The digital marketplace is much like any other, except that it’s a lot bigger and a lot busier. Real estate isn’t a problem, so more stalls are being set up every day, and it becomes increasingly hard to attract the attention of customers amid all the bustle and distraction. Which is why creating a strong online brand identity is key to any digital marketing strategy.
To continue with the bricks and mortar analogy, your website is the equivalent of your shop front- it should be a shopfront that will make people want to go inside. It should consistently represent the values and aesthetic of your business so you present a strong brand identity. Nobody should be in any doubt who they’re dealing with, or why you’re the best at what you do.
And like any other business, good customer service is vital. No matter how much amazing advertising you may do, in the modern world of instant reviews your customers have more power than ever to make or break an enterprise. If they go away happy, not only will they tell their friends, they may very well tell the Internet, and in the process thousands of others they don’t even know. If they go away unhappy… well, you can figure that out yourself. Just make sure they don’t!
Then you have to decide where to put your shop-front. Not literally, of course, but where it will sit in relation to other businesses. This is a dynamic process, as the digital marketplace is always changing, but can be accomplised by building associations between brands and subjects. In the same way that Amazon will offer you recommendations based on what you’ve previously bought, you need to watch what your customers are interested in and market yourself accordingly. This can be as simple as using hashtags on Twitter to piggy-back on relevant trending topics, or as complicated as conducting full-scale market research. Once you know what your customers are looking for and where they’re likely to be looking, you can place yourself so that they will either seek you out or stumble across you, see your beautiful storefront, and pop in for a browse!
Around the back of North Weald Airfield, within earshot of the drone of classic planes and high-performance cars speeding along the runways, is an un-prepossessing eighties warehouse which is home to Best Mailing Services UK (BMS) and HDCC member, Lyn Reed. Lyn has been managing director of BMS for “more years than I care to remember.” But it wasn’t always thus….
Her working career began at Rank Hovis McDougall, once owned by the famous J. Arthur Rank, who at one time employed over 3,000 people, many of them in Harlow. “I began as a punch card operator. I am not sure how many people today even know what that was.” She quickly progressed to NCR, tape encoder, operator and supervisor. The role was repetitive and she became disillusioned. “I needed something different,” she said, ‘something to get my teeth into!”
At this point, Lyn’s new husband had left the army and had a role within the security services, and she was approached by MI5. After an extensive interview and vetting procedure she was given a position at the Joint Computer Bureau and tasked to set up a Secure Remote Location in London, to take the manual registry records and computerise them. At the time all the records used to identify the potential connections of individuals to groups identified as a risk to National Security were kept on card. She sourced, interviewed and managed a team of twenty-five 18 and 19 year old girls who were employed to facilitate the three-year job. “It was a fantastic time,” Lyn laughs, “unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about it, or I’d have to shoot you..”
After 5 years with the security services she moved on, having been ‘headhunted’ for a role with the famous Bowker Publishing House in Epping – employed as their chief computer manager and programmer. However after 6 years, the company was asset-stripped by its American owners, Rank Xerox, and was forced to close. Lyn’s business brain went into overdrive and she approached Xerox and convinced them that they should support her new venture, Best Mailing Services. That was in 1985.
BMS are specialists in mailing services, print management, order fulfilment and data processes for all businesses. They were one of the first mailing and fulfilment houses to be accepted into the Royal Mail Strategic Partnership Scheme and have grown to become a respected provider of Direct Marketing Services throughout the UK and Internationally. Some of their clients include Kier, BAFTA and Kuoni. In March of this year she launched a Marketing and Fulfilment Hub with a local marketing agency, “One of the great lessons I have learnt in business,” she said, “is to try to be innovative, to move forward and try new avenues.”
A very big part of Lyn’s life is her charity work. She has been a Samaritan since 2009, a ‘Befriender’ at Mind, mentoring and leads a homeless centre for Crisis at Christmas. ‘ homelessness is not inevitable, we work together to end it ‘. The main image shows Lyn in the Himalayas on a charity trip with other Samaritans in 2012.
If you would like to contact Lyn at Best Mailing services you can give her a call on 01992 524343 or visit her website www.bestmailing.co.uk.
Samaritans Harlow :
Phone: 01279 421 308
Contact: Alison Wilson
Crisis at Christmas:
Tel: 0300 636 1967
…and madness drives us on!
Nearly 2 years since we first set up and we’re going from strength to strength. Year on year we continue to grow followers, Likes, client base, knowledge and turnover.
Thank you for your support to date and please continue to like, share and talk about us and the work we do. No marketing is more powerful than word of mouth and personal recommendations!
Every day we face a new challenge and sometimes a new battle to juggle or beat but we genuinely love what we do and we do it because we love it.
email us at: email@example.com
Marketing Support for organisations of all sizes.
