Are you email savvy?

This blog has real magic as it was written by The Sourcerer – aka Shelley Morris who keeps me organised.  It’s all about one of those ‘obvious’ things that many people overlook.  Enjoy!

Exasperated and infuriated describe very well how I’ve felt on many an occasion when I’ve had to resort to trawling the internet to find a phone number or website address for someone who’s emailed me.

Why do people do this?   If you want to do business with someone, surely you should make it easy for them to get in touch?

When you meet a new contact or client, you present them with your business card.   Nobody would present a card with just a name and no contact information – it makes no sense; so why do so many people send business emails with a blank area where their professional information should be?

Are you missing a Trick?

Not only does it look unprofessional, and irritates the recipient (not the best way to form a business relationship);  but an email with no signature is seriously missing a trick: a marketing trick.

Email signatures are simple yet critical marketing tools

How many emails do you send each day, on average? Think of each one as an opportunity to share your message. Here are just a few ways in which you could be putting your email signature to good use:

Social media is an important and integral part of any marketing campaign.  If you’re doing it, why not use your email signature to let people know you’re out there and ready to connect?  Include links to all your networks and your connections will grow faster.

Your latest service or product can be promoted in your email footer – if you have a visual to add and a direct web link to the right page on your site – you’ll get more clicks and more enquiries or sales.

If you’re running an event use your email footer to promote it.  You never know who might find it’s just what they were looking for.

Don’t miss out – make sure people can get in touch when they want to know more about you and your products and services without giving them a headache trying to track you down.


Get your own magical assistant – find out more at or ring Shelley at 01371 811108.

Five Facebook Page Fun-damentals

Facebook fan pages

Another guest post from the social media expert, Sarah Arrow.  She really walks the talk so she knows what she’s doing – take note!

If you have a Facebook page and you are not quite sure what to do with it, or what to update it with then this post is just for you.

Facebook Pages are not like ordinary pages on the web, they are similar to blogs in the fact they are dynamic and that they should be updated regularly with engaging content.

More interaction on your Facebook page means more people are likely to see the status updates of Fans who like your content or leave comments about what you’ve posted. More interaction = more exposure.

Here are  5 things you can post on your Facebook Page to keep fans interested in your brand and message.

Links to Relevant Articles

Articles that pertain to community interests are a great way to provide information and keep people coming back to your page for more. For example, writers could post a link to the latest ‘how to tutorial’  from their blog.  A small business might link to a money saving article or an important industry update. Software developers could share tips from their fan’s blog sites. There is a huge amount of information on the web, use it to your advantage.

Keep posting informative articles on your page and it becomes a trusted resource for relevant information. You should link to individual pages on your website that feature articles. This is a great way to direct traffic back to your own site.


Videos are always fun and engaging content that people love, no matter where you put them. Consider posting YouTube videos from other video producers if you don’t have your own videos to share. Uploading your own videos on to Facebook pages is a great idea –  you can create exclusive content just for the people who like your page, this helps keep people coming back to your page and looking for the things they really want.

Try using free services like to quickly create screen cast videos that can easily be posted to your Facebook Page if you have no content on your own.

Regularly Posted Content / Series

Developing a regular series is a surefire to way to encourage fans to regularly visit your page and remain engaged in your brand and content. Consider doing a weekly question and answer show, or a regular series of posts featuring tips and tricks that pertain to your product.

Asking questions either during videos or in other updates is a great way to increase comments and likes. And if you do create exclusive video for your pages, remember to ask for the “like” in the video. If you only ask one question, ask that one.

Polls or Questionnaires

Polls allow businesses to assess the interests of their fans and remain on top of current trends in their industry. Be sure to make polls fun and exciting by posting questions about current events or celebrities. Your questionnaires don’t always have to be about your brand or business but are effective when they are relevant to your product. The results from the polls can be used in blog posts and press releases, giving you more great, relevant content to share.

Audio Posts

Audio posts are another type of dynamic content that can be posted to Fan Pages. Recording messages with free services like is easier than you might expect. Link back to your recordings on your website or blog for more traffic. You could even have your own weekly live podcast about industry related news or what is happening in your company. A great idea is to have some type of contest during the podcast for listeners. This will ensure that people listen to your show on a regular basis and share the show with others –  we all talk about great ideas and competitions.


Okay, that’s six things, but you should never under estimate the power of an image when it comes to sharing. If you add your URL to the image description when the photo gets shared, so will the URL.  The images don’t have to be unique, just take a look at George Takei’s Facebook page.  All kinds of photos are shared, thousands of times. If you try this strategy think of the copyright implications –  don’t pass off images as your own. If this is something you’d like to undertake, talk to a photographer and a graphic designer and see what you can come up with.

There are so many types of content to share on Facebook that it makes sense to use a mix of different media – text, video and audio. Used creatively, any business will benefit from constantly engaging fans and discovering their likes and dislikes.

How do you engage your Facebook fans?

Sarah Arrow

You can find out more about Facebook and other social media marketing tips from Sarah over at

Famous corporate marketing disaster stories and what SMEs can learn from them

Some people would describe Jackie Barrie as my competitor – but I think of her as a colleague.  She’s a brilliant writer (not just marketing copy – but get her Little Fish books too) and has years of experience writing for companies from big to small.  These are some salutary tales of how not to get too carried away with your marketing campaigns!

Imagine you work in a call centre for a major home shopping organisation. They are running a big marketing push for a particular product. In addition to handling calls as always, you have to mention the offer to every single customer. Depending on how the customer responds, you have to complete a whole load of forms. You and your colleagues complain that the promotion makes a pile of extra work for you, but you do your best anyway.

At the end of the promotion, you’re relieved that business is back to normal. You come to work and find a Chocolate Orange on your desk, together with a note from your manager thanking you for the extra effort and explaining that the promotion has made an extra £1 million for the business. You look around, and all your 100 or so workmates also have a Chocolate Orange and a note on their desks.

Would you:

  1. Eat the Chocolate Orange in appreciation?
  2. Write to the Sun newspaper complaining that you helped the company make £1m and all they gave you was a Chocolate Orange?

This is a true story from a few years ago (although I made up the bit about the process because I don’t know how much work the staff actually had to do).

One of the call centre operatives told the newspaper, not knowing that the manager had bought the Chocolate Oranges out of her own pocket. The poor manager never dreamed that her generous gesture would backfire in such negative national publicity.

It’s just one example of how a well-intended action can go horribly wrong.

You may remember the Hoover holiday fiasco a while ago. They offered free flights to Europe or the USA for customers who spent more than £100 with them, only to be so overwhelmed with responses that they couldn’t fulfil them all. It ended up in legal action, executive sackings, reams of bad press and a reported loss of £50m.

More about this story on Wikipedia

More recently (although still a few years back), Threshers off-licence chain sent a 40% Christmas discount voucher by email to key suppliers and their friends. The message went viral and their website crashed with the number of downloads. There was concern that so many people would take up the offer that it would impact profit margins. There was also suspicion that they’d done it deliberately. However, it didn’t help the business survive long-term, as hundreds of stores closed in 2009.

More about this story on BCC News

Both those situations could have been avoided with canny copywriting. The small print only needed to include something more specific about it being a limited offer, and they wouldn’t have run into so much trouble.

It’s not just big businesses that need to think carefully about their marketing promotions.

I’ve just written some sales letters for a small plumbing business. At first, my client wanted to offer a half-price boiler service next year to people who book him for a service this year. However, when he worked out the figures, it would have meant him trading at a loss, so we came up with an alternative deal.

Top tips

  • Find an offer that has high perceived value to your customers but low cost to you
  • Make sure it results in incremental business not just a discount on business you would have won anyway
  • Only give away a discount in return for something you want, such as immediate payment instead of credit terms
  • Employ a professional to help write your copy
  • Check your small print!

For example, back to the home shopping company. They incentivised customers to buy more by giving away a hotel voucher for orders over a certain amount by a certain date. Customers won, because the perceived value of the voucher was around £70 per head. The business won, because the vouchers only cost them a couple of quid. And the hotel won, because vouchers only applied on dates when rooms would otherwise have been empty, most people didn’t claim on their vouchers anyway, and those who did were constrained by the small print to eat their meals in the hotel –which is where they make their margin. Win:win:win.


Jackie Barrie writes without waffle for websites, blogs, newsletters, brochures, leaflets and speeches, in fact, anything to help your company make more money. She is the author of ‘The Little Fish Guide to DIY Marketing’ and ‘The Little Fish Guide to Networking’.

Find out more at or 0845 899 0258.

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