweet spot‟: what is your company‟s unique selling point?

I Your sweet spot is why your clients and customers will choose you over others – they may well
pay a little bit more and are more likely to come back to you for future business.

P1 Your sweet spot is why your clients and customers will choose you over others – and if you
provide extra value, or something a bit special – they may well pay a little bit more, and are more
likely to come back to you for future business. It‟s the sweet spot that, like honey, will attract the
bees that are your prospective customers.

P2 In this article we cover:

* What is a unique selling point?
* Weak USPs
* Perception and positioning your USP
* Tips for finding your sweet spot

H2 What is a unique selling point?

Think about businesses you know that are not just surviving but thriving. Who? How about
{Google} http://www.google.com, {Innocent} http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk, {Last FM}
http://www.last.fm or {Primark} http://www.primark.co.uk. All have one defining feature – they do
one thing (however broad that thing is) and they do it well. Primark: the cheapest fashion and
quickest turnaround on the high street. Google: simply the world‟s greatest search engine.
Innocent: nothing but nothing but pure fruit in their smoothies, enhanced by quality design and a
sense of fun.

This is their unique selling point, or USP. The key word here is unique – what is it that your
business does that no one else can do? Is your food delivery the quickest in town? Do you source
all your supplies locally? Do you open Sundays? Unlike others, does each client have a dedicated
account manager with a direct phone line? Do you own your own technology that allows you to
deliver services or features that no one else can? Now do some bigger analysis: can someone
come in and deliver it better? Are they likely to? Are you staying ahead of the curve?

H2 Weak USPs

H3 Cheapest
Being the cheapest is usually a hard USP as it means your margins are low so you can only
succeed by delivering in volume, and others, particularly service industries in emerging territories,
can easily cut your trade.
H3 Best service
Quality of service is important, but not necessarily much of a USP as everyone in your industry will
claim they deliver great service!
H3 Friendliest
Friendliness is often cited by smaller traders as a reason to use them, which again will help you
win business but isn‟t a definition of how you can market yourself or win investment.

H2 Perception and positioning your USP

Your sweet spot is about perception – people may tell others to go to you if they want a certain
kind or type of service that you have delivered well for others before, which is beneficially if you‟re
doing work in the field you want to end up in. But beware of becoming pigeon-holed as only being
good for certain types of work or clients – e.g. a background in working with public sector or
medical clients won‟t look good if you‟re game plan is to work with big consumer brands.
Think about not only industry but scale and specialism: are you big enough to compete yet? How
can you compete smartly, perhaps by collaboration with other specialists, outsourcing or co-
ventures? When you‟re developing new prospects or leads think about where you want to be, and
how this job helps you to draw closer to your goals.

Sometimes it can be easier to work out your USP after you‟ve tried a few things out in your
specialism and worked out what you did that worked well or what surprised people, perhaps by
becoming popular with an audience that was different to the original target.

Remember your sweet spot or USP isn‟t about how great you are – it‟s as much about how your
great quality can help your customers to get their problem solved in the most effective way.

{Glasses Direct} http://www.glassesdirect.co.uk founder Jamie Murray Wells wanted to create a
mail-order glasses service that dramatically cut the cost of major high street opticians like
Specsavers. After some fairly dirty interchanges, including the sheep campaign which culminated
in {Wells marching a flock of sheep into a branch of Specsavers}
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/04/27/ccden327.xml, Glasses
Direct have succeed in winning a large amount of the traditional retailer‟s market share. Glasses
Direct not only had a strong USP (the first mail order and the cheapest) but they narrowed in on
what made them distinctly different to their corporate competitor and made their service fun, grass-
roots and easy to use.

H2 Tips for finding your sweet spot

* Ask clients for testimonials. What are repeating patterns – what do several of your clients say
that you do well?
* Check out the competition. How are others in your industry and locality selling themselves?
Where are the gaps that could become your opportunity?
* Use {Google Adwords Keywords Tool} https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
to find out what queries people are making in your subject area. How could your USP help them to
solve their query or problem?
- What makes what you do amazing? Is it the first? The best? The cheapest? The most
authentic?

