Making Snail Mail campaigns effective for your business.

Making Snail Mail campaigns effective

Making Snail Mail campaigns effective

As you will have seen in our last blog, we are looking at print, and more traditional marketing methods this month. Today we’ll be focusing on direct mail campaigns or “snail mail” as it’s sometimes known.

At a time when it is exceptionally easy to click send on an email, a direct mail campaign can seem a huge task to take on, and probably not worth the effort. Put when done properly, this just easy the case.

So why would you send a direct mail campaign? In one of our previous blogs we looked at 4 reasons to send letter campaigns. Which included saying thank you, driving home your pain point, reaching generations who are happy to receive mail, and getting people back to your website.

You could also add to that list that you can reach decision makers who have spam filters built like a prison. You can reach new customers (39% of customers try a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising) and it can be a lot easier to track than you think.

Overall a direct mailing campaign that is supported by your digital efforts on your website, and perhaps an accompanying email campaign can reach those customers you haven’t been able to reach before. But this has to be carefully planned so as to not waste money, lose customers and lose hope in your marketing.


Before Send

Before you lick any stamps or shuffle any prints of letters, you need to organise a number of things. To make sure that when your letter hits the door mat or letter box (or dog’s mouth) it has the best possible chance of being opened, read and taken in.



Why are you sending this campaign? Nail down your objective, and try and be as specific as possible so you can track your results easier. Perhaps it’s to gain 10 new customers. Perhaps it’s to attract 20% of your lapsed customers back. To sell a certain amount of stock. To make a certain amount of appointments. To get x amount of hits to your website etc. No matter what you are looking to achieve, just make sure you know what the end goal is. This will keep you focused through your copy writing and your tracking.


Mailing list

I cannot stress enough how important your mailing list is. A send to as many people as you possibly can just to get word out is definitely not a path you can take these days. Data needs to be up to date, and segmented where possible. Though you might dig up the last data list you had a few years ago. Take the time to go through this, as data lists deteriorate really quickly. Look at segmenting for age groups, location, customers and non-customers, or even by the services or products you provide. The more precise you are in your segmentation, the more likely you are to have people respond.


Copy and Call To Action

Once you know who you are writing to and what about, you can start to think of copy. And what’s actually going to compel people to carry out the action you hope they will. Copy writing is a hard business, so if you’re not sure your copy will cut it, hire a professional for this bit. A good point to start is to look through your own mail that you have kept, and why. Always keep in mind cliché spam lines and avoid them at all costs. There is a reason emails with lots of exclamation marks, all caps and ridiculous claims are automatically assigned to the spam folder.

People don’t like to be hoodwinked. They like to make an informed decision. So make sure your letter not only states your product or service, but is educational about why that person may need it. And always end with a clear and concise call to action. What do you want people to do when they receive this mail? How easy is it for them to carry out that action? And what will happen when they perform this action.

Example: Use this coupon on your next shop to receive 10% off.

Always remember that the reward must outweigh the action. So presenting a coupon when your shopping to receive a small discount is not much effort. But having to send off a questionnaire, or having to attend the shop at odd times may require a higher discount rate to make it worth the person’s time.


Combining the digital side

As we said, the best marketing plans have a combined approach, using both traditional and digital methods. As if you are sending out mail, it is almost instinct now for people receiving your letter to look you up online. Which is why you need to assess your online presence before you send anything out. Making sure your website is up to date with your services, products and offers. Not to mention any testimonials of your service and related blogs to the mail campaign is a must. To ensure no matter which route the customer takes to converting with you, they have the easiest journey possible.


Tracking Plan

Though you won’t be tracking until after the send, you need to make sure you have some things in place ready. If you have coupons or discounts to be redeemed, do you have the capability on your tills or on your website? Do you have google analytics? Or any form of website tracking on your website or landing page? Do you have a CRM system in place to take note of any call backs or responses? Having these things in place before the send not only guarantees all of the data is captured, it also make analysing all this data a lot easier.


After Send

Keeping on top of tracking

If you have set everything up correctly before the send, it should be a really easy process to track the return of your campaign. To spot any trends, especially online, and be able to make the most of the opportunity you have. Seeing what worked well is great data for the next campaign you run. Even if things don’t go as you planned, you know what to avoid in the future.


Follow ups

If you are intending to have follow up calls, set a time limit. It’s not a huge surprise that the longer you leave a lead, the colder it gets. But leave it too long and it could cause more harm than good. Calling weeks after your letter was sent, when the recipient cannot remember the letter and has no idea who you are, will most likely leave you being listed as a spam number. If you don’t get chance to follow up within your estimated time limit, you may be better remarketing to those individuals, rather than following up with a call.


Hopefully you’re on your way now to creating an effective snail mail campaigns for your business, just remember:

  • Know why you are sending a letter
  • Send to clean, up to date, data that has been segmented to match your objective
  • Avoid cheesy spam like copy
  • Have a clear call to action that’s easy to follow through on
  • Spend time preparing your online presence
  • Set up a tracking plan
  • Use that tracking plan
  • Follow up in a timely fashion

If you need any help with your direct marketing campaign, we offer consultancy, copywriting, design, print, fulfilment and data tracking in house at our offices in Burntwood, Staffordshire. Call us today on 01543 495752 to see how we may be able to work together. Or you can read more about print marketing in our blogs. 

I don’t know how to convert leads through marketing

i don't know how to convert leads through marketing header

i don't know how to convert leads through marketing header

Sales and Marketing should work in harmony. With marketing creating your leads, and sales closing them. However, in smaller companies, sales and marketing can be the same function. Meaning you have to carefully consider and create your marketing, and close the sale too.

So what can you do within your marketing to convert leads earlier? We have 7 points that will help you get more out of your marketing, driving more leads to convert.


Understand the buyer

Understand the buyer journey and that not every lead is the same. If you know generally what your buyer journey is, you know when to go for the sale, and when to leave it for another week.

Not every lead is the same. Some will come in red hot, others will take a long time to even become warm. But if you understand where on the journey they are, you can prioritise and personalise your own actions towards them.


Gain pleasure, avoid pain

It is said as humans we are driven by two things, to gain pleasure and avoid pain. So when trying to appeal to your target audience, bear this in mind. What will drive people to listen to you, or even contact you themselves, is if you offer something that will give you great pleasure and happiness, or that will let them avoid pain or negativity.

