What Makes Your Business Stand Out?

April 28, 2015 in Business Networking, Marketing, Presentation Skills, Small Business Networking

How do you communicate the worth of your small business to potential new clients when you offer an intangible service, rather than a physical product? That was the key question emerging from the ‘Question Mastermind’ session at the latest meeting of the Small Business Network, held, as usual, at Sable D’Or in Muswell Hill.

And the answer? Visualisation. Small business owners must find a way to paint a picture of their service – of what they can do for their customers – through real or hypothetical examples, through videos on web sites, through detailed explanations. Read the rest of this entry →

Fads and Fancies

February 24, 2015 in Marketing, Small Business Advice, Social Media

by Marcia MacLeod

Have you got the latest smartphone? Do you read all the fashion press? Are you eating your goji berries? (Or is it now avocado smoothies, ugly fruit and yak’s milk cheese?) Is your web site the most stylish on the planet – complete with lots of photos, a list of Facebook ‘likes’, references to other social media and ‘sharing’ your business routine with anyone who cares to look?

In short, are you hip, cool, wicked or whatever the youngsters call it today? Read the rest of this entry →

Starting Up A Small Business

February 10, 2014 in Business Networking, Marketing, Small Business, Small Business Networking

by Marcia MacLeod

Do you remember the first time you thought about starting your own business? The excitement of doing something you love, with no boss looking over your shoulder; the fear of failure; the worry about finances; the sleepless nights wondering if you’re doing the right thing? They are all feelings most Small Business Network members have experienced. Maybe you haven’t got there yet. Maybe you’re only just beginning to consider your future options and have all those emotions to look forward to.

Whichever it is, the problem is that emotions can take over: it’s all too easy to let your heart rule your head. For starting a new, small business – any small business – is not for the faint-hearted. Read the rest of this entry →

Online Communication for Small Businesses

March 6, 2013 in Online Marketing, Small Business Advice, Social Media

Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, isn’t the only one who despairs at the damage texting is doing to our grasp of grammar and punctuation. C U Wed is pretty easy to understand, but what do you do when faced with something like PT t brg X bz?*

Writing to friends doesn’t have to be formal, but when text-speak spills over into business communication, you are looking at a completely different ballgame. Be honest: would you want to do business with someone who could not communicate clearly? Would you want to hire someone who couldn’t write a proper sentence?

But text-speak isn’t the only problem small business owners face. With the growth of email, web sites and social media, we are under increasing pressure to join the cyber race – and that means Tweets, Facebook messages, blogs, and so on. For those lacking natural writing skills, the prospect of turning out Internet copy can be daunting, whatever form it takes. Can I use text-speak in a Tweet? How personal should I be? Do I have to use proper English, proper grammar?  Can’t I be much less formal when I write for the Internet than when producing printed documents?

Yes, the Internet is less formal  – but writing Tweets and blogs carry their own rules. Tweets have to be short, of course, so you need to understand how to get the message across in just 140 characters. No padding there, then. What is it you want to tell people? Say you are promoting a special offer. No point in using the term special offer: it wastes 13 characters. Instead, just put the offer in the Tweet, e.g.: Reiki sessions three for price of two, XX Healing Today (or whatever your business is called) – just 54 characters – and/or your web site.

Facebook page? Keep that short, too, but as there are no length restrictions, you can get a little more descriptive, such as: Reiki transfers universal energy through the healer’s palms to create a state of equilibrium. Ideal for the stressed out modern world Try three taster sessions for the price of two at XX Healing Today.

Blogs can be any length, but the shorter the better. If it’s too long, unless you are another Danielle Steele or Lee Child, readers won’t make it to the end. Don’t ramble. Decide what you want to say before you start, and make sure there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. If you’re not sure how to do that, look at this one and try to determine which is the beginning – and why; how it moves into the middle (the main message); and how it finishes up.

Blogs are not actually that different from printed material. You’ve got room to play around, room to include more information, thoughts, ideas, advice. But make sure you actually do have information, thoughts, ideas, advice; don’t waffle.

Whatever you write, avoid superlatives: you are probably not the only whatever you do in north London, and possibly not the best, either; if you say you are, you had better be able to prove it. Be concrete. Everything you put out there should be easy to read and understand – and that means an ability to explain things clearly, a reasonable grasp of grammar and punctuation – and no text speak, ever.

*Party tomorrow, bring extra booze.

Why should YOU be on google+?

February 8, 2012 in g+, Google+, Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Social Media, Websites

There’s a short answer to this: the google search engines LOVE websites that display the g+ badge.

This means that Google will prioritise websites that have the g+ badge over websites that don’t, i.e. they will be ranked higher in search results (and don’t we all want that!). And even when more businesses have clocked on to this, similar websites that display the g+ badge will be rotated so that they all have a fair go at the top.

Why is Google doing this? Well, apart from their desire to take over the world, they do seem to genuinely want the little guys who can’t afford to pay megabucks for specialist search engine optimisation to get a decent stab at high rankings when their websites deserve it – i.e. when they have quality frequently updated content that is genuinely there to serve the customer. They see the g+ pages as a way to do this…as well as to take over the world.

HOW TO GET YOUR GOOGLE+ BADGE

To display the g+ badge you first need to have a g+ business page – very similar to a Facebook Fan Page.

Read the rest of this entry →

Tamsin Fox-Davies – Marketing Mentor Extraordinaire!

October 13, 2011 in Finsbury Park Meetings, Marketing, Meetings, Online Marketing

I suddenly felt inspired to write an impromptu blog about  Marketing Mentor Tamsin Fox Davies in order to sing her praises.

Why?

Well, we spoke earlier today about her talk at our evening Christmas bash on 30 November, and our conversation really brought home to me how brilliant at marketing she actually is.

All Tamsin did was make a couple of off-the-cuff marketing suggestions for SBN that hadn’t occurred to me before, but nevertheless made perfect sense once she’d shared them.

And it also goes to show how generous she is!

Tamsin has various levels of help on offer, from freebies to your very own bespoke marketing. For instance, why not try her very affordable ‘Your Marketing Strategy Made Easy’ workshops for just £35.00? And if you like her Facebook page you get exclusive free content. Plus her weekly newsletters ALWAYS contain a really useful marketing tip.

And of course, don’t forget to come to the SBN Xmas event on Wednesday 30 November. We haven’t finalised the content yet, but it’s sure to be good. Those of you who attended the two talks on Email Marketing and Social Media that Tamsin gave for SBN earlier this year will be able to attest to that I know.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

More about…SBN Christmas Meeting in Finsbury Park 30 November 2011

www.tamsinfoxdavies.com