August 21, 2013 10:14 am
According to a recent Survey conducted by Live & Breathe, 73% of shoppers care that the nations high street are in decline, and a good proportion of them are worried about their local high street.
At Ketchup Marketing we have been working with two local independent retailers in Oakham, in two very different businesses, selling products which are poles apart. They seem to be rather pleased with the results so far, so we thought we’d share our top ten tips for independent retailers.
- Make sure you have a good, clear sign which is perpendicular to the front of your shop so that pedestrians and traffic can see you on their approach.
- Make sure any offers or discounts you’re promoting aren’t devaluing your customer’s buying experience. Nothing like screams “naff” more than massive “SALE” signs in your window.
- Sell baskets. Before you try and sell anything to anyone, make sure they have a basket in their hand. Studies prove that having a basket increases the average transaction value at the till.
- Use music (as long as you have appropriate licences in place) to enhance the experience. Fast music speeds up your shoppers. Slow music slows them down.
- Similarly, shoppers are shown to slow down and ponder over goods where the lighting is slightly dimmer than the rest of the store.
- Position your most profitable goods at eye level. Eye level is buy level.
- Make sure your team in-store are empowered to deal with problems quickly – everyone should know what the process is for handling a complaint, return etc.
- Monitor what sells, and what doesn’t. Move your stock around to see if that changes the results.
- Position goods strategically – between 4pm and 8pm a certain supermarket chain positions nappies near beer, so that fathers on the way home from work, when requested by their partner to pick up more nappies, will “just happen” to pick up a four pack of tinnies too.
- Use your window display like a billboard advertisement – create something that’s going to inspire your customers to buy – change it regularly, use it to showcase your best products, with messages calling customers into the store. If you’d had to pay for an advertising space that big I’m sure you’d think about it really carefully, so do that with each new window display.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to retail marketing and merchandising, and if you want to know more then give us a call on 0330 088 9277 and we’ll be delighted to see how we can help you.
“Hi, I am rich, marry me!”
June 26, 2013 10:00 am
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 🙂
June 10, 2013 10:00 pm
When you’re out networking, as many busy business-owners & directors do week-in, week-out, you build up a great rapport with some of the contacts you make, and this can lead to great introductions and ultimately, convert into paid work.
It’s good practice to tweak your pitch, see what generates a good response, see what seem to hit people’s hot buttons, and then keep on honing it to perfection. Also, it pays to mix it up a bit if you’ve got a particular offer or deal, or if you’re swamped with one kind of project and need to keep your whole team busy by promoting one of your other products or services.
So the other week Michelle ventured out to networking group she’d been going to for a while. A nice bunch of people, and a lovely venue. We have, to be fair, been absolutely stacked in the studio with website work, so this time we’d decided in advance to promote more of the strategic marketing side of the business.
All was going well until in passing someone said how much they’d love to work with us, but that they simply couldn’t afford it. Now, alarm bells were set a-ringing by that, not because we didn’t like people to think we might be fractionally more expensive than the next agency, but because after having invested time and effort in promoting our technical expertise and great creative thinking, but because the individual concerned couldn’t see that as a general rule ‘you get what you pay for’.
There is a common misconception in small business that in order to be competitive you need to undercut the competition. No you don’t. You need to differentiate yourselves from it, add value to every stage of every transaction and deliver what you said you would at the time you said you’d deliver it. In so doing, you’re justifying the extra little bit of money you might be charging – because people are buying your expertise.
Let’s put it like this; If you’re booking a flight with a budget airline, the headline price might seem great. But then you end up getting charged for your hand luggage, charged to book your seat, charged if you check in at the airport, charged for your in-flight meal, charged extra to pay by debit card or credit card when you pay… and actually it adds up to double what you originally thought. Whereas if you booked with a non-budget airline, the ticket price you pay includes all of those extras. The same applies when you’re choosing your agency.
So yes, it’s true that we aren’t the kind of agency that promotes an inexpensive service. There is a perception that perhaps we are more expensive than the next agency. But it’s funny how things transpire… a couple of projects we’d lost based on price earlier this year are now back with us. So perhaps alarm bells needn’t have rung quite so loudly after all.
If you’d like to have a chat with Michelle, and get a quote for marketing strategy, a new website, social media management, email marketing or SEO… then pick up the phone and dial 0330 088 9277. After she’s gently grilled you (!) to make sure you know what you want, she’ll meet you to get a clear understanding of your business & she’ll prepare a no obligation quote for you. And if you go ahead with your project, unless you suddenly ask for something extra, they price you are quoted is the price you’ll pay.
