Category Archives: Ideas & Insights

10 tips for producing a brilliant brochure

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Brochure-design-Leamington

Nowadays many small businesses forego a sales brochure. Your website provides all the information your customers need, so what's the point?

There are still lots of good reasons why your business needs a brochure. Many potential customers still like to have something tangible to take away with them, to use as a quick reminder of your products or service. A well produced brochure will help to reinforce the message that you provide a good quality service.

For example, a conference venue may leave a brochure with a potential customer after a venue show-round. Brochures also continue to be widely used by companies providing high value products such as cars.

Too many brochures, though, lack the visual impact or marketing message that will lead people to look twice. Our advice – if you're going to do it, do it properly and hire a professional. A brochure that you have mocked up in Word, littered with clip art and printed on your office printer simply won't reflect your business as a professional outfit.

We've come up with five things to consider when you're talking to your marketing agency about your new brochure:

1. Outline your brochure objectives
Ask yourself why you need a brochure. Then define your objectives – is it simply because your last brochure didn't work? Is it to promote a new product or service?

2. Define your target market
Who is the brochure for? Will it be used as a 'scatter-gun' mailout, or only distributed to warm leads? Are you targeting the budget holder/decision maker? When someone opens it, what will it say to them? It should be designed for that person, not for yourself.

3. Check out the competition
See what your competitors are doing. This can be tricky as you might not want to contact them for a brochure. Many companies upload their brochures to their website however, so you can do your research anonymously! See what works and what doesn't, and work out what elements you might need in your own brochure.

4. Make sure it fits with your brand
Brochure designs need to fit in with what you do as a business. For example, charities won't want to spend money on luxury brochures, whereas a new manufacturing product might need a brochure that looks amazing on an exhibition stand.

5. Don’t consider it permanent
A good brochure may only work for a few months before you want to change the offer or send a different message. Perhaps your business is seasonal – for example a chocolate retailer might have separate brochures for Easter, Christmas etc. Don’t think of your brochure as something you’ll distribute for years.

And here are five things your marketing agency should do:

6. Use a copywriter
Excellent copy is crucial to great brochure design, but is often the most undervalued element. Copy needs to be considered as part of the overall design. The messages should be clear and simple, and focused on providing a solution for your reader. The brochure doesn't need to include every piece of information in great detail, but should highlight the benefits of using your company. The reader should be interested enough to take further action. Finally, make sure it's proof-read as many times as possible – a mistake can't be corrected once the ink is on the paper!

7. Include calls to action
Your brochure should always include correct, legible contact information and a call to action. We’ve seen beautiful brochures that omit the company’s phone number, include it in tiny type or even get it wrong. Be sure to have a goal in mind for what you want readers to do. If you’d like them to visit your website, direct them there. If you’d prefer them to phone, say so.

8. Use great images
To make a brochure enjoyable to flick through, it needs good photos. Don't worry if your budget doesn't stretch to your own photoshoot – your agency can use stock images from an online image library like iStock or Fotolia. However, they should try to find pictures that don't look like they're stock images! Your agency should be using large, colourful photos. We see many brochures using lots of tiny images, or no images at all. Pictures should be relevant to the message – there's no need to include a photo of your office, for example, unless it’s to encourage potential customers to visit.

9. Invest in professional printing
Your marketing agency will deal directly with good printers. They may even be able to negotiate a cheaper price on your behalf. Printers can advise on the best and most cost-effective paper stock, and size of page. For example, A4 size is much more cost-effective than a non-standard square size. Heavyweight paper that feels substantial in the reader’s hands, and a nice finish can add to the good impression.

10. Don't cut corners
We might be biased but we would always recommend getting the help of a marketing agency skilled in brochure production and its component parts, such as graphic design and copywriting. You might save money by writing the words yourself, for example, or taking your own photos. But unless you are experienced this can be a false economy – there's no point investing in a brochure if it's not properly produced, as this could make your business look cheap and unprofessional.

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How to work from home during the pandemic

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We are living through unnerving times. Government advice is changing daily, and unprecedented numbers of us are having to adapt our working habits until the storm passes.

