Oct
16
Brand Design

A – Z of Marketing: Design

October 16, 2014 4:45 pm Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Design

The whole purpose of marketing is to bring in more customers, and therefore increase sales. However, it isn’t just the presence of marketing that will do that, part of a great marketing strategy will include high quality and effective design that will appeal to your customers.

When you create a website, a logo, a newsletter, an advertisement, or anything else, you’re building a brand that people can recognise. The objective being that when a customer sees your brand, they will instantly know that it is a trustworthy and quality product or service. Therefore, if part of your brand and anything associated with your brand looks less than professional, your customers are going to second guess the values of the entire business.

What can good design can do for your business?

What do we mean by good design? Good design should be effective and professional, it should represent your company and appeal to your customers. Good design speaks for itself and will attract many more people than a design which obviously contains no effort or understanding of the organisation’s key customers. The design of your marketing doesn’t just have to catch someone’s attention, it has to keep it.

Any design work created for you should complement your business and the products and services you are selling. It’s important to know what will attract your customers and make them want to find out more about the business and what it does. For example, the colours, text, information, and images on your website should all be well-designed to incorporate what your customers will be drawn to.

A good Graphic Designer will take the time to understand your business and your market and will have the knowledge and experience to incorporate the right elements into an effective design. Every business is battling to be seen amongst the thousands of marketing messages broadcast each day, a visually appealing and well-designed message can really help to get you noticed.

Creating consistent and eye-catching design throughout your entire business, whether through an in-house team or an external agency, will maintain a level of communication between you and your customers. However, in order to get that relationship with your customers, you must first know them well enough to be able to predict how they will respond to certain visuals and designs. Many businesses have customers that will provide feedback or suggestions, so the task of designing with them in mind becomes easier. This will allow you to provide something they’ll actually want. For example, if you have a well-designed website, customers will actually want to voluntarily sign up for your newsletter, buy something from your online store, or watch a video targeted at them. If they find the design of your marketing collateral compelling enough, they may even share with friends and family on social networking sites which could increase the number of users you have.

Many businesses will tell you that great design work is one of the main reason for their marketing success.

If you need help with designing the perfect marketing collateral for your business, whether it’s print or online, contact Ketchup Marketing on 0330 088 9277 for an informal chat today or use the contact form here.

Aug
08
Marketing Agency

A-Z of Marketing: Agency

August 8, 2014 9:00 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Agency

Your Marketing Agency

Business is changing and becoming more virtual. As a result more and more business owners and start-ups are recognising the benefits of outsourcing critical business functions that they cannot carry out effectively themselves. Outsourcing not only frees up your time to concentrate on running and growing your business, but outsourcing key functions, such as marketing, can help you save money and see better results faster because you are working with experts.

What does a marketing agency do?
There are many kinds of marketing agencies of various shapes and sizes; all offering different levels of marketing support. They can act as your complete marketing department, which is great for SMEs and business start-ups that do not require full time support. Alternatively, a marketing agency can support you or your in-house marketing team with specific projects such as a customer survey, website development, or event planning and marketing.

Many businesses outsource some aspect of their marketing at some point in time.

Some agencies specialise in a specific industry and only work with organisations providing products and services across that industry. Others are more general and apply their expertise to businesses across many different industries.

How does outsourcing your marketing work?
When you have made the decision to outsource all or part of your marketing activity, it is crucial that you find a marketing agency that is a good fit for your business. The agency should be curious about your business and want to know about the long and short term objectives, and how you see the agency fitting in with what you are trying to achieve.

It is advisable to discuss your requirements with a number of agencies so that you are sure of a cultural fit and high level of understanding about your business. You need to trust the marketing agency that you decide to work with, after all they will be handling one of the most important parts of your business, great marketing leads to business growth, increased sales, and a strong brand. Great marketing is the key to business success.

Why Ketchup Marketing?
Ketchup Marketing prides itself on being your complete outsourced marketing department. We are made up of a strong team of people from marketing experts to graphic designers, copywriters, and website developers.

Combined our team has many years of experience in successfully planning and executing marketing campaigns and activities for organisations across a number of industries. We take our time to get to know your business and will always put a firm strategic plan in place before we begin to roll out any marketing activity.

We offer a number of services, from setting your marketing strategy so that it supports your business’ overall objectives, and delivering effective marketing campaigns, to making sure that your website is ranked highly is search engines through our Pay per Click and SEO copywriting services. We can support you as your marketing department, or work with your existing marketing department when time is tight and you need our expertise for bigger projects.

We also offer top end skills without the big city price tag from our offices in the East Midlands.

If you are looking to outsource your marketing and don’t know where to start, call Michelle or Kate today on 0330 088 9277 or use our contact form here.

