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Tag Archives: marketing strategy

Why interruption marketing is a waste of time

do not disturb - interruption marketing is a lost cause

Interruption marketing is a lost cause. Here’s why you need to focus on content instead.

Scenario 1
I need a new phone. I ask my friends what models they recommend. I search on the internet, compare prices, features and deals. I make a decision based on the information I find, and I buy a new phone.

Scenario 2
I want to watch something on 4OD. Ads for HTC phones keep popping up. Clicking on the X makes them open, not close. I get annoyed. I’m offered a survey in preference to an ad. That won’t go away either so I end up with 15 open ads/survey windows, and no TV show. I give up, listen to the radio instead, and vow to never ever ever buy an HTC phone.

Interruptions are annoying

Not only does interruption marketing not work for me, it is completely counterproductive. And I’m not the only one. Being forced to watch something when you’re trying to do something else doesn’t please anyone. Why would you want to make potential customers angry?

How great content helps spread the word

The company would have been far better making some brilliant phones, and then creating some fantastic content that tells the story of how their phones work and how they help their users. If they were great phones, I believe I would have heard about them on my social networks. We all love to share good stuff. Great content spreads and takes root on the web, and I’ve have found it at the right time – e.g. the time when I was looking for information about phones, and not trying to watch something else.

Why we love Valuable Content

The reason we put our time and creative energy into marketing with content is because we know it works. It doesn’t turn potential customers off. It’s means you’re there when potential clients want you – being all helpful and useful and saying exactly the right stuff. And it means you’re not wasting your time being all pushy and persistent when they don’t. Interruption marketing makes no sense. Respect the ‘do not disturb’ and just say ‘no’ to it!

If you want help creating the kind of content that won’t make potential clients scream at their laptops, then get in touch.

Five reasons not to blog

closed sign - reasons not to blog

You don’t have to write a blog. It’s not the law. Here are five popular reasons not to do it.

1.You can’t be bothered. Really, what’s the point? Your marketing is working fine, you don’t need any more clients, thank you very much.

If you’ve got a steady stream of leads, and more of the kind of work you want to do than you can handle already, then maybe you don’t need to blog. But if you’d like to pull in additional leads, get referred more, and build your business, then maybe you should give it a go.

2. You don’t want to give information away. And why would you? You worked hard to learn all this stuff, publishing it for free is a crazy idea.

People buy from people they trust, and it’s hard for people to trust your expertise if it’s all locked away in your head. Sharing some of your ideas and experiences in a blog is a great way to show not only what you know, but your individual approach. Being helpful and sharing pays off. As far as know I haven’t lost any writing work through writing about how to write.

3. You’ve got nothing new to say. The internet is awash with blogs. The world doesn’t need another one.

Well, yes, that’s true. But you do have something original to say. Think about the way you solve your particular clients problems and write from that perspective. Don’t worry about being a world authority on your subject, just be the great guy who knows his stuff and gets it done.

4. You’re not a writer,you’re a lawyer/architect/IFA/designer/*insert your own job title here.

True, but you probably can write well enough. Be clear, to the point, and avoid jargon. Don’t think of it as an essay written to impress, write it as you would say it, and you’ll find your voice. (And if that doesn’t work, you can always cheat and get someone like me to write it for you.)

5. You’ve got writer’s block. You know you need to do it, but the blank page is staring at you and try as you might, it just won’t work.

We’ve all been there, but the way to get out of it is to take action. Write something silly, write something provocative, write anything. The act of crafting ideas into words will get things moving, and once you’re in the flow you can switch back to the subject you’re supposed to be writing about. Or not. The best blogs sometimes start in the strangest places.

This blog was supposed to be ‘How to write a brilliant article,’ but I was distracted by helpful Twitter responses to my question ‘what holds your writing back?’ That one’s coming next, so watch this space.

Five ways to make me leave your website immediately.

tumble weed

There’s lots of great advice out there about how to make a good first impression with your website, so I thought it would be interesting to look at how to make a really bad one.

Here’s how to turn people off your website instantly.

Turn off 1
Pop up ads

My biggest pet hate. In your face and in the way – pop up ads obscure your message. They’re as subtle as white stilettos and orange fake tan …..like being seduced by Kat Slater in Ann Summers or Peter Stringfellow in Spandex.

However much they’re paying you to put them there, it’s not worth it. They don’t make you look good.

Customer surveys can be offputting too. The experience is akin to being asked round for tea by a new neighbour who opens the door and asks for help unblocking the sink before you’ve even taken off your coat. Obviously I wouldn’t mind helping a friend, but we don’t even know each other yet! It feels wrong to ask for something before a relationship exists.

Turn off 2
Tumbleweed sites

You know the ones. Christmas pics in June. News page last updated 6 month ago.
Your website is often the first and best chance you’ll get to promote your business. If it’s like a ghost town -peopled by ex-employees showcasing lost clients it won’t do you justice.

Keep your website at the heart of your marketing strategy – feed it regularly with valuable content, and people like me will be happy to stay and look around.

Turn off 3
Primark at 5 pm on a Saturday sites

Chaotic websites. Everything’s all over the place, falling off the rails and in heaps on the floor. Lots of offers but you don’t know where to start looking. The sheer amount of it makes you doubt the value, and you can just tell the customer service is going to be bad.

