November 11, 2015 1:20 pm
After spending 5 weeks at Ketchup HQ, I have had the best experiences and learnt so much about the world of Marketing and working with local businesses. Here are some of the key messages from my time at Ketchup:
Knowledge is Power
It is vital that business owners understand who their target market is and how these clients engage with their business. Who is your ‘typical’ or most profitable customer? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What brands do they buy? The answers to these kinds of questions will inform the style and tone of the Marketing materials produced for this group and will help make sure your Marketing is appropriate for these people. Those of you who know Michelle might have seen the Janet and John presentation…
Online – along the right lines?
While no-one can deny the importance of a professional website, not all aspects of online marketing are appropriate for every business. Business owners tend to view social media as an efficient way to boost their business profile, but certain industries are unlikely to increase their profits by 20% simply by tweeting about their work. For instance, cranes, labels, mezzanine floors and glue are not the sorts of posts likely to receive a record number of likes. Babies, food and pets, however, are. Equally, if you are going to have a Facebook or Twitter account, make sure it remains relevant and up-to-date, as it looks unprofessional if you started in earnest, but have made no effort to continue posting.
Branding: Three time’s a charm
Three really is the magic number in Marketing, with people needing to see a brand three times before remembering it. With this in mind, businesses need to ensure their Marketing message reaches their target audience enough times. There are many different ways of doing this, from offline A-boards to websites and online Facebook advertising. Likewise, being creative is a great way to be memorable, such as using different shapes for your Marketing material. However, businesses must ensure they have the money to execute a campaign effectively, and should have the 3 touch points goal in mind when budgeting.
For more insights into what I have gained from working at Ketchup, look out for my next blog.
To discuss how Ketchup Marketing can help your business, use the contact form here or visit the website for more information.
April 13, 2015 9:30 am
When you create a marketing campaign, you must decide upon a clear and concise message that calls your customers to action. The nature and structure of your marketing message can make or break your campaign.
When developing your message there are a few things that you need to consider before committing to it. The first and most important thing is knowing who you want the message to be seen by, the second is knowing what you want to say to those people, and the third is being confident that whatever you say will be remembered. If one of these areas fails you then your marketing campaign is likely to be less successful and you risk wasting a portion of your marketing budget, so carrying out the groundwork beforehand really is worth it.
Who is your audience?
Many start-up companies will wrongly define their audience when they send out their first marketing campaign. Whether it’s because the audience is too general, too broad, or the company is over-reaching, many find that they fail at the first hurdle. Looking at quality rather than quantity here is key.
Making your audience bigger by targeting people that won’t really be interested in what you have to say will not generate sales, making your audience as specific as possible will. In the same way, if you’re a company that targets other businesses, you must realise who is likely to open an email or message that you send. You may be preparing your message for the CEO of that company, when in actual fact it’s the CEO’s secretary that everything has to get clearing from first. So, before developing a ‘one for all’ message it’s important to think about the people who will be on the other end of it.
What are you going to tell them?
The most important thing you need to tell your audience is what problem you’re offering to solve, how you are going to solve it, and why you are the best person to solve it. There’s no need to go into massive amounts of detail, but your audience needs to know what you can do for them and why they should buy your products and services and in a very short space of time. In many cases you only have seconds to capture your audience’s attention.
Finding the perfect way to say this and hook your audience with it can take time and discipline but it will be worth it, don’t be afraid to test and experiment with your marketing messages. Try to anticipate the questions that your customers may want to ask you and the objection points that they are most likely to throw at you, do your best to answer them precisely so there’s nothing left for them to wonder about or question.
Are you worth remembering?
There are so many things that have an impact on us when we see a promotional message (marketing message). Your marketing campaign should be attractive, present the right details, and capture the attention and imagination of your audience quickly. Most people will only remember three key features so keep the message to the point and easy to use. Remember that a marketing message is the start of a conversation with your customers and you want them to respond by visiting your website, clicking on links, and buying products and services. With that in mind, you have to give them something unforgettable.
For help developing the perfect marketing massage and campaigns for your products and services, contact the experts at Ketchup Marketing today. Call us on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form.
February 17, 2015 1:02 pm
The social network LinkedIn has brought tremendous benefits for businesses. It’s natural for a business to want to create a Facebook or Twitter account but LinkedIn sometimes comes as an afterthought. For anyone trying to grow a business, this could be a huge mistake. The main reason for LinkedIn being such a major success with businesses and professionals is because it’s aimed at businesses and professionals, not just the general public. Everything on LinkedIn is business related.
With this in mind, businesses can get an awful lot out of a LinkedIn account. Some of the benefits include:
- LinkedIn Groups – The groups are an ideal place to share links to some of your blog posts. You can track down groups that are about the same industry as your business and skills and therefore target like-minded people that will be interested in what you have to say. This will increase traffic to your online content.
- Learn from others – LinkedIn is a social network that is full of people who have been there and done that. If you’re just starting out, or you’re branching out into different areas in your industry, LinkedIn is the best place to find advice from experts that have tried and tested it all before.
- It’s much easier to connect with people who will be interested in what you do – LinkedIn has over 200 million users and it’s organised in a way that will help you connect with the right people. There’s no time wasting with LinkedIn and what business owner has time to waste when it comes to advertising?
- Others will make connections for you – With LinkedIn, people you are connected to can introduce you to others that they think may be interested in your work. That way you aren’t just tied down to the people you are initially connected with and your network will continue to grow.
LinkedIn is all about building relationships with other professionals. It’s a place where you can be challenged on improving the way you work, staying innovative, and learning how to market your products and services in the right way. You can also build local links with other businesses that may end up referring clients to you in the future. LinkedIn is being recommended to university graduates as way of quickly getting on the career ladder and building a useful online network that they can maintain for life.
Many people that use LinkedIn find that they use it daily and build up valuable connections quickly. It’s important for a LinkedIn profile to be complete and include the vital details needed for others to want to connect with it. Once a profile is up and running there’s no end to the profits that can be gained from it. Every business needs good connections to survive and LinkedIn makes that possible in a quick and convenient way. In essence, LinkedIn is the Facebook of the business world and just as many individuals couldn’t do without Facebook these days, many businesses and professionals shouldn’t do without LinkedIn.
If you would like help building your business’ online presence it’s time to talk to the experts. Contact the Ketchup team today to discuss your requirements on 0330 088 9277, alternatively, complete our online enquiry form.
Our visit our LinkedIn page.
January 9, 2015 9:15 am
Instagram is just one of the many social media platforms available today and it can help boost businesses in many different ways. It focuses on image sharing, posting an image can reach millions and provide a visibility like no other. The Instagram community is growing daily so it’s a good idea to hop on board the Instagram train before your competitors do.
Instagram can be used to reach your customers instantly and give them an idea of how your business is run and what you stand for. Creating this kind of connection with your customers and potential customers is priceless. Take a look at some of the ways you can use Instagram to promote your business:
- Display your products – The most important thing that you can use Instagram for is to show everyone your products. The benefit of shopping online is that customers can browse through products at their own leisure, and from their own home, and Instagram presents that same opportunity. Show people the variety and uniqueness in what you offer and you’ll gain some loyal subscribers.
