Mar
02
Why Marketing Strategy is Important

Why Marketing Strategy is Important

March 2, 2017 10:37 am Published by Comments Off on Why Marketing Strategy is Important

When it comes to the effective marketing of a business, one of the most important things that you can do is have a plan or strategy. Without a plan or strategy, it is impossible to coordinate all of the aspects of marketing that are important and you will end up with a mess that doesn’t have any impact.

Marketing Strategy

An integrated marketing strategy involves looking at each aspect of marketing and coordinating it all to create one big marketing machine, which runs in line with a business’s branding and specific campaigns.

Marketing always starts with research, and this means that marketers are the best people to help in designing new products or services. They are always aware of the general climate in your field as well as what your competitors are doing, where and why.

Market research also gives businesses a good idea of how much things cost, and therefore can give important information about how much a business should be charging for a product or service. Likewise, with buyer habits, where to sell and who to sell to.

All businesses need to have an effective marketing strategy, and the main focus around a marketing strategy is to grow awareness of a company brand, as well as developing confidence and trust in a brand or business amongst consumers.

Marketing Channels

For the effective marketing of any business, there are a number of different marketing channels which must be employed. A business may want to use offline channels such as TV, printed media or radio, as well as online with websites, pay per click, or social media. It is clear, that with so many channels, a multi-faceted approach is needed.

And this is where marketing strategy comes in. A well designed strategy will coordinate all of the different medias and channels to create an effective marketing campaign giving the best results for a company. A bad marketing strategy can also have a bad effect on a company’s reputation, so it is important that it is done properly.

One important part of marketing strategies which is evolving in front of our very eyes is the effect that increased marketing online in promoting engagement and two-way conversation between businesses and their customers. It is changing the way that we market our businesses as we are requiring more interaction. People no longer want to be told what to buy. They want to buy from the people who give them importance.

Another impact of the internet is that businesses now have competitors from all around the world, not just from your local town and this really needs to be taken into account when planning a marketing strategy.

Just like any finely tuned, effective and smooth running ship, you need to have a goal or destination, and then you can work out how you’re going to get there through a number of different strategies. The marketing of both specific marketing campaigns and general campaigns needs to be coordinated across all platforms whilst always having the overall goals in mind, and this is why marketing strategy is so important.

For more information about marketing strategy, get in touch today.

Jan
09
Marketing reach

A-Z of Marketing: Reach

January 9, 2017 10:35 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Reach

It’s no good putting in lots of time and effort thinking about and planning your Marketing strategy, or spending hours writing a monthly newsletter or editing your website, if no one sees it.  This is why reach is so important when thinking about Marketing.  Reach is a term often used in advertising, and refers to the potential number of people exposed to your message or see a particular campaign.  Without reach, any active Marketing you do is unlikely to be successful.

There are many different ways of ensuring your marketing message reaches the right people.  For ease, I have split these into physical and digital marketing:

                                       Physical                                           Digital
                                Print advertising                                           Website
                                       Leaflets                                          Blogging
                                 Direct Mailing                                       Social Media
            ‘Outdoor’ Marketing – e.g. A-boards                                 Emailing Marketing
                                   Networking                                              SMS

Battling the ‘Noise’: Frequency

However, it is not only the way in which you reach people, but how often you do it.  Associated with reach, frequency refers to the number of times an individual is touched by your marketing message. There is a lot of brand ‘noise’ in our everyday lives as we are bombarded with advertising.  With this in mind, your marketing message must reach people at least 3 times to avoid being part of the ‘noise’, as reach without frequency is likely to give a low ROI.

Marketing Message: Stay Focused

Equally vital is what you are saying and to whom.  As explained in our Marketing message blog, you need to make sure you know who your target audience is and that your campaign is tailored to them.  Business owners often want to tell everyone everything about their business, which confuses the marketing material you are putting out there.  Different campaigns should have different messages for different people.  Ultimately, if you reach the right people enough times, but the message is wrong, you won’t achieve the results you want to.

In a nutshell, reach is limited by both frequency and your marketing message, so it is imperative you get them spot on.

To discuss how we can help you reach the right people with the right message, call the Ketchup team on 0330 088 9277, or use our contact form here

Sep
18
ROI and Marketing

Return on Investment (ROI) and Marketing

September 18, 2015 1:15 pm Published by Comments Off on Return on Investment (ROI) and Marketing

Return on Investment (ROI) which is most closely associated with the worlds of finance and investment.  In the case of marketing, ROI essentially appraises the relative gain – in terms of profit gleaned (or costs saved) – which is gained by undertaking a marketing campaign in comparison to the expenditure related to that campaign.

ROI and Marketing

The above is a basic explanation of the general concept of ROI but as is often the case, in reality things aren’t quite as simple. When it comes to the ROI delivered by marketing activities, it is crucial to first understand that there are many factors which must be considered on both the expenditure and return sides of the equation. Costs associated with marketing activities after all, come in a number of shapes and sizes:

  1. Creative costs – Expenditure devoted to generating marketing ideas, developing brand identities and deciding and implementing campaign strategy.
  2. Practical costs – Investment in the physical creation and dissemination of marketing materials, the salaries of those involved in such processes and other similar day-to-day expenditures related to marketing activities.
  3. Subsidiary costs – Unforeseen expenses and costs related to marketing exploits or changes to business practices as a result of specific campaigns or general marketing advice.

Whilst this is indeed important to understand, and may seem to suggest that achieving good ROI from marketing activities could be more difficult than it first appears, it is even more crucial to realise the diverse and numerous forms which returns from marketing can also take:

  1. Immediate profits – This is the most obvious and commonly considered type of return gleaned by marketing, and is made up of the physical increases in sales or contracts won as a direct result of any marketing campaign.
  2. Future business – An unquestionably important aspect of the benefits wrought by marketing campaigns, the potential for future business from customers attracted by marketing activities is often overlooked by many when considering ROI. In a similar vein, recommendations and referrals generated by those new customers also count amongst the returns generated by marketing campaigns.
  3. Altered perceptions – In many cases, marketing activities may not be explicitly aimed at generating immediate sales but instead at changing people’s perceptions of a company or brand. It is difficult to measure but the future choices made by prospective customers based on their altered perceptions of the company or product can also contribute to the returns delivered by marketing expenditure.

If you want to learn more about marketing that really delivers, the team at Ketchup can help. Contact us today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online enquiry form.

