Post Christmas Blues -Make sure you have a Marketing Strategy

This year has been very difficult for us and I have been amazed and inspired by how many businesses have battled on through lockdowns, Tiers and all the new PPE regulations. I have been amazed at the wonderful effort in my home town of Leek with the beautiful window displays and of course our local town crier; alias Santa Claus bringing us cheer.

Many businesses were quick to offer items online and I know many have survived because of their resilience and flexibility. Even with my own tour operator business I have had to adapt to offering local walks when prior to lockdown I couldn’t lead you up the garden path. I am sure many of us are proud of the new skills we have learnt in 2020 for our business survival and diversity.

So now we have to keep fighting and I don’t want to bring bad tidings of bad news but we need to be prepared for what could happen after Christmas with the Covid crisis. Sadly we have been reduced to one day of relaxation now which means many of us will spend Christmas alone as we can no longer continue with our plans. I won’t get to see my Son in Wales which breaks my heart and I am sure many of you will shed a few tears.

But no matter how sad or busy we are with Christmas looming it is essential we all as business owners, take a seat with a pen and paper and over a cuppa consider the way forward. I will offer a marketing plan template if anyone wants one for the whole of 2021 (email me please) but I am going to offer a few tips for the day after Christmas to help you prepare-

  1. Boxing Day will not now be the day we hoped for as another big family celebration, so you may find yourself busy with lots more customers and people may be bored, want to wander or may be concerned about a future lockdown. So be ready for those visitors and do your best to ensure there are lots of exciting items to entice them to spend.
  2. Have you considered when your sale will start? I am not a retail expert and don’t want to get involved in margins but be ready for those shoppers both in reality and online. Again people may be out there thinking we may be in lockdown by New Year and want to get their bargains whilst they can. I do know stock on shelves is not money in the bank
  3. Social Media is key to getting all your messages out about your special offers and deals. As in my previous blog I stated that any emails, Face Book posts or shop window displays using words like Special offer, discounts, etc always get a much higher response and are read. Shout out what you offer and you know like me, people will be scrolling online as soon as Christmas dinner is over with.
  4. Returns policy. Again I mentioned this previously and I am sure you have one in place again both online or in store. Be prepared that if people aren’t happy they will return quickly with fears of lockdown. Offer a little training to your staff to discretely encourage them to buy something else that they like. Customers may require a little more tender loving care at this time as they may be feeling low after all the excitement of Christmas or in some cases disappointment.
  5. Did you know 70% of shoppers have bought vouchers for gifts due to concern re postage delays and of course not able to see their families and friends in reality. So these spenders will be visiting your store to spend them. They may fear lockdown or they may not get chance to spend them due to other reasons so ensure there are plenty items for them to buy and again ensure staff are trained to discretely up sell. People really need retail therapy at present and are treating themselves too.
  6. Online Shopping. I have worked for many businesses in Customer Services and the big issues people have is the break- down of the ordering process with payments not made or voucher codes not being accepted. I do highly suggest you update your website and get a few non regular visitors or family members to check it out. Don’t lose out!
  7. New Year. It is thought many people will be out shopping prior to New Year with the fear of a lockdown so consider what they will be buying? They may want to spend money they have received as gifts for Christmas but what are the trends for what they usually spend on this time of year? I highly suggest you do some research online for current trends as it will have changed from last year for sure. I know many would go shopping for items for early spring holidays or bargains for Christmas the next year..but this year that could be totally different?

Keep motivated and keep that window looking fresh, informative and up to date. It’s amazing to see the Totally Locally campaign and as a fairly new resident to Leek having moved here two years ago I have truly never seen such a great idea but also one that works!

I hope you have a truly fruitful Christmas and here’s hope for a wonderful New Year

 

Take care

Diane Carter

Marathon Marketing

diane@marathon-media.co.uk

Online Disaster Could be a Christmas Miracle for You

Watching television last night I was interested to hear of the issues related to the demands on the Post Office delivery service and the massive delays from online orders. A large sports company was at the route of the main discussion but it seemed from the evidence they gave that many online orders are simply not being received.

The facts were that Royal Mail had been overwhelmed with the increase of both online orders but also people sending presents to family and friends they wouldn’t see. Many warehouses with a massive increase in online sales were reporting they were getting behind as they had to work with 30% less workforce to comply with Covid social distancing rules.

