Re-energise your marketing this autumn

The start of the school year is always a time for new beginnings and starting new projects. That’s why Spirus have put together a special package to help your business re-energise your marketing this autumn.

Thinking about marketing doesn’t make it happen. It’s time to make a start, otherwise it will be the run up to Christmas before you know it. In fact, the most organised businesses know this is a perfect time of year to increase your sales and profile.

Our three-month marketing master plan will take you from post-holiday slump to raring to go. We are offering a mix of hard-hitting marketing activities that will give your business the biggest possible boost in a short time frame. The package starts from just £499 +VAT per month for three months and you can choose one per month from a selection of business development, content or social media options.

Re-Energise Your Marketing – Business Development Options

Perhaps you would like to get in touch with lapsed clients to see if they can become loyal customers again, or maybe you need some new sales calls or market research. Our in house, talented and professional team can make contact for you. The business development options in this package cover all of these needs. What’s more, we only operate in an ethical and legal way with our sales calls, so our work enhances your reputation.
Read our Responsible Telemarketers’ Charter.

Re-energise Your Social Media – Options

On the other hand, you may have let your social media slide over the holidays. We can gain you new followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as engaging with your loyal customers. If you want us to take over the running of your accounts, listening and responding to followers or simply scheduling posts so you have a presence every day – let us know.

Re-energise Your Content  – Options

If you want to launch a new product or service or in time for Christmas and need a press release, we have the writers and media contacts to get you noticed.

We can also supply blogs, case studies, testimonials, PR plans and even review the content of your website.

Pick one of these activities per month from the list below:

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OPTIONS
New sales calls / Lapsed clients / Proposal follow ups / Market research

CONTENT OPTIONS
Blog / Case studies / Articles / Press releases / Testimonials / Content plan / Copy assessment / Web review

SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS
Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

*Terms and conditions apply

Get in touch on 01636 741830 to find out more or email hello@spirusmarketing.com

We have limited availability – reserve your three month master plan today.

Cambridge Open Studios announces 2017 summer dates

Cambridge Open Studios has announced the 2017 dates for its month-long summer art event, which will feature an exciting range of exhibitions by 350 artists at 221 locations in the city and surrounding areas.

Artists of many different kinds will open their doors to the public over the first four weekends in July. Among the huge range of specialisms will be: fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture making, and more besides.

Dates for your diary

The weekends are: July 1/2, 8/9, 15/16 and 22/23. However, as not all artists will exhibit every weekend it is important to check the website, or refer to the famous yellow guide. These guides will be widely available in local outlets including libraries, tourist information sites, galleries and selected shops.

New app for 2017

New for 2017 is an app that will make visit planning even easier. The app will be available to download at the end of June for Apple and Android.

Sonia Villiers, board member of Cambridge Open Studios, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to see artists at work, discuss their inspirations and techniques, and to browse, purchase or even commission their work. As always, visitors are guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome – and no pressure whatsoever to buy anything. All Cambridge Open Studios are completely free to visitors of all ages.

“Cambridge Open Studios is a rewarding and enriching initiative offering a really entertaining insight into the multi-faceted world of art. We would encourage visitors to call in to as many studios as possible, perhaps planning a route through a particular area incorporating lunch in one of the many local pubs, cafes and restaurants. It would make an inspiring day out for the whole family.”

More than 350 members are exhibiting in 221 different studios. Many of the artists share studios or work in a collective so in some locations visitors may be able to see work from several artists and craftspeople.

A yellow COS flag identifies an “open studio”

The participating studios are spread throughout the whole region, not just in the city centre, and there will be a wonderful variety of talent on show, with some artists collaborating to share their exhibition space on their chosen dates. As usual, the distinctive yellow COS flags will be out to identify participating studios.

Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @camopenstudios
Download the 2017 guide book from the website or pick one up from galleries, tourist information sites, cafes, shops and park ‘n’ ride sites in and around Cambridge.

With thanks to COS member Andrew Stickland of Andrew Stickland Furniture for use of his photo in this post.