May
21
Business Awards

Ketchup clients clean up …

May 21, 2015 8:34 am Published by Comments Off on Ketchup clients clean up …

Ketchup clients….at the 2015 Mercury Business Awards

There is nothing that we love more than seeing our clients succeed. So you can image how happy we were when we heard that a number of them were among the businesses honoured at this year’s Mercury Business Awards.

The awards, now in their 10th year, were held at Greetham Valley Hoel on Friday 15th May 2015. The event is designed to acknowledge and award local businesses across the Rutland and Stamford areas, whether they are a one man band or a bigger player.

They like us, they really like us!

We are so happy for our clients who received awards or were highly commended;

Stamford Stone – Winner – Established Business of the Year Award

We have worked closely with Stamford Stone, a family business that has been supplying stone and stone products nationally since 1997, on their marketing for some time now. Among other things, we develop and help to implement their marketing strategy, and we recently redesigned and launched their website.

Click here to read more about how we support Stamford Stone with their marketing.

Simmons Optometrists – Winner – Small Business of the Year Award and Independent Retailer Award

Simmons Optometrists, based in Oakham, are supported by the Ketchup team in a number of areas. We work with them to develop, implement, and monitor their marketing strategy and activity and are currently redesigning their website.

Simmons were also highly commended for their dedication to five star customer care.

Alice Reins – Winner – Business Innovation Award

Alice Reins is a new company that designs tack specifically for horse riders with disabilities, riding novices; young and not-so-young horse lovers. The Ketchup team have been lucky enough to have worked with the company from day one. We applied our knowledge and experience of how to successfully launch and market a new company to ensure that the brand, website, and social media were right from day one.

Click here to find out how were helped Alice Reins gallop towards success.

Barefoot Flooring – Highly Commended – Independent Retailer

Barefoot Flooring, a family run business based in Oakham, were winners at last year’s awards and this year they have been recognised again and highly commended as an independent retailer. We’ve worked with Barefoot on a number of marketing projects designed to increase awareness of the business and the flooring products and personalised service that they offer.

Do you want to be an award winning business? The right marketing helps, contact us today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form, and add a little Ketchup to your business.

Apr
22
special offers

A – Z of Marketing: Offers

April 22, 2015 8:02 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Offers

Everyone loves a bargain, that’s why most businesses will put on special offers and discounts for new and existing customers and the majority of the time, if done correctly, they are a huge success. It’s the perfect way to encourage people to try or repeat purchase your products and services.

However, many small businesses don’t know how to use special offers to their advantage. It’s easy to make common mistakes when it comes to producing and marketing offers, discounts, and freebies. If people don’t take up your offers, or you are constantly giving away your profits, at some point you may get so frustrated that you give up entirely. Here are some pointers for getting the best out of offers and special deals for your products and services.

  1. Make sure your customers aren’t waiting for offers – If you have offers and discounts on too often then you run the risk of customers holding off on their purchase until the next bargain. This means that you’ll potentially have long periods where people aren’t buying, or be left with very little profit and a customer base that isn’t loyal to you. If you’re going to give your customers special deals, calculate what you can actually afford to give away first and how often you should be marketing special offers. Be strategic, not desperate.
  2. Think outside of the box – Some companies tend to have sales or put on offers at the exact same time of year so it becomes easy for customers to predict when they will get the best deals. Why not do something a bit different, and at a different time to your competitors? It will get you noticed and attract new customers.
  3. Make profit, don’t lose it – If you are too generous when putting on special offers you can actually lose money, make sure that you are still benefiting as a business and that you are still taking a profit.
  4. Know your objectives – Make sure that you understand what you want to achieve when putting out your special offers. Do you want to entice new customers and encourage them to switch brands, attract early adopters to a new product or service, or encourage repeat purchase from existing customers? Identifying your objectives is the best way to ensure that the offers you are marketing are the right ones that attract the right people.
  5. The offers that will cost you very little can be just as effective – There’s no point in giving away your most expensive items every time business is a little slow when there are so many other options that work just as well. Try running a competition for an inexpensive item that’s well loved – it can get you tons of attention and usually results in new customers and sales. Other less costly offers include free delivery, loyalty cards, free trials, free workshops, and even giving cheaper items for free when more expensive items are purchased.

When offers are marketed and implemented in the right way, they can be extremely beneficial to business of all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for a dedicated marketing team who can get your special offers noticed, contact the Ketchup team today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form.

 

Apr
13
marketing message

A-Z of Marketing: Marketing Message

April 13, 2015 9:30 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Marketing Message

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.

Apr
07

Do you need to go all Taylor Swift ..

April 7, 2015 7:47 am Published by Comments Off on Do you need to go all Taylor Swift ..

… when it comes to buying domain names?

When it comes to purchasing domain names for your business it used to be simple, all you had to do was purchase the .co.uk, or .com versions of your desired URL. However, from 1st June 2015 there will be even more variations available, from the useful and straightforward, such as .marketing and .nutrition, to the more outrageous, such as .porn and .adult.

This has started a spending spree in which both businesses and celebrities are snapping up domain names that could be used negatively if they got into the wrong hands. For example, it was reported this week that Taylor Swift has snapped up a couple of questionable domain names, i.e. .porn and .suck, to ensure that no one else can use them – smart girl, imagine the damage to her image and career if those domain names got into the wrong hands! The same approach has also been taken by software giant Microsoft and other large organisations are set to follow suit.

This approach might be slightly extreme for many businesses, but what these reports do highlight is the need to think about your strategy when it comes to purchasing domain names for your business.

What’s the best approach to take when buying domain names?

Purchasing multiple domain names is not a new practice, many businesses purchase both the .com and .co.uk versions of their domain name if they are available. Some businesses, usually larger organisations, purchase multiple domains using different variations of their company or product names. This is a great thing to do to ensure that a competitor doesn’t operate using a similar domain name.

There was even a time where companies would deliberately snap up the domain names of their competitors, simply to ensure that they couldn’t get access to them. However, this practice seems to have died out in recent years.

The danger with the multi-domain purchase approach is that as more options become available, and these will be more expensive that the .com, .co.uk, and .org variations, you could spend a sizable chunk of money snapping up every possible domain ending that relates to your business. If you are a company like Microsoft, and there is a real risk that another company or individual could use less than flattering domain names in a way that will negatively impact the company, then it’s probably a good strategy to follow.