When you‟ve worked out what it is you do better than anyone else, this will give you the hook to
drill into your [marketing strategy]. Your sweet spot is you elevator pitch and marketing message
in one. Be succinct: write out what you do in one paragraph. Then one sentence. Now drill it into a
tag line. Then narrow it down into one word. Now you‟ve found your sweet spot, repeat, repeat,
repeat – in all your website copy, marketing copy, even when you give interviews.

P5
[Key questions for developing your marketing strategy]

P3
Your sweet spot is you elevator pitch and marketing message in one. Be succinct: write out what
you do in one paragraph. Then one sentence. Now drill it into a tag line. Then narrow it down into
one word.

Tags
usp unique_selling_point marketing_strategy competition elevator_pitch
11.
H1 Key questions for developing your marketing strategy

I If you intend to grow your business to something with scale and impact, you will need to have a
marketing strategy to enable you to reach the greatest share of the market.

P1 If you intend to conquer your market, you could do it haphazardly and slowly through trial and
error, perhaps having peaks of interest from a big bit of press or one fantastic referral. But if you
intend to grow your business to something with scale and impact, you will need to have a
marketing strategy to enable you to reach the greatest share of the market.

P2 In this article we cover:

* The four Ps of marketing: Product, price, placement and promotions
* Monitoring promotion and conversion

H2 The four Ps of marketing

The traditional approach to marketing identifies the four Ps: product, price, placement and
promotion. Considering market in these terms works just as well now for new economy style
businesses as it does for those following more tried-and-tested business models.

H3 Product

It‟s simply this: you have to have a product that it is better than the competition or unique in the
market. And this has to be a product that people are likely to buy. You need to know the
competition – what they are trading and their turnover, how long they have been in business, what
is their revenue model and unique proposition. You need to establish whether there is a market for
what you do and not just assume it because it‟s what you want to do. Create ideas then test your
assumptions.

When developing your product or business offer, you could, and in most cases should, use
traditional market research techniques like focus groups, industry consumer trends research like
Mintel and ABC or interviews with people in the field. You could also try polling people through an
online survey software like {Survey Monkey} http://www.surveymonkey.com or more informally
using your wider network with conversations, tweets, or gathering opinions from [social networks.]

H3 Price

Unrealistic pricing is often the crippling factor for many startups. We all aim to deliver a cheap
enough service to attract the right customers through the door whilst making enough of a margin to
survive or be comfortable. Many business fail because they sell their products too cheaply, little
aware of the true cost of sale.

You need to consider all the costs of your supplies to produce a product and factor in a contribution
to your office overheads and staff salaries into every project or product line. You need to also be
aware of the cost of bad debts for some sales, discounts you may need to offer or cost of products
you may need to re-deliver or replace that are faulty, or extra time spent on a service which fails to
deliver due to poor project management.

There are two prices to consider: what it costs you to make the product or fulfil the service, and
what price the market will bear for your service. You can sometime raise the price the market will
typically pay by stepping up your brand perception – a stylish bar may not cost much more to
decorate and run than a cheap pub but the price of goods and profit margins may be much higher.
Conversely consider that cheap products and service rely on high volume and rapid movement of
quick sales. There is space in the market for The Gourmet Burger Company and Macdonalds.
H3 Positioning

Positioning is your [unique selling point or sweet spot]. Your name and branding should describe
how you are uniquely placed in the market. Don‟t compromise: hire professional brand experts to
help you develop a style and approach that suits your business goals and market.

Conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) to establish how your
offers maps with the competition.

You need to be thinking about the 80/20 rule and consider where your 80 percent of business is
likely to come from, then zone in on the types of activities and products where you will make the
greatest gains.

H3 Promotion

To successfully promote your product, you have to understand who your customers are. What do
they have in common? How old are they? What‟s their educational background? What papers
and magazines do they read? Where do my customers hang out? Where can I find them?

Also consider parallel or {oblique strategies} http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/Edition1-3.html
for comparing yourself to others – If your business is a celebrity, who would it be? Give personas
to your prospective customers to describe who they are and how they live their lives, then consider
how your product will fit in with their lives.

