Author: lisa

What is the most effective type of marketing?

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:

 https://acorn-marketing.co.uk/blog/what-is-a-marketing-strategy-do-i-need-one/ 

Or  

https://acorn-marketing.co.uk/blog/how-to-create-a-marketing-strategy/ 

  

How to come up with ideas for Reels or TikToks

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. 

How to avoid social media burnout

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. 

How to use video in your social media marketing

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

  • Video posts

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.

  • Stories

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.

  • Live videos

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’

  • Reels

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.

  • Vlogs

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.

Content ideas

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.

  • Daily updates

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.

  • Give Value

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.

What to do When your Marketing isn’t Working

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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!

My Top 3 Marketing Campaigns

 

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.

 

Country Puddings

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.

Can a Business Survive Without 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)

How I do Marketing for my Business

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.

Why is Marketing Important for Business?

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!

Back to Basics with Business Marketing

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

  • Website
  • 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
  • Video
  • Word of mouth recommendations/testimonials/reviews
  • SEO

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.

Bendles Solicitors

Bendles Marketing Manager was due to go on maternity leave and the team at Bendles Solicitors needed someone who could step in and take the reins while they were away.

What is a Marketing Strategy & Do I Need One?

Marketing Strategy Tips

So, I am going to quickly talk about some of the key things you need to know to help you start plotting out a marketing strategy for your business.

Part 1 – Where you are.

Think about where your business is right now. What is the profile of the business, who is your current customer, what products or services do you offer? Who are your competitors and what are they offering and doing in terms of marketing? What marketing have you done to date? What has and hasn’t worked?

Part 2 – Where you want to be.

In the second section really think about which direction you want to take your business in? Do you have a vision (i.e the best marketing consultant in Cumbria)? What are your key messages? The things you would shout from the rooftops about your brand, what makes you stand out and different from others in your industry? Who is your target audience? So, this may be the same as who you currently target, or you may want to tap into a new market? Perhaps you can break your audience down into niches, or industries. Then finally, think about what you really want to achieve with your marketing. Things like ‘growing your business’ are great business aims, but what specific marketing aims can you have. For example, growing your email list, increasing sales by X%, developing a blog on your website. Really try and get into the nitty gritty to decide what you want to achieve with your marketing.

Part 3 – How are your going to get there.

This section of your strategy will outline all the things you are going to do in your marketing. But, now we have a really clear vision, we know our specific aims and who we are targeting we can be more strategic with exactly what we are going to do to tick all those boxes.

Write a list of all the marketing tactics and really think if it is going to achieve your aims, or get in front of your target audience. If the answer is no, then don’t do it. There are so many things you can do in marketing, but if you take the time to really understand what you want to achieve you can be really methodical about your marketing and ensure you hit those targets you set out for yourself in your strategy. Don’t just write it and let it fester away. Come back to it time and time again. Some times things won’t work and that is often the nature of marketing. However, if you are really clear in what you are trying to do, really clear on your messaging and your audience, then everything just becomes much easier and you’ll see better results.

If you want to know more about how to plan your marketing or how to implement tactics successfully, check out my courses, which are all available on demand. Click here to find out more.

How To Plan Your Social Media

Plan your social media tips

As a business owner, you probably have some kind of business plan (even if it is written on the back of a beer mat, or in a notebook somewhere). You know what you want to achieve and have aims or goals that you are working towards and have some processes in place to reach your vision.

It’s similar with social media. Those people who have a plan are the ones who are more likely to achieve their aims with social media. You know yourself, if you just post randomly, or have no purpose then you will probably feel like your social media isn’t pressing the right buttons or being an effective marketing tool.

So, how do you plan? I meet so many people who actually only do the above and only post as and when and this is great for some people, but for many this is when it starts becoming stressful or ineffective and you just don’t see results.

So, if you want to improve your social media, here are my top tips to help you plan…

1 –   Start with the basics

As I mentioned before, many business owners will have a vision for their business and some short term or long-term goals they want to achieve. So, I want you to go right back to the basics and really think about why you want to use social media – what is the purpose? Are you purely doing it to raise brand awareness, do you want to grow a community online, do you want to sell products? Perhaps you want to improve your engagement or grow your likes. By defining key aims for your social media (as with all marketing) you will have a clearer focus and have a greater understanding of what you need to do to hit those goals.  

2 – Create content in advance

One of the best ways you can keep on top of social media is to write your content in advance. You can do this weekly or monthly. Some people even do it quarterly or annually. If you set aside 1-2 hours a month and plan what you are going to write and when you’re going to post it, you will begin to plot out the content for your social media.