However, smaller businesses don’t necessarily need to go down the same road and it’s probably wise to make sure that your approach is in line with your budget. For most businesses purchasing the .co.uk and .com versions, and maybe the ending that is most in line with their primary business offering, will be sufficient. There’s no need to go over the top, but at the same time, it’s wise to think about multiple domain purchase as an option. These additional domains can easily be redirected to your website and used on relevant marketing materials.

If you would like to talk to us about your website and online marketing strategy, contact the team today on 0330 088 9277, alternatively, complete our online contact form.

 

Feb
17
LinkedIn Marketing for businesses

A-Z of Marketing: LinkedIn

February 17, 2015 1:02 pm Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: LinkedIn

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.

Jan
23
The advantages of internet marketing

A-Z of marketing: Internet marketing

January 23, 2015 8:15 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of marketing: Internet marketing

The number of your potential consumers who use the internet on a daily basis to browse websites, research products, and purchase from businesses, is constantly and consistently increasing. Therefore using internet marketing isn’t just a good idea because of the lower costs and advanced data and monitoring options available, it’s essential to business survival now. Although face to face communication will never fail, using the internet to promote your business can allow you to create and sustain relationships that may never have been possible without it.

Internet marketing offers an opportunity to personalise the way that you communicate with your customers and potential customers online, while managing to have a much bigger customer base than traditional promotion and communication methods would allow.

The advantages of internet marketing:

  • It’s easy all round – Customers can find you quickly, search for what they want without having to leave the comfort of their own homes, and they can even purchase something from you at 3am if they wish. Internet marketing will lead your ideal customers to your website, Facebook page, or other social media platforms even more effectively than a board sign would lead someone to a shop. Targeting options will also allow you to target the exact people or companies that would be interested in what you have to offer.
  • Internet marketing is guaranteed to increase your custom – Why? Because you’ll reach a much bigger audience and they’ll tell their friends and family, who will tell their friends and family…you get the idea. Word spreads much faster when you can promote something with the click of a button at any time.
  • Take it out of the country – You no longer have to stick to your home town. Internet marketing allows you to reach potential consumers all over the globe, so if you want to sell your products internationally, it has never been easier.
  • Save your pennies – As mentioned before, the cost of internet marketing is much lower in comparison to traditional marketing. Yes, it may cost something to get a website designed and you can choose to spend money on social media advertising, but these costs are nothing compared to what you would pay for leaflets, banners, local or national magazine adverts etc.
  • Your customers will feel more involved – The magic of internet marketing will let you personalise your offers to your customers. Most people will ignore generic, mass produced newsletters, but if you send a personalised email with offers that will interest that specific person, you’re much more likely to gain sales.
  • It’s easier to monitor – Whether you use email, social media advertising, or banner advertising, you will get access to useful data which can let you know how your campaign is performing. Open rates, impressions, click through rates, and page views are all very telling and can help you to constantly update and improve your online marketing activity.

The internet and its many benefits are ever changing and it’s guaranteed that the majority of your customers use the internet in some form every day.  Whether it’s on a laptop, mobile phone, tablet, smart TV, or any other number of devices, people are surviving on the internet these days. As a business owner, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities that internet marketing presents to you. Some small businesses are thriving by using social media sites alone, so imagine the improvement in ROI that you’d see if you were to utilise the many online marketing options that are available to your business. The greatest part of using internet marketing is watching the results happen before your eyes and using it as motivation to do more with your business and see it flourish.

For help with internet marketing, whether that’s the development of a strategy or the execution and monitoring of your campaigns, we can help. Contact the Ketchup team today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online form.

Jan
09
Instagram can be used to reach your customers instantly

A-Z of Marketing: Instagram

January 9, 2015 9:15 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Instagram

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.

Jan
07
Infographics in Marketing

A-Z of Marketing: Infographics

January 7, 2015 9:09 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Infographics

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.

Dec
15
Images for Marketing

A-Z of Marketing: Images

December 15, 2014 12:44 pm Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Images

It’s a well-known fact that images can convey a lot of information quickly. With this in mind, it’s clear how powerful sharing images can be, and how important it is to do so on a regular basis. There are many different ways of sharing images with customers and potential customers, and with the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, it is must if a business wants to survive.

Take a look at why you should use images are part of your marketing strategy.

  • Gain a following on social media – With image based social sites such as Flickr, Pinterest, and Instagram growing in popularity, you can show the world what your products are, how they’re made, and what makes them unique in visual form. Images can tell a story in seconds, use them to your advantage on social media so that customers can see your appeal.
  • Increase brand awareness – By sharing images with your likers or followers, or your email list, you can build up your brand. Develop a style for your images and you will build up awareness and recognition that those images belong to your company. In addition, when people share your images with others it will allow your brand to be seen by a larger audience.
  • Gain more website traffic – Often, when images are shared on social networks, the audience will want to know more about the products and company. For this, the majority of people will visit a business’s website, so sharing lots of images is a great way to increase website traffic. Even if a social site won’t allow you to promote your business by advertising your website, most people will Google your business and visit your site via search results.
  • Building relationships – There’s nothing like sharing images to give your audience a personal insight into what you do and sell, who your staff are, and how your business is run. Customers can get a much better idea of the passion you have for your business by seeing images of products in the making, how products work, staff and business achievements, and your daily activities. It will go a long way towards connecting with your audience and them connecting with you.
  • Receive additional business – The great thing about images is that if one person likes it, it’s almost guaranteed that many more will. When an image is liked on a social media site, such as Facebook, the friends of the person who liked it will see it too. This will result in more likes for your page and more business. The same goes for many other social networks, the more engagement your image encourages, the wider the reach of your business.
  • Improve SEOSearch engine optimisation is important to any business. Without good SEO, customers would not be able to find the businesses they are searching for. Google loves relevant images so they go a long way to improving SEO, ensuring that your business has a better chance of ranking higher in searches. Images are also a great way to update the content on your website, for example, the addition of an infographic to your blog or downloads page.

Sharing images and graphics can be an ideal way of modernising a portfolio. Every business needs a means of showing and promoting their products and services, and by sharing images you have got the ultimate portfolio that can be presented on some of the largest world platforms.

At Ketchup marketing we help B2B and B2C businesses of all sizes with their marketing. If you want to find out how we can help, contact us today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online enquiry form.

