Use ChatGPT for Social Media Posts
Social media is a vital component of any marketing strategy. However, creating engaging social media posts can be challenging, particularly if you’re short on time or resources. With ChatGPT, you can generate compelling social media posts quickly and easily. By simply inputting your desired message or topic, ChatGPT will provide you with a selection of suggested posts. These posts can be tweaked and customized to suit your brand and voice, saving you valuable time and effort.
Write Blogs or News Articles with ChatGPT
Creating high-quality blog or news articles can be a time-consuming process, particularly if writing isn’t your forte. Fortunately, ChatGPT can help you craft compelling articles quickly and easily. By inputting your topic or keywords, ChatGPT can provide you with a variety of suggested article topics and content. You can then customize and refine the content to suit your brand and voice, ensuring your articles are engaging and relevant.
Develop Website Content with Improved SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of any successful website. However, creating SEO-friendly content can be challenging, particularly if you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of SEO. With ChatGPT, you can generate SEO-friendly content quickly and easily. By inputting your keywords and topic, ChatGPT can provide you with a variety of suggested content that is optimized for search engines. This ensures that your website ranks higher in search engine results, driving more traffic to your site.
Develop Email Campaigns with ChatGPT
Email campaigns are a powerful marketing tool that can help you engage with your customers and drive sales. However, crafting engaging emails can be challenging, particularly if you’re short on time or resources. With ChatGPT, you can quickly and easily generate compelling email content. By inputting your desired message or topic, ChatGPT can provide you with a selection of suggested emails that can be tweaked and customized to suit your brand and voice.
Hire an Outsourced Marketing Manager to Maximize ChatGPT
While ChatGPT can be a powerful tool for SME business owners, it’s important to note that it’s just one piece of the marketing puzzle. To maximize the impact of ChatGPT and your overall marketing strategy, it’s essential to work with an outsourced marketing manager (like moi) who has the expertise and experience to help you develop a comprehensive and effective marketing plan. An outsourced marketing manager can help you identify your target audience, create compelling content, and develop effective marketing campaigns that drive results.
In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can help SME business owners streamline their marketing efforts and achieve better results. By using ChatGPT for social media posts, writing blogs or news articles, developing website content with improved SEO, and developing email campaigns, you can save time and resources while engaging with your customers and driving sales. To maximize the impact of ChatGPT and your overall marketing strategy, consider hiring an outsourced marketing manager who can help you develop a comprehensive and effective marketing plan tailored to suit your business needs.
Now, I’m going to be completely transparent here too – I used ChatGPT to help me write this article. Initially, I got it to analyse my style of writing and tone of voice from previous blogs I’ve written. I fed it information about what I wanted it to say, for example, what my top three tips were and also to remind people of the service I offer. This article is a combination of feeding ChatGPT information, so this article is unique to me, it says what I want, sounds like me and saved me time. Let me know what you think! Or if you want to know more about how to use ChatGPT in your marketing, get in touch.
In this blog, we will be discussing my top tips for small business owners to improve their work-life balance. From setting boundaries to prioritising self-care, these tips I’ve found can help you create a more sustainable work-life balance that allows you to thrive both personally and professionally.
So, whether you’re just starting out or have been running your business for years, read on to discover how you can achieve a better work-life balance and lead a more fulfilling life.
Understanding Work-Life Balance
Before diving into the top tips for achieving a better work-life balance, it’s important to understand what work-life balance means. Work-life balance refers to the balance between our professional and personal lives. It’s about finding a way to prioritise both aspects of our lives without sacrificing one for the other. Achieving a good work-life balance can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve overall well-being.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. However, neglecting your personal life can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Achieving a better work-life balance can help you avoid burnout and maintain your passion for your business. It can also help you improve your relationships with family and friends, and lead to increased creativity and innovation.
Top Tip #1: Set Clear Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life
One of the most important things you can do to achieve a better work-life balance is to set clear boundaries between work and personal life. This means creating a schedule that allows you to work during specific hours and then disconnecting from work during non-work hours. This can be challenging for small business owners who often feel like they need to be available 24/7, but setting these boundaries can actually increase productivity and help you avoid burnout.
To set clear boundaries, try establishing specific work hours and sticking to them as much as possible. Communicate these hours with your team and clients so that they know when you are available. Avoid checking work emails or taking work calls during non-work hours, and try to disconnect from work completely during weekends and holidays.
Top Tip #2: Prioritize Your Tasks and Delegate When Possible
As a small business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of tasks on your to-do list. However, not all tasks are created equal. Prioritizing your tasks can help you focus on the most important items and avoid wasting time on less important ones.
To prioritize your tasks, start by creating a list of everything you need to accomplish. Then, divide the list into three categories: urgent, important, and less important. Focus on completing the urgent and important tasks first, and delegate the less important ones to your team if possible. This can help you reduce your workload and free up time for personal activities.
I’ve also found it useful to outsource jobs I don’t have the right skills for, or don’t want to do. It has been a weight lifted off my shoulders and freed up my time to concentrate on the jobs I do want to do and having a better balance.
Top Tip #3: Schedule Breaks Throughout the Day
Taking breaks throughout the day can help you stay focused and productive. It can also help you avoid burnout and maintain your energy levels. While it may seem counterintuitive, taking regular breaks can actually increase productivity and help you get more done in less time.
To schedule breaks throughout the day, try the Pomodoro technique. This involves working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. During your breaks, try to do something that helps you relax and recharge, such as taking a walk or practicing mindfulness.
I also found an app called Stretch Minder, which alerts you every 45 minutes and gives you a few quick and easy stretches to do to get you up and away from your desk.
Top Tip #4: Make Time for Hobbies and Self-Care
As a small business owner, it’s easy to put your personal life on hold while you focus on growing your business. However, neglecting your personal life can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Making time for hobbies and self-care can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout.
To make time for hobbies and self-care, try scheduling specific activities into your calendar. This could be anything from going for a run to taking a cooking class. Prioritizing these activities can help you maintain your passion for your business and improve your overall well-being.
Every morning I have half an hour blocked out of my diary so I can go on a quick walk. It helps set me up for the day, gets my steps in and is a great time to think of ideas and plans for the day ahead.
Top Tip #5: Utilise Technology to Streamline Tasks
Technology can be a powerful tool for small business owners looking to improve their work-life balance. There are many apps and tools available that can help you streamline tasks and automate processes, freeing up time for personal activities.
To utilise technology to streamline tasks, start by identifying the areas of your business that could benefit from automation. This might include things like invoicing, social media management, or email marketing. Then, research tools and apps that can help you automate these processes, such as Xero, Buffer, Asana or Mailerlite – just a few tools I use.
Top Tip #6: Learn to Say No When Necessary
As a small business owner, it’s easy to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. However, taking on too much isn’t good for anyone. Learning to say no when necessary, can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid taking on more than you can handle.
To learn to say no, start by setting clear boundaries around your time and workload. Or the types of clients and projects you want to do. Then, evaluate opportunities as they come up and decide whether they align with your priorities and goals. If an opportunity doesn’t align with your priorities, it’s okay to say no and focus on other things.
Achieving a better work-life balance is essential for small business owners looking to maintain their passion for their business and their overall well-being. By setting clear boundaries, prioritizing tasks, and making time for hobbies and self-care, you can create a more sustainable work-life balance that allows you to thrive both personally and professionally. Remember to continuously reassess and adjust your approach, and seek support when necessary. With these tips, you can achieve a better work-life balance and lead a more fulfilling life.
Understanding your target audience
To attract new customers to your business, you need to first understand who your target audience is. Knowing your target audience helps you create the right message and choose the right channels to reach them. You can start by analysing your existing customer base and identifying common characteristics such as age, gender, location, interests, and buying behaviour. You can also conduct market research to gather insights on your target audience’s needs, wants, and pain points.
Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your marketing efforts to appeal to them. For example, if your target audience is young adults, you might focus on social media marketing and influencer partnerships. If your target audience is middle-aged professionals, you might prioritize email marketing and LinkedIn advertising. By understanding your target audience, you can create a more effective marketing strategy that resonates with them.
