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Local Online Marketing Help in Buckinghamshire

01

Mar

2012

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In terms of our own Local Inter­net Mar­ket­ing it’s been just about a week since we started the PlaceMe! ser­vice, which is designed to get that phone to ring with enquiries. Already, we can see some inter­est­ing stuff going on. For instance, as part of the process we ask who your near­est com­peti­tors are, but when we go look we’re find­ing that often the com­pe­ti­tion isn’t who you think it is.

Your com­pe­ti­tion isn’t always who you think it is, espe­cially if you’ve put your­self in the wrong race

We’re putting this down partly to how peo­ple imag­ine them­selves and their ser­vices as they look out for prospects, rather than stand­ing in the shoes of those ‘prospects’ look­ing in to see how they and they prod­ucts are per­ceived. It’s a prob­lem we’re fixing.

We’re also see­ing a lot of sub-optimal set-up within mem­bers’ sites, as though they’ve been built for speed of con­struc­tion rather than speed of oper­a­tion. A lit­tle like film sets, they look great and ready for action, but it is illu­sory, skin deep. It’s not the owner’s fault nec­es­sar­ily, a lot of these were built a few years ago when the world was a slower kinder place. We can see that the pre­sen­ta­tion of the site and the con­tent would have been ago­nised over, but tech­ni­cally it’s still trou­bled. It’s a prob­lem we’re fixing.

The results PlaceMe! are designed to get seem pretty sim­ple — increase enquiries, make the phone ring, but the tech­niques to achieve it are painstak­ing, involved, tech­ni­cal and arcane and yes, that’s a full on man­i­fes­ta­tion of the PITA1 acronym. It’s the rea­son most busi­nesses end up dab­bling their toes in a mar­ket they should be div­ing into. It’s a prob­lem we’re fixing.

We were ini­tially a lit­tle con­cerned that the com­pet­i­tive nature of PlaceMe! was going to put off those we know on the net­work­ing and social cir­cuits; you see there’s no way around it, if we’re work­ing with you, we’re work­ing against your local com­pe­ti­tion. Want to know some­thing inter­est­ing?
It’s a prob­lem we didn’t need to fix.

If you’d like to know why local online mar­ket­ing is impor­tant right now, you can read this post What’s Local in Your Mar­ket­ing Sand­wich?  That post has the same form as the one below, which will get you a com­pe­ti­tion report, and let us know that you maybe want us to fix things, rather than you.

If you use either form, you’ll ben­e­fit from our mates’ rates if you do decide to take up the ser­vice. This is a big deal, espe­cially if you have more than one loca­tion you want to get local with, and espe­cially if you are pre­pared to give us a tes­ti­mo­nial later on. We love testimonials.



N.B. We’re not going to use your info for any­thing else, it’s just to give you early advan­tage.
Bear in mind that it’s a com­pet­i­tive ser­vice so an early expres­sion of inter­est would be advis­able, but right now, you need more detail than this post can hold to make a deci­sion…

  1. A well-used and fre­quently texted acronym for Pain In The Arse
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What’s Local in Your Marketing Sandwich?

22

Feb

2012

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Mar­ket­ing and Sales.

Two words that go together like sand and jam, for many small busi­nesses. To get jam tomor­row, most are strug­gling through the sand today, hop­ing not to drop the lot. In a pre­sen­ta­tion for a Net­work­ing Group in Ger­rards Cross, I spoke about how many small busi­ness cre­ators were once cor­po­rate spe­cial­ists carv­ing great bread and but­ter careers. Of course, on step­ping out of the firm’s din­ing rooms, they find sand­wich­ing the ele­ments of a small busi­ness around their skills is a seri­ous challenge.

Local marketing needs Google Places right in the middle
Cour­tesy of Ben­son Kua via Flikr

Sup­pose you want a slice of inter­net mar­ket­ing to layer into your hero sand­wich. Well, you’re going to find your­self stand­ing at a big deli bar, with an over­whelm­ing choice of spe­cial­i­ties from far and wide that promise to make you fat and con­tent. Nat­u­rally your eyes gog­gle and blink, and by the time you’ve taken a taste of every­thing con­ti­nen­tal you’ve lost your appetite, and your lunch money.

An uncle of mine has an expres­sion for this sort of une­d­u­cated, or in hind­sight unwise spend on inef­fec­tive activ­ity: School Fees.
Def­i­nitely try using it your­self, it takes the sting away.

Google Eyes

Look around and you’ll see that in the last three years there has been a big shift in how peo­ple think and behave when shop­ping for ser­vices and prod­ucts. Now that every­one has a com­puter in their pocket to shrink the web and go any­where, they choose to go just around the corner.