For example, Amazon, the huge retail giant that they are, are still always looking to improve the customer experience. One pain their customers were experiencing was not being home for their deliveries. Or worrying it may not be left in a safe place. Amazon introduced ‘amazon lockers’ in convenient locations. So people could grab their delivery in their lunch break or on their way home. Customers who may not have bought that extra purchase as they couldn’t guarantee the delivery day, now have a safe, and easy alternative. Taking away those second thoughts of whether they should buy.

Or Pantene released an app to combat the ‘bad hair day’. By analysing the weather reports, they were able to advise which products and styles people should go for. By suggesting the products people should use, and allowing them to see what is available in the Pantene range. They increase their brand awareness, as well as gain extra sales from those suffering a bad hair day!


Make people feel significant

People like to feel like they matter. When you make a purchase you like to feel like the company is thankful for your custom. When you make a big purchase, you like to feel like the effort and energy in the build up has been appreciated. And let’s face it, if a company can make you feel like you are the only person in the world that they appreciate buying their product. And make a big deal about you, you are more likely to go back to them.

It comes down to basic customer service, and making people feel appreciated. It has been found that 60% of consumers will pay more for a better experience. 89% of consumers will begin doing business with a competitor if they receive poor customer service.

This can start off with the basics. Be polite and don’t ignore people. It is all too easy in the fast paced world of social media to ignore posts, but it also quite rude, and effects that customer’s experience. If there are excited about their experience, join in!

For example, Sainsburys made the headlines for their name change of Tiger Bread to Giraffe Bread, all due to a 3 year olds letter. Spotting the similarities between the Giraffes pattern and the pattern on the bread, Lily Robinson (with a little help from her parents) wrote to Sainsburys. Here, Sainsburys could of ignored this letter, put it to one side, as they have no need to change the name. They have other things to be getting on with. But by changing the name and responding to Lily, they proved they care about the opinions of all their customers. Even the little ones, and they value their opinion. By showing that appreciation, Lily’s mom praised the company online, and the story went viral. Which goes to show even the smallest acts of responding to customers, can come back to you in a big way.


Take the time to explain but simplify your solution

Most company’s make 1 of 2 mistakes when talking about their products and services.

They either don’t explain any of what they do, and expect people to understand. Jargon and all, which leaves prospects baffled.

Or they over explain, with a lot of tedious, unnecessary information. Leaving prospects over saturated with information, and looking for the nearest exit.

You need to ensure that your lead knows what you do. But cut the waffle! Keep your solution simple. As the saying goes, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it. So if you cannot explain if simply, how do you then expect your prospect to understand it?


Qualify people up front

By qualifying leads at the very beginning of the process you save yourself a lot of time. We have all been there. Where someone has shown a vague interest in your product, and you follow up for months with calls and emails, hoping they will become a sale. But this takes time, effort, and may ultimately annoy your prospect in to not responding.

If you know they are not going to convert just yet, but they probably will in the future, focus on marketing to them. If you are not actively pursuing them, you give them chance to soak up your marketing. To learn more about your company and its products. So when the time comes that they require the product or service you sell, they will come to you.


Lead generation systems

Lead generation systems are systems that track the visitors to your website. This has it’s pros and its cons, but it’s something that you may want to consider.

The Pros being that you have companies who have actually visited your website, straight to your inbox, a pre-made list for the day. Dependent on the system, you may already have your contact information already provided for you. So no time needed to put together a prospect list.

The Cons? You do not know who in that company has looked at your website, and you may never know. Someone may have just taken a look at your blogs on their break, and so are not actually qualified to progress to a sale.

You can find a number of lead generation systems online, but a few examples are Lead Forensics, OnMonitoring and wow analytics.




Email automation can take a lot of marketing time off your hands. Whilst still leading prospects further through the buying cycle.

Email automation works with emails that are triggered by a click, a visit to a certain page or a time limit. For example, you have probably experienced when you buy something online, a few days after your purchase, you receive a thank you email, perhaps with a discount off your next purchase. This is a great use of automation, by making the customer feel valued and enticing them to come back and shop again. You can use this for your company but catered to your own services and products.

So there are a few ways you can use email automation. Here on some examples on using it for money off deals, to thank people for visiting, to get them to share their experience or feedback, to get them to buy their saved basket, and to buy a product again.

The Money Off Deal

A money off deal is great for a number of reasons. Your customers feel valued and appreciated, and you can prompt customers to spend with you again quite quickly.

Here, Achica use automation to send a seasonally relevant promotion, which is clear, easy to remember, and gives you two options of browsing or shopping. Customers feel valued, and you increase your sales with their next order.

example of achica email marketing


Saving your basket

Example of homebase email marketing

After being bought to the nation’s attention by a Barclaycard advert, companies can send money off emails to customers who have filled their basket, but left the site, to prompt them to come back and complete the sale. Though money off isn’t always needed, sometimes just the knowledge that they have saved your basket and you can return to it when you wish is all you need, as Homebase do above.

Thank You

These is a great one for continuing a great experience. If someone has used your service, and the moment has now passed, remind them of the great time they had with a thank you email. By leaving a couple of days before sending this, it gives time for the customer to return to normality, before you remind them of the great times they had, and leave a link where they can book or buy again.

Example of dominoes email marketing

A great example of this would be Dominos Pizza. Not that I eat a lot of pizza (cough) but I receive a fair few of these. A day after eating my lovely pizza, I always receive a thank you email, that thanks me for purchasing, hopes that I enjoyed the order, and I am prompted to order again. If you are still full from last nights pizza (as I usually am) they also give you the opportunity to win free pizza for a year by completing their feedback survey. The button’s right there, so why not just fill it in? And if you can’t even summon the energy to type, they’ve included their blog too, so you can go and have a read instead.

Example of harry potter email marketing

Harry Potter World reintroduce the excitement back to the customer, and offer plenty of opportunities to keep on interacting, such as sharing their photos, writing on trip advisor, and even the chance to win a prize.

Share your experience

Sometimes you don’t necessarily want another sale straight away. You know the customer has spent money with you, and it may be a while before they spend money again. But by asking for their feedback or opinion on your product or service, you are still showing them appreciation of their service and gaining good data for yourselves.