We like to think we can help with most business objectives, just a few of the areas of marketing support we specialise in include the following:
Content marketing strategy
Small agency consultancy support
Market research – surveys, questionnaires, focus groups Subscriptions and distribution
Loyalty marketing/membership marketing
E-commerce setup and management
Readability/tone of voice
Contract Publishing – B2B and consumer
Print and publication management – full service offering (inserts, magazines, brochures, catalogues)
New business development/strategy
Commercial consultancy – advertising sales support/setup/management Subscriptions management
Distribution management/targeted placement
Search engine optimisation
Social media strategy
This list isn’t exhaustive but covers the type of work we do. For costs and more information on marketing support in-house or offsite please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Steve on 07723 024865
Professional Marketing Support.
You may be spending loads on marketing your business already or you may be considering advertising and are not sure of where to invest. Magnificent Stuff are running a limited promotion giving local businesses access to jargon-free, professional marketing support with London agency expertise – helping you to attract more customers for minimum costs.
You know that you need to market your business, knowing how to is a different matter entirely. Let Magnificent Stuff take that burden off your shoulders so you can get on with what you do best.
As a business owner you should be able to focus on what you’re good at – using your skills and acumen to work in, develop and refine your business product or service. At Magnificent Stuff we pride ourselves on being good at what we do too – we let your prospective customers know that you’re there, leaving you to focus on your day job.
That said we also realize that proving a Return On Investment, (that your marketing is actually working) can be difficult, especially with regards to marketing, and that’s where our Promotional Offer comes in.
We will sit down with you, formally or informally and discuss the objectives of your company – where you are, where you’d like to be (in three months, six months or five years), your visibility and your target market – and will put together a digital and hard copy of a mini marketing plan that will produce results for you. This strategy will be tailored specifically to your company and designed to maximize exposure – and hence sales in your chosen marketplace and will cost only £60.
If you like us, and want some ongoing assistance from us we will give 50% of the offer fee back to you. If you want to manage the plan yourself, that’s ok too, because we’d have worked on it together you will be able to confidently look after the marketing for your business knowing you’re reaching the right people in the right places.
So whether its social media, advertising, directory listings, market research, emails, blogs or brochures Magnificent Stuff are on hand to work one-to-one with you whether you’re a plumber, a solicitor, a dog groomer or an accountant.
For more details please contact Steve or Emma at email@example.com, by phone on 0772302485 or you can tweet us @magnificentstuf.
Magnificent Stuff are affiliate members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and have nearly 50 years industry experience.
For a long time now I have been attending networking events and seminars and meeting numerous small, medium and large business owners in formal and informal settings. When asked, as one always is, ‘What does your company do, exactly?’ I had a stock phrase: “I represent a company called ‘Magnificent Stuff’ and we’re content marketeers.”
Good, eh? Sounds professional and has the added bonus of actually being the truth, which helps.
Trouble is that no-one had the faintest idea what I was talking about. To anyone outside of our industry it’s meaningless jargon. Eyes glaze over.
So now I have a new line “I represent a company called ‘Magnificent Stuff’ and we get you more exposure, more contacts, more leads, more sales and – bottom line – more money’. Full stop. Period.
The business owners I meet have skills that people want, they have training, they have ideas and they have great products that they’ve developed and believe in. That said, and let’s be frank – you could have the best product in England, a World-changing product, but if no-one knows it’s there why bother at all?
These business owners are good at their jobs, they’ve all has success to a lesser or greater extent and they should be working hard in their business to make it progress. We’re good at what we do too and that is using marketing to tell the whole damn World if necessary that these businesses and products exist.
Visit us here – Magnificent Stuff
Recent research shows us that an advertorial is 500 times more likely to be read than a normal advertisement. It is 50 times more likely to result in a consumer lead or sale. Pretty incredible stats, I think you’ll agree.
Creating A Great Advertorial
As a form of native advertising the danger in creating a great advertorial is making sure that the reader feels conned at the end of the content. If he/she has read through 500 words about the joys of a particular type of red wine say, only to be hit with ‘Buy it here! We’re really cheap!’ as the concluding line – the risk is clearly that the reader will feel conned or tricked and become annoyed rather than engaged. Like so much of native advertising the sales pitch must be very soft.
Talented writers, of course, will regularly pen articles or opinion pieces which appear not to be selling anything. Humorous or engaging editorial which engages and entertains without even mentioning a product or Brand. In this instance the writer may be simply promoting himself or the company he works for. Somewhere in that article will be his contact details or that of his firm. The sales pitch is extremely subtle. However we are not all Stephen Fry or Russell Brand and a more direct approach has to suffice.
A word to the wise though:- If you do not feel confident in writing a decent advertorial a safer option is outsource it to a competent writer or marketing firm who specialise in this form of content. A poorly written piece can cause serious damage. It you do chose to do it yourself below are a couple of links containing some excellent advice. Perhaps you should contact Magnificent Stuff (soft and subtle enough?). Good luck!
As we’ve discussed before there are 5 main reasons that most businesses use social networking and blogging. It’s useful to have a think about how many of these reasons apply to your company’s posts…
- To Promote
To give your business a voice, a personality and an opportunity to shout about its benefits.
