Why should you outsource your Marketing?

savings-box-161876_1280How many times this week have you said ‘I haven’t got time to do any marketing!’  As a freelancer, I’m just as guilty and I know only too well that when you’re pushed for time – seeing to clients, building relationships and managing your staff – your marketing inevitably gets pushed to the back burner, especially when times are hard and budgets are stretched.

It is already common practice  to outsource your accounting team, customer service, and many other facets of business which you do to save overheads, commitment, recruiting time, training time, and the expense of employing full-time staff.

So why do you continue to leave your marketing to chance in the belief that a couple of tweets a day and a few likes on Facebook will be sufficient to create brand awareness and generate leads?

The reality is that investing in your marketing at times like this can in fact generate a huge return on sales and, when time is tight, outsourced help from a marketing professional can provide additional support from planning what to do, to making it happen; freeing up your time so you are able to concentrate on other areas of your business.

With the current climate pushing many small businesses to keep costs down and re-prioritise workloads, outsourcing can be a cost effective and efficient way to make sure your marketing is working.

Get the right marketing skills you need, when you need them

As a small business you often find yourself being a jack-of-all-trades, juggling different projects or delegating marketing projects to other members of your team who don’t have any marketing expertise.  Employing an experienced marketer full time to implement each aspect of your marketing plan can be costly to maintain in-house and by outsourcing specific tasks, gives you the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business without the cost of employing a full time marketing professional.

Taking on the promotion for your own business can be daunting if you have little or no marketing expertise.  Sourcing an expert can help develop and implement your marketing plan and bring fresh creativity, new ideas and a completely different perspective.  They won’t be afraid to push the boundaries and show you what will work for your product.

It’s cost effective and time efficient

Whether you’re a one man band or a big brand, saving time and money is key to running a successful business.  By having top level marketing experts on hand whenever you need them, you’ll be avoiding the hidden costs of employing staff such as sick pay, office overheads and holidays.

For instance, if you have a marketing campaign planned to run over a specific period, you won’t be paying an in-house marketer during the times you don’t have marketing planned, thus saving both time and money.

You get personal, professional expert help

The right outsourced marketer will have a wealth of experience in a diverse range of markets.  They will be able to advise you on the best marketing techniques to suit your business and help to get the right messages to the right people at the right time.

By creating timelines, and delivering weekly or monthly reports on the project effectiveness you will be fully in control of your investment, so you know exactly where you are every step of the way.

Christine Davey
Christine Davey Marketing, Brighton

If you’d like to outsource any aspect of your own marketing,  Tweet me, contact me here or call me for an initial chat on 01273 772033 today.

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Converting a sale . . . . cold, warm or hot?

ChristineDaveyMarketing Converting a Sale

It has been said that to close an average sale you would have to contact a single prospect 8 times.

A typical prospect will normally move through the sales cycle from being cold then to being warm and finally, just when they’re ready to close the deal they’re hot and move into being a client or customer.

Moving through the sales cycle, the prospects in your database will start off in the cold zone – potential customers you’ve identified as a well-qualified contact, but have little or no awareness of your brand or what you do.  You would normally reach these with an initial campaign to introduce your brand and USP – possibly by a telesales campaign or direct mailing push.

Prospects become warm once they’ve been spoken to (or met) and they are familiar with your company and what you have to offer but they are not yet ready to buy. They might require more time or information to process their needs but by consistently maintaining these contacts with ongoing communication, consisting of a series of marketing activities that might include follow-up phone calls, email marketing and social media contact, you’ll have a better chance of successfully moving through to the final stage of the sales cycle.

Your hottest prospects are those who have either come to you as a referral or have been moved through the first two stages of your sales cycle at which point they will become paying customers.

It will take multiple contacts using sales and marketing tactics to move each prospect on to the next stage of your sales cycle. In order to build and maintain a successful business, developing a sales & marketing programme that combines these tactics in all three zones, is imperative to reach and motivate each group in your database.

Have you developed your sales & marketing plan this year?

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing communications, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

5 Pitfalls to Avoid when Starting a New Business

5 Pitfalls to avoid when strting a new businessAs a marketing consultant, I meet many people who are ready to branch out on a new business venture; who want to make a name for themselves by going it alone; bringing a new idea to light and releasing it into the world as a successful venture.

