Digital marketing first strategy

By Business, Internet marketing, Marketing strategy, Technology No Comments

A digital marketing first strategy recognises that the world has changed.

Everyone carries smartphones around with them, don’t they?

A smartphone is, in effect, an extension of the human brain. Need an answer to a question? Ask your phone. Need directions? Use one of the Maps services. Bored? Listen to some music or play a game. Need to communicate with a colleague? Email, instant message or phone them, regardless of where you are.

We have become so used to smartphones that we take them for granted. What is more, we are starting to expect a similar immediate response from the world around us.

We hail cabs via Apps and look for jobs within LinkedIn. An increasing number of households are starting to have AI capabilities (Amazon Echo, Google Home).

To what extent is this increasing digitisation of our society affecting businesses?

The answer is that ‘it depends’. Email, smartphones and websites are ubiquitous. A digital strategy, central database (CRM) and integrated digital marketing system less so.

This is surprising, as the cost of customer acquisition via digital marketing is lower. In addition, the chances are that your competitors are currently working flat out to digitise their businesses.

What does a digital marketing first strategy look like? It includes a written plan, buy in and a holistic approach to online brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention.

It sees things from the customers’ perspective (as marketing always has done). The perspective, however, has changed with the new way in which consumers and business decision makers research products and services before they purchase.

It takes into account online brand reputation, starting with the results of a search for your enterprise / what you are selling.

If you are not showing up for a reasonably wide range of search terms on page 1 of Google, this is a negative message.

Once the customer has found you, they want to learn, or take an action, or buy then and there.

To what extent do you offer customers the opportunity to learn about what you do, how well you do it and what your customers think of you?

In my case, I have a community of several thousand business people and marketers who discuss marketing issues via The Marketing Compass, I give talks and I write blogs and books on marketing. I publish an e-newsletter and I am active within social media.

Regardless of the type of enterprise that you own / work for, the principles are the same. Sharing knowledge online, keeping track of contacts and customers via a legally compliant database and making yourself visible in an interconnected world works surprisingly well.

It is helpful for you to ‘become your customer’. Try searching for the items that you are marketing, both on a desktop / laptop and also on a smartphone. See your website as if you are looking at it for the first time. Fill in a contact form. Try calling your own company.

Does everything work? How does it make you feel? What could be improved?

We all need to keep learning about the digital world as it currently stands and the changes that are coming.

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” ~ William Gibson, author

If you would like to discuss this subject with me, email me or call 01628 773128 within the UK or +44 1628 773128 if you are calling from outside the UK.

Internet marketing consultancy services


Startup marketing checklist

By Business, Marketing strategy, Startups, Success No Comments

If you are a startup or if you are thinking of launching a new business, here is a marketing checklist:

  1. Have a written marketing plan. Writing it all down will make you think through the key issues.
  2. Create a visual brand identity, including a logo, font and brand colours.
  3. Build (or review) your website after you have created your marketing plan.
  4. WordPress is a free website CMS (Content Management System) that looks good from the start and will grow with your business.
  5. Your website has to: a. work as an online brochure and b. bring in sales leads / sales (if you have ecommerce).
  6. Choose your promotional mix carefully. You can get a free ebook containing 300 promotional techniques when you join:
    The Marketing Compass
  7. Write something every day. This could be a blog, new website page, newsletter content, press release or social media piece.
  8. Start working on your in-bound marketing using SEO as soon as you can. Start with a keywords list.
  9. At the same time, start to reach out and contact potential new customers. For example, this can be done via Facebook and LinkedIn. Be aware that legislation (such as GDPR in Europe) frowns upon unsolicited messages to people who have not given you permission to communicate with them.
  10. Use MailChimp for your newsletter. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and it integrates with the software that you are likely to use.
  11. Start to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) as early as possible. A CRM that works well with MailChimp is:
    Capsule CRM
  12. Start talking to journalists. Tell them why you are launching your new enterprise and what is different about you (take this from your marketing plan).
  13. Have a system for improving your conversion rates.
  14. some external advice on marketing.
Decisons, decisons

Do you like making decisions?

By Business, Creative thinking, Learning, Psychology, Success No Comments

Are you good at making decisions? Do you tend to make the right decisions, in your personal and professional lives? Do you like making choices?

I have been thinking about this subject, following a series of conversations with The Marketing Compass member and decision making speaker David Knowles-Leak.

We all have to make decisions, every day of our lives. Most decisions are minor in nature (which shirt shall I wear?) whilst some decisions are of crucial importance (shall I propose?)

