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advice on marketing

I do a little bit of networking and meet lots of very nice people. Some people have been in business for some time while others are just starting out. And, to those people who are starting out take note of my 10 tips that will make you look more professional.

1. Get yourself some proper stationery, I don’t mean headed paper nor envelopes, but I do mean business cards. Make sure that your cards have all of your details including your company email address and the best way to get hold of you. And, while there are companies offering free business cards these can make your company look cheap because generall the paper quality is shabby and cheap. So spend a few pounds on some proper business cards.

2. Before your cards go to print check the information, then check it again and then give it to someone else to check. There is nothing worse than giving out the wrong information and making excuses such as ”the printers cocked up”

Looking God3. If you get stationery back from the printers that is wrong for whatever reason, don’t use it otherwise you will spend the next six months explaining why the “postcode” is wrong or the email is misspelt. Don’t do it, it looks very unprofessional.

4. Don’t try and be clever with your business name. When choosing a business name make it relevant to your business and avoid anything that can have two meanings or can be misspelt.

5. Got a business idea? Follow it through and don’t keep changing what you are offering. Can you imagine if you went to see you bank manager about a loan and while there you told him that you had a pain in your arm and your bank manager said “oh, you know, with my other hat on, I am also a doctor” Hmm scary.. Same for you. If you have a business idea then follow it through. If you have too many hats on people begin to wonder what it is that you actually do.

6. Use an 0844/0845 non geographical or any other landline telephone number apart from your mobile. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use your mobile but if you just have your mobile on your business card it looks a little dodgy!

7. Domain name (website address). When choosing a domain name take the time to choose something that is simple to read, understand and type into the browser (internet). If your website name is too long it gives the user lots of opportunities to mistype the address and then they’ll a blank page or worse still go to some else’s website!

8. Get yourself a proper email address, don’t use a free email service such as yahoo or hotmail nor googlemail as your business email address. Using a free email address just shows that you either don’t have the skill to setup a business email address or that you couldn’t be bothered to ask some else to do this for you. In both cases it doesn’t make you look.

9. If you are going to get a website then invest the time needed to get your message across. And please don’t use a free service like or Ideally get the website designed for you. You should offer input into your website but you shouldn’t design a website based on your likes. Just because you think that a Black and Green website looks funky, your customers might think otherwise. I know that it means spending more money but the amount of money that you will lose if you don’t get it right, can’t be measured! Remember that your website is for some people their first impression of your business so if it looks like rubbish they’ll think that you are rubbish.

10. Meet people: Sitting in your office waiting for business to come to you isn’t going to yield any results so get out and meet people. The are lots of networking events somewhere near you so go to them and tell these people all about your product or service. Give them your business card and take theirs. Next day follow up on the meeting by sending everyone that you took a business card from a quick email saying that it was nice to meet the, but you already knew that last bit..right? If you would like any help or advice on anything that I have mentioned here please contact me for some informal advice.

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Hi there!

Today I want to show you how you can get ahead of the competition and get yourself noticed. I’m guessing that by now you know that you need to do more than have a website and tell people about your business. Being enthusiastic is really good but what else can you do to get yoursel noticed?

When I was selling IT support I realised that no matter how many people I spoke to I was never going to speak to enough people in one go to make a difference. What I needed was to be able to communicate my message to a lot of people in one go. I went to a workshop lead by Paul and Sarah Hopwood where we discussed social media and I realised that I had already done everything that we talked about in terms of getting an account with Linkedin and Twitter but I also found that just having an account wasn’t enough. I realised that just being part of the team wasn’t enough and what I needed was to be a team player!

get noticedBeing a team player meant that I needed to learn something new (Social media) and I needed to learn how to use it effectively.

The steps below will definitely get you noticed and show you how you can be a team player. A word of warning to those who say “Social media isn’t for me, that isn’t what I do” or “I’m an expert in this field and don’t have the time for social media” Get on the bus or get left behind. Your competition are on social media and they are probably getting more business from it.

1. Do you have an online profile with a group or organisation? Try adding your photo, website and a bio about yourself. Where possible avoid using your logo, no one really cares about how pretty your logo looks or how long it took to make but they would really like to know what you look like.

2. Get social! By now you should be well aware of social media. To be honest there is no getting away from it, everywhere you look there is an add for Facebook or Twitter. If companies such as IBM, McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s and Ford as well as many others are using social media to communicate with their client's shouldn’t you?

3. If you have a Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter account do the same as above and replace your logo with your photo. I have looked at many profiles only to find someone’s name and website but nothing about what it is that they do?

4. Make time to learn about Facebook, Linked and Twitted. If Like me you don’t have the time to read a book, then book an hour or two with someone who does and then go away and have a play. Once you start Tweeting go through your Tweets and if you find something that is interesting retweet it. People like it when their Tweets are retweeted and they will thank you.

5. Go out of your way to help others. Helping people is so rewarding and while initially it doesn’t sound like a money maker, you will build stronger relationships and people will remember and recommend you.

6. Plan to sponsor an event. I have found that sponsoring an event to be very powerful. Some events let you tell a group of people about your service or product. Sometimes you can have banners and posters. But the mistake that a lot people make is not to follow up. So take cards, and make those contacts. And remember that sponsoring one event may not be enough. You may need to sponsor more than one event to get your message across.

7. Get linking! It is amazing that we all have websites and yet we do little to link to one another. If you ask any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) guru they will tell you that having inbound and outbound links is part of your website strategy.

8. Create or become part of a social media support group with one intention in mind. “What can I do to get more traffic to my colleagues website” if you all have the same “intention” do you think that in having more targeted traffic you might make more sales, what do you think?

I know that this sounds like a lot to do but that really depends on where you are in the learning cycle. Some of you will pick this up and not find it challenging while others will find it a challenge but if you are trying to learn something new then you are one step closer to getting it right instead of not trying at all! If you are trying to get yourself noticed and are finding it a little challenging please let me know.

Did this information help you? I’d really welcome any comments that you might have.

Do you have any success stories that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them.

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