- Give people a visual insight into your business – People always want a quality product but all too often they’re left to rely on recommendations. With Instagram, you can show your followers how your products are made. Take shots during the process of producing your products so that your customers can see the time and effort that goes into it and they can be sure it’s money well spent. Letting people see what goes on behind the scenes can really promote trust.
- Before and after shots – Your customers will want to know what your products can do. It’s a great idea to take some before and after shots so everyone can see how well your products perform. For example, a shot of a dirty carpet before and shot of the same clean carpet after using a carpet cleaning product.
- It’s all about exclusivity – Your followers should feel like they have special access to your business. Use Instagram to offer exclusive previews of new products or exclusive discounts and offers on existing products. There has to be a reason for them to want to follow you and your business.
- Show people how much you love your job – It’s important to share the passion you have for your business with others. If people can see how much faith you have in your products, it will rub off and result in sales. If you are attending an event, or going to research stock, take your followers with you by taking shots of your day.
- Get silly – If you bump into a celebrity on your travels or even find a funny animal, share it. Your followers will want to be included in everything and it shows them you are a human being, not just a corporate body behind a machine. Being a bit more personal can be great for your business.
Instagram is a great way of showing your followers who you really are and what your products are about. It’s a way of saying everything you need to say without saying a word and creatively keeping your followers entertained so that they eventually become loyal customers.
If you need help with your social media strategy, or your marketing strategy and activity in general, it’s time to talk to the Ketchup team. Contact us today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online enquiry form.
January 7, 2015 9:09 am
A-Z of Marketing: Infographics
Infographics are becoming increasingly popular as a marketing tool and as a way of presenting information and data in a visual form. They have become part of the content marketing revolution because they are one of the easiest ways of building natural links. Infographics spark lots of interest from customers and potential customers as this format makes it easier to digest a lot of information quickly. The use of infographics has proven to be extremely beneficial when looking to drive traffic to your website.
Take a look at some of the ways that using infographics can have a positive effect on your business.
- Increased awareness – Infographics are eye catching so they are noticeable and as a result are regularly shared. This will drive more traffic to your website and increase awareness of your business and the products and services that you provide.
- SEO benefits – Google loves it when we present data and information in visual form so the use of infographics can only be good for your SEO and Google rankings
- Get the message across – It has been proven that the majority of people will better understand, and more quickly digest, information that’s in visual form. The same amount of information that appears as text will all too often be ignored or disappear into the mountain of data your customers are exposed to every day. Therefore, infographics give you a much better chance of reaching your customers with important news.
- ROI – The most important purpose of infographics is their unique ability to catch people’s eye and drive them to investigate your website. An infographic should be able to stir up curiosity and increase traffic significantly. If the infographics that you use can do that, the business is more likely to see increased enquiries and a return on its marketing investment.
In order for infographics to have this effect on your business, they need to be able to appeal to your target audience. Here are a few things to think about when producing your infographics:
- Creativity – Plain and simple is good for getting the message across but a design that appeals to people in your target audience is much better. Creating a great design is sometimes difficult but once you’ve got it, it will be well worth the wait.
- Make it unique – Try to avoid using infographic templates. The result will only be that your infographic looks like a thousand others and people will ignore it because they think they’ve already seen it. Needless to say, your infographic must stand out if it’s going to make any connection with your chosen audience.
- Keep text to a minimum – We all lead very busy lives and as a result, we don’t have much time to read in depth articles full of facts. Your infographic should really be able to say all it needs to say in a matter of seconds. Interested viewers will return for a second look if they see something they like. Any text on an infographic should be quick and to the point.
- Reach a larger audience – The beauty of infographics is that they can be easily shared, so make sure yours are shareable. If they are, you’ll find that some of your audience will share with their friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances, and your following will grow.
Infographics are becoming more important as part of marketing your business. They are the bait that will catch you your ideal customers, so make sure they’re of the best quality.
If you would like to incorporate infographics into your marketing activity but need help with the development and distribution, contact that team at Ketchup. We can help make infographics work for your business, call us on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online enquiry form.
October 30, 2014 5:10 pm
Digital marketing is essential to all businesses today. Can you imagine if you didn’t have a website or if customers weren’t able to find you on social media? In this day and age, that would make your business virtually non-existent to your customers.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the promotion of your products and services using electronic media channels. This can include email, online advertising, SMS, social media, and more.
Digital marketing offers a number of benefits to businesses today, not least the fact that it is easy to measure campaign response and success. Whether you run campaigns through your website, email social media, SMS, or apps, you can collect a huge amount of useful information, and not just around the campaigns’ performance, but also about your customers themselves. We mentioned in our earlier A-Z blog on data about the importance of this information and digital marketing is a prime way of collecting it.
Simply put, digital marketing will allow you to get to know your customers and tailor your offers to suit their requirements.
The relevance of digital marketing to growing businesses
As the digital world continues to grow, we as users take in more and more digital information every day. If you take this into consideration, it’s obvious that digital marketing will be the marketing of the future and will only become more complex as it goes on. Taking only one example, the amount of people that prefer to read the news online instead of going out and buying a newspaper has dramatically increased over the past few years and we’re only going to continue that way. We are becoming and online nation.
Now people buy online more than they do on the high street and more and more people are accessing the internet solely on their mobile device. Customers now do all their research into what to buy via online channels. Online is where your customers are and that’s where your business needs to be too.
As a business that wants to grow, you may be interested in knowing that digital marketing is actually a much more cost effective way of advertising than regular marketing methods and it will reach a much broader audience. Each campaign can constantly be tailored to increase its effectiveness as relevant data such as click through rates, registration numbers, etc… become available.
In a nutshell, ignoring the fact that your business needs to be part of the digital world will do it no good. It’s vital to have a digital presence with the amount of people that use laptops, tablets, mobiles, and other digital devices. It’s as important for B2B organisations as it is for B2C companies. Most households have at least three digital devices that are in daily use so there’s no avoiding the fact that your business will be noticed much quicker by having a digital presence than they would without one. Getting the word out to potential customers has never been easier or more effective, so using digital marketing should really be a no-brainer!
To discuss how we can help you to plan and execute the perfect digital marketing campaign, call the Ketchup team on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
October 23, 2014 4:57 pm
You can use all the marketing tricks in the book but if you don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, you’ll be going nowhere fast. Why should your customers buy from you instead of your competitors? What makes you and your products and services so special? It’s important to find out what you have to offer before you start sending out adverts and e-mails, or creating blogs.
What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? For example, two jewellery stores may be selling the same necklace, but one of those jewellery stores is offering free engraving when the necklace is purchased. Who do you think customers will buy from?
There are many different ways in which you could differentiate your business from your competitors.
- Offer as many unique, high quality products and services as you possibly can. Take the time to find out what your USPs are, i.e. what’s unique about the products and services you are offering.
