Tuesday Twitter Tips all in one place

 

Our Tuesday Twitter Tips #TuesdayTips have been running for nearly 3 years now and have had numerous retweets, favourites and shares from our followers. These 140 character soundbytes are crammed full of useful information and advice for you to apply to your business. These have been so popular that we thought it was worth sharing them all with you in one easy to use list. So here goes:

  • Avoid Email Overload.  Only check email every few hours.  Use inbox as a to-do-list; file or delete anything that’s not actionable
  • UCB - think Unique Customer Benefits not USP
  • Website hits, concentrate on quality not quantity
  • Don't sell on price alone.  Focus on creating value so that the perception of price becomes insignificant make sure you're compliant with Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts with your marketing
  • The power of testimonials.  Make sure you're actively acquiring & effectively using testimonials in your marketing.  Always seek permission first though!
  • Are you rewarding loyal clients? 68% of customers leave because they think you do not care
  • Ensure marketing is consistent & integrated!
  • Confused about Intellectual Property? Download the IPO's useful guide to patents, trade marks, copyright & designs
  • What makes a website successful? Good design, copy, readability & usability - all addressing your vistors wants & needs of course!
  • How can you differentiate your brand?  Using bespoke photography & video is a great way to engage & get your brand's personality across
  • Newsletters, whether printed or digital are a great communication tool to inform & educate, encourage loyalty & referrals, promote offers & much more!
  • Website traffic is meaningless; action is everything.  Your website should attract prospects, get them to the info they're interested in & then bring them to ENGAGE with you.
  • Santa's coming! Perfect time to tempt clients with offer on dental & facial treatments for party season.  Or why not offer gift vouchers?
  • Gender differences; in US 80% consumer decisions by females.  Females more likely to talk about purchase decisions therefore more likely to refer via word of mouth
  • Add the WOW factor to your printed items with texture, colour & special finishes -think touchy, touchy, likey, likey!
  • Panicking about not doing all the things you're told you're supposed to? DON'T, focus on the things you are doing well....& do them better!
  • Principles of marketing: people feel first and think second. Appeal emotionally to your audience through branding & engagement.
  • Get a real plant or two in your work environment - research has linked plants with increased productivity, improved creativity and lower stress.
  • Don't make things more complicated than they need to be.  Clear, consice, compelling communication  - the Ronseal approach!
  • add a ps to your letters/emails with special offers & marketing messages etc - the eye is automatically drawn to it
  • Think of marketing as a concept not just an activity.  Put the needs & wants of your target market at the core of EVERYTHING you do
  • Feedforward not back. Don't dwell on what has happened (feedback), look to the future (feedforward) in a postive manner.focus your energy on solutions not problems
  • Take time out to relax, eat well and exercise. Running a biz is stressful. To ensure you continue to operate effectively and give your business every chance of success you need to keep yourself healthy - mind, body & spirit.
  • 2012 is set to see a rise in community love & a resurgence of local marketing. Build trust within your community & get involved
  • Remember the 80:20 Rule.  80% of your turnover/profit will come from 20% of your clients.  Are you focusing your efforts appropriately?
  • Don't forget to add links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so forth to your email sign off
  • Adopt an integrated & consistent approach to your marketing. Complement your online and offline marketing to reinforce your message.
  • Get smart with your database.  Don't batch & blast to everyone, take the time to segment to specific needs and wants to ensure a more targeted approach
  • Make sure you deal with brochure requests promptly.  Make the effort to write a personal covering letter.  A little effort goes a long way & makes the right impression.
  • Marketing isn’t just about generating sales in the short-term. It’s about effectively communicating with your audience, building client trust, establishing and maintaining relationships and obtaining loyalty.
  • Remain positive. View a problem as an opportunity to improve so seek out issues that are holding you back and turn them around
  • Having professional photos done for your marketing? Be photographed at 11am when puffy eyes & skin from sleeping have faded & afternoon tiredness hasn't begun to show.
  • Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.
  • Don't value what's measurable measure what's valuable!
  • Communicate & touch base with your clients regularly - the more time people spend with a brand, the more loyal they will be.  E-newsletters are a great vehicle for keeping you at the forefront of your clients mind
  • Don’t foget National Smile Month 20 May - 20 June. Help @smilemonth promote great oral health  Visit www.nationalsmonth.org for ideas
  • Success is built on teamwork.  There's no I in TEAM!  R your team all working together & pulling in the same direction?  Does everyone know what part they play in achieving business goals?
  • Schedule tricky mind taxing jobs between 10-11am when your brain power will be sharpest. We pay attention, concentrate & perform cognitive complex tasks better late morning
  • make your signup form visible on your website (not tucked away) to make it easier for visitors to opt-in and be added to your mailing list
  • How can patients trust you if they don't hear from you between visits?  Communicate regularly to maintain the relationship