Example of New Look email marketing

New Look haven’t done their best here. From a very plain email to a very messy link, it doesn’t really entice customers to fill out the form. If you are sending an email, make the effort, as this devalues the customer rather than hyping them up.

Example of F&F email marketing

F&F does a better job of getting feedback, offering the chance to review every item you bought, with the pictures to remind you and subtly leave the links back to their shopping pages at the top of the email, to encourage customers to shop again.

Buy it again

Example of amazon email marketing

If you offer a product or service that needs to be renewed frequently, you may benefit from the buy it again email, prompting customers to buy products they have already brought. This really would have to be for relevant for products, as you do run the risk of annoying customers by asking them to spend and spend, without really thanking them for their custom.

Amazon do a great job of this here, by offering a prompt rather than a direct sell. However they do link directly back to the products, making it a very easy journey for users.

The best example we’ve seen

Best example of email marketing

With Photojojo, the communication is good, gives the customer all the information they need. They make them feel good about it, and they’ve made it look good as well. Rosie also received a free plastic dinosaur with the order too, which we feel is great customer service as well as automation at it’s best.

You must remember though, automation is not a substitute for actual contact, it is just a useful tool that can provide help. Ensure you keep a good balance of the actual and the automated to keep your customers happy.


So there you have it, seven things that will hopefully ensure your marketing efforts converts to sales.

If you are struggling with your marketing, or just need some extra advice on how to get the best for your company, then why not give us a call today on 01543 495752.


Where should you begin with Google AdWords?

where should you begin with adwords

where should you begin with adwords

Google AdWords works because it is complex, and because every single part of your campaign is a variable. Which is what makes it work for so many companies, but what confuses a lot more. So we’ve put together some basic stages for you to follow. To get you started and keep you on track during your AdWords campaign.

As it can be hard to follow sometimes, I will be using the example of the ‘Cheese and things café’ to help you visualise what’s been explained. (Apologies to all of you reading this just before your lunch break!)

Before you begin – Define your purpose

Before you even open your google AdWords account, you need to define three things.

  • What your main aim is to get out of a campaign (more sales/more exposure/more leads)
  • How much time you are going to allow to manage this
  • How much budget you are willing to put in to this

If you do not have a clear answer for each of these, it may not be the right time for you to be considering AdWords. Your aim will determine how you structure your campaign and your ads. Who they are targeted towards and what form of bidding you use.

If you haven’t given enough time to AdWords, you will find yourself with a lagging campaign. AdWords works because you have real time results, and can adapt your campaign to be more profitable constantly. This takes a lot of monitoring. So if you can only commit to the time it takes to set an account and your initial campaign up, maybe it’s time to consider an agency. Otherwise you will find yourself throwing a lot of money at a campaign that may not work.

Which leads us nicely to budget. You need to establish the budget of your campaign or campaigns. How much you are willing to go up to, to reach your goal. Some industries are more competitive than others, so you will have to spend more to appear in front of your potential customers at first. Ensure you have done some research so you have an idea of budget to start with. If your budget doesn’t stretch to getting you seen in your industry just yet, then perhaps continue working on your own marketing first, and revisit AdWords later.

So our little café is wanting to push the sales of their toasties for lunchtime delivery. They’re willing to spend £10 a day, which is around £300 a month. Bob who does their lunchtime delivery is going to spend some time after his deliveries has finished looking at their AdWords clicks for that day, and what worked, and making adjustments for tomorrows searches.

Put together your keywords

Keywords you will have heard over and over again when it comes to anything to do with being seen by the right potential customers on the internet.

For your ads, you want to look at 10-20 keywords that are quite specific to that advert. So for examples your aim is to get more toasties ordered through your website. You may look to do ads for ‘toasted sandwiches’ ‘cheese toasties’ ‘lunch delivery’ with each having 10 keywords specific to that advert. All of them will take the user back to your toasties landing page, but you can see which approach works best.

Google’s keyword planner is a great tool for getting an idea of your keywords. It will give you similar suggestions, estimated searches, estimated bid, and an idea of competition. This will not be 100% accurate, so don’t take this as certain. As mentioned, a lot of factors will make up your bid, so prices will change. Certain trends or topics may change search patterns, and new businesses are always starting, so competition will constantly change. But this tool is the closest information you will get without actually running the campaign.

Create or update your landing page

Before you set up your campaign, you will need somewhere for all those lovely new visitors to land. So take time to either improve your current web pages, or create a unique landing page where potential customers will be lead to.

This landing page will need to be relevant. The more relevant, the more google will like your ad. As you are giving your customers a good experience. So let’s take our cheese toastie example. If someone has searched for a ham and cheese toastie delivery, and clicked on to your ad, they would not expect to land on a page about your jacket potatoes. They would expect to come through to a page on various cheese toastie options that are available for delivery.

Ensure your landing page is easy to use. So it has enough information about the topic, there is a clear call to action (‘order here’ ‘call now to order’ etc) and where possible no obvious links to the rest of your site. As you want these potential customers to convert, you don’t want them to go wondering off until after they’ve placed an order.

Set up your account and get organised

Get started on your AdWords account. Set it up and get acquainted with the page, as you will be spending a lot of time here.

Having a structured account is key to keeping organised on AdWords. Once again, google have a best practise for this to keep you on track. It is suggested that you follow the layout of your website, possibly like this:

Account Cheese and Things Café
Campaigns Toasties Jacket potatoes Sandwiches
Adverts Cheese toasties toasted sandwiches lunch delivery Cheese and beans jacket potato Jacket potato delivery office lunch deliveries Sandwich delivery Cheese and pickle sandwiches Lunch time sandwiches


You will have your company as your account, your pages as your campaigns, and your offerings on those pages as adverts.

Though you may only run one campaign at first, having this style of layout means you can keep organised for future campaigns.

Create your ads

It is worth doing your research here. Search some of your keywords and see what ads are making it onto the first page. What draws you in, what extra information are they including? How does your company differ? This is where you can really set yourself aside from your competition, so take the time to see what they are saying.

So let’s take a look at what comes up for cheese toastie delivery

example of google adwords ads

Once you have an idea of what’s out there, and what you want to say, you need to make sure you match AdWords best practise for ads. Especially when it comes to character limits. You only have 25 characters for your headline, and 35 characters each for your 2 description lines.

