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We’re big fans of email newsletters.  They are a potent marketing tool when managed properly.  It’s not hard to do and you don’t need a lot of technical skills to implement your own email marketing campaign.

There are a host of different email marketing applications available.  Some, like www.ymlp.com and www.mailchimp.com have free versions available.

If it’s so easy, why do so many businesses still get it wrong?  I had a speculative email yesterday from a local pub-come-restaurant.  This particular hostelry hasn’t got the best customer service reputation in town.  So no, we probably weren’t going to rush out and book a table for their Christmas party night.

So what made this email such a major blunder?

  1. It was sent from their normal email address, using the BCC (blind copy) facility.  That makes it looks amateurish at best.
  2. They didn’t use an opt-in list, so it wasn’t targeted in any way.
  3. Instead of putting the Christmas party information on their website to encourage traffic, they sent two attachments with the email.  Would you risk opening a file like that?  No, nor did I.

OK, these are common mistakes and can be forgiven.  But the biggest blunder of all … their mailbox is full!  Any email responses simply bounce back with a message saying … ‘Mailbox disk space quota exceeded, please try again later’.  They clearly didn’t come to WORD-right.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

And if you’re wondering how I know, I replied immediately asking to be removed from their mailing list.  But suppose I wanted to make a booking …

THe Cutting Edge in Banbury Hair Salon

The Cutting Edge Hair Salon Reception

If you’ve thought about using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but wondered if it’s effective, read on …

Yesterday we launched the new website for Banbury hair salon: The Cutting Edge.  The site went live just before 2pm.  The salon directors understand the importance of social media and how it can help their marketing.  They use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn extensively.

Despite it being a Sunday, a day when there tends to be less social media traffic, Kirsty Pearce (Salon Director of The Cutting Edge) started promoting the new site on their Facebook page and through Twitter.

The launch of a new website is always an excellent marketing opportunity and it’s possible to generate a significant volume of traffic using social media.  We always help our clients promote their new sites and keep a close eye on the website stats to measure the effectiveness of the launch activity.

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter,  record numbers of visitors looked at the new Cutting Edge website. In less than half a day, 858 people visited the site and a staggering 2,739 page loads were registered.  How does this compare to the hits on the average small business website?

This clearly demonstrates the benefits of social media as a marketing tool.  If you’re convinced, but don’t know where to start, you can get a free copy of our WORD-right guide to using Twitter here.

Baby cabbages

Tomorrow's lunch?

To get the best results from your marketing, as with your gardening, you have to work at it.  Growing a business is a lot like gardening … would you expect to plant some seeds today … and have cabbages for lunch tomorrow?  If only ….

The garden is your business; the plants are your customers; the flowers and fruit are your sales; and the weeds, slugs and other predators are your competitors!

Marketing your company, like gardening, takes planning, effort and imagination.  So how can you make ‘your garden grow’?

  • Prepare the ground: think about your branding & niche markets
  • Preserve the older, more mature plants:  look after your existing customers.  Making repeat sales to them is 5 times easier!
  • Condition the soil with lots of good organic material:  make sure your marketing material is well-written, ideally by a professional copywriter
  • Choose good quality seeds: invest in your marketing materials – they say everything about your business
  • Watch out for predators!  Did you know a slug has 27,000 teeth? Develop a USP (Unique Selling Point). Your competitors will!  There are a lot of slugs about!
  • Nurture your seedlings:  develop good customer service strategies
  • Water & feed regularly:  communicate with your customers.  Send them newsletters … drip feed them with information
  • Propagate your own plants: ask for referrals and work on your networking
  • Boast about your garden: think about PR, and make the most of your free opportunities
Vegetable harvest

Harvesting the fruits of your marketing?

Don’t forget your company’s marketing activities will be what your prospective customer or client will use to judge you.  While you should always present yourself in a positive light, don’t over do the ‘fertiliser’!

Marketing your business takes time.  Like your garden, you shouldn’t expect results overnight.  Your objective is to build solid, long-lasting relationships with your customers.  This way you can look forward to repeat sales, referrals, and a sound customer base.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

In an earlier blog I suggested some of us small business owners should get together and have a Christmas party.  The idea went down well on Facebook and Twitter.  Now it’s time to make the decision and book your place!

Do you want to join in the ‘Buffet and Bop’ fun at:

  • Rye Hill Golf Club
  • Wednesday 7th December
  • £19.50 per person

Why not bring along your other half?  They’re the ones who support us throughout the year and put up with all the ups and downs of our business life.  Now’s the chance to say a big thank you to them too.

You’ll see the full details of the menu etc on my earlier post.

Book now!

To book your places, email me telling me how many places you’d like reserved.  Payment is by cheque only (£19.50 per person), payable to Rye Hill Golf Club.   I’ll email you by return telling you where to send the cheque.  Please note: payment MUST be made by cheque.  We can’t accept cheque or debit / credit card payments.

Booking Deadline

  • Bookings and cheques must be received by Friday 25th November to secure your place(s).
  • Bookings will depend on availability at Rye Hill.

Well … what are you waiting for?  Email me and write that cheque today!

Happy Christmas!

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