Just who is managing who these days?
Nov
11

Social Media Marketing

November 11, 2013 10:30 am Published by Comments Off on Social Media Marketing

Just Who’s Managing Who These Days?

A few years ago, we used to impart our wisdom to clients along these lines: “If someone gives you a bad review online, don’t feel that you need to react immediately – wait for your loyal customers to jump to your defence first, and then approach the complainant and try and resolve any problem.” Having one of your customers defend you is far more powerful than jumping into your own defensive position straight away, and will be perceived much more positively by third parties. And no-one wants to witness a public argument… or at least that’s how it was a few years ago.

While in some situations that advice is still relevant, the power of the public complaint via Facebook or Twitter now requires businesses to proactively monitor what’s going on – and the manner in which any complaint is handled is also very public.

Many large businesses now have adopted a strategy whereby they have a Twitter and Facebook account for the promotional messages and engaging their audience, running in parallel with a “Customer Services” account where grumpy customers can vent their spleen in a very public fashion by Tweeting to them directly, mentioning their business name or Twitter handle in a Tweet, or writing on their Facebook Wall.

This manner of complaining is becoming increasingly popular among frustrated customers, unhappy with the quality of a product or standard of service. We recently watched with unbridled glee as one of our associates decided to use this very forum to tackle a sofa retailer. After 7 months of chasing them by telephone to sort out a problem with the sofa she’d bought, she snapped and wrote a polite but lengthy wall post on their Facebook page, detailing date by date how they had failed her on a number of occasions. Within 15 minutes she had a response, and the same morning a refund was paid by the sofa firm, who will remain nameless.

The moral of this story? Using Social Media as a marketing tool is often a critical part of a business’s marketing plan these days, but it’s not just a case of shouting about how great you are, it’s about making sure that you are responding to your clients and customers, while managing any ‘tricky’ conversations in such a way that you are reinforcing your positive brand image – because otherwise you are having a very public argument indeed.

Need help managing your social media? Want to make sure your presence on Twitter and Facebook does your business justice? We can help – just pick up the phone to Ketchup Marketing and ask for Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or email on michelle@ketchup-marketing.co.uk or @ketchuptweets

There’s no excuse for just being lazy!
Aug
12

How much effort?

August 12, 2013 1:03 pm Published by Comments Off on How much effort?

Years ago, Siouxsie Sioux (of punk & goth-pop fame, for the benefit of younger readers, and by default, showing our age) commented that people just don’t pick holes out of society anymore. Perhaps we’re all becoming lazy. Lazy with our marketing too? Well we’d hope not…

There are many famous and amusing marketing blunders that spring to mind …Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux using “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” in one US ad campaign, and Vauxhall didn’t think to change their Nova model’s name so when it launched in Spain the locals thought it was a car called “doesn’t go”.

Well the Ketchup team were out and about in Birmingham in July and saw this lovely campaign The Big Bandage which is an initiative to raise support for the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

 

bull1

Great idea, really nice branding which is consistent across their web presence as well as this ambient media – and this was a particularly novel way of taking the message to the people – but something was wrong.  And it was one of those things we’d spot – picky as we are.

The last time we used a safety pin in the office was to hold Gary’s shirt closed when he realised he’d lost a button in a critical place, just before an important client meeting. And so we can say with some confidence that the safety pin holding the bandage around the injured tail of our four legged cow friend above was, in fact, the wrong way around.

We marketing folk can’t be perfect all of the time, but there’s no excuse for just being lazy.

If you need an injection of marketing brilliance, ask our (ever so picky!) team to come and help you with your next marketing campaign; just call us on 0330 088 9277 or contact Michelle here.

Getting bogged down in data
Jun
18

Getting bogged down in data

June 18, 2013 10:00 am Published by Comments Off on Getting bogged down in data

blog-ogilvy

It’s not sexy, management information… data…stats… stuff that needs interrogating to tell you that what you’re doing in your business is either working or not.

We always wished Ogilvy hadn’t uttered the immortal words about only half his advertising working but he didn’t know which half.  We can’t be so blasé these days, we need to make every penny count, give us a return on our investment.

That’s why we build tracking into every single website project we take on. Basically what it does is monitor how visitors find, use and share the information that’s been published online. So, how many people visit your website each day? Are they unique visitors or do they come back regularly? What page do they land on – and what page do they leave from? And what about the emails you send? Do you actually know who reads them?

Don’t get the wrong idea, all of this information can get overwhelming, but without it you’re really only partly guessing about which of your marketing efforts are making a difference to your business performance.

Equally, make sure that you are interpreting the data with some context.

