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.

What is the ‘Sharing Economy’ and why does it matter ?

We seem to have a constant stream of change to our economic and business models with the pace of change fueled by the Internet and Social  Media.Just look at the way the big four Supermarkets have recently been caught out by changing shopping trends with the move away from big ‘all under one roof ‘ weekly shops .On a similar theme one really key trend is the so called ‘Sharing Economy’ and its really having an impact.

In simple terms its where individuals share information and services and bypass the traditional providers.For example there is a huge rise in people using the Internet and Social Media to organize home swaps for their holidays rather than use hotels.and travel companies.Another example would be the rise of car sharing/rental schemes that cut out the car rental companies.The Economist Magazine have a published an interesting article on the subject you can see this here,

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 .

How Independent Retailers can fight back against the Internet Giants like Amazon ?

A recent announcement ( see here ) that planning laws in England and Wales are to be relaxed to allow retailers to offer ‘click and collect’ services to consumers more easily got us thinking, 

online retailer

Recent years have seen many smaller independent retailers put under increasing pressure and this has seen the prediction of the demise of the traditional high street.Factors include,the recent recession,the continued rise of the big retail chains including the Supermarkets and the huge rise in online shopping with giants like Amazon.With the rise of Smartphones we have also seen an increase in ‘Showrooming’ where consumers use a local retailer to view goods they have seen online and then still purchase them online.

It all seems a bit grim for a small independent retailers on the high street but really there are many ways they can fight back.

The internet is a great opportunity for small retailers and for all small businesses.You really can compete on level terms with the very biggest retailers.Here are a few tips that might help high street shops harness the power of Online Retail:

-Invest in an e-commerce website allowing your customers to buy from you 24 hours a day/7 days a week.Development costs are quite reasonable these days typically we develop e-commerce websites from around £950 upwards.

-Set up an online store on Ebay or Amazon(‘if you cant beat them join em’)selling some of your range via two very powerful marketing platforms.

-Put ‘Buy this item Online’ QR Codes (codes that people can scan in with their smartphones) up on point of sale materials linking to your website or online Amazon/Ebay Store. These show the customer you trade online as well.That will give customers the impression that you are competitive on price with any rival.

-Offer click and collect as well as delivery.Click and collect is a massive growth area in online retail.Customers often prefer the convenience of collecting the goods when they are passing rather than waiting in for a delivery.’Click and Collect’ will raise footfall and gives you the opportunity to up sell in person.

-Embrace Social Media as the best way to interact with your customers and drive more sales to your shop.All top online retailers use Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest and other Social Media channels to engage with prospects and convert them into a sale.

There are many other hints tips and suggestions to help so for more information contact us for a free consultation.

Are the Summer Holidays really bad for business ?

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 September.

4) Create some media attention. The summer is a notoriously poor time for the press its the so called ‘Silly Season’. They are keener than ever to find good stories. So now’s your chance to raise awareness about your new product, make an announcement and contact your local business pages.

5) Invest in some reading for your holiday. There are loads of great books which make you better at what you do. Autobiographies, business and personal developments books cost a few pounds but contain masses of great information.

Of course you could always have a trawl through this website for lots of handy internet marketing and social media tips too!

Any other suggestions ?

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

Jeff Bezos of Amazon shows us content really is king !

One of the golden rules of Blogging,Websites and of course Social Media is that interesting relevant and original content is the key to success. Good content attracts visitors and ranks well with search engines . It also keep visitors on your site longer .

With that in mind its interesting to see the news today about Jeff Bezos of internet shoppping giant Amazon buying the Washington Post an iconic US Newspaper .The question is why would any self respecting entrepreneur buy a Newspaper when the newspaper industry is dying on its feet . Many newspapers have experienced a 90% decline in circulation from their 60s heyday with half that fall coming in the last 7 years .

The answer maybe he just wants a plaything to write off tax against or promote his personal and political views. That may be true of course but more likely just part of a race to own great content and iconic newspapers attract good journalists and therefore make great content.

Newspapers and magazines are slowly but surely going up behind paywalls so the race for ownership of content is on.

Jeff Bezos is a great innovator with amazing long term vision so it will be interesting to see what he does with the Washington Post. It certainly shows us that content really is king ?

