It’s October, the summer is over but it’s a little early for festive cheer, so what better way to fill the gap in your marketing plan than with a Halloween themed campaign? It sounds good, but for many small business owners it can seem a bit uncomfortable – how on earth could they link their business with Halloween? And why should they bother?
Simply because you can. Marketing for small businesses can get stale quickly with repetitive, predictable campaigns. By keeping your marketing flexible, and reacting to the season you can keep things fresh, and keep your customers engaged all year round. With that in mind, here are our top tips for a scarily good Halloween marketing campaign.
If you are a small business, focusing on B2B clients, don’t spend time trying to work out how to make all of your service offerings sound spooky! As you would with any campaign, keep the plan focused. For instance, if you are an accountant, you could just plan around ‘making tax less scary’; or if you build websites you could offer one ‘horribly good’ deal for the week.
The same goes for B2C like hospitality and retail businesses. If you are a restaurant owner, you could have a spooky-themed menu for one week, or some Halloween themed cocktails; or in a retail store you could choose one small group of products to promote using your Halloween theme…which brings us nicely to…
No, Halloween is not a theme – it’s too broad! If you choose a more specific theme, like scary movies, or Frankenstein’s monster, or even pumpkins – it will help all of the planning go a lot quicker and help you create a more coherent campaign. Step one is what you are promoting, step two is how you’ll promote it.
Don’t limit the Halloween theme to your campaign-related graphics and print work or it will feel completely out of step with your brand. If you have a physical location that customers come to, like a shop or restaurant, then get to work on the Halloween décor. If you are online only, you can get creative with your social media graphics, website banners, or even a temporary themed logo or profile picture. By spreading the theme subtly across all of your marketing, you will make it feel less jarring and more part of the bigger plan.
The next step is to plan out your campaign and include all of your marketing channels (e.g. social, email, video, website, direct mail, POS etc.) then plan the frequency of contact on each. Don’t go overboard with lots of extra posts or emails as you’ll frighten more people away than you’ll attract.
Just because Halloween isn’t an event that you automatically associate with your business, doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with it! Halloween is a fun time of year when you can get away with things being a little messy, so embrace it and test out some fun new ways to market your products.
If you’d like to speak to one of our team about how we could help you create a spooktacular Halloween marketing campaign, you can get in touch here. Alternatively, pick up the phone and call us on 01600 891525 – we’d love to hear from you!
Advertising your small business is stressful – with so many choices and, usually, so little budget how do you choose which channels to use and where to spend your money? It is important to find the answers, as knowing how to promote your small business in the best possible way sets you on the path to growing your market and expanding your reach. Reaching the right audience, in the right way, at the right time is the key to successful marketing, and it is different for every business, but there are some general things that can help.
Here are 4 free and 3 paid ways to advertise your small business in a crowded market.
Social Media Marketing
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok – the list of social media platforms goes on, with Wikipedia estimating that there are over 130 different ones to choose from now! The key to using social media to advertise your small business is choosing the platform that your customers are using most, and then updating your page regularly. The only cost to a successful social media marketing campaign is your time investment.
If you have a list of customer (or potential customer) email addresses, using them wisely is a great way to market your small business. Send out helpful articles, sales messages, and rewards to those who sign up and you will create a faithful following that will convert as well as your social media audience, or even better!
Don’t overlook your website. If you are doing all this work to drive people to your website, you need to make sure it converts them into leads. Make the most of your data and analytics to ensure that it is working as hard as you are. Search Engine Optimisation is another great way to make your website do more for your business. By optimising your website to be found in the search engines you can increase the number of visitors, and with no direct costs, your only investment is time and energy.
Another fantastic way to market your business is by creating valuable content. This could be blog posts, videos, and even podcasts. It is a great way to express your brand’s personality and help you to find new customers. It can also support your social media and SEO work, so it’s a great option to use in combination with the other free marketing ideas we’ve suggested above.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing is a really effective way to market your business as it allows you to send your message to a highly targeted audience and set a tight budget. Google Ads and Bing Ads are the most common, and each gives you a chance to test multiple adverts and campaigns to see which performs best for your goals.
Instead of relying on organic growth in your social media profiles and pages, you can create very visual social media adverts and display them to a highly targeted audience. As well as giving you the opportunity to reach a wide number of people for a small budget, the advertising options on these channels give you access to a huge range of in-depth data which can help you to make future advertising decisions.