Over 20% of all Google searches are localised, i.e. they have a post­code, town or other local intent. Think of mobile search and that per­cent­age rises to at least a third. Smart­phones like iPhone, Android and Black­berry devices are out­selling reg­u­lar mobiles, and the num­bers of mobiles sell­ing are at least three times the num­ber of PCs.

Google has been fac­tor­ing loca­tion when return­ing results for years, match­ing our desire for  rel­e­vant, local infor­ma­tion as more and more of it is put on the web - in all searches, loca­tion is fac­tored. For the bulk of local busi­nesses, espe­cially in B2B sales, this is a meal deal that busi­ness own­ers don’t tend to think about. You see, because Google want to pro­vide acces­si­ble results to searchers they will often pre­fer local com­pa­nies and information.

Think about real life. Small busi­nesses find the bulk of their income comes from local cus­tomers, and when busi­nesses net­work, it’s usu­ally at groups in their local vicin­ity. The truth is, most busi­ness, even global busi­ness, hap­pens locally, so you’ve no immu­nity from community.

Local Mar­kets

Local Marketing App for Produce and Local Goods in CumbriaLocal Shops for Local Peo­ple: Cum­brian iApp

Here’s some other tasty morsels to help fill your sand­wich with local flavour:

  • Mobile searches quadru­pled in 2011.
  • 79% of smart­phone users use their phones to help with shopping.
  • 71% of smart­phone users who see TV, press or online ads search for more info.
  • After look­ing up a local busi­ness on a smart­phone, 61% of users call, 59% visit.

 

You know this. Look at your own fam­ily, friends and col­leagues com­par­ing prices online to buy locally at the best price, or week­end win­dow shop­ping to buy online later with free deliv­ery, and we all know peo­ple who are online all the time, but never on their computer.

Peo­ple don’t behave like this all week­end, then start using Yel­low Pages, News­pa­pers, etc., when they get to the office. They look for busi­ness ser­vices they need in the same way, with the same expec­ta­tions. Now all busi­nesses need local pres­ence, because Google and other search engines are going to pre­fer those that do.

When a local search is done, the searcher is close to  buy­ing.
When a mobile search is done,  the searcher is ready to buy.

What’s in your lunchbox?

We’re back at the deli bar, now with not a lot of money and want­ing some­thing, well, real. What to choose? My sug­ges­tion is what­ever you layer up, make local inter­net mar­ket­ing the thick­est slice. You see, you haven’t much time before every­one realises buy­ers love local, and that maybe they should be pay­ing atten­tion to their (your) local market.

Local Lunch Service

I’ve given many pre­sen­ta­tions on tips and tech­niques for small busi­nesses to improve the way they work and think, includ­ing how local really is for most busi­nesses where one’s head and heart should be. But I know it is really hard to fol­low up and fol­low through. So for this one, crit­i­cal part of a small busi­ness’ busi­ness a new ser­vice has been devel­oped, tak­ing one type of busi­ness and pro­mot­ing them exclu­sively ahead of their local competition.

Place Me! is a monthly ser­vice to get the phone ring­ing with more local enquiries, and it’s a com­pet­i­tive ser­vice too: if you’re not seen now in your local mar­ket, you’ll need to dis­place those that are.

A lunchtime spe­cial for Local Companies

Place Me! con­cen­trates on increas­ing busi­ness enquiries from your local mar­ket. It should be obvi­ous from this post that those enquiries are likely to be of qual­ity, so we’ve added these ben­e­fits for mem­bers of net­work­ing groups we have con­nec­tions with. I’m the Hub Direc­tor for Refer-On for exam­ple, we meet once a week, I’d rather not be work­ing for a colleague’s competition.

  1. Pref­er­en­tial part­ners. We’d rather net­work­ing friends be inside Place Me! so we’ll give pref­er­ence when sign­ing up.
  2. Set-Up dis­count. To match the offer made to Refer-On mem­bers, we’re dis­count­ing the set-up cost by over 50%.
  3. Com­pet­i­tive report. We’ll build a report for you that con­firms who your com­pe­ti­tion is, so you can decide what to do.
  4. Loca­tions dis­count. If you’ve two loca­tions, we’ll dis­count pric­ing by 50% on the sec­ond, if you’ve more than two we’ll review the loca­tions you have to see what else we can do for you.

If you’d like more infor­ma­tion about Place Me!, what it is, how it works, and how it can put the jam back in your sand­wich, just add your details. Then while you decide if you want to take advan­tage, we will have locked out com­peti­tors from your sec­tor and loca­tions for you.



N.B. We’re not going to use your info for any­thing else, it’s just to give you early advan­tage.
It’s a com­pet­i­tive ser­vice, so requests for the same sand­wich will be filled by date of order; I hope we’ve whet­ted your appetite for more infor­ma­tion…

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Networking Event, Buckinghamshire 13th October

04

Oct

2011

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If you’re look­ing for a net­work­ing event to go to in the next week or two then get along to Mar­low, Buckinghamshire.