- To Inspire
Inspiration gives us a push to keep going, try harder or aim higher. Inspiring messages are shared to create a ‘feel good’ feeling amongst followers
- To Entertain
If you look at our piece on The Power of a Smile you’ll see how important and cathartic smiling and laughter are for wellbeing.
- To inform
Whether it’s the latest in news, the current trend on or a nearby event social media has become an integral medium for information.
- To connect
When I joined Facebook nearly ten years ago the immediate draw for me was that it kept me in touch with friends I no longer saw in person, due to our various relocations around the globe. It instantly added a layer of valued connectivity to my day to day activities. Now I use social media and my content to connect @Magnificentstuf with other similar organisations and to help establish our brand.
Given that you and many other businesses will have ticked only number one, you might now begin to appreciate why social media can seem a very noisy, overcrowded place, and also perhaps why many tweets, posts and updates are ignored. The savvy social media user amongst us knows that appealing to points two to five on the list is the way to get noticed…so –
1) When promoting your business don’t rerun the same post advertising your service or product. Think about smarter ways to promote, use case studies, promotional offers, testimonials.
2) Look to inspire if that is your strength; people love to absorb the wisdom of Jack Canfield first thing in the morning as they start their day, and I’m sure they’ll love your wisdom or shared insights too.
3) If humour comes naturally don’t be afraid to inject comedy into your posts (just think about how your brand may be perceived – non-offensive and clean may leave a better impression!)
4) Share information that people can put to good use. One of our most successful posts to date is ‘9 natural ways to keep spiders out of your home’ – this post has nothing to do with Magnificent Stuff… It’s not in any way marketing related but it’s interesting and informative and topical. People liked and shared leading to a positive impact on Magnificent Stuff’s reputation.
5) Support and assist your community in the same way that you would your own circle of friends. Going the extra mile for others counts for an awful lot. Follow, like and share others posts. So long as it’s not a direct competitor it’s nice, good practice and reflects well on your brand to engage publicly with others.
I usually spend an hour or so on a Sunday planning content for the week ahead. I set myself a goal of writing a split percentage across each of the 5 types of content listed above and set about researching and brainstorming posts.
Some tips for content creation:
- Google national or global calendar dates so you can use these as posts.
- Design cool graphics to accompany your posts using canva.com.
- Keep or pin inspirational quotes and posts you’ve seen during the week so you can retweet or share them.
- Integrate your social media so they work succinctly (writing a post in Hootsuite that will post across all of your channels together) but me mindful that audiences will differ so sometimes the message will need to be changed, also the display of posts changes from channel to channel.
- Ask your followers what they would like to see more of.
- Review your insights to see which type of posts have been successful and generate decent levels of engagement.
For more tips, advice and content ideas contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“What is it you do, exactly?” Over the last week we’ve been asked this question a number of times so it is clearly necessary to write a post explaining. I think the smartest and most concise summary would be in ‘elevator pitch’ style. So here we go…
MAGNIFICENT STUFF is a marketing consultancy with a focus on customer retention, loyalty and acquisition.
In a nutshell, we help you acquire and keep customers. We cover all aspects of marketing from research and planning through to evaluation and strategy. Anything an in-house marketing team takes care of we can manage. Basically, we’re offering small businesses and enterprises a marketing department on a consultancy basis. We work with clients who want to grow their customer base, promote their product/service and drive sales. We are NOT social media strategists, nor web designers, design agency or advertising agency. We do help clients with their social media, websites and advertising and we also work collaboratively with these specialists if it is necessary to meet a client’s brief. Our experience lies in branded content, editorial and account/project management. We have worked with some of the Worlds biggest brands. To give you an idea of the scope of work we do,
- We are currently working on developing a publishing programme to generate sales in the South-west,
- Supporting a creative supplier to the arts industry with marketing expertise,
- Writing editorial style copy for a publication to promote a number of very different businesses,
- Managing the social media accounts of two sole traders,
- Writing/selling a sponsorship package for a large charity event.
So, in layman’s terms, we are developing the strategy and setup of a profitable magazine, working as marketing department and project management consultancy to an art installation supplier, writing specialised ad copy to generate revenue, running the social media marketing for clients and putting together a sponsorship package to sell. Hopefully this explains things a bit, but if you’re still unsure please fire any questions to email@example.com and we’d be delighted to help. If you’d like to tap into some of our skills then please don’t hesitate to contact us too. We start with a free, no obligation, meeting, where we’ll learn about your business and understand your needs to identify what (and if) we can help with.
Your Social Media audience won’t be fooled for long.
Being lured into following a brand to win a prize or enter a draw is fine but when users do a mass cull/sort out, or become irritated by the wrong message appearing in their feed, unless a brand has worked extremely hard to engage and have some relationship with that consumer that brand will be unliked/unfollowed quicker than you can say ‘tweet’. It’s imperative to think about and plan your social media content in order to build a positive relationship and good loyalty from your audience.
More can be found about social media relationship building here