What can we do to help in our local community?

This is a slightly different blog to my usual business/marketing ones, but hopefully one you will read anyway.

Today I had a visit to Butterfly House, the recently opened building of the South Bucks Hospice.  The SBH is connected to a charity I came across called the Hospice Lottery which I was told about with great passion via my Athena Network connections and ladies called Belinda Ellis and Annie Smith.  I was shown around by the passionate, enthusiastic and knowledgeable Becca Braithwaite (whilst my mum was volunteering on the reception!).

So why am I writing this blog? Cancer and life limiting illnesses sadly impact too many of us and what the team at Butterfly House are trying to do through their team of volunteers is to care, help, support and look after patients and their families. Through their light and airy and lovely decorated building with relaxing gardens and treatment rooms, they offer many many treatments and therapies and they also have big plans to get expanding and keep providing and getting involved with the local community.

Hospices have connotations of being depressing and whereas I am not doing down the feelings or severity of the situation for the patients, the Butterfly House honestly had a feel of a hotel. Welcoming and homely, yet well equipped and well maintained to the highest of standards, I would recommend you pop in if you can. See for yourself and get involved.

So how can you help?  Are you a business who could donate?  As part of your CSR policy, could you be involved with the charity for mutual gain?
Or are you someone who cover offer their talents and skills through phone answering, driving patients, collecting funds, hosting events, offering complimentary therapies like reiki or aromatherapy or CBT, manicures, colour analysis, make up, hair styling or something else?  The options are endless. Here is how you can find out more!

Thanks for listening and support if you can!

I hope to help with marketing advice going forward and I have just supported the Christmas Superdraw

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What’s new in online marketing?

Who uses social media? As a professional marketeer I know how hard it is to keep up with the latest changes to the way we can market our businesses online, so here is a summary of what to look out for, what to do and some top tips:

  • Did you know Linkedin auto creates company pages for your business from time to time. Search up and see if you have a profile and then take over ownership. Linkedin Co pages are good for SEO and searches.
  • Articles in addition to posts on Linkedin are a good way to promote yourself and your wares. Note though that these don’t get notified to followers anymore.
  • Have you come across Twitter lists? Lists can be a good way to help you organise your followers to allow you to search quickly for updates and news.
  • Looking for what to post on, on Twitter? Use the trends bar on the left side for ideas.
  • Facebook – now videos auto play and with auto sound! Beware if watching videos in the busy office!
  • On Facebook did you know you can follow a page without liking it?
  • Instagram is now a force to be reckoned with. When using this tool, hashtags are vital
  • It is recommended you make your Instagram account a business/open account. This allows more followers to find you and it will give you insights too.
  • Looking to jazz up your photos? Try the Boomerang app.
  • Hootsuite – the free accounts are being limited to the number of posts you can make per month now. In trial now. A “professional” account is recommended.

So now you have a whistle stop tour of the latest changes in social media.

Top tip – there are often no straight forward answers to social media and the complex algorithms behind them, so take it for what it is sometimes.

Happy posting …

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If you were a Little Miss character, who would you be?

Who remembers the Mr Men and Little Miss characters from a few years back by Roger Hargreaves?  Did you have a favourite then? Little Miss Sunshine was one I remember fondly.

If you were to be a Little Miss character today with all your business knowledge, parenting skills perhaps, life experience and qualifications, which one would you be?

Mine doesn’t exist as one, albeit I am probably an amalgum of a few of them, so I would want to create a new one called Little Miss Organised! My character would be red in colour and with curly hair. She would wear nice shoes or boots, she would carry a red phone and a notebook of lists and she would wear a chunky gold necklace or statement piece.

I would love to know your thoughts …

Thanks

Little Miss Organised!

(image from http://www.theworks.co.uk from a Google search)

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This is the way I work

As you will be aware, I work on behalf of clients across numerous industries with varying needs. I do not claim to be an expert in their industries but I certainly try my best to gain that level of knowledge and understanding!

Often the key to good marketing is to get a new perspective from somebody not tied up in the day-to-day running of the business. It is my aim to get a genuine understanding of your business, starting with the basics including what you do, where you operate and your goals. This then enables me to create a detailed marketing plan and in the future continue to operate as a seamless addition to your business.

One glove certainly does not fit all so if I am going to deliver a marketing service that works for each business’ individual needs then I need to do plenty of research and ask many, many questions. I make no apology for asking all those many questions as something you take for granted and may therefore not mention could have greater significance than you think.