This may be worrying to you if you are a local business and have used Royal Mail or an alternative delivery service for your online orders. The main priority is communication to your customers as many will be very stressed and your order may be the ‘rod that breaks the camel’s back’. They could get very upset and you too are very stressed perhaps with the current climate and rightly so. The main thing is to be prepared for this and take a few minutes to sit down and work out your plan for the next few days as it could be vital for your future and your local reputation.

What will you do if orders aren’t received? Do you have a refund policy clearly on your website or returns? Please be concise and ensure your staff are all trained to deal with it. Can you make a Plan B so if items are received they can be locally and personally delivered by yourselves instead? Can people order and collect? This could be a worrying time but also could offer a last few days of Christmas miracles.

There is still 7 days of shopping to Christmas and customers are now nervous to order online both for themselves or friends and they have seen tremendous off putting queues at the Post Office. Plus they are nervous if they can’t return goods after Christmas to shops, with a warning of another lockdown. Why not grab this opportunity to boost your sales to the very last minute. Use these 10 Tips;

  1. Ensure you guarantee delivery locally, if you can even if it personally delivered by hand.
  2. Make sure customers feel confident in buying from you with clear guidelines and customer support.
  3. Ensure you have your business brimming with items ready to buy and open your doors as much as possible. I have trudged up in the rain to town to find the shop I want shut so gone home and ordered from Amazon. There should be a last minute rush as people want to buy live.
  4. Put great last minute offers in the window to entice last minute buyers. I am not an expert in retail so you know the margins and what you can afford to offer. But think if we do go into lockdown 3 are those goods better off your shelf reduced? Will we have a January sale? Who knows what happens after Christmas?
  5. Shout about your business from the roof top and every Social Media platform you can locally and even in nearby areas as people love to come from Leek shopping.
  6. Discount, Sales, Special Offers. Use these words in the subject title of all emails to Customers and on any advertising plus of course in your shop window if you are offering them. These three words are proven to entice customers to open messages.
  7. GREAT NEWS Not only will you have local shoppers who offer great support, due to the relaxation of Covid Rules during the 5 day period they may also bring family members so you have even more spenders so for the 2 days prior to Christmas grab your opportunity for new customers in town.
  1. It has been predicted that around 70% of people have chosen to buy gift vouchers this year purely due to the uncertainty of post and the fact they can’t see family and friends. So that is another great chance for you to push sales but assure people they can be used online and ensure all your systems are in working order.
  2. Think about post- Christmas. I am writing a blog offering some great marketing tips but I would suggest you grab a coffee at some point and get prepared. In my next blog I will talk about how to boost business even from Christmas Day as everyone will be ‘scrolling’ social media after dinner and hey 2 more day of relaxed Covid rules for shopping. Plus lots of other tips for up-selling, enticing Customers who have vouchers to spend more and lots of other great ideas to boost post-Christmas sales . Email me if you want me to send it to you. diane@marathon-media.co.uk
  3. Keep smiling and keep doing all you can to help Customers and staff have a great Christmas.

Thanks for reading and I am sorry if this isn’t perfect and grammatically correct but I wanted to pass these facts onto you all as quickly as possible and help in any way.

My former business is Marathon Media but I am now a local Walking Guide and Tour Operator, sadly not very busy at the moment so I want to use my free time to help any local businesses I can during this difficult time. If you want any free assistance just private message me. Thanks to those of you who already have, as I enjoy just helping in any way

Have a Great Christmas and look out for my post-Christmas Marketing Strategy Article.

Thanks for reading

 

Diane Carter

Marathon Media

Atlas Discovery Tours

The Five ‘P’s Survival Plan

PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE, PEOPLE, PROMOTION

All businesses run on a marketing plan based on the 5 ‘P’s. You may not have written the plan but in your head you will know all the above. You know your Product, you know the Price you can ask for it and it sells, you know the Place as in your shop, restaurant or bar, you know your clientele (People) and you know the Promotions that have worked.

BUT sadly Covid-19 has changed everything and what worked before probably doesn’t work now. Your plans will have all gone astray and you may be running around in a complete panic. Christmas your best time for sales is coming up and yet we don’t even know if we will be allowed to open our businesses.

