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.

 

Dec
05
Homepage design

A-Z of marketing: Homepage Design

December 5, 2014 7:58 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of marketing: Homepage Design

It isn’t hard to understand why homepages are so important for businesses. Generally, they are the first thing that a potential customer will see about your business, and we all know how far first impressions go. A homepage is a company’s face and needless to say, you will be judged by how it looks. If your homepage can intrigue a user just enough to make them want to learn more, and look at your products or find out about your services, your sales will undoubtedly increase. These days, if a person wants to find out about a particular business, they will visit that business’ website way before using its telephone number.

With this in mind, it’s obviously very important to get your homepage right. Its purpose is to draw people deeper into the website, and it should also guide your visitors easily onto the next step of their customer journey.

Therefore, your homepage should be an overview of everything that you offer as a business so that people will recognise what you do, where you do it, and who you do it for straight away. There are a few different ways that you can make your homepage into a page that will enhance the value of your website. Take a look at the tips below:

  • Think of a great tagline – A tagline should sum up what your business is all about and placing it on your homepage will immediately let people know where they are
  • Don’t plaster the business’ history all over the page – It’s likely that your customers will want to find out things about the business eventually, but it isn’t usually the first thing that someone wants to know. It’s like telling someone your life story the first time you meet them. Stick to the vital information when it comes to the homepage.
  • Include a search option – If you have a big stock list, a search bar could come in handy for your customers. Many people will automatically look for a search option on homepages because it saves time when they have something particular in mind and don’t want to have to search for it themselves. In a time where we want everything yesterday, visitors will want to get access to the information that they are looking for quickly.
  • Link everything – It’s no good having a picture of a product or offer on the homepage if your visitors can’t click on it and be taken directly to what they want. The purpose of using a website should be convenience, and the homepage should be no different. Try to make it as easy to use as possible. Links can also give you a great idea of the behaviour of your visitors while they are on your website as link clicks can be monitored.

Of course, along with being practical for your users, your homepage should also be visually attractive. The logos, adverts, and other graphics you use should be eye-catching and relevant to your audience, the design should support your brand. For example, a new product advert or rotating banner can be big and flashy to catch visitor’s attention, but when it comes to drop down menus, the text used should be understandable and fairly plain and simple. The homepage, along with the rest of the website must also be suitable for mobile phone access. Put time and effort into your homepage and you’ll see results.

If your website is in need of a refresh, or you need to make it more accessible for an increasing number of mobile visitors, we can help. Our clients have seen fantastic results from their new websites, why don’t you join them? Contact us today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online form and a member of our team will get back to you.

Jun
10

8am, June 10th 2014.

June 10, 2014 8:00 am Published by Comments Off on 8am, June 10th 2014.

The moment the .uk was born

What’s in a domain name? Actually, quite a lot. Like a regional accent, a name gives a vivid pointer to a company’s country of origin, its working sphere and all the attendant pre-conceived notions that march alongside nationality. For businesses, being inextricably linked with British-ness can be a distinct plus. Consumers and buyers of services prefer dealing with a company that is identifiably operating from the UK.

So it follows that the newly-launched .uk confers many benefits
As always, Ketchup’s web specialists – oh alright, geeks – are on hand to advise you how to gain the most momentum from the newly launched domain, and add value to your business. But here are a few of the main benefits you could access.

First of all, there’s the aforementioned issue of trust. Consumers across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are much more comfortable dealing with a British company, and even overseas customers have a high regard for the integrity of UK companies. So the obvious and most immediate way of waving the Union Jack is by attaching .uk to your company’s name.

Focus on the traffic
By being more punchy and direct, the .uk domain throws the emphasis back onto your brand name – making it more powerful and modern-sounding. Being shorter, it is also much easier to remember, crucial in the fast moving swirl that is internet marketing. If no-one remembers your name, no-one will be visiting your site.

Smarter for smart phones
Registering this new domain also makes it easier and quicker for users of smart phones and tablets to contact you – vitally important when you remember the percentages of people who now use mobile devices for shopping.

