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

How much effort?

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

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

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

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

 

bull1

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

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

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

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

Jun
10

What price quality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple as that!

It’s my turn to have a little bit of a grumble today...
May
31

All A-board!

May 31, 2013 2:12 pm Published by Comments Off on All A-board!

blog-aboard-header

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

Oh Blogger It!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“Happy Hour”
May
16

“Happy Hour”

May 16, 2013 10:07 am Published by Comments Off on “Happy Hour”

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
03

Open for Caravans!

May 3, 2013 2:42 pm Published by Comments Off on Open for Caravans!

 

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

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
01

The Role of PR for SMEs

May 1, 2013 3:37 pm Published by Comments Off on The Role of PR for SMEs

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...
Apr
26

Spring Cleaning Season

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

blog-spring

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

Tommy

Mr Tommy Ketchup

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

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

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

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

Ketchup Marketing 

Original Thinking – No Artificial Additives

Thank You – from The Meadows
Feb
27

Thank You – from The Meadows

February 27, 2013 4:09 pm Published by Comments Off on Thank You – from The Meadows

blog-caravan_header

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

the_meadows_1_web_site_design

Jan
07

Blogger’s Blog – part 2

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

It’s like reverse Tourette’s

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

This blog is about why. This is why

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

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

Colourful language, you blue-nosed radish

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Bloggers Part 3 can be found here.

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

 

Dec
17

Blogger’s Blog – part 1

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

Writer’s blog

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

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

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

Look out for the ‘some’ word

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

It’s like making candy floss out of bran fibre

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

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

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

 

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

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

Nov
15

Business Blogs – 10 Top Tips

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

… from Ketchup Marketing

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

1. Talk to your audience

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

2. Keep to one audience.

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

3. Think word count.

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

4. Good blog posts are easy to read.

Use lists or sub heading to make for easy reading.

5. Good blog posts actually say something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Good blog posts use keywords and are SEO optimized

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

10. Good blog posts include a call to action.

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

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

Happy Blogging.

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

 

 

Sep
06

How to ‘kettle’ hundreds of new customers

September 6, 2012 2:52 pm Published by Comments Off on How to ‘kettle’ hundreds of new customers

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.

 

Aug
29

Serious business – playing with trains

August 29, 2012 10:35 am Published by Comments Off on Serious business – playing with trains

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.

Rocks by rail website designThe 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.

rocks_by_rail_1_logo_design

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.

 

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

Choosing a design agency?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which comes first; the marketing or the design?

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

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

Trust us; we’re a marketing agency.

Jun
19

EU Cookie Law threatens 92% of UK companies

June 19, 2012 8:49 am Published by Comments Off on EU Cookie Law threatens 92% of UK companies

Half-baked EU Cookie Law threatens 92% of UK companies

Following straight bananas and standard-sized apples, the EU has passed a law on cookies. Snack-lovers needn’t worry though, these are the cookies that live on websites, not in biscuit tins. British companies, on the other hand, should be worried.

Potential fines of up to £500,000

From the end of May 2012, the UK government been enforcing this European Union law – passed in May 2011 – and the penalties could be quite severe for those companies found not to be complying with it.

So the big questions for you are….does your website contain cookies and are you contravening the law by not giving visitors the right information and options about computering cookies stored on their computers?

The big answers are ‘yes’ and ‘maybe’

For a technical explanation of exactly what cookies do, please see below or talk to John, our SEO Director. But basically a cookie is a small file that allows the site to remember data about that user.

So ‘yes’ your website almost certainly uses cookies – 92% of UK websites currently do use cookies in some capacity on their website.

But are you in contravention of the new law? ‘Maybe’. It’s really worth making sure you are compliant with the new rules – after all, figures like £500,000 fines are being talked about for deliberate and malicious misuse, so it’s best to be on the safe side. If your company / website is based in the UK/EU then you must comply, even if your website is hosted outside the EU and even if you are not using a “.uk” domain name.

The letter of the law

The law actually relates to the use of ‘non essential’ cookies. All websites in the EU are now required to make visitors aware of the use of cookies and give them the option to opting out of using them. For example, cookies which are deemed not “strictly necessary for a service requested by a user” such as visitor tracking codes, advertising and most Google Analytics tools may well be subjects for consumer opt out.