Spirus Marketing Ltd are proud to be the PR and marketing consultants for Cambridge Open Studios.

What makes a good website?

Website design is not just about the look of your website, it includes the chances of your website being found in a Google search, the ability to interest and convert customers and how well the site works for users. A good website is vital to your business success – in many cases a website is your shop front or at least the main source of information about your products, services and values. Here we share six ways to get it right.

Website development – looks and functionality

An attractive, streamlined website that reflects your brand personality and clearly showcases your products or services is important. Website design that makes it easy to navigate from a user’s perspective is also key. An experienced web developer will build you a website that delivers a speedy and efficient service for your customers, as well as optimising your chances of being found by search engines. A mini website review can help pinpoint weak areas of your current site, whether that is broken links, slow to load images, a high bounce rate or poor copy.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If you want to be on the first page of Google results when people search for services and products like yours, you will need help with Search Engine Optimisation. This means the content of your website is clear and easy to read and contains the keywords and phrases that your customers are likely to search for. It also helps attract customers from your local area. Other important aspects for good SEO include correct title tags, lack of duplication, compelling meta descriptions, internal page links and trustworthy external links. All of these help search engines to find your site.

Sharp and accurate web content

Your words need to work hard. They need to be interesting, relevant and spelled correctly! They also need to be persuasive, directing users clearly to locate information and take action. Plenty of design agencies can make a website look beautiful; not all can provide the carefully crafted content as well. Furthermore, your content needs to score well on ‘readability’ for Google to rank your site highly. We offer a full website rewrite service to help address all of these issues.

Blogs and case studies

A regular stream of lively and engaging blogs and case studies will draw visitors to your site and increase your Google search rankings, as well as providing copy that can be shared on social media platforms such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter. Updating content frequently is an important way to get your business seen. Don’t have enough time or inspiration to write blogs for your website? We can help.

Video content

Video content holds visitors’ attention, whether it’s an introduction to your products or services, or helpful “how to” videos to add value and encourage repeat visits. Videos engage people for longer on your website, which means more time spent by them looking at your brand and your business.

Analytics

Website analytics are a powerful tool in monitoring and improving your website. They’re easily available but you need to know what you’re looking for, and analyse the results regularly. Getting loads of traffic on a particular page but 0% conversion rates? Try changing your call to action or product selection, and compare results. Analytics are a huge help, but you need advice on how to act on them.

We offer a wide range of web design and web content services.

Call on 01638 741830 to find out more or drop us an email: hello@spirusmarketing.com

Copywriting coaching and training for your staff

Would you like to improve copywriting skills within your business? How many times have you needed to write a blog, newsletter, annual report, website content or press release and felt no one had the correct training within your business to create the content?

Spirus can help you bring excellent communication skills in-house. If you would like help developing the writing skills of your staff, then you’re in the right place.

Copywriting coaching and clinics that come to you

We now offer training services to businesses that would like to develop employees’ writing talents and optimise their potential. We want to empower organisations to make words work harder. Whether that’s 1-1 coaching, either on a specific project or for ongoing support, or group workshops covering anything from general writing for business to specific purposes like sales, marketing, recruitment, PR or social media, we are here to help. We’re friendly, we’re flexible and we’re confident we can make a real difference – at any and every level of your organisation.

Our coaching and copywriting clinics can be tailor-made to suit your specific needs, or you can choose from a selection of recommended packages. We come to you, so there’s no need for travel, and follow-up sessions can be conducted via phone or Skype to suit you. It’s training on tap, at a pace and level which is pitched just right for each person or group.

Good copywriting gets you noticed

The written word is one of the most powerful tools available to businesses. From internal communications to unite employees behind a common goal, to persuasive sales queries that get results, headline-worthy PR messages which raise your profile or engaging social media content which really connects with people, good writing is something no business can afford to be without.