It’s a big step, but with a bit of planning and strategic thinking there’s no reason why your great idea can’t translate into a good business and transform your working life.

5 PITFALLS TO AVOID
1. Going it completely alone
Having a ‘gut feeling’ about the validity of your idea is destined to fail.
Make sure other people also agree that it’s a good idea.
Talk to start-up experts; other people in your industry who have already had great success.
Take some time to test the idea – find out who your target market is then ask them if they like your product; find out how it might be improved.
Make a prototype and use the responses to adapt and adjust your idea. But, bear in mind that the feedback might not be what you anticipate. Whilst you think it’s a brilliant idea, the reality might be quite different and may need a lot of work to make it marketable.
Resist the temptation to give up; learn how to adjust and recalculate the best way to offer your idea to you ideal market.

2. Not having a Marketing Plan
Don’t assume your idea will sell itself.
No matter how brilliant you think your idea is you must pay careful attention to marketing.
Every time you talk about your business you are involved in marketing.
Make sure you have a concrete business plan and make sure you formulate a strategy to make sure you communicate the right messages to the right people at the right time.

3. Not listening to your customers
Keeping your customers happy is the single most important step to keeping your business successful.
Take time to find out what they need from you, and then provide it.
By meeting and exceeding their expectations, the word will soon get out and they’ll keep coming back for more.

4. Lacking Focus
Being creative is great, but chasing one idea after another and never actually bringing one thing to life is the biggest pitfall of all.
Know exactly what your goals and objectives are. Having these clearly defined helps you to evaluate what’s going to work and what’s not – the ideas that don’t work need to be shelved or discarded.

5. Failing to outsource specialist tasks
As an entrepreneur, there is a great temptation to do everything yourself, especially in the start-up period when costs are sometimes prohibitive.
If your idea takes off, you aren’t going to be able to handle everything on your own.
You have a limited set of talents, so by bringing in a team of experts who you can trust, will help to bring your vision to reality.

For every new business that succeeds, there are dozens of others that don’t.
Make sure you are poised for success by avoiding these business pitfalls.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with your strategic marketing planning Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

7 elements to creating an effective Marketing Plan

Marketing Planning Christine Davey BrightonWhat is marketing? Why is it important to you as a small business?

In its most basic definition, marketing is everything you do to place your products or services in the hands of potential customers. Every time you speak about your business, you are involved in marketing.
Planning is key to help you identify your ideal target market and a marketing strategy will help you focus on the different ways you can communicate with your customers and target the ones that will create most sales.

You’ll need to look at each of the following areas in order to create a comprehensive framework to develop an effective marketing plan:

Product
Simply, what your business offers: this covers the combination of goods and services that your business offers.
Place
This refers to how your customer accesses your product or service; it should be convenient for the client at all times. This could be your business premises, shop or online presence.
Price
What approach will you take to pricing your product? Price communicates a lot about a brand. It is a key factor in the marketing mix – too low may put off the target market, too high will carry a high client service expectation which may be tough to fulfil.
Promotion
Refers to how you communicate with your customers. The objective of the promotional mix is to communicate what the company does and what it offers, to the right people at the right time, in order to acquire and retain customers.
People
All people who come into contact with a potential customer are part of your marketing; they can have a profound effect on customer satisfaction. Your staff or collaborative partners are ambassadors for your business.
Process
The processes you use in the day-to-day operation of your business ensuring that enquiries and orders are effectively managed.
Physical Evidence
This is the evidence you can provide to show you can do what you claim you can do. Asking for feedback from satisfied customers to underpin your expertise and publishing it for potential customers to refer to.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with planning your own marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

Digital Marketing: 3 Winning ways to make it work for you

Digital Marketing BrightonStill in its infancy, digital marketing is so fast changing that it’s not always easy to know how to integrate into your existing marketing planning effectively.

Try these 3 simple steps to making sure you choose the right platforms for your business.