For example if your data report tells you that someone opened your email really soon after you sent it, maybe that just means they were taking a quick look to make sure it wasn’t important before hitting delete to clear their inbox.

And if someone is looking at every page on your website, is it because they love it so much they need to investigate every conceivable corner of your web presence? Or just that they can’t find what they’re looking for?

It’s fair to say there is always a risk that you can misinterpret your web stats. But it can also be harnessed to powerful effect; our tracking software will give the IP address of the visitor – just think, how could you use this information?

Also, we make a point of testing various homepage designs for larger projects – which means that when your site launches. You’re going to be safe in the knowledge that the user will find it easy on the eye as well as easy to buy into (or from, in the case of e-commerce sites).

The moral of this story?  If your website and email marketing constitutes half of your marketing budget (other marketing methods are available!)  make sure you know it’s working for you. That’s not to say that you should apply the same principle to the other half. Want to know how Ketchup can help you?  Call Michelle Ogilvy Jones on 0330 088 9277

Jun
10

What price quality?

June 10, 2013 10:00 pm Published by Comments Off on What price quality?

When you’re out networking, as many busy business-owners & directors do week-in, week-out, you build up a great rapport with some of the contacts you make, and this can lead to great introductions and ultimately, convert into paid work.

It’s good practice to tweak your pitch, see what generates a good response, see what seem to hit people’s hot buttons, and then keep on honing it to perfection. Also, it pays to mix it up a bit if you’ve got a particular offer or deal, or if you’re swamped with one kind of project and need to keep your whole team busy by promoting one of your other products or services.

So the other week Michelle ventured out to networking group she’d been going to for a while.  A nice bunch of people, and a lovely venue.  We have, to be fair, been absolutely stacked in the studio with website work, so this time we’d decided in advance to promote more of the strategic marketing side of the business.

All was going well until in passing someone said how much they’d love to work with us, but that they simply couldn’t afford it. Now, alarm bells were set a-ringing by that, not because we didn’t like people to think we might be fractionally more expensive than the next agency, but because after having invested time and effort in promoting our technical expertise and great creative thinking, but because the individual concerned couldn’t see that as a general rule ‘you get what you pay for’.

There is a common misconception in small business that in order to be competitive you need to undercut the competition. No you don’t. You need to differentiate yourselves from it, add value to every stage of every transaction and deliver what you said you would at the time you said you’d deliver it. In so doing, you’re justifying the extra little bit of money you might be charging – because people are buying your expertise.

Let’s put it like this; If you’re booking a flight with a budget airline, the headline price might seem great.  But then you end up getting charged for your hand luggage, charged to book your seat, charged if you check in at the airport, charged for your in-flight meal, charged extra to pay by debit card or credit card when you pay… and actually it adds up to double what you originally thought. Whereas if you booked with a non-budget airline, the ticket price you pay includes all of those extras. The same applies when you’re choosing your agency.

So yes, it’s true that we aren’t the kind of agency that promotes an inexpensive service. There is a perception that perhaps we are more expensive than the next agency. But it’s funny how things transpire… a couple of projects we’d lost based on price earlier this year are now back with us. So perhaps alarm bells needn’t have rung quite so loudly after all.

If you’d like to have a chat with Michelle, and get a quote for marketing strategy, a new website, social media management, email marketing or SEO… then pick up the phone and dial 0330 088 9277.  After she’s gently grilled you (!) to make sure you know what you want, she’ll  meet you to get a clear understanding of your business & she’ll prepare a no obligation quote for you.  And if you go ahead with your project, unless you suddenly ask for something extra, they price you are quoted is the price you’ll pay.

Simple as that!

May
20

Oh Blogger It!

May 20, 2013 11:17 am Published by Comments Off on Oh Blogger It!

Ever look at your own website and think it’s not quite up to scratch? Fed up of the familiar colourways, images and calls to action?  Don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal.  Many of the most successful entrepreneurs are those who are most self-critical – they’re always trying to improve and innovate, and there’s nothing bad about that.

All of your online and offline marketing presence whether it’s your tweets, press adverts or glossy brochures have been created by you and your agency to pitch you differently to those of your competitors. And bench-marking them against what your competition pumps out is a good exercise to do now and then – but don’t compare them like-for-like – yours are meant to be different – that’s half the point.

It’s easy to get bored with the way your business presents itself when you are in the thick of it, day in-day out.  And that’s often the case with your blog articles too.  You scrutinise them, pick holes in them, spell-check them, read them over and over again for some grammatical flaw that you think everyone will notice (but chances are they probably won’t) so it’s no wonder that you pause just before you hit ‘publish’ … of course you’re going to be bored of them if you’ve just spent hours writing/rewriting and generally faffing around with them to achieve some kind of impossible perfection.

