Networking Etiquette – 10 tips to improve your business networking

Catching up with fellow networking colleagues is an essential element to relationship building and maintaining trust within your business circles.

Whilst attending an event recently, our conversation turned to how important it is to make time to get to know people at general business networking events; one of the most effective ways to gain new clients and build trust.

The key to success is knowing how to achieve optimum results without being too aggressive and understanding the golden rules of etiquette when attending any networking event:

1. Be prepared. Arrive on time having previewed the guest list and identified two or three people you would like to meet during the event.
2. Introduce yourself. Be brave and always extend your hand and clearly introduce yourself with your first and last name and the name of your business – don’t rely on your name badge; people rarely remember written details but will be more likely to remember a confident handshake and a happy face!
3. Rehearse your intro. Briefly describe what you do, avoid long descriptions with an obvious sales pitch, instead make the tone friendly and informative.
4. Enter group conversations sensitively. Don’t barge in and take over! Approach and stand quietly for a moment or two, wait for a break in the conversation or for someone to make eye contact with you.
5. Make meaningful business card exchanges. Only exchange cards when it will be of benefit to both of you, either if they ask for one or you offer assistance with something they say they want or need.
6. Politely exit conversations. Avoid monopolizing people’s time and from being monopolized by someone else. After a reasonable time the key is to move away from the conversation by excusing yourself politely; this sometimes happens naturally when others join your group or simply say ‘Do excuse me, I’ve enjoyed speaking to you.’
7. Always introduce yourself to fellow table guests. Before taking your seat, make a point of introducing yourself to each of your fellow table guests before taking your seat.
8. Follow-up with new acquaintances. This is the most important element to successful networking; showing you are interested in the people you meet. A personal note to every person you’ve met within 24-48 hours, including calling anyone who has helped give you leads and referrals.
9. Gain permission before sharing contact details. Check they are OK for you to share their details with someone you think they might be able to help. Providing an endorsement or introducing them as an expert in their field to someone looking for their help is key in demonstrating you are someone they can trust.
10. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Time is always a challenge, and it’s too easy to give up when it doesn’t look like you’re getting anywhere with people you have built up a relationship with or feel a potential with. Continue to exchange knowledge which will add value and help to forge a strong mutual connection, but know when it’s time to step away if you can’t add value straight away.

Here’s a list of some current networking organisations in Brighton & Sussex>>>

 

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

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

How do you make sure your emails get opened?

How can I make sure my emails don't end up in the trash can?I constantly get asked about email open rates and why, even though recipients have signed up for information, they didn’t seem to be actually opening messages, let alone responding or engaging.

According to recent research, an average email account receives about 120 emails a day and this figure is set to increase to 140 by 2018, so it’s inevitable that a lot of those messages are instantly trashed, without even a second glance. So it’s a dilemma lots of businesses face if their emails are constantly being unread and ignored; how do you make sure your emails don’t end up in the trash can?

Simple answer: make sure your emails are relevant to each recipient – this way they are more likely to open and digest the information – they might not respond immediately, but at least the seed is sown.

Taking the following simple steps will ensure a better chance of getting responses and eventually results.

Clean up your data (regularly)

Your database is the most valuable part of any marketing. Make sure your information is up to date and you have a clear idea of who are existing customers and prospects.

Keep a record of the products/services they are interested in and which emails they have responded to in the past; assuming your opt-ins have an interest in what you’re ‘selling’, or at least have some affinity with the industry you operate in, this should be easy to evaluate.

Divide and conquer

Once you start consistently evaluating your data, you can send your recipients relevant information by segmenting your database into different categories.

For instance, if you’re a wine retailer and have a section of customers who only ever buy white wines, it would be obvious to target them with information about white wine. This way you would be communicating with them personally, providing them with relevant messages.

Don’t be tempted to send the same email to each list in the hope that those who only drink red will start loving white because they couldn’t possibly live without this amazing offer!

And if they’ve just bought a case of Australian Chardonnay, don’t send them an email containing the same offer the following week; the last thing they want is an endless stream of useless emails, which will inevitably lead to them opting out altogether.

To put it into context, think about the last time you went into Boots and bought some shampoo. Did you notice the next set of loyalty vouchers you received were for money off the same brand of shampoo, valid for 6 or so weeks? Where are you likely to buy your shampoo when you next run out?

This is smart targeted marketing!

So, spend your energy dissecting and evaluating your data on a regular basis, especially after you’ve sent out an email campaign. This will allow you to devise a series of future emails with relevant targeted messages which will help to increase your open rates and give you a better chance of converting a sale.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

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

The power of colour in marketing

Importance of colour in marketingEvery year around this time, I relish the fact that the colours in nature are becoming more pronounced as the season progresses into Summer.  Seeing these signs of new growth emerging each day, brings to mind the importance of colour when thinking about marketing.

Whether we’re seeking to stimulate people’s appetites or create a sense of trust, colour sends a specific message, not only when designing our promotional materials, but also the brand itself.

Our minds are programmed to respond to colour, offering an instantaneous method for conveying meaning and message without words.

Research shows that 60% of the time, people decide if they are attracted or not to a message based on colour alone.   Many of the most recognizable brands rely on colour as a key factor in their instant recognition, increasing brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

What does your brand colour say about your business?

psychology-color-marketing-branding-color-emotion-guideImage Credit: The Logo Company

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.

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

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!

Photoshoot: a day in a professional photography studio. . .

As a marketing professional, images play an important part in creating an impact; whether it’s making sure you have consistent, good quality representation of your products or you need to project a warm and welcoming impression, good creative imagery plays a key part in your marketing activities.

My own bio images were starting to look a little tired and whilst representative of my personality, I felt it was time to create a better impression by investing some time and money in a professional photoshoot.

Having met Ted Davis on several occasions over the years and collaborating with him on several marketing projects I had never actually experienced an actual photoshoot with Ted, who is a fabulous professional photographer based in Hove.

Studio 323 is located in historic Palmeira Square, overlooking the beautiful gardens and the sea and occupies a space that was once the first floor drawing room of a large Victorian house.

The studio provides 500 square feet of space, 14 foot ceilings, and is equipped with full blackout facilities for studio photography or generous daylight for naturally lit work.  The view from the windows of this magnificent space provides the perfect backdrop and setting for many types of photoshoot.

Here are some of the resulting images Ted created for me. . . .

Christine Davey Marketing Brighton

Christine Davey Marketing Brighton

CD5

CD4

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help implementing your marketing activities 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!

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.

Psychology-of-Color-640x6419

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!