May
29
Quality

A-Z of Marketing: Quality

May 29, 2015 8:32 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Quality

Many businesses when they think about offering high quality think that this only applies to their products and services. However, when it comes to your brand and the marketing activity used to promote your business and its products and services, quality should be at the top of your agenda.

The quality of your communication, messages, content, design, website, presentations, etc… directly influence the overall viewpoint that your customers will have of your business. Many organisations make the same mistakes when it comes to the quality of the marketing activity that they put out into the world and they just don’t realise the negative impact that this is having on their brand.

Common mistakes when it comes to compromising on the quality of their marketing include;

  1. Do it yourself design

There are a wide range of affordable graphic design packages out there, however, great design isn’t just about the tools used. There is a science involved in ensuring that a message is communicated correctly and that the design catches your customer’s eye for the right reasons. This all has to carry your customers through to taking the required action, such as picking up the phone, completing your enquiry form, or pressing the Buy Now button.

  1. Poorly written content

Just like design, there is a science to writing content that sells. Badly written content will create a bad impression and even discourage customers from buying from you. Common mistakes in this area include not proofreading your content and publishing it with spelling and grammatical errors, not having a call to action, and leaving out vital information that could have encouraged your customer to contact you.

  1. The clip art logo

Your logo is the most tangible element of your brand, it’s a large part of distinguishing yourself from your competitors, and it’s often what your customers see first before they find out anything else about you. Investing in a high quality logo is one of the best things that you can do for your business, it will be with you a long time and is probably more affordable than you think. Nothing drags down the quality of a website or other marketing materials than a badly designed logo.

  1. A badly developed website

These days a company’s website is the most powerful bit of online real estate that they have. It’s also more than likely going to be the first thing that your potential customer will see of your brand. The design and usability of your website is vitally important. We are impatient when it comes to getting access to the information that we want, if it isn’t easy to find or your website is slow to load then people will leave and many get what they want from one of your competitors.

A well designed and functional website can be a key tool in helping you to grow your business. It can encourage a steady flow of enquiries, showcase your products and services, and be used as a platform for promoting great content.

We may be biased when it comes to promoting the use of a marketing agency to ensure that your marketing communications and materials are of the highest quality. However, you really do get what you pay for and high quality marketing is most definitely worth the investment.

Marketing is always better with Ketchup added, contact us today on 0330 088 9277 to discuss your requirements in more details. Alternatively, you can complete our online enquiry form

Sep
12

A-Z of Marketing: Copywriting

September 12, 2014 8:22 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Copywriting

There is nothing more likely to put off your customers than badly written copy, whether it’s on your website, in an email, or as part of an advertisement. Badly written copy gives the impression that the business simply isn’t interested in the finer details.

Unfortunately, as important as well written copy is, many businesses don’t feel that it warrants investment. Many write their copy themselves and don’t consider hiring a professional copywriter to do the job. This is a mistake we see made by businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to multi-million pound corporations. Everyone thinks that writing copy is easy, we all like to think of ourselves as writers and to a certain extent we are, but when it comes to writing copy for your business there are a few fundamental points that you should take into account before you attempt to produce copy yourself:

It’s not all about the words – producing copy and content that people will respond to is a skill, some may even say it’s an art. When we say it’s not all about the words, we are talking about the need to take into account the structure of your copy, the tone of voice used, and the ability to craft a persuasive call to action to ensure that you get your audience to respond in the right way.

The structure dictates how the reader progresses through the information you are providing them with. Starting the copy on your website page, in your brochure, or email the wrong way can mean that the reader never even gets beyond the first line, let alone clicks on the Buy Now button. If they do read on, you have to present the information you want them to see in the right way and order, leading them gently through and increasing the chances of engagement with your company, purchase of your product, etc…

Similarly, the tone of voice that you use has to be right for the audience you are speaking to. Use slang, acronyms, or language in the wrong way and you could lose your reader.

You need a plan – it’s not uncommon to think that to write effective copy you simply sit down and start bashing away at the keyboard. However, the best content is planned content, in the same way that Graphic Designers have to spend time thinking about and planning what they are going to design, you need to know what you are going to write about and how. Even sitting down and listing the key points you want to make, and the most effective order you can make them in, will put the finished piece ahead of much of the copy out there.

An English Tutor who has not spotted an error!Proofreading is vital – we often see copy on websites, in adverts and emails, even in glossy brochures and annual reports, which obviously hasn’t been proofread. Even the smallest spelling mistake can damage the acceptance of the information you are trying to present. This can be easily changed on a website, but it becomes more of a costly mistake if you have invested in a print run before noticing the error.

 

Make sure that the copy is run by an effective proofreader before you publish it – never proofread copy you’ve written yourself. You often read what you think is on the page rather than what’s actually there.

