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!

“Happy Hour”
May
16

“Happy Hour”

May 16, 2013 10:07 am Published by Comments Off on “Happy Hour”

Will you ask our brand consultants and copywriting team to create new product names, or devise a new proposition and strap line for your business?

Will you have our designers re-lay a page of your website to demonstrate how it could gain added sales appeal and more standout from your competitors?

Or will you ask our experts to review your SEO to make attract the right customers – in greater volume – to your site? Or make sure it’s ‘cookie clean’ and complies with the latest regulatory requirements?

Take advantage of our offer of a FREE HOUR of creative/expert insight. Call us now to discuss your project.

We’ll even include our initial consultation, into the bargain.

For more info, click here or phone Michelle Jones, Marketing Director on 0330 088 9277 or 07747 604020.

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.

 

 

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

blog-caravan_header

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

Feb
11

Blogger’s Blog – part 3

February 11, 2013 9:55 am Published by Comments Off on Blogger’s Blog – part 3

And another blogging thing

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

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

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

Blogging-It-Yourself

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

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

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

How’s your belly for spots, Aunt Thora?

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

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

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

You know what…

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

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

 

Bloggers part 1 can be found here.

Bloggers Part 2 can be found here.

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.

 

Don’t let anyone pretend otherwise...
Dec
03

Did you pack the case yourself, sir?

December 3, 2012 3:58 pm Published by Comments Off on Did you pack the case yourself, sir?

Don’t let anyone pretend otherwise. No matter how sophisticated marketing techniques become, no matter how accurately the latest techniques can target potential customers, no matter how many customers are attracted by the most advanced SEO…nothing beats word of mouth for generating sales.

A friend of ours recently ignored millions of pounds worth of iPhone advertising – not to mention Apple’s impeccable brand credentials, superb product design and ultra-cool image – and bought an HTC phone. The reason, apart from the desire to wilfully fly in reason’s face? “Well, my mate Dave has an HTC and he says it works quite well.”

What happens when you have no mouth and no word?

Without speaking to each visitor to your website personally and recommending they talk to the equivalent of your mate Dave, its difficult to harness the power of word of mouth to sell your company, products and services. But not impossible.

Remember the first two words of this paragraph

Skilfully written case studies are a fantastic form of word of mouth, provided you follow some simple rules. The first of which is to employ a professional. Of course, we have a vested interest in saying that; we do, after all, write successful case studies for a number of our clients as part of our comprehensive web design, copywriting and building service. The cost is minimal (compared to having one of your senior execs waste a couple of hours hacking away at the language) and the end result is a study that showcases the company’s abilities whilst containing a near-subliminal but extremely effective recommendation from a respected third party company.

Packed? This case study is stuffed

Of course, if you’re not busy you might as well have a go yourself – what could possibly go wrong? Well, you could follow the client/the problem/our solution/the result formula. That goes wrong because it’s so dated it makes your company look antediluvian. You could pack the piece with so many details that the reader falls asleep halfway throu..zzzz. You could bury the salient selling points in a welter of worthiness. You could sound too stiff, or too flip. Or you could bore the pants of everyone. No-one was ever bored into buying a product remember.

In short, you could waste hours and end up with word of mouth that no-one was listening to. If we’ve made our case, talk to Michelle about your studies on 0330 088 9277 or make contact here.

 

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.

Dynamic by name …
Feb
14

… website by Ketchup

February 14, 2012 6:53 pm Published by Comments Off on … website by Ketchup

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

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

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

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

Gauntlet plucked off the floor, our 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

No-one was ever bored into buying a product
Jan
06

Copywriting. Let’s hope the camel knows the way

January 6, 2012 3:08 pm Published by Comments Off on Copywriting. Let’s hope the camel knows the way

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

No-one was ever bored into buying a product.

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

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

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

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

Coming soon… The tricky bit.

 

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

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