Nov
17
Facebook marketing

A – Z of Marketing: Facebook Marketing

November 17, 2014 9:31 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Facebook Marketing

Do you have a Facebook business page? If not, you may need one! There are so many benefits to be had from setting up and using a Facebook page that businesses should consider adding Facebook marketing to their overall strategy.

Facebook pages are easy to set up and only cost something if you choose to use the various paid advertising options, and even these are highly customisable so that they can be utilised in a way that fits in with your budget. Gaining page likes and posting targeted information is an ideal way of increasing custom in your area, or further afield, and it’s much less time consuming than many forms of marketing, it’s fantastic for businesses large or small.

Here are some of the main advantages to having a Facebook business page:

  • Facebook has over one billion users! ONE BILLION! That means you have the potential to reach so many more people than you would with any other form of marketing, and you can target your efforts so that you only reach the people that you want to. It is a guarantee that you will find customers that are interested in what you’re offering.
  • It’s a great starting ground. Sure, Facebook will never be enough to keep a business going on its own, but it will mean that you have people watching what you’re doing and possibly telling others about it too, it’s a great way to encourage engagement and content sharing.
  • Facebook leads to email addresses. Make sure you create a mailing list from your Facebook contacts by encouraging them to opt in to receive your newsletters or emails – it’s a great way to start building a highly targeted mailing list of potential customers who are genuinely interested in what you are offering.
  • Facebook doesn’t cost anything. In comparison to other ways of advertising, Facebook is a dream for keeping costs to an absolute minimum, especially if you can design and manage the page yourself.
  • You can expand your reach through advertising. If you want to step up the level of activity and number of page likes, or you want to target as specific demographic with a key message, you can use adverts to get to your target audience. There’s no point in inviting everyone on Facebook to like your page. The aim of a Facebook business page should be to target people that will actually engage with your posts and be interested in your products or services. There are a number of advertising option available and you have a high level of control over what you spend, it is also easy to monitor results and tweak your adverts so that you gain the best results.
  • Facebook will give you valuable information. With a business page, you’ll get insights into how well your posts are doing, weekly page updates, and other statistics that could help you to create more sales by offering what your customers want most.
  • Increase brand recognition. When you create your Facebook page, make sure you have a brand that you want to stick to. People will come to know this brand through Facebook and therefore, they will be able to recognise it outside of Facebook.
  • Facebook will lead to other things. Use your business page to drive traffic to your website or blog.
  • Conquer the mobile world with Facebook. Many small businesses haven’t adapted their websites for people using smart phones. If you have a Facebook page, this is a mobile friendly way for customers to browse through your business’ portfolio on their phones.

These are just some of the benefits of using Facebook Marketing and, as you can see, it can really make a difference to any business. It’s worth taking the time to experiment with the platform and see how it could potentially work for your business.

If you feel that you need additional help with Facebook, you can talk to our team of social media experts on 0330 088 9277, or get in touch by filling out our contact form.

Nov
06

A – Z of Marketing: Email

November 6, 2014 5:40 pm Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Email

It’s unlikely that any of your customers don’t use the internet in some form, whether it is via a computer, smart phone, or any other mobile device, and the majority of them will check their emails daily. Email has grown to be one of the key forms of business and personal communication and is still seen as one of the most effective marketing channels for businesses today.

So, what is email marketing and how can it help your business?

Email marketing is a way of communicating with your customers/clients electronically. It can be used in a number of ways to help you to reach your business objectives. For example:

  • Sending an email to strengthen the relationship between you and your customers.
  • Encouraging existing customers to remain loyal with loyalty schemes or thank you rewards.
  • Sending offers to potential customers to tempt them into looking at and buying your products.
  • The distribution of useful and informative content as part of a content marketing campaign.
  • You can even purchase advert space on other company’s newsletters or promotional emails so that your business is promoted to their customers.

Using email marketing has many different advantages. The best of these advantages is the ability to collect data that will allow you to personalise your offers to your customers. Using email, you can reach a significant amount of people in a short space of time and monitor which customers click on links, shop, and even abandon their online shopping carts so you can remind them of products they were looking at. The cost of email marketing is minimal and, compared to other forms of marketing, email is both cost effective and gets some of the best results. Because of this, you can also quickly learn what your customers like and dislike so you can offer the products and services that will actually make you money.

What can you do to ensure that your email marketing campaign is successful?

  • Make your emails creative. They must be designed in a way that will appeal to your audience. Make sure that the first sentence is powerful enough to encourage the recipient to continue reading.
  • Make sure you’re targeting the right people, your database is key to the success of your campaign. If your products don’t apply to the people you’re emailing, you are not going to get sales. Try to personalise your emails for a better response.
  • Make your subject lines interesting enough so that the people receiving the emails will want to open them. Stay away from the generic! Asking a question in the subject line can work wonders.
  • Why should your customers respond to the email? Make sure there’s something inside that will make them want to shop! Place multiple calls to action throughout the email, the easier you can make it for the reader to respond, the better.
  • Know your customers. It’s no good sending out an email at 3am knowing that your customers will be asleep. Do your research and find out what days and times are best for sending emails.
  • When you add links to your emails, make sure they are direct links to the products, services, or information that you’re promoting. If a customer is interested in seeing the product but lands straight on your homepage and has to find it for themselves, you risk the chance of them leaving instead.

Email marketing shouldn’t be the only method of marketing used but it’s almost guaranteed to be one of the best for results. It’s essential to businesses that want to thrive now and in the future and there is so much you can learn from using it, so don’t miss out!

At Ketchup marketing we have supported a number of clients with their email campaigns and often achieve results over and above their expectations. Call us today on 0330 088 9277 to discuss your email marketing campaign in more detail. Alternatively, complete our short contact form and one of our experts will be in touch.

Nov
05
Event Marketing

A – Z of Marketing: Events

November 5, 2014 9:21 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Events

Promoting your business is vital to making it a success, after all, if no-one knows who you are and what you do, how will they know if they need your products or services. Business events are a great way of creating potential custom and networking with other businesses that could be valuable links in the future. There are lots of different ways for you to network with the people that are most important to your business. For example, business breakfasts, business exhibitions, or a number of different evening events. You can even connect with people and groups on websites, such as LinkedIn, or through hashtag events on Twitter.