The way I do this is by creating a spreadsheet (you could use a notebook, word document, Trello document – whatever works best for you) and breaking it down into each day of the month. I then think about what is going on that month in my business, what’s happening in the world, look at themes for days of the week (such as #wisdomwednesday) and start writing out my posts.

By having them written in advance means I then don’t need to think about it too much during the month as everything is already written and planned.

3 – Scheduling

Scheduling has to be my favourite social media tool – it is a life saver. Once you have all your posts written, you can then go into a scheduling tool, such as Buffer and create them in advance. You can schedule them to go live on a certain day and time – days or weeks in advance. By doing this means you can then get on with the day to day running of your business knowing that your social media posts are being shared.

The thing to keep in mind is to keep checking back for comments and interact with your audience.  Don’t just post and run. Social media is “social”, so you do still need to do the day-to-day engagement side of it too; otherwise what’s the point?!

So, by following these 3 simple steps you will have a clearer focus for your social media, know exactly what you want to achieve from it and then know if it is being effective. Social media is not an easy game, or a quick fix. It does take time and if you want to see results from it you really do need to invest time in it to make it work. Taking those few hours to map out your content and schedule in advance will save you time in the long run, rid you of the overwhelm and ensure that your social media is more effective.

For £20 off my Mini Marketing Masterclass on “How to create content for social media” just use the code 2022TREAT

 

 

My Big Wins From 2021

big wins for 2021

I have no airs and graces and there are no filters on what I do, so I am going to share with you the reality of my year. I hope you get some gems of wisdom from it, or some inspiration.

As a business owner I still need to invest time and energy into my marketing to make my business work. I love marketing, so I’m probably more equipped to understand what I need to do in my business and the creative ideas flow. However, it still takes time and effort for me to do this. If I didn’t do any marketing, then my business wouldn’t be successful.

1 – Even when I’m busy I do marketing

I am probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my business, but that doesn’t mean I need to take my foot off the gas and relax thinking everything is hunky dory. It is really important when you’re in business to keep going. When you are busy and successful you need to keep on going with your marketing, as perhaps in a few months’ time things will quieten down again and you’ll be back to square one. So, when you are busy you still need to find time to update your website, to schedule your social media posts or attend that networking as this is the key to business growth. If you stop shouting about yourself and your business, then you can guarantee a competitor will fill that gap.

2 – Word of mouth is key

By far, the best piece of marketing comes through word of mouth. I’ve always known this, but I’ve really seen it in action in 2021. Many people have joined this group or made enquiries because someone told them about me. By continually marketing, building up a good reputation and doing a good job really is the best form of marketing as people love recommendations and will tell other about you if you do a god job for them.

3 – I do my own social media

Before the pandemic hit I used to outsource my social media. I had a marketing assistant who used to help me write posts and share them. However, I was so out of touch with what was going on. I didn’t really engage with others and it was a bit of an afterthought. It wasn’t until we went into lockdown and I sadly had to say goodbye to my assistant that I started really embracing it for myself.  I had always focused on other people’s social media and had neglected my own. This made me take a step back and really look at what I was doing for others and as a result I stopped managing other people’s social media.

Now, I’m not saying don’t use someone to look after it for you, as there are some great social media managers out there, but the true genius and what prompted me to start this group, is what you add to social media personally. Social media is all about being social and showing your personality. Social media has developed so much over the last few years and you need to put your own personal stamp on it. This has dramatically changed my social media and it’s so much more powerful than it was before.

4 – Let go of what is not working

I’ve had a couple of years of changing things up and experimenting and sometimes had to look at the things I’m doing (like social media management) and let go of what is not working for me. As a result I’ve changed how I run training and courses, I’ve let some clients go and I’ve dropped some social media channels (which has been the biggest challenge for me).

I’ve tried to focus on what services me best and put everything into that. I’ve learnt to accept that not everything works, but to let go of the baggage when it doesn’t.

5 – I’ve learnt to understand what success is

There are so many people shouting for attention online and one thing I’ve noticed is that there are so many people telling me how to get X number of followers or to make X amount of money. I felt like I was getting sucked into this vacuum that I needed to do more and make more money and in reality, lost sight of what success meant to me.

After a strategy and planning session with my husband I truly realised that success to me is not about how many followers I have or how much money I make. It’s about making enough money to pay the bills and afford nice things, to know I have a financially secure future, to love doing what I do and work with some amazing clients, to build up a good reputation and to have the flexibility and freedom to take time for me, my family and my kids. I couldn’t do that in a 9-5 job.

My Dad has been poorly recently and I’ve had to take on a lot of care for him, but my business allows me to do that.

