Life Without Marketing?

What Happens If I Don’t Market My Business?

Businesses today are caught up in the hamster wheel of endless marketing. The fear of losing customers, not gaining customers, not reaching the audience drives us forward like rats in a maze. What if we stopped? It’s preposterous, I know that, I am just mulling things over.

This week I am in Sete Cidades, a tranquil idyll nestled in the crater of a volcano on the island of Sao Miguel. The birdsong is deafening, flora and fauna beautiful and the views are breathtaking.

Sete Cidades Azores

Marketing by Smell

This place has some 700 residents, they all know each other, many are ambivalent towards visitors. The whole island is well maintained, a wealth of natural resources attract tourists but the local businesses are certainly not vying for their trade. We found the village bakery by smell alone, they produce delicious bread, one type, and will deliver. Opening hours are until sometime around 10 or 11am, when the bread has gone.

Village bakery Sete Cidades the Azores

Open for Business, if you can find us

Village bakery sete Cidades bread delivery

Bread Delivery

This relaxed way of living surely has its merits? Chatting with the locals (they all speak English), this is the life they choose. On investigation, the young have left for Canada or the USA, they are following the money. It is a place of contradictions, the people who live here don’t want to become rats in a maze, but they could certainly do with a bit more money in their pockets.

A Relaxed Approach

We have swum in thermal sea pools, visited a tea plantation, and a rum factory, climbed bell towers, hiked and more, all for free. We would have happily paid for all of these things to increase the workers’ income. I know the residents don’t earn enough to live on but that doesn’t seem to bother them. People here place relaxation above revenue, some struggle to pay for the bread at their door which cost the princely sum of 30 cents.

I am trying to think of a way to morph the two lifestyles into a perfect way of lifestyle balance.

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The Hardest Working Advert

Advertising – Reach New Heights

I have always advised clients to steer clear of advertising in newspapers and magazines. At prohibitive costs, that advert only stands a chance of working for you for the seconds that particular page is open AND if someone happens to focus on it. The moment the page is shut, your investment stops working, the end.

So What Media Works?

Attention now is on social media, it’s all about sharing, liking, commenting and viewing. It is worth considering how you could advertise at any place that is likely to be shared on social media. Clearly, it isn’t quite as straightforward as that, we can’t all go hanging banners across Niagra Falls. Think of somewhere that has some connection to your business that people are likely to photograph. Is there an opportunity to promote your business in a stand-out way?

Let Me Give You An Example

Let me explain… As I write, one of the clients I am working with is building the Obstacle Training Ground. People from all sectors of society will be turning up to pitch themselves against a frightening array of obstacles: walls, tyres, ramps, nets etc. etc. Meanwhile, and here’s the thing, their friends and family will photograph them as they conquer each obstacle. What’s the first thing they will do with those photos? Straight on to social media, we all like to show off the moment we conquered the 8 foot wall!

Climbing Wall Obstacle Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Advertising Reach -Scale New Heights

A Win-Win Situation

What an opportunity. We will contact local, relevant businesses and offer them the opportunity to sponsor an obstacle. Every visitor to the Obstacle Training Ground not only promotes the facility itself, but also the associated bussinesses who have a four foot x 2 foot banner in the shot.  Their banner will appear on the screens, and in the psyche of an ever increasing audience every time is it liked, shared, viewed and commented on.

Changing World

Gone are the days of paying hundreds, or even thousands of pounds for a prime spot in a magazine, we need to be thinking far more dynamically. Get people to do the work for you by sharing. For this physical fitness facility we will offer the opportunity to local businesses: sports shops, fitness centres, sporting event organisers, accountants, printers…in fact any businesses whose target audience is likely to visit this venue.

Get in touch if you would like to advertise, venue is opening at the end of the month.

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Privacy Policy

GDPR Deadline

The GDPR Deadline is this Friday, 25th May. Businesses that hold, process or use data about any EU citizen need to be aware of, and comply with, a new set of regulations put in place by the European Parliament. This is a good thing.

Step 1 – Privacy Policy

“Not another privacy policy” I hear you cry.

Don’t panic! This privacy policy is clear, concise, and honest, but maybe not ‘run-of-the-mill’. Every business should have one.

