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How to write an effective small business promotion.

It’s tempting to quickly create a social media post, newsletter or advert.

It may well be effective!

But if you want to see a bigger boost in sales.

Try a more tailored approach.

A well-planned campaign can bring in fresh revenue and custom.

Here’re my top tips (in 4 easy steps).

Good luck 💪

1. Decide on your target audience.

Take a minute to remind yourself who your target customers are.

Who are your most profitable customers? 

Look at past and current customers. Scroll through your social media followers – these all have potential.

Who are they? Where are they? What do they do every day? What do they need? What problems do they have?

Create a buyer persona. A profile of your target customer.

It’s easier to write with someone in mind.

A message tailored to your target audience, will be more effective than a general message aimed at everyone.

2. Do some research.

A simple task but worth it.

Look at similar and influential businesses.

Sign-up to newsletters and follow others on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see what’s going on.

Look at how other businesses are adapting and attracting business with the current restrictions.

This will give you ideas.

3. Talk about your benefits.

What’s in it for me?

What does your customer really desire?

Get some feedback from customers or friends who know you well.

Why do people go to you?

What problems do customers have that you solve?

You have a USP – a unique selling point. Something that no one else offers.

Tell people what it is…

Benefit examples

  • Quality products and services
  • Originality
  • Value for money
  • Excellent customer service
  • Local, sustainable business
  • Friendly, helpful staff
  • Experience and qualifications
  • Comfort and enjoyment
  • Self-improvement
  • Environmental credentials
  • We do all the hard work so you don’t have to…

4. Create your promotions.

Now’s the time to put your business out there!

What are your customers planning for?

What problem can you solve?

4 easy steps:

1. Choose your platform. 

How can you reach your target audience?

Social media, email, video, print, local press?

Could you expand your audience with a different platform?

2. Choose a campaign.

  • Existing products or services
  • New products or services
  • Build-up campaigns (to an event or product launch)
  • Book/order now – early bird discounts
  • Visually branded campaigns
  • Seasonal campaigns
  • Competitions
  • Like & share posts
  • Live videos and vlogs
  • Tips and advice to help your customers
  • Behind the scenes photos (helps build trust and reassurance).

3. A strong, simple message aimed at your target audience.

A short and sweet message that clearly promotes what you do with one or two benefits, will be effective.

A good promotion will include:

  • A strong benefit
  • Service or product info – what are you offering?
  • Reassurance – reviews, qualifications
  • Contact details

Always start with a strong benefit or your USP.

What does your ideal customer really desire/want?

Customer reviews or photos of happy customers will give ‘piece of mind’.

4. Don’t forget to entice action.

Tell customers what you want them to do.

Give one option –

  • Call
  • Visit website
  • Order/book now
  • Like or share

Clearly show your contact, shop or website details.

To entice action, give a deadline to receive a special offer or discount. Or advise of limited stock or availability.

Conclusion. 

If you take some time to plan your copy, you’re likely to see better results.

Good luck! 

Useful links

How to create a buyer persona. Hootsuite

How do I advertise my small business? Simply Business

6 Real examples of how you can connect with customers on social media. UK Domain

6 Creative responses to coronavirus challenges from UK small businesses. Startups

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Marketing blog

4 easy marketing tactics to help boost your small business.

Give your small business a boost and attract new customers with these 4 easy marketing tactics.

Good luck!

1. Ask for reviews.

It may seem daunting to ask, but it will be worth it.

Use them in your own marketing – your website, BIO, Instagram Stories, Facebook reviews, press releases or sales letters.

They are also a big factor in how Google ranks your business.

If say, you have a bulk of reviews on Facebook, built up over a period of time, Google may well prioritise your business over others in search results.

It’s not guaranteed of course, other factors play a part (like content, keywords and social interaction) however, it’s a good start in helping your business get found online.

Google values reviews from all reputable websites like Facebook, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Checkatrade and Google’s own business pages.

Make it easy for customers by adding a link to review sites in thank-you emails, or on the receipt.

2. Download a marketing calendar.

Plan your promotions in advance.

You’ll reap the benefits.

Give yourself a day (or more) to think about your business and the year ahead.

Who would you like to attract?

How can you reach them and on what platforms?

What are your customers planning for?

What can you do differently this year?

