For many small and medium-sized businesses, finding a new and exciting angle for a marketing campaign can be something of a challenge as, let’s face it, most successful strategies have been done before. Instead of racking your brains to come up with something new, therefore, taking a known marketing technique and adapting it to suit the needs and style of your business can by far be the best option.
Giving away samples of a popular product has long been lauded as the optimum way of grabbing the attention of potential customers. Now, while giving something away for free may seem counter intuitive, countless studies have shown that this is in fact an excellent way of strengthening the bottom line.
This technique is especially useful at trade shows or networking events, as crowds in attendance tend to know a little bit about the area of industry in which your business operates. However, it can also be effective in your own place of business, especially if you operate in a retail environment with a high consumer turnover.
Standard free gifts tend to be pens or key rings emblazoned with your company logo, but thanks to a flooding of the market in this area, some thinking outside the box may be required in order to stand out. Focusing on the customer base you wish to attract, therefore, is essential.
For example, if your business revolves around hair or beauty retail, perhaps a hairbrush or set of makeup brushes carrying the company logo would be an ideal and inexpensive feature of a large marketing campaign. Similarly, caterers or those in other areas of the food industry may wish to market their range by offering passers-by small taste samples in return for accepting a business card or signing up for an email newsletter.
Offering products for free rather than for a discounted price allows consumers to see what your company has to offer with no strings attached – even a small fee can put people off the idea of picking up a sample given the current economic situation in the UK. By advertising your giveaway on your social networking page, the combination of these high profile marketing events can draw in large crowds and potentially increase your client base by a large amount.
It can be a hard life at the top and this is something that Coca Cola is probably feeling at the moment. Much in the same way that a football team who is used to success suddenly feels tired and jaded after losing a game or two (hello Davie Moyes), when you are at the top of your industry and your profits and revenues start to decline, you get a bit worried.
Coca Cola’s figures are impressive, but when you’re at the top of the game the competition is with yourself. With Coca Cola announcing that the global profits for year on year fell by 4%, to a mere $1.2bn, and that net revenue for the three months leading to the end of December 2013 also fell by 4%, you can see why there has been panic and consternation at Coca Cola HQ. A 2% drop in revenue for 2013 and a 5% fall in operating income make grim reading for the shareholders and people at the top of the company. Again, a bit of perspective should come with the fact that the operating income level for 2013 came in at over $10bn but in business, trends can often be more important than the figures.
Big changes are needed to keep Coca Cola at the top
Clearly Coca Cola needs to make some changes and the firm has announced their strategy. They are going to squeeze their supply chains even further, reinvent that money into more marketing and all will be well with the world. The Coca Cola plan is to increase their marketing expenditure, which is great news for anyone lucky enough to be on the Coke bandwagon.
These changes will see the people responsible for the production of Coca Cola being forced to work under tighter constraints with more pressure, however, as long as the marketing executives get to throw a lot of cash at the problem, things will be just fine.
Here are some things that Coca Cola might think about doing to improve their product, but very probably won’t:
• Reduce the amount of sugar in each can or bottle
• Give better pay and workers’ rights to the masses employed by the company around the world
Coca Cola is always going to be a product that sells well, that is the way it is because tt is a product that is so ingrained on the minds of consumers. The world is changing though. Many people are looking into the background of firms and Coca Cola, like many others, are being out under scrutiny for working practices around the world. Many people are looking at what goes into drinks and the sugars and other products involved with Coca Cola are turning some people away in an increasingly competitive market.
The tactics employed by Coca Cola will bring about some success, of that there is no doubt, but the company needs to be wary of reaching out to an audience that is no longer interested in hearing what the firm has to say. Throwing more money at a problem is not always the best solution.
One of the most successful marketing studies in the United Kingdom was conducted by Tesco prior to the launch of their Tesco Loyalty Card in 1995. A year earlier they hired a company called Dunnhumby who analysed the shopping patterns of the UK consumer. The study included looking at what customers were placing in their baskets, their shopping trends, geo location purchasing as well as spending averages across the United Kingdom. Just three months after taking on the study Tesco Chairman (at that time) Lord MacLaurin said, “What scares me about this is that you know more about my customers after three months than I know after 30 years.”
Dunnhumby’s ability to analyse the data that they collected lay down the foundations for building a huge advantage over competition, as well as putting in place a loyalty scheme that would far outshine any other ever undertaken before, not only increasing Tesco’s position as a major supermarket leader but establishing a strong brand loyalty that still exists today. Dunnhumby’s case study identified a total of eleven areas of where Tesco could focus and take advantage of over their competitors. These included trends, basket building, right product in the right place and cross-selling. The study and ensuing scheme has been so popular that books have been written on its success and the impact that it has had on the modern day supermarket industry.