So, success is already what I have achieved and anything on top of that is a bonus! I don’t need to be a millionaire, have a huge following or be “known” it’s just to carry on doing what I do and my word that is being successful already!

 

Top Marketing Tips for 2022

Marketing tips for 2022

Top Tip 1 – Own Your Audience

Think about owning your audience. What do I mean by that? Well, you may have thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, but you don’t own that data. If you start collecting emails and data directly it means that you can message your audience whenever you want without relying on a social media platform’s algorithm. Social media is becoming more competitive and noisier, so if you are not keen on social media, perhaps interacting with people more directly could be for you.  Also, we saw a social media outage earlier in the year – if you rely on social media for your business you need to future proof for outages and think about other ways to communicate with your audience.

Top Tip 2 – Personalised Content

Content marketing is big business, not only that, but personalised content. So, all the content you share on social media, blogs, website, emails etc is content marketing. However, it is no good just churning out the same old same old anymore, you really need to think about personalising your content marketing. Really make it relevant to you and your business, tell stories, share personal information be real. People are more selective in who they follow and their expectations are going to increase, so you need to think about if your content really appeals to your target audience. Put yourself in their shoes, or even ask them what they think and what they want to know from you.

Top Tip 3 – Brand Image

Building a strong brand image is key in 2022. We live in a world where image is everything, so how your brand appears in your marketing and social media, online and offline really counts. People look at that and if it looks a bit shabby, or inconsistent it may get by passed. Brand can be your visual identity, but it is also your values as a brand. Think about creating an experience, great customer service, beautiful packages, personal touches to get brand loyalty, word of mouth recommendations and great reviews.

Top Tip 4 – Be The Expert

People have become immune to the hard sell on social media and in other marketing platforms. You know yourself if you see something that is overtly ‘sell sell sell’ constantly from a brand (unless you love that brand) you switch off. So, think about giving value, be an expert and educate your audience.  We are all experts at what we do, so show your audience why you are an expert, help them, give advice, give tips, show you care and forget the hard sell as it just won’t cut it anymore.

Top Tip 5 – Make Connections

One of the most important things you can do in marketing is to make connections and be social. It is great to see so many of you here today, but how many of us are guilty of forgetting to connect with people afterwards, making relationships and growing our community. Networking is so important – in person, on a webinar or on social media, but it is even more important about continuing to develop those relationships afterwards. Word of mouth is undoubtedly the most important marketing tactic that you have, so make sure you nurture it.

Top Tip 6 – Become A Storyteller

Become a storyteller. Stories are big in marketing now. It’s not always about why your product is the best, but how your product helped someone. Did you product help achieve a goal – tell it? Did your service increase productivity – tell us? Have you helped someone overcome a fear – showcase it? So, instead of direct selling, think about showing results, how you’ve helped people, showcase customers or clients. Also, think about telling stories about you – why you are passionate about what you do, how you’ve helped people, how things that you did in the past got you to where you are now, or have influenced you? These stories may not sell directly, but they may make someone think ‘ohhh maybe I need to do that/buy that?”

Top Tip 7 – Automation

We’re all busy right, 100 jobs a day to do, run a business, run a home, keep the kids alive and everything else rolled into that. So, we want to make running our business and doing our marketing as easy as possible. Then think automation. Think about automating any sales funnels you have, any emails you send out. If someone signs up to an e-newsletter, automate the responses they receive.  Also think about scheduling social media posts. Plan your content in advance and schedule posts to save time, so you can get on with running your business. Look at talking to a virtual assistant in how they can streamline your business and your marketing.

Top Tip 8 – Video

We have seen a rapid growth of short form video over the past year or so with Tik Tok leading the way and Instagram following suit with Reels and YouTube shorts. Video (love it or loathe it) is a fantastic way to really get your brand out there and seen by a new audience. Video is a great way to raise brand awareness, advertise products and increase revenue. Video will be a key trend for 2022, so think about how you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Even if you hate showing your face, being filmed, are an introvert or feel awkward, there are ways you can incorporate video into your marketing.  It’s time to embrace it people because it’s not going to go away!

In addition to video content becoming more popular in 2022, so too will audio. There has been a boom in people using audio marketing, with the launch of Clubhouse (not a fan btw) and also podcasts (which I love). Video is still going to be really powerful, but audio marketing is creeping in too, so perhaps this could be something to think about for your marketing in 2022 too. Maybe audio fits better with you, as well if you really can’t stand being videoed.