Identifying your unique selling proposition (USP)
To attract new customers to your business, you need to stand out from your competitors. One effective way to do this is to identify your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is what sets you apart from your competition and makes you the better choice for your target audience.
To identify your USP, start by analysing your competitors and identifying what they offer. Then, look for gaps in the market that you can fill. Consider what makes your product or service unique, and how it can solve your target audience’s problems better than your competitors. Your USP should be clear, concise, and memorable.
Developing a strong brand identity
A strong brand identity is essential for attracting new customers to your business. Your brand identity should reflect your values, mission, and personality, and resonate with your target audience. It includes elements such as your logo, colour scheme, typography, and tone of voice.
To develop a strong brand identity, start by defining your brand’s values and mission. Then, create a visual identity that reflects these values and appeals to your target audience. Your visual identity should be consistent across all channels, including your website, social media, and marketing materials. By developing a strong brand identity, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a memorable impression on your target audience.
Building a professional website
In today’s digital age, having a professional website is crucial for attracting new customers to your business. Your website is often the first impression that potential customers have of your business, so it’s important to make it count. Your website should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provide valuable information about your product or service.
Search engine optimization (SEO) basics
Once you have a website, it’s no good if people can’t find it! This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. This is the process of optimising your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Higher rankings lead to more visibility and traffic to your website, which can attract new customers. There are several basic SEO tactics you can implement to improve your website’s rankings.
First, conduct keyword research to identify the keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for. Then, optimize your website’s content, titles, and meta descriptions with these keywords. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed. Use internal and external links to improve your website’s authority. By implementing these basic SEO tactics, you can improve your website’s visibility and attract new customers.
Content marketing strategies
Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage your target audience. It includes blog posts, social media posts, videos, infographics, and more. Content marketing can help you establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry and attract new customers.
To create an effective content marketing strategy, start by identifying your target audience’s pain points and interests. Then, create valuable content that addresses these pain points and interests. Make sure your content is visually appealing and easy to consume. Distribute your content through channels such as your website, social media, and email marketing. By creating valuable content, you can attract new customers and establish your brand as an authority in your industry.
Social media marketing tactics
Social media marketing is the process of using social media platforms to promote your business and engage with your target audience. Social media marketing can help you build brand awareness, attract new customers, and drive traffic to your website.
To create an effective social media marketing strategy, start by choosing the right platforms for your target audience. Then, create a content calendar and plan your posts in advance. Make sure your content is visually appealing and includes a call-to-action (CTA) to drive engagement. Use social media analytics to track your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. By leveraging social media, you can attract new customers and build a strong online presence.
Email marketing campaigns
Email marketing is the process of sending promotional emails to your subscribers to promote your business and engage with your target audience. Email marketing can help you build relationships with your subscribers, promote your products or services, and attract new customers.
To create an effective email marketing campaign, start by building your email list with opt-in forms and lead magnets. Then, segment your email list based on your subscribers’ interests and behaviour. Create valuable content that addresses your subscribers’ pain points and interests. Include a clear CTA to drive conversions. Use email marketing analytics to track your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. By leveraging email marketing, you can attract new customers and build a loyal customer base.
Referral and word-of-mouth marketing
Probably the most effective marketing tactic is referral and word-of-mouth marketing. This is the process of using your existing customers to attract new customers. Referrals and word-of-mouth marketing can be highly effective, as people are more likely to trust recommendations from their friends and family.
To leverage referral and word-of-mouth marketing, start by providing excellent customer service and a high-quality product or service. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews and share their experiences on social media. Offer incentives for referrals, such as discounts or free products. By leveraging referral and word-of-mouth marketing, you can attract new customers and build a loyal customer base.
Measuring your success and adjusting your strategy
To ensure that your marketing efforts are effective, you need to measure your success and adjust your strategy accordingly. Use analytics tools to track your website traffic, social media engagement, email open and click-through rates, and other metrics. Use this data to identify what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
For example, if you notice that your social media posts are getting more engagement on certain days or times, adjust your content calendar accordingly. If you notice that your email open rates are low, try testing different subject lines or sending times. By measuring your success and adjusting your strategy, you can continuously improve your marketing efforts and attract new customers.
Attracting new customers to your business can be challenging, but with the right strategies and tactics, it’s possible. By understanding your target audience, creating buyer personas, identifying your USP, developing a strong brand identity, building a professional website, optimizing for SEO, creating valuable content, leveraging social media, using email marketing, and leveraging referral and word-of-mouth marketing, you can attract new customers and grow your business. Remember to measure your success and adjust your strategy accordingly to continuously improve your marketing efforts.
In this article, we’ll explore a few of the best marketing strategies for businesses in 2023. Whether you’re a small startup or an established organisation, there’s something here for everyone. So buckle up and get ready to take your business’s marketing game to the next level!
Understanding the importance of marketing strategy
Before we dive into the various marketing strategies, let’s take a moment to understand the importance of having a marketing strategy in the first place. A marketing strategy is a plan of action for promoting and selling a product or service. It outlines the goals and objectives of your marketing efforts, as well as the tactics and channels you’ll use to achieve them.
Without a marketing strategy, your efforts are likely to be scattered and ineffective. Your messaging may be inconsistent, and you may struggle to reach your target audience. A well-crafted marketing strategy, on the other hand, can help you to focus your efforts and achieve your goals more efficiently.
Researching your target audience
One of the most important steps in developing a marketing strategy is understanding your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? What are their pain points and needs? What motivates them to make a purchase?
By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your messaging and marketing tactics to resonate with them. This will help you to attract and retain customers more effectively, and to build a loyal following for your brand.
To research your target audience, you can use a variety of tools and techniques. Surveys, focus groups, and social media analytics can all provide valuable insights into your customers’ needs and preferences.
The 4 Ps of marketing
The 4 Ps (and now sometimes even 7 Ps) of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion – are a framework for developing a comprehensive marketing strategy. They represent the key elements of any marketing campaign and can be applied to virtually any business or product.
Product refers to the features and benefits of your product or service. What sets it apart from the competition? What problem does it solve for your customers?
Price refers to the cost of your product or service, as well as your pricing strategy. Will you offer discounts or promotions? How will you position your pricing relative to your competitors?
Place refers to the channels through which you’ll sell your product or service. Will you sell online, in-store, or both? Will you partner with other retailers or distributors?
Promotion refers to your marketing tactics and messaging. How will you reach your target audience? What channels will you use, and what messaging will you convey?
By considering each of these elements in your marketing strategy, you can develop a comprehensive plan that addresses all aspects of your business.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content with your target audience (just like this article). This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts, among other formats.
The goal of content marketing is to provide value to your audience while also promoting your brand. By creating high-quality content that addresses your customers’ needs and interests, you can build trust and credibility with your audience. Over time, this can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales.
To be effective at content marketing, it’s important to understand your audience’s preferences and interests, and to create content that aligns with those preferences. You should also aim to create content that is optimised for search engines, as this can help to attract new customers to your website.
Email marketing involves sending promotional emails to your subscribers. This can include newsletters, product updates, and promotional offers.
The goal of email marketing is to keep your brand top-of-mind with your subscribers, and to encourage them to make a purchase. It can also be an effective way to build customer loyalty and repeat business.
To be effective at email marketing, it’s important to segment your audience and tailor your messaging to each segment. You should also aim to provide value to your subscribers, rather than simply promoting your products or services.
Social media marketing
There is no doubt that Social media marketing is a powerful tool and involves promoting your brand or product on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This can include organic posts, paid advertising, and influencer partnerships.
The goal of social media marketing is to build brand awareness and engage with your audience. It can also be an effective way to drive website traffic and sales.
To be effective at social media marketing, it’s important to understand your target audience and tailor your messaging and tactics to each platform. You should also aim to provide value to your audience, rather than simply promoting your products or services.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves optimising your website and content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can include optimising your website structure, keywords, and content, as well as building backlinks from other websites.
The goal of SEO is to attract organic search traffic to your website and to improve your visibility and credibility in search engine results.
