Click here to email your question
admin@appletreeuk.com
One in Ten

Thousands of new businesses are started in the UK every year and yet few of them last for one year, let alone ten. This book is the story of one of the successful ones and is full of motivation and inspiration.  Buy your copy of the book now for just £12.99 + £2.50 p+p.

one in 10 cover spreads.indd

Posts Tagged ‘business’

blog speech bubbleTwo weeks ago in this blog, I wrote about the problem that many small service businesses face, in that their competitors seem to be getting all the work. You can read that blog again here. Following on from this, last week we started to look at the solution to this dilemma – the fact that you need to show your potential clients what makes your business different to and better than your competitors. For a reminder of that blog, click here.

In this post I’m going to take that solution one step further and tell you about a really simple way to show your prospects why they should work with you instead of your competitors. So what’s the answer? Write a blog!

When you provide a service such as coaching, consulting, training or speaking, you don’t have a tangible ‘product’ to show to people. Unless you have a book to sell, there is nothing that prospects can pick up, look at and compare to what the next person is selling. What you’re actually selling is yourself, your time and your expertise. So how do you show that to someone who might want to buy from you? They need to see examples of your experience and knowledge and one of the best ways of doing this is by writing about it in a blog. Don’t fill up the pages by telling prospects how great you are, how cheap your service is, or how many awards you’ve won. Show them how good you are by writing about the solutions to the problems that your clients ask you about. Tell your readers how to solve their problems – just as this blog is showing you how to beat your competitors by sharing your knowledge in a blog!

In order to really stand apart from your competitors, you need to take blog writing to the next level, by including in them your Emotional USP (eUSP), which I wrote about in last week’s blog. If your eUSP is Growth, use your blog to show how your service helps your clients to grow their businesses; if it is Connection, show your readers how you can connect them to the people they need to meet. At Appletree our eUSP is Certainty – our clients work with us because they know that we will get the work done for them and get them the new clients they need. They know that if we say we’ll write a blog for them every two weeks, then we will write really good content that shows off what they do (and their eUSP) every two weeks, without them having to worry about coming up with ideas or ever having to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!)

If you haven’t already done so, go back to last week’s blog and get clear on your eUSP. Then think about the problems that you solve for your clients and how you can combine the solutions with your eUSP. We’ve recently done this at Appletree, so that we have a full schedule of blog ideas planned out for the rest of 2016 (that’s nearly 10 months of weekly topics!) Then all you have to do is get writing!

If you need some help with getting started with a blog or working out what to write about, contact us for a chat. If you actually want someone to write a blog for your business on a regular basis, then call us on 01635 578 500 or email me at Chantal@Appletreeuk.com and we can talk about our Managed Marketing service which can do all of that for you.

Image source: marleneknobbe.wikispaces.com

ChurchIn December 2015 I spent the weekend with my friend Katie, who is a vicar. She had recently moved to a new parish, with a large church in a market town in Essex and a number of village churches. Because she was new to the town, Katie spent time during her first few of months watching the way things are being done at the church and getting to know her parishioners. Some things were done differently to the church where she trained and some things were the same. She had lots of ideas for what she wanted to do, but knew that she needed time to get settled in and learn the ropes, before making too many changes and perhaps upsetting some of her congregation.