Extra flexibility
.uk will also sit very tidily alongside your existing domain name, giving you extra flexibility to add websites, URL shorteners and redirects to your existing marketing effort; allowing you to target, separate and quantify the responses to your communications with clients.

Evict the squatters
To maintain the sanctity of your personal or company name you need to put up the barricades against squatters and competitors. People who would hi-jack your name or devise something similar and trade off your marketing efforts. Registering a .uk domain that is a version of your existing address(es) puts you back in control.

So that’s it. If you want to make the .uk your domain, talk to your outsourced marketing department about registering now. Call Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.

Apr
25

Is your website responding to the mobile revolution?

April 25, 2014 11:34 am Published by Comments Off on Is your website responding to the mobile revolution?

We may be a marketing agency but there are some trends and developments that even take us by surprise, and we’re not too proud to admit it. Case in point, in November 2013, whilst analysing our website results, we were shocked to discover that 77% of our traffic came from mobile devices – 77%!

We knew that the use of mobile devices to access websites was increasing among consumers, especially in retail sectors. However, this figure demonstrates that business users are getting in on the action too.

Our website was 5 years old at this point and we were always talking about a brand refresh and a new site. The number of people visiting us from mobile devices made us realise that a whole new website was in order, no more dithering, and we had to say no to some local projects to find the time needed. If we didn’t make our site more responsive for mobile users, a potentially huge chunk of our visitors would be alienated, exactly the opposite of what we wanted to achieve.

We don’t want your website to alienate potential customers either, which is why all websites developed by Ketchup are now mobile friendly as standard – there’s no extra charge.

Beyond our 77% website statistics shocker, the bigger picture figures speak for themselves. Over *1 billion people use their mobile device to access the internet, and a high percentage of them ONLY use their mobile device to access the internet. That’s right, no PC or Laptop access, purely smartphone and tablet surfing. According to Mashable in 2013 17.4% of Global Web Traffic Comes Through Mobile.

This figure is only going to rise and highlights just how important it is to your business and brand that your website, the window to your business, is easy to view, navigate, and interact with, whatever device is being used. If a potential customer accesses your site on the move and finds it slow to download and difficult to use, they will switch off, potentially never to visit again or consider buying the products or services you offer. Examples of mobile responsive websites developed this year include:

www.themelton.co.uk
www.alice-reins.co.uk
www.discrecycling.co.uk
www.allergyresolutions.co.uk

If you are looking for a new website, it absolutely has to be optimised for mobile. Find out how Ketchup can help you, call Michelle Jones on 0330 088 9277 today to discuss your new responsive website or contact us here.

* The International Telecommunication Union, November 2011

Apr
13

Are you thinking FAQ it?

April 13, 2014 6:55 pm Published by Comments Off on Are you thinking FAQ it?

There has been a lot of debate over the years about the pros and cons of FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section on websites. Typically, an FAQ page will list a selection of questions the owner of the website presumes the reader of the website might wish to ask, and provides them with an answer.

This philosophy or approach to the use of FAQ pages has been at the nub of the debate – if you’ve created a website, but you think people may have questions about the content, surely you should find a way of addressing those questions within the content of the website rather than creating a whole separate area for users to check?

We have historically taken a fairly pragmatic approach to this dilemma. In our experience, clients have great success when they incorporate useful FAQ sections to their websites. So what makes an FAQ section useful? Well…

Number one, the questions featured must be real! They need to reflect the genuine queries your customers have. If you spot the same question rearing its head over and over, then this suggests you need to make this snippet of information very clear in the main messaging area of your website.

Secondly, by virtue of the fact that we are talking about typed questions and answers, we need to make sure that the FAQ page isn’t too text heavy, and includes plenty of air to break up all of those words! So clear typography, on a plain background is a must. And don’t forget about visuals – you can often explain a difficult concept far more easily in a picture than in a lengthy piece of copy – no matter how well – crafted it might be.

Lots of questions due to the technical nature of a website should be clearly categorised to help the user navigate the information. No-one likes their brain to feel saturated with information that they weren’t actually looking for, no Siree.

