The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Member Blog: How Cultured Are You?


By Tom Short, Social Media Executive at Connections Recruitment

It’s easy to get bogged down in business jargon – empty buzzwords like ‘Corporate Competency’ and ‘Synergy’ are constantly being created. They’re also likely to turn off employees. In a survey conducted last year by Animal charity SPANA, 7/10 office workers indicated that they will simply switch off if a more senior colleague starts using them. There is one phrase which is worth paying attention to however.

Company Culture has been a favourite topic in the industry for some time now. Unsurprisingly, it’s a little hard to define. This is sort of the point: company culture may be defined in a mission statement, but it evolves organically, being as much a result of shared values among employees, and the unpredictable decisions that can arise from them.

For Linsday McGregor and Neel Doshi at Harvard Business Review, it’s ultimately about motivation. Creating cultures formed around play, purpose and potential, rather than emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia (purposeless working) has been identified as one of the keys to the success of modern giants like Twitter and Facebook.

Much of company culture could be summed up as identity. Having a vision or an unofficial motto gives employees an overall purpose for their work (Airbnb’s ‘Belong Anywhere’ is a brilliant, concise example). Narrative could be considered as an elaboration of this, often describing a journey (starting in a garage, offering the world affordable furniture) which creates an emotional connection with a company for staff and customers.

Rather than advocating a top-down message however, McGregor and Doshi recommend cultures based on transparency. Giving employees the opportunity to observe evidence of their work is essential to motivation, as are models of working which encourage collaboration. Innovators in this field include Salesforce, whose employees share ideas and analyse data in real time via an app called Chatter, avoiding the office cubicle-mentality which email can encourage. This relates to the idea of play in job design. Giving employees the opportunity to be creative with their time has well-documented benefits. Gmail and Google News both famously resulted from a policy of 20% time, in which engineers could spend a fifth of the working week on personal projects.


I’m aware that most of my examples have been from headline-grabbing tech companies. What about businesses in other industries? I’m not a Harvard Business researcher so I may not have the best data, but I can offer my own experience at Connections Recruitment. Having joined the agency recently, I’ve been impressed with the company narrative, built around its very real origins as a thirty-year old, family-owned business with a great deal of personality and respect for its employees and clients. I’ve been offered plenty of freedom in my role as social media executive to explore new ways of representing the company, and been listened to in meetings with the Director. These are all reasons why I’m still here. It’s easy to disregard the working practices of billion-dollar companies, but these cultural ideas are universal, and they work.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Member Blog: Customer service – without the complaints

By Howard Williams, Marketing Director at Parker Software

In the golden age of high street retail, one of the most common complaints from customers concerned disruptive in-store sales representatives. The phrase, “Would you like any help?” carried a sense of dread that a heavy sales pitch would follow. The rise of ecommerce and online retail mostly circumnavigates this. However, there is also the risk that effective customer service would be undermined without face-to-face interactions. Howard Williams, marketing director of digital engagement specialist Parker Software, explores how retailers can maintain strong relationships with their customers in the digital age – without being intrusive.

Online shopping is on the rise. A recent report from Ecommerce Europe has shown that ecommerce turnover in the UK was €157.1bn in 2015, demonstrating a rate of growth of 11%. This equates to an average spend of €3,625 per shopper – almost €200 higher than the previous year.

As more and more customers turn to the world wide web to do their purchasing, it is important that businesses are able to stay ahead of the curve to make the most of the rapidly expanding market. This means finding new ways to engage customers and ensure return business, something many companies struggle with in a post high street world.

The secret to success is in realising that ecommerce isn’t too different from the in store retail experience. Even the customer service and sales representatives have a part to play – albeit one that is less intrusive than accosting customers who simply wish to browse.

The availability of live chat software, for example, allows customers to converse with staff at a time that is convenient for them. By building valuable relationships without the risk of intruding on a customer’s browsing experience, businesses can harbour a positive public brand perception.

Of course, retailers can connect with their customers in many more ways than just live chat. Ecommerce Europe’s report also identified that mobile commerce is growing rapidly, with a €5bn increase in sales in 2015 alone. As live chat functionality may be limited by the confines of mobile apps, retailers should offer alternative means for customers to receive information quickly.

At Parker Software, for example, we’ve developed business automation software that allows retailers to set up dedicated customer SMS hotlines that mobile users can quickly send text their queries to. These hotlines can be automated to ensure messages are scored for urgency, and passed along to the most relevant member of staff. This means that appropriate action can be taken immediately, giving mobile users the information they need in a way that minimises disruption. 


