May 20, 2013 11:17 am
Ever look at your own website and think it’s not quite up to scratch? Fed up of the familiar colourways, images and calls to action? Don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs are those who are most self-critical – they’re always trying to improve and innovate, and there’s nothing bad about that.
All of your online and offline marketing presence whether it’s your tweets, press adverts or glossy brochures have been created by you and your agency to pitch you differently to those of your competitors. And bench-marking them against what your competition pumps out is a good exercise to do now and then – but don’t compare them like-for-like – yours are meant to be different – that’s half the point.
It’s easy to get bored with the way your business presents itself when you are in the thick of it, day in-day out. And that’s often the case with your blog articles too. You scrutinise them, pick holes in them, spell-check them, read them over and over again for some grammatical flaw that you think everyone will notice (but chances are they probably won’t) so it’s no wonder that you pause just before you hit ‘publish’ … of course you’re going to be bored of them if you’ve just spent hours writing/rewriting and generally faffing around with them to achieve some kind of impossible perfection.
This is where you need to go and do something totally different, grab a cuppa with a business associate or maybe a mentor who you can trust to give you a bit of reassurance. This is the better response than running off to a new agency crying “ Please change everything I have spent the last X number of years developing!!”
Don’t get me wrong, we’re always happy to do a brand refresh for a client or give strategic marketing input – that’s where we excel – but just because you’ve got a bit bored with the way you market your business it doesn’t mean your customers have.
Think about the Kelloggs Corn Flakes Chicken (Or is it a Cockerel? See, it’s OK to admit you don’t have all the answers…) but back to the point, which is, that poultry personality has been on the front of the Corn Flakes box since the very beginning. It has a bit of an image update every few years, but it’s never been replaced by a Turkey. Or a Pig. Or a Duck. See, our knowledge of farm animals isn’t perhaps the best either but that’s fine, because we’re not in the business of farming.
If your blogging and tweeting and literature and press ads and the service you give to your treasured customers is working, don’t go messing with it. And don’t worry if you feel it’s not quite as cool as your competitor’s – chances are that they are having those same painful moments of self-doubt as you are.
If however you simply can’t escape the thought that your marketing just isn’t working, by all means give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277. Michelle will tell you straight, based on proper research and insight if you can improve what you’re doing. And if she doesn’t think you can, then she’s not going to try and convince you otherwise and sell you anything unnecessary. This is the Ketchup commitment that you can trust.
Yes it's that time of year again...
April 26, 2013 2:56 pm
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.
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!
Original Thinking – No Artificial Additives
March 26, 2013 10:25 am
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)
- 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.
- Keep any links current. Broken links are a sign of a website that is neglected. Google won’t like it either.
- 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!
- 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.
- Don’t bury your key message several clicks away – it needs to be communicated on the home page.
- 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.
- No pop-up adverts please! How irritating. And they make your site look spammy.
- Relevant, in-bound links will improve your search engine rankings, so encourage appropriate businesses in your network to link to your website from theirs.
- Write using your customers’ language. Use keyword research to find out how people describe your product / service.
- 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.
November 15, 2012 7:22 pm
… from Ketchup Marketing
In 2012 Ketchup Marketing have designed, built and launched 24 websites (another 9 are pending pre Christmas Launch), of these bespoke websites 22 have an integrated WordPress blog, so we are often asked “What makes a good blog post?”, of course the answer will differ depending on your business sector and your marketing strategy, but as a starter for 10, here are our top ten tips for the business blog writer:
1. Talk to your audience
Who is your audience? Who is reading your blog, have you looked at your web stats?
2. Keep to one audience.
You are likely to have more than one target audience, so keep the brand message and tone consistent throughout your blog, whether you are writing about new products / services or recruiting. A good idea is to lead the blog with a question and then answer it within the blog post, for example How do I write copy for a website?
3. Think word count.
A good blog article should be between 250 and 400 words easy and quick to read to keep the reader entertained and to read your full message and any call to action. If your article needs more words then consider splitting into in to 2 or 3 parts, and then use links to drive the visitors to these other article.
4. Good blog posts are easy to read.
Use lists or sub heading to make for easy reading.
5. Good blog posts actually say something.
Of course it is ok to comment about a recent event or news within your industry, for example commenting on the Christmas advertising of the big brands, but ensure that your blog starts and ends with a story or reason, plus reinforce this with a call to action, for example “hey John Lewis give Ketchup a call next year we will help you spend your marketing budget” 🙂
If you are unsure of the content ask a colleague or a friend to sense check it.
6. Good blog posts don’t have to be works of art.
You are unlikely to win any literary awards for your blog, but as long as you keep to our top ten tips people will come back for more.
7. Good blog posts show your expertise, they don’t yell at you.
Show your readers you are a great company, showcase your expertise, don’t tell them you are great at designing websites or creating email campaigns, build up trust, show expertise, use testimonials.
8. Good blog posts use a headline and sub heading.
Remember your keywords, use interesting language or question to encourage readers. You can look back over past blogs and see what have been the most successful headlines.