One thing that is a particularly handy by-product of FAQ pages (and strategically this must be considered when you’re deciding whether or not to incorporate one into your website) is that they are really excellent for optimising your website for search engines – so do include key phrases and keywords to take advantage of the improvement in visibility of your website.

The debate over ‘to FAQ’ or ‘not to FAQ’ will undoubtedly continue – if you’re unsure and would like our professional opinion, then give Ketchup a call on 0330 088 9277.

Any questions?

Feb
18

Another Case of the Cobbler’s Children

February 18, 2014 11:02 am Published by Comments Off on Another Case of the Cobbler’s Children

If, by now, you haven’t sussed out that here at Ketchup we are passionate about creating effective and worthwhile websites (among all of that other marketing ‘stuff’, you know the strategy and the tactics, the glorious cross-channel execution that results in sharp intakes of breath and fantastic client feedback) well, if that hasn’t quite been on your radar, well, this may not come as a shock to you…

“Sorry Mum! We got so busy doing work for our clients that we kind of forgot to include some of those lovely juicy ingredients in our own activities.”  In our defence, there are only a few of us, and we are rather committed to looking after our clients, so it’s on the cusp of inevitable that we may fall a little behind with nurturing ourselves.  Ssshhh… our own website is five years old… that’s old enough to be brushing its own teeth and riding a bike – possibly without stabilisers.

Despite having trusted advisers (every small business should have one!) to kick us purposefully up the rear-end we sometimes don’t actually have the hours in the day. Small businesses, we feel your pain – because we have first-hand experience of exactly the same thing.

So, we know that the way that people browse websites has changed over the last year or two (yawn… yes you know this too so we won’t bang on about it) but to discover from our webstats that our own visitor traffic peaked at no less than 77% from mobile devices… well, shall we say it rather focused the mind. In fact, over 1 billion people in the world today actually rely on their phones to access the internet. We read that online so it must be true.

Consequently, we have decided to make sure that none of our clients should ever find themselves in this quandary, and responsive website design (i.e. websites that work just as effectively on a mobile device as on “a proper computer” ) is now an integral part of our delivery process: all of our websites come responsive as standard. For no extra cost.

Research conducted by Morgan Stanley shows that mobile web will be bigger than desktop by 2015. If your strategy doesn’t include mobile, it doesn’t include most of your customers.  And that aint good.  And don’t go getting some crazy idea that only young ‘uns use their mobiles for web browsing.  We know an 80 year old, Beverley, who is joined to her iPhone and iPad at the hip.  The one that was replaced a couple of years back.

Want to get responsive?  Give Ketchup Marketing a call on 0330 088 9277 or contact us here.

allergy_resolutions_2_responsive_website_design

The first clients to benefits from our all inclusive responsive package are Allergy Resolutions and The Meeting Venue.

 

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.

“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.

 

 

May
03

Open for Caravans!

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

 

Back in February I met John and Lynn who whilst local to our Melton Mowbray office had purchased a caravan and camping site in Cornwall, and were looking for our help with designing a website.  Over coffee and cake we devised a sitemap and I sold the prospect of weekly blogging and social media to Lynn, John (renamed the silent one), just sat and look at me a little bewildered and often mentioned budget!

So whilst the sale of the business went through and prior to moving “down south” we designed and launched The Meadows website.

Open for Caravans

Open for Caravans

We have had weekly updates and photos of the refurbishment of The Meadows, from the discovery of old cars, vintage farm machinery, and caravans hidden in thick overgrowth, the tales of “odd” workmen and of course the arrival of Camp Dog Harvey (Head of Security) and his new work boots!  Lots of the treasures discovered have been ‘upcycled’ and appear around the site for customers to enjoy. In addition, you will have often seen us mentioning Camp Dog Harvey in our tweets and The Meadows has appeared on our blog.

