How to use Christmas to promote your business

Christmas is just a matter of weeks away so it could be time to give your marketing a festive feel.

If you’re a retailer, Christmas is probably a really important part of your year.If you provide services you probably see Christmas as a distraction,a holiday period that disrupts the business cycle or a welcome break.

However many service-based businesses neglect Christmas and the marketing opportunities it brings.

Christmas is an ideal time to develop relationships by engaging with your customer base and providing them with information about your services. Depending on the service you provide you may be able to tie this in with the festive season, whether it is in the way of special Christmas offers or by assisting with Christmas preparations.

If you offer a service that you can’t exactly tie in with Christmas. The festive season is still a great time to engage with your customers, new and old. Some ideas  include:

–          Customised Christmas cards – even though we live in a digital age where messages can be sent and received instantly, there’s still something nice about receiving a printed Christmas card. Unlike an email, it will be there for all to read and may even be displayed, for this reason be sure to include all of your company contact details and a unique Christmas message

–          Christmas eCard – for those who perhaps have a database of email addresses but no postal addresses, why not send out a Christmas card in electronic form? eCards are ideal as they give you the freedom to inject the personality of your brand and can be sent and received instantly.  They are also a good option to consider when there isn’t enough time to design, print and send a printed Christmas card .Its quite a nice idea perhaps to make a donation to charity equivalent to the savings made by going digital.

–          Promotions for the New Year – give your customers a gift they can redeem in the New Year, discount off your services in January works well. Spread this Christmas cheer by way of email and your social media channels

–          A branded calendar or diary – ensure your business is visible to your customers all-year round by sending out a calendar or diary that they can display or use throughout 2014. Again be sure to include your contact details and also a short description of what you do for the benefit of others who may be viewing it

–          Promotional gifts – If you have a larger budget, why not consider sending out promotional gifts to your customers? Whether this is items they can keep such as paperweights or pens, or items they can eat like chocolate Santas or candy canes, this always makes for a nice touch and a way to remember your business.

–          Send a Christmas email to wish people compliments of the season and let them know your Christmas/New Year Opening hours.

–          A Christmas Competition on your Social Media Channels – Many businesses and brands are choosing to run competitions and promotions to give their social media communities a boost before the holidays.

Please Contact Us and let us know if you have any suggestions or if you want any additional advice on how to make the best of the festive season.

Róisín Murphy.

Time to take a serious look at Snapchat and Instagram for Business

Both Snapchat and Instagram are now in the mainstream of social meda marketing the former at 200 million monthly users and the latter at 300 million. So its time to take a serious look at using them for marketing there are some very clever strategies for retailers to harness the power of theses networks.Here are the best two online guides I have found so far How to Use Snapchat for Business and 26 Tips for Using Instagram for Business .

The best first step you can do to prepare yourself for this opportunity is ,if you havent done so already, set up Snapchat and Instagram accounts and try them out.

Please Contact Us of you have any queries or  for more information .

Stanley Littlewood

Are the Summer Holidays really bad for business ?

Originally posted on Cheshire Digital Content Marketing Agency:

There’s a popular view that suggests the Summer isn’t a good time for business. Is it really though ? Is it just a state of mind we all get into?Maybe its a good time to get ahead of your competitors ? Here are five easy things you could do:

1) Call people. “Hi just calling to see how you are and to find out if there’s anything we can do for you right now?” Better still call in.

2) Spend time on cleaning up your marketing database.  Often updating your contacts/address book/marketing database gets left till last here’s a chance to catch up and hit the ground running in the Autumn .

3) Planning and preparation. So even if EVERYONE is on holiday, there’s no-one to call and you’re stuck in the office, this is a great time to do some planning. Plan and prepare so you hit the ground running in…

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What does your business have in common with Sky,BBC,ITV,Netflix etc ?

Well unless you are a Media business the answer might appear to be not much. In fact you have a lot more in common than you think. The key to great Marketing especially online is authentic original content for your Blog or Website.Essentially this is about having something interesting to say about your business, business sector and or area of expertise.

This means more than just talking about your products and services as great as they may be. Authentic and original (creative) content will attract potential customers to your Blog,Website or Social Media profile. Repeating or copying content from elsewhere will see a rapid drop in engagement with potential customers.

So whats the connection with high profile Media Companies like Sky,Netflix and the BBC? Well they have the same challenge the search for authentic and original content.Whether its the next Game of Thrones,Orange is the New Black or Champions League Football content is critical to their business.

You need to think the way they do and always be looking for your next blockbuster.There are lots of ways to do this and they depend on how creative you are.If you are not you can engage a Content Creator/Curator like me,use other team members and or use Guest Bloggers too.Just remember Content is King.

Contact Us for more details to see how we can help you.

Setting up a profitable professional Ebay/Amazon Store

Back in September we wrote how Independent Retailers can fight back against Amazon and Ebay.Essentially its a case of if you can’t beat them join them ! Both offer access to a very large market place for your goods and services.