It’s not enough to simply rely on visitors changing their cookie settings in their browser to block websites from storing cookies on their machines. It’s also worth noting that it’s no longer advisable to merely have a privacy policy; you may choose to provide information on the cookies from within your privacy policy – a practice that is currently gaining ground with many companies.

Be safe – put Ketchup on your cookies!

We  can conduct an initial assessment of your needs, followed by a complete audit of your website and full integration work to ensure your site is fully compliant with the Cookie Law. We’ll help you make sure the information about the use of cookies on your website is transparent and easy to find, and that you give visitors to your website the choice of opting out of your use of cookies. We’ll advise which cookies are necessary for the working of the website (Eg: Cookies used to remember which items visitors have placed in their online basket and are permitted within the legislation. And – most importantly in terms of the law – which are not.

We’ll make sure it’s as fast, non-interruptive, economical and painless as possible. For our full cookie recipe, see below. Or talk to us on   0330 088 9277

 

Ketchup’s cookie service – the ingredients

A full, Ketchup audit of your website will list each cookie and detail how it is used. We can then provide you with a couple of solutions to ensure your website complies with the new legislation. Our service also includes:

  • Assessing how intrusive your use of each cookie is to the user’s privacy.
  • Establishing whether these cookies can be linked with personal data such as a username or email address.
  • Finding out whether they apply to the session or if they’re persistent cookies.
  • Checking that your Privacy Policy includes accurate information on each cookie being used.
  • Giving visitors a way to opt out of the use of cookies.

 

What is a ‘Cookie’?
Cookies are small files that websites put on your computer hard disk drive when you first visit.

Think of a cookie as an identification card that’s uniquely yours. Its job is to notify the site when you’ve returned. While it is possible to misuse a cookie in cases where there is personal data in it, cookies by themselves are not malicious.

Many websites, including Ketchup’s, use cookies. Cookies tell us how often you visit pages, which helps us improve our website for you and future visitors. In this way, we can concentrate more on the content you like and less of the content you don’t. If you’re using analytics software such Google Analytics then your site will be using cookies to track the page visits.

Some cookies are essential to the working of a website and can help you be more efficient. Have you ever put something in a virtual shopping basket on an online store and then returned a few days later to find that the item is still there? That’s an example of cookies at work.

Cookies let you store preferences and user names, register products and services, and personalize pages.

But if you never register or leave personal information at a site, then the server only knows that someone with your cookie has returned to the website. It doesn’t know anything else.

A Cookie is NOT a virus. Many cookies are used to make the experience of using a website better and disabling cookies may prevent a visitor from using certain aspects of a website’s functionality. If your website does any of the following, then you will be using cookies:

  • Uses Google Analytics or similar to track page visits
  • Uses a plug-in such as Twitter feeds, Facebook Like or Google +1 buttons
  • Embeds a YouTube Video
  • Has any kind of “remember me” button
  • Enables the user to “login” to their website 

 

Different Types of Cookies

Session Cookies
Session cookies are stored on your computer until you have finished browsing the website. Once you leave the site the cookie will be deleted. For example if you visit a website and you need to login every time you visit they are using a session cookie. The website will use this cookie to store your login details temporarily whilst you browse the website. Session cookies are less intrusive than persistent cookies.

Persistent Cookies
Persistent cookies are cookies which are downloaded onto your computer to help identify you when you return to a website. For example if you use Facebook and you tick the “Keep me logged in” when you login this will store a persistent cookie on your computer to remember you when you return so you do not need to keep logging in. All persistent cookies have an expiry date, this can normally be 30, 60 or 90 days and once reached the cookie will be deleted.

Secure Cookies
Secure cookies are only transmitted via a secure HTTPS connection. These types of cookies are generally used during the checkout process of an online ecommerce website. This cookie will ensure any data stored is encrypted as it passes information between the website and the browser.

Third Party Cookies
Third party cookies are ones which are downloaded onto your computer via external websites such as Google Analytics, AdSense, AdWords, Facebook likes, Statcounter etc. These cookies are set by a domain other than the one being visited by the user, but they are placed through the website being visited.