I run a marketing agency called Marathon Media and my business is based on an alternative thesis for marketing of the 5 ‘P’s. They are Preparation, Planning Passion, Persistence and Pace to finish the Business Race and believe me I have struggled over the last few kilometres of a real marathon.

How can the 5 ‘P’s of Marathon Media help you during Covid-19? Well here’s a few tips.

Preparation

Stop for an hour, grab a coffee and consider your business. The usual preparation for Christmas this year is going to be completely different so instead of jumping around doing lots of things and trying to copy others and panicking-stop.

Put on some calm music, shut yourself away and get a note book. Ok re- assess your marketing plan. Look at the product you can sell and how you can sell it. List all the routes you can sell it on to your People as in customers and make sure all the platforms work and lead back to you. You may not be able to open your shop or restaurant so make sure your People know the alternative Place to Buy. Make a plan to Promote your products and what platforms you will use. You are going to have to tighten the strings so you may have to pull in a few forms of promotion and advertising. It is vital you assess what works and get rid of what doesn’t.

Prepare some great photos, prepare videos, think about how you can keep your relationship with your customers, and make sure your shop window is clear about how People can buy your products. You can’t do everything at once so list all you need to do. Think also about the Price now of your Products. You are going to have to be ‘mean and lean’ to survive so can you afford to discount? Everyone will be offering 10% off and really what happens for your January sale they will expect 30% off and can you afford that? Think of your Price in relation to your People. I suggest you offer something FREE that costs you little but is of High value to them. If you have old stock that you can’t sell during Covid-19 think of that or you may be worried you may have stock left over so something like. “Buy a Christmas cake and get a free box of mince pies”.

Planning

You are going to be busy Promoting your Product, so Plan a time schedule. Don’t spend all day on social media but put your Products on at the right time for your Person. In the evening people are scrolling the internet constantly so it is a great time and in the morning. Make sure you are using the local channels. Plan a week before and then the day before for each day and try to stay focused throughout. It is hard and you will need to be flexible but it will help you stay calm.

Plan how you will respond to your clients and ensure all the Promotion channels including your website, social media, telephone number and email are clear and work. Ask friends to look don’t just presume. Sit down and Plan for your Promotions for example whilst in Lockdown in November, plan for December and January allowing flexibility but at least consider it. Whilst you have time Plan to sit and read Google articles or online Linked In Webinars for your business. They are great to help you think outside the box. You shouldn’t sign up to anything just switch it off then. Take the freebies!

Passion

You love what you do and your Product. You love your Customers (People). No one is going to take your business away from you so build some resilience. How? Look after yourself and put on your own oxygen mask first or you cannot help others. Take yourself away from your business and go for a walk in the park or do some exercise. Eat properly though you may feel anxious and try to sleep. Do not stay around negative people or you will feel defeated. You need to be inspiring your Customers to buy and if they say I don’t need to buy for Christmas you need to have a nice response such as “This year we have to go the extra mile to make it more special for our family”.

Persistence

You will go down and will have bad times. I’m not talking here about the financial and staff side of your business; I recommend you get advice and support for that as I am focusing on marketing. You may need nerves of steel so again keep fighting. However, I am not advising you keep throwing money at advertising or Promotions that don’t work. Please be aware there are sharks out there preying on business and promising them more clients through digital media leading to increased online sales. This is very expensive so be careful and I talk from experience.

I highly recommend you read about businesses that have survived depressions too. We are often great at knowing about our business but sadly we don’t have the knowledge to deal with extremities in our life especially a Pandemic. Be inspired by reading other’s stories even such as Alan Sugar, Richard Branson.

 

Pace

This is very important and I believe it in two ways. Don’t burn yourself out so really take care of yourself to survive mentally and physically through this.

Also pace your expenditure out in relation to Promotion. You may have to spend to get clients to buy your Products, but budget for it and stick to it. Social Media is FREE but with the right advice you can use Face Book Advertising to boost your Products. You can easily do an advert for about £20 per week and hit about 4000 people if you do it specifically for your target market. If you are not sure how to do it then Google it. I saw an advert recently for a marketing company saying they would do it for £400! No necessary! It is about return on investment, so have a go with a very small amount and see how it works.

A small newspaper advert can be very cheap at present as people aren’t advertising and ask for a promotional article next to it. Newspapers are really struggling for income and a lot of people are reading local news to find out about Covid in their area. But again stick to your budget no matter how much the sales representative trys it on. Just ensure you have all the correct details on your advert.