Because my marketing brain never really switches off, during the weekend I stayed with her, Katie and I spent time talking about how to go about marketing a church and the similarities between churches and commercial businesses.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Create some inspiring goals. If Katie wants to make any changes within the church – to the services, the events they run to raise funds for the church, or other activities – she will need buy in from the majority of her congregation. The best way to do this is by creating some clear, compelling and inspiring goals that she can share with them. If she just started making changes, people would probably ask “Why is she changing the way we’ve always done things?” and object to the changes. Having clear goals also makes them much easier to achieve, as with any commercial business.
  • Look after your existing clients first. While a church may not think that it has ‘clients’, it has. They are the people who use the services of the church – the ones who attend the actual church services on a regular basis; the schools and other groups who use the church for their events, such as concerts; and the people who rent the church hall for their functions. If one of Katie’s goals is to increase the regular congregation by introducing different styles of service, she first needs to look after the people who regularly attend the Sunday services. If she makes changes that they don’t like, they could stop attending church. However, if she keeps them happy, they are far more likely to tell their friends, neighbours and relatives about the wonderful new vicar, encouraging them to go to church. Looking after your clients means that they will do some of your marketing for you.
  • Find the free marketing. Churches rely on public money – donations, fundraising and legacies – to keep going. This means that, like many businesses, they have tight budgets and a limited amount to spend on marketing, or encouraging more people to attend church. Luckily, these days there seem to be more and more marketing tools to use that only require time and not money, in order to make the most of them. At Katie’s church, they have developed a simple leaflet to give to people the first time they attend a service, to welcome them and tell them about the regular services and other events. It has a portion on which they can give their name and email address, leaving that with someone from the church. They can then receive the monthly email newsletter that is written by one of the parishioners (who happens to work in marketing for a local law firm and who enjoys copywriting!) This allows the church to keep in touch with them without spending any money, continuing to make them feel welcome and part of the congregation.

I’m hoping to do some more marketing work with Katie and her team in 2016, to help her to grow her church. In the meantime, think about how you can create some goals, look after your clients and find some free marketing, in order to grow your business this year.

Last year I wrote a number of blogs about the best marketing tools you can use for your business. I covered a range of different marketing activities that work really well for us here at Appletree and that work for our clients too. However, there is one thing that you still need, no matter which marketing tools you use. Without it, much of the marketing you do won’t actually work.

What is this missing element? Whatever marketing you do for your business – whether that’s networking, social media or, public speaking – nothing will work properly for you, unless you have a Marketing Plan. Too many people launch into doing all sorts of marketing, because they think (or hope) that it might work. But they don’t stop to think first about what they want to achieve, who their ideal clients are or what sort of marketing might work best to attract those ideal clients. Let me explain with a story.

How does Planning work for Appletree?

Page 63Running workshops and seminars is a great to promote what we do here, by sharing our marketing knowledge and expertise. During the summer of 2015 I started planning some events for later in the year and the start of the 2016.

I always use a spreadsheet, like the one shown from Chapter 8 of my book, Magnetic Marketing, to plan our marketing. I contacted some people who could help me put on the events and we agreed a number of dates and topics. Then I started to fill in the spreadsheet. First I list on the left hand side a number of marketing activities I want to use – this newsletter, my blog, networking events and social media, for a start. Weekly dates are put into the top row and the dates of the events are written in. Next, I work backwards from the events, looking at how each marketing tool can be used, how and when.

For example, for a workshop I’m delivering in December, I wrote some promotional material to send to the organizer, so that he could talk about it at the networking event the month before, in mid-November. I filmed a short promotional video for the event organizer to send out, in the weeks leading up to the event (their first promotional email was sent out by the end of November.) The event is featured in this December issue of Scribbles (see below for the details – clever, isn’t it, this planned marketing?!) In the first week of December we started talking about the event on Twitter and LinkedIn, in updates that were written and scheduled a couple of weeks before.

And while all that was going on, I ordered a new batch of Magnetic Marketing, fully updated, which I could take to the event.

If I just started telling people about the workshop two days before it, there wouldn’t be many people there. Two days is not long enough to promote this sort of event – you need plenty time and you need to integrate a number of different marketing activities.

Create a plan for your marketing for 2016 and for different events or campaigns, to get the best results from your marketing and not miss any great opportunities.

Planning in Practice

The 3rd edition of my first book, Magnetic Marketing, is now available! It’s been updated and added to and will teach you the nine stage Marketing Planning process that I’ve used successfully with hundreds of small business. Order your copy here.

If you’d rather work through a Marketing Planning process with a group of other people, I’m running workshop where we’ll be doing that, on 22 January 2016. This 90 minute workshop is being run by the Swindon CIPD group (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.) If you’d like to attend, get in touch and I’ll send you the booking details.

For the last few months I’ve been writing in these blogs about the best marketing tools you can use for your business. I’ve covered a range of different marketing activities that work really well for us here at Appletree and that work for our clients too. However, there is one thing that you still need, no matter which marketing tools you use. Without it, much of the marketing you do won’t actually work.