What do you think ?

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Groupon’s decline is a salutary reminder for all of us

With today’s news confirming the decline of Groupon and the continuing doubts over whether it is a sustainable business or not.Its a key pointer for small and medium sized businesses and how they need to market themselves. Groupon is all about what I call broadcast marketing a daily blast out to a large opted in email list (no spam please) which over time becomes less and less effective.

This is for two reasons:

1. Your average human today is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day! However there are more and more creative ways to block them out, including caller ID, spam filtering, Sky+ etc.In short our immunity is growing.

2. Cost :Outbound Marketing is expensive and profit margins are always being squeezed and business is constantly looking to drive down Customer Acquisition costs .

Businesses can see this and are rethinking how they market themselves and are looking for more cost effective ways of reaching prospects .And thats where Inbound’ Marketing  comes in.This is where your business :

-Spends time talking to its customers -visits and calls !

-”helps itself “get found“- by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.

– Has a website that is a “hub” for your industry

– Has a website that attracts visitors naturally through search engines

– Uses the blogosphere to influence market opinion and attract prospects.

– Uses Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook,Twitter and Google+) to engage with clients and prospects

– Builds fully Opted In Email Lists where clients and prospects have asked to be kept in touch with your latest news and information.

– Uses Business Networking to generate ‘Referrals’ from prospects .

These are the ways of the future !

To keep up to date with the latest Inbound Marketing News ,Views,Hints and Tips  SUBSCRIBE to our EMAIL UPDATES –You can also find more information on how we can help you on our Website or Contact Us if you want to know how we can help you.


5 things to do this summer while your competition’s on holiday

Below is an extract of an Email I received from Michael Heppell last Summer that addresses that old age problem of what to do about the ‘Summer Slowdown’ that we all ‘seem’ to suffer from you know the fact that key decision makers are on holiday and anyone who is in is covering for them or clearing their desks for their break !

I like Michael’s stuff especially his ‘ Flip It ‘ thinking .

‘There’s a popular myth that suggests the summer isn’t a good time for business. Really? Actually it’s the perfect time to do some Flip It thinking and clean up while others are napping. Here are five easy things to do:

1) Call everyone. “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) Send your top ten contacts a post card. Plan ahead and make a note of names and addresses. You may want to be cheesy and say how you never stop thinking about them, or just say something sincere and from the heart.

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 dream time to do some planning. Prep up your September and come out of the blocks firing!

4) Create some media attention. The summer is a notoriously poor time for the press. They are keener than ever to find good stories. So now’s your chance to raise awareness about your new product, make an announcement and contact your local business pages.

5) Invest in some reading for your holiday. There are loads of great books which make you better. Autobiographies, business and personal developments books cost a few pounds but contain masses of great information.

Here’s a tip: If you are looking for a personal development book for the beach then choose one that makes you smile as well as makes you think.’

I would also add rather cheekily you could always give Google Adwords a try we have just had 10 £50 Advertising Vouchers and we are offering free set campaign set up why not give it a try ! Contact Us for more information .

You can find our more about Michael Heppell at

The end of business as usual !

10 ways to embrace big changes in the business landscape

I saw an article in Forbes Magazine today on how rapidly the business landscape is changing mainly because customer behaviour is changing.

It’s changing because ‘customer expectations are evolving. Your customers are empowered through technology where social media , smartphones, tablets, review sites, gamification, geo-location, et al. are producing a new breed of consumer – and businesses are largely missing them altogether. The emergence of this more “connected consumer” is forcing the end of business as usual. The pattern of decisions these connected consumers make usher in an era of risk where any business, large and small is vulnerable to digital Darwinism – the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to adapt.’

You can read the full article here 

LinkedIn and Customer Relationship Management Masterclass – Launching Very Soon

I am delighted to announce that we have just about finalised the programme for our new LinkedIn and CRM Masterclass . We have partnered with Sales Dynamics who are Sage Accredited Partners so we can show you how the effective use of LinkedIn and best practice Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) techniques can help you really grow your business massively !

Our first Masterclass will be in late April and the booking website will be launched shortly . In the meantime Contact Us here to make sure you get an invitation .