This is the Refer-On hub show­case, where reg­u­lar weekly meet­ing mem­bers from many hubs (groups) across the coun­try turn up for a big half-day net­work­ing event with mul­ti­ple speakers.

The details are below and for what amounts to a half-day sem­i­nar on sort­ing out your busi­ness it’s an absolute steal, espe­cially as it get you very quickly con­nected to a large num­ber of busi­nesses. You’ll def­i­nitely leave with more than you arrived with, and I’m not talk­ing a hang­over or influenza…

It’s an early start on Thurs­day, so if you want to you can be out, lunched, and back at your desk by one o’clock. The theme? Well, that’s another rea­son to come; who doesn’t want to get to 2012 with their business?

Get­ting to 2012 with your business

Date: Thurs­day, 13th Octo­ber 2011
Time
: 07:00–12:00

Loca­tion:
Crowne Plaza, Mar­low
Field­house Lane
Mar­low
Buck­ing­hamshire
SL7 1GL
www.crowneplazamarlow.co.uk

The Price

Mem­bers: early bird: £27.00 inc VAT (Full Price: £31.80 inc VAT)

Vis­i­tors: early bird: £36.00 inc VAT (Full Price: £39.60  inc VAT)

Tables £100 + VAT includes 1 ticket

You can reg­is­ter for the event here: Online Registration

The Agenda

  • 07:00–08:15 – Breakfast
  • 08:45 Intro­duc­tion
  • 09:00 David Finch – “Effec­tive Mar­ket­ing – How to Increase your Returns”
  • 09:45 Q&A
  • 10:00 Net­work­ing. Dis­cover your next busi­ness alliance
  • 10:30 Return to seats
  • 10:40 Rob Pick­er­ing, work­shop. “The Peo­ple factor’
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Prizes and close

The Show­case is spon­sored by:

Action Coach:                                                 www.actioncoach.com/robpickering

Bolton Ser­vices:                                                www.refer-on.com/2011/09/1068

Crowne Plaza, Marlow-on-Thames:                www.crowneplazamarlow.co.uk

Ken­ne­tiq:                                                                    www.kennetiq.com

If you’d like to know more about Refer-On you can visit their site at Refer-On.com or you can read about what makes Refer-On dif­fer­ent at Rough-Rons (albeit slightly irreverent).

I hope to see you there on the 13th!

(So reg­is­ter for the event here: Online Registration)

Pre­vi­ous Show­case Testimonials:

“Just a quick e-mail to con­grat­u­late you both on a great show­case, which I thor­oughly enjoyed! Enjoy the week­end – you deserve to!” — Jehangir
“Hav­ing done the rounds of all the local net­work­ing groups, Refer On stood out a mile. There are no rules about attend­ing every week, the mem­bers are all very friendly, seri­ous busi­ness peo­ple and it’s not just focused on refer­rals but on offer­ing sup­port and moti­va­tion.” —Jus­tine Har­vey Char­tered MCIPD Direc­tor and Senior Consultant
“I’m sure that every­one who attended would like to join me in say­ing a big Thank You for organ­is­ing an excel­lent event, def­i­nitely the best yet! I always say that net­work­ing is like going to a party with­out the alco­hol – I have made so many friends through Refer-On and I am sure the impact it has made on my busi­ness so far is just the tip of the ice­berg. Thank you, it is great to be part of the team. ” — Helen
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Permission Marketing — a one minute description

06

Nov

2010

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This Per­mis­sion Mar­ket­ing guide is the sec­ond in a series to explain mar­ket­ing con­cepts, the first being Rela­tion­ship Mar­ket­ing. The next 60 sec­ond guide will be Inbound Mar­ket­ing, with a final one minute on how every­thing fits together. Per­mis­sion Mar­ket­ing isn’t a strat­egy in itself, you have to attract enough inter­est in the first place to get to ‘per­mis­sion’, but under­stand­ing the moral out­look it drags into play is impor­tant; per­mis­sion is given point by point, it isn’t an agree­ment by prospects allow­ing you to bat­ter them senseless.


Con­tinue reading →

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What is Relationship Marketing — a one minute description

14

Oct

2010

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An easy intro­duc­tion to Rela­tion­ship Mar­ket­ing, the first in a series of guides to explain often mis­un­der­stood con­cepts. The next 60 sec­ond guides are on Per­mis­sion Mar­ket­ing, Inbound Mar­ket­ing, their rela­tion­ship to other types of mar­ket­ing and then one minute on how they fit together. Col­lect them on your iPhone and you’ll have a four minute refresher on the way to the board­room for your next meet­ing with the cre­atives. 1

The idea behind these videos is to add con­text and clar­ity. If this one has whet your appetite rather than sati­ated your thirst and you want to inves­ti­gate fur­ther, well, it would prob­a­bly be appro­pri­ate to start at Wikipedia.org’s Rela­tion­ship Mar­ket­ing entry.

