Six Ways to Spruce Up Your Image

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People are increasingly being bombarded by advertising messages. Which means it’s going to take something rather special for a brand to stand out among the clutter. Tracey Dooley aims to help you just do that — regardless of whether you are just starting out or want to give your brand a new lease of life. If nothing else, it should help you really think about what you want to achieve over the next six months…

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New Beginnings… and the Top 10 Marketing Insights for Business (PART 1 OF 2)

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As this is my first post of 2015, I have to officially say HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that this year proves to be the happiest and most successful year yet…

With a new year ahead of us, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your business and mark out areas for improvement. In terms of your advertising and marketing copy, that could mean giving it a boost with a re-vamp. Sometimes, the smallest changes can yield the biggest results.

As for other areas where you can make significant changes, this article may help. It’s the first part of an old favourite.  

I hope you enjoy reading it, and please do post any questions in the comments box below … or, indeed, any other insights that may help other readers. Thank you.

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Top 10 Marketing Insights for Business (PART 1 OF 2)

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For this week’s main article, I want to turn back the clock to a feature I originally wrote for MediaMinister’s newsletter, Communiqué for Success. Although a few years have passed since, it is still as relevant now as it was then.

The two-part article takes a look at ten of the major lessons learned in marketing, and how they can help ANY entrepreneur or business-owner when the calendar turns to the next year.

You can read part one here.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and please do post any questions in the comments box below … or, indeed, any other insights that may help other readers. Thank you.

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Email Marketing – Still Relevant in a Social Media-Dominated World?

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In today’s economy, when marketing budgets are tight, most people are looking more closely at return on investment (ROI). One tool that has consistently surpassed other channels in terms of ROI is email marketing.

“But hasn’t social media well and truly stolen email’s thunder,” you ask. Not quite. And if you have scaled down or are thinking of abandoning your email marketing efforts, then you should think again. Email marketing is here to stay…

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, the channel remains effective for organisations of all kinds, with an overall average UK open rate of 17.98 per cent and a click-through rate of 3.56 per cent.

Not only is email one of the — if not THE — most cost-effective marketing methods, it also provides unparalleled reporting. This means it’s easy to work out what works and what doesn’t, and makes establishing the most effective tactics for any given offer or audience an effortless task. Which goes a long way in explaining why leading companies around the globe still consider it as a top priority in their marketing plans.

But what if your email marketing isn’t producing the desired results? Here are 10 ways to improve its ROI, starting today:

1. The hype surrounding social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook, etc) doesn’t mean you are faced with an ‘either or’ choice: you should unquestionably be looking at making the two work together.

2. For example, try adding social media subscribe or share (‘follow us’, ‘like’, etc) buttons to your email newsletter.

3. Another method is to list and link to all your social-networking profiles in your ezine.

4. In terms of driving up both email open and click-through rates, use a voucher or a special offer when sending out your next email marketing campaign.

5. Base email campaigns around key events, such as the Winter Olympics. Run mini-promotions; encourage your emails to be forwarded so they go viral.

6. Be selective with your email timings. Don’t just send straight promotional messages every other day. Rather, cut back on the mail-out frequency and give your readers a little bit extra — news they can use, tips and tricks, etc.

7. Also, if you are a restaurant, for example, and your busiest day is a Saturday, then send out email promotions on a Friday.

8. Stop mailing people who have not opened your emails for over a year. You can either send them a quick courtesy email beforehand to see why they haven’t opened/read any of them (they could end up in their spam folder, for instance) and to see if they wish to continue receiving your email updates/newsletters. Or you can drop them into a separate ‘list’ where the frequency and content of the emails will change.

9. Make sure every single one of your emails is targeted and relevant. This means researching and truly understanding your target market or readership (what makes them tick, what words and language would pique their interest, and so on) and delivering products and information they would be interested to hear about.

10. While engaging content is essential, it is still possible to influence an email campaign’s success through the effectiveness of your subject line and ‘from’ address. The latter should be something immediately identifiable and consistent. The former needs to make sense to and interest your readers without sounding or looking like spam. Play around and split-test your subject lines. If you are a retail outlet and are simply sending out an email about a new promotion a subject line like “[Name of Company] Drop by this weekend for a 20% discount” could do the trick. It’s short, to the point and means people don’t even need to open the email. They can take you up on your offer by visiting your store. Look out for an article on subject lines in a future issue of CfS.

Further Reading: Avoiding the ‘Delete’ Key: http://bit.ly/9qj0Wd

By Tracey Dooley, Creative Consultant | PR Guru | Marketing & Alliance Strategist

Not getting results? Let Tracey teach you how to write email copy that impresses the spam filters AND your readers: http://www.mediaminister.co.uk/products.htm#Online. Having trouble with converting visitors into buyers once they get to your website? Check out Website Copywriting Secrets that Convert Web Readers into BUYERS.

(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert help and/or affordable mentoring and have fun attracting new business easily?)

