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Business Promotion Hints and Tips

Ann Brown Summ It Up MarketingAnn Brown, an experienced and well respected Bridlington based marketing consultant provides help and information on the basics of promoting your business.

Marketing is an investment that no business can afford to be without. Marketing that is specific for your business, that is planned, is strategic and that delivers. Whether you are an established business or have recently set up you will be looking to increase sales and find new customers.The right marketing will achieve this and save you time and money. Take advantage of Ann's helpful advice provided within this blog. Ann can be contacted via email at ann@summitup.co.uk or telephone 07947 779542


Are you one of the doubters, the people who don’t believe Twitter is worth the effort?

Before you decide to tweet no more here are a few ideas for improving your Twitter results. First be clear what you want from Twitter, you will be much more effective and it will be easier for you to monitor and judge your results.

 

Your Twitter goals – a few ideas

  • To increase your profile on the internet
  • To build a mailing list
  • For customer support
  • To promote offers
  • To research your industry and monitor competitors

 

1. Make Your Content Sticky
Sticky content is content that interests followers and is content they want to share. Make your tweets original and interesting and your followers will re-tweet, respond and click through to your web site, offers, blog and subscribers list.

 

What to tweet a short list

  • News
  • Events
  • Social tweets – be human and show your interests and activities
  • Useful and original information
  • Quality images of your products and services
  • Offers
  • Links to your web site, blog and other useful web sites

Post regularly and at different times of the day and week including weekends. To increase the chances of re-tweets save some of your 140 characters or your whole tweet will not appear. Keep tweets to 100-120 characters to give readers plenty of space to include your username.

 

2. Expand Your Network
The number of followers you have is not as important as the quality of them, but the more followers you have the more impact you will have. Build a reputation for original advice, offers and information and followers will follow! Tweeters with a large following and are high profile online are influencers who will re-tweet to a larger audience.

 

3. Effectively Using Hash tags
Before you schedule your next tweet, ask yourself if you are effectively using hash tags (#) in your tweets to reach your target audience? Think in terms of keywords and don’t use more than one per tweet.

 

What is the right marketing approach for family run businesses?

Time is short staff are busy and you have no dedicated marketing department. Where to start and how to keep track of everything you should and need to do is the problem? It’s all to easy to let things drift along with the same routine marketing and advertising with no great changes over time.  Take control by first looking at the resources you have now, these might be:

 

  • Your premises
  • Your staff
  • Web site and/or mobile web site
  • Advertisements you are running
  • Flyer/leaflets/brochures
  • Review sites and testimonials
  • Social networks
  • PR
  • E mailings
  • Direct mail and mail shots

Each and every one of these can play a role in your marketing, with actions such as keeping your web site up to date, regularly tweeting and posting new information, images and new products together with helpful advice.

 

Make sure your marketing focuses first on your existing customers, guests, visitors and anyone who has made a purchase. You have to keep this audience on board and find ways to build loyalty and encourage repeat buys. Use loyalty clubs, mailings with latest news and products and offers. Find out what your existing customers like about buying from you. Encourage them to post reviews, give recommendations and testimonials.

 

Your second approach is to find new customers and new bookings. This might be through advertising, entry in directories and networking on and offline. For real impact with your marketing  design individual campaigns using multiple resources. These campaigns might be:

 

  • A new product or service launch
  • Special offers
  • Launch of new rooms
  • New season menus
  • New services
  • Workshops and seminars

 

Planning is the key to your success and is well worth the investment. Planning will save you time, keep marketing on track and save you money. Set a budget and set aside a morning or afternoon every week to keep you on track. Use a monthly checklist to include, ‘What’s happening? What’s new and the sales results of ongoing campaigns.

 

 

 

How can you stand out?

New or established one of the most difficult things for any business is how to stand out in the market place and from competitors. Yet standing out is crucial and can make the difference between success and mediocrity. Here are some ways you can stand out.

 

By having great products and services

Having original products or services, if you can achieve this will make your business stand out. If not, having great products and services means you will stand out and will benefit from word of mouth enquiries and sales. For small service businesses word of mouth is often the greatest lead generator. Maintaining great products and services is essential, so keep refining, testing new offers and making sure you always put product and service first.

 

Great customer service

Brand loyalty counts for a lot and one of the basics of brand loyalty is great service. Set standards that you can keep and don’t let your customers down by failing to live up to promises. Stand by your promises and if you can add personal touches to every point of customer contact.

 

A memorable brand

It is essential to get your business name and logo right for brand recognition and do this as you establish your business. Changing your business name and logo later is in effect like starting a new business. Your logo and name should be easily recognisable and reflect the nature and tone of your business as well as appeal to your market.