What Data is Stored

I am very fortunate, I don’t need to advertise, therefore I don’t need to capture and store any personal data for the purposes of marketing. Data stored is done so for:

  • The performance of contract for clients
  • To comply with legal obligations, or
  • For proportionate processing for a legitimate business interest.

E.g. I have a legitimate interest in storing clients’ contact information, namely to communicate, to invoice and for accounting purposes.

How I Store Data

For a number of clients, I carry out activities that mean I need to store personally identifiable data. These data are stored in password protected documents in a secure location that will only be accessible by myself and the client. If such documents need to be printed into hard copy they are anonymised beforehand, and shredded after use.

Where I Store Data

Well if I told everybody where I stored data that wouldn’t be very GDPR compliant. In the rare cases that I store data, it is stored securely in compliance with GDPR.

Locked gate Secure data storage Privacy Policy My Words Work For You

Cookies and Cream

I do not capture, use or store any information about individuals who visit my website, or read or comment on my blog posts. Similarly, posts published by me on other forums are not used to capture data about any individual who engages with them. I currently do not use Google Analytics or any other tool for analysis of personal data. You won’t find annoying pop-ups ‘tailoring your experience’, ‘enhancing your experience’, ‘ensuring advertisements are tailored/relevant to you’ or however else it is being dressed up, I simply don’t track what you do or how you do it, feel free to have a look around in peace.

Followers

My Words Work For You has a growing number of followers on WordPress and social media sites.  Each individual has chosen to do so, and to continue doing so, presumably they like my tales from the world of content writing, or they like me, whichever it is, I am grateful.

What Does GDPR mean To You?

For the general public, GDPR is a good thing, you are better protected and you have more rights. With an exponential growth in internet use, and businesses fighting for your attention, something had to be done to protect you and prevent misuse of your data. Check the ICO’s website for more information.

For businesses, this is a chance to ‘clean up & clear out’. A complete audit of what data you have, what you do with it, where it is stored and how it is stored is going to make you more streamlined. Clear out the data you don’t need or shouldn’t have and make yourself aware of exactly what you do have. Make sure the data you have is recognised and recognisable, safe, and GDPR compliant. If there is a breach you have 24 hours to report on it, could you? Don’t be fretting about multi-million Euro fines, just be taking steps to compliance.

Any future changes will be updated in my privacy policy. I feel a tweak coming on.

Contact me if you would like to know more

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A Content Content Writer

Today I received feedback from a new client. No matter how confident I am in my abilities as a content writer, it is always a nervous wait. Why? A new client is a new learning curve,  in this case my curve was engineering, interesting stuff. For me, the process of getting to know my client is of equal importance.

Good Content Writing

Good content works hard for the business, it is unique, and authentic (see previous post). The second the reader stops believing, is the second they stop reading. Good content illustrates the story behind the business, why they do what they do, how they do it, and how it benefits their customers. As a consumer, you know yourself, you won’t buy something you don’t believe in.

“To be believed in, one needs to be believable”

Content Writing – The Process

How do I create content? The process begins with listening. I  research the business I am writing for and meet/speak with the client to develop an understanding of the business and its aims. What’s their story?

  • What are the Unique Selling Points?
  • What makes them tick?
  • How do their customers benefit?
  • What is their ‘Why’?
blackboard-chalk-What's Your Story Content Writer My Words Work For You

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Focus On The ‘Why’

In this case, I was working with an agent who was managing the development of a new website for his client, he chose me to provide the content. What his client does is to make the creation of machined parts smoother and stress free by managing the whole process. That’s the bit his customers are interested in, so that’s what I brought to life in my copy. Hopefully, I have created unique, authentic content that illustrates how this business makes people’s lives easier. The client was happy, I can’t wait to see the results.

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It’s All About Authenticity

I met a friend for a coffee recently. We met in an out of town café, run by a young couple with brightly coloured hair, tattoos, and warm smiles. They have created a good selection of food themselves and the coffee is smooth. As ever, this unpretentious café was full of a diverse range of people. It’s not niche, there is no ‘type’ that it appeals to, it is there for everyone.