Plan your campaigns:

  • Add key dates, promotion and content ideas.
  • Allow plenty of time to research, write the copy and create branded visuals.
  • Build momentum leading up to an event or product launch with a run of creative campaigns. Try ‘sneak-peak’ or ‘early-bird offer’.
  • Write some helpful or inspiring content – social media posts or blogs.
  • Create customer personas to help you focus on your most profitable customers (they really do help).

Look at what others are doing for inspiration, and to see how you compare.

What do you do well?

Promote your benefits!

How to build an editorial calendar (with a free template).

3. Capture your customer’s email.

Don’t underestimate email marketing.

You can focus on building your brand with key customers – existing and prospects.

It’s also more personal and targeted than social media.

For example:

You can make a great first impression in a thank-you or confirmation email.

Really show-off your brand and good customer service.

You can also send personalised offers to groups of target customers.

Like past customers, event attendees, or prospects who have signed up to your newsletter.

From experience, the key is to build a clean and relevant database of email addresses.

Always update your email list.

Give incentives to encourage people to sign up to newsletters – discounts or competitions.

Here’s my own beginner’s guide to email marketing.

4 predictions for email marketing in 2020 The UK Domain.

4. Reward and entice customers to come back.

Loyalty is the Queen of business.

Attracting customers back, is easier than finding new ones.

Do you have a process in place to attract customers back?

  • Bonuses and treats for regular customers.
  • Thank-you cards with a discount for the next order.
  • Loyalty schemes.
  • Personalised offers for past customers (you’ll need their email or address).
  • Refer a friend discount.
  • An interactive and helpful approach with social media. 
  • Excellent customer service. It will give you the edge.

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

If you would like me to write for your business, please do get in touch.

Good luck with your marketing.

Vanessa

Image courtesy of Gratisography.

Useful links

Ultimate guide to online reviews. The UK Domain.

Thoughtfully’s free Marketing Calendar Of Events Includes 100s of key dates.

Tips for planning your social media over the festive season and beyond. 123 Reg Blog. Easy tips to help you plan your social media.

Mailchimp have many good guides for creative email campaigns.

How to create a detailed buyer persona for your business. Hubspot.

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Marketing blog

5 more easy ways to promote your small business in 2019.

Boost your small business and freshen up your marketing in 2019. Here’s 5 ideas for you.

1. Create a buzz with a live demonstration.

A little chocolate shop on the high street hosts a chocolate making demonstration. Giving away free samples and discounts at the end. An easy crowd pleaser.

A gardening business shows you how to care for your plants so they thrive year-on-year.

An independent coffee shop / bar shows you how to make that perfect cappuccino and sweet cocktail.

All types of businesses can benefit.

  • A glimpse into how you make your products
  • Tips and advice for your customers
  • Taster sessions
  • Give freebies and discounts
  • In-store, at events or online 

Show off your skills, your service and help people get to know you.

Vyve Cafe Latte Masterclass. Collectif Dress up for jubilee. Katrina Homegrown Garden February Tips. Birdimus World A guide to Vintage Clothing. Jamie Oliver – Ultimate Gin & Tonic Always a friendly and enthusiastic approach.

2. Give exclusive offers to groups of people.

Think big and attract lots of people.

Where do your crowds gather?

On social media, at events, in office blocks, other local businesses, colleges, at home?

  • Create a printed or online voucher.
  • Offer a discount or free gift.
  • Make it exclusive.
  • Add a deadline to encourage action.

10% winter discount to all Splott residents or Instagram followers. Offer ends 28 March 2019.

Promote it on social media, in a publication, by post (yes this can still work!) by hand even. If it attracts lots of customers it will be worth doing.

Outsidetheboxmakeup have a strong ethical brand. They often give discounts to their followers and via email to regular customers.

@yumchaatea have built up nice business. They use Instagram well with attractive visuals and regular discounts.

3. Create packages.

A proven way to offer customers ‘more for your money’.

What can you bundle together? Who can you target?

  • Feelgood Friday Special. Drink, meal and desert included!
  • New Season Special. Choose 3 products from the new range.
  • Small Business Package. Includes a 10% discount.
  • Student Package. All the essentials in one package.
  • Domestic or Commercial. Small Garden Maintenance.

You’re offering value for money and appealing to targeted groups of people. A more personalised approach to your marketing.

If you offer a service create a list of what you offer with the benefits. From a free consultation to the service itself, any extras, help and advice and the after-care.

Angel Earth Co have a strong brand and packages to suit. Chantler Teas have a choice of gift sets (and lovely tea too!).

4. Give useful or quirky little extras.

We all love something extra.