To be effective at SEO, it’s important to keep up-to-date with search engine algorithm updates and best practices. You should also conduct keyword research and optimise your content accordingly.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising involves placing ads on search engines or social media platforms and paying each time someone clicks on your ad. This can be an effective way to drive website traffic and sales, particularly for businesses that are targeting specific keywords or demographics.
To be effective at PPC advertising, it’s important to conduct keyword research and create targeted ads that align with your messaging and branding. You should also monitor your ad performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Video marketing involves creating and sharing videos to promote your brand or product. This can include product demos, explainer videos, and customer testimonials, among other formats.
The goal of video marketing is to engage and entertain your audience, while also promoting your brand or product. It can be particularly effective for businesses that are targeting younger audiences or visual learners.
To be effective at video marketing, it’s important to understand your audience’s preferences and create content that aligns with those preferences. You should also aim to create high-quality videos that are optimised for search engines and social media platforms.
Evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategy
Once you’ve implemented your marketing strategy, it’s important to track and measure its effectiveness. This can include monitoring website traffic, sales, social media metrics, and other key performance indicators (KPIs).
By evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, you can identify areas for improvement and optimise your tactics and messaging over time. You should also be prepared to adapt your strategy as needed, based on changing market conditions or customer needs.
Marketing is a critical component of any successful business, and with the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and strategies. By understanding your target audience, developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, and leveraging the right tactics and channels, you can take your business’ marketing game to the next level in 2023 and beyond.
Check out my services page to see the ways I can help you write your own marketing strategy
Marketing is a key component of any business’s success, and it can have a major impact on growth and profitability. Here are five ways marketing impacts the growth of your business:
1. Increase Brand Awareness
Marketing helps to create brand recognition and awareness of your business, products, and services. This can be done through traditional methods such as print, public relations or television advertising, or through digital marketing methods such as social media posts, search engine optimisation, and email marketing. By creating a recognisable brand, you can create a connection with existing and potential customers.
2. Generate Leads
Effective marketing can help to generate leads and get potential customers interested in what your business has to offer. This can be done through content marketing, where you create valuable content that provides potential customers with information and inspiration, or through paid advertising, where you pay for advertisements to be seen by your target audience.
3. Convert Leads into Sales
Once you’ve gained a potential customer’s interest, marketing (and a good sales funnel) can help to convert them into paying customers. This can be done through incentives, such as discounts or free shipping, or through personalised communication, such as customised email marketing.
4. Retain Existing Customers
Marketing can also help to retain existing customers and encourage them to remain loyal to your business. This can be done through loyalty programs, where customers receive rewards for returning to your business, or through personalised communication, such as special offers for loyal customers.
5. Increase Customer Satisfaction
Finally, marketing can help to increase customer satisfaction by providing customers with helpful and timely support. This can be done through customer service through email, phone, or live chat, or through feedback surveys, where you can get valuable insights into how well your business is doing.
By leveraging the power of marketing, businesses can improve brand awareness, generate leads, convert leads into sales, retain existing customers, and increase customer satisfaction. With the right marketing strategy, businesses can reach their growth goals and maximize their profits and that’s Five Ways Marketing Impacts the Growth of Your Business.
If you’d like to know more about how I can put some of the key points into practice for your business, check out my services
There is no doubt marketing can be confusing, but when you get the basics right, it can really help with your efforts.
Here are the five most common mistakes people make with their marketing and the things you need to avoid:
1. Failing to Define a Target Audience:
If you don’t know who you are targeting with your marketing, you can’t create effective campaigns that will reach your desired audience. Make sure you have a clear idea of who you want to reach, and tailor your campaigns accordingly.
Top Tip – it is NOT everyone!
2. Not Tracking Performance
It’s important to track your marketing performance to understand what campaigns are working and which ones need to be adjusted. Without tracking, you can’t measure the success of your efforts and make the necessary improvements.
3. Ignoring the Competition:
Knowing what your competition is doing can help you stay ahead of the game. Whether it’s a competitor’s pricing, offers, or tactics, staying abreast of what they are offering can help you create a better strategy.
4. Not utilising social media
Many people fail to realise the power of social media and the reach it can have. Social media is a powerful tool for engaging with your customers, spreading the word about your products, and building a strong following.
5. Not Investing Enough:
It’s important to invest enough in your marketing efforts to get the results you want. Without adequate investment in the form of time (this is the biggie here!), money, or resources, you won’t be able to reach the success you are hoping for.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure your marketing efforts will be more effective and help you reach your desired goals.
If you need help to see the wood for the trees or to find out how to implement a more effective marketing campaign for your business, check out my services and find out more about how I could help.
So, what is PR and how does it work?
Well, PR or Public Relations isn’t advertising or marketing, but a marketing tactic you can use to promote your business. It is about sharing positive, good news stories with the local press and gaining editorial coverage in the paper, on the radio or TV.
Unlike advertising, PR is free and if you get it right can be worth thousands in helping promote you or your business.
So, how can you go about getting a story in the press?
Here are a few of my top tips…
1 – Find your news story/hook
The most important part of public relations is identifying a story, or finding your newsworthy “hook” – the thing that is going to hook a journalist in and want to write about you, before passing it over to the advertising team. It is no good just saying you’ve opened a new café for example, that could just be deemed as sales. A journalist will want to know about the story behind you or the business. So, saying you’ve given up a degree in law to become a chef and open your own café, or you’ve relocated, or you’re fulfilling a childhood dream is the thing that will get your press coverage.
2 – Identify your key contacts and publications
The next thing you want to do is think where you would like this story to appear. Who do you want to read it (ie. Your target customer) and what publications are they likely to read (local newspaper, national paper, magazine, parish newsletter etc). Also think about if it is something visual would it appeal to the local TV station, or could you talk about it on the radio?
Make a list of the publications that you want to target and find out the key contacts you need to send the press release to. You could call and speak to the news desk, tell them about your story or look on the website and find the most appropriate email address.
You can also look on Twitter for #journorequest and any journalists looking for stories will use this hashtag and you may be able to find some new contacts that way too.
3 – Craft a press release
You then need to prepare your press release. It should be 1-2 pages long and address the who, what, where, when and how in the first paragraph. They journalist will read that first section and make a decision whether to read on or not, so it’s really important. The next paragraphs should expand on the information, give 1 or 2 quotes and always be written in the third person. Imagine the journalist just cut and pastes the information, so you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do this and edit if they need to.
4 – Sell it in, send it out
As mentioned previously, if you have a big story, or are targeting a national publication you may want to call in advance, get the most appropriate name of the journalist and tell them about the story. You will gauge if they are interested or not or talk to them more about the angle you can give them.
You then need to send it over via email. Add a punchy subject line to grab their attention and pick out the key information in the body of the email, with the full release and any photos attached.
5 – Chase it up
Don’t expect a journalist to let you know if they are going to use your story or not. If they like it, it will just appear. If they need more information or want to interview you, they will get in touch. If it is a really important story and you don’t hear anything, or it doesn’t appear you can give them a call to find out if they are using it. If not, it may be that it was too ‘salesy’ or that it was a busy news day and it got pushed down the list, or they have forgotten about it.
It may sound hard, but once you have the knack of it, you can use PR to your advantage. You can build up good relationships with journalists and they may then come to you, if they know you are an expert in your field. PR is also much more effective than paying for advertising, as when an article is written about you or your business it is given more value than a paid for advert, that anyone can place.
So, have a think about how you can use PR in your marketing toolkit and if you need more guidance, you can join the Acorn Marketing Academy with modules on PR and press release templates to download too.
1 – Make a plan
One of the best things you can do with social media is to have a plan. Think about the things you want to tell people, what products or services do you want to promote and when, what do you need people to know about you. It is much harder to just post on the go as and when you feel like it. We all know what happens, you start with good intentions, but then it falls by the wayside because you got too busy and there were more important things to be doing. I love spontaneity on social media, but to have a plan written down of what you are going to post and when will help you keep things on track. It also helps it become a little less overwhelming too.
2 – Create content in advance
Once you have a plan it is great to create content in advance. Take an hour a month and actually write the posts, create the designs of find the photos and use a scheduling tool to plan out your socials, so you can get everything ready in advance. Then on days when you are so busy, you know that your social media is taking care of itself. You can then post the spontaneous posts as you go. Even if you schedule one or two posts a week consistently this can have a huge impact on your social media.