When I am selling, I sometimes wonder why it can take so long for people to get back to me. I have come to the conclusion that many people like to reflect on a decision, before they take it (or avoid doing so). Or perhaps they are inundated with more pressing matters?

When it comes to marketing, there a host of decisions that need to be made. For example, are we product or customer centric? How much time and money should be devoted to marketing? Will everything be done in-house or will some of it be outsourced? How important is digital marketing? Will we use a push or a pull marketing strategy?

Personally, I tend to make decisions quickly. For example, when I am buying something, I know what I want. When I find it, why not cut to the chase and buy?

I make a lot of decisions and I always talk through the big ones (and many of the smaller ones as well) with my wife, Joanna. We often do this when we go out for a walk, which helps me to think clearly.

As far as I am aware, decision making is not taught as a separate subject in schools. Bearing in mind how important it is, perhaps it should be?

Delivering on your promises

By Branding, Business, Customer care, Customers, Psychology, Spirituality No Comments

Here is a way to succeed in life and in business: keep your promises.

I realise that at times it can be quite hard to do this.

Consistently delivering on your promises can be life changing.

Think of someone you know who does this.

Now think of a business that always keeps its promises.

If they say that they will call you back, they do so. If they are going to do something for you, it gets done.

Consistency is a message in its own right, isn’t it?

Sales and marketing can benefit from this.

The buyer thinks: I may not need you now, but I know where you are and I trust you.

Keeping your promises demonstrates integrity, which is a core brand value.

How hard can it be to keep a promise?

Keeping connected

By Business, Customer care, Technology No Comments

I am on a fast train to London and I am sitting at a table with my laptop placed in front of me. It is plugged in and charging up. I have connected to Great Western Railway’s onboard wifi and it is running well. However, just in case, I always carry a mobile router in my business case. Currently, I am using one from 3 which offers 4G where it is available.

I have my iPhone on the table as well and from time to time it lights up with social media push notifications; I have just received one from LinkedIn which tells me that I have another 1st degree connection there.

When I travel abroad I take my Chromebook which weighs around a kilogram and the battery lasts all day.

Personally, I feel somewhat lost when I am not online, during the working week. I need to keep on top of emails and I have found that the Gmail app on my iPhone 6 is a great way of doing this.

How about you:? Are you always online? Is this a good thing, in your opinion?

Act like a startup

By Business, Psychology, Startups, Success No Comments

If you have been running your business for a while, from time to time you may get fed up with it. You may find yourself disengaging and even wishing that you were doing something else. Perhaps the answer is to act like a startup.

Do you remember when you first started your business? Scary, wasn’t it? Sheer adrenaline propelled you forward. You put in long hours and kept hammering away until you had a successful enterprise on your hands.

Business and indeed human nature does not work in straight lines. Success comes and goes. Sometimes everything is ‘up’ and sometimes everything is ‘down’.  If you find yourself in the doldrums, what would happen if you worked like a startup does, for the month ahead?

For a start, you have to find your passion for your enterprise once again. You would put in longer working hours. You may find yourself wanting to talk to everyone about your business. You would generate new ideas and ways of looking at challenges.

The trouble with having a successful business is that you can stop taking risks. The business owner can find themselves buried in bureaucracy and paperwork. The fun of it all can drain away. Perhaps this is why so many entrepreneurs sell their businesses once they have reached a certain size, only to start all over again.

One idea is to schedule a creative thinking session for your team or hire a business creative thinking speaker in order to help you and your colleagues to think outside of the box.

We welcome startups and small business owners here:

7 reasons to launch a startup

Does fear of software stop you from trying digital marketing ideas?

By Business, Learning, Psychology 2 Comments

Are you comfortable around software? Do you find it easy to learn? Would your business attract more customers if you could master the art of using marketing software?

Digital marketing has brought us new ways to communicate with customers. Every day, new apps, platforms and functionality are launched by software developers.

On the one hand, you want to promote your services / products. On the other hand, there is the continual requirement to learn new software, isn’t there? Having spent hours or days learning WordPress, SEO, Google AdWords, MailChimp etc you may not get the results that you are after. Some initiatives work, some don’t. The important thing is to keep learning.

For some people, fear of failure can stop progress, when it comes to software. It can all feel overwhelming at times, can’t it?

You can watch YouTube videos, read blogs, buy books or go on courses. Alternatively, you can outsource some or all of your requirements.

Personally, I invest two days of my time every month learning new software. This is challenging, as I am always busy.

How about you: what was the last piece of software that you spent time with? How was the experience for you?