While customers won’t be rid of retail representative input just yet, businesses can improve relationships by changing the dynamic of those interactions. With the help of automation software, retailers can change, “How can I help you?” to, “We’re ready to help how and when you need us.”

Friday, 22 July 2016

Member Blog: How to up your networking game and become a pro


By Dave Sunter, Business Development Manager at Stonebridge Offices

Networking. It’s the necessary evil we all love to hate. The thing is, whilst it may be the elephant in the room, it remains one of the most effective ways to take your business to the next level. In business people matter, so building relationships is key – put in thegroundwork and they will help you through the good and the bad times.

So, how can you overcome the networking dread, make it worthwhile and maximise networking opportunities? Well, it’s simple really, as with any new business approach, the key is to have a plan and to stick to it. Here are my top tips for those that want to make networking an effective business development tactic.

1.    Consider your audience – there are thousands of different networking events, from conferences with key note speakers to small meet ups and breakfast briefings… so how do you know which audience to tap into when there’s so much choice? The key is to consider your audience’s audience. You need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and work out where they’ll be networking – that way, you can be sure you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with the right kind of contacts. If it’s a small-scale briefing but you get a couple of solid contacts of the back of it, it’s worthwhile. Sometimes the smaller the networking event the better. Just remember to keep it targeted.

2.     Remember the basics – this may be simple, but don’t turn up to a networking event without being prepared. Ensure you have plenty of business cards available, you have some supporting information to hand and you are able to speak with conviction about what you have to offer. First impressions are important and in this instance you’re setting the tone for your business.

3.    Get online – networking shouldn’t be reserved to on the ground events. LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent tools to utilise to grow your portfolio of relevant contacts. From engaging with your audience and peers in LinkedIn Groups to discussing industry developments on Twitter – make sure you are tapping into you’re customers both on and off line.

4.    Spread the love – it can be really tricky to move around a networking event. Sometimes you can get caught chatting to just one person that won’t be an awful lot of help to your business right now. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to politely let them know you’re going to continue to circulate the room. This is standard practice at a networking event.

5.    We’re all in the same boat – some people are people people and breeze into social situations with ease, others aren’t. Either way, everyone at a networking event is in the same position. Don’t feel nervous about approaching people and getting involved in other’s conversations.

6.    Follow up – if you’ve made a useful contact, make sure you follow up the lead. Drop them an email, connect on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. Make sure you keep the conversation alive by regularly engaging with their content. Even if your services aren’t required just at the moment, you’ll be at the forefront of their mind should they require your support in the future.

7.    Don’t over do it – networking events can be fantastic, but they can also be expensive if you choose to go to one every week. Take a couple of months to figure out which events are going to be most relevant to your business and invest your time in these. When these channels are exhausted, simply move onto the next.

8.    Make the most of your existing network – everyone already has a network of contacts, from the team on reception at your office, to your friends from school. Keep a keen eye out for opportunities to link up collaborate or simply swap a favour with your existing network – you’ll be surprised how fruitful you existing network can be.


For more top business tips or to enquire about meeting space and flexible office space, visit the Stonebridge Offices blog by visiting: http://stonebridgeoffices.co.uk/

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Member Blog: Shape Perceptions, with a Brand Strategy

By Sammy Blindell - Co-Founder of How To Build A Brand
What is your brand? Is it your business name, your logo or your product? Is it the colours or the language you’ll use? Or is it the packaging that wraps it all up?

Your brand is supported by all of these things, but none of these things ARE your brand.

Your brand is the indescribable feeling that people get when they experience what your business has to offer. Your brand is how people define your product. It’s the perception of what you do, how you do it and most importantly, why you do it.

Notice I haven’t said that your brand is what you say it is. To the contrary, your brand will always be what others say it is.

That can be a little scary, right? Knowing that your brand is defined by what any number of random consumers say about it? Having little or no control over how your brand is perceived? Well, if you do it right, with a brand strategy, you can have more control than you might think.

Brand Strategy: What is it?

A brand strategy is a long-term plan that lists the goals for your brand, the traits of the consumers you’ll target, and tactics for not only reaching your ideal customers, but for shaping their perceptions of the brand.