So we've put together a little list of tips and tricks, based on our own team's experiences of working from home offices.

1. First things first. Create a distinct gap between your bed and your new office. It may be tempting to roll out of bed straight onto the laptop, but it's important to create a distinction between home life and work life. If you're used to commuting, why not "walk to work"? Use your allotted daily exercise slot by strolling around the block for 30 minutes (being sure to stay AT LEAST two metres away from other people). One of our team can't switch on their Mac without putting on a pair of shoes, even if they're only walking up the stairs to work!

2. Create a distinct working area if you can. If you're lucky enough to have a spare room, set up a desk and shut the door. Slouching on the sofa with your laptop may be tempting, but you're unlikely to be productive with with one eye on Friends!

3. If you're self-isolating with family, make sure they understand that you are actually at work, and respect your time and space.*

4. Set a routine and try to stick to it. If you're usually in the office between 8am and 6pm, do the same.

5. Schedule your day in the best way for you. At Public, some of our team like to Eat That Frog first thing in the morning, while others prefer to save the difficult tasks or sticky problems for mid-morning after two strong Espressos.

6. Keep in touch with colleagues or fellow freelancers – use technology to stay connected and remain visible. You could even set up a regular morning meeting to remain accountable to your team and to yourself. We're regular users of Skype and Microsoft Teams, and have now started using Zoom for wider group meetings.

7. Log out of your social media accounts to remove the temptation to peek every ten minutes while no-one's looking!

8. Have breaks. Get away from your desk. If you can, spend a few minutes in your garden or balcony, or open a window.

9. If you have friends also working from home, arrange a lunchtime Skype call.

10. Set a definite finish time and mark it in some way. It may be tempting to work on into the evening, but if you can it's important to stop work at a reasonable time, and enjoy some much-needed downtime.

Above all, try to remember that despite the huge challenges we're facing, this WILL be over. Look forward to the "return to normality", or whatever the "new normal" will be.

Keep healthy, stay indoors, look after yourselves and each other, and we look forward to seeing you IN PERSON in a few months' time.

Sarah and all at Public

* If you have school-age children at home, your attempts to do this may be difficult/impossible/futile.

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5 reasons why your marketing campaign needs print

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Marketing Print Leamington Spa

In today's integrated marketing communications, print is sometimes overlooked. However, not everything can be communicated online, so while the internet can help to promote your business, print still has an important role in closing sales.

Many businesses have moved all of their advertising online because of its cost effectiveness, convenience and potential for exposure. But print is still a powerful and necessary component of your campaign. Why?

  1. Branding - Printed marketing materials and adverts are a fantastic way of solidifying your brand identity. Your branding can be carried through in terms of design, colours and fonts.
  2. Tangibility - You can actually touch a printed piece. Your brochure or printed advert can be kept for years, while old online ads disappear into cyber space.
  3. Credibility - Print gives a sense of legitimacy. It shows that you're not a cheap, 'here today, gone tomorrow' organisation.
  4. Targeted marketing - Brochures can be handed out to qualified prospects at events and retail outlets. And placing adverts in speciality magazines, for example, can reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.
  5. Engaging - Consumers are often more 'switched on' when reading printed material, and read more slowly. Websites are more likely to be skim-read.

The best way to market your business is to use as many channels as possible to reach your customers, and this should include print. Contact us at Public to find out how print can contribute to your overall marketing effectiveness.

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Content marketing – what's the point?

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Content marketing

What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience - and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.” (Content Marketing Institute)

In other words, it is creating or finding relevant information and high-quality content, and sharing it on a mixture of digital channels, such as your website blog and social media.

The ideal content is entertaining, informative and helpful to potential customers. Good content directs those customers to your website (or makes them linger there), where you can potentially capture leads and sell products. Successful content marketing creates positive associations to your brand.

Why is it so popular?
In today’s digital world, people are inundated with adverts. As a result, businesses struggle to get their messages noticed. In 2011, a study conducted by the Custom Content Council showed that more than 70% of people preferred to get their information from articles rather than from advertisements. This helps to explain the growth in popularity of content marketing.