  • Try Posters - they can be a great, cost effective way of promoting specific treatments/services. Stick to one purpose & one message "less is more"
  • Remember that blogs have a long shelf shelf (unlike email) & can work really well when integrated with other marketing communications
  • Remind customers of everything you offer. Never assume that even your most reliable customers are completely aware of all the products and services you offer: you need to remind them regularly.
  • Experiences make people feel good.  Think about your client journey and all the touchpoints they have with you.  How can you make it better?
  • Colour is a powerful psychological tool.  If you want to find our how you can use colour to influence read our article
  • “The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” (Oscar Wilde) Make sure your clients know the value of your offering
  • Make time at the end of your working day to create the next day's to-do-list.  It keeps you focused, ensures you prioritise and alleviates stress!
  • DRIP DRIP DRIP - All marketing messages should Differentiate, Remind, Inform & Persuade
  • Don't get blindsighted.  Ensure you have a social media strategy in place  - Followers, likes & subscribers are Vanity.. Actual sales are sanity :)
  • Identifying your ideal client/customer/patient is crucial to the success of your marketing strategy
  • "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going. It's as simple as that" - words of wisdom from Zig Ziglar (and he has the coolest name!)
  • Focus. Be wary of 'multitasking' when in actual fact you're busy doing lots of things and not actually finishing any of them!  Much better to focus on one thing at a time & get it finished (easier said than done we know)
  • Remember to change your 'selling' mindset from USBs to UCBs-  Unique Customer Benefits - put the customer first and stress what you can offer them.
  • Don't be shy to ask for referrals or testimonials - if you don't ask you don't get.
  • Don't ignore the importance of the humble business card - it serves as a recall, it promotes your brand, aids networking & referrals & can be an ice breaker.  Make sure yours gives the right impression
  • What makes a brand successful?-  Clarity, Credibility, Connection, Motivation & Loyalty.  Be focused with your brand strategy
  • Be wary of trying to say too many different things. Maintaining a constant message builds long-term recognition and recall of your brand
  • Attracting new clients/patients/customers through referrals is the cheapest and best method of marketing around!
  • Before you speak THINK - is it True? Is it Helpful? is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? Tact goes a long way.
  • Review all of your client/patient communications. Every communication matters, because if it's worth writing it should be worth reading.
  • when sending out marketing emails ensure your 'from' name is easy to recognise & consistent every time you email.  This will improve opening rates and build brand familarity
  • Advertising giants Ogilvy & Mather believe that big ideals are platforms for big ideas. When a brand is fully in tune with its ideal, the ideas flow more easily.
  • Get into the habit of making all your obectives SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Targeted and timed
  • Use post-it notes to add that personal note to standard sales communications.  The eye is drawn to it & it's more engaging
  • Don't treat customer complaints in isolation, check for more systemic issues. This could unearth some useful insights.
  • When developing a website  the first and most important question to ask yourself is 'why do I need a website?'
  • Don't overburden your newsletter with too much info.  Make it useful, informative, relevant and a good read
  • "The goal is not to be better than the other man but to be better than your previous self" Hindu Proverb
  • Price & Product are obviously important but Service is what really can give you the edge over competitors
  • remember the golden rule of marketing - right message via the right channel to the right audience at the right time
  • Create experiences and make people feel good.  People leave due to being treated with indifference so treat them well
  • What looks good is a matter of opinion.  What works is a matter of fact. Don't underestimate the power of quality design
  • Make an effort with your use of language to bring meaning and feeling to otherwise bland descriptions
  • You cannot rely on one method of marketing to make you successful. Integrate your marketing to acheive your goals
  • Ask patients/clients what their prefered method of communication is; a simple way to give your message a greater chance of getting through
  • You can't be great-at anything-unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. There are no shortcuts or overnight successes.
  • Don't fear 'selling' - it is the foundation of business.  Think of it as communicating the benefits of working with you and overcoming objections.  It doesn't have to be about pressuring people into things.
  • don't write for everyone - write for someone. Your writing will be much more effective if you have an idea of who you're trying to reach
  • it takes an average of seven touches to convert a "suspect" to a "prospect" so ensure you have a regular, consistent, planned communication programme
  • Good quality images on your website, used consistently will enhance the user experience & boost conversion
  • Now is the ideal time to launch a loyalty scheme as the economic climate in the UK means customers respond well to offers and incentives
  • Want to be successful?  Strive for excellence in all that you do and put the customer at the heart of your business
  • People are more loyal to businesses when the staff are well informed and able to answer questions.  Make sure your frontline staff know their stuff!
  • Make sure you offer value to your clients on what they perceive to be value for money - what's important to them?