Business events are a great way of spreading the word, whatever that word may be. Whether you’re introducing a new business, a new product, or you just want to see some fresh faces, a face to face or virtual event can get you the desired results. It’s the best way to kill two birds with one stone, connect with potential customers, and gather information from them so you can bring them products and offers that appeal to their wants and needs.

You may be wondering why it’s good to link with other businesses that are potential competition. It’s easy for businesses to become isolated and think that they’ll survive on their own ideas, however, this is often not the case. By linking with other businesses you get to see what your competition is up to, if your products and methods are out-dated, or if there is something that you are doing particularly well that you can use as a selling point. The best part about these events is that you never know who will walk through the doors; you could find yourself getting to know a future investor or someone with a large successful business that can create business for you via their clients.

Ketchup’s top tips for event success

  • Set objectives for your event – what are you looking to achieve from attending this particular event? Do you want to attract new customers, demonstrate product developments, build brand awareness, or meet with existing customers? Knowing what you want to get out of the event will enable you to focus the organisation and messages in the right way.
  • Understand the event’s attendees – many events will have a specific audience, for example, an industry specific event or an exhibition for small business owners. In most cases the event organisers will be more than happy to give you information about event attendees. This knowledge will allow you to target any marketing messages and event information accordingly.
  • Make sure that your business stands out – don’t just describe your business to people, make sure you take along products, portfolios, or use demonstrations. Your guests will want to see why they should spend their money with you.
  • Don’t give up! – If the first event doesn’t work, try and try again. Sometimes it takes attendance at a few events and exhibitions before you get your formula right and start achieving the results that you desire.
  • Give something to your guests – it’s no good hosting an event or investing in an exhibition stand, plus marketing and organisation costs, and having the attendees go home and say, ‘what was the name of that business again?’ Get your business cards in their pockets or send them home with a little pack of goodies!
  • Face your fears and be confident about what you are offering – it’s always likely that a competitor will turn up to see what you’re doing differently. Welcome them with open arms and discuss your ideas. It could be the start of something beautiful.

If you are looking to make sure that your attendance at an event doesn’t go unnoticed, why not speak to one of the experts at Ketchup. We can help with pre and post event marketing, stand design, event landing pages, and more. Get in touch today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our contact form.

 

 

 

 

Oct
30
Digital marketing

A – Z of Marketing: Digital Marketing

October 30, 2014 5:10 pm Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Digital Marketing

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.

Oct
23
marketing differentiation

A – Z of Marketing: Differentiation

October 23, 2014 4:57 pm Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Differentiation

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.

 

Oct
08
High quality data

A – Z of Marketing: Data

October 8, 2014 8:30 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Data

High quality data is the foundation of effective marketing. Collecting, analysing, and using data is the best way to get to know your customers better, and the more you know about your customers, the better you can tailor your marketing to them.

Whilst you need to keep the Data Protection Act in mind when it comes to your customer’s personal data, there is actually a lot of information you can collect without going against data protection legislation. For example, the buying habits of your customers, what method of payment they frequently use, where they are based, if they use computers, and much more. Collecting this kind of data and keeping records of the communication you receive from every customer will go a long way towards your business being able to offer the things that your customers actually want to buy and in a way that appeals to them.

Do you understand your customers?

The data you collect from existing or potential customers should allow you to make informed choices on what kind of products you stock or services you provide. For example, if you are a women’s fashion outlet, you should know the type of garments that are popular for each season, the trending colours, and why certain items won’t sell in the area you’re based. Once you know what will sell, it’s time to advertise it, but if you don’t know where your customers are looking, the word won’t get out. You need to find out if they have email addresses, if they use social networks, and what marketing channels they pay attention to. This way, you’re targeting the people that will bring you revenue.

High Quality data is also what enables the majority of businesses to personalise any communication with their customers. Customising your marketing messages means that you are much more likely to get a positive response to a campaign, and therefore meet your objectives.

So, how do you collect data?

For fresh data that’s being collected for the first time, the most obvious way of getting it is to interview your customers, either by a questionnaire, or asking them to leave comments and feedback on your website. You can also use online data capture by offering the opportunity to register for exclusive offers across multiple channels.

Monitoring activity and response to existing marketing campaigns can also enable you to get an insight into your customer’s behaviour. For example what products, services, or messages are getting the most attention on your social media accounts?

When you want to collect more specific data there are many companies that sell data that has already been collected. Make sure that this has been collected legally, the list members should have opted in to receive communication or for their information to be used for research purposes. This is a great way of getting the information you actually need quickly to produce the best service for your customers.

Before collecting all of this information you may want to invest in developing a good CRM system so that information can be recorded and stored safely in a way that will benefit you. CRM systems are also great for analysing your customer data, helping you to gain useful insights into customer behaviour and expectations.

If you don’t know anything about your customers, it’s almost guaranteed that your competitor does, and a dead certainty that those customers will buy from the company that best targets them. Therefore, whether you’re a start-up or an established business, collecting marketing data is just part and parcel of what it takes to make sure that your marketing activity is successful.

Need help using your data to target your customers? Contact Ketchup Marketing on 0330 088 9277 to discuss.

Sep
26
CRM

A-Z of Marketing – CRM

September 26, 2014 7:30 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing – CRM

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.

Sep
12

A-Z of Marketing: Copywriting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Sep
05
Competitors

A – Z of Marketing: Competitors

September 5, 2014 7:20 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Competitors

We continue our A-Z of Marketing blog series by looking at competitors. So often we get caught up in the day to day running of our businesses that we forget that we are not operating in isolation. Monitoring your competitors is key and luckily it’s never been easier, most of the time you can find all of the information that you need online, most of it is probably even on your competitors own websites.

At Ketchup we have a team of stealth experts who have helped many of our clients increase their understanding of their competition and what they are up against. More often than not, this understanding has led to greater success for their business.

So what information should you be looking out for when monitoring your competitors?

  1. New products/services or developments to existing offerings

If your competitors are launching new products and services, or making changes and developments to the products and services that they currently offer, you need to know. Any activity in this area will give you an idea of the direction the company is going in, and if they offer something you don’t and it’s proving popular, there’s no reason you can’t work on offering the same thing. This works particularly well if you can improve on what your competitor is offering, leaving you with the upper hand.

Set up an alert in Google alerts, monitor the news section on your competitor’s websites and, if relevant, keep up to date with local business news, and sign up to their newsletters.