What We Want, What We Really, Really Want…

Sitting in this frankly inelegant establishment, we were left in peace to enjoy quality coffee and a warmed cinnamon bun. We talked about what made this place so successful. My friend suggested it is authenticity, he is quite probably right. People are veering away from the ‘highly polished’ big brands where one can purchase the same shiny things as other people. They don’t want Starbucks, they want ‘Joe’s Cafe’, they don’t want the perfect sound of CDs, they want the authentic sound of vinyl.

Microphone authentic sound Marketing Small business support My Words Work For You

Authentic Branding

So what does this mean for businesses? Nobody wants to see ‘cheesy’ advertising offering the Earth. Unrealistic advertising making huge claims are so clichéd they are ignored, think furniture stores! All of this is now passé, ‘soooo yesterday’. The message is to be authentic, keep it real, people will trust your honesty and respect you for it. Show people who you are and what you can do, and crucially, how it will help them. Stand out for all the right reasons and get yourself a following of believers in your brand. I believe my friend is ‘spot on’, it’s all about the authenticity.

As a consumer, how do you feel about authenticity?

More on a similar topic: Aim for Believe

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GDPR To Sum Up The Summit

Since founding My Words Work For You in 2013, I have enjoyed providing business support to many of my clients. I like having a multi-dimensional approach to my work, it gives me a more complete understanding.

A Varied Audience

As you may have seen from previous posts, I am working alongside Cliff Gibson, Founder of DBR Data to support businesses through the process of becoming GDPR compliant. Last week, Cliff & I ‘manned’ his stand at the GDPR Summit in London. Thousands of delegates paid a lot of money to attend, these ranged from the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ to ‘experts’ aiming to finalise details. Businesses ranged from SMEs to global enterprises who have a mountain to climb. We were there to help them.

Image credit: Aimee Moreau

GDPR Compliance

A recurring event of the day was people arriving at the stand who were ‘delegated’ to become the GDPR expert within their business. Every business needs at least one but the moral of the story seems to be, if you don’t want to be it, don’t be that person who was missing at the meeting or it could be you! GDPR affects us all, it isn’t something to be scared of but it is something to be understood. And therein lies the path to compliance.

Cliff Gibson has written his round-up of the summit here, it was a successful day for all concerned, needs were met, questions were answered and many businesses took positive steps to compliance.

What Next?

Don’t panic! Don’t listen to the scaremongering about heavy fines, just ensure that you have understood the requirements to become compliant and have taken the necessary steps. Get in touch if you would like any help.

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Productivity and the 80/20 Rule

Productivity According to Pareto

According to the the Pareto Principle, 20% of your activity will account for 80% of your results. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, first described the principle in 1895:

  • 20% of your products or services will produce 80% of your profits
  • 20% of your customers will provide 80% of your sales
  • 20% of your daily activities will account for 80% of valuable productivity

Spend Your Time Wisely

How often do you spend your valuable time on tasks that fall in the 80% category? The tasks that are easier or more fun, then you find that you have avoided the tasks that will actually propel you towards your goals. As a ‘grade A procrastinator’, I have to discipline myself to get those tasks out of the way first. The other ‘stuff’ is my reward for doing so. I chose the heading for a reason, that valuable time is spent, gone.

Increase Productivity

Organise your time, know exactly what you want to achieve, both long and short term and break down difficult tasks into easy-to-manage chunks. Create a list and put the tasks that will produce the most reward at the top. Think of how good you’ll feel as you add each tick. Feeling like a goddam superhero, you leap forward to the next task, oh yes.

To-Do List Content Writer for small business My Words Work For You

Do the tasks that add value first

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How Are Your Reviews?

Last week I held a snapshot poll my Facebook page, the results are in!

It would seem that  while only 25% of people were motivated to buy by the ‘cheapest price’, the remaining 75% of people choose to ‘buy now’ because of… (drum roll)

Great Reviews

This is great news for small businesses and a reminder to encourage reviews. If you’re a small business how are your reviews looking? As a consumer, what impact do reviews have on your buying choices? What motivates you to write a review? For me, I write reviews when a product or service has been exceptionally good, they deserve my review.

It’s All About Trust

When it comes to consumer choice, nothing is more persuasive than hearing how much a friend loves a product. Reviews do that for you, the undecided consumer is convinced to buy when everyone else is raving about it, it works for me.

