Show some love…

Are you guilty of getting caught up in the day to day running of your business?

Invoices will always need to be processed, suppliers to be chased, wages to be paid, the list goes on…

But how often do you switch your focus to nurturing your business?

Customers respond well to nurturing, just look at John Lewis. They have taken the approach of solid customer service both pre and post-sale combined with mainstream advertising. John Lewis has fared the storms of previous economic uncertainty by keeping their customers loyal. But while we don’t all have the marketing budget to match that of this retail giant, other marketing tactics such as newsletters, blogs and social media can be effective for your business.

The key is to make sure that you maintain contact with your existing customers and keep them informed. If customers remain engaged then they are more likely to stay loyal. This does not mean calling them once a week – anybody would find that annoying. It is far simpler than that with the use of pre-scheduled activities.

Newsletters – These are a great way to update subscribers on company news, product developments and availability. These should be scheduled for intervals that both you and your customers are happy with, e.g. once a month. These can always be used as a reference tool if they contain educational information.

Blogs – This is me practicing what I preach. My blog followers are not necessarily the recipients of my newsletter. But I find that people like the opinion and varied topics whilst not subjecting themselves to the hard sell.

Social media – Messages can be scheduled in advance, or can be posted as and when the inspiration appears. Either way, it need not dominate your time, but it should be regular although not incessant!

Of course the occasional email or call does provide the personal touch!

If you would like advice on how to create your own newsletters, blogs or social media plan, then we are happy to help or visit: www.pinpointmarketingconsultancy.co.uk/packages.

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Love what you do!

Where did January go? It could be the case that the resolutions for this year have already been abandoned and we plod on in much the same way we did before. But just stop for a minute and in the spirit of Valentines take stock of your business and what you love about it.

I expect that, like me, you made the bold decision to start your own business because of a love of what you do or your field of expertise. But there are often other elements of managing a business that are somewhat of chore as we don’t love them or even particularly understand them. Running my business has been made much easier by utilising the expertise of others in order to manage my accounts and HR responsibilities. By outsourcing the jobs I loath to better qualified and knowledgeable individuals, I am free to get on with the activities that give me the greatest satisfaction.

The same applies to marketing, it is essential for your business to develop and grow, but if this is a topic that simply doesn’t ‘do it’ for you, then why not call in an expert?

My career has been spent in marketing and I live and breathe it every day!

Pinpoint Marketing Consultancy operates with the aim of supporting businesses like yours, to achieve their goals through planned and well executed marketing activities. We love creating marketing plans, newsletters, social media training, content planning, websites, PR, copy writing and more…

Getting started on identifying your specific marketing needs couldn’t be easier, simply click on the link below and complete the survey.

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/31beaa47b19d7328b7ae66c9b/files/b820da14-2a99-4bb2-b1a5-c35ca22e63ad/Marketing_Help_2017.01.pdf

Show your business you care and love it and let me do what I love doing best.

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Uncertainty is opportunity

Brexit will be a hot topic for the foreseeable future, and I’m sure its impact will be felt in business throughout 2017 and beyond. But exactly what that impact will be is uncertain, so instinct leads us all to be far more cautious.

We already know that there will be rising food and manufacturing costs due to a drop in cheap labour from abroad. And we know that these costs will no longer be absorbed by producers but instead be passed on directly to the consumer. We will also see hikes in the price of foreign goods, and as a nation of importers this is significant. The automatic response from British businesses’ will be to tighten the purse strings. It is inevitable. But often the first thing to suffer is marketing, as many view it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential part of their business.

But is this short-sighted?

In an increasingly tough economic climate, you need to be able to draw attention to your offerings, create interest, reinforce the brand, keep customers loyal and generate a lead pipeline. All this can be achieved through marketing.

By spending wisely on marketing and creating a plan which incorporates targeted activities you can get results and actually create stability. Based on past performance, the marketing community actually predicts that there will be greater spending on social media in 2017, while other areas may see a decline. Facebook still remains the most popular platform but others such as Snapchat are building their followers and therefore their appeal to marketers.

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one” Voltaire

We certainly can’t predict the future and uncertainty is inescapable. But rather than fear it, we ought to embrace it and treat it as an opportunity. This could be chance to review your offering, working methods or target audience and get it all formalised in a plan. So maybe it’s time to drop the pessimistic attitude to Brexit, as it is going to happen irrespective of our individual viewpoints, and instead start planning ahead.

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Book review – “Strong Woman” by Karren Brady

I have been recently reading Strong Woman by Karren Brady. I picked this book to read in the Christmas holiday break because I enjoy watching her on the Apprentice, I like football (in particular West Ham) and because like me (although I am not comparing to her directly!), she is a hard-working, working mum.  A phrase she uses to describe herself.
So what I have learned from reading this book?  Here I share my thoughts.

She talks about good, in the early stages of the book, as being a barrier for businesses being great. I often find this when I am talking to businesses about their marketing. They are happy as they are sometimes and don’t want to rock the boat. She says there is no need to settle and why not forsake good to get to great.  I agree. Taking calculated risks can lead to great opportunities. She says “I’ll always work hard to improve my situation, I’m ambitious”.  This is an ethos close to my own heart.

