Utilising colour to influence your customer’s purchases

Pantone2014I was heartened at the weekend, when it was clear that another new season is well on its way, with the emergence of new colours, enhanced by the warmth of the sun.

It’s no secret that colour plays an enormous part in how we are portrayed to our customers and, seeing the signs of new growth emerging all around Brighton brought to mind how we can utilise colours to influence what our customers will buy; consumers place visual appearance and colour above all other factors when making purchase decisions.

The colour of the year, as predicted by Pantone for 2014 is Radiant Orchid, which according to their blurb; blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.

So, exactly how important is colour in your marketing?  Whether you’re seeking to stimulate people’s appetites, or creating a sense of trust, colour plays a big part in how we are portrayed by sending a specific message to the people who view them, not only when designing your marketing materials, but also the brand itself.

To learn more about colour psychology and how it influences purchases, check out this infographic created by Marketing Tech Blog on The Psychology and ROI of colour – fascinating stuff!

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

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

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Home Workers Beware! Be distracted at your peril. . .

Freelance Marketing Management BrightonAs a homeworker, I know how difficult it can be to remain productive when the house is full of tempting distractions.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to resist the urge when no one is looking over you, and giving in just means wasting precious time and money.

I tend to combine my time working on site with clients when I have a meaty project, but when I need to be ‘at my desk’ at home, I’ve managed to put a few disciplines in place to combat wasting time.

Find an appropriate workspace

Preferably a dedicated ‘office space’ –  ideally a spare room or even a converted shed at the end of the garden that you can close the door at the end of the day.  This is not always possible if space is an issue.  A dedicated area of a room is just as effective, as long as you make sure you delineate your time between work and recreation.  Here are some real homeworkers who have set up shop in a bedroom (me included) in WorkFromHomeWisdom.com

Keep to a definite business schedule

When working within an organization, your working hours are pretty much set in stone – 9am-5.30pm, 5 days a week – you’re contractually obliged to keep within these times (depending on what you do).  Working from home gives you much more flexibility, but it’s all too easy to take advantage of your freedom and discipline goes out of the window.

Try and stick to a schedule.  I make sure I set my alarm every morning and arrive at my desk to start planning my day by 9.30 when I’m working on a project from home.  It’s also a good idea to let your friends and family know your schedule to avoid those impromptu visits.

Never work in your Pyjamas!

I’ve read many articles over the years where small business homeworkers relish the opportunity to be able to fall out of bed and start working, without having to get dressed in a ‘business suit’.  Don’t do it!  Imagine the embarrassment when a client calls via Skype and you’re sitting there in your nightwear!  Being smartly dressed gives you a sense of professionalism and creates a good impression and, when the client calls for an urgent face-to-face meeting, you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Stick to a routine

It’s all about managing your time and workload.  Manage your day carefully around work and family commitments.  Being a parent, the usual domestic chores and school run is going to play an important part of your working life and it’s essential to stick to a strict routine to remain productive.

With the advent of smartphones and tablets, it’s always tempting to overdo things.  If you’re in your ‘non-work’ mode and an important email pings through, it’s too tempting to jump on it immediately, which can be very distracting for both you and your family.

Get out and network

Meeting people face-to-face will make your working life much more bearable.  Working from home can be very isolating whether you live alone or you’re juggling work and family.  Taking advantage of the many business networking events will allow you to integrate with other human beings and give you an opportunity of making new business contacts with a view to gaining new customers.

There are lots of organisations out there that regularly run business networking and training events to take advantage of.  Whether you want to be locked in and pay an annual fee or just drop in for a coffee and a chat, here’s a list of some of the current groups in Brighton & Sussex.

Networking in Brighton & Sussex

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

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

Will Social Media replace Email?

SocialMediaI participated recently in a very interesting debate on a LinkedIn forum, which asked this very question. Predictably it generated a lot of debate, specifically from those specialising in Email Marketing who were fiercely defending their products!

At the moment, Social Media is nowhere near replacing Email, but continues to be complementary – an important tool in your marketing kit bag, so to speak.  Rather than being completely replaced, I think it will evolve to work even harder to integrate with Social Media.

Email has been around since the 1980’s and whilst it isn’t as permanent as a postal address – another form of communication which hasn’t died out altogether – consumers don’t tend to change email addresses; once you have a customer’s email address, you have a fairly assured way of getting a message in front of that customer.

Consumers do, however, migrate social media.  Remember when MySpace was the most popular social media site?  Then, when Facebook arrived and became more popular it seemed unthinkable that anything would take over FB’s position. Then up popped Google Plus, which has taken a big slice of the pie and still seems to be gaining momentum and I’m sure there will continue to be more contenders in years to come!

So, whilst social media evolves as a place to communicate with your customers in real time, keep up with news and enhance knowledge, Email continues to provide a more personal connection with more opportunities to repeatedly communicate with direct targeted messages.

But who knows?  Twenty years ago, who could have predicted the demise of the fax machine?  Maybe in another twenty years, we’ll be reminiscing the demise of email. . . .

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on putting together some email marketing campaigns Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to set up an initial chat over a coffee!

How hard does your logo work?

I was reading a really interesting article recently, which was entitled ‘Our logo looks like underpants’ which illustrated the difficulties facing global brands when different cultures interpret particular visual stimuli in very different ways.