How to Get Reviews

The simple answer is, ask for them. If you see people face-to-face, ask them if they would be kind enough. Read my post about the dark art of how to get Google reviews. Ask your audience on social media, and set up a review system on your website such as Feefo or Trust Pilot. Find a way to capture your customers’ attention and make them want to help. Here’s a Case Study showing you how I did exactly that for a previous client.

Let me know how you get on and the impact it has on your business. If you are a consumer, consider writing a couple of glowing reviews for the businesses that deserve them.

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GDPR Don’t Panic, Just Prepare

On Monday I shall be at the GDPR Summit in London, helping DBR Data to support SMBs and SMEs to get GDPR compliant with the help of GDPR Mentor software. They have until May 25th and whilst there is no reason to be scared, there is every reason to make sure you are compliant. Thankfully, the days of data mis-using or abusing data should disappear, but it won’t happen overnight.

GDPR Compliance Sign May 25th 2018 Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Ready?

GDPR in a Nutshell

As I have said in a previous post, it is all about transparency but that starts with awareness. Companies have got to know, and be able to account for, every movement of data that occurs, with both electronic and physical data. If there is a data breach, they have just 72 hours to provide a report about what has happened and how. If your company had a breach of data on a Friday, would you be able to report on it by the following Monday?

1st Step: Awareness

The first step to compliance is awareness. Are you aware of:

  • What information you store
  • If any of the data is ‘sensitive’
  • Why you are storing it
  • Where and how you are storing it
  • How you use it
  • How long it is stored for
  • Who has access to it
  • How it is being transferred, when, and why

Why Are You Holding The Data?

Ask yourself:

  • Is there a legitimate interest? I.e. In order to perform a service e.g. ‘It is time for your dog’s booster’
  • Do you intend to use the data for marketing? E.g. To send out emails telling them about other products/services.

If your intention is to use it for marketing purposes you must be compliant with ePrivacy Regulation (currently known as PECR).

GDPR – a Chance to Tidy Up

This sounds like a massive chore but on the plus side, think of it as a chance to streamline your processes, reduce costs, clear out unnecessary/unused data and introduce a more structured, manageable system. Added to that, you are reducing the risk of hefty fines by gaining compliance.

GDPR Next Steps

  1. The first step is to create a privacy notice on your website. This is your chance to be open and transparent, tell people what you are holding and why, how it is held and what you intend to do with it. DBR Data offer a free Privacy Policy generation tool.
  2. The time-consuming part is yet to come, you need to make yourself fully aware of your data systems and of any data transfers that happen within your organisation, you must now be able to account for it. Software is available to make this process comprehensive and straightforward.
  3. Contact every individual making them aware of your Privacy Policy and crucially, giving them the option to withdraw their data.

Your data subjects have rights over their data management including the ‘Right to Erasure’.  For a complete summary, the ICO have produced a ‘12 Steps to Take Now‘ guide.

GDPR Make it Happen

If you have been ignoring GDPR and hoping it won’t affect you, now is the time to look it in the eyes, grab it by the horns and steer it the way it has to go. There are benefits to be had for businesses as well as consumers.

Providing Small Business Support makes me happy, have a look around my Blog.

 

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How to Live Longer

A quick post today and a departure from my usual Top Tips for small business series

What Factors make You Live Longer?

Today I am writing about antibodies. You may not believe this but part of my research took me on to Youtube, where I spotted this. Before you watch it (and it’s only a few minutes long)…

What factors do you think play the biggest part in helping you to live longer?

An Effort To Socialise

Much of my day is spent in front of a PC which in itself could be problematic. I have no wish to be a hermit. If I think back to this morning as a case in point:

  • I chatted with people at the pool and bumped into a friend who has asked me to  help with his business.
  • Out with my dogs and I meet the usual ‘doggy people’ who I know and trust, doggy people are usually ‘good sorts’. Today’s conversation: ‘Stick and flick?
  • Throughout the day I am communicating with various people including clients
  • Tonight is a scheduled Skype call followed by a family dinner.

Without all of this, I would be lonely, frankly. Getting on with people is what makes the world a better place, it is a bit of a bonus then that it also helps us to live longer; worth the effort, isn’t it.

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