(C) 2010-11 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article (or any article, tip or post on this blog) on your website, blog, a message board or in an ezine? Not a problem! But please give credit where it’s due. You MUST include copyright info above, along with the following:

Tracey Dooley is a freelance copywriter, editor and marketer. She has spent 18 years crafting compelling concepts and copy that successfully sell, inform, educate or entertains. Her expertise runs across many different sectors and her client list includes marketing agencies, a leading supplier of personal computers, semi-conductors and telecommunications equipment and the UK’s largest TV and interactive production company. =====>  www.mediaminister.co.uk.

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Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
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Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.

Is Social Media Right For YOUR Business?

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There’s no denying the ongoing obsession with social media. Love it or hate it, the social media movement has changed the way we shop, communicate and do business. It’s also expanded our online ‘reach’ — the number of people we connect with on a personal level (not to mention the speed at which a story can go viral on the web once it enters Twitter land). Some prononents even liken it to ‘the new TV’. But what about business? Is social media a viable business tool?

In one camp, there’s a resounding “yes!” You have to take control of your brand, supporters say, or someone else will do it for you. And that may not be in your best interests. The worst thing you want is for someone to be searching for a product or service that you provide, only to come across negative comments about you. So proponents of social media for business suggest using networks such as Facebook and Twitter to protect and boost your brand … and, at the same time, your search-engine rankings.

Other entrepreneurs and SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) take a more cautious view. Some are watching from the shoreline to see how the social-media wave develops. Others lose no time in saying it’s a waste of time.

But what about you? Would YOUR non-profit or commercial business benefit from the use of social media?

It depends on your goals. If you want to increase your reach to prospects — either locally or internationally — give social media a try. However, if you are solely interested in blasting out sales messages and ‘selling’ to prospects, then social media is the wrong venue. Social networks aren’t about advertising … they’re about creating and nurturing relationships.

Assuming you understand the importance of customer engagement, how can you make social media work for you?

The entrepreneurs and SMEs who achieve the most success with social media are those who develop a marketing plan and implement it in line with a relevant and well thought-out strategy. Here are seven tips to help make your efforts worthwhile:

1. Begin by clarifying your purpose. What do you want to get out of being involved in social-media networks? Will you use social media to find and connect with prospects only, for instance, or do you also plan to share useful information with a wider audience? While it’s true that by its very nature you should be looking to use social media to LISTEN, engage, exchange and interact, it’s worthwhile digging out the REAL reason you want to use social media.

2. Make sure, too, that your goal corresponds with your overall business goals.

3. Think of social media as you would any other marketing tool. Ask yourself: is your target audience using it, and what value can you bring to them via this tool?

4. Research how your competitors are using social media. Closely monitor the ones that appear to be successful with it.

5. Assuming you have limited time and resources, is any one social-media method really the best place to reach your target audience? There’s no denying the fact that you will need to commit a fair amount of time in order to learn how to develop a successful social-media initiative. My advice to clients when they are just starting out is to select one media outlet and, if successful, slowly expand to a maximum of three networks that best fit your target market and overall business objectives. Don’t try to be all to everyone and do all with everything.

6. Keep your brand consistent across ALL networks you decide to join.

7. Regularly analyse your results, and if necessary, tweak your strategy for a better return on your investment of time.

What it boils down to is this: social media WILL WORK for the right people in the right circumstances. And IF you’re going to make inroads, you’d better put in the effort. Not just in terms of learning as much as you can about your prospects, but taking the time to give them what they want and how best to deliver it via social networking. It’s a lot of work, but it can also be rewarding…

Last words: In all likelihood, your prospects are already visiting social-media giants such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. And if they’re not yet, the odds are that they soon will be. If your business does not have a presence on these platforms, you are missing some very valuable opportunities to connect, engage and build rewarding relationships with your target audience — let alone new markets. So it’s worth spending some time on social media, no matter how limited that may be. Finally, don’t forget to also consider other available marketing channels, including email marketing offline tools such as direct mail — these can work very well alongside social media … IF done correctly.

By Tracey Dooley, Creative Consultant | PR Guru | Marketing & Alliance Strategist

Need help with developing, executing or managing social -of-mouth marketing campaigns?
 Hop on over to my coaching page to bring your digital presence to life:

www.business-marketing-advice.mediaminister.co.uk

(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert help and/or affordable mentoring and have fun attracting new business easily?)

(C) 2010-11 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article (or any article, tip or post on this blog) on your website, blog, a message board or in an ezine? Not a problem! But please give credit where it’s due. You MUST include copyright info above, along with the following:

Tracey Dooley is a freelance copywriter, editor and marketer. She has spent 18 years crafting compelling concepts and copy that successfully sell, inform, educate or entertains. Her expertise runs across many different sectors and her client list includes marketing agencies, a leading supplier of personal computers, semi-conductors and telecommunications equipment and the UK’s largest TV and interactive production company. =====>  www.mediaminister.co.uk.

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Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
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Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.

2010 & the Top 10 Marketing Insights for Business (PART 2 OF 2)

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(This is the second part of a two-part article, which I originally published in my ezine, Communiqué for Success. Although a few years have passed since, it is still as relevant today as it was then. If you missed part one, you can access it here.)

