Spotting ‘Scalability’ – And How to Avoid The Elephant Trap of A Lifestyle Business

Spotting ‘Scalability’ – And How to Avoid The Elephant Trap of A Lifestyle Business

If you’ve watched the TV programme ‘Dragons’ Den’, you’ll know that scalability is an important factor when it comes to investing in a business.   Scalability is all about having a business that delivers future rewards exponentially as a result of the time and money invested. Without it, a business is going nowhere – and yet, many would-be entrepreneurs don’t stop to think how many years may be wasted in chasing a dream that will always be just that. So, can scalability be achieved against all the odds? Or does there have to be an almost pre-ordained likelihood that it’s there from the start? And if scalability can be achieved when a fledgling business doesn’t appear to ‘have it’, what are the tools an entrepreneur can use? The tired aphorism (and back-handed compliment) that Britain is ‘a nation of shopkeepers’ must stem in part from the realisation that so many people who achieve their dream of being self-employed are, in reality, setting up a ‘lifestyle business’. Some would say that these aren’t ‘real’ businesses. If you can’t employ a dozen or so people in the first couple of years, you’ve probably got a lifestyle business on your hands that will never grow to the heights you dreamed of when you first set out on your glorious venture. Dream On  What are the pointers to look out for when you’re first starting out? Or when you may be tempted to go into partnership with someone? Or even become a business investor, Dragons’ Den-style?! We’ve all heard of ‘economies of scale’. Applying the concept in real life does in fact have some... Read more...
Online Marketing: The Reality of Endless Change

Online Marketing: The Reality of Endless Change

 Using creative copywriting resources to  maximise online marketing opportunities     Have you ever wanted to halt ‘change’ in its tracks? If you’re in any way involved in marketing – as a copywriter, designer, account handler or marketing executive in a client-side organisation – the reality of today’s never-ending change will need no introduction. Online marketing is a powerful force driven by the conventions of Capitalism overlaid by the imperatives of online powerhouses such as search engines and social media giants. The acceleration of change is super-charged by the need to know more – the better to get ahead of the competition. This is a hunger that feeds off itself. The techniques available to satisfy those everyday pangs grow ever-more time consuming and competitive. Marketing has come to be fed by technology, in many cases to the exclusion of people and their preferences as customers. What is the solution to holding back the choking embrace of this information overload? How does an organisation, large or small, rise to the challenge of at once cutting a swathe in its own sector whilst at the same time fighting off the unwelcome distractions that the online world throws across everyone’s path? To state that copywriting skills could provide the answer may seem to be stretching a point. And yet, when you consider for a moment that most of the information on the web has in fact been created by copywriters, it may not seem so ridiculous after all.   The Origin of This Marketing Species If you’re blinded by the light of rapid change; and if you’re suffering from a failure to understand... Read more...
Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

The Internet is drowning in a sea of content – and the main culprit has to be so-called ‘content marketing’… The first-fruits of this come-lately type of marketing are supposed to be enhanced SEO/SERPs results; establishing yourself as an ‘expert’ in your field; and providing visitors to your website with the type of useful information that will encourage them to re-visit the site and/or share the content on social media. No-one could argue that these are laudable aims with tangible benefits. Everyone gains and this kind of activity earns valuable SEO brownie points from the search engines, whilst also validating their raison d’etre. One of the major problems with content marketing, however, is that an ‘average’ company will run out of the content that meets Google’s criteria for original, useful material in a relatively short space of time. Creating quality content – regularly! To produce content on a regular basis, so many companies are forced into dredging up sub-standard material from within their own industry or re-cycling material that’s already in the public domain. The net effect of this is the deluge of ‘me-too’ stuff that no-one really wants to read. It helps of course if you have a copywriter or marketing agency to come up with new and useful content, but you may well be left wondering about how many ways there are to skin a cat. For companies who may not want to invest in professional content creators, and for those who are sceptical about the ROI for these activities, there is always the DIY route. As everyone knows, ‘content’ is all around us – potentially… and... Read more...

Integrated Marketing and The Endless Echoes of Mad Men

In case you hadn’t noticed, ‘integrated marketing’ has come full circle. Back in the day, when Mad Men roamed Madison Avenue and TV advertising was the new kid on the block, everyone wanted a slice of the marketing action. In late-1950s Britain, television sets in everyone’s living room marked the end of post-war austerity and, with it, the beginnings of an affluent consumerist society that continued throughout the 1960s and on into the present day. TV advertising was a powerful tool of mass communication that eclipsed print media, direct marketing and PR almost overnight, particularly among those with bigger budgets. It’s often said that history repeats itself. That would certainly seem to be the case with integrated marketing. To get a handle on the historical perspective of it all, you need to compare the Mad Men era and the arrival of TV advertising with the emergence in our own era of Internet marketing and Google. Both of these phenomena transformed marketing as it was known hitherto – and both ended with an aftermath of integrated marketing that sought to make sense of a new and dominant marketing force. The underlying driver on both occasions was the realisation that we shouldn’t risk throwing the baby out with the bath water.   In The 1960s… TV advertising in the 50s and 60s was a potent and entertaining medium with the power to engage and persuade like nothing that had gone before. Or was it? Apart from being incredibly expensive, TV advertising in 1960s Britain had a limited platform of only one commercial TV station. Even if your company could afford it,... Read more...

Website Copywriting Makes The Link With Content Marketing

‘COPYWRITING SHORTS’  #104 With ‘content marketing’ being the catch-all phrase of the moment, it’s hardly surprising that website copywriting is right up there, riding in the slipstream. As a highly experienced copywriter, creating ‘content’ is what I’ve always done.  The trick nowadays is to align your content with a meaningful marketing strategy – and therein lies the challenge. The optimal starting point has to be with your website.  This is the home of your online content, the hub to which everything else you do is linked.  The ‘content’ we’re talking about here includes what goes on your web pages, what goes into your blog, and what external content you choose to provide or engage with. These building blocks of your online content marketing strategy can be brought together brilliantly by social sharing on the sites of the usual suspects – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al.  In case you’re not sure, ‘social sharing’ has become the go-to skill-set for post-Hummingbird SEO. How your content marketing strategy dovetails with the totality of your online marketing activities is a topic for another post.  In the meantime, you can find an introduction to copywriting techniques for your website and SEO by visiting the following Buzzwords’ pages: Web copy: www.buzzwords.ltd.uk/website-copywriter SEO:... Read more...

Don't Forget Your Offline Copywriting

In the rush to optimise everything that goes under the heading of online copywriting, so many companies make the mistake of overlooking their offline marketing activities.  What should be happening of course is that all their eggs shouldn’t be in the online basket.  It’s vital to keep a handle on so many of the other offline marketing tools that can still pack a punch.  By that, I mean things like well-written and persuasive sales letters, together with mailers whose originality cannot be ignored.  I’m talking about eyeball-grabbing ads in both the print and broadcast media.  And editorial pieces in well-chosen publications that will enhance the stature of your company and its products and services in ways that ‘online’ can never hope to emulate.  In the real world, you should be doing all the offline stuff in parallel with online activity.  It’s our old friend ‘integrated marketing’ rearing its head again – not that it ever went away.  In the days before everything was shunted online, integrated marketing usually meant supporting your TV ads with a press campaign, direct mail and maybe even radio or posters!   Now, we’re probably talking about a co-ordinated content marketing effort that combines website landing pages aligned with a Pay-Per-Click campaign; articles and blog posts optimised for carefully-chosen keywords and directed at specific web pages.  Today’s canny marketer will be looking to run parallel offline campaigns, not just to generate enquiries and boost brand awareness, but also to drive traffic to chosen websites and pages through direct and indirect linking, and longer-term link building and SEO.  This all costs money, so it’s up to smaller... Read more...