Consider segmentation. You are likely to have primary target markets and secondary markets
which you may tackle through a series of phased activities, with proportional budgets attached.
Your segments could also be based on customer need or customer experience – you may want to
tackle different styles and places for your budget customer wanting a basic solution and those
buying your luxury brand will be found and marketed to differently. You may find a market you
hadn‟t previously considered suddenly becomes your core proposition.

The range of marketing tools and platforms is exhaustive and will largely depend on your scale and
approach but can range from in-store point-of-sale promotions to branded mobile games. [Social
media] and other new media platforms like virtual worlds are an invaluable sandbox for testing out
ideas and promotional techniques. Establishing your own online communities using your own or
other social networking websites can be effective.

H2 Monitoring promotion and conversion

With any promotional campaign, it is important to establish your objectives and to monitor results,
both in „column inches‟ (or web page views) but importantly in defining how this has impacted on
trade. It can be hard if you are carrying out multiple forms of promotion to work out which is having
the effect: you need to prod and probe your way: try, test, reject failures then try something else.
Look at your website stats to see from what websites and search terms are driving your traffic.
Monitor on a monthly basis which product lines are selling at which volume. Ask those who you do
business with „how did you hear about us?‟

Avoid making assumptions about what your customers may want and avoid becoming complacent
that you are the best and your customers will always be loyal to you just because you have a good
rapport or get repeat business.

So you‟ve attracted the eyeballs to your website or the footfalls into your retail outlet. Now the final
part of your marketing equation: conversion. You need to work out how to sell, and then up-sell
services to your customers. Find out what they want, what they are willing to pay, when they want
it and see how you can propose an offer or select a product that matches their need.
P4

P5
Find your „sweet spot‟: What is your company‟s unique selling point?
Conducting market research
The power of social marketing
Out of the box: creative thinking strategies

P3
Avoid making assumptions about what your customers may want and avoid becoming complacent
that you are the best and your customers will always be loyal to you just because you have a good
rapport or get repeat business.

Tags
marketing_strategy markets marketing product_development pricing promotion
12.
H1 Conducting market research

I Although many budding entrepreneurs rely on gut instinct, arming yourself with market-based
intelligence improves your chances of success – or at least will make you aware of your risks.

P1 Market research invariably conjures up pictures of being stopped on the street by people with
clip boards or cold calls from call centre interviewers. Whereas big businesses and research firm,
often conducting research on behalf of the trade body or government, may well choose this high
volume approach, it is likely the type of research you need to determine your unique proposition
will be far more easy-going to conduct, and can be at its best both informative and fun.

P2 In this article we cover:

* Gut instinct or market research?
* Categories and types of market research
* Planning market research
* Research methodologies
* Interpreting market research

H2 Gut instinct or market research?

When investors and partners talk about knowing or testing the market, this will invariably involve
carrying out some form of market research to determine whether your startup has a place in a
growing and not a declining market, nor one so niche it cannot make for a sustainable business.
Although many budding entrepreneurs rely on gut instinct and feel to enter a new market or start a
new business, arming yourself with market-based intelligence improves your chances of success –
or at least will make you aware of your risks. Your bank or private investors will expect to see that
you have a thorough analysis of the market you are entering.

H2 Categories and types of market research

There are two categories of market research:

H3 Primary research
This involves going out to acquire new data and opinions to inform your strategy, usually involving
interviews, surveys and focus-groups.
H3 Secondary research
Also called desk-based research, this involves analysing existing research data and synthesizing
or amalgamating information relevant to your subject.

There are two types of different activities within primary and secondary research:

H3 Quantitative research
Concerned with data and comparisons e.g. how many and how much. It is usually best delivered
through analysing statistical or financial data or using surveys to measure behaviour patterns.
H3 Qualitative research
Qualitative research is concerned with quality and opinion; it is about understanding the how or
why of a situation, often best done through interviews with experts or reviewing expert analysis.
However, a qualitative statement, when being analysed can become quantitative in terms of
answering how many people are for or against something, or by grouping responses into key
themes or behaviours.