Whether you are designing a new brochure, having a new website built, or compiling your next newsletter, the quality of the copy is key. At Ketchup marketing we’ve helped many of our clients through our professional copywriting services and it’s true to say that they have often seen results far beyond their wildest expectations.

If you would like to discuss your copywriting requirements, please contact Michelle on 0330 088 9277 for an informal discussion or use the contact form here.

Apr
02

How many beans make five? Is it nine?

April 2, 2013 9:00 am Published by Comments Off on How many beans make five? Is it nine?

At Ketchup we’re rather proud of the fact that our most successful new business initiatives are the ones our clients run on our behalf. In other words, most of our business comes from positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers.

Second to client recommendations comes our website, which pulls strongly. As you’d hope, since we’re in the business.

Amongst the recent leads generated by our site was the invitation to tender for the copywriting and design of a new website for a large firm of accountants; Acme Bean Counters or ABC Ltd. You may have heard of them.

(We think that years ago they cunningly contrived their name to give them lead position in the Yellow Pages but, as often happens when firms do their own marketing, their plans didn’t add up. Aaron Aardvark Accountants (AAA) beat them to it.)

Anyway, that’s another story and we could spend all day inventing names for companies. In fact, our copywriting team often does.

50 pages of carefully crafted copy before lunch 

ABC wanted a quote for design and copywriting for a comprehensive, 50+ page site. Our lead copywriter did two separate estimates; one for a full site, the other for just creating copy for the 15 or so key pages.

ABC baulked at both prices. Which is odd, because our rates for copywriting are about a tenth of their rates for tax accounting.

‘We thought it would only take a couple of hours’ they said. Why? As accountants surely they could have figured out that writing fifty pages in – say – four hours meant we’d be spending just over 4 minutes on each page. We’re fast, but…

Even if it were physically possible, would you want your website – your primary point of contact with new business prospects – chucked together in under five minutes a page?

Then the Bean Counters came up with another plan. Could a copywriter spend a day with them showing them how it’s done? Because, of course, you can learn everything you need to know about marketing in a day, can’t you?

Astoundingly, we heard ourselves saying OK. Well, we try to be helpful. We also wanted to see how employing one of their £600-an-hour accountants to write 50 pages of web copy was going to save them money.

And we also thought we might pick up some tips on doing our books ourselves.

 

For more information regarding our copywriting or web design service please give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 or use our contact form here.

Feb
11

Blogger’s Blog – part 3

February 11, 2013 9:55 am Published by Comments Off on Blogger’s Blog – part 3

And another blogging thing

OK, let’s pretend three things. Firstly, that you’re not busy and have nothing better to do. Secondly, that our copywriter’s time is worth more than yours. Thirdly, your blog isn’t that important to your marketing effort.

You can see where we’re going with this, but you’ll probably resist our point about calling in the professionals anyway. And so you should. If you have a unique viewpoint and like the idea of writing your own blog you should go for it, especially if you know how to turn a nifty phrase or two. It is, after all, fun.

But the real idea is to produce results. So here are some tips.

Blogging-It-Yourself

Before you start, make two quick lists. The first list should be a roll call of the things you want to achieve with your blog; ending with a brief description of how the reader should feel when they’ve finished it.

The second should be a list of the things that you need to say that will make the readers feel that way. So if, for example, your subject is kitchen taps you’d probably want your readers to think that you were the kitchen tap expert and they should consult you at kitchen refurb time. You’d reinforce that impression with a para or two on tap design, then underline it with a bit of light tech-talk about reliability. Why the porcelain disc, quarter turn will resist dripping longer than the brass barrel, crush washer. But, unless you’re talking to tap anoraks (are they called Tapsters and is the collective noun a ‘trickle of Tapsters’) you’ll want to keep the tech light and involving. Good luck with that.

Once your two lists are complete, you’re ready to blog.

How’s your belly for spots, Aunt Thora?

A great blog talks directly to the reader, so to speak. So you have to use exactly the right sort of language. Consider how your content, pace, texture and vocabulary effect your tone of voice. The right tone of voice is vital because it engages the reader and helps keep them with you till the end. It also creates a telling impression of you, in their minds. So if your target audience is Aunt Thora it might be best just to enquire after her health in general terms.

The two, top, tone-of-voice tips are this; before you start writing have in mind a clear picture of someone you actually know, who personifies your reader. Write as if you were speaking directly to her/him. And then, when you’ve finished, give your work to a sulky teenager to read and ask them to describe the person they think it’s talking to.

After a couple of rewrites you’ll be ready to publish. The penultimate check is to run through your original lists and tick off the items as they appear in the blog – if you have the full set you’re good to go. But before you do, recheck your spelling and grammar. Really. A literal mistake, an inadvertent Americanism or a malapropism will have everyone writing you off as educationally substandard.