Every brand strategy is different; however, there are some universal components that all the good ones have:

Promise: When you define what you’re promising to do, and stay true to that promise with every brand decision you make, you will establish a consistency that causes people to not only trust your brand, but to know what to expect (and therefore make reasonable assumptions and build perceptions that align with your goals).

Values: Every brand needs a set of corporate values. These are the standards that your brand operates under (e.g. integrity, excitement, accuracy), as well as the principles shared by your ideal customers.

Nut and Bolts: The colours, lines, shapes and fonts included in your visual brand will be the elements that cement your brand in the memories of your target audience…when they’re presented with the branded experiences you’ll create.

Touchpoints: Touchpoints are the places in which your ideal customers will encounter your brand. Customise these experiences to create the perceptions you want for your brand.

Data-Centred Flexibility: Markets will change. Your industry will, too. And so will consumer behaviours and preferences. Your brand should always be prepared to respond to these changes with both flexibility and commitment to the brand. Define and monitor KPIs and consumer trends for cues to make shifts within your brand parameters.

This is just the beginning of how to create a brand strategy that builds your brand—and perceptions of it. To learn more about how to make your brand more credible, visible and profitable, plan to attend the How to Build a Brand B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp on 1st September at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Elliot House on Deansgate, Manchester.

https://howtobuildabrand.org/

Monday, 4 July 2016

Member Blog: Sport and exercise brings people together


Here, Brendan Fox, Head of Commercial at multi-sport and active holiday tour operator Sports Tours International gives us his top tips on how to promote healthier minds and lifestyles at work.


  1. Having a water cooler and keeping cupboards stocked with fruit and healthy snacks will help to promote a healthy diet in the office.
  2.  Organise exercise classes on site for employees to attend.
  3.  Enter a company team into a public run. This builds relationships within the workplace, encourages employees to get fitter and is a great way to fundraise for charity.
  4. Sports Tours International hosts a series of 10k runs across the North West such as:  UKFast ‘We Love Mcr 10k’, the UKFast City of Salford 10k and the Matalan Merseyside 10k. There is also the opportunity to compete in the ‘corporate challenge’ and take a trophy back to the office!
  5.  Use match funding incentives, such as matching the fundraising efforts of employees. This is a great way of encouraging staff and giving something back to the community.
  6.  Create an internal corporate challenge. Like a school sports day but for employees! These social events help people bond with others on the team who they perhaps wouldn’t normally interact with on a daily basis and builds a better sense of community within your organisation.
  7. Conduct a survey on what employees value as healthy wellbeing at work. By getting a response off employees, it helps to get a better understanding of the people you work with.
  8. The cycle to work scheme is becoming more popular and is also environmentally friendly. It also serves as a catalyst for taking part in cycling events.
  9. Create a physical toolkit. Outlining a plan for employees on suggesting how to get fitter from how to get to work to making use of your lunch break reflects positively on the company’s image.

Experts at Sports Tours International are available to visit companies and create employee fitness schemes.

For more details please contact us on +44 161 703 8161 or email sales@sportstoursinternational.co.uk

Member Blog: What to Do When No-One Asks Questions During Your Q&A


By Richard Barnes, Founder and Creative Director at Buffalo7

You reach the end of your presentation and ask, ‘does anyone have any questions?’, expecting several hands to shoot up. Instead, you’re met with blank stares and awkward silence.

It’s an uncomfortable picture, but one that presenters are exposed to on a regular basis. It can be embarrassing when no-one asks questions in your Q&A and it isn’t great for your credibility, but there are techniques you can use to recover control or prevent such a scenario entirely. The presentation designers at Buffalo7 have pulled together the best tips for rescuing your talk from Q&A radio silence.

1. Don’t Panic

It’s always disappointing when you’ve put time and effort into creating a quality presentation, only to have no-one pose questions on your topic. But understand that this doesn’t mean that you flopped.

Audiences might just need some more time to absorb your information fully, but often you just need to break the ice; a certain dynamic is set when you’re presenting, and being able to transition to a less formal back-and-forth is a valuable skill.

Don’t let an initial lack of questions throw you off. Stay cool and have a plan.

2. Bring Your Own Questions

A good way to lead off on a quiet Q&A session is to prepare some of your own ‘common questions’. These can be a great way of reinforcing your messaging with meaningful real-world context.

Say something like ‘a question I’m often asked about X is…’, then proceed to answer in a way that gives your audience the opportunity to acknowledge the value in what you’re saying. Speaking to real-world concerns is a great way of prompting responses.