 

Here at Hortus Ligneous we are delighted to recommend Ketchup Marketing...
Jun
15

Client Testimonial

June 15, 2012 3:40 pm Published by Comments Off on Client Testimonial

hortus_ligneous_1_web_site_design

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

What did you do at work today, daddy?

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

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

Loving those new clients

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

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

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

Fun and (Olympic) games

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

Madam Ketchup? I think not

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

"bergy bits"
May
16

Rowers keen to make a splash – not a crack!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Apr
24

It’s a civil partnership. Usually

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

Michelle – Ketchup MD

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

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

 

Then something wonderful happens

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

Blind date? Actually we met on the internet

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

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

Taking it personally

Gary – Ketchup Design Guru

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

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

 

 

Dynamic by name …
Feb
14

… website by Ketchup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further project details and images are on our portfolio

Hire the dog!
Jan
24

Copywriter’s blighters

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

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

The summation of everything. In 5 words

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

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

Hire the dog, don’t bark yourself hoarse.

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

Coming soon… Copywriting for our clients

 

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

No-one was ever bored into buying a product
Jan
06

Copywriting. Let’s hope the camel knows the way

January 6, 2012 3:08 pm Published by Comments Off on Copywriting. Let’s hope the camel knows the way

Now write your copy. Start by creating a copy skeleton with your product proof points arranged like vertebrae along the spine of your proposition story. Then add the flesh from your list of important selling points. What, you didn’t devise a copy platform of selling points? But that’s like setting off on a journey across Botswana without a route map. Let’s hope the camel knows where it’s going.

No-one was ever bored into buying a product.

Once underway, keep your body copy short and keep it interesting. You can seduce consumers, threaten them, bully them (sometimes), flatter them, bribe them, frighten or befriend them but you can’t bore them into buying your product. They won’t even bother reading it. Would you still be reading this if it was boring? Tell your story succinctly and strip out the stuff that’s only in there because you think it’s clever. You’re not here to show off; you’re here to convince your target audience to buy the product.

Keep a tight grasp on your commercial imperative, and have your reader fixed firmly in your mind’s eye. Choose someone you know, who is in your target audience, and write like you were talking to them. Then ask a teenager to read it. They can be brutally enlightening, can teenagers.

Above all, avoid doggerel and be original. Don’t use phrases you’ve read in other ads. Just because it looks like an advert and sounds like an advert doesn’t mean it’ll sell your product. It means your readers will yawn, think ‘same old crap’ and turn the page.

So that’s the easy part. The final part of the copywriting conundrum is writing baselines.

Coming soon… The tricky bit.

 

To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle on 0330 088 9277 and ask her for a copy quote or contact us here.

Grandad Ketchup
Oct
24

Yes, actually it IS cricket

October 24, 2011 1:08 pm Published by Comments Off on Yes, actually it IS cricket
Grandpa Nichols

Grandpa Nichols

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!

Those famous 5 rings .. or is it?
Oct
12

Ready to rock and row!

October 12, 2011 1:08 pm Published by Comments Off on Ready to rock and row!

In my (quite extensive) experience, working with charity-based clients can be like herding cats. Or pushing water uphill without a paddle. Nothing could be further from the truth with OAR. To continue the watery metaphor – it was plain sailing.

The training boat

OAR stands for Olympic Atlantic Row, and the idea is that two highly experienced ocean rowers – ex-Royal Marine Mick Dawson and British entrepreneur Andrew Morris – will cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat called ‘Bojangles’. They’ll set out from New York to row west to east (the hard way!), arriving in London in time for the start of the Olympics. It’ll be an inspirational journey designed to demonstrate to young people that anything is possible with determination and the will to succeed.

Stirring stuff. Well, it certainly stirred us into creating an inspiring website.

Our copywriting team – working in sync with the client – painted ‘alone against the mountainous seas of the mighty North Atlantic’ word pictures. The website design department, meanwhile, created a powerful design format and built the site in the time it takes to…ooh…row across Rutland Water.