I hope this article has helped in some way. Please sign up to the newsletter as I am going to be putting up more FREE advice about social media marketing, writing quality news article and how to sell up to Christmas with low cost marketing.

Thanks for reading and if it helps please offer a review

 

Diane

Getting Back to Business-Real Business

So as businesses, some of us had to close our doors, some of us had to adapt survival strategies to get us through knowing business would commence once Covid-19 was ‘so called controlled’, whilst other steamed ahead with a whole new market such as Zoom and mask makers. For the latter I am sure you are managing your own strategy but you may wish to read this as your business may calm down soon. I already cancelled my Zoom upgrade to a FREE basic package with the changes in my business structure. They lost £14.99 from me and I am sure many other businesses who now have headed back to the office.

It has been very difficult for everyone and especially if you have big overheads such as staff, rent, rates, mortgages and even outstanding bills from suppliers. Marketing will probably be the last thing on your mind but it really needs to be addressed seriously as we move into this semi-open stage.

I wrote an article on the website related to Keeping Your Brand through the Covid Crisis and highlighted it was vital to ensure it was maintained throughout. What will you be remembered for during this crisis? Your customers will remember that message for a long time to come so it is vital you assess that and ask your Customers. There is still time to make any changes…

Contact and Communication

This has been vital for businesses throughout the Covid Crisis and I have encouraged constant updates through your Social Media channels. Face Book, Twitter and Instagram are all free and are wonderful marketing tools when you have little or no budget. All they need is time and please set aside some to ensure you use it. Make sure you have been and now are sending empathetic emails, both being sympathetic to the customer, whilst encouraging business.

Keeping your clients up to date with opening times, your safety regulations, what you are now offering is vital. Also the message I am receiving seems to be ‘Thanks to our Local Businesses for Staying Open during the Covid Crisis and Supporting the Community’. Brilliant but hey these local people supported you so put great big banners outside and the biggest message is thanks to YOU WE HAVE SURVIVED! Your customers want to feel important, involved and will respond to a great big thank you. I also have a Travel business which of course, hit a wall, but my customers have been awesome and I constantly thanked them for supporting me throughout and we are now off to Snowdon in a few weeks, plus lots more tours and it is totally due to them that my Walking Company has survived.

Advertising

Everyone is fighting for the small amount of money that is available and advertising is much cheaper at present with local newspapers, so it is a great time to do it  BUT negotiate for the best deal.  Always ensure you get some FREE press release space with a great big photo. It is vital your message is a strong one in the advert. Insert a dated ‘voucher’advert not a general information advert and just a small box advert is enough-provided the newspaper offer some FREE article space.

Press Releases

The biggest mistake people make is to say too much so if you offer a newspaper an article use the following triangle rules of writing it. ‘Essential, then informative, then be nice to have if there is room’ and of course a great photo with a caption.

Charitable/Community Support

Our Customers have gone through so many emotions during Covid-19 and are still doing so. Sadly thousands died, people lost jobs, mental health rose tremendously and so many felt the despair of loneliness, isolation and anxiety. Why not support a local or national charity that you believe in, related to one of these sad situations, or get your staff involved in a challenge to raise money. Make sure you shout what you are doing from the roof tops. Supporting the local community is great but that is everyone’s news- sorry I want more..It’s great but not enough!

Discounts and Vouchers

What you are going crazy? Money is so tight already how can I do that? Listen so many people are fighting now for the small amount of money that people have to spend so why not offer a discount to say thank you to your local community for supporting you. Give a FREE biscuit in a coffee shop, a FREE piece of jewellery, a FREE glass of wine in a bar. These customers got you through and will continue to do so and if you don’t grab them someone else will. The government are offering some restaurant and pub discount strategies so ensure you put out the message if they are applicable to you.

Get Rid of Old Stock Now

We had an awesome spring and people are now thinking Autumn so if you are in the retail industry ensure you are well ahead with getting rid of old stock that should have well sold by now. People have so little money and are thinking of small treats if at all possible and clothes, especially are not predominant on their minds. Going out has been reduced and they have been spending online so have lots in their cupboards ready to wear. I am not an expert on this but please be aware. We all know stock is money you need.