If you already have a bank of customer data or have run successful paid campaigns in the past, then remarketing is a great option. Remarketing is usually a cheaper option than other paid marketing options, and has a higher conversion rate.
Whatever your budget, whatever time you have to invest, there is a marketing solution for your small business. Take your time, make a plan and good luck!
If you’d like to speak to one of our team about how we could help you attract new customers with catchy and clever advertising tactics, you can get in touch here. Alternatively, pick up the phone and call us on 01600 891525 – we’d love to hear from you!
Can you remember a time when you were drawn into a shop by a clever window display? Or perhaps put off from entering somewhere new by a confusing store front? This power of first impressions applies to the online world as much as it does to the high street, and it doesn’t just concern ecommerce stores. Service businesses should be equally aware of the impression that their website gives to potential clients, in particular your home page which is where the majority of visitors will likely enter your site.
You wouldn’t expect customers to visit a dated shop, and you wouldn’t invite clients into an unkempt office. So if you present your potential customers with a tired, difficult to navigate website, don’t be surprised if they don’t stick around.
Anyone who is undecided about your business can be drawn in or put off by your website, gleaning all that they feel they should know from a simple glance. So does your website communicate your brand values, current offers, or popular services? If you are unsure, let’s dive into how to create the ‘shop window’ experience for your website.
Firstly, before you get carried away with any big changes, make sure your website appeals to your target market. Just as the window display of a baby clothing store is made to make new parents go ‘aww!’ so your website should draw in your target audience. Think of it as your business values meeting the values of the customers you want to attract.
For ecommerce stores, ensure that your home page reflects the current events and seasons, whether it’s a Valentine’s Day banner, or a badge supporting an awareness month. Just as you would change a physical shop window display to keep up with the seasons, make sure your website stays relevant.
While you may not have a Valentine’s Day special for your service based businesses, keep up with the changing times, and make sure the first image your visitors see isn’t a dated award nomination!
That doesn’t mean that you have to wait for a special occasion like Christmas to change things on your website. Instead you should make sure to refresh your offers, banners, products and news articles regularly.
As well as enticing new customers to explore further, repeat customers will learn that visiting your website frequently will be of value. If the home page looks the same every time they stop by, there is little chance of them becoming regular visitors.
Updating your imagery and text regularly will not only encourage visitors to come back again, it will also assist your SEO efforts as search engines prioritise fresh content.
Finally, don’t look like everyone else. Imagine your website as a store front on a packed high street – how will you make it stand out from the shops around you?
It may seem like a lot of effort, but the more work you put into your website ‘shop window’ on a regular basis, the greater rewards you will reap.
Are you feeling inspired and thinking of injecting some fresh thinking into your website? Get in touch with our team and find out how we can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01600 891525.
Social media can seem mysterious to the business person who wants to use it for promoting their business. But much of what they do can be demystified with the three A’s, attention, audience and assessment.
Social media networks, like the news networks before them, are focussed on attention. Specifically, getting long bouts of attention from users. We hear a lot about how social media is ruining attention spans with short blips of content, but users can spend hours a week, if not a day, scrolling through the endless stream of content.
With your business posts you are looking to interrupt this stream with something that grabs the attention. This doesn’t have to be something outlandish or shocking, it can simply be something that stands out for your audience.
Depending on the social media network the audience may be seeing things about their friends and family circle, the celebrities they follow, their interests. Then there’s your post, what can you do to make yourself seem different to these other posts? How can you annex some attention?
This can vary by industry and social media platform so it always requires some research before you start but a key indicator is to do some competitor analysis. Where are businesses like yours set up on social media? What does their follower audience look like?
This will give you an idea of what is working but it also gives you a basis from which to ask, does this audience exist somewhere else where my competitor doesn’t have a presence? Can you be first to contact an audience via a different channel? This certainly gives you an opportunity to find new customers and clients.
Once you’ve thought about how to grab attention and who to aim it at, you should engage in continual assessment of your posts.
Look at what gets engagement and what doesn’t. When you pay to boost posts, how do the results compare with your expectations? Were the results bad, or your expectations high?
