Marketing Solutions on a Budget

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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 a complete campaign, company brand redesign, social media strategy and management or an ecommerce website – 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

Open for Caravans!

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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 designing their new company 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.

"exceeded our expectations"

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value

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Website design for Westminster Associates

Client testimonial from Westminster Associates:

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

To visit the site click here

To see more of our website design work click here.

 

Thank You – from The Meadows

Thank You – from The Meadows

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Dear Michelle and your fabulous team

John and I were so excited to see our new company 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

Blogger’s Blog – part 3

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And another blogging thing

OK, let’s pretend three things. Firstly, that you’re not busy and have nothing better to do. Secondly, that our copywriter’s time is worth more than yours. Thirdly, your blog isn’t that important to your marketing effort.

You can see where we’re going with this, but you’ll probably resist our point about calling in the professionals anyway. And so you should. If you have a unique viewpoint and like the idea of writing your own blog you should go for it, especially if you know how to turn a nifty phrase or two. It is, after all, fun.

But the real idea is to produce results. So here are some tips.

Blogging-It-Yourself

Before you start, make two quick lists. The first list should be a roll call of the things you want to achieve with your blog; ending with a brief description of how the reader should feel when they’ve finished it.

The second should be a list of the things that you need to say that will make the readers feel that way. So if, for example, your subject is kitchen taps you’d probably want your readers to think that you were the kitchen tap expert and they should consult you at kitchen refurb time. You’d reinforce that impression with a para or two on tap design, then underline it with a bit of light tech-talk about reliability. Why the porcelain disc, quarter turn will resist dripping longer than the brass barrel, crush washer. But, unless you’re talking to tap anoraks (are they called Tapsters and is the collective noun a ‘trickle of Tapsters’) you’ll want to keep the tech light and involving. Good luck with that.

Once your two lists are complete, you’re ready to blog.

How’s your belly for spots, Aunt Thora?

A great blog talks directly to the reader, so to speak. So you have to use exactly the right sort of language. Consider how your content, pace, texture and vocabulary effect your tone of voice. The right tone of voice is vital because it engages the reader and helps keep them with you till the end. It also creates a telling impression of you, in their minds. So if your target audience is Aunt Thora it might be best just to enquire after her health in general terms.

The two, top, tone-of-voice tips are this; before you start writing have in mind a clear picture of someone you actually know, who personifies your reader. Write as if you were speaking directly to her/him. And then, when you’ve finished, give your work to a sulky teenager to read and ask them to describe the person they think it’s talking to.

After a couple of rewrites you’ll be ready to publish. The penultimate check is to run through your original lists and tick off the items as they appear in the blog – if you have the full set you’re good to go. But before you do, recheck your spelling and grammar. Really. A literal mistake, an inadvertent Americanism or a malapropism will have everyone writing you off as educationally substandard.

You know what…

Why bother? You’re a busy exec with 100 more valuable things to do with your time. Hiring us is cost effective and could actually save you a fortune if your DIY blog misfires somehow and drives customers away. And we must know what we’re doing – you read this far, after all.

For professional blogs please talk to Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or contact Ketchup Marketing here

 

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

Bloggers Part 2 can be found here.

Blogger’s Blog – part 2

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It’s like reverse Tourette’s

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

This blog is about why. This is why

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

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

Colourful language, you blue-nosed radish

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Bloggers Part 3 can be found here.

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

 

Blogger’s Blog – part 1

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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, say, a Lincolnshire copywriting agency with their eye on the main chance and 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 they should learn how to use a blog as part of a marketing strategy. 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.

Look out for the Blogger’s Blog part II – Reverse Tourette’s; Part 3 of this blogging special can be found here.

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

Client Testimonial

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hortus_ligneous_1_web_site_design

Ketchup Marketing have been a fabulous company to work with.  We had a basic idea of what we wanted our website to say and do, but had no idea how to portray this.  Michelle worked closely with us to get a precise idea about our likes and dislikes and was very knowledgeable in telling us what would work for us.  They have designed a site which exceeded our expectations- it takes into account our personal taste and is paired with the in-depth knowledge of how to run a successful, fully working site.

We are enormously pleased with our finished design and look forward to seeing how the website works for us in the future.  We are excited about continuing to work with Ketchup with regards to SEO and regular blogging and are also thinking of further ways to extend our site.

Here at Hortus Ligneous we are delighted to recommend Ketchup Marketing to design your company website, you will most certainly not be disappointed.

Charlotte & Sam Clemons

Hortus Ligneous Limited 

Dynamic by name …

… website by Ketchup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further project details and images are on our portfolio

Hire the dog!

Copywriter’s blighters

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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 sunshine 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. We’ve provided copywriting services for small businesses for a decade. We’d love to help you – contact us here.

Of course, if you’re writing a business 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!

No-one was ever bored into buying a product

Copywriting. Let’s hope the camel knows the way

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

No-one was ever bored into buying a product.

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

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

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

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

Coming soon… The tricky bit.

 

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

A fixed look at Bentons

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Before all the hard work

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

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

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

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

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

After, Bentons Your Property Experts, Melton office

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

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

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

Words like ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ float past

Copywriting. What could possibly go wrong?

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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. If writing is not your thing (or you’re busy actually running your business) why not ask a professional copywriting agency, like us here at Ketchup, to help out?

 

 

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

Copywriter? Copywriter?

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“My wife’s got a degree in English, the client said, so what the hell do I need copywriting help for?” We sighed silently. We used to hear this a lot in the old days.

Nowadays, of course, clients are all professional marketers with a fine appreciation of the importance of highly targeted communication and a savage determination to give themselves the competitive edge.

It wasn’t always thus. ‘I can read, so I can write’ was the rationale behind many local business-owners decision to save themselves a few quid by doing their own copywriting. It’s a view akin to saying ‘I’ve eaten food so I can cook’. Or ‘I’ve heard Mozart’s Sifonia, therefore…’ well, you get the gist.

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

Professionals like, for example, opera singers roll their eyes as their crafts suffer at the hands of Gifted Amateurs. Other professions have it easier. Ophthalmic surgeons, for example, are almost never interrupted by a fat bloke bursting into their operating theatres, waving nail scissors and bawling ‘Gimme a go, I did a frog at school’.

However, we do live in the age of the budget cut. So, for the sake of economy – and because we like to help our clients achieve the best possible results – we’ll be exploding the copywriting myth in a series of blog articles. We’re going to show you how it’s done!

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