Off the Edge : Marketing
Off the Edge is a marketing blog written by Sharon Wilding and Jim Hunt of THE PURPLE EDGE and occasional featured guest authors. It aims to provide thought-provoking and useful content on marketing and business issues. Please feel free to comment on our musings, and if there are subjects you want to discuss further then please get in touch.
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We've all heard the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This strikes me occasionally when I talk to people about their marketing but I was reminded this week how important it is.
I was talking to a woman who as usual was looking for more sales. I asked about things they had done in the past and what worked well and what didn't. She told me that 18 months ago they had used some Google Adwords (pay-per-click) advertising and that had generated quite a lot of enquiries and some substantial sales.
I asked why they stopped and she told me that they were busy enough and didn't want to generate so much business that they couldn't manage it all and start letting people down.
I followed up by asking when sales had started to slow down and was told that it was about 9 month ago. "So did you switch the Adwords campaign back on?" I innocently asked, assuming the answer yes. You guessed it.
"No." came the reply.
"Why not?" I asked slightly confused.
"Well we were spending quite [read on...]
You want a (new) website. But what should you pay? £500? £1,000? £5,000? Does it make sense to try and get away with spending as little as possible or is there another way of looking at it?
In truth you can pay any amount for a website. I've seen ads starting at less than £100, and I know people who have paid tens of thousands (including me when I had those kind of budgets at my disposal).
The critical question when setting a budget is actually - how much is your website worth to you?
Just Google it
Studies estimate anywhere between 80 and 95% of people now search online before committing to a purchase. That means your online presence (not just the website) is not a trivial matter.
No matter what market you are operating in a website is a critical component of your marketing strategy, but it can play many different roles:
- Lead generation
- Direct sales
- Customer service
- Customer applications
A friend sent me this photo, thinking I might appreciate the sentiment, and I do!
We're always talking about value propositions, i.e. the offer you make to your customers, but this brings home how tricky it can be to meet customer expectations and build a sound, sustainable business. Something has to give!
Stick to your guns
At a networking meeting this morning someone told a tale that illustrates this perfectly. He'd been asked to supply a machine and gave an all-in price that would see it fitted & working perfectly the next day. He was asked to match the price of the competitor that was for delivery only but wisely refused to do so as it would devalue his service and he'd lose all his profit.
The customer went elsewhere - but came back a day later to ask if he could fit the machine he'd just bought. Of course, was the reply, and the price was a premium on the difference the customer thought he'd saved! A lesson learned there I think.
The theory of relativity
Of cours [read on...]
It's been a busy week at The Purple Edge HQ but I've just time for a short blog before the weekend. Short but valuable.
I'm going to address a common theme that we've heard in talking recently to some prospects and we've been addressing with some new clients.
The theme is "You are avoiding business!"
"Who? Me?" I hear you say. Well yes, if you're like most businesses then you are. It's no good telling me that it's not true. It's pointless going on about how you're working hard to win new customers. If you are like most SMEs (and some larger companies too), you are positively avoiding businesses.
How so? Let me explain with a couple of recent examples:
- Company A installs and maintains certain domestic appliances. The manager has a list of clients he has installed appliances for and he admits that he's had no contact with them since the installation.
- Company B has successfully grown over recent years but is highly dependant on one large customer. While they are confide [read on...]
Ideas can come from anywhere, from any conversation or mundane daily happening. Many ideas go as easily as they come, but the trick is to take some action, to spread the word maybe, then ideas can become reality!
A simple illustration
Last week a chance conversation about the trials and tribulations of moving offices - one of which is the difficulty finding the teaspoons amongst the packing - lead to a brainwave for branded promotional items.Teaspoons of course!
How often in your office do the teaspoons go missing? How vital are they to productivity and harmony in the workplace? How grateful would your clients be to receive teaspoons as a gift?
Not that I'm saying no-one had thought of this idea before, but that teaspoons are just a bit out of the ordinary when it comes to branded gifts. We're all used to seeing and receiving the same old things: mugs, pens, mousemats, keyrings, stress balls, fridge magnets, you know what I mean. And the difficulty with unusual is that it can al [read on...]
Choice eh! It can do interesting things. I have seen a number of articles recently that have made me think about choice quite a bit and I thought I'd share some of them with you.
You've all probably heard that the second cheapest bottle of wine on a restaurant wine list is often the worst value. Restauranteurs, the idea goes, know that most people won't choose the cheapest (because they don't want to appear stingy) so they price the second cheapest to give them the most margin. I don't know if this is true but I wouldn't be surprised.
Article one was about some medical research that demonstrated that when patients were given a choice of which pain killers to use they reported greater efficacy than when there was no choice.
Article 2 explained that people like to have a choice. Giving people the ability to make a choice increased their motivation, their perceived control, their task performance and their overall happiness. If, however, they were give too much choice they beca [read on...]
Read on for some tips on what you should be doing to understand your web visitors better.
If you’re like 90%+ of other website owners then you’ve got blinkers on. It’s not a special club to be in – more a club to get out of!
Worked on your website content? Check!
Visible in Google? Check!
Fully understand how people interact with your website? Eyes glaze over.
Analysing website visitor movements, even at a basic level, is a vital activity that the majority of website owners fail to do. And with that, they fail to gain enough business from their websites. In short, your view of your website will be blinkered if you’re not taking advantage of website visitors’ data that’s readily available to you.
Using a free package like Google Analytics, y [read on...]
In the good old days there used to be 4Ps of marketing:
Then some bright spark made up three more that were considered particularly important for services although in reality they affect us all. They are:
- Physical evidence
That really opened the flood gates and marketing "gurus" far and wide produced their own list of important Ps (the most I've seen is 44 - seriously) that marketers needed to be thinking about.
I like to keep things simple to be honest and I think 7 is quite enough if for no other reason than getting 7 right is hard for most businesses to do without another 37 waiting to cause them grief.
Today I want to talk about one of the 7 Ps. The one that everyone understands but the one which often gets overlooked when people think about their marketing.
Step forward People, the forgotten P of marketing.
The importance of people was brought home to me recently by a TV programme, Back To The Floor, in which [read on...]
Yes it is. And I'll say that every time you ask me (see what I did there?).
The question arose a couple of nights ago down the pub. Yes I am sad enough to talk business down the pub on a Friday night. In my defence I was in the pub to introduce two friends, one wanted some animated cartoons to use in promotional activities for a new business venture; the other is Walt Disney. OK, he isn't, but he is an artist who does really cool cartoons on the side.
The reason the consistency debate came up was that the artist had come along with an idea already prepared which as it happens my friend really liked. We talked about how the idea could be used in a variety of ways and he then said that he would also like a really simple stick man type thing, and also ... Sharon (who was also present) and I looked at each other and simultaneously said "No!" The friend was clearly a little put out by our reaction - he wanted a stick man. "Look if you want a stick man then have a stick man but ha [read on...]
Continuing this little mini series on websites, I thought I'd share with you the 5 things you need to do if you want your website to perform well in searches in Google. These hints don't come from Google of course, life is not so straightforward, but luckily there are organisations such as Moz and SearchMetrics who make it their business to study what 'seems' to be working!
In most cases these are things that you can very easily take control of yourself and can see results from pretty quickly. Remember, Google is just trying to give the searcher the best experience - which means being able to find result that meets their needs - i.e. results that are very relevant to the search term entered. You should similarly be bearing the user (your customer) in mind when you are constructing and managing your website!
1. Select keywords carefully
Doing the research into which keywords people are using is your first and most important task. You can use the Google Keyword Tool (just Google i [read on...]