Top Tip 9 – Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is becoming even more important to consumers. In light of COVID and COP26 as well, people are very aware of brand’s social responsibility to the community, the public and the environment. So, think about how you as a business owner, or a brand can use social responsibility in your marketing and not just for marketing’s sake, but to actually make a difference. Think about the issues that are important to you, whether that is helping the homeless, reducing your carbon footprint, or volunteering – show that you mean business, but that your business can help others too.

Top Tip 10 – Think Outside The Box

We also need to think outside the box. Marketing changes constantly and what we did 2 years ago may not work as well now. I know this may be a pain for many of you as you start getting to grips with social media for example, then the algorithm changes and what you were doing worked and now it’s not doing much at all. But this is the changing landscape of marketing and in marketing we always need to be aware of exploring new techniques and ideas.

So, take a step back and really look to see if what you have been doing is still delivering results?  If not, it may be time to change. I know change is scary, but the marketing landscape has really changed over the past couple of years, people are buying differently, engaging differently and brands need to change and keep up with this too.

So, hopefully that’s not scared you off too much. Marketing should be challenging and fun and exciting, take a leap of faith, try new things and embrace change as it could be the making of you and your business.

Now to help anyone that struggles with social media and needs a bit of creative wisdom now and then when you’re planning content, I have created “A Day for Everything” calendar for 2022 with all the key dates, anniversaries and celebrations.  You can download this from my website here.

In addition, I am offering £20 off my ‘How to create content for social media’ course, which you can download on my website using the code 2022TREAT – so if you really want to kickstart your marketing in 2022 you will be equipped with lots of tools there to help!

Making Social Media Less Stressful

Making social media less stressful

So, here are my top tips on how you can make social media less stressful…

1 – Plan in advance

I talk to a lot of people about social media – followers, clients, people in my group and I hear you all shouting the same concerns to me. One of the big things is that many people don’t know what to post and when. This is one of the key things that makes social media daunting and stressful. To make social media work, you have to put the effort in and therefore you need to be organised. One of the best ways to do this is to plan your content in advance. Set aside 1-2 hours a month and plot out what you are going to post and when. Think about what days you’re going to post on, if there are any themes to the days, or subjects you can talk about and plot it all out. Even write the posts in advance, so you are set for the month ahead. By doing this helps you take away that day to day worry of not knowing what to post and when as you’ll have it all planned.

2 – Schedule

Another amazing way to help take the stress out of social media is to use a tool to schedule your posts in advance. Again, set aside some time – it could be each month or each week to use your plan and schedule posts in advance. By doing this you can then sit back and relax knowing all your posts are going out on your social media platforms while you get on with the day-to-day running of your business.

There are lots of social media planning tools you can use, such as Buffer (my personal favourite – easy to use and to train clients on and it’s free!), Facebook Creator Studio, Later (great for Instagram) Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Canva or smarter queue.

3 – Be yourself

I find that one of the biggest stresses that people have about social media is looking at other people’s social media and comparing themselves. Seeing what they post, looking at how many followers they have, basically comparing themselves with other accounts or people they know.

But when you do social media for your business, I want you to remember that you need to be yourself on social media. People want to know about you, your business, your products and your services. We are all unique and different and our social media accounts should be too. Set your own realistic goals that align with your business, speak directly to your target customer and find your own vibe on social media. Don’t get weighed down on how many followers you have. I always say it’s better to have 100 quality followers, then 10,000 followers who don’t even care what you post.

So, don’t stress about social media, use the tools above, have fun with it, enjoy it and you will start to see results.

If you are struggling on what to post, check out my course on ‘How to create content for social media’

Getting more followers on social media

Getting more followers

1 – The number of followers you have is NOT important. It is much better to have 100 quality followers, to engage with you and are interested in what you do, than 10,000 who never buy from you.

2 – Don’t look at competitor accounts and measure yourself against them. We all have different numbers of followers and ways of doing things. Someone who you’re comparing yourself with may have been in business 10 years already and have an established reputation, so please don’t compare yourself with others.

BUT, if you still want to work on growing your audience – not by thousands, but to get quality followers who are interested in what you do, here are my top tips…

1 – Follow others

A great way to get people to follow you, is to follow others. Now, I don’t mean in a spammy way, just going through accounts and following lots of people at once. I mean genuinely thinking about your ideal customer and following those types of people or following the types of accounts they might follow. Follow people in your industry, follow people in your area, follow other businesses and people who you may know.

2 – Create relationships

When you’ve started following more people, it is important to start creating relationships. You want people to build up a knowledge of what you do and to know who you are so they know, like and trust you. So, start making relationships with people, comment on their posts and send them messages (not sales messages initially, but genuine questions about themselves or their products and services).