Why do businesses do it?
Large, successful brands like Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble and Toshiba (to name a few) use content marketing – so it must be worth doing. Large brands are interested in content marketing for two reasons:
1. It's an effective way to reach audiences
2. It provides more “immediacy” to learn from and interact with these audiences than traditional bought media, like press and TV advertising

In other words, it's a great way of carrying out your own market research, and building your brand. Through content marketing, you are communicating messages to your customers all the time, and hopefully building a relationship.

SMEs obviously don't have the huge marketing budgets of these organisations, but can learn from them.

Is it worth the investment/time?
Content marketing is a lot like going to the gym. You’re not going to see results in a week, but if you commit to doing it regularly over time, you’ll see results. The bottom line is that there is tremendous ROI in consistently developing great content for your audience. And, unlike other forms of marketing, content marketing pays dividends far into the future.

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Printing jargon buster

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Printing Leamington Spa

We received so much positive feedback from last month's blog post on busting the jargon around graphic design that we thought we'd treat you to a glossary for printing terms! So here goes...

Binding
Method by which pages of a publication are held together.

Bleed
Additional printing area outside the normal printing area. Necessary for the allowance of the mechanical cutter in the trimming process.

Creep
Tendency of a printed image to drift out of register or position during the printing process.

CTP
Abbreviation for 'Computer to Plate', the method of making printing plates direct from digital media.

Die cutting
Process that uses sharp steel blades, laser beams or water jets to cut predetermined shapes into substrates.

Digital proof
Soft or hard copy proof produced from digital data on a display or on a substrate.

Drilling
Process that uses drills to bore holes in a substrate, for example in paper inserts which will be bound in a ring binder.

Embossing
System that uses dies to press raised images or textures onto blank or printed substrates.

Encapsulation
The process of covering and sealing printed paper or board with a tough waterproof, plastic film. An overlap is usually left around the edge. Often mistakenly referred to as 'lamination'.

Fill in
Undesirable effect in which small non-image areas are filled by ink.

Gloss lamination
A printing finish that gives a high gloss sheen often used on brochure covers, menus, magazine covers or presentation folders.

Gravure printing
A process in which the printing areas are below the non-printing surface. The recesses are filled with ink and the surplus is cleaned off the non-printing with a blade before the paper contacts the whole surface and lifts the ink from the recesses.

GSM
Measure of paper density. Stands for ‘Grams per Square Metre’. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper. For example, standard A4 office paper is 80 gsm.

Hickey
Imperfection on a printed sheet caused by unwanted particles that can cling to the image carriers during lithographic printing.

Imposition
Positioning pages in order to ensure correct sequence when the resulting print work is converted to final page form.

Laminating
The application of transparent plastic film, usually with a high-gloss or matt finish, to the surface of the substrate to enhance its appearance, increase the thickness and stiffness and to increase its durability. Differs from 'encapsulation'.

Letterpress printing
A process in which the printing surface of metal, plastic photopolymer or rubber is raised above the non-printing surface. The ink rollers and the substrate touch only the relief printing surface.

Lithographic printing
Process for printing from a smooth surface, called a plate, to a substrate, generally paper. Based on the rule that ink and water repel each other. The image area of the plate is treated to receive and transmit ink to paper via a blanket. The non-image area of the plate is treated to attract water and thus reject the ink from the ink roller.

Matt lamination
A printing finish that gives a subtle, tactile effect, and forms a protective coating over the print. Gives a less glossy finish than gloss lamination.

Moiré
Interference patterns that can appear at regular frequencies when two or more patterns on an image interact with each other (for example a fine check pattern).

Offset printing
The most commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface.

Pagination
Making up into page format.

Perfect binding
Adhesive binding – gluing together individual pages or signatures directly to the cover of the book. Best used when the spine thickness is from 3mm to 25mm.

PP
Acronym standing for 'Printed Pages'. For example a brochure may have 16pp.

Perfecting
Printing the second side of the sheet. Also known as backing up.

