Moving story

Early advice from our business gurus (friends who already have big, successful, well-established businesses) was to keep it lean for the first year or so, but we’ve finally taken the plunge and moved into an office. It’s a small office, but it’s an office. Premises. A place with Chapel Road Creative on the door.

What’s amazing is how different it feels to work in this space. In just a few days it’s noticeable how much more focused we are, how the environment and space are more conducive to creative flow. And that’s an essential part of all good marketing, which can only benefit our clients.

What’s even more surprising is the shift in customers’ and suppliers’ perceptions – curiosity, interest, introductions, collaboration and new business in a remarkably short space of time.

We’re blessed with a sea view of the North Norfolk coast from the office window which, as working environments go, is pretty special. It may have taken us a while to make the move, but good things are worth waiting for…

Are you feeling inspired?

Wow, over the months we’ve been lucky enough to chat with some inspiring business authors and gurus for a project we’re working on.

Some of the advice seems blindingly obvious when you think about it, such as Nigel Botterill’s advice to spend 90-minutes every day working on your business to achieve success. That’s 90-minutes not worrying about your customers, your ‘to do’ list or emails, but focusing on precisely what it is that you need to grow your company. We’re still working on hitting this target, but it makes absolute sense to us.

We also recently talked with Laurence McCahill of the Happy Startup School who, along with co-founder Carlos Saba, created a digital agency before transitioning to helping entrepreneurs to make their business ideas reality. They have an amazing ethos and we’re seriously tempted by their September Happy Startup Summer Camp which looks superb. They’re changing our thinking about networking and conferences – instead of being intimidating and gung-ho, they invite delegates to unwind, deal with the nitty-gritty stuff and do some fun stuff along the way, like learning the ukulele and enjoying a karaoke sauna. Not your average conference –bring on the business revolution!

We relish great advice, and it’s all great food for thought as Chapel Road Creative passes its first anniversary. It’s been an amazing first year, and we’re working with some fantastic companies to help them strengthen their marketing approach. Now our challenge is to focus on the ‘what next?’ step of our journey – growth, expanding our team and potentially a move. Exciting times ahead – give us a shout if we can offer some marketing advice to inspire you.

 

Springing forward

Celebration

Hurrah!

 

Hurrah! We made it to 1 February. As a start-up business, you probably think we’re focused on survival, but it’s actually quite the converse – we’re growing more quickly than we had anticipated.

It’s a pleasant challenge to have, and we’re heartened by the number of businesses that are reaching out for help in getting their brand and marketing materials in better shape for 2015.

Our belief that a strong business starts with a correspondingly robust brand that’s carried across everything from an e-signature (how’s yours looking?) to a website, van livery and brochure is key to generating a response from prospects and customers.

We’re also finding that many customers are preferring to work with us on a long-term marketing strategy, rather than calling us in to tackle ad hoc problems. It makes sense – it’s the equivalent of a carpenter ordering wood several months ahead, instead of every time he starts a job. Regular attention and forward planning of your marketing will create a stronger, more successful you this year.

If your business could do with a marketing audit to support your business goals in 2015, email hello@chapelroadcreative.co.uk

Digitally diligent

Update your site

What’s the news?

As new business launches go, we’ve been amazed and pleasantly surprised at the warm welcome we’ve received from Norfolk companies looking for some help or fresh thinking about their marketing activity.

In just a few short months, we’ve expanded our client list and have a number of exciting projects to help them develop in 2015, and we recently freshened up our website with details of some of these.

We say it so often it’s almost a mantra, but if you’re not looking at your own website on a regular basis (and by regular we mean at least monthly), you’re exposing your company to risk.

If that sounds dramatic, think of it this way – if a prospective customer lands on your site, would it impress them enough to pick up the phone and talk with you? Does your website look contemporary? Does the content reflect all that your business does, or have you added to your services since it launched but never got round to updating the site? And if your site has a news section or blog, how ‘new’ is the latest post? If you can’t answer any of these questions without looking, chances are you need to take action.

Along with a site that you and your colleagues can be proud to point potential customers towards there are, of course, those lovely SEO Brownie points to be earned through refreshed content, which in turn helps to improve your visibility. If you struggle to come up with ideas for content, can we modestly suggest that you give us a call, we’d love to help you get things straightened out.

Back to school

Gold star marketing

Gold star marketing

Pencil sharpened, shoes shined. The French call it la rentrée, but that back to school feeling is a lovely one, isn’t it? A new start after the languid summer months. It’s a great time to review how your marketing has been performing, consider fresh ideas to achieve goals during the last quarter and plan activity to achieve next year’s business objectives.

We recently chatted with a managing director whose business is split over three separate yet complementary leisure sites. “Each of the site managers are responsible for coming up with idea to market their business,” he remarked. It’s an approach we’ve seen before across many burgeoning industries, and inevitably results in silo marketing where – a little like a horse in a race – the marketing team is so busy racing to its respective finish line, it forgets to cast an eye sideways at how the department next door might help improve its performance through some canny cross-selling.

Think of it from a user journey perspective. If I’ve bought something from you, the chances are I feel pretty warm about your company already, and so a different proposition from you has more likelihood of getting me to reach for my credit card for a second time, than a cold call from an unknown rival.

Customer loyalty is precious and to be nurtured at every opportunity. But while it’s important not to market in a vacuum, it’s equally important not to consider customers as static entities. While I might enjoy a low-cost break with the kids, I might also be looking for a luxury weekend break for our anniversary or a day on the golf course for my husband’s birthday. Don’t pigeon-hole me because of where I first began my customer experience with you.

Strategic marketing isn’t rocket science, but sometimes an external view can provide fresh insight to help bolster your business growth. Give us a call at Chapel Road Creative and we’ll be delighted to help you and your team with some gold star ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Mr Postman

ChapelRoadCreativeElectronicDirectMail

We recently met a man who asked us for some help with his marketing.

“I used to print about 7,000 leaflets, send them out and I’d get one or two responses,” he bemoaned. “But that doesn’t seem to work any more.”

Blimey, we thought, one or two small forests in exchange for a pair of leads. It doesn’t make much business sense, let alone the environmental issues.

If you’re still printing and mailing all of your marketing materials, possibly the only person feeling warm and fuzzy about it is the postman, who thanks you kindly for helping to keep him in a job.

Now don’t get us wrong, we are huge fans of print products, when they are used in a targeted and effective way. We’ll share our passsion for content-based magazines, catalogues and brochures in another post, but it’s horses for courses when it comes to marketing, and dead wood is most definitely not the only way.

We’ve been working with a number of clients on incorporating EDM (that’s electronic direct mail) into their marketing activity. Quick to produce and relatively cost-lite, with more people looking for consumer and business services online, this is an optimum way to target prospects or maintain a relationship with customers – without the need for a stamp.

Design can be as simple or sophisticated as you like, with overt sales messaging or ‘interesting’ content to tease readers’ attention and, of course, that precious click through to your website or email.

If you are planning your next marketing push, please give us a call at Chapel Road Creative and we’ll be delighted to come and help you to save a penny, the planet’s resources and the prospect of a declining P&L statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www AKA wibbly wobbly websites

ChapelRoadCreative_websites

Getting out and about meeting people, one of the first things we tend to do back at the ranch is to take a peek at the company website on the back of their business card. Now if the business card is a barometer of a firm’s visual identity, the website often runs in tandem or, occasionally, ranks even lower in terms of self-promotion.

Working on the premise that your website is your shopfront to the world – whether you are selling finance services or couture fashion – it makes sense to ensure this reflects who you are and what you do. Today, not yesterday, and certainly not last year.

Just like most things, website design changes and the site that looked cutting-edge in 2000 or even 2007, seven years on looks, well, a bit wobbly. This isn’t just about changes in design (word is that logos need to be considered as thumbprints that fit within most social media display formats – is yours still the width of a business card?) but also changes to the way that websites are viewed.

Seven years ago we weren’t swiping tablets or looking for the nearest hotel or restaurant on our smartphones, but now you need to consider how your website appears on these devices.

Beyond functionality, there are changes to the use of colour and imagery – the latest trend is for fewer colours and use of imagery as a backdrop, rather than contained items. And is the imagery on your site original or of the stock variety – let’s keep it real, people.

There’s also that tricky issue of content to consider. We’ve seen some absolute shockers lately, with drops of copy in all sorts of places, inconsistent editorial styles and even a few grammatical errors thrown in for good measure. Again, thinking of this as the shopfront, it’s akin to having a business meeting with the boardroom table full of papers and dirty coffee cups. Think about key messaging, what needs to be presented in what order and how will the user explore your ‘store’?

Remember, your business changes daily, and your website needs to mirror this. Have your services or products changed or expanded? Does your website reflect this? If you’re not looking at your website as an outsider might at least weekly, you could be missing out on potential new business. Blogs too are a great way of creating a dialogue with customers, demonstrating your expertise in a particular sector or industry and getting yourself on the map as a thought leader.

Chances are you agree, but you’re busy running the business, right? Time to call in Chapel Road Creative – let us help you to tackle these aspects of marketing, rather than hope your customers don’t look too closely at your virtual presence.