Since then we have helped several clients set up their own Ebay and Amazon Stores so they can trade profitably and effectivey . We also help clients with ongoing management of their listings and sales.There is a great example here. Its important for you have a professional store front to reflect your business’s brand and maximise your potential return.Its also important that you undertsand the rules of each marketplace and how to price and sell your products correctly.We can help you navigate all the pitfalls and maximise sales and profits.

We can offer the same service you Contact Us for more details,information and fees.

You can see the article at Amazon and Ebay

Is making your site Mobile friendly really critical ?

Google rolled out one of its regular updates to its search algorithm on 21st April this will penalise websites that have not been optimised for viewing on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.Cue lots of lurid headlines and the hashtag #mobilegeddon.

“As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens,” a Google spokesperson said.’….we’ll use a web page’s ‘mobile-friendliness’ as one of many factors to help rank searches done on mobile devices.’

So what does this mean for your website? Well its definitely very important but there are two key factors you need to bear in mind.Firstly its one key factor and there are others.Secondly you need to ask how much your site relies on its natural rankings for traffic.

If you have a statistics package installed on your website you can see where your traffic comes from.There are many sources : Natural Searches in Google,Pay Per Click Advertising,Other Online Ads,Referrals from other websites and traffic from Social Media.

So its not quite the game changer that some would say.It is important though.

If you are concerned about how this will affect your business please get in touch for a free consultation. contact us .


How to use Social Media to sell.

Selling is a social activity . Before Facebook, LinkedIn and the Internet generally people bought from people in social ways.

They asked for advice from friends, they gave their opinions over the garden fence and they wrote letters to manufacturers when products failed to live up to their promises. This is why salespeople spend so much time establishing a personal relationship, not just selling their product

Technology now makes it so easy for customers to find out anything they want about your products and service – both the good and the bad. They don’t even need too simply rely on what’s on your website says. Quite often that’s the last place they look.

There’s a wealth of blogs and forums and networks where they can get an unedited take on what it’s like to buy from you. Customers are more vocal than ever (especially about the bad stuff).

We quite often talk about the threat of social media however it also brings many opportunities.

We categorise these opportunities as Social Selling.

There are buyers across the world over who want what you’ve got to sell. They have a need, they have a timeframe for purchase, they even have budget. If only you could get in front of them, they’d buy from you right now. If only. Of course, to get in front of them you need to find out who they are, where they are and how to contact them.

Prior to Social Media this was very hard and very expensive. We often talk about using Social Media to Market our business and even now to provide Customer Service (see here).

There real opportunities however to use Social Media for selling .Research conducted last year by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that in the UK alone:

  • 69% of respondents think the buying process is changing faster than sales organisations are responding
  • 93% have received no training in using social media (and 53% want help doing so)
  • 71% believe that being a salesperson will be radically different in 5 years time.

So how can you start using Social Media to sell?

There are some relatively simple steps.:

  • Make extensive use of Facebook and Twitter to see what your customers and prospects are saying and to find those looking for customer service and sales help.
  • Follow customers, competitors and thought leaders on Twitter/LinkedIn to see what they are saying.
  • Join key customer groups on LinkedIn and begin monitoring what they are saying.
  • Run LinkedIn searches for carefully selected outbound targets.
  • Endorse a prospect/customer’s abilities on LinkedIn.
  • Research prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter before an email, call, or meeting.
  • Like or comment on a prospect/client’s social media post.
  • Set up Google Alerts for competitor terms (brand names, products, key people) –see

There is a lot more to Social Selling of course so if you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Sales tool for your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Why more and more businesses are using Social Media for Customer Service.


We noticed that last year Nationwide were the first UK high street financial services provider to offer its customers 24/7 Twitter coverage, answering their questions and queries, as well as providing them with customer service information and support, any time of day or night.Much of their advertising now majors on this.You can see their announcement here

It may be a puzzle to some people why this would have any significance and some would assume this would have very little importance.However Customer service is evolving to match the rapid growth and development of new communication media, and today’s most popular social media platforms are the perfect opportunity to capitalize on that trend. When today’s customers try to get in touch an increasing number of businesses have turned to Social Media as a Customer Service tool.

The growth in using Social Media as a Customer Service tool is happening for several reasons:

1: Communication Is Immediate

When people are upset, or when they need answers to their questions, they want a response right away. They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read, sorted, and responded to. They don’t want to wait on hold for 30 minutes.One of the most effective elements of social media is its immediacy. The minute somebody makes a post on your Facebook wall or a post mentioning your brand, your admin team will receive a notification to take action.They will also know that this request is publicly visible. This is also a slight vulnerability—customers expect immediate responses when posting on social media, so if your response team isn’t prepared, it could cost you—but if you can respond within minutes of the original post, you’ll be able to make your customer very happy. This is especially effective for customers dealing with an urgent problem.You response will also be highly visible.

2: You Give People a More Personal Experience

Resourced properly Social Media means that it will be a person responding to a customer enquiry.There won’t be any automatically generated emails. There won’t be any tone-based phone menus. It’s just a question, followed by an answer.Social media also allows you to think carefully about your response and present it in a more casual, conversational tone. This way, you can retain your business identity while writing and communicating like a human, thus humanizing your business brand.