 

6. Email Marketing

Despite the increasing problem with spam, email marketing still works. In fact, 2010 will still see to it that no other marketing vehicle will be as powerful, efficient and inexpensive as a regular eZine (email newsletter).

When done well, an eZine keeps your name in front of your customers and prospective clients, is a great showcase of your expertise and works to build relationships and trust with them.

Some eZines are nothing more than blatant advertising, so try to include as much valuable information as you can. It might be as simple as a local massage therapist regularly sending out a one-page update of case studies or offers, or news on the complementary health industry. Make it a New Year’s resolution to start or improve your e-newsletter in 2010.

Further reading: “E-Newsletters: Where to Start” — http://bit.ly/3Q8ZGL

“Newsletters that Build Customer Relations AND Fill Your Inbox with Orders” — http://bit.ly/6NYZGT

Aweber eZine Management — http://www.aweber.com/?212431

7. Web-Blog Synergy

Growth in e-commerce is leaping ahead of other sectors. According to figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, online sales in July 2009 alone grew by 15.7% compared with the month before, and by 16.8% compared with a year ago.

This growth shows no signs of slowing down. So it’s vital that ALL businesses  have an online presence in order to get or remain competitive in today’s fierce marketplace. 
 Even a relatively simple website will do to begin with. Just something to get you online and that allows your potential customers, business partners, investors and employees to find out more about you quickly and easily.

The best websites integrate their website and their blog, the latter designed to keep the web presence ‘fresh’ and to update people on news, thoughts and ideas.

Further reading: “Is A Business Blog Worth It? — http://bit.ly/biz-blog

“Using Online Marketing to Your Advantage” — http://tinyurl.com/ywyucg

“Website Copywriting Secrets that Convert Web Readers into Buyers” — http://bit.ly/5UDTPR

8. Stress Benefits, Not Features

With all the companies and marketing messages out there claiming to have the best of X, Y and Z, you have to go that little bit further than most if you are to help people understand why they should buy YOUR product or service.

That means not turning features into benefits. By doing so you will position your business away from simply offering a commodity that everyone is presenting to delivering something special.

Further reading: “Are Your Benefits Featureless?’ — http://bit.ly/5jp5oj

9. Marketing is NOT Negotiable

We all know that well-managed companies are the survivors in any climate. They know how to pull through any recession or economic dip, and often come out stronger than the rest.

One of the most valuable lessons to be learned in lean times is that we need to be marketing more thoroughly and more smartly than ever before. After all, people will always need advice and services and products — regardless of what the economy might be doing.

As the study “Turning Adversity into Advantage: Does Proactive Marketing During a Recession Pay Off?”, shows organisations that a) value marketing, b) feature a corporate culture that rewards risk-taking, and c) are willing to up the ante on marketing efforts are those who come out on top.

“The firms that had all three characteristics did very well in a recession. But firms that are missing any one of them, they’re in trouble,” says Dr Gary Lilien, one of the report’s authors.

Marketing is something that ALL businesses absolutely must invest in if they wish to remain in business now … and in the future.

Further reading: “Turning Adversity into Advantage: Does Proactive Marketing During a Recession Pay Off?” — http://bit.ly/8REmTN

10. The Unexpected

Under promise and over deliver, that’s become my business motto. And it works. Good hotels leave guests chocolates on their pillow. Exceptional hotels will leave an eye mask or something equally useful and unexpected. These more thoughtful and imaginative hotels will gain by attracting customers that are fiercely loyal because they know the hotel has their desires and best interests at heart.

Over-delivering is quite simply the number one way to stand head and shoulders above your competition, and grow your business, to boot.

As well as providing excellent products and support to my clients and customers, I try to always go the extra mile. For instance, a regular client recently contacted me at 5pm on a Friday to see if I could fit in a small copywriting project over the weekend. It didn’t take me long at all, and the client was more than grateful. Yes, I do work typical business hours and I could have charged overtime and rush fees, but nurturing a strong client relationship — and repeat business — is worth a lot more to me.

I hope that some of my marketing insights will become your marketing practices for 2010 and beyond. Why not implement one or two today? You might find they transform your business for the better.

By Tracey Dooley, Creative Consultant | PR Doctor | Marketing & Alliance Strategist

Psssst . . .  Not sure where to start? As well as offering worksheets and home-study tools, I can give you profit-multiplying advice and pointers on things you can do straight away to attract new business with my Powerfully Effective Marketing sessions. 

(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert affordable mentoring and have fun attracting clients easily?) 

(C) 2009-10 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved 

Want to use this article on your website, blog, a message board or in an ezine? Not a problem! But please give credit where it’s due. You MUST include the following:

Tracey Dooley of MediaMinister (www.mediaminister.co.uk) is an experienced copywriter, editor and marketer. She has spent 18 years crafting compelling concepts and copy that successfully sell, inform, educate or entertains. =====> www.mediaminister.co.uk.

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Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
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Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.