How do you say hello?

We communicate every day, through body language, what we wear and how we speak. By our very nature, humans are tribal, we make quick instinctive judgements as to whether a person is a friend or foe. In order to break down the barriers, you will at some point  need to say, “hello!”, but how you say hello says so much more about you and the relationship you have with an individual than you might think.

We do not even question our personal brand day to day, we are instinctive to our settings and to the person we are greeting – or so you would hope. So, if we are so instinctive to our settings when we are going about our lives, why is it so hard for business owners to work out how their businesses might say hello?

When you are trying to establish a tone of voice for a business, the simplest question to ask a client is, “How does your business say hello?

You would be surprised at how often people struggle with the answer to this question. In business, you have to say hello time and time again, to both existing and new customers and it is important that you get it right. When someone comes across your brand for the first time, they will be looking for something tangible, they will ask “Is this the sort of business I want to do business with?” “Are they speaking my language?”

Consider for a moment that you are looking for an IT provider for your business. It is a service that a large proportion of businesses need, but not one that everyone understands – for lots of us they may as well be speaking Elvish. Whilst a provider may be full of professionals who know what they’re doing, they have to be able to translate the complicated world of IT in a relatable way which customers can grasp. It is important that they have a sense of personality whilst also maintaining our view of them as a professional, if, for example, they answered the phone with ‘Yo!’, how likely would we be to take them seriously?

Virgin is a brand which cleverly uses a friendly personality in their approach – they maintain their personality throughout their conversations with all customers, regardless of the product you are purchasing from them. They are fun, friendly and approachable – they appear to be your everyday friend! Lots of businesses may want to mimic this in their brand personability, after all, everyone wants to have friends, but you also need to be able to differentiate yourself and appeal to your target market by standing out from the crowd.

When working with your marketeer, consider who you want to appeal to and how do you speak to them in the most approachable way, what your competitors are doing and how you can do things differently and, simply, how do you want to come across? If you want to exhibit yourself as a fun, dynamic and exciting company, use more colloquial language. However, if you want to be viewed in more of a traditional light, maintain formal communications with your prospects.

So next time you are wondering how your business might come across, and how to appeal to your customers, start with the simple question, “How do we say hello?”

P.S. No geeks were harmed in the stereotypes within this article.

 

How can hashtags help to boost business success?

Hashtags are a familiar sight, with most of us now using social media daily. However, many businesses still aren’t utilising them to the best of their ability. Whilst they may seem like a fun way of sharing what you’re up to with friends and family, they are in fact powerful tools. Twitter states that tweets containing hashtags are twice as likely to be seen. Functioning much like keywords/phrases on websites or SERP’s they can gain traction for your company. Therefore, it is worthwhile aligning yourself to ones which will boost your business and help you to develop a recognisable brand.

With so many of us now using social media, there is a hashtag for everything, whether it is #NationalDoughnutDay or #Brexit – hashtags offer an opportunity for everyone to boost their business and start trending conversations around topics of interest. Even if you are time poor or lack the creativity to generate your own hashtags, you don’t have to worry. Today all social platforms make finding popular hashtags easy, as most offer a list of the days trending hashtags so that you can see which ones you can use to optimise your business’ presence.

So, even if you aren’t a doughnut company, your company could produce reactive marketing material around #NationalDoughnutDay. For example: You may buy your whole team doughnuts, why not take a photograph of yourselves enjoying them and post against #NationalDoughnutDay? In jumping on hashtags such as these, it also offers a sense of transparency to your business, showing humanity and your business personality. The wider you reach the more likely you will be seen by your target market.

Using hashtags makes your company relatable. However, it is important to make sure that your company is staying on brand allowing clients and prospects to create a solid concept of what your business offers and values.

If you are an energy company, for example, the hashtags you’re regularly using should help you to portray a message relevant to those that you want to reach. As a suggestion, in using the hashtag, #RenewableEnergy, you will be linked to like-minded businesses, leading authorities in your industry and potential clients, or simply people with an interest in the topic. As a note of caution, it is vital to not use hashtags that could be misconstrued, if you’re an energy company that doesn’t work with renewable energy steer clear. Hashtags that don’t align with your brand message will demonstrate lack of transparency causing your audience to retreat and ultimately damage your company image.

Hashtags are like the dividers in a filing cabinet, when you use a certain hashtag you are telling the social media platform what you’re posting and what category you’d like your post to sit. Hashtags are typically associated with Instagram and Twitter, but Facebook and LinkedIn are now trialling the use of hashtags. Why not jump on the #trend here too? Especially with LinkedIn, a platform developed for growing businesses, where content shows up in Google searches meaning that using hashtags can greatly benefit your business by putting it in front of a larger audience.

Ultimately it is up to you how and when you choose to utilise hashtags on your social media platforms. Whether it’s just to garner support from likeminded businesses, create your own unique brand hashtags, show your interest in current affairs or to start discussions within your industry – promoting yourself or your business as an authority figure within your subject, we encourage you to optimise this simple marketing tool which can make a big difference to expanding the conversations surrounding your business.

#Enjoy! #BusinesstoBusinessMarekting #hashtags

Do you actually need a marketing plan?

Perhaps we could look at this question from a different angle, would you start a business without a business marketing plan?

The answer is of course, no! But why should the approach to marketing be any different? You are going to be investing in marketing and if done correctly, marketing will deliver ROI to grow your client base, revenue and ultimately business. It is therefore a critical aspect of your go to market strategy and should be thought through and planned.

Do you appreciate the importance of marketing?