I recently bought The Snowman DVD because it had a free snowman decoration. I also signed up to receive emails for a free cup – easy!

  • A re-usable bag or something useful.
  • A free gift or regular discount for signing up to a repeat service.
  • A limited edition of something small. A plant, fortune cookie, branded notepad, make-up brush etc.
  • Something for the kids. Ice-cream, books or activities.
  • Creative packaging. People are easily swayed by quirky, well designed branded items.
  • A printed or downloadable information sheet. Share tips, how to maintain your service or product.

Give freebies or quirky little extras.5. Create a piece of evergreen content.

This can take time initially, but it will give you long-term results.

What is evergreen content?

  • It’s your best and most popular blog post or video. 
  • Timeless tips, advice or information that will continually attract interest and views.
  • A core piece of content that shows off your skills and business.

It’s content marketing at its best. You’ll attract customers months or even years from your content.

It will also help with your SEO and driving prospects to your website.

  • How to guides
  • Videos, blogs or podcasts
  • Beginner tips and advice
  • Templates
  • Rules and regulations
  • Ideas and inspiration
  • Tips from your staff 
  • Insights that you won’t find elsewhere

If you’re new to blogging look at other blogs to help get you started. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Explain any jargon and speak in a conversational tone. Be yourself.

Café Mor Classic Winter Fish Pie recipe. Janet Murray How to write a press release for your small business.  Jamie King Media A free GDPR Privicy Policy Notice Template. The Wild Curl Hair-care tips & advice.

All good examples of timeless, well written and super helpful content.

Hiplay Evergreen Content Ideas – The Ultimate 100 Ideas.

The UK Domain 13 Excellent content marketing examples from small businesses and charities.

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

If you would like me to write for your business get in touch.

About me.

Cover photo by Nicole Honeywill on Upsplash.

Cocktail photo by Johann Trasch on Upsplash.

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Marketing blog

5 easy ways to promote your small business in 2019.

5 simple ideas to help you promote your small business and attract more customers in 2019. Good luck!

1. Update your visual brand.

A fresh and updated look will attract attention.

It will help you compete, and entice people to look at what you offer.

Combine it will a new product launch or website to make a big impact.

  • Work with a graphic designer to create a unique visual brand for your products and marketing.
  • Create some attractive templates for social media posts. This will also save you time.
  • Update an old logo to one that will stand-out online.
  • Update old profile photos and images to ones that give an insight into what you offer.
  • Refresh your other marketing and surroundings. Do a before and after post for social media.

Check out @thecreativecommon for their friendly and stylish approach. @lbubeauty for their savvy social media posts and Tugboat Brews in Truro for their punchy branding and website (and nice tea).

2. Boost your personal brand.

You and your staff are your business’s gold star.

The personal service, chat and unique offerings. It’s what entices people in.

Talk about all that makes you unique and how you offer a quality service.

  • Update your About page to include photos and friendly profiles.
  • Where are you from? How did you get into business, what’s your experience, how are you different to everyone else?
  • Use social media. Show behind the scenes, training days, where you go to source your products, how you prepare orders etc.
  • Use what you and your staff are good at. If you have the gift of the gab or you’re funny in your personal Facebook then move over to using it for your business!
  • Ask your customers what they like about you. You may not realise what you need to be promoting.

Café Mor Fishing & Foraging Wales in Pembrokeshire both have excellent profiles. Their passion and creativity shine through.

3. Use your existing customers to attract new ones.

Refer a Friend Discount.

An excellent way of finding new customers and clients. Offer a welcome discount to both parties.

Ask for reviews.

Make it easy by adding links (to Google or Trip Advisor etc.) in your Thank You email or on the printed receipt.

Add them to all your marketing and post them on social media.

A “tag your friends campaign”on Instagram or Facebook.

“Win a luxury vegan sandwich and drink! Just like our page @yourbusiness and tag your vegan friends.

Or

“A free limited edition T-Shirt for our first 20 customers to buy from our new summer range. Tag your friends!”

Lots of comments from competitions will help get your post seen to more people.

4. Reward loyal customers.

A no-brainer.

Keep customers coming back for more.

  • A discount on your next order. A printed or email discount with the receipt.
  • A free gift when you sign up to a season ticket or book a repeat service.
  • An extra little something at Christmas or on your next order.
  • Monthly competitions. For every purchase you get a free entry.
  • An email, phone call or voucher to say thank you for your continued custom.

5. Find new customers on Instagram.

It’s worth trying to master one social media platform.