3 – Find your comfort zone
However, one of the best things you can do with social media is to find what feels right for you. If that is creating one amazing reel a week or Instagram or TikTok great. If that is writing three business-based posts for LinkedIn brilliant. Maybe you want to post across every social media channel and build your audience that way – whatever feels right for you then do it. Get into a flow and be consistent. Not everyone wants to post videos and you don’t always have to do that. Find what feels right for you, find what works best for you and do it well. That is when social media will become less stressful and effective.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a failsafe step-by-step guide that literally told you what to do! There are lots of brilliant marketing books out there, which can give advice and guidance, but until you get under the skin of a business is very hard to know what it needs to be done.
Here are a few things you need to know to be able to help you determine that next step in how you can market your business.
Create a strategy
Most businesses I know are very reactive when it comes to marketing. An opportunity arises and they jump on it (usually print advertising) without giving it a thought of why they are doing it and what will it achieve. So, thinking about where you are now, where you want to be and steps you are going to take to get there can really help.
Set your Aims
You also need to be clear on what you want to achieve, and this can be very different for businesses too. You should know what you want to accomplish in business, i.e. selling more products, increasing turnover or revenue, developing new initiatives, etc. However, have you thought about what you want to succeed in with your marketing? Do you want to improve your website, grow your following online, start an online shop or do specific things like selling tickets for an event, growing your email list to X number of subscribers?
Understand your customer
It is really hard to know how to market a business if you don’t have an understanding of their customer. Many people say to me “everyone is my customer”, but people are so unique that the same marketing messages won’t work for everyone. The way you market a product to a man or a woman will be different. The way you marketing to someone in their twenties will be very different to how you’d market to someone in their seventies. Yes, your product or service may have a broad appeal, but really dig down and think who the different groups of people are – and there may be a few. If you can create 1 or 2 specific types of customer, you can be laser focused on what you should be saying to them and your marketing will be so much more effective.
Create a plan and timescales
Once you have a strategy in place, you can plot out your priorities, set yourself some actions, create a plan, and stick to it. Think about what you are going to do each quarter, each month, or each week. Break it down into manageable tasks and always refer to your strategy and aims, to know you’re doing what you set out to achieve. You have more chance of implementing your marketing and being more effective if you have a plan.
So, when I work with clients, I always start at the foundations and go right back to basics to really understand what they want to achieve with their marketing before I can even begin to know how to market a business. Tick these items off and you’re on your way to being more efficient and effective with your own marketing.
There has been support from the government, but this hasn’t always helped, and businesses still face challenging times. Fewer people are spending their money in shops and preferring online retailers. The night-time economy is suffering with people opting to stay at home to socialise and travel and hospitality has been impacted too.
With all this going on, you would understand why many people want to hide under a rock during these difficult times, but should you invest in marketing and continuing to promote your business during a recession or tighten your belt?
When the pandemic hit, I saw many marketing budgets slashed, and I lost clients, however there were new exciting opportunities to come out of this too.
Recessions bring fear and uncertainty to both businesses and consumers, but even during a recession there are plenty of opportunities to develop your business, build customer loyalty and gain new leads and customers. It is not a time to be cutting those marketing budgets, but to invest in your marketing. Effective marketing during a recession is the key to riding the storm and coming out of those difficult periods even more successful and profitable.
1 – Be Consistent and Invest
One of the most effective things you can do in marketing is to be consistent. Consistent in your social media, your email marketing, developing your brand, your website and your communications – before a recession hits.
History shows us that those businesses who continue to invest in their marketing during difficult times come out of it stronger. Many businesses will take the approach of reducing marketing activity and spend, but if you are consistent and invest in yours you are the one whose brand will be more visible, you are the one who will have more leads and come out fighting, leaving the others behind.
Instead of slashing budgets, you need to get savvy with how you invest in your marketing. Many other businesses will cut costs, which often means you are at an advantage. As a result, advertising space is often cheaper as fewer people are buying space–this is the perfect time for you to grab a deal! When others are not shouting about new products or running events, this leaves space for your messages to be heard, so instead of doing less, do more to be seen head and shoulders above everyone else.
2 – Client Retention
As well as consistency, client or customer retention is really important too. Regular communication and excellent customer service is vital to ensure you keep your existing customers happy. It is much easier to market to them than trying to generate new leads.
3 – Your Offering
Think about the products and services you offer. People are going to be more careful with the money that they spend, so make sure you are giving them what they need. What are your most profitable offerings? How do your customers get the most value from you? Can you give incentives or bundle offers?
It doesn’t mean you have to drop your prices; it means you show them the value of what you do and how you can help them. Show them why they need you/your product and why they don’t want to miss out.
Look how everyone took to doing everything online when the pandemic hit. Businesses pivoted to offer people solutions that would help them during this difficult time, and some of the most successful businesses are those that took advantage of the opportunities it presented.
I started my business during a recession, so I know how tough it can be. Although it may seem like doom and gloom and you want to crawl back under your bed covers, take a peek out, remain consistent and uber focused and you can ride the storm.
Gov.uk published some guidance on how to manage social media and websites (see below) and also any events or sponsorship following the death of HM. It was great to see that they have accounted for things like this in a digital age as this is the first time we have lost a monarch since the inception of the internet.
Whatever business you run, it is important to gauge the national mood and the needs of your customers and colleagues. Through any difficult times keeping your customer/followers at the forefront of your mind is really important and how they may be feeling and that your posts and marketing campaigns are respectful and appropriate for the mood.
There is no rule to say you have to stop posting on social media or promoting your business, it comes down to personal choice; particularly if you are a small business in these tough times we need to keep on working through it. However, professional marketers have a duty to avoid any inappropriate promotional marketing activity that will gain commercial benefits around the death of the Queen.
So with any marketing, always ask yourself if it is appropriate, what are the feelings of your audience and how you feel about the situation.
Here is some guidance specifically on social media and websites below and Gov.uk
WEBSITES & SOCIAL MEDIA
Online communication channels can also be used to reflect the demise of Her Majesty and participate in the period of National Mourning. Organisations can acknowledge the mourning period by making changes to the homepage of their website, for example, with the use of black edging or black banners.
Organisations and individuals may also wish to share their memories of Her Majesty online. There is no set way to mark the passing of Her Majesty on social media. Organisations may wish to review their planned content for the period.
Any changes to websites or social media pages should take into consideration accessibility requirements for visually impaired users.
Ok, Number one. What I need you to do is to be human.
And what you really, really need to embrace in social media is the human touch. It’s about not taking yourself too seriously and showing off your personality.
Now I know this makes some people feel uncofmfortable, but you need to market your business and social media is a great way to do that. You can’t sit in your office and hope that people are going to find you. You have to put yourself out there as a business owner.
And people buy people, and they are also very nosey. People want to know what you’re up to, what you are doing, and behind the scenes of the business. By being human and putting yourself out there, really is the way that you can make yourself stand out on social media.
Be the expert in your field
The second thing to think about is hopefully you are all experts in your field. My expertise is obviously is marketing, social media, branding and PR. You’re the expert in your field. Think about educating your audience.
Find out your customers burning questions. What are those things that people get really stuck on when it comes to what you do, whether it’s accountancy, car fabrications, or pies? Think about how you can educate people about what you do.
Share tips, share information, share advice.
Educate people and show them you are the expert
The third thing I want you to think about, and again it’s going back to being human, is inspiring people.
Everybody has a story. I’m sure every one of you has a backstory, where you’ve come from, what you’ve done, what you’ve studied, where you’ve lived, places you’ve travelled, things you’ve seen, places you’ve worked, work experience. Whatever it is, think about your back story and inspire people with that.
The reason I started my business was because I was made redundant. I tell people about that because it resonates with them.
Also, if you have a services type of business, take the inspiration as things of how you’ve helped people. Use case studies or share a testimonial of how you’ve helped somebody.
Inspire people with your story of who you are and what you know. These things are what make you stand out on social media.
The general posts, the selling posts, people just scroll past. You know yourself as well, from looking at social media, next time you are looking and scrolling, think about what makes you pause and read. Think about what kind of post it is, particularly on other business posts.
What if you’re an introvert?
Now, there’s also a different school of people that will say “I’m an introvert. I can’t go on social media. I’m too shy. I don’t have a big personality.” I probably come across as really confident on social media, but I was actually a really sjy child. However, I’m now confident in what I do and I know my stuff, so therefore I’m confident about sharing it.
It’s ok if you’re an introvert, it’s ok if you are shy. There are still things that you can do. You’ve still got a story, you still have a life, you still do things and somebody, believe me, somebody will be interested in that. You might not think that what you have to say is interesting, but it will resonate with other people.
It’s about finding your inner voice on social media and sharing that.
If you are still feeling stuck, then there are other things you can do, but you probably have to be more creative.
Here are some examples of things you can do.
Have you heard of Mrs Hinch? Mrs Hinch has got millions of followers on Instagram, that’s her platform, that’s where she feels comfortable; that’s what she likes using. However, Mrs Hinch started by just using her hands, and all her videos were of her cleaning and doing stuff with her hands, and that’s how she got famous. She was very introverted and shy.
So, why not think about doing something like that, use your hands or if you are telling a story, show what you are doing? You don’t have to show your face. Show your hands, make your hands famous.
If you usually work in an office and you have a dog, think about making your dog the star of your Instagram. The dog is collecting the mail; the dog is chilling out and waiting for the next client. It could be something as random as that. You don’t actually talk about your B2B service, you are talking about what your dog is up to within your B2B service, and you can weave messages in with what they are doing. I’ve seen some people use that really effectively.
Showing your deliveries coming in, new stock arriving or all the really cool things that you can do with wood and timber, sharing what other people do, sharing what your customers do, maybe sharing what you guys do at work.
Within the world of finance, maybe you’ve got an elf on the shelf or that kind of thing.
Maybe you’ve got an avid baker within the firm, and you can like showcase their baking skills but interweave your messages within that.
If you are an introvert or you don’t want to put yourself out there, think about how you could do something alternative, yet still creative with what you do.
Another little tip, I would say, is have a little look through whatever your chosen social media platform is, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, just have a little search for like #Accountancy, #webdesigner, #carfitter. Whatever is your field of business, and find other people’s accounts. See what other people are doing and take influence from some of their ideas.
That is how you can begin to find your voice on social media. If you can spend a bit of time, research similar companies and decide which direction you are going to choose, that will help you find your voice on social media.
Here are a few things to consider…
Get listed on Google
When you need to find something online, or there’s a question you don’t know the answer to, what do we all do, we “Google” it. So, you need to make sure your information on Google is up to date and can be found. One of the best ways of doing this is making sure you have a business listing. By doing this you can be found on Google Maps, people can see your contact details and leave reviews – all of these things will help you become more visible and push you up the google search.
If you don’t have a website, your social media profile will probably appear, but having a Google Business Listing is the next best thing to a website, so people can find information about you quickly and easily.
Optimise your website
If you do have a website, you would want that to be found in Google searches. When someone types in your business name voila you appear in position number one. However, people need to know your business name and you will always generally appear at the top spot.
But, you need to question how the people who don’t know your business name will find you? Think about the words and phrases they would type into google to find you. Try it for yourself. Do you still appear at the top of Google for those keywords you’re adding to the search, or are you lingering down in dusty page 5 where no one will find you? If you’re not coming up at the top, then you’ve got some work to do.
Think about incorporating those words into your content on your website. Rename images with those words, ensure your pages have names and descriptions with those words. The more you add the things people are looking for, the more likely you will be found. This may take a bit of tine to do, but within days you will start creeping up the Google search and people will start finding you.
Quite often once people build a website and they’re happy with it, they forget about it. But they’re forgetting that it is a marketing tool that should be used. The more you update your site, the more Google recognises that it is an up-to-date site with lots of juicy information. This is why is great to have a blog or news section on your website. Now, I’m not saying you need to write war and peace every day. 300-500 words once a week, every couple of weeks or once a month will do the job. Make sure you pepper those keywords around as well for bigger impact. Not only are you showing you’re an expert, but you’re also showing Google your website is relevant to the variety of searches and you’re more likely to be found. So, think about the questions, or pain points your potential customers might have and what they might be searching for in Google and answer those in your blogs.
Here is a great article about how to optimize your blog posts from Semrush
So, those are three top ideas to start helping you think about how to get visible online and not just replying on social media.
There is a misconception that everyone can do marketing – after all, it’s only “social media” or “advertising.” This often comes at the detriment of the business, with the owner taking on too much work, spinning plates and being really scattergun in their approach.
Marketing is a much more complex beast and that’s why it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of a Marketing Consultant or Outsourced Marketing Manager to help undertake your marketing in a more strategic way.
It’s always quite daunting working with an external consultancy, especially if you’ve never done it before. Your business is your baby, so I thought I’d dispel a few myths and give you a few pointers on how to hire a marketing consultant in the UK.
How does a marketing consultant work?
I love to really get under the skin of a business as if I were part of the team. You can only really truly “market” a business if you know how it works inside and out. A Marketing Consultant would go right back to basics to try and understand what the business is trying to achieve and put in plans to help achieve these aims.
At Acorn Marketing we work alongside the business owner, or existing marketing team to develop these plans and implement them. I tend to work from my home office and meet with clients regularly to ensure we are hitting all our goals for the business’s marketing.
What services does a marketing consultant offer?
There are lots of freelancers and consultants who specialise in certain areas of marketing, such as a Social Media Manager, a SEO specialist, Web Designer, Graphic Designer, Brand Consultant or Copywriter.
A Marketing Consultant or Outsourced Marketing Manager is often the overarching lead in many of these tasks. They would look at the more strategic marketing aims of the business, developing plans to ensure the organisation reaches its targets. They would then coordinate all the work in the plan that needs doing, using many of the specialists above to get the job done. I like to see it a bit like the conductor of an orchestra of running the marketing department and making things happen.
What questions should I ask a marketing consultant?
We all know that the cheapest is not always the best option and this goes for those who work in marketing. You should always ask how much experience the Marketing Consultant has, who they have worked for previously, what projects they have been involved in and what types of work they undertook. An experienced Marketing Consultant should have no trouble in demonstrating a breadth or skills and knowledge in many areas of marketing.
It is also useful to know if they have any accreditations. For example, if they are part of the Chartered Institute of Marketing or The Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Also, make sure if they have any professional indemnity insurance, so if anything should go wrong you know you are covered (luckily I’ve never had to touch mine!)
How much do marketing consultants charge?
This really varies on the experience and knowledge of the individual Marketing Consultant. You will often see a variety of pricing when you compare Marketing Agencies and independent Consultants. Often Marketing Consultants work from home and have no employees, so overheads are a lot less than an agency. It can often depend on where you are based in the country too, the further south you go, or if you are in a city, prices can often be more expensive.
To find out how much my services cost please download my price guide, which outlines exactly what I do for my clients and the services I provide.
Here is a great article from realbusiness.co.uk which shows that consultants can charge from as little as £150 a day to £1500 a day depending on experience
Many Marketing Consultants are paid on an hourly or a retainer basis. A retainer means you would pay one set fee per month.
I tend to work with retainer clients or on one-off projects, which I quote for separately. Clients usually pay me at the end of each month of undertaking work for them.
If you’re thinking about How to Hire a Marketing Consultant in the UK, you need to figure out what you need from them, because getting it wrong can be the difference between having a business and not having a business.
If you have a great business and people are talking about you positively, then you are growing your brand loyalty.
So, why is this important to grow your brand loyalty, other than for what people say about you?
1 – Repeat business
Your customers get to know like and trust you. If you’ve done a good job once, given great customer service, then they are more likely to buy your products or services again.
2 – Advocacy
If people like what you do and keep buying off you, then they are bound to tell others – that gold duct of word-of-mouth marketing and they become advocates of your brand. They sell it for you and become your most powerful marketing tool.
3 – Makes Business Sense
Many forms of marketing cost money – digital advertising, print advertising, websites, radio, promotional material. It is money to generate new leads, promote your business, increase awareness. However, once you’ve built up brand loyalty it is much cheaper and easier to market to them, than focusing on acquiring new customers.