- Make your product or service stand out by presenting it as the best deal within your area. For example, a dry cleaning service may charge by the garment but could attract more interest if they were to dry clean three garments for the price of two.
- Find your niche in the market. If you have a business that’s offering unique products and services that are tailored to a specific audience, it’s more likely that you’ll attract them successfully and you can raise your prices because of the bespoke product/service you offer.
- Make yourself known for something. If you have a special offer and people start talking about it, you could become known for it. It’s great if a leaflet comes through the door but if someone you know says, ‘Hey, ____ does a free valet on your car with every service’, you’re much more likely to go there, word of mouth is always best.
- Have confidence in your products and services? It’s amazing how many businesses will boast about what they have on offer but never guarantee the results the customers are looking for. If you believe in what you’re selling, say so. Tell your customers that results are guaranteed or they’ll get their money back and their confidence in you will be immediately boosted.
- Offer fantastic customer service. A happy customer is a customer that comes back, so you might try going out of your way to make them feel special; whether that’s with a discount, a gift or even a nice friendly chat. It will all make you stand out from the rest!
Differentiation is all about identifying and making your customers aware of what’s different about your business and why they should purchase what you’re offering. Taking the time to identify just what that is, and then capitalising on it will get your business noticed above your competitors which really is the overall objective.
If you want to make your customers aware of your USPs, or if you need help identifying them and think a third party could help, contact Michelle at Ketchup Marketing today on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
September 26, 2014 7:30 am
A-Z of Marketing – Customer Relationship Management
Developing a good relationship with your customers is vital to a successful and long-lasting business. There are a few tried and tested methods that can help you to create relationships that can stand the test of time, and therefore create a constant flow of income to your business. Putting a strong customer relationship management strategy in place will allow you to keep track of your relationships with individual customers, your suppliers, and your colleagues. If you’re wondering what you can do to improve your CRM practices, take a look at some of the advice from the Ketchup team:
- Understanding your customers – In order to look after your customers properly, you need to know about them. A CRM strategy allows you to gather information, such as a customer’s order history, order status; previous issues, you can even gather together information about their likes and dislikes. From the moment a customer engages with your business you can and should gather and store relevant information about them. This way, you can tailor your correspondence to cover the products, services, and information that they will be interested in. This is far more likely to result in sales!
- Improved customer service – If a customer walks into a store or calls your customer service team and asks for an update on an order but the staff has no information, it isn’t going to encourage them to come back. By having all the information to hand you will build a smoother, more efficient customer service process. This will keep you customers happy and encourage long lasting and profitable relationships.
- Managing enquiries and relationships – Do you know what your customers are asking for? By quickly responding to enquiries and developing an excellent level of customer service you can learn more about your target audience and how they are evolving. Using CRM systems and processes means that all this information is gathered together in one place which makes it much easier to read, analyse, and use to your advantage.
- Collecting data – Once you know who your customers are, what they’re buying, and what they’re likely to buy, you can also tailor your market research to them, and your potential customers, so the information that they are presented with is relevant. The same goes for marketing messages and contact such as newsletters and emails. A customer is much more likely to open and view an email that contains something of interest to them and has been personalised rather than a generic email sent to everyone.
- Increase referrals – One of the most rewarding points to using CRM is the fact that customers are more likely to pass things on to their friends because they have common interests. Therefore, if a message is personalised and they like what they see, the business will gain additional custom. This can happen in many forms; for example, sharing a Facebook post with friends.
There are so many advantages to using CRM in a business, and as customers become more interested in personalised messages and marketplaces becomes more competitive, it’s important that your methods of collecting, storing, and using customer data, are as advanced as possible. CRM will change the way your business is run and it will always be for the better!
At Ketchup Marketing we can help with all aspects of your marketing activity, from website design, to email marketing, and copywriting. We can help put all that lovely CRM data to great use, contact Michelle today on 0330 088 9277 to discuss your requirements or use our contact form here.
July 21, 2014 4:38 pm
We continue our A-Z of marketing with one of the oldest marketing methods available, advertising. The first recorded piece of advertising dates back to well-known excavations such as Pompeii, where businesses would promote their wares and location through simple wall paintings.
The medium has changed a lot since then, and even over the last decade, with online advertising becoming an option alongside print, radio, and television advertising.
What is advertising?
Advertising is used by businesses to attract attention to their products and services whilst encouraging people to buy them. As with other marketing channels you only have a small amount of time to catch and keep your potential customers attention.
Advertisements need to be eye catching and keep information short, sharp, and relevant.
There are a number of mediums available and the main forms of advertising used today include:
- Print advertising in magazines and newspapers.
- Outdoor – posters such as those seen on the London Underground or at bus shelters.
- Online – banners, MPUs, and skyscrapers on websites. More recently social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have launched their own advertising options.
There has been talk over recent years about advertising becoming less effective, particularly through offline channels. However, if used as part of an overall marketing campaign which involves your target market seeing your message in a number of ways, and through a number of mediums, advertising is still an essential part of a marketer’s toolbox.
The great thing about the way advertising has evolved is that it has become easier to make interactive and measurable. Online advertising, unlike print, can be more accurately measured by monitoring impressions, click through and conversion rates. Even print advertising today often brings with it the opportunity for an online presence as many publications have moved with the times and now offer online versions.
Print advertising still works well in more niche publications such as trade magazines, you are hitting a more targeted set of readers, and in glossy magazines where taking out advertising space is still associated with glamour and success. Yes print advertising is harder to measure in terms of how many people actually see and take note of what you are offering, however, by placing an advertisement which includes a special offer or coupon with an associated code, you can easily track conversion rates and sales which are key metrics.
The new found interactivity of advertising online or on TV means that you can now point interested parties to all the information they need via a targeted landing page. You can offer special promotions because they’ve come to you through a specific advert, or you can offer them a free download, or the opportunity to request more information. The options are endless.
What to take into account when planning your campaign
Depending on the advertising channels you are using, there are a number of things to take into account when looking at placing an advertisement for your business.
- What’s your key message and how will the advertising channels you are considering display it.
- How will you measure the effectiveness of the campaign and do the channels you are looking at support that kind of measurement?
- What is your definition of a successful campaign? Is it number of visitors to your website, number of enquiries, downloads, sales.
- What is an acceptable cost per click /enquiry/sale for your business?
- Are any of your competitors great at running advertising campaigns? What can you learn from them?
- How much are you prepared to spend on your campaign?
How much should I invest?
Advertising is such a flexible medium that you can cater to most requirements and budgets. It all really depends on what you want to achieve and what budget you have available.
If you are looking for advice and how to get started call Ketchup Marketing today on 0330 088 9277.
April 25, 2014 11:34 am
We may be a marketing agency but there are some trends and developments that even take us by surprise, and we’re not too proud to admit it. Case in point, in November 2013, whilst analysing our website results, we were shocked to discover that 77% of our traffic came from mobile devices – 77%!
We knew that the use of mobile devices to access websites was increasing among consumers, especially in retail sectors. However, this figure demonstrates that business users are getting in on the action too.
Our website was 5 years old at this point and we were always talking about a brand refresh and a new site. The number of people visiting us from mobile devices made us realise that a whole new website was in order, no more dithering, and we had to say no to some local projects to find the time needed. If we didn’t make our site more responsive for mobile users, a potentially huge chunk of our visitors would be alienated, exactly the opposite of what we wanted to achieve.
We don’t want your website to alienate potential customers either, which is why all websites developed by Ketchup are now mobile friendly as standard – there’s no extra charge.
Beyond our 77% website statistics shocker, the bigger picture figures speak for themselves. Over *1 billion people use their mobile device to access the internet, and a high percentage of them ONLY use their mobile device to access the internet. That’s right, no PC or Laptop access, purely smartphone and tablet surfing. According to Mashable in 2013 17.4% of Global Web Traffic Comes Through Mobile.
This figure is only going to rise and highlights just how important it is to your business and brand that your website, the window to your business, is easy to view, navigate, and interact with, whatever device is being used. If a potential customer accesses your site on the move and finds it slow to download and difficult to use, they will switch off, potentially never to visit again or consider buying the products or services you offer. Examples of mobile responsive websites developed this year include:
If you are looking for a new website, it absolutely has to be optimised for mobile. Find out how Ketchup can help you, call Michelle Jones on 0330 088 9277 today to discuss your new responsive website or contact us here.
* The International Telecommunication Union, November 2011
Just who is managing who these days?
November 11, 2013 10:30 am
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or @ketchuptweets
August 21, 2013 10:14 am
According to a recent Survey conducted by Live & Breathe, 73% of shoppers care that the nations high street are in decline, and a good proportion of them are worried about their local high street.
At Ketchup Marketing we have been working with two local independent retailers in Oakham, in two very different businesses, selling products which are poles apart. They seem to be rather pleased with the results so far, so we thought we’d share our top ten tips for independent retailers.
- Make sure you have a good, clear sign which is perpendicular to the front of your shop so that pedestrians and traffic can see you on their approach.
- Make sure any offers or discounts you’re promoting aren’t devaluing your customer’s buying experience. Nothing like screams “naff” more than massive “SALE” signs in your window.
- Sell baskets. Before you try and sell anything to anyone, make sure they have a basket in their hand. Studies prove that having a basket increases the average transaction value at the till.
- Use music (as long as you have appropriate licences in place) to enhance the experience. Fast music speeds up your shoppers. Slow music slows them down.
- Similarly, shoppers are shown to slow down and ponder over goods where the lighting is slightly dimmer than the rest of the store.
- Position your most profitable goods at eye level. Eye level is buy level.
- Make sure your team in-store are empowered to deal with problems quickly – everyone should know what the process is for handling a complaint, return etc.
- Monitor what sells, and what doesn’t. Move your stock around to see if that changes the results.
- Position goods strategically – between 4pm and 8pm a certain supermarket chain positions nappies near beer, so that fathers on the way home from work, when requested by their partner to pick up more nappies, will “just happen” to pick up a four pack of tinnies too.
- Use your window display like a billboard advertisement – create something that’s going to inspire your customers to buy – change it regularly, use it to showcase your best products, with messages calling customers into the store. If you’d had to pay for an advertising space that big I’m sure you’d think about it really carefully, so do that with each new window display.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to retail marketing and merchandising, and if you want to know more then give us a call on 0330 088 9277 and we’ll be delighted to see how we can help you.
There’s no excuse for just being lazy!
August 12, 2013 1:03 pm
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.
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
June 18, 2013 10:00 am
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
June 10, 2013 10:00 pm
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!
It’s my turn to have a little bit of a grumble today...
May 31, 2013 2:12 pm
It’s my turn to have a little bit of a grumble today. I shouldn’t really, the sun’s finally out and at Ketchup Marketing HQ the atmosphere is bubbling with focused creative energy as we busy ourselves with some juicy projects… but something has been irritating me.
Over the last few weeks I’ve spotted that a couple of local small businesses have invested in A-boards. A-boards and other such signage can be a great way to attract passing pedestrians into your premises, but getting the message and position right is critical. The thing that has irked me is that these two new, shiny A-boards are situated on a busy A-road, so very few passers-by on foot. Most people who spot them will be, like me, driving past at 40 mph. And guess what? You can’t actually see what the boards say from your car at that speed.
It bothers me on two levels; As a marketing professional as well as from the point of view of a small business owner in tough economic times, we all want as much bang for our buck as possible. So spending a couple of hundred quid on something that has no impact whatsoever actually makes me feel a bit sad that these small businesses have wasted their hard earned money. Yes, yes, it’s my usual mantra about return on investment. For the same money – or less, the businesses could have chosen something much more effective – a vinyl banner, a sign positioned perpendicular to the building, posters, or leaflets distributed to target postcodes.
Here at Ketchup Marketing we wouldn’t dream of selling you an ineffective “solution” to help you attract more customers. If you have a store and you want more people to come into it, we can advise you on how best to get your message to people (one that is meaningful, and importantly, one that they can actually read) to maximise your return on your marketing spend. So, give me, Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 and I (and Gary) will help you avoid the A-road-A-board error, among others.
May 20, 2013 11:17 am
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.
May 16, 2013 10:07 am
Will you ask our brand consultants and copywriting team to create new product names, or devise a new proposition and strap line for your business?
Will you have our designers re-lay a page of your website to demonstrate how it could gain added sales appeal and more standout from your competitors?
Or will you ask our experts to review your SEO to make attract the right customers – in greater volume – to your site? Or make sure it’s ‘cookie clean’ and complies with the latest regulatory requirements?
Take advantage of our offer of a FREE HOUR of creative/expert insight. Call us now to discuss your project.
We’ll even include our initial consultation, into the bargain.
For more info, click here or phone Michelle Jones, Marketing Director on 0330 088 9277 or 07747 604020.
May 3, 2013 2:42 pm
Back in February I met John and Lynn who whilst local to our Melton Mowbray office had purchased a caravan and camping site in Cornwall, and were looking for our help with designing a website. Over coffee and cake we devised a sitemap and I sold the prospect of weekly blogging and social media to Lynn, John (renamed the silent one), just sat and look at me a little bewildered and often mentioned budget!
So whilst the sale of the business went through and prior to moving “down south” we designed and launched The Meadows website.
Open for Caravans
We have had weekly updates and photos of the refurbishment of The Meadows, from the discovery of old cars, vintage farm machinery, and caravans hidden in thick overgrowth, the tales of “odd” workmen and of course the arrival of Camp Dog Harvey (Head of Security) and his new work boots! Lots of the treasures discovered have been ‘upcycled’ and appear around the site for customers to enjoy. In addition, you will have often seen us mentioning Camp Dog Harvey in our tweets and The Meadows has appeared on our blog.
12 weeks on, and many man hours later (and budget … John, see we are a “bargain in comparison to new electrics) The Meadows opens for business TODAY. The camp site, now benefits from hard standing grass pitches, and the shower block refurbishment is fantastic. New electrical hook up points next to the stream have been installed and a shop will open on site this weekend ready for Martin Doreys arrival, and of course lovely new signage to welcome guests. There is also a fab new decked area for guests to enjoy and in the evenings the old log burner will be lit, with a kettle for customers to fill up.