Assign the keywords you picked earlier to the relevant ad, and enter a general bid. From this you will be able to see an estimate of how many clicks you could expect for your daily budget. If you are happy with it, then set your ad live. You are now live.

Track your performance

AdWords is thorough. Very thorough. You can track every part of your campaign to see when people clicked through and why. So you can identify the times and places you are most successful, and replicate that in future campaigns.

So for example, Bob could find that on Thursdays and Friday their clicks go up by 30%. So he can use that information when it comes to adjustments, and spending the budget more wisely.

You can also link your AdWords and analytics accounts to get even more data, which may seem a little much at first, but as you get more experienced, it will help you to really take apart your campaign and see what works and why.

Adjust when necessary

There are so many different ways you can adjust your ads, so keep experimenting until you find which brings you return on your investment.

Adjusting is necessary to make your campaign successful. So even if they are only small changes, make them. If a keyword is performing well, put some more money on the bid to get it shown more times. If a keyword isn’t performing well, scrap it and stop wasting money.  If you want to try adjusting your bids, but don’t want to commit just yet, then try experiments. Which will apply your changes to a small portion of your ads, so you can see if it works well or not before fully committing.

So Bob, who now knows they get more clicks on a Thursday and Friday, may show his ads only on those days. So there is more budget behind it, meaning more clicks-through’s.

You will want to keep making adjustments until your campaign becomes profitable. Then you can put more money behind it to make it more profitable.


And that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AdWords. There are literally hundreds of resources to guide you through every part of your campaign, especially from Google themselves. So don’t stay stuck, take a look at what information is out there.

If you do find yourself really stuck when it comes to AdWords, or perhaps you just don’t have the time, let us take a look at it for you. Call us on 01543 495752 for more information on how we can get you more leads.

How to avoid wasting money on marketing your small business

how to avoid wasting money on marketing your small business

how to avoid wasting money on marketing your small business

We are often asked how to identify which marketing activities will provide the best ROI, and how to stop wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work.

In a small business, any purchase is a big purchase, so committing to marketing campaigns can be a huge decision. We’ve put together 6 tips on ensuring you get the best value for your money.


Know your market

This may seem obvious, but when you are busy trying to build business it can easy to overlook the time you should have spent on getting to understand your market. By completing these 3 simple steps, you will put yourself in a much better position to understand what marketing will help you as a company.

Step 1: You have to start by knowing yourself. Take the time to define your aims, your values and your ethic. You will not truly know your competitors, until you know what you are trying to achieve.

Step 2: Find your competition. Use local directories and web searches to discover who is around you, and what they are doing. Though you may not consider Mr Joe Bloggs Freelancer or Big Corp Corporation a competitor, as they are not the same size as you. If they are offering any of the same services as you, you need to understand their business, and why customers may pick them over you.

Step 3. Know your own audience. To grow your audience, you need to understand the customers you already have. Unless you are in a very niche business, most companies cannot follow a ‘one approach fits all’ method. You need to define your ‘buying personas’ the people who buy from you, why they buy, how they buy, when they buy. Once you know these traits, you will be able to appeal directly to other people with these traits.

Once you have defined these 3 steps you should have a good idea of how you should approach your buying personas, how your competitors are approaching their audience, and why you are different. These will all help to then define your activities.


Be up front about budget

Talking about money is always awkward, especially if you are just growing and the money just isn’t there yet.

Even so, you may find yourself swept away by a sweet talking sales rep into taking on the fanciest direct mail campaign you have ever seen. Where every recipient receives their promotional letter with a free mug with your company logo on, delivered by the earliest post so they can use the mug for their morning cuppa etc but if you don’t have the budget, then don’t commit to it just yet.

There is always an element of risk in marketing, as we humans can be quite fickle, and we can change what we like to react to as quickly as the weather. So almost bankrupting yourself for one campaign is usually not worth it, even if it does sound pretty amazing.

If you want to do the big campaigns, prove yourself through the little campaigns first. Use what you have put together from knowing your market, to try some ideas out. Spend a little of your budget to gain knowledge of what works, and hopefully make a profit. You will be in a much better place to start your first big campaign.


Dedicate time

It can be a common misconception, as you’ve seen above, that if you throw a large amount of money at a marketing activity or campaign, you are guaranteed good results. This is just not the case.

Marketing works on the psychology of people, and what they will react well too. If you just throw anything out there you cannot predict what the results will be, so taking the time to work through your marketing messages is essential.

Let’s take the example above. You’ve been pitched to about this brilliant direct mail campaign; everyone’s going to get mugs, everyone’s going to have their morning cuppa in them, or take them to work, and your company logo is going to be everywhere, and you will be swarmed with calls. But what if your buying persona is actual fitness focused, does not drink caffeine, and goes out for a morning run before work? The phone may be a little quieter.

If you know your buying personas, you know what type of person they are. You know if they prefer to be contacted by letter, email or phone.

Take the time to consider what you are trying to say, and how your audience will best take that in. Throwing money at marketing is not a substitute for time. Sit down with your colleague, team or agency, and it will produce better results and give you more return in the long run.


Be persistent

This is something we say quite frequently, but it is true.

If you have completed the above, you should have a good idea of when your campaign should start paying off. However, it can sometimes take a little longer to work, especially if you are looking at something involving social media.

Not everything is instant. This doesn’t mean the campaign hasn’t worked.

If you follow the below step, you should know when is time to move on to the next campaign. But if you still aren’t sure, wait another day, and look at the results again.


Monitor the results of your efforts

You will never know the outcome of your expenditure unless you actually monitor what you are doing.

There are many ways to measure, and it doesn’t necessarily matter which you use, just as long as you are measuring. Once you start, you will learn the best ways or software to monitor, but you just have to get started.

By doing the above you should know what to expect, whether that’s an influx of calls, meetings or actual sales. You can then monitor to conversions, and see how much money you actually made off one campaign. If you don’t do this, you will never truly know if you are wasting your budget or not.


Make the most of free marketing consultations which most agencies offer

The majority are no obligation and can pinpoint where your efforts should go for your specific company. If you have done the first few tips, you should be able to get some advice quite quickly. The agency will discuss ideas with you on what they think is best and you can go from there.

And remember, though you can tackle some things on your own, if you are looking at a campaign bigger than what you have done before, or are just not sure what messages to send in your marketing, maybe it’s best to pass it to the professionals.