It’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s how you handle what happens to you. Thomas J Watson Senior, the founder of IBM said that the formula to success is easy: simply double your rate of failure. Don’t fear failure: learn from it.

I wish you great success with your software journey.

By the way, if you would like some marketing software training, I may be able to help.

Does your team understand your marketing strategy?

By Business, Marketing strategy, Startups No Comments

Have you ever wondered whether your team understands your marketing strategy? By ‘team’ I mean everyone in your enterprise.

Does it matter if they are kept informed? Surely marketing should be left to the professionals?

1. If you do a lot of marketing,  your colleagues are going to get asked about it, aren’t they? Can they articulate your key messages and why your enterprise, products and services stand out from the crowd? Who knows who they are talking to and who they are connected with, via social media?

2. Some great ideas come from people who don’t do marketing. If you work within an established company, the list could include engineers, IT people, sales professionals and back office staff who have served the company for many years. If you work alone or in a small enterprise, ask your mentor, a family member or a supplier. Let them know what you are doing and ask for ideas and feedback. Not everyone will participate, but some of the ideas may well surprise you.

3. If you work in a larger enterprise, at least once a quarter provide a marketing update session. Within startups and SMEs this should be at least monthly, as marketing, brand recognition and new sales enquiries need to be top of the agenda.

Keep people up to speed with your marketing campaigns, social media posts, advertisements, direct mail shots, email campaigns and PR coverage. An easy way to do this is within a monthly e-newsletter, in that you can link to relevant pages and posts within your website. Within MailChimp for example, it is easy to include a PDF within a campaign.

When you need your colleagues’ help, i.e for case studies, company videos, ideas for blog posts or some written content, they will be much more likely to help you.

If your team understands what your objectives are, if they can see that you have a structured approach to marketing, if you let them know about media coverage, website visits, email open and click through rates, advertising coverage and the number of sales leads that you are generating, they are more likely to be supportive and on your side, during the ups and downs of the marketing journey.

Marketing strategy advice for a service firm startup

By Business, Marketing strategy, Startups No Comments

A member of The Marketing Compass asked me for some feedback and ideas for their new consultancy business. Here is my answer:

“I recommend that you position yourself as an expert in your field and continually educate your marketplace by sharing what you know.

This can be done in many ways. However, the key will be in your actions and how you demonstrate your expertise.

For example, you could write a concise e-book that displays your knowledge. It only has to be a few thousand words in length. You can then publish this as an Amazon Kindle e-book, as I have done here: Webcopy Writing

An e-book can be expanded and turned into a print book. There are now several ‘print-your-book-on-demand’ services for low volume runs.

By the way, a blog can feed an e-book; therefore, why not plan the book in terms of chapters and sections and then blog the whole thing, one post at a time?

Another brand building idea is to give talks, i.e. at networking events or wherever members of your target market gather together.

In addition, relentlessly gather together testimonial statements and case studies, as your business grows – and upload these to your website. This is called social proof. It is better to have the customer saying how great you are, rather than you saying this yourself.”

Packaging and selling your knowledge

By Business, Creative thinking, Learning, Psychology, Success No Comments

how-to-sell-your-knowledgeHow long have you been working? How long have you been doing what you currently do? How many employers have you worked for? How many customers have you served?

Are you currently unemployed or are you fed up with your current job? If you are self employed or a business owner, are you looking for additional revenue?

For 30 years, since I started my own business, I have done two things: A) Kept learning. B) Relentlessly packaged and sold my knowledge.

Do you like lists? I hope so, as here is some homework:

1). Within your area of professional expertise think about the problems that people have. Write them down.

2). Write down a list of the problems that you have solved, during your career.

3). Now write a list of your competencies. Are you a writer? Do you have software skills? Are you a manager or a leader? Are you an organiser? Are you good with people? What other skills do you have? Think of as many as possible.

4). Now create a list of the projects, technologies, systems and processes that you have worked with.

5). Create a list of the business activities that you enjoy doing the most; in addition, list the things that you definitely don’t like doing.

6). Compare the lists that you written: can you see any business opportunities there?

There are many ways to package your knowledge including consultancy, coaching, e-books, mentoring, public speaking, published books and training. Do any of these appeal to you?

Packaging and selling your knowledge takes confidence and writing ability. Why writing? Because you can let the search engines do the hard work of bringing customers to you. As someone who spent years banging on doors for Rank Xerox in his 20s, I can tell you that getting customers to come to you is much better than the other way around.

I work with independent professionals, small businesses and enterprises that are interested in packaging and selling their hard won knowledge. If you would like to find out more, you are welcome to email me via or call me on +44 (0)1628 773128.