 

Your brand is much more than your logo, leaflets, web site or products. The visual elements of your business include the whole of your customer journey from enquiry through to purchase. It includes what you do, how you do it, what your customer interactions are like and the information you share on social media.

 

Make Sure Your Customers know the face behind the business

Many successful businesses have a clear face behind the company, a leader and visionary. Think Richard Branson and Virgin and Steve Jobs of apple.

 

Build a Community Around your business

A successful brand is one that is trusted and respected by customers and building a strong community off and online can help you achieve this. Online Facebook and Twitter are great ways to do this as is your blog. Offline build a community with support for local fundraisers and charities, by hosting your own events and workshops or rewarding loyal customer at events. All help you build community and extend the trust you’ve earned to your brand.

 

Stand for something

And make your message clear. Volvo use safety first”, but it can just as easily be a green or environmental message or a charity you support. Make your support clear in all your marketing messages.

 

 

Your ten step plan for tweeting and posting 15 minutes a day

Are you constantly interrupting your working day to Tweet and Post and check for new followers? Did you know that on average it takes 20 minutes to get your focus back following interruptions such as posting, checking E mails and replying to phone calls? It is possible with a little planning to eliminate time spent wondering what to tweet and post and constantly interrupting your daily schedule? 

 

  1. First decide which network best suits your business and which are you most comfortable with.
  2. What are the aims of social networking for your business? To increase your business profile, to illustrate your expertise, to find new customers, promote specific offers or research? Knowing this will save time later.
  3. Who is posting and tweeting for your business? It is good policy to have one person but you can have other contributors. What you must have is a social media policy in place to protect yourself, your business and your customers.
  4. Look ahead. What are you doing in the coming year? Is your business seasonal, do anniversary days (e.g. mothers Day) play a part in your business? Do your products and services change through the year? If selling B2B are there deadline dates that your clients need to know about? If you are planning a sale in February, you need to be tweeting and posting about it the month before.
  5. Plan a theme for each month that fits in with the other marketing you are doing. This might be a launch, a specific product you want to feature or new courses you are running.
  6. Plan to mix up your tweets and include some social tweets and posts. Promote events you are attending or holding and include a link to your web site or blog posts.  
  7. Think about your industry, what access do you have to industry news, original news and views? Time spent in researching these will save time later. These can make up some of your tweets and posts
  8. What images do you have access to? It’s worth creating a directory of good quality images you can include with some of your tweets and posts.
  9. Join Hootsuite or Tweedeck. Both allow you to tweet ahead. Hootsuite will also allow you to manage your Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn accounts. Facebook allows you to schedule posts including images ahead of time in an activity log.
  10. Create a content calendar to pull all this together. Schedule your tweets for the coming week, month or more if you wish. Then all you have to do is check your schedule and twitter and Facebook accounts periodically to include a few on time tweets and posts and to joining in conversations.

 

E Mail Marketing – Best Practice

E mail Marketing generally has a poor reputation, meanwhile thousands of businesses are quietly using it to build awareness, build loyalty and increase sales. These companies vary from large PLC’s to small businesses and new start ups in the know. Somehow we don’t associate the professional mailings we have signed up to with E mail marketing.

 

If you are considering E mail marketing first and most important of all you have to decide what you will be using mailings for. Bear in mind mailings do not fit for every business. You have to make sure what you send is of value, helpful and of interest to recipients. It might be:

 

  • Advice – must be original and genuinely helpful
  • Offers – must be genuine and of value
  • First chance to buy/try
  • Short offers for courses you run

 

Your mailing list – best practice

Before you begin you will need a mailing list and for many businesses especially start ups this can be a daunting and seemingly impossible task. But you can overcome this with a multiple pronged strategy.

Many businesses start out by buying a mailing list and you can do this successfully with a few insights. Buying a mailing list will cost you and you will have to decide how many conversions into sales you will need to cover your costs (ROI). Buying a mailing list is nowhere near as successful as making connections that understand what you do and are interested in what you have to offer. This applies whether you sell a product or a service.

 

Select by business size, business type, geographical area, and you should also specify the status of the contact you want. In other words, managing director, purchasing manager, marketing manager etc. If you are going to proceed without a mailing list you will have to build your own. This is easier than you might originally imagine. This is how you can do it. Depending on the type of business you are:

 

  • Offer competitions and prize draws
  • Product and advice giveaways
  • Network connections on and offline
  • Social media connections

You must include a sign up form on your web site. To sign up, whatever you are selling you must make it worth the while of people joining up. Give them a discount of their first purchase, a free report of something that will help them, first chance to take up accommodation and holiday offers and short term offers for courses etc.

 

Keep your sign up form short, E mail address and name is a good start, there will be other opportunities to gather more information. Let people know how often you will be mailing, they will be more likely to open mailings and you will not be perceived as spamming.