As for the website, well it’s attracting over 1300 visitors a week and on average there are 7 bookings a day – what a great start to The Meadows first season in Cornwall.
Team Red and Head of Office Security – Tommy Ketchup will be visiting in June, can’t wait to see it for real and for one of Johns breakfast baps (how much?).
Enjoy your first weekend from all at Ketchup HQ.
May 1, 2013 3:37 pm
We don’t really do PR here at Ketchup. Or do we?
We do talk a great deal about embracing the whole marketing mix when it comes to promoting your brand – and in this current economic climate, small and medium-sized enterprises need to be aware of the many factors which will either strengthen or threaten their existence in the short, medium and long term. While SMEs need to be concerned with investing in their marketing strategy & shoring up their sales pipeline to ensure a secure and efficient revenue chain, a healthy PR campaign is a valuable addition to the mix.
Many traditional thinkers still believe that public relations deals only within the realm of damage limitation or engaging current clients and a very specific target audience; however with the advent of social media and with the subsequent increased leverage associated with such marketing communications, the correct targeting of a public relations campaign has never been more important. Forward thinking dictates that social media networking is fast becoming the preferred method of marketing for many global businesses.
The benefit that these have for SME’s is that there is usually little if any monetary investment while exposure can be phenomenal. It is therefore essential to gain a direct working knowledge of these sites; from such aspects as how to write a press release to how to actively engage the correct leads. The fundamental concept which needs to be recognised is that social networks are the marketplace of the future. In fact, if employed correctly, such word-of-mouth advertising can have the added benefit of generating more leads simply by increased social interest.
The principal benefit for small businesses is that this is still considered a niche market for many larger corporations. What presents itself here is a genuine opportunity to slide the proverbial “foot in the door” of what is proving to be a truly global marketplace. For guidance on your marketing strategy and how you can integrate social media into your marketing mix, call Michelle on 0330 088 9277
Yes it's that time of year again...
April 26, 2013 2:56 pm
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.
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!
Original Thinking – No Artificial Additives
April 9, 2013 10:30 am
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.
April 2, 2013 9:00 am
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.
March 26, 2013 10:25 am
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)
- 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.
- Keep any links current. Broken links are a sign of a website that is neglected. Google won’t like it either.
- 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!
- 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.
- Don’t bury your key message several clicks away – it needs to be communicated on the home page.
- 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.
- No pop-up adverts please! How irritating. And they make your site look spammy.
- Relevant, in-bound links will improve your search engine rankings, so encourage appropriate businesses in your network to link to your website from theirs.
- Write using your customers’ language. Use keyword research to find out how people describe your product / service.
- 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.
March 20, 2013 9:22 am
If you’re paying for a website for your business, you need to be sure it’s working for you and that you’ll get a return on your investment. Here’s a selection of things we think you should seriously consider when you’re planning your webpages.
- Make sure your contact details are easy to find. You might have a beautiful looking website but if no-one knows how to get in touch with you, you may as well have not bothered. And you can use Google Maps too.
- The ‘About Us’ page… Do you really need a page that talks about Uncle Bob starting the company in 1876?
- Address the reader – use ‘You’ & ‘Your’.
- Use testimonials – endorsements from your customers (real, not made up!) speak volumes.
- Sell the sizzle, not the sausage. Don’t just talk about features of what you sell, emphasise the benefits.
- Don’t use huge blocks of text – it’ll put the reader off. Use headlines and break up lengthy paragraphs with subheadings. Check for typos!
- Demonstrate your expertise in your field. Oh look. We’re doing that now.
- Use real photos. Give them a proper name. A picture speaks a thousand words.
- Inject a bit of urgency with a call to action. “Call us now to find out how you can benefit!” (You can if you like!)
- Make sure you’re updating your site regularly. Blogging is a good way of keeping content fresh.
More tips coming soon… in the meantime you can get in touch with us to find out more email@example.com
March 15, 2013 5:20 pm
A wise man once wrote “Loyalty is for the dogs. Count me among the cats. And count me twice—once for each of my faces.”
The truth is, that with our purses and wallets having been squeezed over the last few years, our buying decisions are perhaps not as straightforward as they once were. But when I recently overheard the owner of our local farm shop proudly telling a customer they’d be launching a loyalty card next month which would give shoppers a discount on their basket price, it took all the self-discipline I could muster to not to go running up to him and plead with him to reconsider. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against small businesses adopting successful practices of larger businesses, but let me tell you why I think this particular scheme is a bad idea.
How many of those plastic rewards cards have you got crammed into your purse or wallet? I seem to have more loyalty cards than bank cards. The reason why stores like Boots and Tesco introduced these kinds of schemes wasn’t to reward loyalty. Oh no. The ingenious truth is that when we swipe our loyalty cards at the checkout, we’re giving away hugely valuable data about our habits as shoppers – what products we buy, how often, what incentives we take advantage of, how we pay etc. Data like this is priceless. The stores can build up a detailed picture of their customers, categorise us and send us tailor-made offers based on our shopping history to encourage us to return to the store and buy more stuff. And they see which vouchers and offers we use and which we don’t. So every time we go back in the shop they are finding out more and more detail about us. It’s actually a bit creepy.
So why shouldn’t my local farm shop do the same? Well, that’s because they won’t be collecting and harvesting all of that important data using an expensive EPOS system. What they’ll be achieving is something quite different. There are, broadly, 2 types of customer at the local farm shop. The first type is those people who support the shop because they want to see it succeed, like the produce and the whole experience of shopping there. The second type of customer is the one who use the local shop to top-up their weekly supermarket shop. That’s not to say that this second group of customers isn’t as valuable, but you probably aren’t going to change their buying behaviour any time soon. The farm shop is a single store, not part of a big chain. The people who own it, as they serve you at the till, see with their own eyes who is buying what, how regularly they use the shop, gather feedback and ideas, so they don’t need a complex computer system and computerised systems to give them that customer insight.
So what does the loyalty card achieve? Actually, what it will potentially achieve is what worries me. It’ll mean that every customer who has a card will be contributing a smaller amount of profit to the business. Which means that the farm shop will need to increase the number of customers and volume of sales to achieve the same level of profit as before they introduced the card. And when you’re located in a rural area, that’s not easy.
So does brand loyalty still exist? Yes. Some of the time. But it’s not as simple as it might first appear and these days loyalties are tested almost hourly. And it depends on which face we have on.
"exceeded our expectations"
March 15, 2013 9:07 am
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.
Thank You – from The Meadows
February 27, 2013 4:09 pm
Dear Michelle and your fabulous team
John and I were so excited to see our website “live” and what a fantastic job you have done.
We have been so impressed from start to finish and in particular with regard to delivery. You have interpreted our initial ideas and made these in to the most fantastic website, and you should be very proud of what you have produced for us, as we certainly are. What a great start for our new business venture and our camping site could not have a better platform for launch thanks to you and your team.