12 weeks on, and many man hours later (and budget … John, see we are a “bargain in comparison to new electrics) The Meadows opens for business TODAY.  The camp site, now benefits from hard standing grass pitches, and the shower block refurbishment is fantastic. New electrical hook up points next to the stream have been installed and a shop will open on site this weekend ready for Martin Doreys arrival, and of course lovely new signage to welcome guests. There is also a fab new decked area for guests to enjoy and in the evenings the old log burner will be lit, with a kettle for customers to fill up.

As for the website, well it’s attracting over 1300 visitors a week and on average there are 7 bookings a day – what a great start to The Meadows first season in Cornwall.

Team Red and Head of Office Security – Tommy Ketchup will be visiting in June, can’t wait to see it for real and for one of Johns breakfast baps (how much?).

Enjoy your first weekend from all at Ketchup HQ.

May
01

The Role of PR for SMEs

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

We don’t really do PR here at Ketchup. Or do we?

We do talk a great deal about embracing the whole marketing mix when it comes to promoting your brand – and in this current economic climate, small and medium-sized enterprises need to be aware of the many factors which will either strengthen or threaten their existence in the short, medium and long term. While SMEs need to be concerned with investing in their marketing strategy & shoring up their sales pipeline to ensure a secure and efficient revenue chain, a healthy PR campaign is a valuable addition to the mix.

Many traditional thinkers still believe that public relations deals only within the realm of damage limitation or engaging current clients and a very specific target audience; however with the advent of social media and with the subsequent increased leverage associated with such marketing communications, the correct targeting of a public relations campaign has never been more important. Forward thinking dictates that social media networking is fast becoming the preferred method of marketing for many global businesses.

The benefit that these have for SME’s is that there is usually little if any monetary investment while exposure can be phenomenal. It is therefore essential to gain a direct working knowledge of these sites; from such aspects as how to write a press release to how to actively engage the correct leads. The fundamental concept which needs to be recognised is that social networks are the marketplace of the future. In fact, if employed correctly, such word-of-mouth advertising can have the added benefit of generating more leads simply by increased social interest.

The principal benefit for small businesses is that this is still considered a niche market for many larger corporations. What presents itself here is a genuine opportunity to slide the proverbial “foot in the door” of what is proving to be a truly global marketplace. For guidance on your marketing strategy and how you can integrate social media into your marketing mix, call Michelle on 0330 088 9277

Yes it's that time of year again...
Apr
26

Spring Cleaning Season

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

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

Tommy

Mr Tommy Ketchup

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

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

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

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

Ketchup Marketing 

Original Thinking – No Artificial Additives

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.

Mar
26

Ketchup’s top tips for your website – part 2

March 26, 2013 10:25 am Published by Comments Off on Ketchup’s top tips for your website – part 2

We have so much good advice for you but we know that if we squeezed too much into one article, you’d have been saturated with information and might miss something important. So here’s part two of our top tips for your website article (part one can be found here)

  1. Good navigation that’s clear and easy to follow is key.  No-one enjoys getting lost in the real world, so they won’t enjoy getting lost in a virtual one either.
  2. Keep any links current.  Broken links are a sign of a website that is neglected. Google won’t like it either.
  3. Be careful what colours you use.  You need your site to be on-brand but be aware of the messages colours send. And Fonts for that matter.  Avoid Comic Sans at all costs!
  4. Want your website to look good when you’re browsing on your mobile phone? Tell your web agency in advance so that can be taken into account when designing it.
  5. Don’t bury your key message several clicks away – it needs to be communicated on the home page.
  6. Make sure the images you’re using aren’t huge files that will take ages to load. We’re all in a rush these days and a couple of seconds delay will mean people navigate away from your site.
  7. No pop-up adverts please! How irritating. And they make your site look spammy.
  8. Relevant, in-bound links will improve your search engine rankings, so encourage appropriate businesses in your network to link to your website from theirs.
  9. Write using your customers’ language. Use keyword research to find out how people describe your product / service.
  10. Make sure your site is accessible to as many people and systems as possible.  Even colour-blindness can affect someone’s ability to use your website.

Food for thought?  Feel free to get in touch with us to see how we can help you market your business more effectively.