9. Good blog posts use keywords and are SEO optimized
See point 8, for further information on SEO can be found here
10. Good blog posts include a call to action.
A blog should avoid a hard sell, but include a CTA, this could be to another related blog post or to leave a comment, or to take the reader to twitter / facebook or linked in.
Well, there are my top 10 hints and tips for a new blog writer, please comment, please add more.
About the Author: Michelle Jones is the owner, founder and steering force of Ketchup Marketing. Established in 2009 and based in Long Clawson, near Melton Mowbray Ketchup delivers full branding and strategy to local SME’s. A selection of recent work can be found here.
Madam Ketchup? I think not
May 25, 2012 1:44 pm
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.
March 19, 2012 8:54 am
Life’s a pitch – part one
Busy isn’t it? We’re touching wood here, of course, but at the moment there aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in a month. Checking around, it’s not just our clients who are pushing through the work; the advertising and marketing industry as a whole seems to be pedalling furiously just to keep up.
Shhhh, the dog’s asleep
So why are we pitching for new clients? Isn’t that akin to waking up a dog you can’t feed? The point is that you can nurture contacts over a period of time, but you can’t choose the moment they invite you to pitch for their business. So it’s often a case of buckle up boys, here we go.
We recently presented our wares to The Caravan Company. And we didn’t exactly win ourselves a week in Great Yarmouth in a top-of-the-range Marauder. Or even in Gorleston-on-Sea, for that matter.
Off with the new. On with the old
Now, a lot of agencies cannot resist the glitter of prospecting for new clients. There be gold in them there accounts. But we make a point of putting keeping our clients long term, and that means them first.
So, for The Caravan Club we decided not to present creative work. After all, we reasoned, they can see our skill with words and design in our portfolio. So we concentrated on the thinking.
What, no crayons?
We discussed marketing strategy in some depth. We put together a marketing activity plan stretching over the next 12 months. We created on and off-line strategies. We talked about Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click advertising and alternative revenue streams like eBay and online stores. We even put together some wire-frame layouts of sample web pages, just to give them an idea of the content.
Did we win the business? Does a Ferrari have a caravan hitch point? Maybe we should have got the crayons out after all.
Life’s a pitch – part 2
February 14, 2012 6:53 pm
What’s in a name? Nothing really, a name is just a name. Except. Well, who sounds the sexiest – Brenda or Roxy? Who sounds the most romantic – Stanley or Jean-Paul? The point is, you’d expect that a company with the chutzpah to call itself ‘Dynamic’ would be able to deliver an electrifying range of products and services, right?
Absolutely right. Dynamic create and produce some of the most jaw-dropping promotional displays and POS for company like Coke, McVities, Appletiser etc etc.
And we love working with them because they take, well, a dynamic attitude to using creative work to attract high profile business.
Make us stand out. We want to sound different. Push the boundaries. Nearly all clients say that, but these guys really mean it and that is like a red rag to a creative team.
Gauntlet plucked off the floor, our copywriting team started by writing a screed and a half of lovely, flowing, lilting, web copy. Then we took out a scalpel and assassinated it. Cut it to the bone. Down to five word sentences that stabbed home the prime points.
Terse, telling, selling points. Telegraph-ese bullets. Each with its own dramatic poise.
Then we carefully counter-balanced the bullets with longer sentences designed to nurse the reader through compelling sales messages, masquerading as passages of reassurance. Works, doesn’t it?
Our sales record proves it; copywriting is like acting. You shouldn’t notice it, you should just believe. You shouldn’t be able to see the persuaders, you should just be persuaded.
Then we moved onto the proof of the pudding. We wrote case studies for Dynamic that eschewed the usual The Challenge/The Solution/The Result format and created fast, interesting slugs of proof – laced with performance facts. Proving to prospective clients that Dynamic could, indeed, deliver.
Of course, we wouldn’t do the same thing for you. We’d devise you a completely different stance, in order to achieve the results you want. Whatever your name.
Further project details and images are on our portfolio
Brando, Pacino and De Niro all rolled into one.
July 15, 2011 12:27 pm
Search engine optimisation. Three simple words that, if you believe certain rumours from uninformed people, hide a dark world of manipulation and intrigue where seedy men in dark glasses spend their hours working out the ideal way to fool the big ‘G’.
I WISH it was that cool. I can just imagine spending all day swaggering around, dressed in £8000 suits and voicing gravelled Sicilian orders into the flashiest mobile on the market.
I am Brando, Pacino and De Niro all rolled into one. I am the tamer of the search engines. I am the SEO Father.
Needless to say, the truth is rather different, with rather less sun-drenched orange groves and rather more excel spreadsheets. A website gone busy, rather than a good man gone bad.
I might be getting carried away with the metaphor but the point is this: SEO is an effective, cost-efficient and transparent way to improve how effective your website is. Glamorous and mysterious? Maybe not, but utilise search engine optimisation in the right way and your website will get an increase in visitors. This will mean more enquiries, more sales and bigger profits, all without the need for men in dark glasses and slavering Alsatians.
Let’s see Al Pacino pull that off.
To find out more, get in contact with Ketchup Marketing – leaders in website design Leicester – now.