The time constraints were very tight and you have worked so hard, and have done everything you promised and more. The whole process has been so easy for us, as you have set everything out so clearly for us, and most importantly you have done exactly what you said you would, absolutely on time and on budget.
We would not hesitate to recommend “Ketchup” and we are more than happy to display your details on our website, and to include our website in any of your advertising material.
Thank you once again for the excellent job you have done. Your company deserves its success, and thank you for giving ours such a good start.
All the very best to you all.
Lynn Bowler & John Brooks – The Meadows, Cornwall
February 11, 2013 9:55 am
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.
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.
January 7, 2013 12:25 pm
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.
December 17, 2012 5:08 pm
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.
Don’t let anyone pretend otherwise...
December 3, 2012 3:58 pm
Don’t let anyone pretend otherwise. No matter how sophisticated marketing techniques become, no matter how accurately the latest techniques can target potential customers, no matter how many customers are attracted by the most advanced SEO…nothing beats word of mouth for generating sales.
A friend of ours recently ignored millions of pounds worth of iPhone advertising – not to mention Apple’s impeccable brand credentials, superb product design and ultra-cool image – and bought an HTC phone. The reason, apart from the desire to wilfully fly in reason’s face? “Well, my mate Dave has an HTC and he says it works quite well.”
What happens when you have no mouth and no word?
Without speaking to each visitor to your website personally and recommending they talk to the equivalent of your mate Dave, its difficult to harness the power of word of mouth to sell your company, products and services. But not impossible.
Remember the first two words of this paragraph
Skilfully written case studies are a fantastic form of word of mouth, provided you follow some simple rules. The first of which is to employ a professional. Of course, we have a vested interest in saying that; we do, after all, write successful case studies for a number of our clients as part of our comprehensive web design, copywriting and building service. The cost is minimal (compared to having one of your senior execs waste a couple of hours hacking away at the language) and the end result is a study that showcases the company’s abilities whilst containing a near-subliminal but extremely effective recommendation from a respected third party company.
Packed? This case study is stuffed
Of course, if you’re not busy you might as well have a go yourself – what could possibly go wrong? Well, you could follow the client/the problem/our solution/the result formula. That goes wrong because it’s so dated it makes your company look antediluvian. You could pack the piece with so many details that the reader falls asleep halfway throu..zzzz. You could bury the salient selling points in a welter of worthiness. You could sound too stiff, or too flip. Or you could bore the pants of everyone. No-one was ever bored into buying a product remember.
In short, you could waste hours and end up with word of mouth that no-one was listening to. If we’ve made our case, talk to Michelle about your studies on 0330 088 9277 or make contact here.
November 15, 2012 7:22 pm
… 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.
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.
September 6, 2012 2:52 pm
Having the best product or service. Concentrating on customer service. Offering the most competitive prices. Working every hour and going that extra mile. You might as well not bother…if potential customers can’t find you in the first place.
Well, Ketchup Marketing is here to make sure they can – in fact, we have a way of ‘kettling’ huge numbers of customers, and then releasing them into your custody!
Time to face the facts
People find local businesses – everything from restaurants to plumbers – on the Internet. 73% of Internet searches are for local businesses. To grab those customers, you have to have a selling website (we can help you there). And it has to feature strongly in search results, preferably high up the first page. This is vital: 82% of local searches produce a contact with a local business and 90% of searches result in a sale.
So how do you make sure the crowds find your business? Again, we have the answer.
Ketchup put the kettle on
We’ve launched KCK – Ketchup’s Customer Kettling. It’s a monthly local business search package that gets you guaranteed exposure on Local Results – the most successful search method for customers looking for any type of local business. Customers don’t search for your website, 80% of them go to the search engine, and it finds you for them! So, for a single monthly fee, KCK will make sure you have a strong presence wherever customers are trying to find a product or service locally. KCK includes:
Your own page on Google.
Submission on Yahoo and Bing local referral programmes.
Prominent listings on mobile phones, maps, GPS systems and OnStar services.
Yellow Pages and social network portals and guides.
KCK also means you can show potential customers your full range of brands and services, your certification and awards, testimonials from satisfied customers (Internet word-of-mouth!) and fast links to your main website. Try getting that into a Yellow Pages advert!
Yours for just £97 per month (+ VAT)
If you’re new to a market sector (or the Internet), if your customers look for specific products or services in a geographic area – tooth whitening in Leicestershire, for example – or you simply want to attract a substantial stream of new customers, talk to us about a 3-month KCK package. It’s an entry level service it terms of cost, but it puts you on Google, Yahoo and Bing. In the second month you can even have videos uploaded on multiple sites, including YouTube.
Our service includes free updates, as long as you are a client, monthly Google Places reporting, special offers added to your Google page, ongoing optimisation and the use of up to 10 stock or supplied photographs.
Click here and discover how KCK can prove to be the most cost effective way of rounding up hundreds of new customers.
August 29, 2012 10:35 am
All boys like trains. Especially when their train sets cover over 19 acres of ironstone quarry and include classic trains, steam diggers, loco sheds and workshops, tracks, nature trails and events.
But playing with trains is a serious business if want to raise the money to go on restoring and expanding your train set. You have to attract the public, and that means steaming ahead with some motivating marketing.
The rail journey began with Ketchup
Ketchup’s planners and creative teams spent time with the Ironstone quarry’s main directors, discussing the possibilities. We knew we had to compete for the diminishing ‘leisure budget’ of local families as well as drawing in visitors to the region. And that meant devising a marketing strategy that would give the quarry an ownable niche, to differentiate it from other leisure providers and allow it to appeal to a defined market segment.
The obvious advantages of locomotive rides; plus giant, historic machinery; plus the quarries educational appeal allowed us position ‘the attraction’ somewhere between an out-and-out theme park and a museum. Perfect for a whole range of families looking for a multi-faceted experience in their day out.
The creative work? Just the ticket
Following the positioning, our copywriting team worked with the client to research groups of potential names. The one most on track – Rocks By Rail – encapsulates the locomotive and quarry aspects of the attraction, references the 1960s onsite café and even manages to sound like fun. You remember fun – it’s what attracts people to spend money when they’ve out and about.
From steam engine to search engine
Then flowed a train of creative ideas. Our designers created a new logo style and expanded it to an involving brand identity that hinted at the excitement, and quirky worthiness, of the attraction. Suddenly the project gained momentum. The website was built – steam engines became search engine friendly – and a direct mail campaign launched Rocks By Rail as a destination to families and enthusiasts in the surrounding regions.
To see the results of our epic rail journey, please click here.
Team GB? No, Team Ketchup
August 14, 2012 5:01 pm
A huge number of unseasonal icebergs off the Newfoundland coast forced the British rowing team of Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris and Roz Savage to cancel their heroic bid to row across the Atlantic to Britain. The risks to crew and boat posed by the icebergs were simply unacceptably high.