The idea that there is some concrete formula that will see you right for social posts, that will bring business flooding in every time, is a fallacy. The networks themselves change modelling and algorithms on a frequent enough basis that any formula would be short term, but what they cannot change is what an audience is looking for on social media.
Define your audience, talk to them in a way that differs from the rest of the content they’re encountering and keep assessing what you do to ensure you maximise your potential, that you explore new ideas and give your audience a reason and opportunities to connect, engage and do business with you.
If you’d like a hand solving the mystery of social media marketing, then get in touch and we’ll work it out together.
Like hiring staff, outsourcing is never an easy decision for a business owner to make – there are lots of things to weigh up and consider. So when you do finally decide to take the plunge and outsource to a marketing agency, it’s worth making sure you are doing everything you can to make the partnership a success.
As well as defining your budget you need to decide what marketing you can (and should) keep inhouse. It’s important to be realistic about your resources and your talents. If you aren’t sure what you can handle, then you should be honest about this when you start to engage with agencies.
The easiest way to get the best out of your relationship with an agency is to make it clear who will interact with them and who will be required to approve budgets, outputs and anything else. Clearly defined roles are key to success so nail it down before you do anything else.
Just because an agency is the biggest in your city, or has won the most awards, does not mean that they are the right agency for your business. When you are hiring staff you have criteria that an interviewee must meet, so set similar pointers before you interview an agency. Engage with a few companies and choose one that you feel a connection with, that you trust with your brand, and that offers the services that you need.
If you’ve told your agency that you want to increase your social media presence and then you end the contract with them because your sales are the same…you are at fault. You need to set expectations for what you would like to see done, and what results you would like to see from that work (these may not marry up, but a good agency will advise you on strategy…we’ll get to that in Step 5!).
Tasks checked off a to do list is not going to generate business. If your agency knows why they are doing something, what the goals are, then it will be much more effective. A good agency will help you create a strategy and plan the actions to achieve it rather than taking a list of actions with no reason.
Reviewing the results of marketing efforts is crucial to the success of any team – inhouse or outsourced. An agency will be able to report on everything in detail that they were involved in to show what worked, and what didn’t so your next marketing decisions can be evidence based.
The team members within a good marketing agency live and breathe their profession, so if they advise you that your ideas for a campaign will not bring good results, don’t dismiss them before hearing their reasons. Respect that you have brought in experts who know more than you and listen to their suggestions.
After all to quote Steve Jobs…
Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.
If you’re interested in talking to our team about how we could help you step up your marketing in the second half of 2021 we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here for more information or give us a call on 01600 891525.
Consistency is vital to the success of marketing, and there are few better examples than the world’s number one soft drink brand. So what is it about a consistent approach to marketing that delivers so much value for your business?
Whatever size your business is, your brand is one of your most important assets because it is the personification of your business. It gives your organisation a look, a feel and a tone of voice that, in turn, create an impression in the mind of your target market. By using the same design and imagery wherever a customer is likely to come across your business, you ensure that they recognise your company every time they see you.
By seeing the same look over and over again, the visual elements of your marketing become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they are more likely to remember your brand and recognise it when they come across it on different channels.
This recognition through the use of consistent marketing helps to make you more visible to your customers and can help to create customer loyalty. It also helps to build credibility and a trustworthy reputation. If customers have the same experience every time they come in contact with your brand, they are more likely to trust your business and invest in it.
Maintaining a uniform visual aesthetic is not the only important aspect of marketing consistency, voice and tone are just as valuable in creating trust and generating sales.
“Many factors contribute to a brand’s success, but perhaps one of the most valuable is content consistency. From social media and blogging to responding to customer reviews and replying to emails, your content needs to maintain a consistent voice, tone and style.” Forbes
To continue with the example we used at the start of this article, you never open a bottle of Coca-Cola and wonder what it will taste like this time – brand consistency ensures that it is always the same, no matter what country you are in.
Or if you were told that a restaurant had ‘wholesome values’ and then were snapped at by a waitress wearing something more appropriate for a nightclub than a family restaurant, the entire illusion of the brand would crumble for you. If instead someone dressed appropriately, approached you with politeness and courtesy, your confidence in the brand would grow. Marketing consistency has to continue through every aspect of a business to be effective.
It takes effort, but it’s worth it.