Simple as that!
May 20, 2013 11:17 am
Ever look at your own website and think it’s not quite up to scratch? Fed up of the familiar colourways, images and calls to action? Don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs are those who are most self-critical – they’re always trying to improve and innovate, and there’s nothing bad about that.
All of your online and offline marketing presence whether it’s your tweets, press adverts or glossy brochures have been created by you and your agency to pitch you differently to those of your competitors. And bench-marking them against what your competition pumps out is a good exercise to do now and then – but don’t compare them like-for-like – yours are meant to be different – that’s half the point.
It’s easy to get bored with the way your business presents itself when you are in the thick of it, day in-day out. And that’s often the case with your blog articles too. You scrutinise them, pick holes in them, spell-check them, read them over and over again for some grammatical flaw that you think everyone will notice (but chances are they probably won’t) so it’s no wonder that you pause just before you hit ‘publish’ … of course you’re going to be bored of them if you’ve just spent hours writing/rewriting and generally faffing around with them to achieve some kind of impossible perfection.
This is where you need to go and do something totally different, grab a cuppa with a business associate or maybe a mentor who you can trust to give you a bit of reassurance. This is the better response than running off to a new agency crying “ Please change everything I have spent the last X number of years developing!!”
Don’t get me wrong, we’re always happy to do a brand refresh for a client or give strategic marketing input – that’s where we excel – but just because you’ve got a bit bored with the way you market your business it doesn’t mean your customers have.
Think about the Kelloggs Corn Flakes Chicken (Or is it a Cockerel? See, it’s OK to admit you don’t have all the answers…) but back to the point, which is, that poultry personality has been on the front of the Corn Flakes box since the very beginning. It has a bit of an image update every few years, but it’s never been replaced by a Turkey. Or a Pig. Or a Duck. See, our knowledge of farm animals isn’t perhaps the best either but that’s fine, because we’re not in the business of farming.
If your blogging and tweeting and literature and press ads and the service you give to your treasured customers is working, don’t go messing with it. And don’t worry if you feel it’s not quite as cool as your competitor’s – chances are that they are having those same painful moments of self-doubt as you are.
If however you simply can’t escape the thought that your marketing just isn’t working, by all means give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277. Michelle will tell you straight, based on proper research and insight if you can improve what you’re doing. And if she doesn’t think you can, then she’s not going to try and convince you otherwise and sell you anything unnecessary. This is the Ketchup commitment that you can trust.
March 15, 2013 5:20 pm
A wise man once wrote “Loyalty is for the dogs. Count me among the cats. And count me twice—once for each of my faces.”
The truth is, that with our purses and wallets having been squeezed over the last few years, our buying decisions are perhaps not as straightforward as they once were. But when I recently overheard the owner of our local farm shop proudly telling a customer they’d be launching a loyalty card next month which would give shoppers a discount on their basket price, it took all the self-discipline I could muster to not to go running up to him and plead with him to reconsider. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against small businesses adopting successful practices of larger businesses, but let me tell you why I think this particular scheme is a bad idea.
How many of those plastic rewards cards have you got crammed into your purse or wallet? I seem to have more loyalty cards than bank cards. The reason why stores like Boots and Tesco introduced these kinds of schemes wasn’t to reward loyalty. Oh no. The ingenious truth is that when we swipe our loyalty cards at the checkout, we’re giving away hugely valuable data about our habits as shoppers – what products we buy, how often, what incentives we take advantage of, how we pay etc. Data like this is priceless. The stores can build up a detailed picture of their customers, categorise us and send us tailor-made offers based on our shopping history to encourage us to return to the store and buy more stuff. And they see which vouchers and offers we use and which we don’t. So every time we go back in the shop they are finding out more and more detail about us. It’s actually a bit creepy.
So why shouldn’t my local farm shop do the same? Well, that’s because they won’t be collecting and harvesting all of that important data using an expensive EPOS system. What they’ll be achieving is something quite different. There are, broadly, 2 types of customer at the local farm shop. The first type is those people who support the shop because they want to see it succeed, like the produce and the whole experience of shopping there. The second type of customer is the one who use the local shop to top-up their weekly supermarket shop. That’s not to say that this second group of customers isn’t as valuable, but you probably aren’t going to change their buying behaviour any time soon. The farm shop is a single store, not part of a big chain. The people who own it, as they serve you at the till, see with their own eyes who is buying what, how regularly they use the shop, gather feedback and ideas, so they don’t need a complex computer system and computerised systems to give them that customer insight.