H2 Planning market research

Before carrying out any research you need to determine what is your desired outcome. Make a list
of the key questions or dilemmas you wish to be answered in this research. The biggest fault that
many market researchers make is to steer or lead respondents to a certain outcome that suits the
their purposes, to make forgone conclusions without clear evidence, or to ask questions in a way
which does not encourage and open or comprehensive response (like when the respondent ticks
the „other‟ box far too often).

Research should always be done with an open mind and in some cases is best done by a third
party, particularly if you are asking opinions about your own brand or company. You need to reach
both the right volume of respondents and in the right segments to produce a thorough and
meaningful analysis. If your product is aimed at working professionals, too many stay-home
parents will skew results so you may need to know a lot about the respondents to filter out certain
responses.

Some of the key questions you are likely to want to answers to are:

* What is the size, turnover and competition in my market?
* What qualities do users like or dislike in my competitors products?
* Are people interested in your service – which aspects and how much would they pay?
* Key criteria which influences customers buying decisions

H2 Research methodologies

You will need to have a methodology in place which is appropriate to the outcome and scale of the
research you are conducting. A methodology is basically a recipe of what elements or ingredients
will be in the research and what the intended result will be. Some of the main types research
methods are:

H3 Market trends
Usually acquired through secondary research using sources like {Mintel} http://www.mintel.com/,
{Datamonitor} http://www.datamonitor.com/ and {ABC} http://www.abc.org.uk/ who sell consumer-
orientated research, directories of whom are often available at city libraries. There are also new
trend indicators using online data trend analysis like {Strategy Eye} http://www.strategyeye.com or
{Trend Spotting} http://www.trendspotting.com. The Government‟s {Office of National Statistics}
http://www.statistics.gov.uk provides freely accessible data on business and population trends in
the UK, and the trade press often conduct annual trends surveys. Your city or town library may
have access to useful reference annuals and your local {Chamber of Commerce}
http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/ is a useful starting point for research into local business trends.

H3 Conducting a survey
This may be a form you ask people to fill in at your shop or office, or one of the most effective ways
to get a lot of results and to analyse them is to use an online survey form like {Survey Monkey}
http://www.surveymonkey.com, which for a low fee, will allow you ask a lot of question to collate
both quantitative data like selecting what magazines the respondent reads, and qualitative
information like free text fields, which can then easily be converted into graphs, charts and
spreadsheets. The request to do the survey can easily be linked from an email or your website.

H3 Conducting an interview
An interview can be conducted face-to-face, by phone or even email or instant messenger. The
key thing is to make sure it happens with as little disturbance to the interviewee so a visit to their
home or office or telephone call is usually the best way. An interview should be relatively
unstructured in terms of allowing the conversation to flow, however the interviewer should prepare
an aide memoire, which is a set of objectives and questions which should be covered during the
course of every interview to ensure there will be sufficient comparables between each interview.

Ask leading questions that encourage the interviewee to explain what they think or what they have
done in their own words. Avoid getting into a particular dialogue of agreeing or disagreeing with
their viewpoint but show encouragement by saying things like „that‟s interesting, tell me more‟ or
„sounds impressive!‟ to help your interviewee open up and become animated about the subject.

H3 Conducting a focus group
This usually takes the form of an open discussion amongst a group of respondents who all fit one
of your segmentation groups for your product. Typically, participants are paid anything from £15
(for general consumers) to £150 (specialists and professionals) to participate – but if you already
know relevant people through your own professional and personal network who do fit your
consumer profile (don‟t just pick people who like you or who are all the same as you!), you may be
able to hold a group with the incentive of a bit of free food or drink and transport. Make sure the
environment is comfortable and people are able to be relatively informal.

The moderator, which could be you or someone external, must ensure that the quieter people have
an opportunity to speak and the group doesn‟t become dominated by one or two of the most vocal
people and that everyone understand the purpose of the session. You could also host a „virtual
focus group‟ using an internet chat room, a {Skype} http://www.skype.com conference call or
instant messenger.