Staff Smilies

How did you treat your staff during the Covid-19. We all hear rumours of the big guys and the bad guys so make sure if you treated them well, that there are some fabulous team photos and great big thank you’s from them. People want to know you are a fair, ethical and moral local business. Also make sure they are treated well and watch what they are posting on their social media!

Let’s hope we are back on the road to business recovery. But I also trust this time has given you a space to re-assess your business, become more resilient and be aware none of our businesses can ever be safe..

 

Good luck and thanks for reading

Diane Carter

Marketing Consultant

Marathon Media

Please contact me for FREE advice and tips..

Suffering in Silence     5 Tips to Show Your Customers You’re Still There

I initially wrote this article in April during our first lockdown, never expecting to have to be re-addressing this again. But sadly once again I walked through the streets of my local town yesterday and it was very much like a ghost town. In the previous lockdown sadly alot of businesses had just put posters in their window saying ‘Closed due to the COV-19 Virus’. A few had a number to call if you wanted to purchase something but written on a scribbled note.  Where were their owners? What was happening to their businesses? When would they return? There seemed to be a definite ‘Suffering in Silence’. This time though it is great that a few local businesses have offered their websites and invites to their Face Book pages so it is a great that they haven’t given up.

It has been wonderful living in the market town of Leek in the Peak District with so much local support and individual community groups and I hope you have this too. I initially wrote about being so positive and realising there will soon be another side but we all feel this is so much harder having struggled through the last few months. But we can either close our doors or keep fighting and here are a few tips for those who never give up. Sadly I do know some of you had to and not through choice.

The main priority is to communicate with your customers old and new. They will be on a tight budget so once again reassess the five ‘P’s of your business as you may need to make changes. ‘Price, Product, Place, Promotion and People. Watch out for my next post regarding this.

We need to keep in touch with our Customers to let them know we are there for them now and definitely in future.

Lots of us own local businesses and therefore have great, very close relationships with our customers and to disappear completely they may even feel they have lost a ‘friend’. You may have been the only person they have spoken to  all day and that is what brought them back again and again and told their friends about you too.

Customer Relations and Customer Retention are both essential at this time and here are 5 Tips to help you do this. Money is tight of course so of course most are FREE or low cost ideas

  1. Your shop or business window. Again a few shops have just put up plain paper to cover items and prevent damage or theft. It is essential if you have Face Book to purchase from or a website to put it up clearly as many people are wandering around and if they see something they like in your shop they will photograph your details. Also look like you are re-opening so give them some hope with a festive window. Showcase items they would like to buy now for Christmas. It is so hard to be positive but we have to be as business owners. Put a nice message out to passers-by to thank them for previous business and look forward to seeing them in future.  Put up a Team Photo if appropriate. Brighten up the high street. What do you want to be remembered for after this Covid crisis?
  2. Social Media Again a great FREE tool to keep in touch and whilst you have FREE time brush up your skills on Face Book, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. If you can sell online but have not been doing so, now could be the time to learn how to do so. Start small. Use local community networks to keep in touch and get involved. Beware of the gossip sites. If you have not already done so set up your own Face Book page and keep it busy. If you want more advice I am happy to help. Always remember the 1 in 4 rule. 1 Post Selling and 3 with Information, Tips or Nice Pics. Videos are great and fun.
  3. Great Press Releases Maybe you are supporting a local charity by donating food or doing special promotions to those less fortunate. You could be offering free delivery services to certain groups. Just shout out anything good you are doing or be assured your competition will. Check the local papers for what others are doing or what services people need and try to do at least something for your local community.
  4. Customer Relations Management. Again it is vital to keep in touch as much as possible with your customers and if you don’t already have a system in place I can highly advise you do so. I use one called Capsule which costs approx. £12 per month and is perfect for a small business. It offers you the opportunity to enter client’s data, tag them in relation to what service/items they buy and then stores it online. Also for data protection you can contact your customers via email using their BCC so other customers don’t see private emails. It is a great system and as it is online it doesn’t block up your computer space. For advice about Customer Relationship Management systems just send an email. The system is only as good as the data you put in it, but if you have time on your hands now then use it to create a really good asset for your business.
  5. Advertising No Way that is crazy as we can’t sell anything or expect people to buy anything? Ok so advertising prices right now in local newspapers should be considerably cheaper for that reason. Look at what products you can offer and how you can supply them during this period then ensure you use the advert to let people know. Also as I stated in point 3, during this period you should be able to persuade the newspaper to offer some FREE Press release space to support your advert.  Think about a short period of diversification to help you get through this.  Just remember your brand needs to be consistent throughout and always get someone else with ‘Fresh Eyes’ to check your advert and editorial to ensure it is positive, represents your brand and is clear.