You would expect us to ask this question, we are a marketing agency, we feel that marketing is vital to business success. But let’s explore this question.

For your business to survive, and of course thrive in a market place you have to attract and retain your customers. But if your business never told the market what you offer, why you are better than your competitors, your ethics, why you exist etc, then would customers simply come to you? No doubt a small number may stumble across you, but it’s unlikely that you will attract the number of customers needed for your business to survive.

Marketing is not simply the expensive advertising campaign you see on TV or the brochure that will cost a lot to produce and may quickly become outdated. It’s likely that marketing will have an influence over every touchpoint that your customers experience; from your telephone message, your welcome email, that customer service call or a client portal login. The messaging, branding, look and feel are all influenced by marketing.

Why create a marketing plan?

A plan gives you the opportunity to really understand:

* Who you want to target, why and how you will reach them?

* It prompts you to assess your competitors, what activity are they doing, could you be doing something similar?

* And to dive into your product or service – put your customer hat on, why would you purchase your product or use your service, are the benefits clear?

All of these questions need to be thoroughly thought through to carry out effective business marketing.

Putting this into a plan, allows you to focus your resource (time as well as capital) alongside specific, measurable timeframes and goals. This plan will help you with the day to day running of your business; sensible and realistic resources allocated ahead of time, will help you manage performance of your marketing efforts. This will keep your team motivated and allow you to test, refine and edit activity to produce the best results.

The marketing plan is your roadmap, it provides you with clear direction making it straight forward to align execution and reporting to your objectives.

You don’t have to do it alone…

Planning your marketing for 6 months, 1 year or even 2 years in advance can seem daunting but you don’t have to undertake this task alone. In fact, having an outside perspective involved with your planning, asking different questions, challenging your thinking – can produce even better results.

And don’t forget this is not a one-off exercise that is completed and stored to never be looked at again. This is a living plan, to be referred to, updated and amended regularly – make it your friend not your foe. Find out more about marketing planning with Roots to Market here.

Roots to Market have launched!

We are delighted to launch Roots to Market, a new sister company to Air Marketing Group.

Air has seen exponential growth in the 2 years since their launch in 2016 and their ever-growing client base were often looking for other marketing services that could be provided to them within the group. Sensing a fantastic opportunity to help their clients with the full marketing and sales demand creation process, Roots to Market was born.

Verity Wootton, joined the Air team in January to head up the launch of this new company. Verity is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and has worked in both agency and in-house marketing teams for recognisable brands. Verity strives on developing commercially savvy marketing strategies and campaigns and seeing the impact that they make on a business.

Roots to Market is a full service marketing partner, giving their clients access to a whole range of marketing services under one roof. Whether clients are looking for assistance and guidance from scratch or require help executing activity against a strategy – Roots to Market can help clients achieve their aims.

The Roots to Market team are focused on delivering scientifically devised marketing carried out creatively. As an outsourced marketing partner, they are able to offer client’s scalable flexibility, the ability to test new ideas, dive into data and really understand what works for customers, and much more.

“We are delighted to see Roots to Market officially launch. A number of our Air clients have already started working with Verity and her team and have been delighted that we are now able to offer these services all within one group. I am extremely excited about being able to offer full marketing and sales demand creation to our clients.” Owen Richards, MD of Air Marketing Group.

To find out more about Roots to Market take a look at our website or get in touch to find out how we could help you on 01392 796702.

Where to start with direct marketing?

So, let’s start at the beginning, what is direct marketing?

Direct marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing. You may generate inbound interest and enquiries from having a website or publishing an advert, but you are not necessarily in control of who sees this and then enquires. Whereas direct marketing is exactly that – direct.

Direct marketing is aimed at a list of prospects who you wish to engage with and then you actively reach out to them either by phone, email or post. These prospects may be the business you really wish to work with, a focus on a certain industry sector, or a geographical area.

Why use direct marketing?

Direct marketing is a great method to use when targeting a specific prospect base. Allowing you to completely tailor your message and method of contact to what would suit those prospects. In a world with so much ‘noise’ and messages being shown to you every day, it’s proven that tailored relevant messaging is much more successful for converting than blanket messaging.

Direct marketing can also be a great medium to test campaigns to smaller amounts of recipients, allowing you to test and analyse this before rolling them out business wide.

What activity is classed as direct marketing? 

As with most sales and marketing techniques, in order to be effective it’s advisable to come at it from a number of angles. Therefore, use a mixture of methods to reach your prospects. Warming your prospects using intelligent targeted email marketing or direct mail can be followed by picking up the phone to talk in more depth, answer questions and guide the prospect through the funnel.

Telemarketing is a very personable method of direct marketing. Not only does this open up the opportunity for you to convey your product/service benefits and measure their reaction, this method also allows the prospect to ask any questions there and then meaning you are adding value whilst giving your sales pitch. The other benefit of this method is the ability to spot when the lead is warm enough to convert – allowing you to complete the sales cycle.

Other methods which work well alongside telemarketing or by themselves include email and direct mail. Email is a very cost effective method of reaching out to your prospects and warming them to your brand and service/products. Direct mail had become unfavourable as it was seen as ‘junk’ coming through the letterbox. However, this wave is now changing and we now receive more emails than letters, so to stand out direct mail is becoming more popular – it’s now a novelty for something to come through the letterbox at work.

We work with business across the UK helping them shape their marketing activity to see return on investment alongside building their sales pipeline and customer base. To find out more contact us on 01392 796702 or email us contact@roots2market.co.uk.