3. Reiterate Your Message

When you’re faced with a lack of questions, there’s a temptation to end your presentation right there with a weak ‘thank you’. But hold your nerve to protect your professional cachet.

Another good option is to succinctly summarise your main points so that desired takeaways are properly connected and fresh in your audience’s minds.

Also, you should have some next steps prepared for your audience to take. Let them know what you want them to do with the information you’ve given them by delivering a strong call to action.

4. Frame the Conversation a Different Way

You’ll probably be able to anticipate what the hot-button topics will be ahead of delivering your presentation, so use them to your advantage. If no-one asks a question, be proactive in sparking audience discussions around the issues that matter to them most.

Pick some people sitting in the first few rows and ask them about their situations and the challenges they face, linking their responses back to your main topic. Show them how your message relates directly to their goals and fears.

5. Take Questions as You Present

Another route you can take is responding to questions as you move through your presentation. Doing so makes it more of a collaborative discussion and actually eliminates the need for a formal Q&A session.

Audience members can field questions as soon as they think of them and the speaker can make sure the everyone fully understands before moving onto their next point. But this approach isn’t without risk: pausing to take questions can fracture your presentation’s natural flow of information, while irrelevant queries threaten to drag you off-topic.

6. Collect During and Address After

Whether you should respond to questions during your presentation or dedicate time for them after really depends on your message, topic and audience. It’s up to you to weigh the risks and make an informed decision on what’s best.

That said, thanks of the proliferation of mobile devices, there are ways you can easily collect questions while you speak – without needing stop.

Buffalo7’s PowerPoint Design experts recommend creating your own Twitter hashtag and asking people to submit their queries using it, or taking advantage of a Q&A app like Sli.do to crowdsource the best ones from your audience. This way, by the time the Q&A comes around, you’ll have a stack of questions ready to get the ball rolling.


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Member Blog: Marketing Automation – Friend or Foe?

I have been reading a lot recently about marketing automation and the rise of the bot in social media, much I think fuelled by Facebook announcing the Messenger chat bot development kit at a recent tech conference. All this got me thinking about the place of using technology in marketing and brand development to automatically communicate with your contacts when they get in touch.

On one level, considering that marketing is all about developing an engagement with your target market, it scares me. But on another, when you consider its role in delivering timely customer service messages, I can see it has a role.

The Good
There are times, when people engaging with your brand simply want a quick answer to a simple question:
What are your opening hours?

Or a quick response to a request:
I want to sign up to your newsletter, please send me your e-book.

In these cases, automation is the obvious answer. It allows you to deliver immediate responses 24/7 improving the customer experience and, in most cases, these are circumstances where people expect an automated response and don't particularly need to speak to someone. Furthermore, having to wait for a human to respond to answer a simple and common question can be frustrating. Not good for the brand image.

In other words, the motivation for automating customer anf marketing communication should focus on the benefit to the customer. Good AI (Artificial "Intelligence") will definitely expand the scope and effectiveness of automation in these scenarios.

The Bad
Where marketing automation is used badly it is usually about cost saving.

A good example of this is email campaign automation, or abandoned shopping cart emails offering discounts after you put stuff in your shopping cart then never check out.

Whilst these can be effective, all too often they try to be too clever and attempt to second guess the reason the user did what they did, leading to inappropriate or ill thought out messages being delivered.

In the case of abandoned cart discounts, users quickly know to expect this and rather than checking out, abandon the cart and then wait for the follow-up email so they can get a discount!

The Ugly
But the marketing automation that scares me is that which uses AI to try to fool you into thinking you are talking to a person when you are not!. This approach says to me that:

"You are not important enough to me for me to put resource into actually talking to you,
but I want to make you think that you are"

Marketing is about engaging with your target market, and building a rapport that adds value to them as a customer, re-enforcing the value that you add as a brand. To do that well, you actually need to talk to your customers.

With the rise of the Social Media Bot, and the focus on metrics (Followers/Likes/social reach etc) I can see a situation where digital marketing becomes dominated by bots talking to each other, sending the metrics through the roof, but where are the the real conversations? They get lost in the noise!

Marketing Automation - It's all about the Stats
Stats should be used to drive marketing, and not the other way round.

This is a phrase I have used a few times recently, and it's when people forget this that they start to use automation in inappropriate ways.