Process colours
The colours used for four-colour process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Raster Image Processor (RIP)
Processor that creates a bitmapped image from any other form of electronic file.

Register marks
Small reference patterns, guides or set of fine line crosses, added outside the image area to provide points for alignment and registration of subsequent colours in printing operations.

Run on
The additional cost to print further copies at the same time as the main print run.

Saddle stitching
To stitch with wire through the back of a folder booklet or brochure. At a larger pagination this method will not work, and a different option such as perfect binding will be used.

Screen printing
Often called silk screen printing. A stencil process with the printing and non-printing areas on one surface, the printing (image) area is open screen. The substrate is placed under the screen and ink is passed across the top of the screen and forced through the open (image) areas on to the substrate below.

Self cover
A brochure or booklet having the cover in the same substrate as the text pages (inside pages).

Signature pages
Professionally printed books have many pages printed per sheet of (large) paper, which is then folded and cut where necessary to produce a gathering or 'signature' of several smaller sheets.

Spot colour
Colour created from a single ink, which is not one of the process colours.

Spot UV
A special printing finish you can apply to specific areas on your print work to make it shinier. For example you can apply UV varnish to your logo.

Stitching
Method of binding pages in a booklet, for example using wire, thread or metal/plastic rings.

Stochastic screening
Printing process that uses the variations of spacing of tiny dots of uniform size and density to render tones.

Substrate
The base material that images will be printed onto, for example paper or card.

Web printing
The use of rolls (or 'webs') of paper supplied to the printing press in a continuous form. Generally used for runs in excess of five or ten thousand impressions. Typical examples of web printing include newspapers, newspaper inserts/ads, magazines, direct mail, catalogues and books.

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Twitter for business – what do I say and how?

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Twitter for business

So you're a business owner and you've heard that Twitter is a great marketing tool. You've set up an account and are faced with Twitter's text box asking “What's happening?”

What should you say?

Before you start typing away about your latest offers, take a step back and consider your social media strategy. This needn't be a long and drawn out process. We've written a blog post with some tips to point you in the right direction.

Now you know why you're doing it and who you're talking to, it's time to get tweeting.

1. Use a catchy headline, clear English, and interesting content
Don't forget that Twitter is fast-paced. People usually skim-read the thousands of tweets that pop up in their news feeds every day. Try to make yours stand out.

2. Rewrite and repeat your best tweets
If you worked hard on a blog post or are proud of your new product or service, don’t be afraid to tweet about it a few times. When you repeat your tweet, make it different - don’t tweet the exact same words every time.

3. Tweet breaking news
If you tweet breaking news there is a good chance others will share the news as well, and your tweet might just spread. Make sure you use a hashtag...

4. Use #hashtags
Using a hashtag is as simple as adding the ‘#’ sign before a single word or phrase without spaces. If you tweet with a hashtag, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your tweet. Remember: don’t over-tag a single tweet and use hashtags only on tweets relevant to the topic.

5. Tweet about trending topics
By tweeting about a trending topic you give your tweet greater exposure than it typically will receive. Getting retweeted is an excellent way of extending your influence on Twitter. Retweets can lead to more followers, more traffic to your website, and more publicity for your business.

6. Use pictures
Twitter's own research has proven that including an image with your tweet increases engagement (i.e. more people will see, click on and retweet your tweet).

7. Use links
This isn't essential, but if you include a link to your own website (especially a relevant page) this can drive more traffic to your site. Use a URL shortener like bit.ly to save space – you've only got 140 characters. If you use a scheduling tool like Buffer, the system will automatically shorten any URLs for you.

8. Tweet often
It sounds obvious, but with over 300 million users worldwide (and growing), there is plenty of other noise on Twitter so you need to be persistent to make an impact.

9. Say thanks
Out of common courtesy it's worth taking the time to say thanks if people mention or retweet you. Also they will be more likely to retweet you in the future.

10. Help others
Help others get their message out and they will be much more likely to do the same for you.

11. Include @mentions
If you include the Twitter user name of others in your blog post, they'll be notified that you mentioned them. There's a good chance they will retweet your post when they find out they are in the post you are sharing. This often works for big brands too – but only if you say something nice about them!