She goes on to say that she sees problems as an opportunity to show off her talent and put everything into action. I agree in principle, and it is something to work on to be this positive. Rather than feeling negative about problems, turn them to your advantage where possible.  A note to self for me to do.

She says you don’t have to love every aspect of a business you are involved in, but you do need to respect it.  I couldn’t agree more. Once you respect the area, you can appreciate it and value.  Whether you do this yourself, or outsource is up to you. Just because we are business owners, doesn’t mean we have to do all of the jobs ourselves. I use experts to get work for my business done and businesses in turn use me as an expert for their marketing.  I personally don’t like numbers or accounts, but I respect they need to be done and I respect their value and what we can learn from them and how to use them. I use an expert to help me.

Karren lists three pillars without which you cannot build a business. These are: planning, process and structure.
I agree! Planning leads to process which in turn leads to order and structure. Planning brings success rather than winging it.

“The truth is, she writes, is that the more successful you become, the harder you work, because the successful you become, the more work you are offered.”

Another area where I saw similarities between us is where she talks about a few traits she has, like having a can-do attitude, energy, persistence and perseverance. This is me, I hope, in a nutshell.

Chapter 13, entitled, My rules for success, notes
Rule no. 1 as word hard. Agreed.
Rule no.4 is have the courage to take risks. Not easy sometimes, but agreed.
Rule no.6 is to learn to juggle. Definitely! As a “working mum”, this is what we do best. We often battle the work life balance and the mother/boss balance in our own minds and struggle with this concept of having it all, but it is possible.  She is working proof, as am  I and many of you reading this blog.
Rule no. 7 is plan to win. Fail to plan and plan to fail. Agreed.

Lady Karren Brady summarises her insightful book about her life, career, family, health issues, TV career and more with her rules for inspiration. Success she concludes means different things to different people.  She says whatever your success looks like then remember there are three cornerstones to achieving it – Planning, Process and Strategy.
These are definitely rules I admire and stick to within my personal and work life. It has led to a successful business and happy home life so far for me.

I really enjoyed this book and read it in a matter of days. Normally I wouldn’t review a book in this, but I felt a lot of the content rang true and would be useful to you all in the SME business world and a big thumbs up to all us “working mums!”

Thank you for the read!

If you would like to read the book yourself, it is available on Amazon.

 

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Marketing mistakes to make even the most mild mannered go mad!

Customers are busy people, so make your marketing easy for them to read, digest and action.

Action from them will mean leads and sales for you!

1. No photo or a poorly taken photo as your social media profile pic
2. Out of date website or even worse, no website at all!
3. Old posts of more than a month or so on your feed or blog. Inactive accounts
4. Spelling mistakes or typos on your marketing material
5. Thin business cards or bent/ripped cards
6. Offering a sign up box for newsletters and then not sending a newsletter out!
7. Broken links on social media profiles or your website
8. Offers live that are out of date

Are you guilty of one or more of these mistakes?
Review your marketing for 2017!

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Don’t forget the staff …

If you are busy planning your marketing campaigns and plans for 2017, don’t forget to include marketing to your internal customers e.g. Your staff or colleagues. So what do you say and how can you say it?
Areas to cover off? Company updates, policy information (if you are reading this then a reminder told your social media policy would be pertinent and a good idea and if you don’t have one then consider this!), policy reminders, staff news, important dates, announcements and more.
How to get this message across? You can send internal newsletters, update the website or create a separate staff only area and update social media profiles too.
Making sure staff are updated, on message and that they feel part of a team is vital for motivating them and for making campaigns a success.
Staff and colleagues are a great asset to you and they can be a key cog in the promotions wheel. Use what you have got and use it wisely.

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Practicing what we preach when it comes to increasing profits!

Here at Pinpoint, we have always been a firm believer in practicing what we preach. We wouldn’t dream of telling our clients to do something marketing wise for their business that we wouldn’t or haven’t done ourselves.

We don’t believe in gambling or unnecessary risk taking, but we have proven techniques and ways of marketing.

Today we received an email from our accountant having completed our annual company accounts.  In our hearts and minds, the team here know we have worked hard and done a good job, but everyone loves a fact and we are no exception.  The good news, and something we are so very proud of, is that our profits are up significantly and so is our turnover.  We are also buying smarter.

So, as well as showing we know what we are doing and we practice what we preach, these great results also prove that if we can do this for our own business then we can achieve such financial results for your business too!  We also have a lot of testimonials from current and past clients echoing this sentiment.

So, who wants to increase their profits in 2017?

Who wants a trusted marketing partner to help them achieve such goals?

Look no further ….. http://pinpointmarketingconsultancy.co.uk/contact.html

This time of year is often a period of reflection for many of us. May we also take this opportunity to wish our customers, past and present, our suppliers, our staff, our mentors and colleagues at Athena and everyone involved with Pinpoint this year! We couldn’t of done it without you and here is a too an even better 2017 for us all!

Thank you

Nicole and Victoria

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