3: The Conversation Is Transparent and Highly Visible

This works both ways. For the customer, transparency is all about vindication. When customers are upset, they want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By allowing your customers to make their complaints or questions public in this way, you’re giving them an immediate outlet. They feel in control, and appreciate the urgency companies feel to respond when the issue is made public.For companies, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation. If you can answer a customer’s concerns quickly, nicely, and effectively, you’ll instantly leave all of your followers with a good feeling—confidence that your customer service is top-notch.

4: You’re Encouraging More Mentions for your Business.

More interactions on social media means you have more opportunities to point people back to your profile and ultimately your website. Your customers will mention you in their posts, making you visible to all their contacts. Even if they come to you with a concern or an issue, you’ll get visibility and an opportunity to show off your ability to quickly and effectively and correct the problem. When relevant, you can also post links to your site for more information. No matter how you handle questions and comments, you’ll be encouraging more activity and more mentions, which can also help your SEO rankings.

5: Follow-up Is Easy

Depending on how long it takes for the problem to be resolved, following up with your customer is fast and easy. If you manage to resolve the problem with a quick answer, you can immediately ask whether or not the interaction was helpful. If it wasn’t, you have an opportunity to take further action—rather than forcing the customer through another round of calling or emailing. If it was helpful, you have a publicly visible follow-up interaction that ends on a positive note. You can also make a note to follow up a few days later with a private message to make sure the customer is still satisfied.

6: Social Users Are More Likely to Talk About Their Experience

Intuitively, the people most likely to use social media are the people who like to socialize. The most active users have hundreds of followers and friends on various social media profiles, and they’re used to posting updates regularly.

How you respond to these people is significant, because they are more likely to tell others about their experience with your business. If you treat them well, they’ll share a positive experience with their extended social network—and you’ll get access to new potential fans and customers.

7: You Eliminate the Funnel

Customers hate the funnel. When customers contact you, they want to be responded to in the same medium. Otherwise, they feel like they are being ‘processed through a mechanical series of hoops, which leaves them with an alienated, impersonal feeling. Many major companies make the mistake of ushering people through one dedicated communication channel, usually a phone number or an email address, and isolating customers who reach out in any other method.

So many larger service businesses (Banks,Telecommunications and Energy sectors especially) are turning to Social Media to communicate with existing customers.Now many medium sized and smaller businesses are using it too.

Twitter in particularly has turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

If you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Customer Service tool to market your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Social Media Trends in 2015

Now the New Year celebrations have subsided its worth taking a look at what might happen in Social Media over the next year:

1. Facebook Video will continue to grow.

Video is the latest powerful trend in social media, with Facebook taking advantage of it to a full extent. It already saw a massive surge in video views during 2014, that’s why there are plans for more features.Ultimately Facebook video may overtake Youtube which would really be an achievement.

2. Facebook will focus even more intently on good content.

Facebook relies heavily on media coverage, that’s why they tend to place news links higher on our news feeds. Facebook is determined to end like-gating (the use of artificial incentives to get people to like your page), which means that it’s more important than ever to focus on good content, as a way to inform your audience and gain a bigger audience.

3. Twitter Real-Time Use

Twitter is already powerful for real-time updates, especially when it comes to emergencies and live events. I think more users will experiment with live chats, proving that your updates are fast and relevant to anything that might be happening worldwide.

4. Twitter For Customer Service

Twitter has also turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, you need to resource it.Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

5. Instagram

Instagram got bigger in 2014 and it’s not expected to stop during 2015. Its now the third big Social Media player and you can no longer ignore it. Businesses are already increasing, taking advantage of its visual power, which means that you need to add it to your list of new things to learn.

6. Visual Quality is becoming more and more important.

Visual content is already very important, but maybe it’s time to raise the bar for the quality of content you are producing.Users are getting tired of the same old images (and videos by the time they get viral) and prefer your own perspective on any type of content.

7. Pinterest

Pinterest is still growing and is still the best Social Media network for referral traffic and it even turned into a useful image search engine alternative to Google Images.If you are a retailer selling visually appealing products Pinterest is becoming more and more important.One to watch.

8. LinkedIn articles

LinkedIn launched its Publishing Platform in 2014 and this was clearly a new opportunity for content marketing. Many users are starting to use this feature and this should be the year we see it really grow.Time to try it out.

9. LinkedIn For Company Page

LinkedIn is increasing its status as the number one professional social network if you haven’t set up a company page for your business yet then maybe it’s time to do it and boost both your presence and your authority!

10. Time For Short Videos

Video is already a huge growth area in Social Media but also short videos are becoming more crucial with newer media like :Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. These offer a great opportunity to become creative in a new way.If you learn how to use it in times of fast decreasing attention span, short videos should definitely be part of your social strategy and marketing.

There are many ways all businesses can benefit from this and other key trends so for more information contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .