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!

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.

 

 

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

Spring Cleaning Season

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

blog-spring

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

Tommy

Mr Tommy Ketchup

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

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

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

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

Ketchup Marketing 

Original Thinking – No Artificial Additives

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

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.

 

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.

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