Category Archives: Marketing

Why Email Marketing Works

Did you know that email marketing delivers up to 40% more return than all the other social media platforms combined (Forrester Research, 2015).

With this in mind, it’s time to dust off the MailChimp account and set about reconnecting with your customers through well thought out email marketing campaigns.

Still not convinced?  Check out these stats….

Communications Hub
(Weblizar.com 2017)

And, if that isn’t enough – here are even more great reasons to include email marketing as part of your business’s digital marketing campaign:

  • It’s cost-effective
  • It’s easy to produce
  • Allows for excellent targeting
  • Provides detailed feedback & analytics
  • It’s a great tool for building relationships

Building a good list of email addresses can take time, but it’s time worth spending.  What you’ll achieve is a mostly organically grown list of genuinely interested customers/potential customers and that’s so much more worthwhile than more dubiously put together lists.

It should go without saying – but just in case – NEVER buy an email list.  It’s a recipe for disaster and can ultimately do more harm than good to your reputation.  Also, keep in mind the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into effect on 25th May replacing the existing data protection framework under the EU Data Protection Directive.

Instead, build your list through useful and engaging content, special offers and by offering value.  Also, promote your email marketing campaigns on your website and social media platforms and create a lead magnet to entice your audience to sign up.

And remember, always get permission before engaging in email marketing, be honest and transparent about who you are and what you offer, and always include an opt-out/unsubscribe option.

Other than that, happy emailing!

Communications Hub

Karen Twomey is a freelance Public Relations and Social Media Consultant with Communications Hub  For further information Tel: 087 7642576 or email: Karen@communicationshub.ie
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Social Media for Business Course 16th Nov

I’m delighted to be running a ‘Social Media for Business’ Course on Wednesday 16th November from 7 p.m. – 9.30 p.m. in Fermoy Community Youth Centre.

As a business, social media is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to reach your customers and create awareness around your products and services.

This 2.5 hours course will teach you:

  • The best online platforms to use for your business
  • How to create engaging content
  • How to save time by using content calendars and online scheduling
  • An introduction to blogging, email marketing and SEO
  • How to manage your business’s online reputation.

Places are limited and cost €25.00 per person.

For further details or to book your place call Karen Twomey on 0877642575 or email: karen@communicationshub.ie

Communications Hub

 

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Launch of Message in a Bottle Collection

Well known Cork ladies Siobhain Steele and Mai Manning are this week celebrating the launch of their new keepsake ceramic giftware, Message in a Bottle.

Each bottle comes beautifully presented in a gift box with a scroll to write a personal message which can be placed inside the bottle and kept as a treasured keepsake until the ‘to open’ date.  A message that lasts, isn’t that refreshing?!

One of the bespoke bottles in the collection, nostalgically titled First Day at Big School, offers the opportunity to capture those treasured emotions of sending that special little one in your life off to ‘Big School’ and has generated huge interest since it was launched.

Message in a Bottle is an Irish handmade product with each piece individually designed and carefully crafted by ceramic artist Siobhain Steele in her North Cork Studio.  Siobhain is well known within the Irish craft industry for her unique pieces which evoke a sense of simplicity and connection.

Mai Manning, a Cork entrepreneur, is the vision behind the Message in a Bottle journey. Explaining the concept, Mai says: “First Day at Big School offers the opportunity to gift a more personal and lasting keepsake.  In this digital age there is something refreshing about taking pen to paper and leaving a lasting mark for the little one in your life to look back on.”

Mai and Siobhain will launch further bottles to the range in the coming months to commemorate milestones right up to starting ‘Big School’.  “The idea of Message in a Bottle is to offer the opportunity to build a unique collection of keepsake bottles that can be added to over the years” says Mai.

The Message in a Bottle collection is available to buy online at www.messageinabottle.ie or in Cork Craft & Design Centre, Douglas Village Shopping Centre, Cork.  Prices start at €29.50.

message in a bottle logo

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Reputation Matters

Communications Hub

How many of us really stop and think about the true importance of reputation in business?  This concept of ‘corporate reputation’ is often only associated with larger corporations and organisations.  In truth, the smaller your business, the more your corporate reputation matters.

A knock to the reputation of a large corporation may wipe millions off the share price, but for a smaller business, it may shut it down.  This is particularly true in small local markets, where corporate and personal reputations can be of equal importance.

“Corporate reputation can be described as the overall estimation in which an organisation is held by its internal and external stakeholders, based on its past actions and probability of its future behaviour.”                                                                                                                                (www.cuttingedgepr.com)

For many organisations, reputation is one of their greatest assets and they work hard to maintain it and build a ‘bank of goodwill’.   This ‘bank of goodwill’ is the positivity stakeholders hold towards a business.  In times of negativity, such a ‘bank’ may encourage stakeholders to remain loyal and protect reputation.

Larger organisations may generally weather reputational damage better than their smaller counterparts – often  possessing such a market share that it’s difficult to avoid doing business with them. Other times a brand can be so desired, consumers simply just don’t care.

Take Nestle, for example, which has been described as one of the ‘most hated companies in the world’ thanks to its long history of child labour, unethical promotion and mislabelling (to name but a few of its violations).  Despite the company’s horrific reputation, it still remains one of the world’s largest food companies.

Compare this to smaller local businesses.  For these, it can be difficult to compete with bigger companies and the growing online market.  It is often, in fact, thanks to their good reputation that they continue to compete and remain viable in the market.

When I think of my own local town, I could tell you the reputation of most of the businesses who trade there.  Those who are too dear, those who supply the best cup of coffee, and those who are simply nice to visit and provide some old-fashioned banter with your goods.

How many of those businesses are actually aware of their own reputation though?  How many of them take the time to ‘step outside the building’ and listen to what people have to say?  In this digital age, ‘stepping outside the building’ can take many different forms.

The good old tried and tested method of clipboard (or tablet) in hand and pounding the pavements is sure to yield valuable results, but you can also carry out your research without ever actually leaving the building.  There are numerous free online surveys available that can be shared via email or social media.

Or of course, a business could just ask their customers directly -what would help to make your experience a better one?  It seems absurd the amount of businesses who fail to ask their customers what is they want.   How many businesses close down because they fail to do this?

Of course, you can never fully control reputation, but you can try to manage it.  A business’s reputation may vary from stakeholder to stakeholder, according to their experiences in dealing with the business or what they have heard about it from others.

How reputation affects stakeholders:

Customers  If a business is well-regarded by its customers, they will prefer to deal with it ahead of others.  These customers will influence other potential customers by word of mouth & online recommendations – a happy customer tells a friend, an unhappy customer tells the world.

Suppliers  A good reputation increases trust of ability to pay and to provide fair trading terms. If a problem occurs in a trading relationship, suppliers will be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt where a business has a reputation for fair dealing.

Employees  Businesses who have a reputation of treating staff poorly tend to attract a certain type of people to work for them – this directly impacts on customer experience and satisfaction.

So, what are the benefits of a good reputation:
  • Customer preference in doing business with a company when other companies’ products and services are available at a similar cost and quality – especially important in small local markets.
  • Ability to charge a premium for products and services – Helps to compete with an online market
  • Stakeholder support for an organisation in times of controversy – When the well-regarded Cork restaurant Son of a Bun was recently hit with a HSE temporary closure order they received huge support from their stakeholders, both when they were closed and when they re-opened, and came out the other side reputation intact.
  • Improves a company or organisation’s value in the financial marketplace.
We may not be able to control reputation, but here are some tips for managing it:
  • Establish trust – Keep your word.
  • Be Responsive – Let customers know they are important to you.
  • Crisis Management – Resolve errors and mistakes quickly.
  • Offer value – Don’t rip people off.
  • Confidentiality – Respect people’s privacy.
  • Stay relevant – Move with the times in terms of technology, stock, services.
  • Communication – Be professional in your correspondence with staff, suppliers and customers. Maintain a good online presence.
  • Community Involvement – Sponsorship, volunteering, etc.
And remember…
however much you may value your reputation, one thing is certain – there is a high cost to pay for losing it.

 

Communications Hub
                    (isentia.com)

 

Karen Twomey is a freelance PR and Online Communications Consultant with Communications Hub Tel: 0877642576

 

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New Year, New Marketing Tools?

Happy New Year to all!  I hope everyone is refreshed after a break and ready to take 2016 by storm!

I may be the exception here, but I love January.  It’s a great month to take stock and plan the year ahead.  It’s also a time to try something new.  To think outside the box.

It’s so important in business to ‘step outside the building’ every now and again, and a new year is a great time to do this.  We’re all guilty of complacency, especially when things are going well.  But to continue to be successful in business, we must always look ahead and stay ahead.

This is especially true when putting together a marketing strategy for your brand and your product.  How will 2016’s strategy differ from that of 2015?  How will you ensure that you continue to reach your customer?  And most importantly, that they connect with your message?

The best way to do this is to make sure your marketing strategy is current and relevant.  Of course, creative content will alway be the best way to do this – freshen up your website, start blogging and use social media content to connect all your platforms together.

It’s also important to research what industry influencers are saying about future trends.  According to the Huffington Post the following five trends will drive social media marketing in 2016:

Micro-Targeting Audience Segments – When consumers are faced with significant lifestyle events, like having a baby, moving house, or getting married, they are more open to changing their purchasing habits.  This means if you can send the right message at the right time, you have a higher chance of gaining their loyalty.

Importance of In-The-Moment Content – The popularity of streaming apps, such as Snapchat and Periscope, is continuing to grow.  A recent Comscore Report found that Snapchat is the 3rd most important social app among 18 – 34 year olds.

Consumer is now the Influencer – Thanks to social media, everyday consumers have built a follower base, giving them stronger voices and the ability to influence public opinion.

Micro-Video and Gifs – Young consumers are obsessed with immersive video and gifs as a means of expression.  Cinemagraphs alone get 60% more engagement than static images.

Messaging Apps and Emojis – These are providing quicker, simpler and more engaging opportunities for social media users to connect and look set to grow in influence in 2016.

All in all, it looks like 2016 will see the continued growth of ‘less is more’ with regard to content, as well as a strong reliance on video and live streaming to connect with consumers.  Snapchat looks set to capture even more of the commercial market, with more and more companies using the platform to advertise.  There’s little doubt that Facebook and Twitter will continue to be valuable tools for business, but companies will need to be clever and fresh in their use of content.

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Why Facebook Marketing Matters

Despite the fact that 70% of Irish businesses are now on Facebook, many still don’t take it seriously as a valuable marketing tool.  

It’s an accepted fact that newspaper readership is on the decrease, yet many businesses are still investing enormous amounts of their marketing budgets on print advertising.  It often seems more acceptable to some marketers to spend hundreds on a one-off advert in a weekly paper, then to invest that money into a long-term Facebook marketing strategy.

Why is that?

Communications Hub
(mudstershop.com)

It’s hard to say.  Some companies still view social media as a ‘kids game’.  That may have been true some years ago, but now, those kids are the very customers these companies are so desperate to reach. So whether we want to accept it or not, from here until eternity, all of those leaving college and entering the workforce will be digital natives.   A generation who live their lives through the world wide web – be it researching products, booking services or purchasing goods – it all happens online.

In Ireland Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, with 60% of the population having accounts. To put that into context – 2.4 million people use Facebook in Ireland each month. That’s a lot of potential customers.  The largest Facebook demographic is 18 – 24-year-olds, who make up 29% of the Irish audience, while women tend to be more active on the platform then men.

Although Facebook has experienced a slight decrease in users over the last year or so, it is still the most used social media platform in the world.  So despite the decrease in popularity, it’s hard to see Facebook becoming any less relevant in marketing terms over the coming few years.   In fact, in Ireland 70% of social media users follow brands and businesses online.  Talk about leading the horse to water….but of course, we all know the next line to that old saying….

So, the simple truth is – If you’re not investing time and money into marketing your business on Facebook, you’re quickly becoming irrelevant.  Call Communications Hub today and let us put together a successful social media strategy for you.  

Stay relevant online

Communications Hub
(insidestudyabroad.com)

 

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What’s the story with content?

Ok I’ll admit it, I’m a little obsessed on content.  And when people hear me rattling on about it, most glaze over or politely smile while steadily reversing.  So what’s the story with content you may ask? Why is it so important?

(calysto.com)

While content has always been important when communicating through the traditional channels, like radio, television and newspapers, it was never really vital.  These ‘old media’ methods of advertising were one-way communications, they were broadcasts and press releases.  People listened to them because they pretty much hadn’t a choice.  These were the days before the World Wide Web, when the channels through which people got their news and entertainment were limited.  They were the days before sky plus and podcasts.  The days before we could pick and choose what information was relevant or interesting to us, and fast forward through the boring ads. Continue reading What’s the story with content?

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