The learning curve is very steep when working with a new client, with a need to gather as much information as possible as quickly as possible. This is done with online research, scoping out what the competition does and looking at outside influences. But most important is the initial meeting with a client as I need to get a genuine feel for their business and what they want to achieve. The personalities behind the company name are responsible for the culture and method of operation so getting to know them is crucial.

The agreement of a marketing plan is only the beginning as the client relationship then really takes shape alongside the delivery of that plan. I stay in contact with my clients via telephone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings as this ensures that plans stay on track and meet expectations. You can contact me at anytime to discuss the marketing for your business, but despite this, I am fastidious in ensuring that I dedicate the time necessary to each and every client… time management is one of my strengths!

I like to think that I integrate myself within the businesses of my clients, and some of them don’t mind me quoting them on their experiences:

“We were looking for someone to work with who could quickly understand our business and culture and enhance our marketing strategy without the need for constant supervision. Nicole has developed our ideas and added her own with the benefit of being able to view our business from the outside rather than the inside. The result of having a thought through marketing strategy has been reflected in successfully attracting new business.”

 Jez Hodges, Sygnus

‘Nicole has helped SWINDON lay the foundations of our marketing strategy and controls. I would highly recommend Nicole to any company that is looking to outsource their marketing strategy role.’

Richard Mount, SWINDON Silicon Systems Ltd

Once I have dropped the children off at school then my focus is on my clients. There is never a quiet moment, and I am always learning more but that is just the way I like it!

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Don’t forget to market internally!

So what do I mean by this?

As companies, we have many target audience groups. This could be customers of varying ages or backgrounds or gender, but we also have to market to our staff and team. If the staff and team are on board, then they will help spread the message and reach out to potential customers. They will be motivated to share the company social media posts, they will be proud to talk to friends and family about where they work and what they do.

Staff are an asset and they are also very important in the marketing process, but they are a group often forgotten.

So how can you market internally?

  • internal newsletters
  • email updates
  • team meetings and briefings
  • creating teams to brainstorm ideas and get all departments involved
  • via management meetings
  • via team building activities and away days
  • posters and notices around the office

If you need help marketing and motivating your staff then ask Pinpoint!

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How can a consultant like me help a business like yours?

As well as giving you a real marketing plan, plugging gaps in your resources and knowledge and tracking your campaigns, the main thing a consultant like me can do is to help you stay focused!

  • I can hold you accountable
  • I can keep you on track
  • keep you to deadlines
  • get you organised and
  • stop you wandering off course so you can focus on you and your business

Through a simple report, a consultant can collate your activity, measure your success, point out anything to change and generally check in with you to see how you are doing.

I love organising and genuinely helping clients to get the best results that they can.

Let a consultant like me avoid you making a spectacle of yourself (pardon the pun) and empower you to see clearly and focus on what’s right.

 

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Know your USP!

Do you know your USP?

What makes you stand out from the crowd? Your USP is what will make a customer buy from you.

  • Definition – USP stands for unique selling point/unique selling proposition
  • USP is what gives you a competitive advantage Eg the distinct benefit
  • It’s what makes your business stand out from the crowd and tells your customers what is special about you
  • A clear USP saves customers and potential customers when choosing between you and other potential supplier

How can you find your USP?

  • Know your features and benefits firstly
  • What are you good at? Don’t be shy to sing your own praises
  • What good things do customers say about you/your product or service
  • What words do you use when selling
  • Facts and figures for your market
  • Define who doesn’t want your product as this will also help identify the people who do
  • Know why a customer will take action and appeal to them
  • Look at what competitors are doing? What do they do well or not well?
    • The aim is to look for a gap in the market and to differentiate yourself
  • Be mindful of how you come across/the perception your USP give
  • Then create your positioning statement

Formula

Co name + your business description + point of distinction (usp) + market description = positioning statement

Now you know your USP, how do you use your USP?

  • Test it first
  • In your marketing messaging – your posts, website, strapline, branding, articles, monthly minutes and more
  • On your marketing material
  • When talking and networking
  • Remember, you can have different usp’s for different products/services
  • As with all marketing, review your USP regularly

 

I have delivered a talk on this recently to two of my Athena networking groups. If you could like a copy of the handout to help work out your USP, then please ask me.

 

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