  • In business abide by this mantra - turnover is vanity, profit is reality and cash is sanity
  • Don't forget to use your email signature as a 'pull' - reaffirm why your clients use you and should continue to do so
  • It is vital to build trust and add value to clients over time.  Consistent, regular communication is key
  • Unless you have a limitless budget, take time to define your target market.  Start by looking at your existing clients; who are they, what do they like, how to they purchase etc
  • You cannot please all the people all the time but if you are specific about who you are targeting, you can please the right people all of the time
  • To arrive at your brand essence sum up the one thing that defines the qualities, personality and uniqueness of your brand
  • the most valuable part of social media is driving recommendations with authenitc mentions from your real customers
  • Try to satisfy both emotion and logic with your marketing messages
  • Always check with your patients/clients that you have the contact details you have for them are up-to-date
  • Websites should answer for your customers 'how we can help you' not just be about what you do
  • Consider that what you focus on is what you are likely to attract more of
  • Add social sharing buttons to your blog & other web pages to encourage interaction with your content
  • When planning your social media content, 80% should be giving and 20% promotional
  • Think about lifetime value and not just transactional value
  • Case studies are important credibility builders
  • Branding should come before marketing
  • Regularly remind your customers of everything that you can offer them
  • No website page should be a dead-end.  Every page should open a door to further useful & engaging content
  • Don't just do something because you think you should, tie it in with your strategy
  • Be careful not to de-value what you do.  People tend not to value things that they don't pay for so ensure adding value isn't costing you too much
  • Focus - it takes 4 times longer to complete a task when its interrupted (John Medina - Brain Rules)
  • Ensure good cashflow for your business. Log invoices, payments and reconcile your bank statement regularly.
  • Remember to listen. Proactive listening is by far the most underused online marketing tactic.
  • Content is the fire and social media the fuel - ensure relevance in your communications
  • Mobile is how people use the internet now.  Ensure your website is mobile compatible
  • “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Red Adair
  • Courtesy of @Farsight_media - don't try too hard, sometimes it's best to engage your audience with believable messages to reach them most effectively
  • Answer the following for web visitors - where am I? Where do I go next? What's it delivering to me?
  • Remember we don't fully read web pages, we scan them and skim read so don't overload your visitors
  • Try to write as though you are conversing with each individual person not broadcasting to a mass audience
  • Put marketing at the heart of your business - it is the key driver of success
  • Unleash your creativity: it implies a readiness to experiment; an ability to think differently - all qualities for success
  • Consider Bill Bernbach's belief that, "Dullness won't sell your product, but neither will irrelevant brilliance."
  • Authenticity breeds trust, and trust breeds business.
  • Change is where desire meets action - make the systematic changes to get where you want to go.  YOU are the change agent so make it happen
  • Tell don't sell.  Communicate with your audience.  No one wants a hard sell.
  • Be a people person. Never stop networking, follow all leads, and participate in relevant conversations wherever you find them
  • Don't go looking for new fans.  Look for ways to encourage people to engage with your brand instead of just following
  • "Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing." Have the courage to trust your instincts.
  • New research suggests that consumers have a more positive attitude to content marketing (57%) than they do towards traditional advertising (10%) Campaign, Oct 2013
  • Aim to put most of your efforts into the 20 per cent of customers who provide 80 per cent of profits.
  • Accuracy of any sort is goal orientated. If u wish to communicate clearly, you must first know the message you wish to relay - and then speak with exact intent
  • Plans are nothing but planning is everything' Wise words from Eisenhower
  • Is a 12 month planning cycle right for you?  Often 18 months cycles work better
  • Digital marketing - sell, speak, share, save and sizzle
  • Think behavioural criteria rather than demongraphics when segmenting your market
  • Innovation and marketing are the two most important functions within a business
  • Be careful of analysis paralysis.  Be sure you're making use of data not just collecting it for the sake of it
  • Don't try to do too much.  Do what you do really well - focus
  • Measure outcomes not outputs.  Measure strategically - 1000 website hits -great -but what does that mean in terms of biz goals?
  • Just ask. Tweets ending with a “?” get higher engagement than those without (from Twitter themselves)
  • 'Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Lou Holtz
  • Looking to improve your message?  People don't buy products they buy better versions of themselves - what can you offer?
  • Think about it: “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” - Zig Ziglar
  • Keep in touch with customers in a low pressure way - earn trust, gain loyalty
  • A picture is worth a thousand words.  Use images, pictures, video & logos in your social media to represent your business
  • 'Treasure the folks willing and able to develop a point of view about the big picture'. Seth Godin
  • Could removing pop-ups & auto play videos on your site reduce bounce rates? Test & see.
  • Take advantage of Google's free tools.  Make sure you've claimed your Google + page.