All aspects of your marketing will start working together so that your business becomes visible and recognisable, driving customers to respond positively to your brand.
Learn more about How LimeGreen Marketing can help you to be clear and consistent in your marketing here and if you’re interested in talking to our team contact us here or give us a call on 01600 891525.
Your brand is more than your logo or your name; it should be the whole experience that your customers and potential customers receive when they come in contact with your business. Your brand strategy is the definition of what your organisation stands for – its values, the promises you make to your customers, and the personality that you deliver your work with. Yes, it includes your colours, fonts and logo, but it also has something more than these aesthetic elements, it has your tone of voice, attitude and identity.
A successful brand strategy is the key to you being able to communicate more effectively with your customers and potential customers. It should direct all of your interactions with them, and shape how you are perceived in the marketplace. You should carry out a brand strategy as the very first stage in setting up your business – before you even come up with a company name as it can inform all of the decisions you make from day one. So what are the core elements of a successful brand strategy?
It is the crux of all marketing and sales techniques – it’s easier to hit a target if you know where it is! In order to build a brand strategy, you need to know who it is supposed to appeal to. You should know what your customer needs, and how you solve that problem.
There are many ways of defining your target customer. Some businesses like to focus on an area of interest, or a geographic location, whereas others define one or more very detailed customer avatars. If you are already trading, look back at your customers to date and use what you know about them to help inform your strategy going forward.
Who are your customers considering alongside you? Who are you being measured against? Once you know this you can look at how your competitors are positioning themselves in the marketplace and make decisions on where you measure against them. Will you stand out or blend in? What sets you apart? Remember, you don’t need to focus only on your local market, look at your national competitors to see how they are positioning themselves.
The final element is the biggest of all – who are you? In order to create a successful brand strategy, you need some self-awareness regarding your business and its products or services. This should include the absolute basic information about what your business does and how it does it, as well as more ‘intangible’ information, for instance, the emotional benefits that your business provides.
Brand Strategies tend to include your brand story, and positioning statements that will inform how your staff speak to your customers and how you interact with people on social media and other public forums. All of these things are developed through a combination of knowing and understanding your target customer, your competition, and your business. So start with the basics and it will grow from there.
If you’re interested in talking to our team about how we could help you create a winning brand strategy we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com or give us a call on 01600 891525.
When lockdown lifts it will not be as simple as throwing open the doors and buying in fresh biscuits! Things won’t go back to normal on day one, and you are bound to have a lot on your plate, so why not use this time at the end of lockdown to give your business a ‘Spring Clean’?
If you Spring Clean your home you clear out the clutter, freshen things up and get ready for a brighter and warmer time to come, so why not apply the same principles to your business? Here are our top tips for getting your business organised, and making some easy improvements before things get busy again.
With everything else going on in your business it’s easy to let emails pile up. If you are flagging more than you are actioning, now is the time to clear the decks, get everything filed away and tidy your ‘to do’ list before the phones start ringing again. We understand that filing emails is not a pleasant prospect, and it is far from a fun task, but it will feel like a weight has lifted when you get it finished. While you are at it you might try tidying your folders and computer files so you can start back knowing where everything is, and having up to date back-ups of everything important.
If your business plan, marketing strategy or 5 year plan has been hiding on the top shelf over the last 12 months now is the time to look it out. Revisit your goals, actions and overall direction and see what still applies and what needs to change. Now is a great time to refresh that vision and start to get excited about the year to come.
Even the most well-organised of businesses can end up with a box of receipts lying on a desk gathering dust. If you are making plans and budgets, you need the most up to date information to hand, so now is a great time to review your accounts, sort your expenses and save yourself from any nightmares in the coming months.
If you haven’t looked at your website in a while, you are not alone. As your business grows, or pivots or changes, your website should move with it. Don’t let an out of date website damage your brand. If you aren’t able to do the changes yourself, you can at least make a to do list to pass to your developer and marketing team.
There are probably plenty more areas you will be able to think of to freshen up your business that you’ve been avoiding during lockdown. Spring cleaning and decluttering can make you feel lighter, more organised and less stressed, so why not give it a go?
And remember there’s support available to help you if needed. If you’re interested in talking to our team about how we could help you spring clean your brand image or revive the digital side of your business we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here for more information or give us a call on 01600 891525.