You know what…

Why bother? You’re a busy exec with 100 more valuable things to do with your time. Hiring us is cost effective and could actually save you a fortune if your DIY blog misfires somehow and drives customers away. And we must know what we’re doing – you read this far, after all.

For amateur-sounding, professional blogs please talk to Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or contact Ketchup Marketing here

 

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

Bloggers Part 2 can be found here.

Jan
07

Blogger’s Blog – part 2

January 7, 2013 12:25 pm Published by Comments Off on Blogger’s Blog – part 2

It’s like reverse Tourette’s

If you read the first part of the Blogger’s Blog you’ll know we posed the question “Should agency copywriters be employed to write ‘personal’ blogs?” You’ll also know that – hardly surprisingly since we’re an agency that writes blogs for our clients – we were in favour. If you didn’t read that blog you’ll have to take our word for it.

This blog is about why. This is why

Blogs aren’t supposed to be polished pieces of marketing speak. They’re supposed to be personal views. They supposed to be valuable insights delivered as conversations. They’re supposed to be witty, informative and – above all – entertaining. That’s why people bother reading the blighters. Yes, people are interested in what you have to say, but they’re even more interested in enjoying themselves. Selfish beggars.

And that is why a huge proportion of company blogs fail to deliver readership. They’re like chewing a legal document. Or straining wet muesli to find the almonds. In short, they’re boring.

Colourful language, you blue-nosed radish

At last; the reason for the reverse Tourette’s reference in the headline. Too many blogs randomly abuse readers, by wasting their time and boring their pants off. Instead of using colourful language that interests and exhilarates, they trot out the same old clichés and pre-chewed, officially approved corporate guff. How many times have you seen these pieces of bad language popped unthinkingly into blogs?

‘Quality of service that is second to none…on time and on budget…leveraging core competencies…tailored to suit your specific needs…dedicated, specialised teams with the expertise and experience…our commitment is caring for you…’

Do they mean anything? Difficult to tell; we stopped reading after the first ten seconds. Actually they mean nothing because they slip over the reader’s consciousness like a wet squid over warm blancmange. Without ever engaging their audience.

So we’re still of the opinion that, unless you’re a natural, you should use a trained person to write your blogs. Or at least read the Blogger’s Blog part III, which will give you a few BIY tips of the trade.

To be continued. Look out for the Blogger’s Blog part III – And Another Blogging Thing.

 

For more information regarding our copy writing service or blogging workshops in 2013 contact Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.

Bloggers Part 3 can be found here.

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

 

Nov
15

Business Blogs – 10 Top Tips

November 15, 2012 7:22 pm Published by Comments Off on Business Blogs – 10 Top Tips

… from Ketchup Marketing

In 2012 Ketchup Marketing have designed, built and launched 24 websites (another 9 are pending pre Christmas Launch), of these bespoke websites 22 have an integrated WordPress blog, so we are often asked “What makes a good blog post?”, of course the answer will differ depending on your business sector and your marketing strategy, but as a starter for 10, here are our top ten tips for the business blog writer:

1. Talk to your audience

Who is your audience? Who is reading your blog, have you looked at your web stats?

2. Keep to one audience.

You are likely to have more than one target audience, so keep the brand message and tone consistent throughout your blog, whether you are writing about new products / services or recruiting. A good idea is to lead the blog with a question and then answer it within the blog post, for example How do I write copy for a website?

3. Think word count.

A good blog article should be between 250 and 400 words easy and quick to read to keep the reader entertained and to read your full message and any call to action.  If your article needs more words then consider splitting into in to  2 or 3 parts, and then use links to drive the visitors to these other article.

4. Good blog posts are easy to read.

Use lists or sub heading to make for easy reading.

5. Good blog posts actually say something.

Of course it is ok to comment about a recent event or news within your industry, for example commenting on the Christmas advertising of the big brands, but ensure that your blog starts and ends with a story or reason, plus reinforce this with a call to action, for example “hey John Lewis give Ketchup a call next year we will help you spend your marketing budget” 🙂

If you are unsure of the content ask a colleague or a friend to sense check it.

6. Good blog posts don’t have to be works of art.

You are unlikely to win any literary awards for your blog, but as long as you keep to our top ten tips people will come back for more.

7. Good blog posts show your expertise, they don’t yell at you.

Show your readers you are a great company, showcase your expertise, don’t tell them you are great at designing websites or creating email campaigns, build up trust, show expertise, use testimonials.

8. Good blog posts use a headline and sub heading.

Remember your keywords, use interesting language or question to encourage readers. You can look back over past blogs and see what have been the most successful headlines.

9. Good blog posts use keywords and are SEO optimized

See point 8, for further information on SEO can be found here

10. Good blog posts include a call to action.

A blog should avoid a hard sell, but include a CTA, this could be to another related blog post or to leave a comment, or to take the reader to twitter / facebook or linked in.

