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Marketing For Startups: How To Blog For Business

Marketing a startup is always a challenge: How do you let your market know what you’re doing with a limited budget? And come off professional while you’re doing it?

While some would argue the Internet has moved on from blogging into things like Youtube marketing, we still think blogging is a great strategy, if writing comes easily to you.

In this article, I’m going to talk to you about our blogging strategy at Smart & Slick, and how it leads to new customers.

Before You Write A Blog Post, Consider These Three Questions

Who Is The Article For?

You cannot just write blog articles that constantly talk about your products and services. You need to focus instead on genuinely helping your audience to improve their lives, using the information you impart in your articles. Think of it as supplementary information.

People will only read your blog regularly if your articles are genuinely useful to them and will help them reach whatever goals they have.

So consider who you’re writing for, what their hopes and dreams are and how you can help them get closer. Give freely.

This approach will help you write about things that matter to your audience.

How do you plan for the article to find readers?

There are two distinctly different means by which blog articles find audiences in 2021. The chances are, it’s either going to be via search engines or via social media.

If it’s an article that gets read by search traffic, we have the job of finding a keyword term to rank for and then writing an article that people who search for that term will genuinely want to read.

If it’s via social media, we need a headline that’s going to create curiosity and intrigue enough to make people click it, and then an article that delivers what it promised.

Can you see how the entire content of the article will differ depending on how you expect it to find an audience?

What do you want to achieve with the article?

So, once you have people clicking through to the web page where the article is, what do you want to happen next?

I suggest that the answer to this be “explore more of my blog”. It’s too soon to ask for an email address and definitely too soon to start pitching products or services.

Now that the person is reading, what we want them to do is read more and potentially subscribe to your social media channels. Which is why at the bottom of the blog article, there will be related posts with headlines that have been painstakingly designed to get clicks.

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So that’s the process. The last step is to make it a habit. At Smart & Slick, every day starts with a blog article just like this one.

The Only Way Is App: 3 Reasons Your Business or Brand Needs It’s Own Mobile App

Apps – short for applications – exploded in the wake of the advent of the smart phone. They are little computer programs that do all kinds of useful tasks. But beyond that, they present a host of business, branding and marketing possibilities.

Current data suggests that more than 50% of interaction between people and the Internet now takes place on mobile devices. And who needs stats? You only need to look out of the office window onto the busy street to see that your customers are on their mobiles. Sometimes, when they probably shouldn’t be.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the ways in which a mobile app can help even a small business to grow.

Loyalty Schemes

First, there was the Tesco Clubcard. Now, hundreds of thousands of businesses have points based loyalty reward schemes aimed at encouraging their customers to spend more money on their products and services by incentivising spending.

Thanks to apps, it is now possible for virtually any business with an existing customer base to launch their own loyalty scheme.

At Smart & Slick, we can help with this.

Marketing Asset

An app is possibly the newest form of marketing asset. It’s yet another way for prospective customers to hear about your business or brand and it also helps with your reputation because, while ten or twenty years ago it was all about the website, now having your own app is a status indicator.

Smooth Out Your Customer Service

Offering an app to regular customers can provide them with a way of communicating with you and your team without having to wait for ages on a phone call.

Why not offer them a chat interface where they can just send you a message? Sure, they’ll have to wait for an answer, but isn’t it better than having to wait to explain their problem in the first place?

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Want an app for your business? Talk to us today and let’s make it happen!

How To Become Famous: Personal Branding, Brand Building & Online Reputation Management

Since the advent of the Internet and particularly social media, the concept of fame has changed considerably. It is now possible for anybody to become famous to some degree. Depending on what products or services you sell and what markets you serve, it may be beneficial to become either nationally famous or just famous within your industry.

Creating Fame

Becoming famous is a distribution task. It is about your name being known to the people to whom you are relevant, the people you can help or serve.

In the 21st century, there are many channels and avenues that can be leveraged and exploited in order to distribute your message.

YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are some of the more popular new channels, but older channels like print media, radio and traditional television are still very effective for the right people and brands.

We would recommend every brand and business to start a YouTube channel. But feeding a YouTube channel is hard work. They are hungry. While camera equipment has become something that virtually everybody has in their pocket all of the time, running a channel takes planning and management. Our YouTube marketing service may be of interest, if this is something you’re considering.

Traditional publicity offers opportunities that no other channel can match. A publicist can help you to be featured in newspapers, magazines and on radio and television. And this can give you a certain sort of unparalleled status traditionally known as The Halo Effect.

Before we get to that, the bigger question is what exactly do you want them to know about you?

Branding

The first step in any publicity or fame campaign is building a brand. This is a combination of images, colours and text which creates a sense of personality and communicates to your audience who you or your business are, how they should categorise you and how you can help them.

It is very important to get this right because once distributed, public perception of you or your business is much more difficult to change than Google rankings or websites.

Personal Branding

Personal branding is a type of branding in which we brand a person. This involves communicating their essence in a positive way whilst answering an audience’s usual questions: Who is this person? Why should I care? How can they help make my life better?

Personal branding is harder in many ways because we don’t get to start from scratch. We have to start incorporate the truth of the person being branded. If we don’t, there’ll be a mismatch between the brand and the individual. This will cause people to think the individual is fake. Because they are not congruent with their brand.