1. Research: find out where your audience is

As a small business, it’s very tempting just to pick one channel, normally one you might be familiar with or may have dabbled with on a personal level. Focusing all your efforts on Facebook, for instance, when your target market might be engaging more in Instagram or YouTube, could prove costly in the long term.

Before you commit to setting up profiles on Social Media streams, find out what research has been done on your target market which outlines where your customers might be communicating. Using your keywords, search each channel to see how your competitors are engaging and learn from their apparent success.

Recent studies show that small businesses see the best results when they commit themselves to joining up their marketing efforts making sure all their digital platforms are accessible, whether through print advertising; QR codes, Website; link to email marketing sign-up, Social Media; links in online profiles which direct traffic to specific targeted offers/services.

2. Add Value: consider what your target audience really wants

Avoid blatant selling; posting constantly about how great your products are and communicating special offers won’t generate a sale on it’s own and will soon see your followers dwindle and go somewhere else. Whilst everyone loves a bargain, sharing useful pieces of knowledge and advice will give credence to your products and position you as the brand to follow in your field of expertise.

Ask your customers what they want; as soon as you know then you can start providing powerful, targeted information, which will generate more sales.

3. Join the dots: make sure your digital marketing becomes part of your overall marketing mix

Digital marketing is only one part of your overall marketing strategy; albeit an important one – don’t be tempted to separate digital from your other marketing efforts.

Consider your key propositions and utilize other marketing strategies to communicate your key digital platforms including Face-to-face (business cards/flyers), Media (advertising) and PR (Press releases).

Consider every physical touch point you have with a customer – at the till if you own a shop, the food bill if you own a restaurant, in the waiting room if you run a beauty salon.

In essence, try and keep it real; communicate openly with your customers and give them what they want – this way they’ll keep coming back again and again.

 

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with implementing your digital marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

What is Marketing?

What is Marketing: Davey Marketing BrightonI was at a social event recently, which was previewing some up coming new films; chatting afterwards, the conversation inevitably led to ‘what do you do’?  My normal response is ‘Marketing’ which usually leads to the question ‘What sort of marketing’?

This is always a difficult question to answer, as most people quite often confuse Marketing with Advertising.  Whilst the two go hand in hand, and are necessary to the success of your business, Marketing is about getting the right product or service, to the right people at the right time.  It’s about identifying and understanding your customer and giving them what they want, it’s not just about advertising and promoting your business.

Effective marketing requires you to examine every aspect of your business and how it affects your customer’s experience; covering everything you need to do to deliver your products and services to your target customer.  Planning is essential and you’ll need to look at each of the following areas in order to create a comprehensive framework to develop an effective marketing plan:

The Marketing Mix (or the 7 P’s of Marketing)

Product
Simply, what your business offers: this covers the combination of goods and services that your business offers.  A good product provides client value i.e. satisfaction of use outweighing the perceived sacrifice of amount paid.

Place
This refers to how your customer accesses your produce or service; it should be convenient for the client at all times.  How your customer accesses your product or service.  This could be your business premises, shop or online presence.

Price
What approach will you take to pricing your product?  Price communicates a lot about a brand. It is a key factor in the marketing mix – too low may put off the target market, too high will carry a high client service expectation which may be tough to fulfil.

Promotion
Refers to how you communicate with your customers.  The objective of the promotional mix is to communicate what the company does and what it offers, to the right people at the right time, in order to acquire and retain customers.

People
All people who come into contact with a potential customer are part of your marketing; they can have a profound effect on customer satisfaction.  Your staff or collaborative partners are ambassadors for your business.

Process
The processes you use in the day-to-day operation of your business ensuring that enquiries and orders are effectively managed.  Issues such as waiting times and helpfulness of staff, quality control, planning and feedback channels should be considered here.

Physical Evidence
This is the evidence you can provide to show you can do what you claim you can do.  Asking for feedback from satisfied customers to underpin your expertise and publishing it for potential customers to refer to.

The process of developing a marketing plan will help you understand the key benefits and features of your product or service, and how to go about attracting and retaining the right type of customer.

But remember, quoting the wise words of Darren Rowse from Problogger “There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy and determination you can get there”.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

7 Steps to creating an effective Press Release

How to write an effective Press ReleaseIncluding PR in your marketing planning can play a key role in boosting your company’s profile by getting coverage in trade journals, magazines, blogs, podcasts, radio and other publications that cover your business sector.