12. Time your tweets
We use Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule our social media posts at the optimum times for ourselves and our clients. Scheduling your tweets in this way can help your content get maximum exposure.

13. Avoid too many self-references
If you focus too much on “me” and “my business”, tweets can resemble pushy sales pitches. Of course you need to talk about yourself, but remember that Twitter is a social platform so people will lose interest if it's only ever about you.

14. Run a Twitter competition / freebie
The better the prize you are willing to give away, the more likely people are to retweet your link. And if you offer a free online course, eBook, or digital content, you are more likely to get engagement.

15. Install Twitter buttons on your website
Installing a Twitter button onto every page or blog post on your website makes it easy for people to share your content. You can get one from Twitter and you'll probably be able to do this without your web developer's help.

16. Analyse your results
Use Twitter Analytics to find out what you're doing right (and wrong). You can drill down into the data to find out what's working best for you.

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What's a social media strategy and how do I get one?

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socialmediaLeamington

For all businesses, and particularly SMEs with restricted budgets, social media can be a valuable and very cost-effective method of marketing communications. That's if you know how to use it.

It's about involvement and brand-building, getting your name out there rather than using it as a direct sales tool. Compare it to being at a party. The person who stands there all evening talking about ME! ME! ME! will end up alone as everyone will slowly get bored and wander off. The person who asks questions, responds, gets involved and has interesting things to say will attract the bigger crowd. That's not to say you can't shout about how great you are now and again of course!

To make the most of this valuable marketing tool, make sure you've worked out your social media strategy. This isn't as difficult as it sounds. All you need to do is ask yourself some questions:

1. Why am I using social media?
Is it for website traffic? Conversions? Brand awareness? Creating a brand identity? Creating positive brand association? Communication and interaction with key audiences? Maybe it's a few of these.

2. Whose attention am I trying to get?
Okay, so you want to market that new line of products, for example. You still need to know your target audience for that product.

3. Which platforms do I want to use?
If you have enough time and resources to handle multiple social networking sites, that's great. If not, it's important to focus on one or two, or you could spread yourself too thin and end up going days or even weeks without activity.

4. Who's going to manage my page?
Would your social networking activity fall under a current employee's responsibilities, or do you need to bring in new talent? Will you do it yourself? Outsource to a professional? If you ever find yourself without the staffing resources to manage your page, don't stick your head in the sand, find the time to do it yourself or pay someone else to do it.

5. What's going to be the personality of my page?
Keep an eye on the 'voice' of your social networking site. People buy from other people, not from other companies so it may be useful to pick a person (yourself?) to represent your business.

Take some time to answer the questions above and you should have a clearer idea of where you want to go.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

If you're an SME or sole trader, you might have limited time to devote to your social media. That's fine. You can use tools like Buffer or HootSuite to schedule your posts.

You should also try to draw up a schedule – otherwise you'll either (1) never use your social media accounts, or (2) find yourself wasting time clicking endlessly from one link to the next...

There are a multitude of social media platforms out there. Don't think that you should be using them all. Stick to one or two that you think will be most suitable for your product or service, and devote your time to making sure they are kept up to date. Better to have one useful, well-maintained account than five half-used or dormant ones - it could reflect badly on your business.

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Marketing Calls to Action: What are they and how can I use them?

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Marketing calls to action

A call to action (CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your customers - and potential customers - to take action.

This action could be anything: download an eBook, sign up for a webinar, get a coupon, attend an event, get in touch for a quote, etc. A CTA can be placed anywhere in your marketing - on your website, in your social media posts, in an email, or even at the end of a blog post.

CTAs are especially important on websites. Every site should have a ‘goal’ it wants users to complete.

So, how do you do it and what do you say?

1. Focus on the value your CTA provides
You need to communicate the benefits of responding. What will the user get out of completing the CTA? A special offer? Useful information? Early notification of an event or deal?