4 – Sustainability
By focusing time and effort on developing your brand loyalty will help with long term sustainable business success. You become an expert, people trust you, people will recommend you working with you or buying from you is no longer a risk because you’ve gained brand loyalty and a great reputation.
So, when you’re thinking of how you can develop your marketing, be sure to add brand loyalty to your list – you may not even be aware that you’re doing it the majority of the time. Think about your customer service, how you treat customers, what results you get and always remember to be kind and treat others like you wanted to be treated in business and you won’t go far wrong.
Often people can be wooed by a new social media channel because everyone is on it, it’s the nest big thing or your teenage daughter says you should. Maybe a salesperson is calling to see if you want to take out an advert with them, or perhaps there is a new piece of marketing software that looks great. This is when marketing becomes reactive, you end up wasting money and don’t get the results you were promised…and hey ho, marketing doesn’t work!
So, here are a few things to consider when those marketing opportunities crop up, you need to ask yourself…
1 – Does it reach your target audience?
You should have a good idea who your target audience is? Please don’t say “everybody” because usually it isn’t. You can often break your target audience up into groups – they may hang out in different places online, read different publications, go to different places. There will be different ways you can reach them. So, you always need to ask yourself do you reach your target audience with your social media, advertising, etc.
2 – Do you have the budget for it, and can you measure ROI?
The great thing about a lot of marketing is that it is free – social media, PR, email for example. However, sometimes we may get tempted into spending money on marketing – are you guilty of ever boosting a post on Facebook, then I’m talking about you here! Always question if you have the marketing budget to invest in that marketing and what are the ways you can measure if it’s been a success? What is the Return on Investment – you want to get a great return for your money than what you invest. So, really question whether it is worth it.
3 – What do you want it to achieve
If you have done any sort of business or marketing strategy, you will have a clear goal of what you want to achieve. Without aims how do you know what direction you’re heading or what you want your marketing to do. You need to be clear with your aims, otherwise it’s like firing into the dark and hoping it works. Think about the point of what you are doing…what is the point of posting on Twitter, what is the point of taking out that advert, which of your marketing aims is it going to achieve. If you’re not really sure, then don’t do it.
Now, if I’ve gone through these points and you’re not sure who your target customer is, what is a reasonable marketing spend or what you want to achieve, I suggest you need to go right back to basics.
You can read my blog about marketing strategies here:
It feels like it has become more of a challenge to keep up with these changes; particularly if you don’t like showing your face or being on video. I personally think Instagram may lose a lot of followers to other platforms who don’t want to post video – watch this space.
However, if you are feeling brave and want to start using short form video, or Reels and Tik Toks as part of your social media strategy how on earth do you come up with content?
Here are my top tips to give you some inspiration.
1 – Get inspiration from others
There is nothing harder than sitting at a screen trying to think up content or write down words. We’ve all heard of Writer’s Block? Well, it’s a bit the same when it comes to creating short form video content.
It is going to be really difficult to sit down and come up with some great ideas with no inspiration. So, before you delve in, spend a bit of time doing some research. See what comes up in your feed, find people in similar industries and see what they are sharing. Or search for your industry in the Instagram or TikTok search bar and see what videos appear. Use this as inspiration, see what is working for other people and how they can create content. Think about what resonates with you,. What you like and feel comfortable with and then that is going to feel most natural to you when you create your own.
If you don’t like dancing and feel stupid, you don’t have to do that. See how other people make content and do something that feels right for you.
2 – What’s trending
Looking to see what is trending is a great hack. You can do this simply by scrolling through the videos and get a feel for what you are seeing a lot of. Anything that appears several times is generally tending.
On Instagram you can also see a small arrow at the bottom of the video, which will tell you if that piece of audio is trending too. In TikTok you can find trending videos in the discover tab as well.
There are apps you can download that can give you insights into trends and predicted trends as well, such as TrendTok or Chartmetric.
Once you have found a trending audio you like, you can save it and come back to it later, or jump on board and get creating while its hot.
3 – Be an expert
At the end of the day you an are expert in your field – whether that is marketing, finance, law, travel. So, in all your marketing (not just social media) you need to show people you are the expert in your field. This goes for short form video (reels and TikToks) too.
Think about giving people value, give advice or tips. Show them hat they need to follow you to find out more about what you do and get valuable information. Back this up with information in your caption and you’ve nailed it!
You are talking about what you know, demonstrating your knowledge and being helpful all in one go – it’s a sure-fire way to improve engagement.
One of the biggest take aways to remember is that not everything goes viral (even some of the biggest influencers material doesn’t always work or go viral). You need to find what suits you, play with it, practice and keep on developing it. People think social media is a quick win, but it takes time, energy and consistency to really make it work and see results.
Even for the best of us, social media can become a bit much. We want to put our phones down; we want to stop mindless hours of scrolling and also set an example of our kids. I mean if we’re always on social media, how can we tell them to get off their screens!
It often feels like you have to be on top form and put everything into social media to make it work. So how can you get a balance of bring online, doing social media marketing for your business, but not letting it take over your life.
Take a break
The first thing I would suggest is taking a break and stepping right back from social media. If you take a few days out, a few weeks or even a couple of months your audience is still going to be there when you get back. If you feel like you’ve been putting everything into your socials and it’s not working, or you’ve lost your way, or it just feels too much then stop.
I recently took a break and posted a bare minimum to keep a presence, and everyone was still there when I came back. The break did me good and I came back raring to go with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. We all need a holidays from work every now and then and it’s the same with socials, so give it a go. Why not share that honesty too and tell your audience – people will resonate with that and probably respect you for it too.
Set limits times/boundaries
Working in marketing I am on social media A LOT. However, probably not as much as you think! That’s because I set boundaries and limits with my usage. I check in the morning; I check at lunch and I check in the afternoon. I often have a scroll in the evening (but that’s more about my addiction to online shopping than work!!)
I also set limits in my phone and once I reach that limit my phone tells me to stop. By doing this I know that when I am online I need to be efficient and get on with the job – otherwise I’m going to run out of time!
I also set boundaries of when I will reply to messages (not after 5pm, when I’m with my kids or on a weekend) any messages that come through during those times can wait. If always think if people can’t wait then I don’t want to work with them anyway (unless it is something really important and of course this will depend what industry you work in!)
Do what you enjoy
The other thing to bare in mind is that you need to enjoy what you do. If you have a twitter account for example and you don’t enjoy posting on it, find it hard work and can’t think of content then don’t do it.
I’m a big believer that you have to enjoy what you do, so find what works for you on social media, find the platform you like and stick with that. It will be so much more effective sharing on one social media platform really well, than spreading yourself too thin and not doing a very good job – that’s when the overwhelm will kick in. Don’t listen to fads (not everyone has to be on TikTok) or what your teenager says you should be doing, or fellow business person tells you what’s worked for them/ Think about what you enjoy and what is going to be best for your business.
Someone also recently asked about how much you should be posting. Again, find what works for you as it will be different for everyone. If you can manage 2 cracking posts a week and make them awesome do just that. You will find it works much better than writing seven rubbish, half hearted posts each week because you think you should.
If you do all or just one of these things I am sure it will make a huge difference to your social media marketing and help you avoid the burnout that so many business owners face.
Here are a few of my top tips
Now any of these can be used to share across a variety of social media platforms. However, what you post on Instagram may be very different to what you would post on You Tube and each will have their ow unique strategy, but here are a few ideas to get your started
The simplest thing to do is create a video post. So, this is exactly the same as sharing a post of a photo with an update, you just switch the photo for a video. You can film something on your iphone, which is probably the easiest thing to do, or use an app like boomerang, Inshot or Videoleap.
The next thing to try is Stories – so you can do these on Instagram and Facebook and these are more spontaneous posts, updates of your day, what’s going on, sharing what you’re up to. They are a great way of reaching your audience quickly and effectively, so if you have a message to share, then stories are a great place to do it.