 

Both Mail chimp and constant contact will send a welcome E mail asking sign ups to confirm their address and this will ensure you escape spammers. Then all you have to do is decide what form your mailing will take html or text. 

Are you drowning in a sea of data and information?

Whatever we do we are all bombarded with information, online, in e mails and in the real world with leaflets and fliers and on TV. In business, you can add industry information in e mails and magazines, web sites we feel we should read and companies sending offers, news and videos, all with plenty of reasons we should be buying and acting.

 

If you run a business how do you find the time to read all this information and keep up with industry news and the latest marketing advice? How do you use all this information to help you make buying and marketing decisions?

 

The answer is to take a step back and decide what is essential for your business? What do you need? What will help your business now? What aspects of marketing are you struggling with? Concentrate on information that will help you with these issues, while casting an eye over information that is not as essential. In other words focus on what you need to know about. Once you have decided what this is it becomes easier to filter out stuff you don’t need to read.

 

Have a data and information plan

Make a simple plan setting time aside time daily or weekly for reading and researching. Set up folders on your computer or other device where you can store the information that really helps and that you can go back and refer to. In this way you can build a resource library of information for inspiration and motivation. For magazines and periodicals use a tray and add publications to it when they arrive then read during your set aside time.

Suggestions for folders:

  • Industry news and trends
  • Internet marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Ideas
  • Useful web sites

For smaller pieces of data copy and web addresses paste into notepad then into word and save in your folders. Set aside an hour a day or week to read the information you have gathered. Review your information regularly and delete what you no longer need or what is out of date.

 

Planning in this way means you will read more about what really matters and make better buying and marketing decisions. It will also help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed which creates stress. At the same time don’t limit yourself to a few tried and tested sites and publications, be open minded and review new web sites and periodicals.

 

Most important of all turn insights and what you have learnt into actions to work, start small and be consistent. If you need more help organising yourself,  Evernote will help you to organise all your online information on your desk top and mobile. 

What is the most important part of your marketing plan?

And wouldn’t it be wonderful if knowing this could help you to simplify your marketing, increase effectiveness and produce the results you really want?


Whatever your business it is crucial that you target your products and services at specific groups of people and business buyers. Being clear who you are aiming to attract is the first and most important part of your marketing plan. This does not mean you should restrict your marketing to one group only, this would hold back your business reach too much.


What you must do is understand which of your products and services will appeal to specific groups of businesses and people. Doing some research first is always helpful, review for example where most of your sales have come from in the past 2 years:

 

  • What type of businesses are buying from you
  • Where are they geographically
  • What is the size of business buying from you by turnover or employee size?
  • By business type and by the service they offer
  • By the products and services they buy from you

Be specific in this. You also need to be aware how did you get the business?

  • By recommendation and referral
  • Advertising
  • Networking on and offline
  • Direct mail
  • E mail marketing
  • Social networking

Following your research you must make sure the businesses and audience you chose are a viable market for your products, services and accommodation. As part of your research don’t forget trade and business magazines. How do they speak to their readers, what issues they are discussing and what questions are readers asking?


Segment your markets in this way and target them in a way that will reach them. Marketing communications must appeal to your audience, be relevant and something that is of interest to them. Use marketing actions that will reach them, in other words sell where your audience buy.
Don’t forget to target referral businesses that are the businesses that have your ideal customers as their customers and clients. Your tactics here will be different and it will probably take you longer to convert into sales, but the same principles apply and do it right and it will provide a rich vein of sales and bookings for you.


If you know your business, are clear on what you offer, are sure you can deliver what your customers are looking for, follow these strategies and your marketing will be easier, more targeted and more successful.

 

Finding time for marketing!

Every business has to market and promote their products and services to increase brand awareness and bring in sales. So often marketing ends up at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list even though one of the benefits of building marketing into the day to day running of a business helps to eliminate the peaks and troughs of sales and bookings. So how do you find time in a busy schedule for marketing?

 

Often the mere thought of marketing and the myriad of choices available are a barrier with marketing seen as overwhelming or a chore. Yet every business should think of marketing as an investment and the key is to keep it simple. It helps to set aside a specific time every week for marketing. With a bit of planning and a plan that suits you marketing is not only achievable but also something that spurs you on to greater achievements.

 

The easiest way to find time for marketing is to start by being clear about what it is you want to achieve. This might be a financial goal or a number of bookings or sales. Next make sure you are clear who your products and services appeal to. This might be by business type, by demographics or by geographical area or all three.

 

Doing these simple things means you will be clear about the way you present you project your business to your audience. Knowing who you are appealing to means you will be able to target advertising for example in one specific area of the country or in one specific type of publication for example.