 

"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

"exceeded our expectations"
Mar
15

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value

March 15, 2013 9:07 am Published by Comments Off on Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value

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
Feb
27

Thank You – from The Meadows

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

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Dear Michelle and your fabulous team

John and I were so excited to see our website “live” and what a fantastic job you have done.

We have been so impressed from start to finish and in particular with regard to delivery. You have interpreted our initial ideas and made these in to the most fantastic website, and you should be very proud of what you have produced for us, as we certainly are.  What a great start for our new business venture and our camping site could not have a better platform for launch thanks to you and your team.

The time constraints were very tight and you have worked so hard, and have done everything you promised and more.  The whole process has been so easy for us, as you have set everything out so clearly for us, and most importantly you have done exactly what you said you would, absolutely on time and on budget.

We would not hesitate to recommend “Ketchup” and we are more than happy to display your details on our website, and to include our website in any of your advertising material.

Thank you once again for the excellent job you have done. Your company deserves its success, and thank you for giving ours such a good start.

All the very best to you all.

Lynn Bowler & John Brooks – The Meadows, Cornwall

the_meadows_1_web_site_design

Jan
07

Blogger’s Blog – part 2

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

It’s like reverse Tourette’s

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

This blog is about why. This is why

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

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

Colourful language, you blue-nosed radish

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Bloggers Part 3 can be found here.

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

 

Dec
17

Blogger’s Blog – part 1

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

Writer’s blog

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

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

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

Look out for the ‘some’ word

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

It’s like making candy floss out of bran fibre

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

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

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

 

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

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

Nov
15

Business Blogs – 10 Top Tips

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

… from Ketchup Marketing

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

1. Talk to your audience

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

2. Keep to one audience.

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

3. Think word count.

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

4. Good blog posts are easy to read.

Use lists or sub heading to make for easy reading.

5. Good blog posts actually say something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Good blog posts use keywords and are SEO optimized

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

10. Good blog posts include a call to action.

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

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

Happy Blogging.

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

 

 

Sep
06

How to ‘kettle’ hundreds of new customers

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

Having the best product or service. Concentrating on customer service. Offering the most competitive prices. Working every hour and going that extra mile. You might as well not bother…if potential customers can’t find you in the first place.

Well, Ketchup Marketing is here to make sure they can – in fact, we have a way of ‘kettling’ huge numbers of customers, and then releasing them into your custody!

Time to face the facts

People find local businesses – everything from restaurants to plumbers – on the Internet. 73% of Internet searches are for local businesses. To grab those customers, you have to have a selling website (we can help you there).  And it has to feature strongly in search results, preferably high up the first page. This is vital: 82% of local searches produce a contact with a local business and 90% of searches result in a sale. 

So how do you make sure the crowds find your business? Again, we have the answer.

Ketchup put the kettle on

We’ve launched KCK – Ketchup’s Customer Kettling. It’s a monthly local business search package that gets you guaranteed exposure on Local Results – the most successful search method for customers looking for any type of local business. Customers don’t search for your website, 80% of them go to the search engine, and it finds you for them! So, for a single monthly fee, KCK will make sure you have a strong presence wherever customers are trying to find a product or service locally. KCK includes:

Your own page on Google.

Submission on Yahoo and Bing local referral programmes.

Prominent listings on mobile phones, maps, GPS systems and OnStar services.

Yellow Pages and social network portals and guides. 

KCK also means you can show potential customers your full range of brands and services, your certification and awards, testimonials from satisfied customers (Internet word-of-mouth!) and fast links to your main website. Try getting that into a Yellow Pages advert!

Yours for just £97 per month (+ VAT)

If you’re new to a market sector (or the Internet), if your customers look for specific products or services in a geographic area – tooth whitening in Leicestershire, for example – or you simply want to attract a substantial stream of new customers, talk to us about a 3-month KCK package. It’s an entry level service it terms of cost, but it puts you on Google, Yahoo and Bing. In the second month you can even have videos uploaded on multiple sites, including YouTube.