It got me thinking about logos and how we need to think about how hard our logo works – like anything in your business, your logo has a job to do; it not only needs to be distinctive but it needs to be memorable too.

Try to look different from your competitors – don’t blend in, stand out!  And, you want people to recognise it.  In order to build customer loyalty, recognition is the first step to establishing you as the ‘go to’ company.

Have you ever wondered what messages some of the famous brands are sending with their logos.  Although they’re mostly American, this video demonstrates brand messaging through the eyes of a five year-old.  Shown by her designer-dad, these were her immediate responses.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on reviewing your brand or developing a new logo Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to set up an initial chat over a coffee!

7 Steps to delivering an effective Lead Nurturing Campaign

Davey Marketing: Lead NurturingTo stay engaged with future buyers, Lead Nurturing is a powerful way to deliver engaging and interesting content to your prospects – specifically those who have given you permission to stay in contact with them.

What you’re essentially doing is educating targeted sales leads, which are not yet ready to buy.  Valuable content that keeps your audience engaged can help you build a strong brand presence and engender trust long before they make a purchase.

7 Steps to delivering an effective Lead Nurturing Campaign

  1. Identify who could be interested in your product/services and obtain their details. (This could be easily done through consistent networking within your business community)
  2. Follow-Up these contacts with an acknowledgement and the reference point of contact.
  3. Offer them information they can instantly use, even if they don’t choose to do business with you; ‘how to’ guides which relate to your business and might help them.
  4. Offer them a special place to interact with you; website, twitter page, LinkedIn, email etc.
  5. Get permission to stay in touch through an opt-in link to email newsletter/ downloads etc.
  6. Stay actively in touch and offer added value such as an e-Book or white paper or a special offer/package deal.
  7. Above all track the content and results of all interactions and use this to spot the times your prospects indicate their willingness to buy and ask for their business.

Remember!  It’s not all about hard selling anymore; it’s about building relationships and trust with your prospects in a way that is both consistent and relevant.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on managing your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to set up 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!

Simple steps to understanding your Target Audience

How to appeal to your Target AudienceWhen it comes to growing business and increasing sales, the most successful brands don’t try too hard; they don’t constantly bleat on and on about it; they simply design their products and services around the needs of specific segments of their target audience.

Whatever you’re selling – be it food, legal services, travel, or luxury goods – one thing is for sure: no one likes to be told what to do!

Start by going back to basics and putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Understand your audience
What it is they like about your product?  Or, even more important, what it is that’s stopping them from buying it?

Research
Qualitative research (focus groups) and product trial (hall tests) is potentially valuable in understanding what makes your customers tick and together with quantitative research (questionnaires and surveys), you’ll be able to clearly define your target audience with more precision than ‘someone who might like what I sell’.

Design
Design your product or service specifically for your audience and ensure it is based on a clear need, making sure you design your communications to sell the product, not as a plea to appeal to your audience.  For example, if you’re appealing to an older audience and you’re selling car insurance, using the headline  ‘Car Insurance that rewards your driving experience’ is far more effective than saying ‘Car Insurance for the over 50’s’.  There’s nothing more off putting than being told you no longer fit the ‘norm’, even if it might be beneficial to you!

Communicate
Be open to engaging the audience through new and less used channels.  If you’re appealing to an older audience, research suggests that 37% of over 65’s will be using Facebook by 2017, and if your customer is more likely to appreciate a more tangible representation of your product or service (say you’re a photographer or graphic designer), consider producing printed literature which will showcase your specific skills.

We all tend to fall into the trap of looking at how we can sell more to our customers, rather than looking at what we can do for them – whilst subtle, a very important difference when it comes to successful targeting and generating more sales.

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.

Is Direct Marketing ‘old fashioned’ or just under-used?

Direct Marketing in BrightonI read an article today which cited some traditional marketing methods as ‘old fashioned’, specifically print marketing such as newsletters and branded promotional products.

I tweeted the article in agreement that, whilst fewer businesses are using the more traditional direct marketing methods, they could still achieve excellent results if they included them as part of their marketing mix.  If the message is relevant and targeted, a well designed piece of direct marketing can also translate perfectly online.

The most effective marketing plan is likely to cover different types of media to communicate specific business propositions and messages and Direct Marketing still has its’ place as a tangible representation of your product or service.

Still considered as one of the cheapest, yet most effective ways to create customers, Direct Mail generates a response rate of around 4%, whilst the cost per lead is generally the same or comparable to the cost of email marketing.  Customers created through direct mail are also more likely to perform repeat business.

Direct Mail is a great medium to drive your customers online to purchase your product or service, with the added benefit of tracking sales and collecting data through simple coding methods such as a promo code or a QR (quick response) code.

Promotional products are also still a very popular medium for businesses to gain brand recognition.  Physical items such as pens, calendars and sticky memo pads, printed with your logo and web address, are great reminders for potential customers who might have a need for your products or services; easily able to recall your business whilst sitting at their desk!

Even better results can be achieved by including some of these traditional methods in your marketing mix, especially as fewer businesses are using them you stand a better chance of being noticed.

Old fashioned, or just under-used, direct marketing will never die!

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

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