  1. Details of new clients and case studies

Are your competitors getting a high number of new clients? This area of monitoring works particularly well for B2B organisations as they are more likely to announce a new client win or publish a case study about a particular project they have delivered. The number of new clients won will give you a good idea about the levels of success your competitor’s are seeing, any information in news stories or case studies will tell you more about their product/service offerings, implementation methods, USPs, etc…

For businesses with a B2C focus, keep a look out for statistics published online or in your competitor’s annual reports.

  1. Search engine rankings

Every business should have an understanding of the keywords and phrases their customers use to find the products and services they offer. Once you know which keywords and phrases work for your business you can use these to monitor how your competitors are performing, chances are that they are optimising the same keywords and phrases too. If they are above you in search engine results why? Are they using advertising such as AdWords and PPC to get to the top of the pile, is that something you should consider doing too?

You can tell a lot about your competitor’s approach by how they tackle SEO.

  1. Staff changes

Staff changes within companies can tell a much deeper story. Is staff turnover high? Are redundancies being made? Have they just brought on board a new CEO or senior managers? Have your competitors just bagged the latest talent?

Answers to all of these questions can give a real insight about what’s going on internally, whether it’s good or bad, and can help you to see the direction your competitors are heading in.

  1. Marketing campaigns and online activity

Monitoring the marketing activity carried out by your competitors can not only show you where the focus of their business lies, it can give you an idea of the size of their marketing budget. You may also pick up some inspiration for your own marketing campaigns.

The amount of money businesses allocate to marketing is a very telling sign. The marketing budget is often the first to be cut, so if one of your competitors used to spend thousands on marketing their products and services but has recently dropped off the radar or scaled back their marketing, this can be an indication about what’s happening within the business.

If you are not taking the time to monitor what your competitors are doing, not only are you missing out on potentially useful information, but you may fall behind in market share and industry developments. If you are the market leader you may fail to notice when your competitors are creeping up on you or using ideas and initiatives that you’ve previously executed to grow their own business. You might not be watching your competitors, but they will be watching you.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you to understand your competitors and how to monitor them effectively, call Michelle or Kate today on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.

Aug
29
Marketing Budget

A – Z of Marketing: Budget

August 29, 2014 8:09 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Budget

Marketing Budget

When you are looking at how to market your business it is always advisable to look at setting a budget for the amount you want to spend specifically on marketing activity. This will allow you to focus your efforts and identify exactly how much return on investment you are getting from each marketing campaign you carry out. In fact setting a budget should be a key part of your overall marketing plan, one of the keys to successful marketing is strategic spending.

A common misconception, particularly among business start-ups and SMEs, is that to market your business effectively you need to invest a lot of money. The truth is that investing a certain amount in marketing activity is wise, but you should always stick to what you and the business can afford. You can always increase the amount over time.

We help a number of our clients manage their marketing budgets and we have identified some of the most effective options when setting a budget for your business:

  1. Percentage of turnover

This is one of the most common methods used by businesses to set a marketing budget. Depending on the industry you operate in, the average percentage of turnover spent on marketing activity ranges from 5 – 10%.

The benefits of this method are that the budget allocated will grow with your business and a specific amount of money is guaranteed for your marketing activity right from the off. However, should you have a slow year, with a lower level of turnover as a result, your marketing budget will be less. This is a mistake many organisations made throughout the economic downturn. At the time when they should have been demonstrating the value of their products and services to their customers, and differentiating themselves from competitors through effective marketing, many businesses scaled back their marketing budgets, causing sales to dip more than it would have had they ‘marketed through the crisis’.

It’s worth noting that even if you use this method, you should still set you objectives and plan your marketing activity for the year ahead. If you don’t you could overspend before the second quarter on any opportunity that comes your way.

  1. Per activity/campaign

For this budgeting method to be effective you need to plan your yearly activity in advance, research costs, set benchmarks, and identify ways to measure the success of your campaign all in one go. Planning your marketing activity is always preferable to winging it and you should have an idea of what marketing activity you will be carrying out and when, but if you max out your budget as part of your initial plan and then a fantastic opportunity comes up will you be in a position to take advantage of it?

Perhaps, if you feel that this method is the one that suits your business at the current time, you could plan the majority of your marketing activity but have a pot of money set aside for those unplanned opportunities that will inevitably come up throughout the year? Budgets are a fantastic part of the planning process but there should always be an element of flexibility, as there should be in your marketing plan as a whole.

  1. Last year’s budget plus a certain percentage/amount

This method takes into account the previous years’ performance and if the business is looking at growth over the coming year. If the next 12 months are looking positive then your will take last years’ budget and adds a bit more on top. For example, if you spent £20,000 on marketing last year, results were good and you want to build on last years’ success and increase your exposure, plus turnover projections are good for this year, you may add an extra £5,000 to make next years’ budget £25,000.

If the increase in turnover doesn’t happen then you could overspend. However if your marketing plan is flexible then you should be able to accommodate any changes as you go along.

  1. Per product or service

This budget setting technique can be especially useful if your business supplies a number of products and services, or trades in international markets. By treating each product or territory as a separate entity you are able to more accurately allocate costs – for example spending more on marketing to the US market than the UK market because that’s where the majority of your sales come from.

It also allows you to monitor results from your marketing activity in a number of ways which will probably match the methods you will use to analyse sales turnover. You can analyse ROI from marketing across the board, or break it down to focus on results by product or territory.

If you are looking for support for your marketing activity and would like to discuss what we can do with your marketing budget, call Michelle or Kate for an informal chat on 0330 088 9277 or us the contact form here.

Aug
08
Marketing Agency

A-Z of Marketing: Agency

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

Your Marketing Agency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May
18

Your beginner’s guide to branding

May 18, 2014 8:42 am Published by Comments Off on Your beginner’s guide to branding

One of the most common misconceptions we come across as a marketing agency is that branding is only for the big boys and is too complicated and expensive for SMEs. Nothing could be further from the truth; many businesses of all shapes and sizes have achieved great success from developing a well-known brand within their marketplace.

What is a brand?

Many people are under the impression that a brand is an expensive logo, but it’s so much more than that, your logo and the colours/designs that you use represent the kind of business you are, your culture, and values. The logo is simply an image, a brand encompasses everything.

The aim of your brand is to get people to associate it with the products and services you provide. It should help distinguish you from your competitors and help customers choose you over them. Not only that, it should create a positive emotional response within your customers and potential customers.