Why not ‘go live’ on your profile? You can do this now across most social media platforms. I love going live in my Facebook group and have really seen an impact from doing this on growing an engaged community. Live videos are a great place to have discussions, have real time conversations, give tips or advice – somewhere to give your audience value and show ‘you’
Now, if you are a regular on Instagram you will know that I love a reel! These are like short TikTok videos. Now I’m not saying you have to start dancing around or doing lip synching, but the reach of reels can be crazy. So, have a look at what people in your industry are doing and have some fun with them as they can make a big impact on your content marketing.
If you are a lover of You Tube, then this is the place where people digest long form video – so longer length videos. It is the second largest search engine after Google and is a great place for sharing tips and tutorials, or a talking blog.
It’s all very well and good knowing all the ways we can share video, but then comes the big stumbling block – what do you actually share! Here are a few content ideas to get you thinking.
Probably one of the easiest things to do is just to jump on camera, chat with people about what you’re up to, if something interesting or fun has happened to you, or if there is something you’re really angry about. Share it with your audience, ask for help, ask for their opinion. Maybe you’re doing a bit of a self care and out for a walk, or you’re working on a new project, or perhaps you’ve discovered a new flavour of crisps that you want to share with the world. Try to keep it relevant and appropriate for your business.
Remember that people buy people and by showing up on video is a great way to share your personality and so people can see the face behind the business too.
A great content idea is to give value. A lot of your content on social media should be about giving value, showing you’re the expert, helping people. Social media is not all about selling, it is about educating, sharing knowledge and best practice. The more you show people how you can help them you build credibility and people are more likely to understand what you do.
Behind the scenes
People are nosy and love to see what’s going on behind the scenes. This works really well if you have a retail business, showing people deliveries, new stock, packing products. Or in an office, perhaps it’s cake day, then share it with your community. There are so many things you can share. You may think it’s not that interesting, but you see it all the time. To your followers it may be fascinating.
Meet the team
Share videos of the team (if you have one; if not it’s all about you!) introduce them, talk about their background, knowledge and experience, fun facts. Make them part of the story too.
Pain points and problems
Think about the problems your followers may have and talk about it, pose questions to them, engage them and give them help and advise of how they could overcome those problems by working with you.
What to do if you don’t like showing your face
Now it’s all very well and good me taking about showing up on video, but I know not everyone like’s filming themselves. The first time I did a live video I went bright red, was sweaty and I couldn’t wait until, it was over. Now, 2 years on I feel much more comfortable and confident because I took that decision, went out of my comfort zone and made it work.
But, if you’re just starting out, or tying with the idea of using more video I know it’s easier said than done! My advice is to try not to think about it too much, the more you think about it, practice, write scripts etc the harder it will be. Just do it.
Also don’t worry about what you look like (Ok so don’t turn up in your PJs without brushing your hair). People like to see the real you. Be authentic, be yourself and it doesn’t matter what you look like.
My biggest tip is don’t watch it back – you will always find fault, always cringe, always think you can do better. The beauty of social media now is that things don’t need to be polished and perfected. Be real, be you and have fun.
So, what do we do when we’re busting a gut, trying all these different marketing tactics and things don’t seem to be quite working out? Here are a few things to consider,
1 – Go back to basics
One of the best things you can do as a business owner, is just to stop. Stop all the marketing you are doing and go right back to basics. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re going round in circles and it is often because you’ve lost sight of the foundations of marketing and what you are trying to achieve.
Ask yourself these key questions:
- What are my business aims? What is the vision for the company and what are you doing it for? Then dissect that even further, what are you trying to achieve with your marketing and does that help you move toward achieving those business aims. Be really clear on what you want to do, why and how you are going to do it.
- Who is your customer? Please don’t say everyone…think about how you can break down your audience into different groups of people and then ask yourself what you need to do to reach them?
- Positioning – You may be very clear on what your business is and what you do, the products you sell or the services you provide. But does your ideal customer? Really think about what you want to tell people about your business, what makes you different from competitors, what is your USP. Write a list of the key things you need to tell people in your marketing. Be really specific.
2 – Evaluate all tactics
Once you’ve got the basics covered, write down all the marketing tactics you currently use. Which social media platforms do you use? Do you have a website? Do you use email marketing. Do you issue stories to the press? Do you go networking? Do you have any promotional material?
There are so many marketing tactics we can employ in business and sometimes trying to do everything can wear you down and they end up not working. So, look at everything you are doing and ask yourself if it works for you. If you can’t answer yes, and I mean really say yes, then ask yourself if it is the right thing for your business? Does it achieve your aims and does it speak directly to your target audience?
3 – Get focused
So, once you have gone back to basics, you have looked at what is and what isn’t working it is time to get laser focused.
You are much better off doing a few well planned and thought-out pieces of marketing, then trying everything, getting overwhelmed and not seeing results.
The classic example is someone who runs a business, and their teenage son or daughter tells them “You need to be on TikTok” – ask yourself if it is really right for your business? Concentrate on the things that are really going to work for you. Or if you use a social media channel and you don’t enjoy using it and don’t see results, then ditch it.
If you take this approach to your marketing, you will be much more focused and see much better results…as well as saving you time in your business and the stress of doing everything too!
And when they do, magic happens! I thought it would be interesting to share some of the campaigns I’ve worked on that I feel really proud of and that were really effective a little bit special.
White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon
From 2008 – 2010 I was the Marketing Manager at the Beatles Story in Liverpool. I was so passionate about sixties music when I was younger (influenced by my Mam) so getting a job at the Beatles Story was like a dream come true. I think if you have a genuine passion for what you are marketing this really shines through as it doesn’t really feel like work.
There was always something going on at the Beatles Story – a new exhibition to promote, or piece of memorabilia to showcase. Then came White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon – an exhibition about the life of John Lennon. This event was created by the Beatles Story alongside Julian and Cynthia Lennon. It took months of work, curating the event and I worked along side the operations team/curator to develop the marketing. We started with the branding, which was really simple, natural and contemporary. We produced a beautiful brochure, full of information and photos from the exhibition. We also did little things like create a white feather pin badge for people to buy and share on social media all over the world.
I also worked on the launch event with the PR team, which was amazing and a fantastic opportunity to meet Julian and Cynthia Lennon, who were such lovely people.
We had people from all over the world visit the exhibition and seeing the end product was very rewarding.
The UK’s first Art Car Parade
Another fantastic project I worked on was the UK’s first Art Car Parade with one of the UK’s leading arts organisations; Walk the Plank. Walk the plank were some of the more creative people I’ve worked with. They had a vision for a project and just brought it to life through fire, theatre and performance.
They had a vision of bringing an Art Car Parade to the UK. These parades are massive in America and see people turning all sorts of vehicles into works of art that parade through the streets. I worked closely with the producers and artists for this event, but also on the creative marketing. This included website development, branding, posters and flyers which were distributed around Manchester. We also did loads of PR to get the story into the papers – it was huge and as a result around 50,000 people attended the event.
We also then went on to promote an Illuminated Art Car Parade as part of the Blackpool Illuminations, which was another fantastic event and brought a lot of people to the event.
When I first started my business, I worked for a Cumbria Pudding Manufacturer called Country Puddings. They made the most delicious puddings, and the custard was to die for. I did a lot of marketing for the business – helping develop a new website, email communications, a blog, PR, award applications and a new brand.
However, one of my favourite things to work on was an April Fools campaign. We “developed” a range of pudding inspired toiletries, such as rhubarb crumble shampoo, sticky toffee shower gel, chocolate fudge body moisturiser and tangy lemon exfoliating soap, which were launched on the 1st April. We got the press involved, sent information out on emails, created graphics of the products. It was a fantastic campaign as it got people talking and it was amazing how many people fell for it.
These are all examples of creative marketing campaigns; many of which utilised very small budgets but made a big impact. Sometimes it really is about thinking outside the box, being creative and having fun with your marketing.
During the pandemic I found that whilst some businesses invested in their marketing and looked at new ways to develop, get online and pivot, many cut their marketing budgets and I lost a few clients along the way as I was inevitably cut too.
However, it is often easier to make cuts in your business and harder to commit to spending and investing. The article (which you can read here https://fpadvance.com/whats-the-cost/) references a great marketer Seth Godin, who says If you “Loosen the constraints on a system, the system will almost always do better in the short run.”