I hope these are and will continue to be useful for you. Please share with your clients!

If you want and more information about any of these or to find out how we can help your business to grow, then call 01242 236600 or email me zoe@bluehorizonsmarketing.co.uk

 

Read more

The importance of good signage - Part 1: External

The signage at your business is one of the most cost effective marketing tools available to you. It should be acting as a key source that generates constant enquiries, new business and thus profit. But more often than not we see businesses with poorly designed, low quality signs that have clearly be seen more as an afterthought than as a key part of an overall marketing strategy.

Often these signs have been added at a later stage as part of a refurbishment, aren't produced very well or are designed by a local signage company who don't really have the design skills available to maximise these items and instead offer this 'free of charge' to ensure they get your order.

At Blue Horizons we understand how important any signage is to your business. It provides that all important first impression and thus reflects the quality of your offering to potential and existing clients. It can also help reinforce your brand and provide an immediately recognisable and consistent element as part of the wider marketing mix. External signage is your opportunity to get across who you are, where you are and what you do.

20131202-105009.jpg

20131202-105042.jpg

Signage needs to be seen as an investment, yes it can cost a lot, but it's going to be in place for years and thus should provide you with a real return on this investment, time and time again.

20131202-104958.jpg

Choosing your signage company is a critical part of the process and an important decision to make. At Blue Horizons we work with a trusted signage partner who have the skills, service, and most importantly in our opinion, the quality to match what we try and offer our own customers. They understand the importance of good design in terms of the individual signs and thus ensure that they leave this part to ourselves as the professional marketing/design company. We've spent a number of years trying to find the right signage partner to work with ourselves and our clients and so we understand how difficult this can be for our own customers to do. That's why we offer a comprehensive signage design, build and installation service for our clients so that they don't have to spend the time and potential expense in finding the right partner for their signage.

20131202-105021.jpg

Another key benefit of our offering, and something that more and more clients are taking advantage of, is our option to show you what the proposed signage will look like in situ. We take photos of the various locations and superimpose the proposed signage designs in place through PhotoShop, thus enabling you to truly visualise what the signage will look like on your premises without having to imagine or guess. We have even repainted exteriors and interiors as part of the visualising process when a client has been considering more of a complete refurbishment or decor change!

20131202-105034.jpg

We also help you to choose the right type of sign, the right materials, where it should go and what it should say. So take a look at some of the great before and after examples within this blog to show you what can be achieved. And if you have any questions or are considering new or additional signage on your business, give us a call on 01242 236600 so we can chat through the options you have or email me, marcus@bluehorizonsmarketing.co.uk

Read more

iPad - Recommend Apps

Back in November last year, I wrote a blog post about my favourite apps and thought it would be interesting to see, a year on, whether I'm still an advocate of the same apps.  Clients, friends and family often ask what I'm using so I hope this blog will act as a useful reference point.

A year on, I would say that my usage of the iPad has overtaken the iPhone and laptop exponentially, and the development of iCloud has been indispensable to ensure my devices sync with each other easily.  As our lives seemingly get busier we should embrace technology to make us more efficient, less stressed and helps us to organise ourselves (and others!)  Surely it’s everyone’s aim to spend more quality time with family and friends; doing the things we enjoy rather than running around like a headless chicken with that awful feeling of ‘what have I forgotten?’!

Organisation

Most used app award has to go to Evernote (http://www.evernote.com/). Think of it as a virtual filing cabinet that houses all your scanned documents, notes, photos, useful web pages and ideas with the ability to categorize and tag everything; organising your life into separate notebooks. It just gets better and better with each update and I'd be lost without it!

The web clipping tool is particularly useful when browsing the web, simply click on the icon and it automatically saves it to Evernote. Many other apps work with Evernote and the ability to 'share' notebooks with others is very useful too.

With the newer version of iOS and the addition of 'Reminders', I no longer use any specific To-do-list apps. I can't say I think that Reminders is great but it does the job and the fact it syncs to my work's Outlook is very useful. In fact, I also use Evernote for more 'ad-hoc' to-do lists.

Work life

Interestingly, Dropbox and Camscanner+ are still probably my most used apps for business, as they were a year ago.

Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, documents, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones, tablets and even the Dropbox website.  This makes sharing files super easy negating the need to save and email different versions.

Camscanner+ turns your phone/tablet into a portable scanner enabling you to scan almost anything.  For example, you can scan business cards, whiteboards, receipts and invoices and even create PDFs. You can email, fax, upload or send to other apps such as Evernote or Dropbox.

Quickoffice This is a new addition to my iPad app arsenal which enables you to create and edit all Microsoft® office documents, spreadsheets and presentation formats as well as view PDF files on the go.  Flipping open your iPad is so much easier than waiting for a laptop to fire up, logging in and then opening a file.

iAnnotate PDF A relatively recent new find, this iPad app enables to you to view, annotate and collaborate your PDF files.  Finding it hard to explain what changes you want made on a document?  Use this app to highlight, draw and add sticky notes to clearly show what you mean.  You can even add voice recordings and photos – über useful!

LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook apps work well individually but I have now swapped from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite to centrally manage all my social media accounts.  To be honest, I can’t remember my reason for changing; perhaps I was drawn to the owl?!

 

Percentages Admittedly, mental arithmetic isn’t one of my strong points, so when dealing with the book-keeping or analysing statistics, this little app is my friend.

Homelife

Still on my list is Ocado which quite literally takes the stress out of grocery shopping.  There is an amazing choice of products, they do price matches with Tesco on branded products, their customer service is fab, their own branded products are cost effective and good quality and the app itself is really easy to use.

My friends poke fun at the fact that I plan out my meals for the week but since I’ve started doing this, we’re eating better, we have less food waste and we’re spending less.

Packing Pro I haven’t really used this to its full potential yet but I really like the idea. This app enables you to create packing lists for all your travel requirements to ensure that you never forget those useful items ever again.

Day one, previously I listed Momento as a great diary/journal app but I’ve now upgraded to Day one.  It’s a fab tool to document events, photos and musings and also a great form of self-therapy!

 

Nigellissima I think Nigella Lawson is hysterical.  To begin with I found her irritating but I’ve come to love her and her saucy connotations! Her recipes are easy, causal and tasty and the app is beautifully designed; check it out.

 

Enjoyment

Pinterest at the moment I mainly use Pinterest for personal use but plan to integrate this into what we do at Blue Horizons in the New Year.

For those of you with an appreciation for aesthetics, you’ll love this app. Think of it as a virtual pin-board where you can ‘pin’ images, videos, web pages and other items onto boards.  Be warned, it’s strangely additive browsing through other’s pin-boards; there is some beautiful stuff out there.

Art Set both my daughter and I love this app.  The app is a beautiful work of art itself and even if you’re not the greatest artist, you’ll feel a creative wiz using different materials and effects to create.  And the best bit – no cleaning up afterwards!

Read more

Happy Birthday Blue Horizons – 10 years in Business

 Blue Horizons have now officially been trading for 10 years – a whole decade of marketing under our belt.  I myself officially joined the company in April 2003 and here I am now in 2012 heading up the company. 

As with all journeys there have been high points and low points, fun and laughter and, admittedly, a few tears along the way!  I’m sure any other business will be able to identify with the feeling of pressure in this current climate.  However, it’s so important that we take the time to stand back and celebrate our achievements. 

  • Blue Horizons started life producing just one product – the dental patient newsletter.  Today we have grown to a full service agency providing everything under the banner of marketing communications - branding, printed literature, websites, social media and much more.   
  • Initially we solely worked with dental practices but as word of mouth referrals grew we started to work in other sectors.  Dentistry is still our largest sector and will hopefully continue to be so but rather than a drawback, our broader perspective from working within other sectors (as diverse as architects, a pet services directory, healthcare products and photographers) provides us with a more commercially rounded viewpoint – a healthy attribute I think! 
  • We have a great, longstanding team onboard at Blue Horizons, great because we really are a team.  We each have our specific skill sets and areas of speciality but we support each other and work together.  
  • We are truly grateful for the support and loyalty that our clients provide us, many of whom who have been us right from the very start. We really do value our clients above all else. 

As has always been our aim (and will continue to be) providing our clients with an excellent service is at the core of what Blue Horizons is about.  Everything is a learning curve and a continual path of improvement - we certainly didn’t predict that technology would advance at the rate it has over the last decade – that’s what keeps it all interesting!

 I’m personally very proud of what Blue Horizons has achieved during the past ten years and look forward to the next decade with great excitement and enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

 Happy Birthday Blue Horizons. 

“The goal is not to be better than the other man but to be better that your previous self.”   Hindu Proverb

Read more