A press release can also help to establish you as an industry expert to help you gain the trust of your customers and also good for media relations; whenever the media needs someone to comment on a story you’ll be the ‘expert’ they will call on.

7 steps to creating an effective press release

  1. Make sure you have a good reason to send a press release.  A grand opening or launch of a new business, an innovative new product, a new location or a special event which might appeal to the medium’s readership are all good reasons to get the press interested.
  2. Content is key, so it needs to be appropriate for the publication or broadcast media – identify target media groups relevant to your ‘story’ and adapt accordingly.  Don’t make the ‘scattergun approach’ mistake and randomly send to media without considering their audience (most media houses publish their readership profiles online).
  3. It should follow the standard format which will ensure readability: typed, double-spaced, with a contact person’s name, title, company, address and phone number within the top third of the release.
  4. Below the contact details an eye-catching headline in bold type: this needs to contain the key message of the story you are telling which will lead the reader to find out more.
  5. The release should be no more than one page covering the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where and why with the first paragraph more or less outlining the main story.  Don’t embellish or hype up the information – you’re not writing the article but demonstrating why the information is relevant to that particular media in the hope that they will want to feature it.  And remember, watch your spelling and grammar – a release full of typos is more likely to get dumped in the bin!
  6. Avoid making it sound like an advertisement for your business –  it’s not a sales pitch!  Any opinion given should be in ‘quotes’ and attributed to whoever said it.
  7. Most important of all, make sure you follow-up any interest which might be shown: ensure the contact indicated on the release is available and willing to give any further information or comments if asked.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

I run a small business, should I be doing market research?

Why should I do Market ResearchIt doesn’t matter how big your business is, market research is an important part of your whole business strategy.

Rather than just a one-off activity, in order to remain successful, conducting research on a continual basis will allow you to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge.

Why should I do market research?

Depending on what kind of business you run and what stage you’re at in your business, market research will not only help you to identify exactly who your target customers are, but it will also enable you to understand how they tick.

For instance, if you’re a new start-up, canvassing passers-by to take part in a trial of a new product or answering specific questions about the service you are offering, will help you to decide whether it’s right for your target market before you take it to market.

If you are a more established business, market research can help you to understand why your customers choose your product/service over competitors and it will enable you to set realistic targets for specific growth areas, introduce new sales tactics and launch new products.

Similarly it will help you to make informed decisions about whether you should be consolidating, diversifying or reducing your business activities.

There might be several different reasons for conducting some form of market research; you may have identified a business problem such as a fall in sales, a competitor may have entered your marketplace or another similar product may have become available.

3 cost-effective research methods for a small business

Desk research – gathering and analyzing information, already available in print or published on the internet.  This can be very cost effective as it relies on existing market data which can provide you with key information about your market size, value and trends.
Together with your own sales data and that of your competitors, this form of research will give you valuable information that can help you to understand sales and geographic and demographic trends.

Online Surveys – a relatively low cost method, which involves respondents signing up to take part in an online survey – sometimes in return for a small reward, or entry into a prize draw.  This method is a great option for smaller businesses taking advantage of some easy online survey tools; the results of which can be used to answer some key questions about your business or to research your target market.
Information is gathered automatically and the response rate can be almost instant.  One of the main benefits of online surveys is that it saves time.  The data is instantly available and can easily be transferred onto a spreadsheet, or other business application, if a more detailed analysis is required. You can design your own survey with one of the many free online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang.

Hall Tests – designed to get consumers to ‘try out’ specific products.   Respondents are recruited on the street and guided to where the test is taking place and asked to canvass opinion in a public space (often a church hall or similar).
They are invited to try out specific products such as food & drink, magazines, cleaning products etc. so you can identify any strengths and weaknesses before launching the product.  Whilst you could achieve some really useful in-depth comments from respondents, this type of research needs to be carefully planned and executed to be successful.  Respondents are also often given incentives to do this.

So whether you’re a new start-up or you need to find out more about how your customers tick, conducting a piece of research will allow you to keep up with what’s going on in your own market and enable you to continue maintaining a competitive edge!