Our service includes free updates, as long as you are a client, monthly Google Places reporting, special offers added to your Google page, ongoing optimisation and the use of up to 10 stock or supplied photographs.

Click here and discover how KCK can prove to be the most cost effective way of rounding up hundreds of new customers.

 

Aug
29

Serious business – playing with trains

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

All boys like trains. Especially when their train sets cover over 19 acres of ironstone quarry and include classic trains, steam diggers, loco sheds and workshops, tracks, nature trails and events.

But playing with trains is a serious business if want to raise the money to go on restoring and expanding your train set. You have to attract the public, and that means steaming ahead with some motivating marketing.

The rail journey began with Ketchup

Ketchup’s planners and creative teams spent time with the Ironstone quarry’s main directors, discussing the possibilities. We knew we had to compete for the diminishing ‘leisure budget’ of local families as well as drawing in visitors to the region. And that meant devising a marketing strategy that would give the quarry an ownable niche, to differentiate it from other leisure providers and allow it to appeal to a defined market segment.

Rocks by rail website designThe obvious advantages of locomotive rides; plus giant, historic machinery; plus the quarries educational appeal allowed us position ‘the attraction’ somewhere between an out-and-out theme park and a museum. Perfect for a whole range of families looking for a multi-faceted experience in their day out.

The creative work? Just the ticket

Following the positioning, our copywriting team worked with the client to research groups of potential names. The one most on track – Rocks By Rail – encapsulates the locomotive and quarry aspects of the attraction, references the 1960s onsite café and even manages to sound like fun. You remember fun – it’s what attracts people to spend money when they’ve out and about.

rocks_by_rail_1_logo_design

From steam engine to search engine

Then flowed a train of creative ideas. Our designers created a new logo style and expanded it to an involving brand identity that hinted at the excitement, and quirky worthiness, of the attraction. Suddenly the project gained momentum. The website was built – steam engines became search engine friendly – and a direct mail campaign launched Rocks By Rail as a destination to families and enthusiasts in the surrounding regions.

To see the results of our epic rail journey, please click here.

 

Team GB? No, Team Ketchup
Aug
14

Another gold for the British rowing team

August 14, 2012 5:01 pm Published by Comments Off on Another gold for the British rowing team

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A huge number of unseasonal icebergs off the Newfoundland coast forced the British rowing team of Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris and Roz Savage to cancel their heroic bid to row across the Atlantic to Britain.  The risks to crew and boat posed by the icebergs were simply unacceptably high.

So plan B swung into action. Raising money to buy a fleet of rowing boats to inspire both able-bodied and disabled young people had always been a golden goal of the OAR project. By rowing up the Bristol Channel and across the country via the inland waterway system, the OAR team managed to arrive in the Thames for the start of the London Olympics, thus achieving their own ‘gold’ and continuing the interest and legacy generated by our valiant Olympians.

Team GB? No, Team Ketchup

Of course, not all members of the team were actually in the boat, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t pulling hard for the project.

At Ketchup we put together our own ‘hands on’ team of specialists to steer the OAR marketing effort, ensuring the project attracted maximum attention and support. At the helm was our figurehead and leading marketing strategist, owner Michelle Jones, backed by a crew of able creatives.

Our OAR campaign was launched with our design of the innovative OAR logo which was then translated into a distinctive brand identity that informed the nature of all consumer-facing and internal communications.

Making a splash on both sides of the pond

Once underway, the campaign had a big effect. We designed, wrote and built a website that gave fans on both sides of the Atlantic the latest news, updates and project information. This website included links that allowed followers to interact with the project and find information on allied subjects – as well as including direct video links to the rowers during the voyage. Its dynamic presentation gave a true feeling of the epic nature and underlying difficulties of the endeavour, and the copy gave a sensation of the momentousness of the event as well conveying the essential facts.

The team were interviewed on TV and radio shows in Canada and Britain and were deluged by twitter and facebook commentary and messages of goodwill.