3 – Be social

Now we’ve followed people and we’ve started making relationships with those new people, we need to remember the most important part of social media – being social. You want to start interacting with people, comment on their posts, like and share what they do, become a familiar name to them and increase your engagement.

These are the three core things to remember when trying to encourage more people to follow you.  In addition to this you may want to think about running competitions, placing digital adverts, using hashtags (on Instagram and LinkedIn) creating better content, giving value (like freebies, tips or lead magnets) using video or even getting creative and using stories or reels (on Instagram or Facebook).

Once you use a combination of the above you will see your followers steadily rise, but remember social media is hard work and it takes time. Don’t let it consume you and remember – quality not quantity!

Take a look at my other blogs for further assistance.

How To Stand Out on Social Media?

stand out on social media

I can give you loads of tips on how you can create content that resonates with your ideal customer, how you can show your personality and have fun, but there are some fundamental things I want you to remember that will help you overcome the fear and then inadvertently help you stand out on social media.

1 – Your followers want to follow you

Firstly, I want you to remember that you have followers for a reason. They have followed you in the first place, so are interested in what you do. You caught their attention, you’ve met them and they hit the follow button, so you’ve already got their attention.

2 – Comparison-itis

This is a little phrase I use when people start comparing themselves with others on social media.  You start looking at how many followers other people have, what they are doing, comparing yourself, your expertise, and your social media channels and business to them. But I want you to stop this. You need to remember that every one of us is different, our businesses are different, our personalities are different, our clients or customers are different. We are also at different points in our journey. So, stop comparing yourself to others and worrying about what other people are doing.  You just need to focus on your own strengths and where you are in your journey.

3 – You’re an expert

You also need to remember that no matter what business you run, or what industry you work in YOU are an expert. You wouldn’t be doing what you do if you weren’t good at it or didn’t love doing it.  Remember this when it comes to social media. Be confident and proud of who you are and what you do and remember you have a lot to share and tell people. Go out there and show people you are the expert, give them tips, give them information and give them value.

4 – What if someone is negative?

I was told that when you get a negative comment on social media you’ve made it! Negativity on social media is horrible and there are always going to be people who use social media to hide behind and think it’s ok to make bad comments. However, please remember that the majority of your followers won’t do this because they already ‘know, like and trust you’. But if you do get a negative comment, please don’t take it personally – these people don’t know you, they have no say in your life and you need to rise above it, don’t argue with them and if all else fails – block them!

I find that these are often the barriers that stop people feeling confident on social media and getting seen. Once you take on board the above points you can start to feel more confident on social media, share your personality, show you’re an expert, get social with people and stand out on social media!

Feel free to view my courses here to see how I can help with your social media.

Getting Seen On Social Media Without Paying? 

Getting Social Activity without paying

Here are a few of my Top Tips to get seen…

1 – Right place, right time

First of all, you need to make sure you are speaking to the right people. You need to get in front of the right audience and use the right platform. There is no point spending all your time on Instagram if actually your audience doesn’t really hang out there. Likewise, if you love Twitter, but your target customer doesn’t use it. Time and time again we come back to target customer, and it really is so important. Make sure the messages you are sharing are getting seen by the right people. You are then more likely to be seen by more of your potential customers than hearing crickets.

2 – Clever content

The next point I would make is about creating content that will resonate with your ideal client. You want to be pulling on their heart strings, answering their problems, helping them solve a challenge they are facing. What are those things that are going to get them to stop scrolling and listen to what you have to say. Really think about each post you are writing and ask if it would make you stop, or engage with it. It is so much more effective to craft 4 brilliant posts, than share a post every day for 7 days that won’t grab anyone’s attention.

The other thing to remember is, the more people who see your posts, who like or comment means that it will reach more people. So, those type of posts are so important as they will ‘organically’ get seen by a greater amount of people.

Also, when I talk about being clever think about how you can explicitly invite people to engage with you. Think about asking questions, add a call to action (like leading them to your website or giving a response), run a poll or a survey. Inviting people to engage with you is really powerful and again helps you organically get seen by more people on social media without having to pay for it.

3 – Stand out and be different

Social media is a cacophony of noise with everyone trying to grab your attention, so how then do you get heard in that noise? If you want to get seen above the noise, just be you. People buy people. They feel comfortable with people they like, know and trust and are then more likely to follow you or engage with you. Try and bring your personality to life on social media. That doesn’t mean jump around being silly or dancing, but showing people your face and who you are can work wonders.  Even if you work for a relatively bland business, you can bring it alive in a creative way and show people why you find it exciting or inspiring through your personality. Think about how you could do things a little differently, don’t compare yourself with others – and go for it!  The more of ‘you’ you inject into your social media the more people you will reach and again mitigate the need for expensive advertising.