Instagram is a good option.

It’s quick and easy to use, a popular and growing platform for small businesses, a go-to place for customers to check out your brand and profile.

Don’t assume your customer base isn’t on there.

You can reach all types of people. All ages and audiences.

Find new customers, a new community and promote yourself through Instagram.

A few tips

  • To get you started look at other businesses. Search by #area or business type e.g. #Pembrokeshire #tea.
  • Interact with other small businesses and your local community. It will help you build a following.
  • Use a mixture of posts. General promotions and behind the scenes of your business.
  • Post pictures of people. Happy customers, staff at work etc. They’ll attract more attention.
  • Use apps. To help you quickly edit photos and create templates.
  • Use Instagram Stories and videos. These stand-out.

Instagram decides what posts are prioritised to others. It favours posts with comments, likes and how long people spend on a post.

So write good captions, include call to actions, respond to comments and post at peak times.

A few I like

@lbubeauty They make full use of a business account, and use a good mix of attractive photos and well designed promotions.

@themuckyduckbrighton & @mesmeristbar. Not just food photos. They keep it witty and show off their personality.

@blasus_succulent_emporium For making cactuses and houseplants look sexy!

@HotPatooties Dawn O’Porter is a master at promoting herself in a funny and witty way.

@100_things_to_do_in_wales A personal journey and adventure. A good example of someone being themselves and making their posts relatable.

Instagram guides

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

If you would like me to write for your business, please do get in touch.

Vanessa

About me.

Check out my next blog 5 more easy ways to promote your business in 2019.

Cover Photo by Brent Gorwin on Unsplash.com.

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4 Easy steps to help you write for any business or promotion. A copywriter’s guide.

Updated for 2019. A guide for all new copywriters or anyone that needs help writing for a promotion, website, blog, event, email or social media.

These simple steps have helped me get results for myself and my customers.

1. Get to know the scene.

Get started.

Starting any writing job can be daunting. Be clear on your brief. I like this one.

Define who your customers are, what you need them to do, and what you need to achieve.

Look at your competition and similar businesses.

Go on Twitter and other social media, scroll through timelines, sign up to newsletters, and read through websites and blogs.

It will give you a head start.

Knowing what your competition and other businesses are doing will give you more options.

Everyone is feeding from social media. Ideas, trends and language are borrowed and adjusted to suit.

You can still be original and break a few rules, but it will save you time and give you confidence in your writing.

This will also help you get to know your customers. Read all the comments and reviews and do as much research as you can.

2. Write for your platform.

Are you writing for a website, social media, a blog, email or print?

How will the end result look?

I will mimic what I’m writing for as much as possible because the layout can affect what you write, and images can change the whole feel and meaning of a promotion.

So for example, if I’m writing a blog I will alternate from a Word doc and WordPress. I’ll write the headline, the sub-headings, add the images, and then I’ll start on the content.

I frequently preview the blog to see what it looks like.

Many customers will view the content on a phone.

Always break up long paragraphs with sub-headings.

Whatever you’re working on, send a copy to yourself via email and look at it on your phone. You’ll be surprised how different it looks.

I sometimes leave it until the next morning so I can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.

If possible send a test email or use a programme to view how your content will look on different devices and browsers.

Tactics and techniques for every platform.

Get to know each one.

Updating a website

A big job for anyone. A copywriter has the advantage of seeing a business through fresh eyes and will be tuned into defining the benefits and organising the job.

Be clear on the brief, do lots of research and get to know the business as much as possible. Here’s a helpful, step-by-step guide. Copywriter’s Guide to Rewriting Web Content from Gemma Hawdon. When writing for a website make sure you read up on the latest SEO.

Social media

Instagram is growing in popularity for small businesses. I prefer it to Facebook. You can reach a new community locally and beyond. It’s easier to build up followers and get your posts seen.

Instagram and Facebook will prioritse posts that have the most comments and interaction. So ask questions, use competitions, videos and interesting or entertaining images.

Twitter is all about the chat. It’s also good for event updates and trending hashtags.

LinkedIn is great for business-to-business. I’ve found many customers this way.

Buffer has some good blogs. How to create a Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2019  

Blogging

Good for helping customers, improving SEO and enticing target customers to your business.

Video blogging is big in 2019/20. But the written blog is by no means dead! People want answers, information and insight.

A blog can match you to your perfect customer.

Find blogs that you enjoy and can relate to. It will help you develop your own blogging skills. I like Medium.