Well, there are my top 10 hints and tips for a new blog writer, please comment, please add more.

Happy Blogging.

About the Author: Michelle Jones is the owner, founder and steering force of Ketchup Marketing. Established in 2009 and based in Long Clawson, near Melton Mowbray Ketchup delivers full branding and strategy to local SME’s. A selection of recent work can be found here.

 

 

Hire the dog!
Jan
24

Copywriter’s blighters

January 24, 2012 7:09 am Published by Comments Off on Copywriter’s blighters

They’re called ‘baselines’ because they sit underneath logos, or ‘strap lines’ because they tie all the other elements of communication together with a single thought. Whatever you call them, they are absolute blighters to write.

The summation of everything. In 5 words

Baselines must leave consumers with a single, over-riding thought when they wander out of your communication. They’re the manure that allows your communication to blossom. They must be memorable, apposite, incisive, umbrella ideas. They are a statement of intent. They represent the one single thought your company espouses, its appeal to consumers, its brand image. And you can’t use the word ‘care’. Everyone’s seen it 1000 times and no-one believes it anyway. As an example, here’s one we prepared earlier for a people’s health insurance company.

“Health-wise it pays”. It’s colloquial and memorable, yet it communicates the company’s line of business, the wisdom of being with them, the fact that it’s sensible to have some form of health cover, and the crucial proposition that the company will pay out. In 3 or 4 words. Took a couple of days to write, mind you.

Hire the dog, don’t bark yourself hoarse.

Of course, if you’re writing a website you’ll have to include SEO in your copy and that’s a completely new piece of nadgery; as Ketchup’s resident Search Marketing wizard – Simon Fisher – will gladly explain. But for the moment you’re finished. You’ve defined your proposition, devised a strategy, established a tone-of-voice, created a headline, written compelling copy and rounded off with an unforgettable baseline. Only one thing left to do – ask yourself if it wouldn’t have been a damn sight more cost effective to have called in Ketchup’s copy team before you began!

Coming soon… Copywriting for our clients

 

To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle on 07747 604020 and ask her for a copy quote

Nov
07

Ketchup in bottle race

November 7, 2011 10:42 am Published by Comments Off on Ketchup in bottle race

Sometimes, running a busy marketing company with a wide variety of differently-sized, clients is like running blindfold through a zoo. You can’t envisage what sort of creature you’re going to bump into next!

Our sponsorship of the local Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven springs to mind. The Rotarians had received a donation of 10 bottles of tomato sauce from Wilkins & Sons and challenged our graphic design and copywriting teams to come up with a way of using them to raise money for their ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.

Tomato sauce and Ketchup Marketing? Hmmm, obviously a natural fit in there somewhere.

We devised a bottle baton race, the sauce passing from person to person to create a…well…gravy train of £1 donations. With 10 bottles and 201 or more donors the race would raise over £2012 towards polio eradication by 2012.

The Rotarians were delighted and we set about a logo design, whilst our print design team and lead copywriter created a graphic but inexpensive advertising promotional leaflet to market the events to fellow Rotarians and prospective bottle baton participants.

We’re also sponsoring a saucy competition. A case of wine will be awarded for the most interesting photo of the bottle, taken in situ. So our web design team will be posting pictures on the blog as the bottle baton race continues.

Gives a whole new perspective to the idea of ketchup marketing!

“We Want Words!”
May
23

Welcome to the glamour industry

May 23, 2011 10:45 am Published by Comments Off on Welcome to the glamour industry

If you drive a car of the order of – say – a Fiat Punto, you can afford a copywriter. How does that work? A Fiat main dealer will charge you labour at around £65 an hour for a good service. Ketchup won’t.

So, if it’s not the money, why would any frantically busy, BMW-driving Marketing Exec want to spend valuable hours fumbling about with a thesaurus and balls-ing up his customer communications? It must be the glamour.

A choir of heavenly blondes chanting “We Want Words!”

They’re there now. Looking out of the office window, I can see a throng of blonde nubiles chanting and waving placards. I daren’t show myself to them in case they start throwing themselves in front of the traffic. Can’t go out the front door in case the camera flashing brings on epilepsy.

So copywriting is better than being JLS. Easier too. All you need is a sharp pencil – although real pros use a Mac nowadays – and a basic grasp of the mother tongue. Even the language is on your side; being a mixture of Anglo-Saxon and French, it’s the slipperiest of tongues. Try, for example, to think of an English word that doesn’t have more than one meaning. An absolute gift for headline writers and punsters.

So come on you Execs, forget about running the company, this is important work….next time I’ll be telling you how to get started.

Coming soon…. Health warning for starlets

 

To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle on 07747 604020 and ask her for a copy quote

 

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