My goodness but this time of year comes around quickly! It hardly seems like a week ago that I was taking down the seasonal decorations.
Time to be thinking about the important dates for your promotions over the Xmas and the New Year:
Mon 2nd Dec St Andrew’s Day
Fri 20th Dec Schools break up for Xmas*
Sat 21st Dec Winter Solstice
Tue 24th Dec Xmas Eve
Wed 25th Dec Xmas Day
Thu 26th Dec Boxing Day
Tue 31st Dec New Year’s Eve
Wed 1st Jan New Year’s Day
Sat 4th Jan FA Cup Third Round weekend
Mon 6th Jan New school term begins*
Sat 25th Jan Burns’ Night
Sat 25th Jan Chinese New Year
Sat 1st Feb Six Nations Rugby Union begins
Fri 14th Feb Valentine’s Day
Fri 14th Feb Schools break up
Mon 24th Feb Back to school
* These are the recommended Gloucestershire school term dates. Individual schools and colleges may differ.
It may well be that you studied for a degree at University or have worked in your current business from the ground up. You know your stuff and are not afraid to use technical language and acronyms.
The problem is that your audience, the people reading your copy on your website, will probably not have that wealth of knowledge. By using it, you run the risk of frightening them off.
Don’t forget it is your job to explain to the reader what you can do for them and why you are better than your competitors. If your website is full of industry jargon they won’t understand what you are saying and will move swiftly on.
Take a look at your website and ask yourself if an average member of the public would comprehend it. Better still, ask a friend who is not in the industry to read it and see if they understand it.
If the answer is no, then it needs rewriting using simpler language. Change the clichés, junk the jargon and abolish acronyms. Or at least spell them out fully.
That’s the football season finished and the May Bank Holidays out of the way – it must be nearly summer. Here are some key dates for you:
Mon 3rd June Schools first day of term*
Fri 7th June Women’s Football World Cup starts
Fri 14th June Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival weekend
Sun 16th June Father’s Day
Fri 21st June Summer Solstice
Mon 1st July Wimbledon Tennis begins
Sat 13th July Gloucester Carnival
Sun 14th July British Grand Prix, Silverstone
Tue 23rd July Schools last day of term*
I wonder if you, like me, are turned off by the majority of marketing we receive. The reason? It is dull.
If that is the case, then why do so many companies insist on pushing it at us? Three reasons:
1. Dull is cheap
2. Dull is easy
3. Dull is fast
I remember the Good Old Days of marketing. You might buy in a list of 10,000 potential customers. Then you would pay for the paper and printing to be done before employing a company to fold the brochure so they fitted neatly into an envelope. Finally you would pay for the cost of posting 10,000 pieces of mail.
That was a lot of expense so you would put a lot of thought into your message.
Marketing has always been a contentious subject. For many people just the mere word makes their hackles rise and there can be no doubt that at a lot of marketing can be viewed as intrusive and unwanted.
Let’s look at the Ugly side first off. There has been a lot of recent debate about the promotion of sugary high energy drinks to youngsters and a lot of the advertising for unhealthy foods is aimed at sites and TV channels that specifically appeal to children. There is also talk of banning in-play betting adverts which can lead to or aggravate gambling addiction.
I am sitting here with the light on in the middle of the day as the rain pours down outside. It could easily be autumn already so I am in the mood to be thinking about important forthcoming dates and anniversaries:
Mon 2nd Sept School term begins*
Thu 12th Sept Fifth Ashes Test between England and Australia begins
Fri 20th Sept Rugby Union World Cup starts
Mon 23rd Sept September Equinox
Sat 5th Oct The first ever episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on the BBC 50 years ago
Fri 25th Oct Last day before school half term holiday begins*
Sun 27th Oct Daylight Saving Time ends – clocks go back
Sun 27th Oct Diwali
Thu 31st Oct Halloween
I expect many of you are aware of Checkatrade and use their site. I spotted a useful blog recently which I thought I should share with you as it concerns ways in which small businesses like yours can save money.
1. Switch your energy supplier and save pounds. Business energy can be a huge expense. If you stick to the same supplier year after year you run the risk of paying outdated rates. If you use a site such as Love Energy Savings you can compare rates and potentially save pounds.
2. Shop around for business insurance. The same applies to business insurance. Studying the market and regularly switching helps you get the best deal and saves your business money. Take a look at the Simply Business website for a starter.
I have no doubt that you are well aware of the dangers that the internet can pose for us. There are the obvious ones, such as your lovely uncle the Nigerian Prince, but there are also plenty of scams that are more difficult to detect, especially if you are quickly scanning your emails at a busy time.
Here are some things to look out for to help you avoid scammers, phishing attempts and fake enquiries:
1. Fake phone numbers. An email asking you to call a premium rate number is an obvious ploy. These numbers usually have one of these prefixes: 0944/0843/0844. If you have any suspicions, Googling the number may well show up community websites whose members have been scammed.
Let’s hope we have dodged the worst of the winter weather and can get ready to welcome Spring. It often pays to get a promotion or two in at this time of year as people are generally feeling a bit more optimistic.
Here is a note of some significant dates coming up in the next three months:
Fri 1st March St David’s Day
Tue 5th March Shrove Tuesday
Wed 6th March Ash Wednesday
Tue 12th March Cheltenham Festival starts
Sun 17th March St Patrick’s Day
Sun 31st March Mother’s Day
As we move into a new year, you may well have been thinking of ways of improving your business. You might have decided that you want more customers, for instance. My question to you would be, “How many?” If you in turn say “I don’t know”, then you’ve got a problem.
You can’t hit a target unless you have a target to aim for!
Just saying you want more customers won’t work because it has no real meaning without an actual number attached to it. You need to decide instead that you want, say, twenty new customers in the next twelve months.