At the present time, our brand development, advertising and print design services haven’t been called upon by the OAR team. But we’re working closely with the team over the coming months and once ‘Bojangles’ is launched our web team will be implementing web-based GPS tracking and live links so millions can follow the effort, stroke-by-stroke.

We’re excited to be sponsoring and supporting such an epic event!

 

Think before you ink
Aug
19

The best ads aren’t created in an ad agency

August 19, 2011 7:03 am Published by Comments Off on The best ads aren’t created in an ad agency

You can sit down in the office with a limitless supply of paper and spend hours flogging your brain into a walnut. But, and this is a copywriter’s top tip, you’re better off having an idea before you start work. Get up early and run a hot bath. Climb in and forget about everything. Let the brief chatter away in the background. Ignore it. Treat yourself to a few bath time puns (ideas on tap, product plug, soft soaping the client and so on). Then suddenly – ping – there it is. A proper idea.

Think before you ink

So, before you even pick up a pen, have a think. Decide on your brand stance, your persona and your communication strategy. Do some research into competitive activity. Define their strategies and devise one that is divergent but devastatingly attractive to your target market. Develop a copy platform and a tone of voice that’ll prove irresistible to your audience. Then you can start fooling about with words.

Headlines. And no, this isn’t one

Bold type on its own does not make a headline. Proper headlines usually encapsulate the proposition and communicate the reason why a consumer should buy your product, rather than your competitor’s. Headlines should be snappy, memorable, informative, endearing…all in half a dozen words. 12 max.

Or. Headlines can inspire curiosity. They lead you to the selling message in the copy below. They should work with the picture to present an inescapable product truth. Of course, you’ll need across-the-desk access to an art director or a designer to achieve this. So, unless one of your colleagues is handy with crayons…

Next time we’ll talk about writing copy. Finally.

Coming soon… Copy as she am writ.

 

To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle at Ketchup Marketing and ask her for a copy quote or use the contact form here.

Aug
05

A panda.

August 5, 2011 3:12 pm Published by Comments Off on A panda.

A Panda.

Not such a useless, fat, evolutionarily-challenged blighter after all, then?

Long live Google’s Panda update. Encouraging well-crafted, motivating, selling advertising copy. Obviating the need to ram every sentence with key SEO words.

Very cute, that Panda. Frying spam in its own fat. Obliterating the requirement to write 500 words of gibberish, when 20 good ones would sell the product.

So Google Panda heralds a new era of copy written to convert readers into buyers. Rather than word lists designed to roll the gormless eye of the search engine towards the website.

Break out the Champagne there, Benson.

Mind you, SEO did sort the hacks from the hicks. Real copywriters accepted SEO as a challenge. As in, how many times can you squeeze a fat ‘luxury holidays in the Mediterranean’ into a 100-word piece of resort copy? And we all had our own tricks. You could do things with punctuation that the machine didn’t notice but the reader did. For example: “….complete luxury. Holidays in the Mediterranean are always…” See what we did there?

Of course, we were practiced. Before SEO we had Client Presentation Suicide. It was a game that involved picking a random word out of a hat and inserting it into your part of the presentation. No matter how inappropriate. You try slotting ‘liberty bodice’ into a creative rationale to a furniture manufacturer. It certainly adds to the stress, especially as the loser buys everyone else a fat lunch.

So thanks for the Panda, Google, but copywriters were slotting subliminal little buzz words into marketing copy long before SEO was ever possible. Don’t believe me?

Take this piece for example. Have you noticed how many times the word ‘fat’ appears?

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

Copywriting. What could possibly go wrong?

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

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

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

Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past

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

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

Coming soon… A penny for your thoughts.

 

 

“We Want Words!”
May
23

Welcome to the glamour industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming soon…. Health warning for starlets

 

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

 

A fat bloke bursts in, waving a pair of nail scissors.
Apr
15

Copywriter? Copywriter?

April 15, 2011 7:13 pm Published by Comments Off on Copywriter? Copywriter?

“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 ..
Mar
16

Website Design: user behaviours you might not expect

March 16, 2011 3:48 pm Published by Comments Off on Website Design: user behaviours you might not expect

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:
(more…)

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