So what does the loyalty card achieve? Actually, what it will potentially achieve is what worries me. It’ll mean that every customer who has a card will be contributing a smaller amount of profit to the business. Which means that the farm shop will need to increase the number of customers and volume of sales to achieve the same level of profit as before they introduced the card. And when you’re located in a rural area, that’s not easy.
So does brand loyalty still exist? Yes. Some of the time. But it’s not as simple as it might first appear and these days loyalties are tested almost hourly. And it depends on which face we have on.
November 15, 2012 7:22 pm
… from Ketchup Marketing
In 2012 Ketchup Marketing have designed, built and launched 24 websites (another 9 are pending pre Christmas Launch), of these bespoke websites 22 have an integrated WordPress blog, so we are often asked “What makes a good blog post?”, of course the answer will differ depending on your business sector and your marketing strategy, but as a starter for 10, here are our top ten tips for the business blog writer:
1. Talk to your audience
Who is your audience? Who is reading your blog, have you looked at your web stats?
2. Keep to one audience.
You are likely to have more than one target audience, so keep the brand message and tone consistent throughout your blog, whether you are writing about new products / services or recruiting. A good idea is to lead the blog with a question and then answer it within the blog post, for example How do I write copy for a website?
3. Think word count.
A good blog article should be between 250 and 400 words easy and quick to read to keep the reader entertained and to read your full message and any call to action. If your article needs more words then consider splitting into in to 2 or 3 parts, and then use links to drive the visitors to these other article.
4. Good blog posts are easy to read.
Use lists or sub heading to make for easy reading.
5. Good blog posts actually say something.
Of course it is ok to comment about a recent event or news within your industry, for example commenting on the Christmas advertising of the big brands, but ensure that your blog starts and ends with a story or reason, plus reinforce this with a call to action, for example “hey John Lewis give Ketchup a call next year we will help you spend your marketing budget” 🙂
If you are unsure of the content ask a colleague or a friend to sense check it.
6. Good blog posts don’t have to be works of art.
You are unlikely to win any literary awards for your blog, but as long as you keep to our top ten tips people will come back for more.
7. Good blog posts show your expertise, they don’t yell at you.
Show your readers you are a great company, showcase your expertise, don’t tell them you are great at designing websites or creating email campaigns, build up trust, show expertise, use testimonials.
8. Good blog posts use a headline and sub heading.
Remember your keywords, use interesting language or question to encourage readers. You can look back over past blogs and see what have been the most successful headlines.
9. Good blog posts use keywords and are SEO optimized
See point 8, for further information on SEO can be found here
10. Good blog posts include a call to action.
A blog should avoid a hard sell, but include a CTA, this could be to another related blog post or to leave a comment, or to take the reader to twitter / facebook or linked in.
Well, there are my top 10 hints and tips for a new blog writer, please comment, please add more.
About the Author: Michelle Jones is the owner, founder and steering force of Ketchup Marketing. Established in 2009 and based in Long Clawson, near Melton Mowbray Ketchup delivers full branding and strategy to local SME’s. A selection of recent work can be found here.
Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?
July 12, 2012 9:37 am
The question isn’t which design agency. It’s why.
Now don’t get us wrong, we have nothing against design agencies. After all, we are a design agency. partly. So if you’re looking for a spangley new logo, a redesign of your corporate identity, a commercially successful website or a complete rebrand – we can thoroughly recommend us.
But are you? Are you just re-dressing your old website in a pretty new graphic frock? Are you just having a rebrand because the old logo has a few cobwebs hanging off it?
Of course you’re not; you’re moving your image forward so that it becomes more powerful, has greater appeal to a wider audience and – ultimately – allows you to grow your business.
Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?
You have your beautiful, imaginative new identity, and everyone loves it (except the FD’s wife, of course, who doesn’t like anything). But then what? You’ll be wanting to use it in a marketing campaign to pull in new business and maximise the potential sales that a new look trails in its wake. And for that you’ll want marketing team with the in-house experience and resources to give you a coordinated, sustained sales campaign.
You’ll need copywriters, specialised web builders, SEO experts and marketing directors. Exotic creatures (some of them) not often found in design agencies.
Once again, we have no problem in thoroughly recommending ourselves.
Which comes first; the marketing or the design?
Actually it’s neither. Or maybe it’s both. Commercial pragmatism is a wonderful thing; it means that whenever our designers reach for their crayons, they also pick up their marketing hats. Our Marketing Director starts talking about communication strategy and target market appeal . The copywriting team chip in with message delivery concepts and tone of voice, straplines and campaign directions.