It’s surprising though, how many people lack confidence when it comes to writing. It’s also surprising how much difference a few simple changes can make, both to individuals and to organisations. Bringing your communication strategy to life while helping your staff to meet their professional development targets could be a lot simpler than you think. And that’s what we’re here to talk about.

Our extensive copywriting experience

Our copywriters have amassed quite a bit of experience over the years, spanning multiple industries, sectors, formats and styles. We know how to write on brand, whatever that brand might be, and to write consistent, compelling content across a range of formats. We know how to craft copy that convinces, to wield words which are fit for their intended purpose. We *get* writing. And the truth is, there’s no real mystery to it. You can learn it too.

We even have a free offer to get you started

As an introduction, we are offering a FREE copywriting and communications assessment. This might be writing from one person who wants to develop their skills, or business communications like customer satisfaction surveys, sales emails or marketing material. We will give honest, constructive feedback, no strings attached. After that, you’ll have the option to just say thanks and carry on your way, or to take up the further benefits of coaching or group workshops.

If you’re interested in a free writing assessment, or want to dive straight in with coaching or a group clinic, just drop us a line at hello@spirusmarketing.com and let’s have a chat.

5 ways a CRM will improve your sales calls

CRM systems can turn your sales calls from so-so to memorable and meaningful. The CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and in order to build better relationships with your customers it is well worth investing in this software.

Used properly by your team, the CRM will be a brilliant tool for storing every scrap of information you have about clients and potential leads. Of course a CRM system is only effective if everyone uses it. If you do take the plunge, you will:

Never forget a call with a CRM

Can you always remember to make an important call – even if it is several weeks down the line? A potential client may say they can’t decide on a piece of work until after their AGM next month. How do you ensure you call back on the right day? Yes, you could put it on your calendar, but your CRM will help you remember the finer details that could clinch the deal including notes from previous calls and emails.

If you schedule the appointment in your CRM you will be reminded and have all that data to hand. This method gives you the confidence that no opportunities will be missed.  Your telesales department will be more efficient as a result.

Improve your success rate with a CRM

Being organised when you collect your data is one of the key markers for success in sales, even more so than an extrovert personality, as Mercedes found out with their top sales people.

Integrate all of your information

If you feel overwhelmed by your database, using a CRM system can organise it into a much more manageable format. A CRM system is interactive and simple to use compared with hundreds of spreadsheets with no meaningful links between them. All of the information about your clients, projects, suppliers, etc. is kept in one database which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Make your clients feel valued

A great use of your CRM is to add little notes about your conversation onto the lead’s file every time you chat to them. Are they planning a major holiday or do they have a special birthday coming up? A note will help you remember this information next time you call them and can add depth to your conversation. The customer will appreciate your attention to detail and you won’t have to rely on memory alone to support your conversations.

Keep continuity when a staff member leaves

Never again will you face the nightmare of trying to pick up a project when a staff member is sick or leaves. All of the information about the project, the emails and the notes about telephone conversations should be stored in one place in your CRM. That means you can pick up where they left off without the need for a long hand over note.

We work with various CRM systems and can help you find the right fit for your company. If you want to kick start your sales calls and are looking for an unbiased view as to which CRM will work for you, please get in touch via email: hello@spirusmarketing.com or phone 01638 741830. We would love to have that conversation with you.

Single Parents Wanted for Cambridge Uni Research – can you help?

Can you help with a Cambridge University survey in return for a £20 Love2shop voucher?

Cambridge University wants to speak to single parents, aged 35 or under, who live with their children less than half of the time. The researchers need to speak to parents who have their child to stay with them for at least one night a fortnight, or would if they had suitable accommodation.

Participants must have children under 18 and must not be living with a partner to qualify. A researcher will call you to conduct a short telephone survey – that’s all you need to do. All of your answers would be confidential and data kept anonymous.

Single parents be quick!

We only need 20 participants, based anywhere in the UK, so please get in touch quickly as it will be first come first serve. Please feel free to share this information if it might be of interest to someone you know.

If you can help with this research project, please get in touch on 01638 741830 or tania@spirusmarketing.com

Spirus Marketing celebrates 4th birthday with exciting new client

This month we celebrate our fourth birthday and share our birthday cake with an exciting new client.

Launched by Tania Verdonk and Jo Riches, Spirus has gone from strength to strength over the last four years and is excited to announce it is now working with recycling and waste management company Ellgia.

Joe Rudd, sales director of Ellgia, joined us for a slice of birthday cake, which was supplied by Regency Cakes in Exning. It was also the perfect ocassion to talk about their new strategies for targeting specific opportunities through all marketing channels.

Tania said: “We love what we do and I think that our passion for growing businesses shines through all of our work. We have steadily expanded our customer base over the last four years and I’m so happy that we can celebrate our journey this month with our latest client.

“Profile building and brand awareness will always be a part of our marketing strategy for any business, but our ultimate focus is growing sales for our clients.”

Based in East Anglia, Ellgia provides commercial waste management and recycling solutions for businesses across the East of England. Using innovative technology, they are able to build high-quality, tailored and cost-effective solutions for their customers’ waste management needs.

Joe Rudd, sales director of Ellgia, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Spirus on the next stage of our marketing strategy as we are at an exciting stage with our business and want to partner with an agency who will help us to maximise our opportunities. Spirus have a great team of creative and passionate marketing professionals and we believe that working together will take Ellgia to the next level in terms of reach and sales.

“I want to wish them a happy fourth birthday and to say thank you for sharing their delicious cake.”

Why you need a third party to carry out employee satisfaction surveys

Why conduct employee surveys?

Employee surveys can help reveal the best way to retain good staff and keep morale and productivity high.

But done badly they are worse than useless. In fact, most generic surveys bear no relation to your employees’ specific circumstances and will inspire nothing more than an eye roll from staff.

What’s more, a fear that your internal survey is not really anonymous will prevent most people from highlighting problems that may be driving good employees away.

At Spirus we are experts in setting surveys that get to the heart of your staff’s issues – whether it be training needs, better communication from managers or flexible working. We carry out all the surveys over the telephone; a high quality call from one of our trained staff can elicit much more detailed answers than a tick-box online exercise.

Seeing your investment in a proper, anonymous survey makes staff feel valued and supported by their employers. This plays a major part in staff retention, which is a major issue in Cambridgeshire as businesses are often competing to keep their best staff from moving on when jobs are plentiful locally.

We work with you to create tailored surveys whose results will enable you to grow your business. And we give your staff the confidence of complete anonymity so that they can give open an honest feedback.

Other benefits of using an independent third party to conduct surveys, include:

  • We ask the questions you are afraid to ask your staff.
  • Spirus can design the survey with you to get to the heart of the topics that you want to cover.
  • Our expert in-house telemarketers have in-depth conversations and listen to your staff.
  • Ideal times to get feedback are when there has been a cultural or managerial shift, a merger – or a fresh start, such as the New Year.
  • All results are delivered in a word report including graphs summarising findings.
  • Spirus can arrange to incentivise participation or to thank your employees for their time to take part in the survey.

Testimonial
We recently carried out an employee survey for Midas Care. They said: “We found it very worthwhile using Spirus for the employee satisfaction survey. We received valued feedback from our staff, which we are in the process of sharing the findings with and are working on the next steps”.

For more information about high quality employee engagement surveys, contact us on hello@spirusmarketing.com or 01638 741830.

Five reasons why your business needs a copywriter

Most people can write something informative about their business, but not everyone can write well. Even fewer people can write something interesting to their readers. If you don’t want customers to click away from your website or throw your direct mail in the bin, it is worth hiring a copywriter. Not only can a great copywriter turn dull prose into something sparkling, there are other important reasons why you should think about engaging a professional.

1: Copywriters will save you time

Are you dreading writing the weekly blog on your website? Do you put it off because you don’t know where to start? That is the common experience of many business people whose skills are in other areas that support their company. If you do have a go at crafting a carefully written and considered piece of copy, it could take you ages to finish because writing may not be your best skill. That time would be better spent working to your strengths whilst you delegate to a copywriter who can put something together quickly and accurately.

2: Copywriters get you noticed by the media

Do you wonder why your press releases never translate into coverage in the newspaper? Nine times out of ten it is because – as an untrained person – you missed the hook of the story. Journalists are busy people. They will quickly scan your press release and, if it is missing the most important and interesting part of your story, they don’t have time to dig around to find that gem.  A copywriter will boost your chances of being featured because they are highly trained at finding stories that journalists want to feature in their pages.

3: You are too close to your business

You are a specialist in your field and know all the industry jargon. You probably also find every area of your business interesting. This is not the case for your average customer, who may be a lay person with a busy schedule and a short attention span. To grab their attention, and their custom, you need to provide concise and easy-to-read information that is pitched at the right level. A copywriter can do this and pick out the areas of your business that are mostly likely to attract your target customer.

4: Copywriters spot mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes but a copywriter can catch them before work goes online, to the printers or out to clients. They can spot a stray apostrophe at ten paces and will catch typos or bad grammar. It is vital for your reputation that proposals, presentations and marketing materials have clean and concise copy. Mistakes look unprofessional and won’t help you win the trust of your clients.

5: Copywriters showcase your intelligence

Business people don’t get to their position at work without being smart. We know you are clever, savvy and an expert in your field. A copywriter will help your spark to shine through in your company’s written words. They will talk through everything you want to say and take on board all your golden advice, then present it in the best way possible. A copywriter makes you look as clever as you really are.

To find out more about hiring a copywriter, contact hello@spirusmarketing.com or call 01638 741830.

 

Social media is here to stay.

For many small businesses, it’s tempting to just ignore social media and pretend it is going to go away. A lot of people we meet at networking events – mainly those in the 45-55 age bracket – tell us they get all their business from word of mouth recommendations and therefore have no need for a social media presence.

But here’s the thing – that old fashioned way of dealing with customers is diminishing by the day. Those who want to communicate with the next generation of customers must appear in the places young people get their information. This means Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. If you are not on social media then to many young people you simply do not exist in their world.

Already most businesses accept that they need a website. In fact, many people would be suspicious of a company that they could not find online. Soon, people will feel the same way if they can’t find you on social media. It is not a fad – in fact social media is only going to evolve and grow, so the sooner businesses get started the less they will have to catch up with later.

If you are not on social media, then you may miss the great things people are saying about your company and not be able to capitalise on this. Even worse, you may miss complaints that could be tarnishing your brand. Being able to deal swiftly with customer feedback on Twitter, for instance, can help to swiftly resolve problems. Ignore what is being said and these sorts of comments about you will linger.

This isn’t just vital for your core business, it is about your profile and how attractive you seem to suppliers and even future employees. What’s more, building a relationship with a business contact on social media can make networking so much easier and more fruitful. Often when we have virtually networked with someone before a networking event, it is like we know them really well when we meet.

As an example of someone at the forefront of marketing, Unilever chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed is certain that social media is the way to connect with young ‘digital natives’. He is urging all of his employees to get their training up to speed now. In an interview with Marketing Week he said that anyone he discovers who hasn’t completed their training will have their photograph put on the wall in his office. Gulp!

When the experts are taking the future of social media seriously, it’s a sign your business needs to jump on the bandwagon too. Just like we no longer send messages by pigeon when we can pick up the phone, engaging with customers on Twitter will soon become second nature to all of us.

Of course it’s important to remember that social media is a public forum where everything you say can be read by thousands of people. That’s why it is vital to create a full social media strategy, which includes the company’s tone of voice and plans for changing all passwords when a member of staff leaves. It’s most likely that employees leaving your business will not be disgruntled or want to create mischief by posting off-piste remarks from your account. But it is better to be protected.

If you would like us to help create your social media strategy, get your social media profile started or even run all of your social media, contact us on hello@spirusmarketing.com or call 01638 741830.