Examples of brands that have nailed this are:

Disney – the brand just makes you feel happy

BMW – quality, status, success

Amazon – reliability, variety, fast delivery, quality

Visual brand representation

Logos, colours, and fonts all represent the visual aspect of your brand. To make these effective for your business, and to begin to build a brand that is recognisable and linked to quality products and services, you need to make sure it is used correctly.

You can maximise the visual representation of your brand by adding it to everything you put out into the marketplace, from your website and email signatures, to business cards, product manuals, and building signage. Download our branding signals document for more ideas about where to use your brand.

Emotional brand response

We touched on the emotional response of brands earlier but what is behind this response? The visual representation of your brand, i.e. your logo, is the vehicle for people recognising the company but it, in itself, will not create an emotional response.

The emotional response comes from a number of factors

  1. Your products and services – why do people buy what you offer, is it a symbol of success, does it make them feel good etc..?
  2. Your customer service – how do your customers feel when they are dealing with your company?
  3. Your staff – do your employees enhance your brand and the customer experience through the way that they act internally and externally?
  4. The messages you put out into the marketplace – what tone of voice do you use, what response are you trying to get from your audience, why should they buy your products and services?

The implications of not building a strong brand

The implications of not investing in and building a professional brand can be far reaching. Today business is more competitive than ever and with the ability to get your business online and out to the masses instantly, you need a strong brand to back up the messages about your products and services.

Some of the main implications of not having a strong brand include:

  1. You will get lost in the crowd – If you don’t build a strong brand you can lose out to your competitors and get lost in the crowd. People need to recognise and relate to your business, branding is one of the key ways to begin building recognition and relationships with your customers. A strong brand, which incorporates everything mentioned in this article, will enable you to stand out from your competitors, therefore increasing interest in your business and what it has to offer.
  2. Your products and services won’t seem as valuable to customers – one of the key benefits of a strong brand is that it actually adds value to your products and services. Why else would we pay so much more for branded items, such as coffee, when the supermarket’s own brand is half the price?
  3. Not having a brand, even if it’s a personal one, can impact on customer relationships – your customers will be filtering a lot of promotional information throughout the day, you need to have something up your sleeve that will make them sit up and take notice. A strong brand is a great start.
  4. Harder to establish loyalty from customers – in some marketplaces and for some products and services brand loyalty is everything, from going to a particular hair salon to only buying a specific brand of cola. Building brand loyalty increases repeat business and creates ambassadors for your company.

If you are looking for some expert help with your branding, call Michelle now on 0330 088 9277. Start building your brand today!

May
07

Lead generation – the lifeblood of any business

May 7, 2014 4:34 pm Published by Comments Off on Lead generation – the lifeblood of any business

They say that cash flow can make or break a business and this is very true, however, in order to get your cash flowing, you need to generate leads. Once you have those leads you then need to nurture and convert them into sales.

Lead generation is something that many companies struggle with. The Ketchup team have put their heads together to come up with a few tips on how to get your lead generation activity running smoothly; contributing to your cash flow, and the growth of your business.

  1. Make time for lead generation activities – whether you are a start-up or a well-established business with a mature client base, you need to carry out lead generation activities. Yes this takes time, but remember, you are doing this to ensure that your business survives. Make sure lead generation activities are happening in your business every day.
  2. Think about your lead generation and put together a strategy – when you are looking for and targeting prospects, you need to have a fair level of knowledge about:
    • Who is most likely to need and buy your product or service
    • How to contact them, who to contact, and through which channels
    • What problem you are going to solve for this prospect – for example, at Ketchup we get results for your business through great marketing
  3. Don’t give up – unless your prospect comes back with a resounding no, as in we will never be interested in what you are offering, then keep in contact. They may not need what you are offering now, but they may need you in the future. You want to be the business your prospect thinks of when they are looking for the products and services you provide.
  4. Quality over quantity – this comes as a result of carrying out tip number 2. If you have profiled your ideal prospect and stuck to that profile when adding to your prospecting list, the leads you get should be of high quality, with a high chance of conversion to a customer. If you are finding that the interest in your business isn’t from people you want, you should probably sit down and review your lead generation strategy and prospecting list.
  5. Log, monitor, and measure – You need to know that your lead generation activities are working for you, no matter what channels you are using. You also need to manage the leads you have generated so that they move through your sales pipeline to become customers. Look at:
    • The number of quality leads you are generating
    • Which channels your leads are coming from
    • The cost per lead generated
    • Cost per customer generated
    • The accuracy of your data
    • The conversion percentage – i.e. how many leads turn into paying customers
  6. Continually look at and improve your lead generation process – Based on the information gathered on the number of leads, the costs involved, etc… how you could improve things? Always question your lead generation activity and the results being generated. If they’re not good enough, tweak things until you are getting the results you need.
  7. Don’t stop once you get busy – This goes hand in hand with making time for lead generation. You will need to be continually generating leads so that your business always has customers, new and existing, and cash coming in.
  8. Don’t forget your current customers – This is something that can’t be stressed enough, repeat custom is a sign of a successful business. By keeping in contact with your customers, offering them a great service, and saying thank you, you will have a flow of repeat business and happy customers who will recommend you to others.
  9. Referrals are important – One of the best ways to generate new leads is to encourage referrals from existing clients. Be sure to say thank you though, we send flowers or a bottle of red wine to people for each referral they give us.

Your lead generation activity and management should run like a well-oiled machine, by following the tips in this blog and having a great marketing team behind your business, you should never be short of qualified, high value leads. If you feel that you need more support with your marketing and lead generation activity give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.

Jan
09

The ‘Creative Process’ ..

January 9, 2014 1:25 pm Published by Comments Off on The ‘Creative Process’ ..

– isn’t that an oxymoron?

When we come to work with new clients there can occasionally be a slight sense of dread on their part that; a fear that we are going to arrive at their offices and “be all creative at them”.  And so we thought it would help to explain, step by step, how we actually work.

Yes, there is always ‘method’. No, there is not, as a general rule, much in the way of ‘madness’.

First of all, we do our best to get to know your business, your goals and aspirations. If we don’t understand where you’re trying to go, how are we supposed to help you get there?

Then we talk budget. Always a tricky part that, but it has to be done. We are always totally transparent and up front with our pricing. The price only changes if you decide to change or expand your brief.