In short, we have an all-round discussion that results in ideas that can be used in a total communication package. So, when the time inevitably arrives when you want to translate the new brand identity into a poster, or use elements of the new web in a press ad, it all works. You gain sales, attract business, maximise the profitable effect of your marketing effort.
Trust us; we’re a marketing agency.
April 24, 2012 5:15 pm
Michelle – Ketchup MD
The dodgy sex aside, I sometimes think that long term client relationships are a bit like marriages. Both parties enter into them with eyes wide open and with the best of intentions; and learn to adjust their expectations as time passes.
At first it’s all passion and togetherness discovered. There are a couple of warm discussions as you feel your way around and operational guidelines are laid down.
Then something wonderful happens
Like all seasoned couples, you become perfectly aligned. The agency is so immersed in the client’s market that it responds to new challenges instinctively. Our creative/management team thinks proactively – without being briefed – to present new directions, ground-breaking ideas and early solutions to future issues. In short, we all work together in shorthand.
Blind date? Actually we met on the internet
A good number of our clients have been with us for over 5 years, some for even longer. Most of our new clients come to us via recommendations from established clients, or people who have worked with us previously. Which is gratifying.
But we do go on blind dates – or pitches, as they’re known in the industry. We also attract new business via the net and targeted marketing efforts. Lucky really, because if we can’t market ourselves…
Taking it personally
Gary – Ketchup Design Guru
And sometimes the personal partner merges with the professional. Our Director of Copy married his Art Director and our Creative Director met his intended over the garden wall when they were children, but he designed all my wedding stationery and table layouts. And our longest standing client was at the ceremony some – oooh – 13 years ago now.
There’s a lot to be said for long term relationships.
August 5, 2011 3:12 pm
Not such a useless, fat, evolutionarily-challenged blighter after all, then?
Long live Google’s Panda update. Encouraging well-crafted, motivating, selling advertising copy. Obviating the need to ram every sentence with key SEO words.
Very cute, that Panda. Frying spam in its own fat. Obliterating the requirement to write 500 words of gibberish, when 20 good ones would sell the product.
So Google Panda heralds a new era of copy written to convert readers into buyers. Rather than word lists designed to roll the gormless eye of the search engine towards the website.
Break out the Champagne there, Benson.
Mind you, SEO did sort the hacks from the hicks. Real copywriters accepted SEO as a challenge. As in, how many times can you squeeze a fat ‘luxury holidays in the Mediterranean’ into a 100-word piece of resort copy? And we all had our own tricks. You could do things with punctuation that the machine didn’t notice but the reader did. For example: “….complete luxury. Holidays in the Mediterranean are always…” See what we did there?
Of course, we were practiced. Before SEO we had Client Presentation Suicide. It was a game that involved picking a random word out of a hat and inserting it into your part of the presentation. No matter how inappropriate. You try slotting ‘liberty bodice’ into a creative rationale to a furniture manufacturer. It certainly adds to the stress, especially as the loser buys everyone else a fat lunch.
So thanks for the Panda, Google, but copywriters were slotting subliminal little buzz words into marketing copy long before SEO was ever possible. Don’t believe me?
Take this piece for example. Have you noticed how many times the word ‘fat’ appears?
Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past
July 5, 2011 7:18 pm
There are, after all, only 26 letters in the alphabet. So mind your Ps and Qs and you’ll be O and K. Headlines aren’t usually more than a dozen or so words long, so they’re easy. The tip here is to write out what you want to say in long form, then whittle it down. If you can’t get it below 15 words max, you need professional help.
Once you have your snappy, compelling, irresistible headline you just need to write the copy. Again; easy. Say, 100 words if you’re penning a press ad. Less if poss. Use short sentences. Be dynamic. Counts the words. If you’re up to 150 your audience is likely to wander off long before you ramble round to your point. So cut the self indulgence. Never forget; you’re not here to entertain, you’re here to sell a product. But remember, sometimes the best way to sell a product is to be entertaining.
Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past
While you’re laying down the words, be aware or beware. If they’re not the right words you could waste your entire spend. Your brochure, for example. It may be professionally designed, beautifully photographed, lavishly printed. But if it sounds like it was written by a Sun reader using a bread knife, your audience will be turned off in their droves. Amateurish copy will make your company sound, well, amateurish. Talk about spoiling the ship….
Don’t let us put you off with all this. We’re just pushing for business. Next time we’ll talk about thinking, and leaping the headline hurdle.
Coming soon… A penny for your thoughts.