5 tools you should use to promote your small business

5 TOOLS TO PROMOTE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS - BLOG

Managing marketing when you’re running a business can be a challenge, however there are a variety of tools out there to make this easier.

I’ve created a round up of my favourite tools that I use to promote my business and manage my client’s marketing.  They are all really intuitive and make promoting and speaking to your customers easy and interactive.

It also helps when planning your content and re-purposing your content to be able to schedule and use a variety of channels through which to talk to your customers and keep the conversation going..

Facebook pages

This app is perfect for your mobile devices and means you can easily interact with your Facebook pages. It holds all the business pages you manage in one place so that you can respond to notifications and messages on the go.

It’ll send you notifications so that’ll you’ll never miss a message or a comment again.  I like that I can easily switch between the different pages I manage.

Canva

I love this website, as it’s super easy to create images for social media and your website and it has a free version too.  It has pre-uploaded templates for creating your header images on Facebook and Twitter and you can upload your own logos and images as well as using their image libarary.

I’ve used Canva to create infographics and flyers for myself and for clients.  It is really easy if you’re not design savvy but on a low budget as there are plenty of templates for you to choose from.

I’ve also created templates so that it is quick to create images that I’m using all the time, like blog images, quote cards and images for social media channels.

Meetedgar

One tool that saves me a lot of time with scheduling to social media is Meet Edgar.  I discovered this about 12 months ago.  This tool allows me to create a posting schedule across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, I can re-purpose my content within Meet Edgar and it also makes suggestions for posts.

Using this tool means I can maximise on all the content that I’m creating for my business and ensure that it gets infront of more people in my audience.

Having MeetEdgar means that I’m always talking to customers and it’s easy to manage my client’s channels through too.

Check out the referral link and you’ll get a discount on your first month too.

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Get a $10 welcome “bonus” when you sign up for Edgar through my affiliate link! Edgar is an easy-to-use social media scheduler that automatically recycles your best evergreen content, so you can say “goodbye” forever to social media babysitting!

MailChimp

Email marketing is key in any business and with MailChimp this is really easy to set up and start talking to customers.  With the first 2000 customer emails being free you can keep in touch, create sign up forms and email funnels to keep in touch with you customers.

I’m experimenting with different lead magnets at the moment for clients from how to’s, to recipes and discounts to find out which one is most effective in different industries. I’ll write another blog on this in the coming months!

Mailchimp has lots of great video tutorials and help blogs so you’ll not be stuck or there are plenty of VA’s out there specialising in Mailchimp who will take of this for you too.

WordPress

This is the perfect platform for bulding a site your self and starting blogging.  If you don’t fancy trying yourself a lot of website designers are now using this platform to build websites on.  This is because it’s open source coding so can be amended and there are a lot of companies now building plugins for it and it is great for SEO and being found on Google.

WordPress can be adapted and updated for your brand and linked into an ecommerce function too.

Just speak to a WordPress website designer about the benefits and I can help put you in touch with one too.

Other tools…

There are so many tools out there now that the list is endless.  Another couple that I use are:

Repost – allows you to share Instagram posts on your own feed

Hoostuite – this is another social media scheduling tool

Let me know what tools you’re using to manage your marketing.

 

For more information read

Why do I need a marketing plan

7 ways to create a marketing plan for your business

Where to start writing your marketing plan

 

 

My first year in business

My first year in business by Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott

It’s now 12 months since I started Strath Communications and what a year it’s been.  I’ve learnt so much and had so many opportunities it’s been incredible as well as really hard work too.

From learning to build my own website to learning how to sell running a business encompasses so many skills that I know that my done for you marketing strategy and planning for small businesses is the right product for me to sell.

I know that you need to let the experts into your business so that you can focus on delivering what you’re good at.  I’m not good at accounts so I have someone to do this for me.  I am great at marketing strategy and campaign planning and delivery.

I have a classic feeling of ‘cobbler’s shoes’ so will be having y website re-designed by an experienced website designer this year.celebrating 12 months of Strath Communications

The clients I’m working with are in the industries where I have years of experience in food and drink, hospitality and tourism.  I’m working with clients who value their marketing function and know they’ll have an always on marketing message going out to their customers.