So, with marketing, yes if you cut marketing budgets if things are tight, or perhaps you’re too busy and don’t have, time things are going to be easier in the short time. You will free up time or have more money, so your profit and loss will look better.
However, we have to consider the long-term impact on that.
For example, if you are really busy with work right now and are thinking perhaps you don’t need to invest the time in marketing because you are busy and don’t need to increase sales, generate leads or get more clients, then what is the future impact on doing that? A few months down the line, you may become quieter, you need to start pushing sales again and then it is so much harder to get things going again and generate brand awareness, get leads or new clients.
Marketing is a long game and to re-establish your marketing may take time and may cost more in the long term too.
So, back to my original question, can a business survive without doing marketing? The answer is yes of course it can, but doing consistent, well executed and strategic marketing makes the difference as to whether a business simply exists or thrives.
And to finish with a great quote “not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” (Source: William Bruce Cameron)
It’s a bit like an organic, moving, growing thing that takes on a life of its own and is different for every one of us and our businesses. No two businesses are the same and that goes for marketing too. What I do for one client, will be completely different to another. It is based on their aims as a business and what they are striving for.
However, there are some foundational things you can put in place that will start you off on the right foot
1 – Aims
One of the best things you can do is really think about what you want to achieve in business. What are your goals, where do you see the business in the next five years?
When we have a clear vision for our business, it then allows us to think more strategically about what we need to do with our marketing. I see so many businesses who have lost sight of that vision and end up going round in circles trying lots of marketing tactics, but not seeing results. Why, because they’re not even sure why they are doing it!
Once you have clear aims you can align the tactics you are going to use to achieve those aims and voila your marketing becomes more refined, and you can see better results.
2 – Key Messages
It’s also a good exercise to identify your key messages. What are the most important things about your business that you need your potential customer to know? What makes your service or product different to everyone else, what makes it stand out, what are the Unique Selling Points (USP)? You need to be really clear on not only what you are doing marketing for, but what you are going to say.
Think about your customers pain points, or problems. These are the things that are going to resonate with them. Make a list of those too, then in all your marketing these are the things you want to be shouting about all the time – whether that is on social media, in blog posts, in press articles, on posters, or what other people are saying about you too!
3 – Write a plan
Marketing is great when it is well thought out and planned. Now I’m not saying some spontaneous marketing doesn’t work – take social media for example and we know I love stories on Instagram. However, thinking back to our aims if we’re not strategic in how we’re going to achieve those aims we’re just going to be stabbing in the dark.
So, write down your aims and how you think you can achieve them. What marketing tactics are the key things that are going to help? Now plot out when you’re going to do them.
For example, if you plan to improve your email list, engage with your audience better to generate more sales, then plan out how you’re going to generate leads, how often you’re going to write the newsletter, when you’re going to write it, when you’re going to send it out, does it coincide with occasions (like valentines day) or a sale your running.
So, create a plan of everything you’re going to do and when. Then next time someone emails you asking if you want to advertise in the local magazine you can be really strategic with your answer – does it achieve your aims or not.
Now there are other things to consider, such as target customer, budget, competitors, price for example which all link in with marketing, but if you have a clear vision, know what you want to achieve, understand what your USPs are and how you are going to implement everything you’ll have built up some strong foundations to take your marketing forward.
How you market your business often determines who successful you will be. Marketing is a tool used to create and maintain demand, reputation, brand awareness, increase sales and so much more
So, why is marketing so important for your business?
1 – Marketing helps build and maintain a company’s reputation
By undertaking marketing consistently, in all the right channels to the right audience helps grow people’s awareness of your business. Not only does it get your brand name out into the public domain, but if you keep shouting about what you do consistently over time more and more people will hear about what you do and how great you are. You build reputation though word of mouth, great reviews, more enquiries, people talking about you online and offline. Without marketing, you stop being heard in all the right places.
2 – Marketing is an effective way of engaging with customers
If we keep what we’re doing to ourselves, work in a silo and don’t shout about what we do, then we’re not effectively engaging with potential customers or clients. By sharing press releases, news, information, content on social media we are constantly opening the conversation with potential customers. We can talk directly to them, engage with them, have conversations, make them feel special and part of our business journey. Our potential customers then grow to know, like and trust us, which is so important in business.
They get to learn about what you do, why your products or services are special, how you can help them, why you’re the expert.
If people hear about you, connect with you they are more likely to buy from you in the future.
3 – Marketing helps boost sales
Effective marketing can help boost your sales through promoting your products or services. Marketing and sales work had in hand, but marketing is a bit softer than direct sales, which is quite direct. Think of marketing more like sharing information across as many places as possible to the right audience. Showing off your products or services. Promoting what you have to offer and why you stand out from competitors.
By effectively marketing products or services, you are looking to trigger a purchase decision in your target customer. If you do this strategically and effectively this will have a positive impact on your sales, which then has a knock on effect to your turnover and profit!
Those are three of my top tips for why doing marketing for your business is so important. The list could go on and on, but these are three important things to keep in mind if you want to encourage a colleague to improve or develop your marketing, you’ve not been doing marketing for a while or even worse none at all!
Don’t worry, so many people are guilty of this, so I wanted to walk you through some marketing basics to really get the foundations of your business right. If you’re already up and running, these things are good to go over if there is something that’s not working for you right now.
There is a practice in marketing called “the 4P’s”. Product Price, Place and Promotion. These 4 key areas are often referred to as the marketing mix and are the key elements involved in marketing goods or services. If you don’t get one of these things quite right, it can have a knock on effect to your whole business.
By looking at the 4 P’s you can plan a new business venture, develop new products, evaluate your existing offer or try to increase sales.
Product – what you sell. Either physical products or services. Within in this section you need to understand what you are selling, what makes it unique, different to other products/services. How does it stand out? It is also really important to get feedback about your product or service. Before you start producing it, do people want it, is there a need for it. You may think it’s a great idea, but in reality, if your product isn’t selling you may have to ask yourself the hard question, whether other people think it’s great.
Do your research first. Ask people. Get feedback. This way you can ensure you have a great product that people have a need for.
Price –This may appear to be the simple part – how much you charge for those products. But this is often really hard to get right. It can affect the number of sales you have, but also your profit.
An interesting question to ask yourself here as well is how do you want to be perceived?
By not charging enough for your product you may appear cheap or giving poor value. There is a lot of psychology with pricing as well. Check out https://www.profitwell.com/recur/all/tag/pricing where you can find loads of articles about pricing.
- Think about how much money you want or need to make (to make some profit)
- What do your competitors charge?
- How sensitive are your customers to price?
Place – Or in other words, location. Where do you sell or promote your product or service? Think of where your customers are? How can you reach them, how can you get in front of them? Where do they hang out, where do they buy products or services like yours?
This applies online too. For example, I spend most of my time promoting my business in Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn as that’s where my ideal client hangs out. I’m not going to start jumping around dancing on TikTok because the business owners I want to target don’t hang out there.
So think about
- Where is your customer online and offline?
- Where can you sell your product or service that will get in front of your target customer?
- Where do your competitors sell their products or services?
Promotion – Finally, the most interesting part is the promotion – the bit I love doing the most! How do your customers find out about you, what marketing strategies do you use and are they effective?
Once you are clear on your product and why it is unique, how much you are going to charge for it and where you are going to sell it, you can start thinking about how you can promote it to your audience.
Here are some things to think about
- Google search/business listings
- Social media – which are the right channels for you?
- Content marketing – blogs, articles, podcasts, your content on social media
- Public Relations – getting stories in the local paper
- Digital and offline advertising
- Word of mouth recommendations/testimonials/reviews
So, you may never have thought of this element of marketing before, but it’s a really great way to evaluate your business and the marketing you do before you jump in, or if you feel that something isn’t working quite right. By doing this foundation work and making sure it’s right it’ll be so much easier when you come do think about how you market your business or understand why certain elements aren’t working for you.
So, go back to basics, think about your 4Ps, make sure you have those right. Think about how you differentiate your business from your competitors and develop your marketing plans based on this.