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

5 Ways to gain Brand Recognition

Christine Davey Marketing ManagementIt doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, whether you are a big corporate brand or a one-man band – in order to be successful your brand needs to stand out from the crowd.  Your ultimate goal is to have your target market think only of you when they are ready to buy.

Gaining brand recognition isn’t just about a fancy logo – it’s all about making sure that whenever your target market associates with a product, service or organisation they remember something distinctive about you which will jog their memory.  This could be a logo, a colour, some kind of packaging or just memorable customer service; something that triggers associations in their minds and sets you apart from your competition.
Here are 5 ways you can easily gain brand recognition

1.  Exceptional Customer Service
Develop a reason customers will trust you enough to come back time and time again and recommend you to others.  Today’s customers are much more discernible; looking for guarantees, prompt turnaround time and first-class after sales service.  In fact, customer service can often be the major factor in the final buying decision.
2. Be Personable
Create a persona to engender trust; become the go-to person/company in your field of expertise.  Your target market needs to accept you as the person behind the brand before they will buy what you are are offering.
3. Generate Awareness
Create a strategy to remind your target market that you are actively doing business; make them aware of what you offer by keeping your brand top of mind, communicating with your target market both online and offline with a consistent, objective message. Fail to do this and your target market will forget about you and go somewhere else!
4. Add Value
Exceed people’s expectations – share your expertise through a series of touchpoints; become the well-respected ‘go-to’ person in your field through blogging, white papers & webinars.
5. Be Consistent in your Branding
Be instantly recognisable to your target market by using the same imaging and logo styling in all forms of communication.  Brand consistency is the key to brand recognition and one which is strictly adhered to by top successful brands.  It seems an obvious one, but it is very often overlooked.

What other ways could you help your target market recognise and remember you and your brand?  Why not take the time to develop a marketing checklist and develop a strategy you can easily implement to ensure your brand stands out from the crowd?

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on managing your marketing, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

3 reasons to consider outsourcing your marketing

JuneBlogWhen you’re pushed for time – seeing to clients, building relationships and managing your staff – your marketing inevitably gets pushed on the back burner, especially in times of recession when budgets are stretched.

The reality is that investing in your marketing at times like this can in fact generate a huge return on sales and when time is tight, outsourced help from a marketing professional can provide additional support from planning what to do, to making it happen; freeing up your time so you are able to concentrate on other areas of your business.

With the current climate pushing many small businesses to keep costs down and re-prioritise workloads, outsourcing can be a cost effective and efficient way to make sure your marketing is working.

1. You get the right marketing skills you need, when you need them

As a small business you often find yourself being a jack-of-all-trades, juggling different projects or delegating marketing projects to other members of your team who don’t have any marketing expertise.  Employing an experienced marketer full time to implement each aspect of your marketing plan can be costly to maintain in-house and by outsourcing specific tasks, gives you the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business without the cost of employing a full time marketing professional.

Taking on the promotion for your own business can be daunting if you have little or no marketing expertise.  Sourcing an expert can help develop and implement your marketing plan and bring fresh creativity, new ideas and a completely different perspective.  They won’t be afraid to push the boundaries and show you what will work for your product.

2. It’s cost effective and time efficient

Whether you’re a one man band or a big brand, saving time and money is key to running a successful business.  By having top level marketing experts on hand whenever you need them, you’ll be avoiding the hidden costs of employing staff such as sick pay, office overheads and holidays.

For instance, if you have a marketing campaign planned to run over a specific period, you won’t be paying an in-house marketer during the times you don’t have marketing planned, thus saving both time and money.

3. You get personal, professional expert help

The right outsourced marketer will have a wealth of experience in a diverse range of markets.  They will be able to advise you on the best marketing techniques to suit your business and help to get the right messages to the right people at the right time.

By creating timelines, and delivering weekly or monthly reports on the project effectiveness you will be fully in control of your investment, so you know exactly where you are every step of the way.

Christine Davey
Davey Marketing

If you’d like to outsource any aspect of your own marketing,  Tweet me, contact me here or call me for an initial chat on 01273 772033 today.