Most importantly I’m having fun and enjoying running my own business and the freedom this brings.   I am able to focus on my learning and development in the areas I’m interested in and will bring the most value to my clients and the businesses I want to work with.

Contact me today to find out how we can work together.

7 ways to create a marketing plan for your business

7 ways to create a marketing plan - Strath Communications

I love planning!  I know that with planned, consistent marketing you can drive more customers to your business.  Having a marketing plan ensures that you don’t miss launch dates within your business or key dates throughout the year that you can promote your product or services around.  A plan means that you can budget and include this in your sales forecast for the year too.7 ways to create a marketing plan and include in your sales forecast

But where do you start?

With a blank sheet of paper and your business objectives for the year ahead.

  1. Set aside time – half a day/a day, but make sure that this is all you’re going to do, so that you can plan for the year ahead with clear actions.
  2. Have in front of you, your business objectives for the year ahead. This will keep you focused on what you’re wanting to achieve.
  3. Know who your ideal client/customer is and where to find them. This will ensure when you come to developing your marketing strategy that it meets the needs of your customers.
  4. Marketing plan template. Have a template split into months and quarters, so that you can populate this with launch dates and events that your business is attending. Alongside other industry events and awareness days. It will also allow you to compare your plan against your sales forecasts and budgets for the year ahead too.
  5. Populate your marketing plan with the content that you’ll use to attract customers and the channels you’ll use to share this content. Not only with your existing customers but also your warm leads and how you’ll convert cold leads to warm leads.
  6. Implementation – now you have your plan how will you implement this? Do you have the resources in-house? Will you need to take on some additional support?  Make sure that you do have the resources in place otherwise you won’t hit those business objectives and your launches will not be as successful as they could be.
  7. Budget – plan to have a budget to implement your marketing campaigns. Make sure that this is consistent throughout the year as you’ll see results if it’s always on marketing you’re doing.  You’ll need to spend on channels such as SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, events, PR and content creation.  You may also have to build a budget in for web development and market research too.

Your business is now ready for a marketing strategy and plan that will deliver your business objectives next year.

If you have any questions just drop me an email on jennifer@strathcomms.co.uk or call 07738 966588.  Always happy to have an initial chat about marketing and go over any questions you have about the best way forward for your business.

You might also be interested in….

Where to start writing your marketing plan

Why do I need a marketing plan?

 

 

What makes working with us different to other marketing companies

What makes working with us different to other marketing companies - Strath Communications

Now that you’ve decided to work with us at Strath Communications, how will it work? We work so that you have one point of contact with us and we keep in regular contact so that the work we do meets the needs of your business and customers.

Who is your main contact?

When you work with Strath Communications our founder, Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott will be your main contact.  She’ll work closely with you to develop you marketing strategy and plan and what you need us to deliver for you and by when.   Jennifer will project manage this for you to ensure that it is developed on budget, on time and to agreed objectives.

What information do we need from you?

This can depend on what work we’ve agreed to do with you, from full marketing strategy development, where we would need to know your business plan and objectives and have access to your online analytics and current marketing activity.  Or we maybe looking after your social media accounts, so we would need full access to these accounts and agree a marketing budget for them.

How much time will you need to spend with us?

Initially we would have a meeting ideally face to face, otherwise over Skype and would suggest a couple of hours for this.  From this meeting we would agree the marketing requirements for your business and keep in touch with you by email and phone. Plus, would agree how much of your time we’d need to be able to deliver the plan.  However, the reason you’ve brought us on board is so that we can free up your time to spend working on your business while we take care of your marketing, so the more information we have on your business the easier it is to implement the marketing on your behalf that is on brand and on target.

How do you want to be communicated with and how often?

This is all down to what suites you and your business’s needs, be it by email, phone, WhatsApp or Skype.  We’re happy to use the channel that suites you and your business.

We will also provide you with a monthly report with what we’ve completed, highlight successes and what is planned for the month ahead.  You will also have a marketing plan that we’ll have created and as this is a live document we’ll share with you on a  regularly basis.  We will also share action points and success from the plan as they arise too.

We believe that the key to successfully communicating your story to reach your customers is by communicating regularly with you too.

Find out more about working with us by reading some of our other blogs or fill in the form below to arrange a call and we can look at how we can deliver more customers to your business.

Why should I hire a marketing consultancy

Why do I need a marketing plan 

7 ways to create a marketing plan for your business

 

Where to start writing a marketing plan

Where to start writing a marketing plan Strath Communications

How do you go about writing a marketing plan when you don’t know where to start.  Why do you need a marketing plan?  I’ve never needed a plan before so why now?

A marketing plan is a strategic plan to grow your business and talk to your customers.  Ultimately, it is to enable you to sell more products or services and make sure that these are put in front of your customers at the right time and in the right place.

A marketing plan will include who your target market is and the planned activity and budget on how you’re going to reach them.    Including your budget in the plan will ensure that you spend consistently on marketing and that ultimately meet your business objectives which in turn will lead to a profitable business.

So how do you start?

Review what you do now with your marketing and where you want to go with your business.  What are your business objectives for the year ahead? What are your target markets and where will you reach them?  From this you can create a plan and content to reach them and what budget you will need.

With a plan in place it makes it much easier to be reactive if an opportunity comes along or you have to change direction in your business due to outside market pressures.

Having a plan in place means that you can measure how successful it is too.  Have the marketing plan delivered the required number of leads/sales.  Has it increased web traffic or social media reach?

What do you need?

The best way is to start with a calendar and mark out all your product launches, events and key dates throughout the year that you already know about.  Are there any key target markets you are going after and what level of resources will you have to target them.

How?

You will then be able to target the right channels to reach your customers and work on the right messages to get them to buy your products and services, as ultimately that’s why you’re in business, is to make a profit and solve your customers problems.

What next?

Make sure that you implement your plan consistently as this is what will generate results and measure these results.

Review

Make sure you take time to review your plan on a regular basis as it may need amended as your business develops and you start to generate results.  With more success you may want to invest more into marketing and product development.

We’d be happy to talk to you about how to implement the above and where you should start.  Just call us today on 07738 966588.

You may also be interested in

Why should I hire a marketing consultancy?

Or download our 5 simple tips to create a marketing plan and I’ll take you through it step by step.

More about me

More about me - Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott

An about us page can only tell you so much about the business or person you’re about to work with. So, I’ve created this blog which has more about me and my experience.

I went to Glasgow Caledonian University in the mid 90’s to study Leisure Management.  At this time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but it gave me the opportunity to live in a city I love and work in the USA for 6 months.

During this time, I spent it working in the hospitality and tourism industry, eventually deciding in 2006 that I wanted a 9-5 job and my weekends back!  However, I did do a variety of jobs from life guard to ski instructor and event organisation, it was never a dull time and taught me the importance of customer service.  The customer may always be right as they have generally worked hard and paid a lot of money to enjoy their leisure time, so yes, they do want more in return.  And now in our world of instant gratification this has become more important if you are in the service industry.

I then moved into a marketing role within the automotive industry.  Again, very customer focused but also tied to meeting sales targets every quarter.  The planning was in quarterly cycles with two spikes every year around new car registrations.  It did mean we were reactive rather than entirely planned however it meant I had to be creative fast.

During this time the advent of social media arrived, and online marketing was being pushed as a skill on its own.  It certainly meant I could talk to our customers in a way that gets instant response and creates conversations.  Now in 2019 we’ve become used to getting a response from business almost instantly. However, your business now needs to ensure its tone of voice and branding runs through all communications channels too.

After nearly 10 years in the automotive industry I took a marketing manager’s role in the world of food and drink and worked with FMCG brands.  Being the brand guardian meant I had more flexibility with campaigns and talking direct to customers.  It also led to working in a variety of export markets and dealing with Highlands and Islands Enterprise who supported the business.