2. Address the user’s questions about the CTA
The user needs to trust you. They may have to make a payment or supply personal details. This means they often have questions which will need to be answered before they take action.
For example, make sure you tell people signing up for a newsletter how often you will email them. They will also want reassurance that you will not sell their details to a third party, and can unsubscribe at any time.

3. Don’t use too many
It’s important to focus your actions. If you use too many CTAs the user may become overwhelmed. Try to guide the user step by step. If you have more than one CTA, make sure they are distinct. If they are too similar users may not tell them apart.

4. Think about how you position your CTA
On a website, you should place it high on the page and in the central column. On other marketing materials, make sure it’s clear and easy to read.

5. Use blank space around your CTA
The more space you place around a CTA, the more attention you will draw to it. If you clutter your CTA with surrounding content it may get lost.

6. Consider using an alternative colour on your CTA
Colour is an effective way of drawing attention to your CTA. This is especially true if the rest of the website or marketing material has a muted colour scheme.

7. The bigger the better…within reason
The bigger your CTA, the more chance users will notice it. A large CTA also allows you to add more text. But don’t forget that size isn’t everything! As mentioned above, position, colour and surrounding space are also important.

8. Use urgency or scarcity to encourage action
Creating a sense of urgency by limiting supply will encourage people to act. You could use tactics such as:
- Offering limited time discounts
- Limiting supply
- Highlighting how quickly you are selling out
Some airlines and hotel booking websites show you how many other people are viewing that flight or hotel right now. This spurs people into action as they fear they might lose out.

9. Don't be annoying
You’ve probably experienced it yourself – people can be put off by the hard sell or an intrusive approach. For example, on websites try not to use too many pop-ups as users will simply click away from your site.

10. Follow through on your CTA
Consider what happens AFTER a user responds to your CTA. There might be a signup process or email confirmation. This process should be streamlined to ensure that users follow through to the end.

So here is our call to action....contact us to find out more about how we can help you create a website or marketing materials that work hard for you!

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What are the differences between B2C and B2B social media marketing?

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differences between B2C and B2B social media marketing

A social media marketing strategy is important for any business. But this doesn't mean every strategy should be the same.

The content you use will differ depending on who your customers are. Posts by a B2B business will probably look very different from posts by a B2C company.

B2B companies can be sceptical of the benefits of social media. This is possibly due to a perceived inability to measure its effectiveness. (Read our blog post about measuring your marketing ROI).

So what are the differences between social media marketing for B2B and B2C businesses? It all comes down to who you’re talking to, i.e. who your target audience is.

CONTENT

‘Content’ includes written words such as blog posts, white papers, etc. It also includes visual, audio, and interactive content. The messaging within a social media post itself is also considered content. When writing any content, it’s best to not be overtly promotional. Rather, content should provide value to the reader. Start with the assumption that no-one really cares about your company! By providing value with your content, you’ll be seen as a thought-leader and an expert in your field. Your company will then be at the top of your customers’ minds when the time comes to make a purchasing decision.

B2C
B2C companies usually focus on blog content, and link to this on social media. It’s important to think about how ‘shareable’ a blog post will be – will readers be interested or find it useful? Also, make sure there are share buttons on your website blog, so that readers can easily share your content across social channels with a single click.

B2C businesses should use as much visual content as possible. Creating entertaining or informative videos, hosting them on YouTube (or similar) and then sharing, is an excellent way to do this.

Social content for B2C marketers should be quite casual. An informal tone and using humour can work really well.

B2B
B2B marketers have a huge range of choices when it comes to content marketing. While B2C marketers tend to use a casual tone, B2B marketers generally focus on more 'professional' types of content. For example:

White Papers and eBooks
White papers, while labour intensive, can be very beneficial for a B2B marketer. They are basically a lead generation tool. Given how in-depth a white paper can be, and how much information it provides to the reader, people are more willing to submit their personal details to access it. Lead generation is the most important goal for B2B marketers, so it’s worth taking the time to produce a high-quality piece.

Case Studies
The case study is another brilliant lead generation tool. Case studies also prove to your target market that you can actually deliver the services you’re offering, and deliver them successfully.