Nat­u­rally enough, ‘Con­tent’ is the next sub­ject series after these four audio blasts on mar­ket­ing. How to get it, how to make it, what to do with it and why, when and where to pub­lish it.

Con­tinue reading →

  1. The idea for these videos sprang from con­ver­sa­tion one Sun­day at junior rugby, when a senior broad­cast exec­u­tive sug­gested I might write a newslet­ter for those who need to under­stand this stuff, but don’t have time to research it all.
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Minutecoach Pay As You Go in the Small Business Resources Café, Chesapeake.

22

May

2010

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This month Min­ute­coach is fea­tured (and rec­om­mended!) in the Small Busi­ness Resources Café, which is very nice. The arti­cle is about that 18–24 month period in the life of a busi­ness when start-up assis­tance is over and exhaus­tion is becom­ing a real pos­si­bil­ity, strug­gling to cope with either a lack of busi­ness suc­cess, or para­dox­i­cally, too much.
It’s at this point that fresh per­spec­tive and insight can help, but where to get it?  Read the arti­cle for a heads up.
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Tools for Social Networking — where to find them

10

May

2010

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So you’ve peo­ple fol­low­ing you, and some you’re fol­low­ing, and some who are friends, it’s all get­ting a bit con­fus­ing, and you’re ask­ing your­self where the value is in social net­works, who counts and why. Well then, a few social net­work­ing tools might be welcome.

Have a lit­tle look at http://gist.com to assess the activ­ity and poten­tial of your con­nec­tions across mul­ti­ple out­lets, and http://friendorfollow.com for Twit­ter, which will let you know who you are fol­low­ing that is not fol­low­ing you. Er, and vice versa.

In addi­tion, for a list of tools for social media to speed your efforts in real­is­ing the value of those con­nec­tions visit http://oneforty.com. It is a use­ful site, but I’d start research­ing at lunchtime, say around one o’clock, and plan to stop at oh, I don’t know, say one forty… or you’ll be there all day…

Philip Stan­ley

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Should a business pay overhead costs for home workers?

10

Nov

2009

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When a busi­ness moves employ­ees into home­work­ers, should the busi­ness pass on a pro­por­tion of its over­head cost sav­ings to make up for the increased facil­i­ties use at home?

This is one in Minutecoach’s LinkedIn Q&A Best Answers series, widened out and rewrit­ten for those not on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read the orig­i­nal, you can use the link at the end of the article.

There is no moral imper­a­tive for a busi­ness to do this, just busi­ness com­mon sense and ‘perks’.

Some com­pa­nies who offer home-working toward the high end (sales reps, man­agers, etc.) will pro­vide a tele­phone line, broad­band con­nec­tion, printer, portable dock or home com­puter, VOIP/virtual switch­board etc. because these tools are cen­tral to the busi­ness oper­a­tion and the busi­ness needs to con­trol and pos­si­bly audit usage, secu­rity, expo­sure, call track­ing, etc.
Con­tinue reading →

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How to come up with a pricing model for an online service?

10

Nov

2009

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How do you come up with the best pric­ing model for an IT ser­vice. It’s online, doesn’t have direct com­peti­tors, so there is noth­ing to com­pare it to.

This is one in Minutecoach’s LinkedIn Q&A Best Answers series, widened out and rewrit­ten for those not on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read the orig­i­nal, you can use the link at the end of the article.

One way of find­ing a price when you have a new ser­vice with­out any easy com­par­isons is to abstract until you iden­tify the real value in the service.

Or said another way, don’t price the ser­vice, price what it is accom­plish­ing.
Con­tinue reading →

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How to turn a sales negotiation from cost to value?

09

Nov

2009

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Clients tend to dwell on cost because that is what they know to nego­ti­ate… any tips on how to swing the nego­ti­a­tion away from cost and over to value?

This is one in Minutecoach’s LinkedIn Q&A Best Answers series, widened out and rewrit­ten for those not on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read the orig­i­nal, you can use the link at the end of the article.

Why cus­tomers nego­ti­ate on cost
In ser­vices sales clients dwell on cost because they know how to nego­ti­ate on cost; they’re com­fort­able. Attempt­ing to move from cost to value can remove that com­fort and even raise ques­tions as to motive, because it ‘feels’ to a cus­tomer as though you can’t, or won’t, nego­ti­ate on a level play­ing field.
Con­tinue reading →

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