If you want to take advantage of our free marketing consultation, call one of our friendly team now on 01543 495752, and you can have a cuppa, cuddle with the dogs and maybe even a slice of cake.

9 ways to market your business on a budget

9 ways to market your business on a budget

9 ways to market your business on a budget

A question we are asked time and time again is how a small business with a small budget can make the most out of their marketing.

Yes, it’s true that the bigger your marketing budget, the better your marketing can be. Take John Lewis for example, they spent £7 million on just their Christmas campaign, but it worked. (And I bet you still talk about Monty the Penguin today!)

If, like the majority of people, you don’t happen to have £7 million spare for your marketing budget, we have some great tips to get your business booming on a budget. Every business has to start somewhere!

There are a number of “free” marketing activities you can do that can help you to create big opportunities for your business. We use the word “free” loosely here, because it will cost you your time and effort, and your time is valuable.


Social Media

I guess you knew this one was coming; social Media is a brilliant tool that allows you to connect with your target audience directly, and you can do it for free!

Don’t believe though that this means instant results, and you must remember you won’t gain a lead for every post you put up. You have to work hard at it for leads to blossom, but it is proven to work.

Social media tips:

  • Find out which social networks your target audience use
  • Read up about best practice
  • Test when is the best time to post
  • Analyse what your audience react well too

If you are struggling, but feel this a marketing activity that will benefit your business, there are many courses around to improve your social media skills for business, though there will be a cost to those.

Want to know more on social media? We recommend 14 common social media mistakes and what to do instead as further reading.



Blogging is a huge part of inbound marketing that will help to attract your target audience. But it is also a good way of keeping existing customers coming back to your website.

As well as giving you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and share advice, it gives prospects a chance to learn more about your business and your services / products.

Blogging tip: focus on creating high quality content – think, the best content someone could wish to read around a particular topic.

Once again, you can find courses and sessions that will teach you how to blog, or you can even get someone to write them for you. Of course, there is a cost implication to that.


Testimonials and Case studies

The words of others speak wonders; studies have found that 88% of people are influenced by online customer service reviews when making buying decisions.

Testimonials teamed with evidence of the work you have done with them is some of the best advertising you can have. Take the time to write case studies on the projects you have worked on, and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from your current customers.

Not sure how to ask for your reviews and testimonials? We recommend Why customer reviews are important and how to get them as further reading


Your elevator pitch

When it comes to small businesses, people can be the best marketing tools your company has. By taking the time to perfect an elevator pitch (or two) you give yourself the best change to market to people when opportunities present themselves, and you have nothing else to hand.


Content Marketing

This is another method you may have heard a lot about. In fact, 98% of B2B marketers say content marketing is core to their marketing strategy.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, content marketing is using content (blogs, ebooks, guides, recipes, videos, etc) to provide your target audience with something useful and helpful.

As we mentioned above, you should be creating high quality content that provides the reader with some value. This will help them move through the buyers’ cycle and get them one step closer to buying.

There are a number of methods for making your content more SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly, so if you are considering this route, I would advise committing to a little more research into SEO. Once again, options are available for courses or someone to do this on your behalf, but this would incur costs.

Want to be the best at content marketing? We would recommend How to create the best, most useful, content in search results as further reading


Strategic alliances

Creating strategic alliances with non-competitive businesses can work really well for a smaller business.

Find local companies that compliment your services, and you can refer customers between yourselves, create offers for going between your businesses, and even guest blog for each other once you have worked together for a while.

Make sure your find a business that not only do you like, but who believe in providing an excellent service as much as you do, and whose work you trust. It will look bad if you refer your clients to a business who lets them down.


Great Customer Service

Nothing can ruin a company quicker than bad customer service. According to a study in 2014 58% of consumers will never use a company again after a negative experience.

And just as good reviews will spread to bring you new customers, bad reviews will spread like wildfire, taking twice as many customers with them.

Interested? We would recommend LEGO’s excellent example of customer service as further reading


Free consultations

Many businesses will offer free consultations to see how they can help potential customers, but the mistake they make is not promoting that particularly well.

If you offer free consultations, promote this and let your target audience know. Seeing that you offer a consultation, or a review, where they can find out more about your offering can encourage more people to get in touch.


Positivity and Persistence

Regardless of which activity you decide to use, remain positive, and stick with it!

Marketing is not all instant results, some activities take a little longer to produce results.

Good marketing will bring you consistent results over a long period of time; don’t lose faith if things don’t pay off as quickly as you think. However, always make sure you measure your marketing efforts and their results so you can judge when it is perhaps time to move on to the next idea.

If you would like to take advantage of our free marketing consultation to see how marketing could gain you more customers, improve your business position or create more opportunities for you to sell, speak to one of the team on 01543 495752.

10 things to think about when considering a CRM

10 things to think about when considering a CRM

10 things to think about when considering a CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can be a huge asset to a business. They can be your phone book, track your emails, help with your marketing strategy, be your to do list, and even your productivity report.

There are a huge number of CRMs available, all of which have different strengths and limitations. We, at The Marketing People use Hubspot CRM, which we have reviewed.

Setting up and using a CRM requires a huge commitment in terms of time, effort, training, and money, so you need to think carefully before you make your decision.

So where do you even begin? Here are 10 questions you need to ask when considering a CRM.


Why are you considering a CRM system?

Why do you need it? What is going wrong at the moment? It is a really big investment, both in effort and in money; what are your reasons for this change?

What do you want from your CRM?

What do you want to achieve? Do you just want to use it as a record of calls and contact? Do you want to have reports available to managers of productivity? Do you want to grow your prospect list? You need clear goals to pick the right system

Who will be using it?

Will only one person be using it? Will there be 300 people on it? Some systems charge by user, so you need to have an idea of who you want on it.

Who needs to view what? Do you need different access levels?

Following on from who will be using it, you need to know who can view what. Some CRMs have open accounts so all users can see all information. In a bigger company you may need to give certain access to certain people, in which case you will need to look at buying user accounts.

Is it easy to use?

Some CRMs can have every report and action under the sun, but that can make them very awkward to use. CRMs become an extra limb once you have one, and you rely on it constantly, so you need to make sure its user friendly. The last thing you want is for you and your employees to get frustrated with it and want to throw your computer out the window every day.

Is it easy to customise?

