Tag Archives: marketing


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Bear Grylls, a Rock Face, and a Cup of Tea

I was always brought up to have a cup of tea halfway up a rock face.
Bear Grylls

What a great quote. You’re imagining it now, aren’t you? The rugged survival guy breaking his climb to be quintessentially British with a cup of tea. I’m pretty sure this involves a thermos flask and not a bone china cup and saucer but that’s what I envisaged.

It’s a great opener and all credit to Towergate Insurance, who sent this to me in an email. They followed with this: You might not be half-way up a rock face right now but you are halfway through your Professional Liability policy… 

They found a way to make insurance interesting. That’s clever.

It’s genius and an obvious link if you think about it. Extreme sports enthusiasts and adventurers are a high risk for insurance – how do you insure someone who breaks their back in a parachuting accident, nearly drowns in a fast-flowing jungle river, and willingly pushes themselves to the limit? But what thrilling stories they make.

The opener made me smile and instantly more receptive to the rest of their email, which was just to keep in touch and remind me of a few details. Usually, you get a reminder a week or so before your insurance is due for renewal asking for money. No-one likes that kind of reminders so ultimately, an email or letter from an insurance company causes you to groan inwardly. The alternative, keeping in touch with your clients just to say hi and not just when you’re asking for something is refreshing. Are you doing this?

A Strong Finish

They even ended the email with a smile: If you are in fact half-way up a rock face, and you’ve left your home unoccupied, you might want to look at our Unoccupied Property Insurance.
 
A little call to action, a hint that they offer other products plus they make you feel good.

Despite the fact that you’re sitting at your desk, possibly with a snack and a cuppa, still holding a little extra weight than you’d like (just me?), this insurance company believes in you. You’re an adventurer ready to throw yourself out of a plane for pleasure at any given time. Yes indeed, I may just go and book a jungle trek, or perhaps just a flight to that industry conference I want to attend. Oh, travel insurance… where can I get that from I wonder…

So many businesses forget the fun you can have when building long-term relationships. No matter how serious your product, find a way to make your clients smile and they’ll keep coming back for more.

Now, go and book that skydive!


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Old family photographs of holidays and special occasions. Circle-like camera lens reads Business Through the Lens

Business Through the Camera Lens

What do you feel when you look at old photos?

I’m talking about the pre-digital age photos. Those slightly fuzzy ones in muted colours your parents took on holidays, trips, and special occasions.

Realistically, you’re looking at a piece of shiny paper with smiling faces or a slightly wonky landscape. Nothing to write home about unless you recognise those faces. Unless that landscape is the scene of your family holiday in 1988 and that image transports you back to the beach. You can taste the salty sea air, hear the seagulls and relive how the wet seaweed felt under your bare feet as you clambered over the rocks to find crabs and mussels. You remember how proud you felt creating the biggest hole on the beach as you dug deep to try and get to Australia… er, maybe that was just me?

Even those black-and-white photos of your not-too-distant ancestors make you feel something though it becomes harder to forge a connection. I’ve got a photo of my great-great-grandmother dressed up in her Victorian finery. Though we never met, I can just about find a family likeness. I imagine little Flora (my Grandma) going to visit her grandmother and playing in the garden with her cousins. There’s a connection but you have to work harder to create the meaning.

Show my photos to someone else and they’ll see a bunch of semi-smiling strangers. There’s no connection there at all.

An image only delivers emotional impact if you know the stories and the people behind it. And don’t think you can rule out emotional impact in business. That’s the extra step most people don’t take that will bring you unsolicited business.

How to deliver emotional impact in your marketing   

It’s the stories you can tell. Most people know they have to make their marketing relatable. For instance, you’d do better talking about what a machine can do for your clients rather than its technical specifications.

If you know the people that work on that machinery though, you can forge an emotional connection. The connection becomes greater if you know the stories and feelings of those other clients. People like you who use that machinery, what they use it for, how relieved they were to find a solution, and how much time it saves them so they can go home and play with their children. Whatever it is that your clients want, if you can find examples of people who have achieved that directly as a result of working with you, and you use those stories as part of your marketing… click! Capture that on your marketing camera right away.

That’s how you create an emotional connection in business, through people and their concerns, hopes, and desires. Even if your business is chemical additives.

Look at what your products do, then look at how your clients use them. Why does your product or service help them achieve their goals and how do you make it easy?

Cultural considerations

This might be different for your British clients. People are people the world over but there are subtle differences related to culture and language that mean you need to adjust your marketing.

If a British person hears a German client talking about how his life is so much easier now, he even gets to squeeze in a game of handball after work, they will attach some positive meaning. It’s clear the product or service improves efficiency. However, because we don’t play handball in Britain, the message loses a tiny bit of impact. They might think well that’s good for them but it’s different for us. And it isn’t different but that’s their perception and they’re entitled to it.

One advantage of using a native speaker is that you get suggestions on what you’re saying as well as how you say it. If I think something won’t work for the British market, I’ll let you know and come up with an alternative.

I’ll take your memory-packed holiday snap and replicate it so it could happily slot into a British photo album and evoke the same feelings.

Your holiday may be over but we’ve got business memories to make!


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Image of a woman looking into a microscope next to the text “English under the microscope”

Improving Your English – A Lot Less Painful Than the Dentist

It took a while to register what she was saying.

Me? I need a filling?

I know, I know, people get dental fillings every day. It’s a routine procedure but I’ve managed until the grand age of 38 without any and I don’t want to start now.
For years I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by five star dental check-ups. One particular dentist I remember scratching his head in confusion and saying my teeth were virtually indestructible. Well, neither he or I reckoned on my wisdom teeth.

My wisdom is leaking out… and needs to be repaired! I can already attribute one bad decision I’ve made this week to my leaking wisdom.

Now, I’m not in any pain, there was no obvious warning but if left alone the decay could reach the nerve and cause major problems. An X-ray highlighted the issue and it makes sense to go ahead before it starts causing me pain. Nobody wants to suffer.

Often, you’re oblivious to the problem until it’s too late. Then the real pain sets in and you’ve got a major headache to deal with. It’s the same with your business.

You’ve poured tens of thousands of euros into launching your products to a new market. Your website pages are all shiny and new, sparkling with the promise of future sales. Your product brochures are freshly printed, technical datasheets translated, you’re all set. And yet you’re not getting the response you got when you launched elsewhere.  What’s going on?

If you’ve covered the essentials – your market research is solid, you know there’s a demand for your product, and your marketing and sales colleagues are driving traffic to your website – could it be the English?

Premium products need premium marketing. And that includes the quality of your English.

Take a look at your English and consider if any of these issues could be slowing down the number of enquiries you’re getting:

  • The wording is slightly off and feels foreign. The odd incorrect word choice and grammar issue can make the text stand out for all the wrong reasons.
  • The English is a direct translation of the German. If there are cultural references, your reader might not grasp the concept. The word play probably won’t work and could sound bizarre.
  • You see a slight smile on the faces of your British business partners when you hand over the product brochures. They’ve spotted something that doesn’t quite work in their language but it’s not their job to point this out and would be impolite to tell you.
  • Maybe your new target buyer doesn’t face the same problems your regular clients have. They may have a slightly different set-up and you’ve created a product or service that they think doesn’t help achieve their objectives. (It most likely does but you need a different angle).
  • You can’t put your finger on it but now you’re reading the text again, there’s that niggling feeling that something isn’t right. As a result, you don’t promote it with 100% confidence and your buyers notice.

Just as with early dental decay, there’s no immediate pain. Only a specialist can identify the issue and suggest preventative treatment to nip things in the bud.

That’s why I offer my English Under the Microscope service.

What do you get?

You’ll get a native Brit’s honest perspective on your message, suggestions for improving your English to appeal to your target market and native speakers. I’ll also highlight what’s working for reassurance so you can be fully confident when you market your products internationally.

All created as a screencast video with a written report to share with your colleagues and start working through.

What’s more, the investment of £97 or €113 + VAT is fully redeemable against any work booked with me in the following six months.

It’s a quick way to gain reassurance and take preventative action to fix any issues in your English that are stopping you achieve your sales targets. And a lot less painful than the dentist.

Put your English Under the Microscope here.