Webinars
Creating a webinar serves two purposes: encouraging people to sign up (therefore capturing their data), and supplying you with lots of content to use repeatedly. Webinars can be edited to create different pieces of content, and used for multiple blog posts, podcasts, and even case studies.

Infographics
Infographics are generally thought of as a B2C tactic. This is not the case; infographics can be beneficial to B2B companies. B2Bs tend to have a wealth of data and analytics that can be put into graphical form. Using internal data to create an impressive infographic is a powerful tool to get media coverage and social shares.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

With the wide variety of social channels available to marketers, it's important to identify the most effective channels for your business, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

B2C

Facebook
Facebook was one of the very first social channels, and remains a staple of any effective B2C social media strategy. Facebook is a fantastic tool for community and customer engagement, customer support, and promotion.

Twitter
Twitter is one of the only 'open' social networks. This means that any tweet you send can be seen by anyone. But it’s important to understand how to make your tweets get maximum visibility. Use relevant and popular hashtags, come up with creative campaigns, and make contact with well-known people in your field. Don't forget to engage with people – interaction is key!

Instagram
Visual content is an incredibly effective tool for B2C marketers. Instagram can be used to give a personal face to your business. Pictures of your product or shop/office environment are often popular, and even the odd selfie can go down well.

YouTube
Video content is a powerful way of capturing your audience's attention. Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge budget and can’t afford to outsource your video production. There may still be value to a less polished video – it can give your company more personality.

B2B
B2B marketers tend to focus on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. LinkedIn is the most important for B2B businesses. Groups, in particular, should be used as much as possible for engagement and content distribution. Make sure that when distributing your content through Groups, you are not using the ‘hard sell’.

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How to measure your marketing ROI (Return on Investment)

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marketing roi

Testing and measuring the results of your marketing allows you to generate tangible information which you can use to guide your future marketing plans.

If you don't record any information, you'll have no idea how effective your marketing is. How can you decide which methods to stop using, and which to continue with?

Some marketing methods are easier to evaluate than others. For example, if you use a system like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor for your email campaigns, you can generate detailed reports on the number of people who opened the email, and what links they clicked while they were there. Other tactics such as PR are harder to quantify.

It's a good idea to set up a system to test and measure your marketing ROI. It needn't be complicated, especially if you're a sole trader or small business owner. You'll need a bit of discipline to operate your system until you've gathered enough information to come to meaningful conclusions.

You don't need an expensive bespoke system to record this information – a simple spreadsheet will suffice.

1. Test on a small scale first
If you're planning a direct mail campaign, for example, make sure you include some sort of code on the card or letter, so you can trace any interest back to this specific mailing. Test it on a small targeted group first and check the responses before sending out the larger batch. This way you'll be able to fine-tune your approach, perhaps trying out different text, offers or calls to action (marketers call this A/B Testing).

2. Choose the right method of measurement
The method should be appropriate and easy to measure. For example, if you run an online competition to increase your followers on Facebook, make sure you measure the number of followers before and after (i.e. use basic common sense!).

3. Ask people how they found out about you
Whenever we get new enquiries, we ask people how they found us. A large proportion say they found us via a Google search – so we know that we need to continue our SEO efforts and Google AdWords campaigns. Make sure you record this information on your spreadsheet, whether or not the client ultimately buys from you.

4. Review your data
For digital marketing there is a wealth of statistics available, for example:
- Google Analytics to help evaluate your website traffic
- The reporting function on email software
- Social media tools like Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights
You can drill down to find out exactly what people are reading, and what they are responding to.

5. Evaluate results and make decisions
Once you have all this data in place, you'll be able to evaluate what you're doing and confirm the effectiveness (or otherwise) of your marketing activities. If they are not working as you had hoped, you can fine-tune, try different approaches, or take the decision to stop a particular activity altogether.

When it comes to allocating your marketing budget, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each company is different. The key is to compare the tactics you're using and make budget allocation decisions accordingly. Then, develop a sound strategy to optimise the most effective channels for your business.

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