From this role it gave me the marketing knowledge and ambition to set up my own business.  I have a very clear outline of who I want to work with – entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business and get in front of more customers more often.  They’ll be working in their own business but needing to outsource key roles so that they can get back to building and developing their business.

If this is you.  Give me a call today about how I can create and implement your marketing strategy and plan so you can continue to develop and grow your business.

I am based in Grantown on Spey, near Aviemore and work throughout Inverness, the Highlands, Moray and Elgin.

 

Your content strategy for next year

Your content strategy - Strath Communications

Why do you need one? Well, this is why I invest time into training so that you can spend more time on your business!   Seriously, you need to have a plan so that you don’t miss out on your launches throughout the year or any key dates that you can sell around.

As a round up I’ve spent time at Content Live 2018 learning all about content strategy, planning , content creation, re-purposing content and how to get more eyes on your content in 2019.Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott

I really love the planning side and have created a document to plan your content in 2019 so that this meets your business objectives to deliver more customers and increased sales.

I’m also going to be looking at creating more video with customers and how they can be going about this too.  Video in 2019 will gain more exposure from the likes of Facebook and be pushed in their feed to your followers, so makes sense to look at this now.  All you need is an intro, middle and an outro.  Or at least this is what Dan said at the event!

I’ve also now created a rather fabulous spreadsheet that has all the different ways to re-purpose content on it.  Plu,s the different platforms and how to get more eyes on the content we are creating.

It is all about the planning and then maximising each piece of content that we produce to ensure that it can be consumed in different formats for different audiences.  Also, look at creating evergreen content that can be used again and again.

We also spent time at the event working out our ‘entrepreneurial superpower’ with Osmaan Sharif.  I loved learning about the type of profile I am and the types of profiles I should bring together to work with me to deliver client projects.  If you’ve never done this before it is really enlightening to find out how you like to work and how you should adapt to work with other people. FYI I’m a deal maker and love networking, collaborations/partnerships, nurturing relationships and results through interactions.

One thing I won’t be starting in 2019 is a podcast.  It’s looks fun and can drive results so don’t rule this out for your business.  It’s just not for me at this time!

So did I achieve my objectives from attending the event– yes I did, content planned, outline plans coming together for clients, my reach and connections increased on LinkedIn and Twitter plus CPD hours logged with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

What next?  Start implementing the plan for 2019 and batch produce content, so that if something comes up I have content ready for you.

Let’s make 2019 one where we have our business objectives aligned to our marketing strategy and plan and get that plan put into action to bring us more customers.

Want me to help you bring more customers to your business next year?  Just complete the form below and I’ll come right back to you.

You may also be interested in What we would need to create your marketing strategy.

Why do I need a marketing plan.

 

What are my objectives for attending Content Live 2018?

Well, in the words of the event hashtag #2019sorted.  So, yes I’m attending this event to learn, be inspired and come away with my content for 2019 planned.  Not just for me but for my clients too.

With an amazing line up of speakers who all have their content nailed, I’m looking to gain some valuable CPD hours learning about how to make my content more relevant to my audience and get some ideas about the different ways of sharing this content too.

With Day 1 of the event being all about inspiration, I’ll have the chance to question every speaker and hear about how to create content that attracts leads and sales.

Day 2 is the implementation part of the event, where I’ll be getting stuck into the content planning for 2019.

So, my objectives are:

  • Connect with at least 20 new contacts at the event
  • Have my content planned for the first half of 2019
  • Have outline content planned for my clients
  • Increased my reach on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Shared the event on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Write a follow up blog about the event
  • Use the hours for my CPD to retain Chartered Marketer status in 2019

There, I’ve shared my objectives with you and would love to be held accountable to them.

I’ll also share my key takeaways from the event and let you know which speaker I felt had the greatest impact on me and my personal development.

I’m investing a lot of time and money in this event, which includes a 3 night trip to London. However having attended the event in 2017 I know that I’ll learn so much about content, planning and what’s new that it’s worth it.  I also love meeting other business owners and hearing how their year is going and the challenges they’re facing too.

Find out more about why I invest in CPD here.

How will we work together to create your marketing strategy?

How will we work together blog image Strath Comms

Now that you’ve decided to work with a marketing consultancy, how will it work? We know that you have questions, so we’ll answer some of the key ones here.  If we don’t cover them all send us a quick email and we’ll come right back to you.

Who is your main contact?

When you work with Strath Communications our founder, Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott will be your main contact.  She’ll work closely with you to scope out what you need us to deliver for you and by when and she’ll project manage this for you.

What information do we need from you?

This can depend on what work we’ve agreed to do with you, from full marketing strategy development where we would need to know your business plan and objectives and have access to your analytics and current marketing activity.  If you’ve asked us to look after your social media, we’ll need full access to these accounts and agree a marketing budget for them.

How much time will you need to spend with us?

Initially we would have a meeting ideally face to face, otherwise over Skype and would suggest a couple of hours for this.  After this initially meeting an agreeing the scope of the work we would keep in touch with you by email and phone and would agree how much of your time we’d need. However, the reason you’ve brought us on board is so that we can free up your time to spend working on your business while we take care of your marketing.

How do you want to be communicated with and how often?

This is all down to what suites you and your business’s needs, be it by email, phone, WhatsApp or Skype.  We’re happy to use the channel that suites you and your business.

We will also provide you with a monthly report with what we’ve completed, highlight successes and what is planned for the month ahead.  You will also have a marketing plan that we’ll have created and as this is a live document we’ll share it regularly with you.  We will also share action points and wins as they arise too.

We believe that the key to successfully communicating your story to reach your customers is by communicating regularly with you too.

Want to find out more?  Contact me today.

Why should I hire a marketing consultancy

Why do I need a marketing plan?

7 ways to create your marketing plan

Why you should invest in Continuous Professional Development?

Personal development blog Strath Communications

This year I am not only building a new business, Strath Communications, but I am also making sure that my CPD is ongoing too.

So what I am doing to make sure that I am developing myself, my business and ultimately being able to share all this learning with my clients?

As a Chartered Marketer I commit to learning every year as a matter of course but this year I am looking to expand my learning to leadership and other business skills to.

Leadership Development Programme with the Institute of Directors

I started this course in May and it involves developing the strategy for my business, Strath Communications and the ‘why’ around what my business is all about.  The first session on strategy has opened my eyes to the fact that a strategy statement should be only a few sentences, so that the business can remain agile as you may have a few different strategies for internal and external parts of your business and ultimately if the business environment changes you want to be able to adapt to it.

Our last session in June was all about people and how we develop the culture within our business. It also covered how important it is to value your team and how to build the right team around you.

We covered what our Job Role is and this should apply to all employees and contractors associated with your business.  At Strath Communications ours is – create fresh, results based marketing and communications.

The course is on until the end of November so I’ll come back with the other take key learnings from it.

Content Live 2018 – 15 and 16thNovember

I am super excited about this event run by Janet Murray.  I attend her content planning event last year and from this two day event I will have the content CONtent livemapped out for my business and clients businesses for the whole of 2019.

What I’ll learn from the event is:

  • Generating content ideas. How to identify key dates/awareness days within my industry and my clients industries. She is also going to share with us how to use ‘theming’ e.g. themed months or weeks to make your content planning easier
  • Content engagement – how to plan and create content that attracts engagement every time I post
  • Content repurposing: how to create multiple pieces of content from one idea
  • Planning content for launches be this my own product launches or clients, including the key pieces of content e.g. blog posts, marketing emails, social media updates that should be created for every launch

I’ll also get a copy of Janet’s Media Diary which allows me to plan key dates and PR activity, plus being in a room full of inspirational business leaders and owners is invaluable.

My objectives from the event are to have a completed content plan for my business for 2019 and have content plans mapped out for my key clients.  It will be a busy couple of days by with inspirational speakers and attendees it will be a fun couple of days too.

There’s still time to get a ticket too just click here

With personal development, comes business development and leads to the development of my clients businesses too.

Get in touch today with any feedback.