No, we haven’t got the blisters

The sense of disappointment at having to cancel the first part of the voyage was obliterated once ‘Bojangles’ – the specialist boat designed and built by British ocean rowing expert Mick Dawson – made its way up the Thames to massive applause, and came to rest at Tower Bridge. The gigantic Olympic symbol hanging from its upper bridgework was certainly an inspiring sight. Well, the marketing and creative team from Ketchup weren’t in the boat and hadn’t done anything more strenuous than thinking hard, and judiciously wielding a mac programme or two. But the sense of achievement was noticeable – even in land-locked Melton Mowbray!

 

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

Client Testimonial

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

hortus_ligneous_1_web_site_design

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

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

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

Charlotte & Sam Clemons

Hortus Ligneous Limited 

Madam Ketchup? I think not
May
25

What did you do at work today, daddy?

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

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

Loving those new clients

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

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

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

Fun and (Olympic) games

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

Madam Ketchup? I think not

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

Apr
24

It’s a civil partnership. Usually

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

Michelle – Ketchup MD

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

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

 

Then something wonderful happens

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

Blind date? Actually we met on the internet

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

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

Taking it personally

Gary – Ketchup Design Guru

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

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

 

 

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!

Oct
14

Mostly it’s the stuff you don’t put in that makes a web design great

October 14, 2011 3:09 pm Published by Comments Off on Mostly it’s the stuff you don’t put in that makes a web design great

Let’s face it, the internet can be really irritating. When it gives you the football results before you’ve had time to watch Match of the Day, for example.

Then there are the websites that just won’t let you do what you want.

Like enter the site and get on with it, without going through an artificially clever intro – usually comprising some meaningless widdly boo and bong with the company’s logo.

Then there are websites that won’t let you have the info you want without sifting through a maze of drop-down menus.

And our pet hate. We call it commercial suicide. Web sites that don’t set out their stall in a way that lets you see the goods, understand the goods, desire the goods then buy ‘em!  Sites that don’t lead you in logically designed pathways through the product aisles – or the site-owner’s company ethos – to the check out.

Their designers ought to get out more. Drop the fascination with programming pyrotechnics and walk round a supermarket with their eyes open.

And the language! A recent blog – actually about blogging – included the sentences; ‘There is blogs that aren’t written in proper sentences.  There is advice sites with no advice on them”. How we hooted.

At Ketchup Marketing, we don’t believe in being technically clever for the sake of it. We believe in using technology, and creativity, to produce end results for our clients. Usually accompanied by the sound of ringing tills. Good old Return On  Investment.

We are experts in website design in Leicester – and have years of experience in creating websites that work, that regularly receive high traffic levels and easy to use. Created by disciplined designers who understand that less can be more, and written by professional copywriters.

It’s important, because your success – especially if you’re a young business – depends on attracting visitors in volume, them impressing them with a highly functional, attractive web page (see SEO for more on increasing visitors).  When people visit your site they must receive a brand-enhancing experience. Your site should help them make decisions and, ultimately, ensure they get what they want.

Contact us now, and talk to us about creating the perfect, and perfectly functional, website for your business. First consultations are FREE.

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

Ready to rock and row!

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

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

The training boat

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

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

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

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

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

 

Comic sans ...
Jun
24

The website design features that everybody hates

June 24, 2011 12:44 pm Published by Comments Off on The website design features that everybody hates

We love website design at Ketchup.  Creating a stylish new site that can help a firm reach a whole new audience is one of the most rewarding things that you can achieve in working life.  Do you know what’s not rewarding or successful, though?  A website that uses any of these features:
(more…)

“We Want Words!”
May
23

Welcome to the glamour industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming soon…. Health warning for starlets

 

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

 

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

Copywriter? Copywriter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming soon… Blondes prefer copywriters

.. mind-bogglingly huge ..
Mar
16

Website Design: user behaviours you might not expect

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

When first investigating the world of website design, you’ll find out about the more established rules fairly quickly (never use comic sans, all pages only two clicks from the home page, etc).  However, there are also several very useful tips that are less well known that stem from common viewer behaviours that might seem unusual in any other environment.  Ketchup Marketing – website design Lincolnshire experts – are here to share them with you:
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