I hope this article has helped give you some positive thoughts and if you want any FREE help please email me at diane@marathon-media.co.uk

Thanks for reading

Diane

Note: I do understand that in relation to the government grant/payments you may need to check with the HMRC guidelines or your accountant related to commercial operations during this period.

In addition to being a Marketing Consultant I  have a travel company; Atlas Discovery Holidays, organising walking tours both in Europe and the UK. Of course now it is on hold, so I totally understand how many of you feel with cancelled plans, dealing with concerned Customers whilst trying to work with suppliers and service providers. I should currently be in Spain trekking in the sunshine mountains, but as I can’t I decided rather than sulk, though I must admit I did for a few days, I would focus on this business and see if I could help others in a similar situation.

Often when travelling we use economy airlines and when we leave to get our separate Ryan Air seats we all shout “See you on the other side”. We leave the UK often in the dark early hours or on a cloudy day and the flight feels long and a bit dull but as we near the end of the journey we see the sun in the sky. The Captain announces to take our seats and fasten our seat belts for landing and then off the plane we descend taking in the sunshine and heat of our destination. We gather excitedly to head off for our planned tour. I’ve got my agenda under my arm and I’m prepared.

We are currently in a very dark hour and it feels cloudy and grey. We are worried about our families and friends health and maybe our own, but of course we are worried about our businesses.

Looking at a few websites and Face Book pages it looks like businesses have already given up, packed up and gone home. At the onset a few tried different ‘quick fix tactics, but as Government restrictions tighten now most of those won’t work.  There is a dark spirit around and whilst I know I am an optimist I have to be realistic. This period is going to be very tough for us business owners. BUT we need to focus on survival based on Resources, Resilience, Relationships and Retention.

Resources

So money will be tight and you need to look at how you can source income for yourself. You may also have a team of staff; again you need to prioritise the care of your valued team. Treat them wrong in their eyes and they may go all over Social Media. Then look at the resource of time which you may not have had for a long time to sit down, look at your business and seriously consider the way forward. If you had a 2020 one year plan or 5 year plan sit and adapt it now…Beware many online companies or business on Linked In are offering FREE Emergency Contingency Plans. They may be genuine, but I just tried to sign up for one to see what is was about and after asking for endless data then asking me to click links – a red flag went up!

Resilience

We all feel panicky, but we need to be tough and be prepared. Read motivational books. Read books about Companies surviving recessions, pit closures, economic crashes. Use this time to be armed with knowledge whilst you are self-isolated at home. Also build up resilience through exercise.  My best ideas come when I am out walking or running. You need to do this also for your mental health because as a Business Leader you will have a strong mind. Build resilience through sharing experience with your trusted business colleagues or networking group; which may be meeting online.

Relationships

The Big Questions are:-

What do you want your Customers to remember you for after this crisis is over? Write several words

Your Brand Is it still running strong through the COV-19 problem

Your logo Are you standing true to your word

Customer Service It is vital you communicate with your Customers and don’t put your head in the sand. Use Face Book, Email, texts and even the dreaded telephone. Everyone now has time to take a call. Go one step ahead. Staff may be limited so you may have to do it and this could be the perfect time to go ‘on the front line’.

Retention

It is vital you not only communicate with clients but look forward to what you can offer them after this crisis. It is hard to do this, but once, we hope, this situation is resolved people will soon want to get back into real life and you need to let them know you are prepared and able to deliver.

I run a tourist company and I am working on tours ready when we can get out there again. I have to be sensitive not to push it too much, but I know my Customers and through a balance I can ‘drip drip’ market happy memories through previous holiday photos and also show some of the wonderful places we have to visit to give them hope. I’ve had so much support offering ideas of new UK tours and messages of kindness.