Following this exercise set aside a budget for your marketing. Some businesses allocate a percentage of their turnover, others a specific amount. If you are a new business you will need to invest more.  

Your next stage is to list all your resources and this is more than simply financial resources. This might include:

 

Your web site

Your blog

  • Social media sites
  • Advertising
  • Your premises
  • Your staff
  • Your packaging
  • Direct mail
  • Testimonials
  • Marketing material

Your final stage in making time for marketing is to decide how you are going to use your resources to promote your business and ALSO to make sure you are using your resources to their maximum effect. For example is your web site up to date? Does your marketing material present your business in the best way and does it sell the real benefits of staying with you and buying from you?

 

At the last stage you also need to make sure you are using your resources together to promote your business, for example using your marketing material to send readers to your web site for offers and social media sites to read your reviews. Marketing is the life blood of any business make sure you find the time to do it in 2014.

 

Protect your business reputation online

There is no doubt that social network such as Twitter and Facebook are useful if not crucial tools in any marketing campaign. In so many ways they present new opportunities for businesses of every size. But care has to be taken as consumers and clients now have instant access to posting complaints and less than favourable comments about customer service, faulty products or some aspect of their stay with you they are not happy about.

 

Consumers and holiday makers alike have more choices than ever before and every business has to be vigilant and monitor unhappy customers. The simple truth is that your business reputation is at risk. In the extreme hotels have lost bookings due to unfavourable reviews and posts on the social networks and product sales have fallen away. Any company’s worst nightmare is for a customer to post a bad review and then for it to spread across the internet.

 

And it’s not only the negative reviews that can hurt your business reputation, unanswered questions and enquiries posted on the networks will do your reputation no favours. Say thank you to favourable comments and reviews and show your customer how important their comments and views are to your business.

 

How to monitor your reputation online
1. Monitor Your Brand
Check your social networks twice daily and it helps to have one person do this. Use Google alerts to discover all mentions of your brand online and Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so you know when your business is mentioned on the social networks.

 

2. Quick Response
When a customer posts something unfavourable about your business, or asks a question, you can turn things around with your response. Remember that your best customers and clients are ones that have had a problem with your products, service or customer service and who you have helped by righting the problem. 90 percent of dissatisfied customers will stay with a company, so long as their complaint is resolved promptly. 50 percent will become an advocate for your business.

 

3. Personal Attention
It’s difficult for any business to deal with unhappy customers but at the same time you must give your customers an easy way to contact you. This simple action can avoid your customers posting poor reviews online. The more difficult you make it for customers to contact you the more likely someone is to complain. For example your customer is unhappy with delivery of a parcel and they try to contact you directly only to be faced with a phone that keeps on ringing, an answer machine, or a multiple choice switchboard where none of the options fits their problem. These customers are much more likely to post unfavourable comments online.

 

Whatever business you are in your customers want to know you care and want to know what you are going to do to put right their problem. Build bridges with dissatisfied customers and you will bolster your reputation not damage it.

How to gather testimonials

Testimonials convince! But gathering them from clients, guests and customers can seem difficult and time consuming. Firstly how do you find someone to write a testimonial and a testimonial that says something more than ‘great stay thanks’ and something more like ‘Lovely welcome, tea and home make cakes on arrival. friendly family run, comfortable rooms, plenty to do close by’.


Today gathering reviews and testimonials is easier than ever and given the variety and sources available you can easily find testimonials and reviews that say more.


1. LinkedIn Recommendations
LinkedIn is a great source of reviews, taken from your recommendations.
2. Twitter
You’d be surprised how many positive reviews, thanks and recommendations are posted on Twitter. Collect them and add to your marketing material and web site.
3. Local Search Directories
Anyone joining Google Places or Yahoo Local can post reviews. If you have a listing on these sites, check out posted reviews and share them on your testimonials web page or Facebook page.
4. Review Sites
Depending on your industry, you can use recommendations and reviews on niche review sites. Hotels and B and B’s can use sites such as Expedia and Trip Advisor. Definitely worth doing as now more than ever people check out travel sites before booking a stay or a holiday.
5. Google Alerts and Social Mentions
There are other places where you can find reviews and testimonials, but you will have to work a little harder to find them! These reviews might appear on blogs or on press sites. Setup daily notifications via Google Alerts to keep track of mentions of you.
6. YouTube Video Reviews
Finally if you can a video of your customer talking about how your products or services have helped them is pretty compelling. Take a link from your customers you tube page and post onto your web site.

 

Compiling Your Testimonials Page
So now that you have collected all of these great reviews, add them to one page on your website so potential customers can see what great things you have done for others. Post onto your social network pages. Credit the review sites and if necessary, get permission from the person who wrote the review and confirm that it is OK for you to add their review to your web site and marketing material.

 

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