Stats are usually about measuring engagement on a purely quantitative level focusing on the numbers of engagements rather than their quality. Whilst there is no doubt that marketing automation, and bots in particular, can drive the stats and make the numbers "bigger", in practice these engagements have little or no true marketing value.

Every business should be aware of its brand and building your brand is the best way to deliver success in the long term. To this end, it is better to put more effort into fewer, valuable engagements that truly add value to the people who matter (Those who are likely to use your services/buy your products).

Whilst this (focus on the real stuff' approach will inevitably mean that your Twitter/Instagram followers/Facebook likes/web traffic will grow more slowly, the real people who make up those statistics will be people who really add value to your business.

Whilst I am sure Mr Zuckerberg genuinely believes that the promotion of chat bots on his messenger network will add value to its users. Sadly I think they will simply be used by those "marketers" offering more marketing magic wands.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Member Blog: When do you know you’re ready to move your business from bedroom to boardroom?



These days many businesses begin as a home venture – overheads are low and it seems you have all you need when you can kit out your box room as an office very cheaply. However, there comes a time when a home office won’t cut it anymore and if your business is headed in the right direction, you’ll likely begin needing more space and less distractions! 

With that in mind, Dave Sunter, Business Development Manager at Stonebridge Offices, with flexible serviced offices in central Manchester, outlines considerations for moving from bedroom to a more professional space.

Interruptions and distractions
It may have been appealing to wander down the hall from your bedroom and sit at your desk when your business was in the very early stages, but often working at home can become rife with interruptions and distractions. Even business owners with the best intentions can be pulled away from important tasks by children or partners who demand their attention, especially if family members are at home between usual working hours. If you’re missing deadlines, important calls or neglecting clients as a result of interruptions, this will be affecting your bottom line – it’s time to find some space away from disturbances.

Ensure you have a digital presence
You’ll no doubt be aware of the importance of having a website for your business, but it’s also key to ensure you bolster this with an engaged presence across social media. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn can grow your brand and your following exponentially. Take steps to ensure you’re getting your services in front of the right audience and use it as a tool to network – you never know where your next client lead will come from and if you’re relocating to a new office in the city, you can update them digitally.

Communal energy
Don’t underestimate the value of working around other like-minded people. Often, business owners working from home can become isolated and lonely, which can manifest as a lack of motivation. An office environment gives you other people's energy to feed off, as well as being able to ask them for advice and support. If you hit a slump at 3pm you can take yourself away from your environment and recharge in a communal kitchen or break rooms before returning to your desk. Often working from home causes stress as home and work lives clash, so having an office space in Manchester, away from the house, relieves this. Communal office buildings provide the opportunity to develop your social life too, meeting new people with similar goals and issues, providing much needed moral support.

Plan, plan, plan!
What are your reasons for moving to an outside office? Is it to have a professional environment or increase your productivity? Is it because your business has grown and the workload can no longer be managed by yourself alone? Asking yourself these questions will determine how big a space you need – you will then need to ensure you’ve included all costs in a thorough budget. Make allowances for forecasted increases in revenue, but ensure you’ll have cash remaining after your outgoings in case of late payments or unexpected expenditures.

It can be daunting to make the change from running a business that has very few overheads to one that has several monthly payments to make, but ultimately, your own, dedicated office space will reflect positively on you and your business - making you look professional and polished to existing and potential clients. At Stonebridge’s Bartle House office, based in the heart of Manchester, we offer high quality office space, furniture, telephone and high-speed internet connections for one monthly cost, and for contracts from one day to one year, making the move as easy as possible.

Stonebridge Offices is a fully serviced office environment with premises in Leeds and Manchester, and was recently awarded the Independent Business Centre of the Year Award at the annual BCA Gala Dinner. The company offers flexible working space and meeting room hire, helping an eclectic range of companies to set the right impression.


For more information on Stonebridge Offices please visit http://goo.gl/NH90Dy

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Patron Blog: 10 questions to ask your business energy provider

  • About to renew with your energy supplier?
  • Did your business pay too much for energy last year? Are you struggling to reduce consumption? 


Chamber Energy Solutions can explain how to save your business time and money by asking various questions to your supplier. Boost your profits and competitiveness this year. Find out what these questions are, visit: http://bit.ly/1r3xK0L

However, the easiest way to get the right answer to these questions is not by spending time chasing energy suppliers but by going to one place: Chamber Energy Solutions. We can save you time analysing your power and water bills (to see what’s hidden) and take the hassle of trying to contact energy suppliers.