So plan B swung into action. Raising money to buy a fleet of rowing boats to inspire both able-bodied and disabled young people had always been a golden goal of the OAR project. By rowing up the Bristol Channel and across the country via the inland waterway system, the OAR team managed to arrive in the Thames for the start of the London Olympics, thus achieving their own ‘gold’ and continuing the interest and legacy generated by our valiant Olympians.
Team GB? No, Team Ketchup
Of course, not all members of the team were actually in the boat, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t pulling hard for the project.
At Ketchup we put together our own ‘hands on’ team of specialists to steer the OAR marketing effort, ensuring the project attracted maximum attention and support. At the helm was our figurehead and leading marketing strategist, owner Michelle Jones, backed by a crew of able creatives.
Our OAR campaign was launched with our design of the innovative OAR logo which was then translated into a distinctive brand identity that informed the nature of all consumer-facing and internal communications.
Making a splash on both sides of the pond
Once underway, the campaign had a big effect. We designed, wrote and built a website that gave fans on both sides of the Atlantic the latest news, updates and project information. This website included links that allowed followers to interact with the project and find information on allied subjects – as well as including direct video links to the rowers during the voyage. Its dynamic presentation gave a true feeling of the epic nature and underlying difficulties of the endeavour, and the copy gave a sensation of the momentousness of the event as well conveying the essential facts.
The team were interviewed on TV and radio shows in Canada and Britain and were deluged by twitter and facebook commentary and messages of goodwill.
No, we haven’t got the blisters
The sense of disappointment at having to cancel the first part of the voyage was obliterated once ‘Bojangles’ – the specialist boat designed and built by British ocean rowing expert Mick Dawson – made its way up the Thames to massive applause, and came to rest at Tower Bridge. The gigantic Olympic symbol hanging from its upper bridgework was certainly an inspiring sight. Well, the marketing and creative team from Ketchup weren’t in the boat and hadn’t done anything more strenuous than thinking hard, and judiciously wielding a mac programme or two. But the sense of achievement was noticeable – even in land-locked Melton Mowbray!
Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?
July 12, 2012 9:37 am
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.
Here at Hortus Ligneous we are delighted to recommend Ketchup Marketing...
June 15, 2012 3:40 pm
Ketchup Marketing have been a fabulous company to work with. We had a basic idea of what we wanted our updated website to say and do, but had no idea how to portray this. Michelle worked closely with us to get a precise idea about our likes and dislikes and was very knowledgeable in telling us what would work for us. They have designed a site which exceeded our expectations- it takes into account our personal taste and is paired with the in-depth knowledge of how to run a successful, fully working site.
We are enormously pleased with our finished design and look forward to seeing how the website works for us in the future. We are excited about continuing to work with Ketchup with regards to SEO and regular blogging and are also thinking of further ways to extend our site.
Here at Hortus Ligneous we are delighted to recommend Ketchup Marketing for all your website needs, you will most certainly not be disappointed.
Charlotte & Sam Clemons
Hortus Ligneous Limited
Madam Ketchup? I think not
May 25, 2012 1:44 pm
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.
The risks were simply too high ...
May 23, 2012 11:50 am
Even at the very beginning, when we at Ketchup first began discussing the content and design of the OAR website, the row seemed a hugely daunting challenge. But then, it wouldn’t be worth doing if it was easy. It certainly wouldn’t have attracted the massive amount of attention it has – or inspired massive media coverage on both sides of the Atlantic – if it was going to be plain sailing all the way across.
Like all great ideas; rowing across the North Atlantic sounded like a simple enough concept. But anyone with any idea of the effort involved in such a high-risk undertaking would know ahead of time that the enterprise was likely to be fraught with difficulty.
At Ketchup we say it’s fine being wise after the event, but it’s even better to be wise before the event. Since 2010, literally thousands of lethal ice fragments have broken off the Petermann Glacier of North West Greenland and have been blown by strong south easterlies onto the coast of Newfoundland. The sharp-edged ‘bergy bits’ of ice float just beneath the surface of the water and wouldn’t have been visible to the rowers, especially at night. An absolutely terrifying scenario.
For more information on the Peterman Glacier please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0hYScmwHp0&feature=related
Of course, everyone from the designers and writers here at Ketchup, to the rowers themselves and their supporters feel completely deflated, but Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris explains the decision to defer the attempt:
“The risks were simply too high. The responsibility we have to our families, friends, sponsors and supporters to ensure a successful outcome, left us with little choice. To make the decision not to row is hugely disappointing, but we were here to do something inspiring, not something stupid. Bojangles would have been no match for sharp, compacted, several-thousand-year-old ice.”
Was there ever a more graphic or emotive illustration of the damage that climate change is having on our planet? Andrew’s co-rower, Roz Savage takes up the story.
“Given our immovable deadline of reaching London in time for the start of the Olympics, we unfortunately don’t have the option to wait until the ice dissipates, which will take another couple of weeks at least. After much soul searching, it is with regret that we have come to the difficult decision to postpone our row for this year. The chances of hitting ice – and the serious consequences of a punctured hull in freezing North Atlantic waters – meant that the risk to our safety was simply unacceptable.”
Given the general disappointment it seems there is no good news. However, it this situation helps underline the urgent need for positive action to be taken immediately to counter the effects – and stem the causes – of global warming, then all is not lost. Indeed, followers of the OAR effort are urged to check with this website regularly for further updates, explanations and plans for the future.
Thanking everyone for their support and enthusiastic encouragement.
May 16, 2012 10:04 pm
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 .
April 24, 2012 5:15 pm
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.
A hedgehog smoking a pipe
April 10, 2012 9:14 am
Life’s a pitch – part two
Those of us in this industry with long memories talk glowingly of the time when prospective clients actually had something called a pitch budget. That’s right; they would see choosing a new advertising and marketing agency as akin to hiring new staff, and have recruitment costs built into their business overheads projections. They would pay agency pitch expenses. Those were the days.
Yes, they actually shot the pilot
Then they realised agencies would pitch for free, and the budgets disappeared. Of course, in advertising ‘free’ is a four letter word, so costs were recouped via other channels. But the expense was spiralling out of hand – some agencies were shooting pilot commercials for new business presentations – until a select band of London agencies stopped doing creative pitches altogether, relying on presenting their credentials instead. (Bartle Bogart Hegarty was one of them and they now work with British Airways, Dulux and Google, amongst others.)
Well, we tried that with The Caravan Club (see Life’s a Pitch – Part One) and it went down like an Elddis Buccaneer off Land’s End.
A hedgehog smoking a pipe
So for Parkers Cars – part of the massive Bauer Media group – we did it differently. We went in with three different strategic routes. We created concepts and wrote baselines for each route together with some carefully crafted copy. We created layouts with three different visual identities. And, because the art of advertising is to persuade people to buy stuff without them being able to see how you’re talking them into it, we produced full creative rationales for everything we’d done. So Parkers would see the full cunningness of our ideas.
Well, sometimes clients think you just make things up for the hell of it. I know – let’s stick in a picture of a hedgehog smoking a meerschaum pipe, that’ll flog a few cars!