This is where you need to go and do something totally different, grab a cuppa with a business associate or maybe a mentor who you can trust to give you a bit of reassurance.  This is the better response than running off to a new agency crying “ Please change everything I have spent the last X number of years developing!!”

Don’t get me wrong, we’re always happy to do a brand refresh for a client or give strategic marketing input – that’s where we excel – but just because you’ve got a bit bored with the way you market your business it doesn’t mean your customers have.

Think about the Kelloggs Corn Flakes Chicken (Or is it a Cockerel? See, it’s OK to admit you don’t have all the answers…) but back to the point, which is, that poultry personality has been on the front of the Corn Flakes box since the very beginning. It has a bit of an image update every few years, but it’s never been replaced by a Turkey.  Or a Pig. Or a Duck.  See, our knowledge of farm animals isn’t perhaps the best either but that’s fine, because we’re not in the business of farming.

If your blogging and tweeting and literature and press ads and the service you give to your treasured customers is working, don’t go messing with it.  And don’t worry if you feel it’s not quite as cool as your competitor’s – chances are that they are having those same painful moments of self-doubt as you are.

If however you simply can’t escape the thought that your marketing just isn’t working, by all means give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277. Michelle will tell you straight, based on proper research and insight if you can improve what you’re doing.  And if she doesn’t think you can, then she’s not going to try and convince you otherwise and sell you anything unnecessary.  This is the Ketchup commitment that you can trust.

 

 

Yes it's that time of year again...
Apr
26

Spring Cleaning Season

April 26, 2013 2:56 pm Published by Comments Off on Spring Cleaning Season

blog-spring

Yes, it’s that time of year again, the sun’s come out (finally) and shown us the cobweb that was sitting unnoticed high-up in the design studio, and that shiny, sticky bit of wall behind the spray mount cabinet where the propelled glue has managed to creep around the guard and land on the paintwork.

Tommy

Mr Tommy Ketchup

So, at Ketchup HQ we got busy yesterday morning. Not with client work (although we probably should have done) but instead with our environment.  We moved the desks and vacuumed underneath and behind them, washed the cushion covers on the sofas and even Tommy Ketchup’s bed got the once over.  He doesn’t like it as much now since it doesn’t smell of him anymore.

It makes you feel good to have a bit of a once-over.  It re-confirms your faith in what you’re doing, renews and revitalises you.  And yes, perhaps you saw it coming, but it’s worth doing that once in a while for your website, too.  A bit of a ‘website MOT’ can work wonders for your marketing and taking the time to invest in that can pay dividends.

A bit of an update, a cheeky tweak to a page that could be converting better, a slight reformatting of contact forms, adding your Twitter or Facebook feeds… all of these things can have the effect of making your site easier to find in Google, more user-friendly and more sticky – that is, makes your visitor stay on the site a bit longer, read just a bit more and potentially become a customer.

Think of it as a spring clean of your online presence.  And it’s a spring clean that needn’t cost you anything since we offer a free audit of your website as standard.  Sound appealing? Feel the urge to get the digital duster and virtual polish out? Then give Michelle a buzz on 0330 088 9277 and them maybe she’ll get down from up that ladder where she’s cleaning the windows.  Seriously, she’s gone a bit obsessive, please, call her now – if only for the sanity of the rest of the studio!

Ketchup Marketing 

Original Thinking – No Artificial Additives

How expensive is cheap?
Apr
09

How expensive is cheap?

April 9, 2013 10:30 am Published by Comments Off on How expensive is cheap?

As we’re fond of telling anyone who’ll listen; we’re immensely gratified when a client comes to us on the recommendation of one of our existing customers. It means we’re achieving the right results, and we’re good to work with. It gives us a glow as warm as…ooh…being paid on time.

It’s as satisfying as an ex-client returning, but more of that later.

There’s another aspect of being recommended that is very helpful. The incoming client usually has an idea of what sort of charges to expect. That’s not to say that people begin biting their knuckles and turning white when they see our invoices – it’s just that the phrase ‘good not cheap’ fits the bill here.

Fiat mechanic or glass of pink?

We’ll prove the point. Our design fees are very competitive. That means that they’re on a par or – more often than not – less than equivalent designers in other agencies within the region. And our boys are hot; you only have to look at the portfolio pages of this website to see that.

Our copywriting team also has vast experience. Our copy director, for example, has spent years working for the top international ad agencies in London, on major brands. No other local marketing agency can truthfully claim to offer you that level of insight. Yet our charges for copywriting are very modest.

If you drive a Fiat your mechanic costs more per hour than a Ketchup copywriter. If you drive a BMW you probably pay twice as much.