H3 Observation
You can scientifically monitor how users behaviour in certain situations, like how they respond to a
point-of-sale promotion in-store or a usability test on a product or website.

H2 Interpreting market research

Once your data has been aggregated, you need to learn how to analyse it – a fine art in itself and
one you may wish to seek external consultancy or help from your mentor with. Do not skew results
to reach the answer you want to hear and be realistic and honest about the size of the market and
your potentially and speed to penetrate it.

P4

{Research Buyers Guide} http://www.rbg.org.uk/
A fully searchable directory of high quality market research providers.

P5
[Key questions for developing your marketing strategy]

P3
Do not skew results to reach the answer you want to hear and be realistic and honest about the
size of the market and your potentially and speed to penetrate it.

Tags
market_research qualitative quantitative interviews marketing_strategy analysis
13.
H1 Beginners guide to international trade and export

I There are many complexities with beginning to trade in new territories and barriers to overcome
including language, regulation, currency, making the right connections and business cultures.

P1 So you‟ve developed a killer product and you‟ve won good business on home turf. What next –
take on the world? In today‟s increasingly globalised and data connected society, globalisation of
products is not just the icing but the cake itself – an online business can be, in theory, a borderless
business. However, there are many complexities with beginning to trade in new territories and
barriers to overcome including language, regulation, currency, making the right connections and
business cultures. You need to consider if you have the right skills in-house to export or whether
you will need to seek alliances in the territories you intend to conquer.

P2 In this article we cover:

* Defining your export strategy
* Connecting with the market
* Distribution
* Issues with exporting

H2 Defining your export strategy

You need to work out in what other territories there may be a market for your product, what the
competition is, and how you can gain penetration and make a profit. This often involves seeking
further investment. There is a real danger of overtrading by trying to enter too many markets too
soon and spreading the skills, product and cash-flow of your enterprise too thinly, so having a roll-
out strategy where you will target different territories through in-territory press or new distribution
agreements is prudent.

Consider what other territories match the culture or need of your product – emerging countries rely
on low-cost solutions, often using mobile technologies or renewable energies. Other „brit-friendly‟
English language territories like Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada may be good targets
for their similar aesthetics and values. You also need to consider the cost of adapting your product
for other territories – be in languages, formats or how packaging could be applicable to multiple
territories. You may want to check your brand name has translation that is appropriate to the in-
coming territory, conveying the right meaning, otherwise you may need to consider re-launching
the brand.

H2 Connecting with the market

{UK Trade and Investment} http://www.ukti.gov.uk (UKTI) is a government department who exist to
help businesses to export and reach new markets and develop trade links with incoming
businesses. Their long-running {Passport to Export Programme}
https://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/ukti/appmanager/ukti/ourservices?_nfls=false&_nfpb=true&_pag
eLabel=support_to_succeed is a subsidised, UK-wide scheme which offers help and cash to begin
trade missions and to understand how to develop an export strategy. UKTI also offer access to
researchers in export territories and British embassies worldwide which can prove invaluable in
developing introductions. Each English region will hold trade missions to different territories and for
different industries which are part-subsidised and fully arranged so many introductions can be
made to all delegates.

The best way to meet international partners and distributors directly is to attend an international
conference or trade show, however, there are cheaper and more direct ways to connect with the
right people just through joining the right email news groups or social networks.
H2 Distribution

If your business sells tangible goods, you‟ll need to consider the most effective and tax efficient
way to reach your territory and what the supply chain will be to get your goods there. You may
wish to set up a satellite office to fulfil local enquiries, either to maintain credibility in-region, to
develop more territorial sales or just to mitigate time zone differences. Often partnering with an in-
region distributor is the most effective route to initially trade in goods, perhaps as a stepping stone
to establishing in-house distribution in a new office.

H2 Issues with exporting

H3 Getting paid
A key problem with exporting is getting paid – both chasing payments with language barriers in
addition to fluctuating currency rates, meaning good may be worth less than the original contract
predicted. Payment terms can often be slower in other territories, averaging at over 80 days in
Greece and Italy. Using export factoring with a specialist in foreign export helps in terms of
financing your export orders.
H3 Law
As soon as your goods hit the soil of the other territory, they are applicable to the laws of that
territories, and also must conform to its trading regulations.