See your website from your customer’s point of view. Is it in order? Can you get around it easily? What exactly are you offering?

Turn off 4
Bedroom websites

Not as exciting as they sound, I mean the kind that have obviously been designed by your neighbour’s son on work experience.

Professionalism shows – in the design, the layout, the use of headlines, the quality of the copy. You can see if it’s not there, without even reading the page.

Turn off 5
Woolly sites

Your home page should tell me how you can help. I shouldn’t have to look hard to find the essence of your offer, and it should be obvious where to look next. Don’t make it hard for me, I don’t want to burrow through fuzzy layers before finding out if you’re what I’m after.

So what do you have to do if you want me to stick around? Clean looking sites appeal. Clarity is important. Demonstrate value, show you’re alive and buzzing, be relevant, engage with me.

First impressions are important. If you want help with getting your website content and copy right, call on 07985 015300.

My five marketing lessons

It’s been a year since I started in business on my own – a good time to reflect on the marketing lessons I’ve learnt in 2010.
I haven’t done any formal networking, or cold calling, and I haven’t even got round to sorting out my business cards. But I have managed to build up a network of clients that keep coming back, and who I really enjoy working with. Here’s how it’s working for me.

1. A good website is crucial.

While I loved the design of my first site (thanks Daniel Penfold), I outgrew it quite quickly. A WordPress site (more thanks DP) gave me something I could update myself with writing that would be useful for potential clients and that could stay up to date and relevant to the kinds of people I want to work with. Redoing the site after only 10 months was a great exercise in redefining my offer. Keeping my website valuable is top of my marketing list.

2. Twitter works.

I’m steadily building up a Twitter network that is both useful and entertaining. You make your own community on social networking sites, and I find Twitter a really friendly and supportive place. I know I sometimes cross the boundaries of personal/professional when I’m Tweeting – but I like Tweets from people that come from real life – being funny, or exasperated, or unsure is okay by me. I accept that this isn’t right for anyone, but Twitter is a great showcase for writers, and creating readable tweets is a fab exercise in making the most of a few words. Be useful, supportive and interesting – that’s my approach.

3. Newsletters raise your game.

Both the discipline of creating something valuable, useful and readable once a month, and the credibility it gives you as an authority on your subject is priceless. I picked up a lovely new client after only 2 newsletters, and expect to find more next year. Demonstrate your knowledge in an accessible and useful way.

4. Collaborate.

Working with Sonja to develop Valuable Content has been incredibly good fun, and professionally useful. We’ve pushed each other to achieve things, shared ideas, been each other’s sounding boards, spell checkers and friends. We’ve got big plans for next year, so watch the Valuable Content space. Work should be happy, so surround yourself with good people.

5. Be yourself.

I get on with my clients, and find them really easy to work with and it is more than a happy coincidence, I believe it comes from creating an on-line presence that reflects who I am. People will have checked me out on the website, maybe read my Tweets and newsletter, and decided whether they like my style and approach. People who don’t like the sound of me, won’t get in touch. I’m happy about this – it saves us both time. Be true and the right people will find you.
(I’m basing this theory on the one difficult client I’ve had this year, who came via a contact of a contact of a contact. He hadn’t been through the web/twitter filter – maybe if he had he would have chosen a different writer.)

So for next year? I”m going to do more of the same. More blogging, more writing about how to write, more newsletters, more collaboration, more Tweeting. But I’m going to try my hand at networking too, and I am, I promise, going to get those business cards sorted.

Be the expert

front cover of romance novel

‘Show not tell’ is the advice given to writers, and it holds true for business.

In a novel I don’t want to be told that the hero is gorgeous.  Let me see how women react to him.  Let me hear what he says. Make me fall in love with him too.
And the same goes for business marketing.  Don’t tell me your customer service is great, show me how your services help people like me.  Be specific. Details matter.
Demonstrating your expertise is a good way of showing, not telling, that you’re top of your game.
Canadian Business guru Blair Enns, founder of Win Without Pitching http://www.winwithoutpitching.com/founder advocates demonstrating knowledge an inch wide and a mile deep.  Really knowing your stuff puts you in a much more powerful marketing position than knowing a little about a lot.
Case studies, published either on your website, or as part of a broader marketing campaign, are a great way of showing how your business operates and adds value.
Clearly demonstrating how your business solved a client’s problem – resulting in increased turnover, happier staff, a new contract – is the best kind of marketing.  Show how your services boost the bottom line figures, and you’ve demonstrated your expertise.
Experts have opinions, so share yours.  Write the paper, talk at the conference, blog about what’s new, keep your website up to date. Be seen and heard.
And the best bit about this kind of marketing? It’s not expensive. You don’t need glossy adverts, you just need to able to write.  Or know someone who does.

Writing for new business start ups

cutting the ribbon on a new venture

Sometimes you can be too close to a great idea to see how to market it. Your unique selling point can become buried under everything else that goes with starting out on a new venture.

It’s all about communication. Expressing your idea in language that speaks to your potential clients.

Often less is more. One great image can often say more than a page of explanation. Like distilling, branding concentrates the essence of your proposition into something truly potent.

I can help you define your offer, and capture it in compelling marketing material, sales letters, web copy and brochures.