What is this missing element? Whatever marketing you do for your business – whether that’s networking, social media or, public speaking – nothing will work properly for you, unless you have a plan. Too many people launch into doing all sorts of marketing, because they think (or hope) that it might work. But they don’t stop to think first about what they want to achieve, who their ideal clients are or what sort of marketing might work best to attract those ideal clients. Let me explain with a story.

How does Planning work for our clients?

OAS shopsI wrote in another blog about how I offered some free marketing support to the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary. You can read the background story here. One of the challenges faced by the marketing team at the Sanctuary was coming up with ways to keep their supporters interested. Between us we worked out 12 monthly campaigns for the whole of 2016 – something their marketing could focus on each month. We started by looking at some of the key events that they hold during the year – a fundraising dinner in the spring, an open day in the summer, the Oxford half marathon in October and Christmas shopping in December. Then we filled in the gaps, to make sure we had something to work on for every other month. Next, we worked back from each key event, to plan the marketing that was needed, to make sure that each event or campaign got the right coverage.

For example, the January campaign is called Muddy Mutts, where people are being encouraged to send in photos of their muddy dogs – something very common at that time of year! Anyone can take part via Twitter and the Facebook page. A prize will be given to the muddiest mutt and the whole campaign will be used to encourage people to think about giving a dog from the Sanctuary a home. Since the competition starts in January, we wrote about it in the December newsletter. A new webpage was created in November, to which the newsletter could link. A whole range of social media updates were also prepared and photos of muddy mutts were collected, to get the campaign going. It’s not just a case of starting a campaign on 1 January and hoping that it works; it’s about planning ahead.

Look at your diary for 2016 and start making some plans for what you want to achieve throughout the year. Then start filling in the gaps, to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get the best results from your marketing.

Planning in Practice

The 3rd edition of my first book, Magnetic Marketing, is now available! It’s been updated and added to and will teach you the nine stage Marketing Planning process that I’ve used successfully with hundreds of small business. Order your copy here.

If you’d rather work through a Marketing Planning process with a group of other people, I’m running workshop where we’ll be doing that, on 22 January 2016. This 90 minute workshop is being run by the Swindon CIPD group (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.) If you’d like to attend, get in touch and I’ll send you the booking details.

Over the years, I’ve measured the marketing that we do at Appletree (because measuring your marketing is very important!) and I’ve noticed a trend. Every year, about 40% of our new business comes as a result of me speaking in public about marketing. Speaking also works well for many of our clients, so this blog will show you how you can use it for your service business too.

How does Speaking work for Appletree?

Magnetic Marketing coverIn September 2014 I was asked to deliver a 90 minute workshop on marketing to a group of HR professionals in Swindon. I’ve given talks to the group a number of times before and I’ve been booked to deliver another workshop for them in January 2016! The audience is made up mainly of independent HR consultants – people running their own businesses. They are all experts in what they do, so they’re not experts in marketing; in fact, some of them don’t even like doing marketing! With this in mind, I ran an interactive workshop where I took the audience through a 9 stage Marketing Planning process that I’ve created. It’s quite simple to follow and makes marketing easy for everyone running their own business. In these workshops, I share all my marketing know-how, answering whatever questions I’m asked. I do whatever I can to help the people in the room to get to grips with their marketing. I share all my marketing expertise and don’t hold anything back.

I wasn’t paid to deliver the Swindon workshop, but I still treat the delegates just as I treat my paying clients. They can pick my brains as much as they like! The same applies when I give talks to networking groups – whether they are 10 minutes long or 2 hours long.

So how does all this generosity bring me business? One of the delegates who heard me speak at the Swindon workshop recommended me to a business colleague. She phoned and asked for my help in promoting her business. She had heard good things about me and at the end of a phone conversation, she booked me to deliver a one-to-one workshop for her business, at a fee of £1000, plus travel expenses – and she’d never even met me! That is the power of public speaking as a marketing tool.

Be generous in your speaking – share your knowledge and expertise and see how it can bring you new clients too.

Follow Us On
Scribbles Newsletter
Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter full of hints and tips to help you with your marketing.
* = required field
Follow me on Twitter