P4

{UK Trade & Investment} http://www.uktradeinvestment.gov.uk
The government department for export.

{British International Freight Association} http://www.bifa.org
The body for the UK freight industry, including a member directory.

{Institute of Export} http://www.export.org.uk
Publishes Export Today magazine, an authoritative source of information and advice to exporters.

P5

[Key question in developing your marketing strategy]

P3
There is a real danger of overtrading by trying to enter too many markets too soon and spreading
the skills, product and cash-flow of your enterprise too thinly, so having a roll-out strategy where
you will target different territories through in-territory press or new distribution agreements is
prudent.

Tags
export exporting international globalisation markets overseas distribution supply_chain
14.
H1 Creating value through better branding and design

I Branding creates visual devices which lets people to instinctively see who you are and to
recognise your business in many different contexts.

P1 Branding isn‟t about treating either you or your customers as cattle, but it‟s rather a seal of
approval – creating visual devices which will weave seamlessly across all your products and
marketing publicity which lets people to instinctively see – or even sense immediately – who you
are and to recognise your business in many different contexts.

P2 In this article we cover:

* What is branding?
* Five ways to create your brand

H2 What is branding?

Your brand is much more than just a logo or colour scheme – it‟s a symbol to represent your
identity and values. Brand values should reflect your business‟s vision and values and should say
something about your audience demographic and ethics. It should define what you do, particularly
through a tag line which is used on promotional literature and your website.

Branding helps you to stand out from the competition and also to build loyalty. It can also help to
develop premiumisation – look at how brands from fruit juices to tissue boxes sell very similar
products but increase their value through premium packaging and branding. Brands can also be
experiential and aspirational – consider how {Virgin trains and airlines} http://www.virgintrains.com
create an idea of a modern business traveller, mixing funky design with the appropriate menu of
services and quality for their client group.

H2 Five ways to create your brand

H3 1) Hire a designer
Unless you have an in-house designer, do not try to do it yourself. An experienced designer will
usually have a good degree of branding knowledge, or a small agency will often be able to cover
both the technical design aspects of your design but also consult you on the full range of
considerations in developing your brand.

H3 2) Know your audience
Revisiting your [unique selling point] and [market research], define who your audience are and
what motivates them to buy, then work backwards to establish what their values are. If you‟re
already trading, ask your peers and clients what they value about you – study your testimonials.
Define this through number of keywords which can then become a picture or logo. Consider how
colours and moods can be enhancers of your brand.

H3 3) Design elements
Ensure you have as multi-use design elements as possible. What colour texts will you use on your
website? Is the logo too intricate for digital publishing? What does the white-on-black and black-
on-white version look like? Do you have access to a digital file contain all the layers in the logo?
Can you access the font for other purposes?

H3 4) Consistent brand application
Now you need to consistently apply your brand across all media. This may involve creating
branding guidelines for your staff and media as to how your logo and slogan is used. Try to ensure
all your literature contains the common characteristics of your brand. This is a challenge when you
are reaching diversely segmented groups but a good design agency should be able to apply
consistency across a plurality of purposes and platforms. Be aware of third parties cropping or
changing colours in your logo for their own purpose; consider creating some alternative versions of
logos for different purposes.

H3 5) Consistent service
Ensure service is delivered consistency across your brand too – if a thorough, personalised service
is your brand value and your staff are rushed and snappy this can undermine the investment you
have made in branding and marketing.

P4
{Brand Republic} http://www.brandrepublic.com/
The online version of the trade magazine‟s for the advertising, marketing, design and branding
industries.

P5
[Find your „sweet spot‟: What is your company‟s unique selling point?]
[Conducting market research]

P3
Brand values should reflect your business‟s vision and values and should say something about
your audience demographic and ethics. It should define what you do, particularly through a tag
line which is used on promotional literature and your website.

Tags
branding design web_design marketing logo brand

								
To top