There is no doubt that the way that Tesco implemented its loyalty car scheme was, at the time, the most effective of its kind to date. It remains to this day one of the most successful loyalty schemes across all industries and it is testament to the brilliant execution of a fairly simple idea.
1. Each page should be dedicated to one keyword / phrase which is in the meta title and meta description. Avoid meta keywords, Google is starting to use them to identify spam. At best they are not necessary and at worst they may be becoming toxic.
2. The ideal target is 300 words of useful content. This means that you don’t fill it with words that don’t mean anything. Google has started to identify meaningless content and ignore it, so you may think that you have written 300 words but Google will only see 10 if only 10 words are meaningful. Think semantically about your content. If you don’t know what that means it is essential that you take a Youtube tutorial on it after you have read this and before you write anything.
3. Keyword / phrase should be repeated in the whole text four or five times but not more than six. Make it relevant and useful but don’t use it too much thinking that will help. It won’t and you’ll be identified as a spammer.
3. Avoid spelling mistakes. You should do this for SEO and also for your own credibility. The most credible websites have the fewest spelling mistakes.
4. Any image used needs to have a relevant name and relevant alt tag (which is the description of the image that ‘would describe it to a sight impaired person’).
5. Use only one H1 tag and then other H tags in order; H1, H2, H3 etc. You can have more than one H2, 3 etc but never more than one H1.
6. Link to other pages based on usability and only choose the best pages to link to. You can check them out using online Page Rank checkers and Alexa but nothing beats actually reading the content you’re linking to and using common sense.
7. Regular updating is important. Google favours sites with fresh content.
8. Social media is very important. You must have share buttons clearly visible on your content and you should check them. So often I try to share something and the buttons create unusable text. Don’t people check their own websites as if they were a user?
9. Share your own pages as you update them with a bit of a story; ‘We’ve updated our XYZ with ABC because …’, or ‘This is Fred in the office’s favourite product because …’ etc. Stories and characters are important. ‘Cold’ shares which don’t actually say anything or shares that are too sales focused are a turn off.
I hope you find these basic on page tips useful. I’ve tried to keep it simple on purpose; there’s so much information out there that sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. Get these basics covered and then you can move on to other advice.
The most important thing to consider these days is to be useful. Write for your readers, provide them with information and solve problems. There is a lot of content out there and you need to stand out, not just be another ‘me too’ writer.
Over the years, Posh Spice has taken a lot of stick. Women don’t like her because she took Becks away from them and Manchester United fans don’t like her because … well, because she took Becks away from them. In the years since the Spice Girls finally stopped pumping out hits, Victoria Beckham has somehow managed to create a career as a fully-fledged fashion designer. This act deserves our respect, and here’s why.
She wasn’t qualified.
Sure, she had connections and plenty of backing, but Victoria Beckham started out a fashion design business with passion for her journey and very little else. What did she do? She immersed herself in the industry and studied hard.
Everyone wanted her to fail.
When Victoria Beckham first announced that she would actually be designing her own clothes, the general reaction was one of scorn: “What does a Spice Girl know about fashion?” “She wouldn’t be able to do it if she wasn’t married to Becks.” “God, I still can’t believe he went to Real Madrid.” Over the years to come, she simply went about her business of designing, before everyone (rather reluctantly) admitted she was actually good.
She did the hard yards.
A sure-fire way to earn the endless ire of her detractors would have been to spend all her cash on a massive debut fashion show event, but Victoria did nothing of the kind. Instead, she slowly built up her business, beginning with designing some high-end jeans before moving on to sunglasses and then his-and-hers fragrances. She only released her first full year fashion collection in 2008, five years after she’d began working on her company.
In 2011 Victoria Beckham won Fashion Designer Of The Year at the British Fashion Awards. This was an important award because the voting was from her peers in the fashion industry. When she collected her award, apparently, she cried. You have seen Victoria Beckham’s public face, she notoriously doesn’t show emotion. That she cried shows how much this meant to her.
The Spice Girls achieved phenomenal success but, still, people like to rubbish them and claim that whichever girl they’re picking at the time can’t sing. Victoria then had the nerve to marry a famous footballer. Every stumble and set back seemed to be greeted with schadenfreude verging on delight. In her efforts to make it as a fashion designer she worked hard, regardless of criticism. To win an industry award judged by your peers has nothing to do with how much money you have or who you are married to. It has to do with talent.
There’s a lot more to Victoria Beckham than meets the eye. She’s a tough cookie and she deserves some respect.