Put it another way; you could have an hour’s copywriting for the price of three 125ml glasses of pink champagne in St Pancras International. Ouch!

Buying customers at 10 grand apiece

‘We told you so’. We didn’t say that; we didn’t even think it. A year ago we pitched for a new client and lost out to another agency. It can happen for a variety of reasons. In this case, they liked the work and agreed with our marketing proposals. They used phrases like ‘spot on’ in their feedback. The all-important chemistry seemed to be there, but the sticking point was price. The other agency was cheaper, so the business went to them.

Now it’s back with us. The other gang spent the £20,000 budget and attracted exactly two new customers for their client. Now that isn’t great ROI by anyone’s standards.

So what had gone so wrong? The cheaper option soon began adding “additional” elements not covered in the original quote.  They should have compared apples with pears at the pitch stage.

We could have told them that. But it would have been the cheap shot.

 

 

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.

Mar
26

Ketchup’s top tips for your website – part 2

March 26, 2013 10:25 am Published by Comments Off on Ketchup’s top tips for your website – part 2

We have so much good advice for you but we know that if we squeezed too much into one article, you’d have been saturated with information and might miss something important. So here’s part two of our top tips for your website article (part one can be found here)

  1. Good navigation that’s clear and easy to follow is key.  No-one enjoys getting lost in the real world, so they won’t enjoy getting lost in a virtual one either.
  2. Keep any links current.  Broken links are a sign of a website that is neglected. Google won’t like it either.
  3. Be careful what colours you use.  You need your site to be on-brand but be aware of the messages colours send. And Fonts for that matter.  Avoid Comic Sans at all costs!
  4. Want your website to look good when you’re browsing on your mobile phone? Tell your web agency in advance so that can be taken into account when designing it.
  5. Don’t bury your key message several clicks away – it needs to be communicated on the home page.
  6. Make sure the images you’re using aren’t huge files that will take ages to load. We’re all in a rush these days and a couple of seconds delay will mean people navigate away from your site.
  7. No pop-up adverts please! How irritating. And they make your site look spammy.
  8. Relevant, in-bound links will improve your search engine rankings, so encourage appropriate businesses in your network to link to your website from theirs.
  9. Write using your customers’ language. Use keyword research to find out how people describe your product / service.
  10. Make sure your site is accessible to as many people and systems as possible.  Even colour-blindness can affect someone’s ability to use your website.

Food for thought?  Feel free to get in touch with us to see how we can help you market your business more effectively.

 

"exceeded our expectations"
Mar
15

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value

March 15, 2013 9:07 am Published by Comments Off on Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value

Website design for Westminster Associates

Client testimonial from Westminster Associates:

“Michelle and her team have just dealt with our company (re)brand and website refresh.. and did a professional and contemporary job! They exceeded our expectations and delivered more than what we had asked for, whilst still managing to stick within our budget. The team achieved great results, were innovative with their approach, did what they said they would, when they said they would and listened fully to our needs. They asked the right questions at the right time to draw out information from us and then translated this into great outcomes. Thank you!

To visit the site click here

To see more of our website design work click 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.

 

Dec
17

Blogger’s Blog – part 1

December 17, 2012 5:08 pm Published by Comments Off on Blogger’s Blog – part 1

Writer’s blog

A couple of years ago a client of ours was heartily pooh-poohing the idea of blogs. “Who the hell has time to read all that guff?” he said with more than a hint of exasperation. “No, forget about even reading it all, what pancake actually sits down and writes it all?” he added with growing – and growling – disbelief.

That, of course, was a couple of years ago. Nowadays the blog is an accepted communication tool, transcending the marketing speak of adland and talking to people as if they were, well, people. Never a bad thing. Blogs are seen as a proffering of opinion. A forum. An insight that goes deeper than any formalised communication.

There’s something earnest and honest about a blog. Written by one party with a knowledge and an enthusiasm for a subject. And so it should remain. A blog should never be written by a professional copywriter with his eye on the main chance and his pen bent towards consumer persuasion, should it? Or should it?

Look out for the ‘some’ word

Now that small business owners, manufacturers, retailers, service providers, public and third sector organisations have cottoned on to the idea that a blog – in the right hands – can be used as a marketing tool, they’re all having a go. More power to them. The result is, of course, blogs that contain some really witty views, some real insight and some fascinating glimpses into the minds and behaviours of business leaders. Well, some do. Unfortunately, most don’t.

It’s like making candy floss out of bran fibre

What most amateur company blog writers have forgotten – or maybe never realised to start with – is that blogs are voluntary reads. Unlike commercials levered forcibly between programmes, people elect to open and read blogs of their own volition; and they expect to be amused, entertained and inspired, as well as informed. Company doggerel, corporate speak, lecturing from on high and windbag self-puffery just spoil the treat. If there’s no candy floss, no will be bothered to read your guff.