Reputation Management

Branding and fame are all about creating a positive reputation.

But sometimes things can go wrong. Sometimes companies and people have bad days and in today’s world, you can bet there’s somebody watching and they’re ready to spread the news on social media.

These types of messages can damage your brand because they’re feeding your audience contradictory information.

Is the jovial cuddly TV chef not really like that in “real life”?

Is the very principled seeming entrepreneur actually a bit of a crook?

Once a company, brand or individual has a reputation, that reputation is everything and it has to be protected. As such, fame and branding are not one-offs. They need constant attention.

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If you are looking to build your brand or expand your reach, talk to us today.

How To Write A Press Release

PR is an excellent way to get the word out about your business – if you know how to do it.

In principle it sounds simple: you write a press release and send it to your local newspaper. But what do you say? And what should you not say? If you’re not ready to hire a PR agency yet, here’s our guide to writing press releases yourself.

The Golden Rule: The Media Deal In Stories

In print media, advertising is paid for but stories are published for free. Stories are what the media deal in. And if you give them a good story, they WILL mention you. If you give them lots of good stories, they’ll make you are famous as you want to be.

What’s A Good Story?

It helps to think in terms of headlines alone. Because a good story can be told in one line. The article just elaborates on the headline by adding detail.

Types of Stories

There are several ‘types’ of stories you can write. What follows is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover many of the most common story types.

Announcements – these will generally fail to get much coverage unless you already have some degree of ‘fame’ in the region covered by the media outlet.

Questioning the future – a great way to create a story about a new upcoming product, business or brand is to ask a question and start a conversation about it.

e.g. “Could local author Jack Dorkins be the next Stephen King?”

The article would then talk about Jack Dorkins’ new novel and how it’s selling really well.

Trend Narrative – observations on new trends in your industry or area of expertise.

e.g. “Personal grooming takes 45% dive during lockdown”

Insider Secrets – share specialist knowledge from within your industry.

e.g. “3 Ways To Prepare Your Car For Winter”

Do you see how you might consider that to be quite a boring topic, and yet it’s still something that’s valuable to millions of people.

Formatting Your Press Release

Press releases have changed over the years. Now, you’re probably just going to e-mail them.

Subject line: PRESS RELEASE: “HEADLINE HERE”

First paragraph tells the story.

Add a quote

Second paragraph elaborates.

Add a quote.

For more information or to book an interview, call [contact name] on [contact number].

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Using PR to market your business is a long term, ongoing strategy. To benefit from having a place in the minds of your market, you need to send press releases regularly. And each press release should be tailored specifically to the media outlet it is aimed at. Spray and pray generally doesn’t work.

If you’re really serious about creating a public profile for your business, brand or product, talk to us today. We’d be happy to help.

Why You Need A Website

In the 21st century, as a rule of thumb, you need a web presence no matter what you do, if you provide either products or services to others. And part of that web presence is likely to be a website.

Your website is today, what your shop front was in years gone by. It is a marketing material that acts as an elaboration of your branding to tell people who you are and what you do and specifically how you can help them.

Your website may also allow people to buy from you right there on the website, or it might be used to schedule consultations with people as the first step of a longer and more intimate sales process.

There are very few business activities nowadays that would not benefit in some way from having a website.

Should I Aim To Sell More Units Or Raise My Prices?

One of the most fundamental ways that entrepreneurs go wrong is when they try to increase their sales volume instead of their margin, and vice versa.

The first thing you have to know when you start a new business is what kind of business you’re in: is it a margin business or a volume business? Everything is either one or the other.

As a rule of thumb, if it is not a mass market product, then you’re going for margin. If it IS a mass market product, you can go for volume.

Let’s have an example:

A burger. There’s a limit to how much you can reasonably charge for a burger. I think even on the high end, I’ve never seen a burger selling for more than £10. And on the low end, quite famously, 99p.

McDonalds is in the volume business. They know that their product is a widely affordable. And they know the key to making more money is to sell more burgers. That’s why they have outlets in nearly every country in the world and boast that they serve 1 million people daily. It’s a volume game. And they’ve become masters of it.

The £10 GBK burger is in a different market. While it’s still very much about volume, there’s a much higher margin on that burger so they can afford to sell fewer of them. It’s aiming at a different demographic of customer.

Let’s have another example:

Wedding magician. One of my former occupations. There are a couple of special things about wedding magic. First and foremost it depends on me. I am the magician. As such, I cannot scale that. There’s only one of me. So I am 100% in the margin game.

I have to aim to sell my services at higher prices and in order to make a bigger margin.

Even if I lower my prices and book my whole calendar up (not easy), I’ll still have an income limit and I’ll be exhausted. Not worth it.

So figure out what suits you and what suits your product.

Our copywriting services may be of interest to you.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Smart & Slick was founded to help make dreams come true. As such, our blog is not only about business and entrepreneurship, but about life. Because all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Who’s Jack? I don’t know. It’s something my mum used to say.

I digress.

In this section of the blog, we talk about things to do for fun, to unwind. You have to spend your money on something, right? Otherwise what’s the point?

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