CRMs are brilliant, and usually include most things you will need. However, each company is unique, and you are bound to need to re-label things, or add extra elements, to make the system work well for you. How easy is it customise? Will you need to go through the CRM hosting company, or can you change it yourself?

Will it add extra work to your day?

The CRM system is meant to make your life easier, but if your CRM doesn’t meet your needs, or you don’t have the processes in place for it to work correctly, it can quickly become a time suck. Will people be doing jobs twice? If telesales workers have to type notes after the call, it will add time to each call, meaning you have to reconsider targets etc., as you are giving an extra job to do.

What is the CRM’s support team like?

If you have a large team, you are more than likely going to need a strong support base. You are going to need someone to call upon all hours of the day to answer the problems of the many people.If you have a smaller team, you will still require support, but possibly might be able to have one connection who’s available, or have an internal support system before you escalate it to an external support team.

Will you require training?

Will the people who need to use the CRM system be able to use it? If this is the first time using a CRM system, even the most computer savvy can get overwhelmed.Take the time to book training at the beginning, whether this is a group training session, or webinars sent out to individuals.

How much do you want to spend on a CRM?

The big question. How much do you want to spend? This depends on all the above elements. There are some free systems you can use, but that really depends on what you need it for. Extra costs can be found in needing more user accounts, customisation, extra support and extra training.


Once you have established your expectations, you can narrow down the huge list of CRM options available.

You should be able to arrange a free ‘tour’ around the CRM. This can be quite exciting as you see all the new possibilities, but remember to keep coming back to your list. Does it do what you actually need it to do? And, does it do it efficiently?

It is usually best to ensure an actual team member who will use it is on this virtual tour too. Though management are the decision makers, if your top biller can’t make head or tales of the system, it’s going to affect their mood, their attitude and consequently the money they bring in. Having honest feedback from the actual users will save you time and money in the future.


Transferring data to your new CRM

Once you have decided on a CRM, and installed it, the next big task is the set up and transfer of data.

Unless you are a brand new company, you will have to transfer existing data over to the CRM. This takes time. Lots of time. You will need to prepare the data you have so that it is suitable to be uploaded, then depending on the system, and the amount of data transferred, it will take its time to upload too. Though annoying, it is much more preferential than the alternative of manually inputting all of your data.


Set expectations about how you want your employees to use the CRM

Once your data is up and running, you need to allow time to adjust. Though you may have great ideas of how the process will work, they may not be practical when you actual use it day to day. Have an initial plan and trial it, if it takes more time than you expect, or you realise you can capture extra data that would be really beneficial, review the plan and reset the standards for all users.

The worst things about CRMs is when everyone uses them differently, and you have half a collection of data on one contact’s page and an essay on another contact’s page. Set out the essential information that needs to be captured every day or every call.


Then that’s it, the organisation begins. But remember, if it really isn’t doing what you need it to do, change it! There are plenty of CRM’s out there, and they are not one size fits all, keep looking until you get the right one.

You can find more useful articles on customer service throughout our blog, to make sure your customers are receiving the best experience possible.

If you want to utilise the data you have, and create a profitable marketing plan give us a call today on 01543 495752 or take a look at the marketing services we offer.

I don’t know if my marketing is working

i don't know if my marketing is working

i don't know if my marketing is working

When many businesses first come to us, they often say “I don’t know if my marketing is working.” They’ve tried a few different things, but it doesn’t appear to be doing anything other than costing them money. Does that sound familiar?

It’s important that you can show the Return on Investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts. If something is working, you need to be able to show that. And if it doesn’t work, you need to be able to prove that so you don’t waste further time and money on something that doesn’t work.

When businesses come to us and say “I don’t know if my marketing is working”, we evaluate these 6 things to find out what might be the cause of the problem.

Have you set a goal? If so, what was it?

While all of these points are important, this is a huge one. If you haven’t got a goal, how can you possibly know whether your marketing is working?

When setting goals, follow the SMART method to create goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely


How are you tracking your marketing activities?

Once you know what you’re working towards, you need a way of tracking activity produced by your marketing campaign. If you aren’t tracking what’s happening, you won’t know if your marketing activities are working or not.

Tracking and monitoring needs to be considered before you begin marketing as you may need to implement something before you campaign begins, such as setting up a dedicated phone number, or setting up goal tracking in your analytics software.

Exactly how you track your marketing campaign will depend on what you’re doing:

  • If you’re running a special offer, you might look at orders using the offer code in an email you sent out
  • If you’re getting people to call you, you would track phone calls to a dedicated number, or you could ask people where they saw your number
  • If you’re at an event, you might just track the number of people who put their email address down on your email marketing form

By tracking your marketing activities, you will easily be able to identify whether or not you are reaching your goal.


How strong was your campaign and call to action?

Your call to action (CTA) is the most important part of any marketing campaign because it tells your target audience what you want them to do next.

If your CTA is weak, unclear, confusing, or if you have multiple CTAs, your audience won’t know what to do. Best practice is to have one CTA that is focused on getting someone to take the next step.

Keep your CTA succinct and use verbs to encourage your target audience to take action as soon as possible.

The rest of the copy should back up the CTA and encourage your audience to take action by focusing on their pain points and telling them how your product / service can remove that pain.


What did your marketing activity look and feel like?

The way things look, and feel if they are physical things your audience can hold, is incredibly important. Especially if this is the first contact someone will ever have with your brand.

Think about the junk mail you get through your letterbox at home. I bet you’ve received a cheap and nasty looking leaflet from a local takeaway that you’ve never heard of before. It’s confusing on the eyes, there are probably lots of dark colours, bad editing, the paper feels thin, and just looking at it makes you feel like you might get food poisoning. What do you do? You throw it out.

Now, it might be that the takeaway makes delicious food, but if you judged it on that piece of marketing material alone, it certainly didn’t give you the impression of delicious, filling food.

It’s not just the first time you contact your audience that you need to make a great impression; you need to make a great impression every time you contact your audience and customers.

A great impression can remind loyal customers why they are a customer of yours, encourage them to purchase from you again, and hopefully remind them to tell their friends about you.

If that’s not enough to convince you that your marketing to existing customers needs to be high quality, this statistic might: 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.


Is it your audience’s preferred method of communication?

This is where a thorough understand of your audience is helpful and will help you.

Where your marketing material appears is important. If your audience are 16-25 year olds who regularly use the internet, then online is the best place to target them.

If your audience are 70+ olds who don’t use the internet, then offline marketing activities will suit them better.


What’s your brand like? Is it putting people off?

The way your brand looks can play a large part in whether or not your audience pay attention to your marketing.

As a consumer, you probably understand this yourself.

If you see a brand that looks small, unprofessional, outdated, and maybe even a bit dodgy, you will probably steer clear of it. No matter how good an offer it is. You don’t want to risk being ripped off, or receiving a faulty product.

If you see a brand that looks clean and professional, it will automatically come across as much more trustworthy than a brand that looks bad. It will give you confidence that the business knows what they’re doing. That you’re likely to get a product which fulfils your needs.


If just one of the points above isn’t right it can prevent your marketing activities from being effective, which means it’s wasting your time and money.

To find out if your brand might be putting your audience off, read 4 signs you need to rebrand your business.

How to protect your content, images, brand and ideas

Hot to protect your content

Hot to protect your content


You’ve worked hard on your website. Pouring hours of work, creative thinking and money into it. But then someone saw how good it was, and copied all of your content, images, and your brand.

In the most positive light, it is quite flattering that someone out there likes your work so much they want to claim it’s their own. However, it is a down right annoyance that your hard work might not always be accredited to you.

Additionally, it could end up damaging your brand if the other company provide poor service and people see your brand but associate it with the other company.

Unfortunately, you can’t completely stop someone who has taken a fancy to your things from taking them, but there are a number of things you can do to deter, prevent, and monitor someone copying something that isn’t theirs.

How to protect your copy


Copyrighting your content

You have spent hours agonising over every single phrase. Considering what light that puts your company in. Then you stumble across someone who has just content scraped your page. Utter frustration? Yes we’ve had this too, and trust me we understand. There are a few simple steps to protecting and monitoring your content.

One of the easiest steps is to copyright your work. And that is as simple as putting ‘© Copyright [year] [your business name]. All Rights Reserved.’.

It is not actually essential to do this as your work is protected by copyright whether you register it or not. But it may put off someone from pressing ctrl + c if the legitimate copyright is made obvious on your page.

You can make it even clearer by adding a line in your website’s terms and conditions. Which states you will not accept copy infringement and will take action against anyone who copies your content without permission.

If appropriate, you can have password protected pages. Meaning only those who are authorised can view the pages. However, you must tread carefully with this. As password protected content may not show up in search results. So perhaps only consider this for customer only content.

Avoiding content scrapers

You can also adapt the RSS Feed, to a partial or short link. So if someone ‘content scrapes’ your page, they will not be able to take the full content. Or you could use a custom signature, with a copyright notice in to the footer of your website. So even if someone steals the content, it will refer readers back to the original post. Even if your content does end up on the furthest depths of the web, it can still direct people back to you.

Another way would be to disable the right click and selection function. Yes, someone may take the time to re-type your content. But it will stop happy clickers from taking what they want in a flash.

There are also a number of websites and alerts you can put in place to inform you when someone has stolen your content. There are a huge variety of websites you can use. But the most recommended are google alerts,,, and With these, you copy your URL in. They will let you know if someone else posts the same content. Meaning you can find where your content has gone to.


What do you do when your content has been copied?

It is advised that in the first instance you contact the person who posted the content.

Explain that the content is copyrighted. And as stated in your terms and conditions, this is a breach of your work which should be removed as soon as possible. Though they might not take a blind bit of notice, they may also have not realised how serious the situation is. Hopefully being scared into removing the copy.

If they do not remove your content, you can visit “WhoIsHostingThis” ( to find out how hosts the website. If you get in touch with the hosting company, they are likely to take action and remove the content.

If you are still having a problem and their copy of your work is receiving more attention than your version, you can launch a Google DMCA complaint ( It is quite an awkward process, so it not advised unless you are having a real issue. But if Google deem the content copied they will ban the offending content from any Google search engines.

The final option is to get in touch with your lawyer.


How to protect your images


Copyrighting an Image

There are a number of ways to copyright an image, so you shouldn’t have to be afraid to put your best work out there.

As with the action you can take to protect your copy, a lot of these options are simple. But they will not stop the few determined individuals who are intent on taking praise for your pictures.

You can register any of your images or a collection of works with the UK Copyright Service. Which is a simple process, but it does cost a small amount. Please refer directly to the UK Copyright Service ( for the full details of registering your work.

Don’t want to register?

If this isn’t an option for you, or you want to take extra measure, you can also watermark your image, or attach your URL to the image. Though this does give full credit to you, it may affect the quality of your image, so this is not always the best route to go down.

You could also work with HTML tables to add a transparent image over the top of the image you want to protect. If someone was to right click and save, it would save the blank image, not the image you are protecting.

Another option is to disable hotlinking (, which will show an image of your choice on a website if someone tries to steal it, instead of the image they tried to steal.

You could also disable the right click function. If you choose to do this, only do it on it images. As it can affect your website’s usability if you disable right click on everything.

There are also a number of third party software products available. Again, they won’t stop people copying your image, but they can monitor where your work is going.  Recommended products are Artist Scope, Copysafe, DigiMarc and Picmarkr. Though these do come with cost implications.


Trade Dress

You may not have heard of “trade dress”, but this is the legal term for the overall “look and feel” of a product or service, and means your brand can be protected under the “passing off” law, providing you follow the requirements.

What is mainly looked at is the functionality of the brand, and that the “look and feel” has a secondary meaning to customers, but no functional use. That sounds a little confusing right?

If we look at the “big four” supermarkets – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco, each are associated with a colour, though that colour in no way affects their products.

Essentially, if all of them decided to take away the colours, the quality of their home brand biscuits wouldn’t change. But, it would make their products and adverts hard to recognise. This, in essence should mean they are eligible for trade dress.

Or, look at The Marketing People. Our trade dress is very visible with the colour purple, the font we use and the layout of our branded materials.

Even if you took out the words ‘The Marketing People’ our brand is still obvious. But by the same definition, if you took away the colour and the font, it wouldn’t affect the service we offer, but if would affect how easily identified by customers we are.

What about the look and feel of my website?

Unfortunately there is no straight answer with this yet, as the law is still developing. Some courts are beginning to grant protection for the overall look and feel of a website, but it is apparent from past cases you would need to prove the distinctiveness of your website and the importance of the “non-functional” aspects.


Copyrighting an Idea or Concept

So, you have a brilliant idea of how to expand your business, or create a brand new one, but you know your competitors may be working towards something similar. How do you protect your idea, so you are free to use it as yours in the future?

The UK Copyright Service says you cannot copyright an idea or concept as it is not a physical, tangible thing.

However, it can apply if you have physical evidence of work towards that idea, as that work can then be registered and copyrighted.

Be careful though, as copyrighting might not always have the effect you desired, as it is still up to interpretation.

As the UK Copyright Service explains, a competitor would not be able to directly copy or adapt your content, as this is breach of copyright. They can however work on a similar idea, as that is the basis of fair competition.

A popular example of this is looking at TV programmes such as the soaps. Though they all work off a very similar idea. Unless they directly copied a script, they are not in breach as it is fair competition.

Looking at it in a business example; if Joe Bloggs security is the first company in Burntwood to offer monitoring systems for the elderly along with their regular house alarm, there is nothing to stop John Smith’s Burntwood alarms doing a similar deal, as this is fair competition.

However, if they were to breach any of the things we have mentioned above, or to make a claim on their marketing that they were ‘the first company in Burntwood to offer this’ there would be a claim. But you would have to prove that you had took steps towards this idea before they did.


Is this still a confusing matter? Yes it is. Will these tips help deter people, and protect you if the worst comes to the worst? Yes they will. Can you completely stop someone taking your work? Not quite.

But what you can always be sure of is if we work with you on any online content, we will do our best to help and advise you on how to stop this happening, as we will be as protective of your content, as we are of ours.

Why you should be selling the solution, not your products

why you should be selling the solution, not your product

why you should be selling the solution, not your product

Why do people buy things? Most of the time it’s because they have a problem and they need it solving.

For example:

1) My computer is too slow, I need a faster one.

2) I haven’t got a dress to wear to that fancy evening do, I need one.

3) My dog chewed through his lead, I need a strong one that’s also comfortable to hold.

4) We need a new printing company who will provide us with high quality prints the first time around that meets our budget.

5) Our website isn’t generating leads, I need a new one which will work effectively.

6) I’ve worked hard this year and I need a break. I want to go somewhere relaxing.

The above examples are all different but they all have one thing in common: the person has a problem and they need a solution. (We know, we know, many people hate the word solution.)


How do I sell the solution to a problem?

To sell the solution rather than your product you need to understand your audience and understand what their frustrations and problems are.

As consumers most of us are afraid of wasting our money on something that might not work and before we part with our money we want to be sure that what we’re buying is the best solution to our problem.

Think about your own experiences when buying a product. What did you want from it and why did you buy it from the retailer you did rather than their competition? What was it about them and their website that made you feel they were the right choice?

If you’re the company offering dog leads for problem number 3, it isn’t enough to say your dog lead is ‘the best’.  Why is it the best? What sets it apart from every other dog lead on the market that claims to be the best?

So your product description for the lead might read something like this:

‘The dog-lead-2000 is a rugged lead which is comfortable to hold and comfortable for your dog to wear.

Our extensive testing has proven that no dog can chew through it or snap it, so you can walk in peace knowing that your dog will not be able to break free from his or her lead again.

99% of our customers would recommend the dog-lead-2000 to a friend, read about their experiences below.’

The description solves the customers issue by telling them that the lead is rugged and that their dog cannot chew through it or snap it so they can buy it feeling reassured that what they’re getting is value for money.

To back up your claims allow customers to leave reviews on individual products. The majority of consumers won’t automatically believe you, they’ll will seek proof from people who own the product.

Showing reviews allows the consumer to find out about other people’s experiences and see whether it solved their issues too. If it does then they will feel confident that what they’re buying will work for them.


To recap:

  • Learn from your own experiences purchasing a product or service.
  • Think about customers’ pain points and tell them how your product or service can relieve that.
  • Show customer testimonials.

When you begin selling the solution to people’s problems you set yourself apart from other businesses in your sector who are just claiming to the best.

You show that you understand the customers’ problems, pain and that you have their best interests at heart.

If your business is based in Staffordshire or West Midlands area and you need help marketing your business, get in touch to find out how we can help you. Call us on 01543 387 047 or fill in our contact form to find out how we can benefit your business.

What is pre-marketing and why is it important?


Pre-marketing The Marketing People

Pre-marketing is part of our three tier approach to marketing. A process we believe is vital for any business looking to grow.

What is pre-marketing?

Pre-marketing is the foundation stage of any marketing plan to enable business development. Prior to any marketing, SEO or social marketing, this step ensures that you have the right brand. The right website, stationery, brochure/catalogue and other related sales and marketing tools in place. To ensure you capitalise on your ongoing marketing and sales team activity.

It helps you to clarify who you are, what you do, your target audience and their requirements. Where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

Let’s start a project together

Getting this right is vitally important. As all other marketing activities are built on this and help to determine your direction and your value in the marketplace.

The value proposition you put forward in any marketing or sales material will help you to establish your competitive advantage over other similar companies. It will help prospects to determine if they feel your offering fits their requirements and if they will buy from you.

Key areas you should focus on for development are:

Why does my business need pre-marketing?

Pre-marketing is the first stage of sales and business development. It gives your brand a solid platform and all of the tools you need to market and re-market your brand effectively.

Without the right tools, you may struggle to set yourself apart from your competition. Or attract the customers you actually want or be unable to measure your return on any marketing investment.

So what happens if I work with The Marketing People?

When we first meet with a client, whether they are a new business or are looking to rebrand. We talk to them in great detail about their business. Who they are, what they do and who they do it for.

Once we know all of these things we can begin developing their brand. As well as assessing what tools we need to provide them with to allow them to market their brand and see results.

After the pre-marketing stage, businesses can move onto the marketing stage and begin generating leads and sales using the marketing communications provided during pre-marketing. You can find our full marketing approach on our website.

You can see the work we did with edo, who came to us as SSC learning, and wanted to rebrand to allow them more opportunities within the training market. After following our pre-marketing step, they saw a 300% increase in business.

If you’re a small business based in the Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock, Staffordshire or West Midlands area and want to find our more about our pre-marketing approach, get in touch with us to find out how we can help you. Call us on 01543 387 047 or go to our contact page.