So, to answer the early question. Too right, old bean, you should definitely get a professional copywriter to fizz up your blogs. Because if no-one reads them, there’s no point in writing the damn things in the first place.

To be continued. Look out for the Blogger’s Blog part II – Reverse Tourette’s.

 

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

PS – part 3 of this blogging special can be found here.

Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?
Jul
12

Choosing a design agency?

July 12, 2012 9:37 am Published by Comments Off on Choosing a design agency?

The question isn’t which design agency. It’s why. 

Now don’t get us wrong, we have nothing against design agencies. After all, we are a design agency. partly. So if you’re looking for a spangley new logo, a redesign of your corporate identity, a commercially successful website or a complete rebrand – we can thoroughly recommend us.

But are you? Are you just re-dressing your old website in a pretty new graphic frock? Are you just having a rebrand because the old logo has a few cobwebs hanging off it?

Of course you’re not; you’re moving your image forward so that it becomes more powerful, has greater appeal to a wider audience and – ultimately – allows you to grow your business.

Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?

You have your beautiful, imaginative new identity, and everyone loves it (except the FD’s wife, of course, who doesn’t like anything). But then what? You’ll be wanting to use it in a marketing campaign to pull in new business and maximise the potential sales that a new look trails in its wake. And for that you’ll want marketing team with the in-house experience and resources to give you a coordinated, sustained sales campaign.

You’ll need copywriters, specialised web builders, SEO experts and marketing directors. Exotic creatures (some of them) not often found in design agencies.

Once again, we have no problem in thoroughly recommending ourselves.

Which comes first; the marketing or the design?

Actually it’s neither. Or maybe it’s both. Commercial pragmatism is a wonderful thing; it means that whenever our designers reach for their crayons, they also pick up their marketing hats. Our Marketing Director starts talking about communication strategy and target market appeal . The copywriting team chip in with message delivery concepts and tone of voice, straplines and campaign directions.

In short, we have an all-round discussion that results in ideas that can be used in a total communication package. So, when the time inevitably arrives when you want to translate the new brand identity into a poster, or use elements of the new web in a press ad, it all works. You gain sales, attract business, maximise the profitable effect of your marketing effort.

Trust us; we’re a marketing agency.

Madam Ketchup? I think not
May
25

What did you do at work today, daddy?

May 25, 2012 1:44 pm Published by Comments Off on What did you do at work today, daddy?

You can’t say it’s not varied. One day we’re reviewing a client’s marketing campaign the next we’re presenting an SEO strategy. And that’s on top of designing and writing websites from the wire-frame up. Luckily, our core team of project managers, designers and copywriters is backed up by a network of specialists – SEO professionals for example – so we can handle virtually anything. With aplomb, we like to say.

Loving those new clients

Following the old ‘bird in the hand’ adage, we make sure the pursuit of new business never impinges on the service we give our existing clients. That said, most new clients do need a honeymoon period whilst they bed in.

Which brings us to a new client in the wedding industry. Interesting project; it’s for a successful, established, local business with big ambitions. We’re taking them through a complete rebrand: new name and business proposition, redesigned branding, new website design and copywriting plus SEO programme. Exciting times.

We’ve also been appointed by a dynamic chain of Estate Agents, who are keen to build a monumental reputation for their new office in Melton Mowbray. We’re creating a press and direct mail advertising campaign for them, using a copywriter with extensive experience in the property market – having worked for Barratt, Higgs and Hill, Crest Nicholson amongst others.

Fun and (Olympic) games

Talking of Melton Mowbray, I popped into JJ’s Lingerie – a long-time client of ours – to admire their new, Olympic-styled window. A great effect but I did wonder about brand protection. Sure enough, in came the local Trading Standards and ordered the display to be taken down; on pain of a £10,000 fine. Ouch.

Madam Ketchup? I think not

They say variety is the spice of life, but sometimes life can be a little too spicy. Over the years we’ve been approached by potential new clients who include a transvestite hotel, a company selling sex toys, and a whip maker. Regrettably we couldn’t offer them to – ahem – handle them to their satisfaction. Nothing wrong with the adult business – we just don’t have experience in that area. No, really.

"bergy bits"
May
16

Rowers keen to make a splash – not a crack!

May 16, 2012 10:04 pm Published by Comments Off on Rowers keen to make a splash – not a crack!

Anyone back in the UK who thinks that May is proving ‘a little inclement’ should think again. Sure, here in Canada, we know that you’re currently undergoing the ‘wettest drought since records began’ but if you stop peering dolefully out from under your umbrellas for a moment and spare a thought for what’s happening out here in St John’s Newfoundland, you may feel you’re facing a storm in a teacup.