Once we’re all agreed, off we go. You may only see the tip of our creative iceberg at this stage, while we sit down with you and ask probing questions and take careful, copious notes of your answers – this is the beginning of probably the most valuable part of our process. It’s the bit where we sit down and start hammering out ideas, evaluating your competition and developing an approach that is tailored to match your goals. A bespoke solution, because your business is unique and one size certainly doesn’t fit all.

Then we present our ideas – these could be rough designs and/or strategic suggestions – and with your approval, we begin to implement them, getting your feedback and sign-off at each stage.

Once the project is complete and delivered to your total satisfaction, we can continue to work with you to monitor and measure the impact on your bottom line.

So many oxymorons make up part of our daily language, it’s an open secret, you might say.  But we don’t believe that ‘creative process’ is one of them.

To see how a splash of Ketchup can transform your marketing, give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 or contact us here.

Dec
12

Marketing Solutions on a Budget

December 12, 2013 11:17 am Published by Comments Off on Marketing Solutions on a Budget

Being paid for doing a job well feels great but getting good feedback feels brilliant – and not all of the projects we do for clients are big expensive strategy documents, sometimes all your business needs is a simple solution, as long as it is well-thought through and executed properly.

So when we recently produced this flyer for a client (pic below) we were confident it would have a positive impact on their bottom line, which is ultimately what marketing is for – to help your business attract profitable customers.

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Here’s what our client said…  

“I can’t lie…the response has been awesome! What would have been a very poor month has, within the last week turned into a good one! The foot flow and telephone enquiries have increased and the quality of customers has been good. It’s something we’ll definitely do again.” 

Not all marketing activity needs to be budget-busting! A simple case of analysing the situation, understanding your client and communicating with your target audience effectively can make a huge difference.  Whether it’s a flyer, press advert, brochure, simple web presence through complete campaign, re-brand, social media strategy and management or ecommerce-websites – we won’t try and sell you something more than you actually need.

We work by the KISS principle – Keep it Simple, Stupid!  So, want some Ketchup with that?

Need a simple solution to your marketing problem? Just pick up the phone and speak to Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or contact us here – yes it really is that simple

Just who is managing who these days?
Nov
11

Social Media Marketing

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

Just Who’s Managing Who These Days?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug
21

Why not on the High Street?

August 21, 2013 10:14 am Published by Comments Off on Why not on the High Street?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Similarly, shoppers are shown to slow down and ponder over goods where the lighting is slightly dimmer than the rest of the store.
  6. Position your most profitable goods at eye level. Eye level is buy level.
  7. 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.
  8. Monitor what sells, and what doesn’t. Move your stock around to see if that changes the results.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!
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.

“Hi, I am rich, marry me!”
Jun
26

Sorry, what did you say Marketing was again?

June 26, 2013 10:00 am Published by Comments Off on Sorry, what did you say Marketing was again?

Gary stumbled across this joke again on Twitter the other day about marketing that has been doing the rounds for a while, but we thought it was still worth sharing…

“You see a gorgeous girl at a party and you say to her “Hi, I am rich, Marry me!” ~ That is Direct Marketing.

If she walks up to you and says, “Hi, you are very rich, I want to marry you” ~ That is Brand Recognition.

If you call her the next day and say, “I am very rich, Marry me”  ~ That is Telemarketing.

If she slaps your face when you say “Marry me” ~ That is Customer Feedback.”

 

Funny?  We liked it. But we also smile at this bit that can be added on:

“One of your mates says that there’s a gorgeous girl you should marry” ~ That’s social marketing.”

And hopefully, in a nutshell, that explains why using social media can help your business. Using Twitter and Facebook give you the opportunity to share not only your thoughts and ideas, but also good contacts via great public testimonials. 3rd party endorsements have massive influence and, if harnessed correctly, can be a hugely important addition to your over-arching marketing strategy.

If you think you “could do better” (as my teacher used to say!) with using social media as part of your marketing mix, then drop Michelle a line on 0330 088 9277.  She is married though, so don’t go getting any funny ideas 🙂

Getting bogged down in data
Jun
18

Getting bogged down in data

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

blog-ogilvy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun
10

What price quality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple as that!

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

How expensive is cheap?
Apr
09

How expensive is cheap?

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

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

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

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

Fiat mechanic or glass of pink?

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

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

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

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

Buying customers at 10 grand apiece

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

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

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

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

 

 

Apr
02

How many beans make five? Is it nine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

50 pages of carefully crafted copy before lunch 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

"Saucy" top tips ..
Mar
20

Ketchup’s top tips for your website – part 1

March 20, 2013 9:22 am Published by Comments Off on Ketchup’s top tips for your website – part 1

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.

  1. 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.
  2. The ‘About Us’ page… Do you really need a page that talks about Uncle Bob starting the company in 1876?
  3. Address the reader – use ‘You’ & ‘Your’.
  4. Use testimonials – endorsements from your customers (real, not made up!) speak volumes.
  5. Sell the sizzle, not the sausage.  Don’t just talk about features of what you sell, emphasise the benefits.
  6. 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!
  7. Demonstrate your expertise in your field.  Oh look. We’re doing that now.
  8. Use real photos. Give them a proper name.  A picture speaks a thousand words.
  9. 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!)
  10. 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 michelle@ketchup-marketing.co.uk

Mar
15

Does brand loyalty exist anymore?

March 15, 2013 5:20 pm Published by Comments Off on Does brand loyalty exist anymore?

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.

 

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

Dec
17

Blogger’s Blog – part 1

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

Writer’s blog

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

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

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

Look out for the ‘some’ word

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

It’s like making candy floss out of bran fibre

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Choosing a design agency?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which comes first; the marketing or the design?

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

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

Trust us; we’re a marketing agency.

Madam Ketchup? I think not
May
25

What did you do at work today, daddy?

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

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

Loving those new clients

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

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

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

Fun and (Olympic) games

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

Madam Ketchup? I think not

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

"bergy bits"
May
16

Rowers keen to make a splash – not a crack!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A hedgehog smoking a pipe
Apr
10

Life’s a pitch – part two

April 10, 2012 9:14 am Published by Comments Off on Life’s a pitch – part two

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

 

 

Hire the dog!
Jan
24

Copywriter’s blighters

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

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

The summation of everything. In 5 words

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

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

Hire the dog, don’t bark yourself hoarse.

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

Coming soon… Copywriting for our clients

 

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

Nov
07

Ketchup in bottle race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

.. 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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