However, if you are thinking of running any digital advertising, I will be hosting a Mini Marketing Masterclass on the 3rdNovember on how to use Facebook Advertising. If you’re not quite ready for that and want to explore some of the ideas I’ve talked about in this blog, you can download my previous course on how to create content for social media here https://acornmarketingcumbrialtd.vipmembervault.com/products/courses/view/1078951

How Do I Create An Email Marketing List?

Email marketing

I often talk about email marketing being a great back up, should things go wrong with your social media marketing. On Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – whatever social media you choose – you don’t own your audience. You don’t own their data, so if it all disappeared tomorrow, how would you reach that audience? If you have captured their email address on your email marketing list, you do own that data so if things should go wrong, you can still easily communicate with them.

So, where do you even start in building an email list. It can seem quite a daunting task, but here are a few tips and tricks I’ve found have really worked well in building my email list.

1 – Tell people

The easiest thing you can do to start building your email list is to tell people that you have one. Who is going to know you send emails if you don’t tell them? Add it to your website, your email signature, put it in social media posts, tell your clients or customers. It is the easiest way to start building that list.

Remember that you do actually need to communicate with people, so as you build your list, start thinking about how you are going to use email marketing going forward.

2 – Create a freebie

Another great way to get people to subscribe to your email list is to create a freebie, also known as a lead magnet.

Think about what your audience wants to know from you? What problems do you help them solve?  What are they struggling with or to do? Think about three to five tips that you can give away that will appeal to your audience. They can download your freebie in exchange for their email address.  You know that they are your ideal client as your freebie will directly help them, so then you are getting good quality sign-ups to your email list.

3 – Breadcrumb

Now you are armed with your freebie and you’re telling people you have an email list they can subscribe to, you can do something called ‘breadcrumbing’. This means visiting other groups on Facebook, or maybe even LinkedIn and sharing your freebie with them too. However, you need to remember to add value to the groups you visit. Comment on people’s posts, give advice and tips don’t just drop your freebie link and run. Spend time in groups, make connections and help people – they are more likely to sign up to your mailing list, or download your freebie if they feel they know you.

Let me know if these tips helped you, or if you have any other top tips to share.

If you found this interesting, you may like to check out the replay of my Email Marketing Mini Marketing Masterclass to help you with your email marketing even more– click here to buy now.

What To Do When Social Media Goes Down

when social media goes down

I’ve spoken many times before about the risk we often run as business owners when using social media. Time and time again I see people putting all their eggs in one basket and using social media as their only source of marketing, and worse…sales!

When social media goes down how does that affect your business? Did you sigh a breath of relief when it came back on, so you could start your marketing and sales again? What would happen if it disappeared completely?

So, what happened and is it likely to happen again?

Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s VP of infrastructure said,

“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt,”

Phew, that’s bit techy, so in a nutshell Facebook’s systems stopped talking to the wider internet and it is always possible that these things could happen again. There is also talk that there are some internal struggles happening at Facebook to do with how they handle hate speech and using the algorithm to promote bullying and reactions of people to negative posts. This is all speculation and Facebook as a leader of social media innovation need to lead by example of how social media changes for the better in the future and who knows when it may disappear again….and for how long?

How can we ensure we have a robust marketing strategy so that if social media goes offline or disappears, we can still run our business? I’m not saying you need to think about which other social media channels you should sign up to and start making content for as the same thing could happen to them all.

What I do want you to think about is what other forms of marketing could support your business, as well as social media? Let’s face it, social media is a wonderful marketing tool, but perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what else we can do.

My top tips on how you can market your business without putting all your eggs into the social media basket are:

1 – Email marketing

I have said this time and time again, that with social media, you do not own your audience. They can unfollow you at any time. Sometimes you may spend years building up a following only to then have your page hacked or blocked and to start again. Or, like we saw this week your chosen social media channel may disappear altogether.

With email marketing, everyone who signs up to your email list are a captive, warm audience. You also own that data, so it’s not going anywhere. If you became unstuck and social media disappeared, then email marketing should be your ‘go-to’ back up plan. You have a captive audience and you can still communicate with them and sell to them. So, maybe it’s time you started thinking about how you can do this.

Check out my recent course on how to use email marketing to get you started.

2 – Website

Quite often people don’t have a website because they have a Facebook page. However, how many times do you search for things on Google? Yes, your Facebook page may show up, but again what if Facebook, or other social media platforms disappeared? Particularly if you have a product-based business, how can you continue to sell your products if you don’t have a platform to do this? You have more control of your own website and how this works and of course – your audience data. It may also be time to think of other platforms you can use such as eBay, Etsy or Amazon (if you don’t want your own website) as ways of ensuring your products continue to be sold.

