How winning awards can transform your business

We were delighted to have our members R A Brown Heating Services speak at a recent meeting about how awards had transformed their business.

Louise came along to show us their impressive collection of awards and talk about the impact it had made on their business, sharing some valuable tips too.

R A Brown specialise in the design and installation of ground and air source heat pumps, and always knew they weren’t just a run of the mill heating engineer company.

A nomination was made in an industry award – which they won, and it had a huge snowball effect. Awards are now a firm part of their marketing strategy and Louise shared her top tips for winning awards…

You’ve got to be in it to win it

It’s an old saying but it’s true. Every year, c0-director Richard feels their work isn’t good enough to win. Yet time and time again he’s proved wrong. You have to look at your work positively and go for it.

Blow your own trumpet!

Many of us find this difficult, but it’s important, so be proud of what you do. Applying for awards is inextricably linked with business development and keeping your competitive edge.

Passion wins awards

Louise says they now prefer the awards where you get the opportunity to speak to the judges following a written application. They’ve been told many times that their passion for their field shines through. Save something back to add extra information to the presentation – for R A Brown, that’s often an update on the performance of the heating system.

The David and Goliath complex

Don’t be afraid to pit yourself against much bigger companies. Awards are based on the quality of work or impact you’ve made, not on the number of employees. Often bigger companies hire a marketing agency to apply for awards for them, which means the passion is diluted.

Set targets

It might sound crazy, but it takes time to prepare award applications so schedule them into your diary and always think ahead. R A Brown try to win one or two awards each year, and Louise suggests setting your targets according to the time and resources you have available. Every sector has different awards, but don’t overlook general awards such as the EDP Business Awards.

Don’t be downhearted

If you get shortlisted but don’t win, use the awards night as an opportunity to network.


Worth a read: 8 Reasons to enter business awards, even if you don’t win


Pay attention to the questions

Award applications can be a bit like a lengthy job application. It’s important to answer the questions carefully rather than just trying to sell yourself and what you want to say.

Down to the nitty gritty

Firstly, keep an eye on trade/sector magazines who often run awards and local press for local business awards. Read through the categories and criteria carefully to make sure it’s a good fit and that you have a fairly unique offering. Keep asking yourself “what makes me/us different” as you complete the application.

If there’s the chance to supply supporting evidence, a powerpoint works well as you can add images and text as well as stats to demonstrate your business growth. And tie in award applications with your blog or case studies and obtain testimonials regularly – these are invaluable when it comes winning awards, and shows your customers blowing your trumpet too!

If you work completely on your own then use a community like Her Business Brew to get feedback on your draft award applications before submitting. And remember, you deserve a new dress for the awards ceremony and probably more than 1 glass of prosecco.

Plaster successes everywhere!

Customers are impressed by award-winning companies. If you win, put the award logos everywhere – on your website, social media, email signature, pop-up banners, brochures and flyers, in advertorial press, try for free press coverage if you can get it – make that award work hard for you!

 

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How winning awards can transform your business

6 steps to creating a super powerful direct mail campaign

Despite the growth of online marketing and social media, direct mail campaigns are still a vital part of the content marketing mix. Particularly for local bricks and mortar businesses with an audience limited to a certain geographical area.

In fact, for some of my locally based clients I’ve found a simple leaflet campaign to be several more times effective than online marketing or advertising.

From raising awareness with potential new customers to informing your regular clientele of new products and services or advertising an exclusive discount or special offer, a direct mail campaign offers one-to-one contact with potential customers and – done right – can result in some pretty impressive conversion rates.

Here’s how to get it right.

  1. Plan at least a few weeks ahead

When it comes to creating and running direct mail, it pays to plan ahead. The further the better!

The needs and wants of your customers vary throughout the year and you’ll achieve a better response rate if you connect with their immediate requirements. Planning also gives you more time to create the look and feel of your campaign with your design and content team.

For example, if you’re a beauty business, there’s not much point in offering a spray tan discount in the middle of winter. But a skin rejuvenating facial or a January pamper and products discount might be much better received.

Theme your campaigns with the seasonal needs of your customers, offering a discount on your most relevant services.

  1. Keep it super simple

If you’re mailing out a postcard or flyer, then your creative space will be limited. Less is definitely more for a direct mail campaign; in fact, trying to oversell a product can often have the opposite effect.

Your mailing should communicate what is necessary to compel the customer to buy, nothing more. A great headline, a brief explanation of your news, services or offer, a client quote to boost credibility and contact details are usually all you need.

  1. Consider your branding

Online or off, your brand should always be at the centre of your communications. A direct mail campaign should be eye-catching – it needs to stand out in a crowded post box – but the design should always reflect your wider brand strategy.