The weather here is so bad that the start of the epic row has been delayed. Yes, the crew expected to face mountainous seas. Yes, they expected the looming threat of ice bergs. But they didn’t expect to meet the truly chilling prospect of undersea ice.

Reporting from his vantage point overlooking St John’s Harbour, OAR crew Andrew Morris, explains:

“More significant than the ice bergs themselves, are the ‘bergy bits’ – lumps of ice floating just beneath the surface of the water that won’t be visible to us as we row backwards, particularly at night. We are currently exploring all of our options. Until the weather improves to a point where it is safe for us to depart, we’ll be staying on dry land.”

Who can blame him? The ‘bergy bits’ represent a major hazard to a boat this size and finding yourself suddenly capsized or holed and taking in the freezing black waters off the Newfoundland coast are too awful to contemplate. The crew has to take the safe – and sane – option.

But where do these treacherous undersea floes come from? Back in 2010, part of the Petermann Glacier of North West Greenland ‘calved’, leaving a giant floating ice island, travelling inexorably southwards. Over the last two years, fragments have broken off, creating icebergs and literally thousands of lethal ‘bergy bits’. Strong south easterlies have blown the bergs onto the coast of Newfoundland and increased their break up. Please visit  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0hYScmwHp0&feature=related for an overview of the Peterman Glacier.

What does all this mean for the future of the O.A.R. effort? At the moment the team is in the position of ‘hurrying up’ and ‘waiting to see’. Time is of the essence, of course, and waiting for the weather is always a morale-sapping experience, but they will set off as soon as a window of opportunity opens. Go to http://www.olympicatlanticrow.com/2012/05/10/press-release-icebergs-and-strong-winds-delay-departure-of-oar/  to read last week’s press release covering the situation.

Overall, the OAR story has been covered by media across the UK and Canada, as well as further afield, so you can gain an overview of the print coverage generated by visiting the website. The team has also been interviewed on a number of TV and radio shows including Channel 5’s the Wright Stuff and CBC, the Canadian National Broadcast.

We’d be delighted to hear from you. For the latest updates regarding departure, and any  questions you might have, please see the OAR twitter feed @OAtlanticRow . Comment from the team and more information about the ice situation can also be found on the OAR website at www.oar2012.com .

 

Apr
24

It’s a civil partnership. Usually

April 24, 2012 5:15 pm Published by Comments Off on It’s a civil partnership. Usually

Michelle – Ketchup MD

The dodgy sex aside, I sometimes think that long term client relationships are a bit like marriages. Both parties enter into them with eyes wide open and with the best of intentions; and learn to adjust their expectations as time passes.

At first it’s all passion and togetherness discovered. There are a couple of warm discussions as you feel your way around and operational guidelines are laid down.

 

Then something wonderful happens

Like all seasoned couples, you become perfectly aligned. The agency is so immersed in the client’s market that it responds to new challenges instinctively. Our creative/management team thinks proactively – without being briefed – to present new directions, ground-breaking ideas and early solutions to future issues. In short, we all work together in shorthand.

Blind date? Actually we met on the internet

A good number of our clients have been with us for over 5 years, some for even longer. Most of our new clients come to us via recommendations from established clients, or people who have worked with us previously. Which is gratifying.

But we do go on blind dates – or pitches, as they’re known in the industry. We also attract new business via the net and targeted marketing efforts. Lucky really, because if we can’t market ourselves…

Taking it personally

Gary – Ketchup Design Guru

And sometimes the personal partner merges with the professional. Our Director of Copy married his Art Director and our Creative Director met his intended over the garden wall when they were children, but he designed all my wedding stationery and table layouts. And our longest standing client was at the ceremony some – oooh – 13 years ago now.

There’s a lot to be said for long term relationships.

 

 

Dynamic by name …
Feb
14

… website by Ketchup

February 14, 2012 6:53 pm Published by Comments Off on … website by Ketchup

dynamic_merchandising_1_website_designWhat’s in a name? Nothing really, a name is just a name. Except. Well, who sounds the sexiest – Brenda or Roxy? Who sounds the most romantic – Stanley or Jean-Paul? The point is, you’d expect that a company with the chutzpah to call itself ‘Dynamic’ would be able to deliver an electrifying range of products and services, right?

Absolutely right. Dynamic create and produce some of the most jaw-dropping promotional displays and POS for company like Coke, McVities, Appletiser etc etc.

And we love working with them because they take, well, a dynamic attitude to using creative work to attract high profile business.