What can you pass on to your customers? How can you help or entertain them?

Email marketing

Talk to new and existing customers through newsletters, and create build-up campaigns for events and product launches.

The key is to build a steady database of customers making sure the email addresses are clean and up-to-date.

Use incentives and promote your newsletter wherever you can.

Mailchimp make it easy.

Here’s my own beginner’s guide to email marketing.

Print marketing

Surprise your local community and reach out to the masses. It may be exactly what’s needed to give you the edge over the competition.

Try a creative mailing piece, press release or magazine article.

I found some excellent tips on PR, writing articles and press releases with Soulful PR with Janet Murray.

Help customers find you. Learn about SEO. 

Google is intuitive and will recognise an informative and helpful piece of content.

If you use the right keywords you will be picked up in searches. But that’s just the basics.

Give yourself a better chance of getting found by your ideal customers. Beginner’s Guide To SEO in 2019 by Moz.

3. Keep it simple. Keep it sweet.

4 tips to help you write for any business or promotion. A copywriter's guide.

Keep it simple

The best results I’ve had (in terms of sales, website views or responses to content) are from short and well-structured pieces of writing.

It’s really tempting to write about every fantastic thing your business or promotion has to offer.

Most people won’t read long pieces of content.

Apart from a few exceptions like informative website pages, a blog, complex or luxury products. Stick to a few key benefits and add natural links to more information.

A short, targeted and confident message will encourage people to take action.

An example event email layout that got results for me.

  1. An enticing or emotive subject line. Step away from the computer… the first drink is on us!
  2. Headline. Copywriting event of the year 2019.
  3. An image.
  4. A benefit driven introduction. Join us for a day of marketing chat and advance your writing skills to compete with the best.
  5. Content.1-2 paragraphs or a bullet point list.
  6. A testimonial from a champion in your field or a happy customer. This could also be the headline.
  7. A strong call to action. Book now to receive your 20% early bird discount.
  8. Contact details and a link to your website.

Keep the structure simple and content short.

Keep it sweet

Write in a positive frame of mind and in the active voice.

You’re not writing a report. You’re talking to people.

Create a sense of action. I found a great blog to help you with this from Copy Octopus.

Be clear on your benefits and what you’re offering.

Ask the questions “So what? What’s in it for me?”

Some useful advice I received when I started out.

Show with an image or testimonial, or blatantly say what the benefits are. A financial saving, piece of mind, enjoyment, the problem you are solving with your product or service, knowledge to help you move forward etc.

Always include a strong call to action.

I found some businesses are reluctant to add one thinking it’s too pushy, but it’s not. It’s giving people the option to take up what you’re offering.

Be bold and confident. If you avoid giving people the option I would wonder why?

Grammar and spelling are important.

You will be judged on it.

4. Keep the customer at the heart of your marketing.

Get to know your customers.

Talk to regular and past customers, read reviews and comments, go to events, speak to customer services or staff on the ground level.

“Get a quote not a quiz” – Aviva. They’ve tapped into what customers find annoying and used their simple approach as a sales pitch.

I moved to marketing from a customer services background. It seemed like the marketing team were oblivious to what customers really needed and wanted.

We were constantly sorting out invoicing issues, delivery or transport mix ups, confusion over prices and details, the list is endless.

And then I moved to marketing and did exactly the same.

It’s inevitable. It’s easy to forget the whole customer process and just focus on what you’re doing.

Know what’s important to customers and clear up any problems. You can then concentrate on the benefits.

Why do people go to you? What makes you unique?

Do you have a particularly smooth buying process, do you give customers piece of mind with your tight security checks, or get through the jargon and do the hard work for customers?

Maybe you have friendly, experienced staff who know their products inside-out, nice comfy arm chairs and calming surroundings, or offer an Eco friendly approach (high on the agenda at the moment).

Whatever your business, find out why customers like and respect you. 

Use what you find to promote yourself.

A final note.

It is difficult to know what people will respond to. Sometimes it’s the least likely promotion that will get results.

Like a two line, plain text email with a link to your website, or a heartfelt or funny blog on your website that’s not really related to your business but helps you gain trust with your customers.

If you’re working on a campaign use a variety of promotions on different platforms. And if you use the same promotions all the time, it might be worth shaking things up.

Rules are there to be broken and change will make people look.

Useful blogs and websites.

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

I am freelance copywriter in Pembrokeshire.

If you would like me to write for you, please do get in touch.

Vanessa