3 – Traditional Marketing

There is a lot to be said for good old-fashioned marketing as well. There is nothing quite a like a piece of editorial in a paper or a magazine, networking face-to-face and making connections, sales promotions or flyers drops. This can often be seen as harder work, but there are some benefits to still be found in more traditional marketing techniques that shouldn’t be discounted.

Remember word of mouth is always the most powerful marketing tool in your tool box, so get out there and be seen.

Yes, I have a Facebook group, which you can join here and I’m on Instagram, Twitter etc, but if you want to take this opportunity to be part of my email list you can sign up here and remember if you want to know about other forms of marketing visit my courses page here.

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

create a marketing strategy

Once you know these objectives for your business, you can then start thinking about your marketing strategy. If you don’t have a business strategy it is harder to create a marketing strategy as you don’t really have an understanding of where you see the business heading and how you can then support that growth with marketing.

So, once you have established this we can then start thinking about our marketing, but what are the key areas we need to consider to create a marketing strategy? Here are three important factors to consider.

 1 – Aims

Ideally at this stage you’ve got some solid “business” aims – things like turnover, sales forecasts etc, but within the marketing strategy we need to think of specific aims for marketing. If we don’t have any aims, how do we know if our marketing has been effective?

For example, aims could be things like raising brand awareness, generating more press coverage, improving open rate for our email, getting more traffic to our website. They are all specific marketing, rather than business aims. By being really clear on your marketing aims, you are able to see clearly if your marketing is working for your business. If you don’t have these aims, you are stabbing in the dark and don’t really have anything to measure your marketing against.

2 – Target customer

Another really important area to consider is your target customer. Often people say to me my ideal customer is ‘everyone’. But it would be impossible to target everyone in the world or the country you live in – we need to be a lot more specific.

Now sometimes ‘target customer’ can be a bit confusing, so I’m going to try and make it a bit easier to understand.

Often you hear of “Ideal Client Avatar”. This is the idea of your ideal customer. Who is that one person you’d like to pick up the phone and book you, click on your website and buy a product. They may have a persona, a name, a job, hobbies etc. It gives you a really clear understanding of who your marketing should be aimed at.

Target customer is slightly different. This can be different groups of people. You may categorise people into different sets. You may have women 40+ in Cumbria, or 16-25 year olds. You may have a business-to-business customer and a consumer customer. You may have a couple of different types of customers you want to target, but your marketing would then be different for each group, as they have different wants and needs. You would tailor what marketing tactics you do for each group.

I’ve also been asked “how do I know who my target customer is”. Well, if you’re more established in business, think about who buys your products and services? What type of person are they, how old are they, where do they live? By doing this you can then perhaps identify any gaps or new areas you want to target with your marketing too.

If you are a new business, do some market research. Look at similar companies and what they are doing, who is following them, buying from them, engaging with them? Ask your audience if you have one. Think about your product and service and who it has been designed for. Then once you start, you’ll soon get an idea of who your customer is.

3 – Key Messages/Brand values

The next important area to think about is your key messages. I always think this is one of the most important things you can do as it underpins all your marketing.

I want you to think about all the things you’d want to shout from the rooftops about your business, product or service. What makes it special or different from anything else? What are the stand-out features? How do you give excellent customer service? Really delve down deep – there would be no point me saying I’m professional, organised and efficient as you would hope a Marketing Consultant would be and in fact most people could say that. Think about the things that really set you apart from the competition. Those are your key messages and should be the main messages used in all your marketing going forward.

We’ve talked about aims for your marketing, identified who your target customer is and what the messages are that will underpin your marketing. Once you have these nailed you’ve started your very own marketing strategy. Going forward your marketing should be a lot more focused and less scattergun in approach and then you can really figure out what marketing is going to work for your business.

If you want to know more about how to plan your marketing or how to implement tactics successfully, check out my courses, which are all available on demand. Click here to find out more.

How to Get More Engagement on Social Media?

More social engagement

Engagement (where people like, comment or share) is probably one of our biggest aims on social media – well, it should be anyway. If you are on social media to “sell” then you have to re-think what you are doing. It’s a place where you should be building up relationships with people for when they are ready to buy in the future. It is a great marketing tool for building up brand awareness and telling people about what you do, so here are my top tips to get people to start engaging with us.