I use a Customer Relationship Management software programme, called Capsule with a small fee per month. This is a wonderful way to keep in touch as you can email different sectors of your clients. Also once the Crisis is over you can send out discounts, updates on what you can offer and tell them how prepared you are. Plus offer a great big thank you for supporting your business throughout.

I will be offering regular updates so please sign up to the newsletter. This is all FREE. Hopefully once you have some money in your pot you might like to call me in for some Marketing Advice.

Hope the above helps and keep positive. Always smile when you put up a Face Book Post or send an email or Make a Call.

Thanks for reading Diane (Photo show me in preparation for the Caminito del Ray, Malaga last Christmas) walking over one of the scariest gorges in the world.  Can’t wait to do it again and I will!

 

 

Diane Carter Gallery 080When you are in a Business sometimes YOU MISS OUT on so many Opportunities and before you know it YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS

I hope that is enough to please encourage you to read this month’s business article.

MARKETING CAN BE SCARY Marketing is often seen as the last thing a Business does and many business owners in my experience, turn to me  when they have so little business or even nothing and are in panic. Also at this stage they have very little money or are reluctant and of course fearful to invest it as often marketing may takes several months to achieve a return.

I am going to talk to you today about small low cost or free things you can do in your SME business to keep you busy and even grow your business. But you must set aside a few hours a week to plan this, budget for it and of course assess which is working. Spend wisely.

Advertising Oh yes here we go the expensive side of Marketing. Yes it can be and many business colleagues have been fooled by promises of results in  glossy magazines or largely circulated newspapers. Stop and ask yourself does this paper hit the areas you want to work in? Does it have lots of other businesses offering similar services? Is it aimed at the people you want to reach?  If you are not sure write a few things about that person.  Their age? Social Level (yes there is often one underlying), Employed or Retired. Where do they shop? These big advertisers are very persuasive and keen to tie you into a long term expensive contract that can destroy you. If it is something you want only have a trial run. Stick to your guns.

Online Advertising  Read the rest of this entry »

Diane Carter Gallery 057Do you play the numbers game?

Do you  send out hunders or even of thousands of emails to potential clients?

Well the Good News is that Emails are now actually becoming more favoured. With the increased use of social media and mobile phones your email could be read if you spend time in preparation.

Communication is now being used in mainly three ways:-

Emails are now mainly used for business to business or business to the domestic market. People are happy to recieve special offers, information and regular updates. But due to the mass increase you have to be clever to ensure they don’t press the delete button. Face Book – This is now used mainly for communication with friends. Of course it is an invaluable tool also for businesses and we will talk about that in another tutorial. Texting Whilst businesses use this the main purpose is for family communication. This gives little hope for telephone calls but in a busy world people simply avoid. Businesses do use texting but many people see it as an intrusion into their personal life.

So here are a few tips to get your email read and not and not the reader RED! Grrrr…

Christmas is Coming-Is Your Business Ready?

imagesI have a big concern as winter approaches as some advertising clients decide to stop with the reasoning “It Goes Quiet” “People are spending money on gifts, meals out, parties, glamming up”.

Do staff still need to be paid? Suppliers? Overheads? So where is the income going to come from?

 Whilst understanding that it costs money to advertise I believe that at a time when your business income could be rapidly reduced it is the right time to advertise BUT MORE IMPORANT TO ADVERTISE RIGHT!

You need to ask yourself some questions? Do people buy my products over the winter or Christmas period? What do they buy? How much income is reduced? Do they want to use my services and if so which do they choose to use?

Spend a little time now considering last year and how it impaired you and your business. Your personal and family too will be affected as your income drops just at a time when your children might be begging for a new ‘tablet’ or bike.

NOW IS THE TIME TO PLAN.

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Sherwood image_crThe Benefits of Local Advertising are endless…

Small-business owners use advertising to help increase brand recognition, product sales, gain new foot traffic and encourage repeat business. Common advertising outlets include radio, television, Internet, magazines and newspapers. Although advertising your business via non-print outlets such as radio or television can be advantageous, local community newsletter advertising offers many benefits that make investment on your part worthwhile.

 

 

Proactive Audience
Newspaper readers often actively look for advertising in newspapers to search for deals and coupons. Placing your ad in a newspaper doesn’t guarantee that readers will notice it, but a reader actively looking for deals is likely to notice your ad, take the time to read it and possibly act on a sale or offer.

Positive Expectations Read the rest of this entry »