Make us stand out. We want to sound different. Push the boundaries. Nearly all clients say that, but these guys really mean it and that is like a red rag to a creative team.

Gauntlet plucked off the floor, our copywriting team started by writing a screed and a half of lovely, flowing, lilting, web copy. Then we took out a scalpel and assassinated it. Cut it to the bone. Down to five word sentences that stabbed home the prime points.

Terse, telling, selling points. Telegraph-ese bullets. Each with its own dramatic poise.

Then we carefully counter-balanced the bullets with longer sentences designed to nurse the reader through compelling sales messages, masquerading as passages of reassurance. Works, doesn’t it?

Our sales record proves it; copywriting is like acting. You shouldn’t notice it, you should just believe. You shouldn’t be able to see the persuaders, you should just be persuaded.

Then we moved onto the proof of the pudding. We wrote case studies for Dynamic that eschewed the usual The Challenge/The Solution/The Result format and created fast, interesting slugs of proof – laced with performance facts. Proving to prospective clients that Dynamic could, indeed, deliver.

Of course, we wouldn’t do the same thing for you. We’d devise you a completely different stance, in order to achieve the results you want. Whatever your name.

Further project details and images are on our portfolio

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!

Oct
02

A fixed look at Bentons

October 2, 2011 3:44 pm Published by Comments Off on A fixed look at Bentons

Before all the hard work

One of my mother’s favourite sayings is: “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”.  What is it about mothers that makes you want to immediately disregard their finest wisdom as soon as it drops out of their mouths?

Bentons is a case in point. Nothing broken there. Bentons are a very successful Estate Agents based in Melton Mowbray.  It’s a family-owned business that has become the Leicestershire’s fastest growing Estate Agency.

So, nothing to fix then. But, in Ketchup Marketing, our saying is: “Always build on your successes”.

We talked to Bentons about a brand development programme that would make them more appealing to a wider audience. We didn’t want to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ (another one of mother’s) so we were careful to design a brand identity that would attract a new, younger market sector while retaining the traditional client base.

Our consultants and design team worked alongside How Now Marketing to complete a full rebrand; from logo design to print design for office stationery, graphic design for signage and interior décor.

After, Bentons Your Property Experts, Melton office

Another of our clients – Juniper Ash Decorating – redecorated over the weekend to cause minimum disruption to Bentons operation. (A client working over the weekend for us? Nice change!) Then our creative team – including art director, web designer and copywriter – banged brains to produce concepts for future advertising, website design and marketing materials.

Working as an extended team, we fixed it for Bentons. Sorry Mum.

So if you are looking for a new company logo / identity, branded marketing materials, office stationery then give Michelle a call at Ketchup Marketing on 0330 088 9277 or use this contact form.

Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past
Jul
05

Copywriting. What could possibly go wrong?

July 5, 2011 7:18 pm Published by Comments Off on Copywriting. What could possibly go wrong?

There are, after all, only 26 letters in the alphabet. So mind your Ps and Qs and you’ll be O and K. Headlines aren’t usually more than a dozen or so words long, so they’re easy. The tip here is to write out what you want to say in long form, then whittle it down. If you can’t get it below 15 words max, you need professional help.

Once you have your snappy, compelling, irresistible headline you just need to write the copy. Again; easy. Say, 100 words if you’re penning a press ad. Less if poss. Use short sentences. Be dynamic. Counts the words. If you’re up to 150 your audience is likely to wander off long before you ramble round to your point. So cut the self indulgence. Never forget; you’re not here to entertain, you’re here to sell a product. But remember, sometimes the best way to sell a product is to be entertaining.

Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past

While you’re laying down the words, be aware or beware. If they’re not the right words you could waste your entire spend. Your brochure, for example. It may be professionally designed, beautifully photographed, lavishly printed. But if it sounds like it was written by a Sun reader using a bread knife, your audience will be turned off in their droves. Amateurish copy will make your company sound, well, amateurish. Talk about spoiling the ship….

Don’t let us put you off with all this. We’re just pushing for business. Next time we’ll talk about thinking, and leaping the headline hurdle.

Coming soon… A penny for your thoughts.

 

 

Comic sans ...
Jun
24

The website design features that everybody hates

June 24, 2011 12:44 pm Published by Comments Off on The website design features that everybody hates

We love website design at Ketchup.  Creating a stylish new site that can help a firm reach a whole new audience is one of the most rewarding things that you can achieve in working life.  Do you know what’s not rewarding or successful, though?  A website that uses any of these features:
(more…)

Signup to our Newsletter

Your privacy matters to us. We promise to keep your information safe and we’ll only get in touch with you according to your preferences.
You can read more about how we store and use data in our privacy notice.

It’s all about the results