1 – Personality

The biggest bit of advice that I can give you is that people buy people. We’re all a bit nosey at heart, we’re inquisitive and want to ask questions. We love to know about the people behind the business, why they started, what makes them tick. So, you need to let people in. Show your personality and who’s behind the account. Tell them your story, how did you end up doing what you do and what is your ‘why.’ Think about the things that will resonate with other people, that makes them stop scrolling and makes them relate to you. You’ll find with these types of posts, more people will comment and interact with you, share their story or comment on your post. Remember to engage with them, comment back and start a conversation. If they can see there is a story behind the person and the business, they will buy into you and hopefully one day when they are ready, buy from you.

2 – Questions

Another great way to get more engagement with your posts is to ask a question and start a discussion. Think about the posts you’ve written in the past, could you have added a question to the end of the post and invited people to join the conversation? Quite often posts are statement i.e ‘this is what we do’ but don’t invite the user to engage. If you add a question on to the post you are saying, I want to know what you think, let me know. Think about how you could start a discussion too – are there some topics that are relevant to what you do that you could start a discussion on?  Something in the news, something in life, something that’s happened to you, and you need help or advice. These posts are a great way to ask people to join in. However, if they reply, remember to write back to them. You are asking a question, so reply when they answer and don’t leave them hanging.

3 – Give value

The other great way to get people to engage with posts is to give them value. Show them you are the expert at what you do. How can you help them? Can you give them something that will help them, or some advice that will solve a problem they have? By giving value gives them a reason to follow you. If you just sell to them on social media all the time, they won’t read the posts as much, but if you give them something valuable as well, they have a reason to follow you, interact with your post or become an advocate for what you do.

So, when trying to get more engagement on social media, think about what they want to hear. What are the kinds of things that are going to get them to click on your post, like or comment? Think about the types of posts you engage with. Do you engage with sales posts or the ones that are more attention grabbing and interesting?

Try a few of these tips and let me know how they work for you?

If you want to know more about how to craft the perfect social media post, you can download my mini marketing masterclass on how to ‘Create Content for social media’ here.

How to Raise Visibility on Social Media Without Being a Nuisance!

raise social visibility

You don’t need to be an extrovert to be successful on social media, you just need to believe in your product or service. I know some people think that if you post too much, you’ll be seen as a bit arrogant or pushy. Perhaps you are an introvert and the thought of putting yourself out there scares you as well. I get that and I see it so much with clients too, but hopefully these tips will give you a boost in confidence and encourage you to think about how you can post more regularly on social media.

Now, there is no doubt that the more you put into social media, the more you will get out of it. Being consistent is key with social media – not posting 4 times a day, spending hours on it and dancing to silly reels (though I am partial to the odd one myself).

So, when you’re feeling a bit out of your comfort zone, or are worried about bombarding people with your posts, here are a few things to keep in mind…

1 – Not everyone sees your posts

If you think about all the people and businesses you follow on social media, how many of their posts do you actually see? If you saw all 897 friends’ posts every single day that would be loads of posts to get through. Not to mention all the posts from businesses and groups you’re in. There are over 293,000 statuses updated every single day on Facebook alone. So, realistically how many people do you think will see your post – even if they are following you? My point is, not everybody will see every single thing you post. They may see only 1 out of every 3 or 4 posts that you share. So, don’t fret about posting too much as not every single person who follows you will see every single post you share (unless they have favourited you or are stalking you!)

2 – If you don’t shout, others will

The other thing to think about is your competitors. If you are worried about posting too much and don’t want to be a nuisance, I can guarantee you someone else will be sharing their content and shouting about your business, while you are sitting feeling worried about posting. If you don’t do it, someone else will be.

3 – You don’t need to be loud, or an extrovert, to be heard

Social media is a busy, noisy place with everyone vying for your attention. However, you don’t need to be loud or an extrovert to be heard or get your business “out there.” Like I said earlier, you don’t have to do crazy dances to be seen by your ideal customer. Do something different to everyone else, engage and interact with people, be social and helpful and that will have as much impact to the people you need it to.

4 – Give your customer what they want

Leading on from this, think about what your customer needs from you. What do they want to know, what do they want to hear? Think about their pain points and how you can help them through your social media posts. If you are useful, helpful, social and engaging in your content that is much more powerful. They will want to hear from you, they will engage with you too and will keep following you.

And, just to reassure you, if people do unfollow you, don’t sweat it…they were never going to buy from you and weren’t a quality follower anyway, so who cares if they go, you don’t need them anyway.

So, with a bit of a mindset switch, and a little bit more confidence, start posting and forget about being a nuisance – you’ve got this!

Do check out my courses to help you with your marketing. I also offer a Power Hour 1-2-1 session where you can pick my brains. Find out more here.