We can give any business total insight into power, gas and water consumption and put it in the palm of your hand with our utility insight app.

Whatever the size of your operation, we can help manage the entire portfolio energy procurement process, secure the right contract and manage the switch. By tracking your renewal dates, we can contact you with a new tariff at renewal so you don’t fall out of contract.

We found bingo hall operator Shipley Brothers the right contract and helped it save around £56,000 against budget for electricity, and it can now switch strategy to suit market conditions during it.

The energy market is complex. No single energy manager can know everything.

We have the expertise in-house at Chamber Energy Solutions to understand energy, your position in the market and how to manage risk.

On top of this, we have a Utility Management Plan that can help you control your utilities once and for all, helping you reduce energy and water costs so you can concentrate on what you do best: running your business.

Krispy Kreme, the global doughnut experts, saved £84,000 thanks to a Strategic Utility Management Plan.

Call us on 0333 000 0132 or email help@chamberenergysolutions.co.uk.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Member Blog: Content Marketing in the real world

By David Wright LLB FCIM Chartered Marketer at BSA Marketing


There is a lot of talk about ‘Best Practice’ around content marketing; but what happens in the real world?

I felt an interesting starting point would be to see what Google has to say on the subject. A search for Content Marketing threw up 55,900,000 results in 0.67 seconds. 

Interestingly there was only a single paid result – so maybe people are learning that Adwords Keywords need to be targeted!

Anyway the #1 spot was: What is Content Marketing? – Content Marketing Institute. A useful first step, or so I thought..

I think this says a great deal about Content Marketing; There is a lot of talk but sometimes the action fails to live up to the hype.

There is no question that sustained, considered content marketing may be very effective but it is also hard work. Consistently delivering high quality, engaging and relevant content takes planning and application.

Having published almost 500 articles over the past 8 years,we understand the challenges so perhaps it isn’t surprising to find that although people start off their content marketing journey with the best of intentions, after a few weeks, or months, the distractions grow and the commitment wanes; yet the basic truth continues:

Sustained Content Marketing is a great approach to cost-effective

Too often (like so many marketing services) content marketing is pitched as an easy win. I recently saw a brief from a marketing services company that included the phrase:
‘A blog section is really important. It will help (if regular content is added) to improve search ranking

Those 5 words, added in brackets – seemingly as an afterthought, are actually the essence of the statement. Adding a blog is easy. It is delivering well thought out and crafted content month after month that requires planning and persistence. If that delivery fails, the core of the marketing communication fails with it.

Also is the sentiment right? Should content be focused on search ranking or should it be about engaging with your market? – As it happens, engaging content can boost search ranking as a spin off benefit anyway!

So what is the situation in the real world?

We took an audience of local SME business – people attending a recent B2B networking group so presumably aware of the value of marketing themselves and engaging with other businesses – and researched this sample to look at their online presence.

Specifically we searched for their websites and looked at how (if at all!) content marketing was implemented.

The results make interesting reading….

  • Business has a website – 94%
  • Site has News/Blog – 56%
And of the 56%….

  •     News posted within the past 2 months – 80%
  •     News posted in the past month – 42%
  •     Consistent content posted for over 12 months – 10%

These figures tell a story that is common across SME businesses. Marketing gets started but it isn’t sustained. Even to start with, people aren’t posting particularly regularly and within a year, the above figures suggest that 90% of News/Blogs aren’t being updated.

The danger is that a company website, which looks smart, modern and up to date when it is launched, begins to tell a different story. If you see a website with a news section and the most recent news article is several months old, what sort of impression does it make with you?

It is only when new, engaging and relevant content is regularly added that your website as a platform to communicate with your market to ‘tell your story’ and spread the word that content marketing can truly deliver.

So we have a dilemma. Ask most SME business owners whether they think sustained, proactive content marketing is the right approach and they will answer Yes; yet in reality, marketing that is actually done is short term. Businesses are regularly moving from one marketing approach to the next.

I believe there is – and the answer is considered commitment.

This means making sure that you have a plan you believe in and commit the resources to make it happen. But in saying this, I must stress the importance of not over committing. If you try to spend too much time or commit too much budget, keeping your content marketing running will be difficult, if not impossible. Things will slip and the short-termism will be back.

By keeping your commitment more modest (even ‘easy’) it is much more likely your content marketing will sustain and succeed.


If you want to find out more about effective content marketing, do get in touch