A foot in the door. As it slammed closed
So did we win the business? Well, we made useful contacts and the people we impressed will certainly consider working with us going forward. So that’s a ‘no’ then. Maybe that hedgehog wasn’t such a bad idea ….
Life’s a pitch – part 1
March 19, 2012 8:54 am
Life’s a pitch – part one
Busy isn’t it? We’re touching wood here, of course, but at the moment there aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in a month. Checking around, it’s not just our clients who are pushing through the work; the advertising and marketing industry as a whole seems to be pedalling furiously just to keep up.
Shhhh, the dog’s asleep
So why are we pitching for new clients? Isn’t that akin to waking up a dog you can’t feed? The point is that you can nurture contacts over a period of time, but you can’t choose the moment they invite you to pitch for their business. So it’s often a case of buckle up boys, here we go.
We recently presented our wares to The Caravan Company. And we didn’t exactly win ourselves a week in Great Yarmouth in a top-of-the-range Marauder. Or even in Gorleston-on-Sea, for that matter.
Off with the new. On with the old
Now, a lot of agencies cannot resist the glitter of prospecting for new clients. There be gold in them there accounts. But we make a point of putting keeping our clients long term, and that means them first.
So, for The Caravan Club we decided not to present creative work. After all, we reasoned, they can see our skill with words and design in our portfolio. So we concentrated on the thinking.
What, no crayons?
We discussed marketing strategy in some depth. We put together a marketing activity plan stretching over the next 12 months. We created on and off-line strategies. We talked about Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click advertising and alternative revenue streams like eBay and online stores. We even put together some wire-frame layouts of sample web pages, just to give them an idea of the content.
Did we win the business? Does a Ferrari have a caravan hitch point? Maybe we should have got the crayons out after all.
Life’s a pitch – part 2
February 14, 2012 6:53 pm
What’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
January 24, 2012 7:09 am
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
November 10, 2011 11:50 am
You may have read our previous blog about our sponsorship of the local Rotary Club of Grantham, well looking at the images below it would seem that our saucy competition (a case of wine to be awarded for the most interesting photo of the bottle, taken in situ) has tantalised the taste buds. Below you will see images we have received so far .. please keep them coming
.. just add chips?
Ketchup with Accessories
November 7, 2011 10:42 am
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!
October 24, 2011 1:08 pm
It’s a little known fact, but my grandfather was the famous Morris Nichols who played for England and was recognised as one of the best all-rounders of his day. In fact, he was Cricketer of the Year in 1934.
A little more recently my Dad became an umpire and my Brother is currently captain of Melton Mowbray Cricket Club (MMCC).
So I was…ahem…a maiden bowled over when I was asked to sponsor MMCC. Ketchup’s graphic design and web team has contributed a template wordpress web site, and our logo is now worn by all first team players (only the best for Ketchup!). You will find me often in the slips to catch any website design or brand development projects they might bat our way.
Think that’s about it for the cricketing puns, although our copywriting team probably has a whole kit bag (or box!) more of them, if I ask.
My point is that Ketchup Marketing don’t just create advertising and marketing for large commercial organisations. We do a lot of work for local companies in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire that need professional help to develop their brands and grow profits. In fact we specialise in advertising, website and print design for companies of all sizes – finding new ways to make budgets work harder.
So, even if cricket isn’t your game, you’ll find our insightful, impactful approach to marketing will help you knock your competition for six!
October 2, 2011 3:44 pm
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.
August 26, 2011 3:38 pm
I was in Oz recently. While I was exploring the outback (well, out the back of the hotel anyway) I was lucky enough – if that’s the phrase – to meet a hairy old scary. Not a local sheep-shearer dressed as a Sheila; I came face-to-face with a bird-eating tarantula the size of a hand of bananas. And it didn’t look like it was in a good mood. Naturally, I reacted the only way any real man should: I shrieked like a cheerleader and backed rapidly away. As far away as the hotel bar.
After a couple of cold ones – and a good deal of checking that the Hairy One hadn’t followed me back – my thoughts naturally drifted from spiders to webs and from webs to the www.
Navigating the world-wide-web isn’t dissimilar to making your way through Australia. As long as you’ve a guide – someone with you who understands the local wildlife – you’ll reach your destination and your customers will know where you are and how to find you.
That’s where Ketchup’s Search Engine Optimisation experts come in. They advise you on cunning ways to weave SEO words into your website copy, (we’re doing it now) so people can find you without even knowing your name. They’ll explain the difference between natural and paid types of SEO – and help you avoid some of the beasts: the spammers with poisoned tails, link stealing jellyfish with an unpleasant sting, and yes – bird-eating black hat SEO firms who exist solely lure you in for their own evil ends.
Think of Ketchup Marketing’s services as Bear Grylls. We’re the experts in internet survival. We’ll guide you around the world of search engine optimisation; helping you avoid the predators and making sure you attract the levels of site traffic you need to maximise the business potential of your website.
Ketchup Marketing has already helped small, independent local businesses boost their customer base and grow into multi-county spanning monsters. We increased some of our clients’ waiting lists from three weeks to over two years. So we know our SEO services will help your company develop a real presence in the harsh environment that is the Google rankings.
Just like my Australian tarantula, if you want more bite you have to become king of the web!
Talk to Ketchup Marketing – leaders in SEO Leicester – now, and discover how to increase your profits.
Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past
July 5, 2011 7:18 pm
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.
June 24, 2011 12:44 pm
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:
May 23, 2011 10:45 am
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
A fat bloke bursts in, waving a pair of nail scissors.
April 15, 2011 7:13 pm
“My wife’s got a degree in English, the client said, so what the hell do I need a copywriter for?” We sighed silently. We used to hear this a lot in the old days.
Nowadays, of course, clients are all professional marketers with a fine appreciation of the importance of highly targeted communication and a savage determination to give themselves the competitive edge.
It wasn’t always thus. ‘I can read, so I can write’ was the rationale behind many local business-owners decision to save themselves a few quid by doing their own copywriting. It’s a view akin to saying ‘I’ve eaten food so I can cook’. Or ‘I’ve heard Mozart’s Sifonia, therefore…’ well, you get the gist.
A fat bloke bursts in, waving a pair of nail scissors.
Professionals like, for example, opera singers roll their eyes as their crafts suffer at the hands of Gifted Amateurs. Other professions have it easier. Ophthalmic surgeons, for example, are almost never interrupted by a fat bloke bursting into their operating theatres, waving nail scissors and bawling ‘Gimme a go, I did a frog at school’.
However, we do live in the age of the budget cut. So, for the sake of economy – and because we like to help our clients achieve the best possible results – we’ll be exploding the copywriting myth in a series of blog articles. We’re going to show you how it’s done!
Coming soon… Blondes prefer copywriters
.. mind-bogglingly huge ..
March 16, 2011 3:48 pm
When first investigating the world of website design, you’ll find out about the more established rules fairly quickly (never use comic sans, all pages only two clicks from the home page, etc). However, there are also several very useful tips that are less well known that stem from common viewer behaviours that might seem unusual in any other environment. Ketchup Marketing – website design Lincolnshire experts – are here to share them with you: