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Traditionally, the New Year is the time for making resolutions to change your lifestyle for the better, whether it is eating less, exercising more or giving up smoking. Unfortunately, all too often these good intentions have fallen by the wayside by the end of January.

In marketing, the start of the New Year is an excellent time to reflect on how you do things and consider where improvements can be made. By keeping things smart and simple, these resolutions are ones that can be kept and can help your business grow:

Well that’s another year out of the way.

But just take a minute to think back to January 2018. Did you return to work full of good intentions to really boost your business? Did you have a plan for the next twelve months that was going to leave your rivals eating your dust? Did you have some great marketing ideas you just needed time to put into action?

And then the phone rang and all those thoughts went out the window as you got bogged down with the nitty gritty of the day to day running of your business.

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In last month’s blog I started to show you how to maximise your Facebook cover photo’s potential to help increase your market share.

Here are some more ideas for you:

1. Offer new products. Your cover photo is an ideal platform to advertise your new products or services as it is the first thing anyone sees. Keep it regularly updated to make sure your customers and clients are informed.

2. Show your certificates. If you have certificates, accreditations or qualifications you can show them on your cover photo. Such things are known as trust logos and a survey found 75% of respondents felt they were a sign of reliability. In fact 61% said they had not completed a transaction because of a lack of trust logos.

Now as you know marketing is my thing and I pride myself on having seen every trick in the book. However, I was not prepared for a recent trip to a whisky distillery which had me paying for the privilege not once but twice!

Carol and I had spent a lovely break at Brecon and were heading home when we spotted the Penderyn Whisky Distillery advertising tasting tours. After no thought at all we headed inside.

First up you paid for the tour. This was an interesting experience with a knowledgeable and entertaining guide explaining things such as how the wood of different barrels affects the flavours of the whiskey held in them. The tour finished with a lively Q&A session.

Next up we headed to the bar for a tasting session. Very thoughtfully miniatures were provided for those people who were driving. Finally we left via a fantastic gift shop.

The first thing I am going to assume is that you have Facebook Business Page. Providing that is the case, I can show you how to maximise its potential to help increase your market share.

If you read these blogs regularly, you will have heard me say this before – everything you do is about marketing your business so your Facebook cover photo needs to be saying something positive about your company.

Take a look at yours now. Is it a random, stock photo? If it is then it’s doing you no good at all. It needs to be interesting, informative and increasing brand awareness to drive people to your page to learn about your products and actively engage with you.

If you are looking for some quick and easy ways to increase the number of enquiries you receive and sales you achieve, I have got some tips for you.

1- Be there when they want you. This might seem a no-brainer but you would be surprised at the number of businesses who set their working hours by the strictures of their own industry and merely copy competitors. That is making life easy for yourself, not necessarily for your customers.

2- Flexible payment methods. It has never been easier for companies to accept payment via credit, debit or charge card and from services such as PayPal. Providing you factor any charges into your prices, these transactions won’t cost you anything.

I am convinced that word of mouth recommendations are the lifeblood of many businesses and I make no bones about going back to basics this month.

Your potential customers want to believe they are making the right choice by choosing your product or services. Hearing people say good things about you increases their confidence in you and helps persuade them they haven’t made a mistake.

Here are 10 really easy ways to provide good customer service and get people saying good things about you and making recommendations.

1. Provide excellent value. It should go without saying that your product or service should be first class and competitively priced.
2. Provide first class customer service. Think about how you like to be treated and treat your customers in the same way.

Do you want HSTS for your website?

I thought not. What about better security, faster load times and increased SEO?

So you do, eh? Have a definition to start with:

HSTS – HTTP Strict Transport Security. This is a response header that tells your browser that it can only connect to a website using HTTPS. HSTS increases the speed and security of HTTPS websites.

Want another definition?

HTTPS – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. If you connect to a site using HTTPS the site encrypts the session using a secure sockets layer (SSL naturally). This is obviously useful for sensitive transactions such as banking and payments.

I expect you know from your own experience that reading online is different from reading print. It therefore follows that writing online needs to be different to the way you were taught to write for print.

To get technical for a moment, research has come up with the concept of the bi-literate brain. This describes the differences between reading print, known as deep reading processes, and online, described as non-linear reading.

So how do digital readers differ from print readers?

I read the other day that nearly a quarter of the world’s population use Facebook. That’s a huge potential market and while I don’t expect you to reach those figures it shows the potential audience social media has.

So what can you do to increase your share of the social media market? Here are 10 tips to get you thinking:

1. Outsource. You’ve got plenty on your plate already without adding the time needed to market successfully on social media. You need a specialist to help you. You could hire someone to dedicate themselves to your social media marketing but it might make more sense to hire someone who is an expert, such as an agency or freelancer.

I know that many of you use the free Instagram app to upload photos to social media. However, the app is designed for taking, editing and sharing images on mobile phones and devices rather than computers.

Consequently, you cannot use a PC or Mac to enhance your pictures by using the filters and special effects of the mobile app.

This has disappointed many users. Ideally they would like to take pictures with a high quality digital camera, plug the memory card into their computer and upload images to Instagram, using the app’s special effects to enhance them. Unfortunately this simply wasn’t possible, until recently.

I expect you have heard the saying “the customer is always right”, but is it true in all cases?

Obviously, if you tell a client they are wrong you run the risk of them taking their business elsewhere. However, there are instances when if you do not point out your client’s errors you could be harming not only your business but also theirs.

Here are a couple of examples from my own business of marketing:

• A client wants a brochure produced but provides a complicated brief that is bound to result in an ugly end result. It won’t help sell the product and it won’t reflect well on the designer.

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