  1. Include a sample

People LOVE free stuff! Selling products over the Internet can be challenging as consumers are often unable to touch and feel the product before buying. A direct mail campaign provides you with the opportunity to get your product right into the customer’s hands. Include a small sample with your campaign so the customer can try before they buy.

  1. Think green – because your customers might!

Many consumers are now conscious of environmental issues. Most people recycle and they expect companies they do business with to take a responsible view on how their day-to-day business affects the world around them. Developing an eye-catching flyer that is also environmentally friendly could boost your campaign conversion rate.

  1. Consider your direct mail campaign an investment

When it comes to content creation there’s a lot you can DIY these days. Canva and PicMonkey allow entrepreneurs to create their own flyers, posters and rack cards for free or at minimal cost and provide a PDF download option that can then be passed onto a printer. Investing in a good quality print service will appeal to consumers’ belief that they are buying something of value.

Remember, your campaign represents your brand and business, so if the perceived value is low based on how the communication looks, consumers are unlikely to make a purchase. If you need help, bring in the experts. A professional designer or copywriter may require an initial outlay, but you’ve got a much better chance of making your money back (and then some) with a first-class campaign.

Kerry Brind

About the author:

Kerry Brind is a Content Marketing Coach and SEO Stylist. Founder of Write to Win Business, she works with fabulous female entrepreneurs, teaching them how to attract, compel and convert more clients with amazing content and SEO. A frequent HBB speaker, Kerry can be found dispensing daily content advice on social media.

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6 steps to creating a super powerful direct mail campaign

Email Marketing: How to create a Mailchimp Campaign if you are stuck at square one

Are you stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing?

Don’t even have an email marketing account set up, let alone a list to send your e-shots to?

From my workshop session last month at Her Business Brew central meeting, it became evident that many seem to be stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing.

There seems so much information about what to write in your email marketing, or how to build your mailing list, however this can put many people off who don’t even know where to start!

So, if you are stuck at the starting blocks when it comes to email marketing, this blog will give you the basics to creating a campaign in the mostly used email marketing programme Mailchimp!

How to simply create a mailout campaign on Mailchimp

Once you have set up a Mailchimp account and imported your mailing list (which is very easy by using my MailChimp Masterclass – How to Guide) you can create a campaign using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the campaigns page and click Create Campaign in the upper-right corner of the screen to create a Regular Campaign.  To create a Plain-Text Campaign, A/B Testing Campaign, or RSS campaign, click the drop-down menu and select that option.
  2. On the Recipients step, choose a list from the drop-down menu, and click Entire list, or pick a segmentation option. Click Next or Setup in the progress bar.
  3. On the Setup step, input your Email subject, From name, and From email address and click Next in the progress bar.
  4. On the Template step, the easiest option is to click on Themes to select from Mailchimp’s predesigned layouts.
  5. In the Design step, you then input and customize your campaign content.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with your design, click Next or Confirm in the progress bar.
  7. Review the Pre-Delivery Checklist on the Confirm step. Click Resolve to navigate directly to the step to fix any errors that may appear.  To make other changes, click the Edit button to return to a step.
  8. When you’ve finished testing your campaign, you can either send the campaign immediately, or schedule it to go out at another time.
  9. If you’re ready to send the campaign to your subscribers, click the Send button. The Prepare for launch modal will appear, and when you confirm your send by clicking Send Now your campaign will be on its way to your mailing list!
Things to consider

When using Mailchimp to send your Campaign it is important to consider the following:

  • Each recipient on your MailChimp list is hidden from all the other recipients.
  • Test your campaign before you send to your entire list. You can use the preview and test function in Mailchimp to do this.
  • MailChimp automatically includes both an HTML version and a plain-text alternative version for each of your subscribers. This ensures your subscribers view your content as expected, regardless of the email client or program they use.
  • MailChimp is designed to send email campaigns that contain HTML code and plain-text content. Due to this Mailchimp advises against using other code to create campaigns.
Your campaign content

Once you have mastered ‘how to’ send a Mailchimp campaign, then it is then important to write your campaigns in a way that appeals to your audience and ensures that they actually open and read your email once it hits their inbox!

Some advice and guidance on creating amazing email campaign content can be found at…

What to put in an email newsletter when you don’t know what to write

 

Serena Fordham is known as “Norfolk’s Admin Super Woman”, and owns and manages Glow Virtual Assistants.  They assist clients across Norfolk and the surrounding areas with administration, bookkeeping, event management, project management, and writing tasks.

Serena is also a published author, founder of Her Business Brew, and founder and coordinator of the ‘An Hour or So’ initiative; which brings together businesses to raise funds for charitable causes. 

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Email Marketing: How to create a Mailchimp Campaign if you are stuck at square one