Ask yourself Why first

Marketing strategy

Who remembers playing pin the tail on the donkey at children’s parties? I don’t recall whether I was particularly good at this game or not, but I enjoyed it nevertheless and I remember it being very popular back in the day. So why am I telling you this?

When I am working with a new client or a potential new client, the word “why” will always come up in the initial conversation. This could be why do you do what you do? Or why do you think you need my help? Or why are you doing this or why are you doing it this way? In my mind, marketing isn’t a tick box exercise and any marketing or promoting of you or your business shouldn’t be done without reasons or goals in mind. This is all about knowing your why. Us small business owners do not have an abundance of time or money to burn, so we need to spend our time and money wisely.

So how do I work for you?

I will ask a new client or prospect lots of questions, either via them completing a form (available at or we chat in person (when it is safe to do so), or via the phone or email. These questions include:

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

What does the business do?

What is your USP?

Who are your competitors?

What marketing do you do already?

What are your goals

And so on ….

Why do I ask these questions?

The answers help me paint a picture of where the client is and where they want to be. Then I can use their responses and my experience to point the business in the right direction to get from their now to their ideal end place.

Why do I do it this way?

By asking questions, its means I don’t assume. I don’t bring in any pre-conceived ideas. Plus the client has a chance to speak, tell me how they feel and also an opportunity to gather their thoughts and share these before making any decisions.

By me asking all these types of questions in the way that I do, I ensure that the tail goes on the donkey in the right place at the right time through informed decisions and choices not guesswork. And as a result, the client wins. One client who had a session with me to run through the form and questions said, “A session with Nicole on marketing for my career coaching business was definitely time well spent. I now have much more clarity about what I should be focusing on. Before the session it felt like there were so many options that it was difficult to know where to start. I also received a great report from Nicole with lots of extra tips and advice. Many thanks Nicole; it was all so helpful.” Read more like this

So before you embark on your next marketing campaign or marketing decision, ask yourself “why” first.

Marketing business tips

How and why use email marketing?

Email Marketing

Regardless of which of the cloud based email marketing sites or CRM integrations you will be using, it is important to know why you are sending emails, what to include and what to be mindful of.

Email marketing sometimes has a bad press when it comes to SPAM and those who ignore the GDPR.  But if you have ticked the consent or legitimate interest boxes then emails can work well for you, especially now with more people having more time to read emails. Emails are also a good way of keeping in contact and building relationships and building up your reputation.  But how can you make sure your emails have a chance of getting read:

  • Good and interesting subject line
  • Include tips and information, don’t make your newsletter all about you
  • Include links, images and videos
  • Include content that is relevant, especially at this time. Be mindful of how people feel and that they may not be open to sell or buy etc
  • Offer them exclusives and build your community
  • Personalise eg Dear Nicole
  • Always test and preview your campaign before sending out to your list
  • Don’t make them too long!


If you are using Mailchimp (which is my tool of choice but I appreciate there are other options out there so this is your choice), the main areas to work on once you have your account set up (note free accounts and paid accounts and what is/isn’t included in each type) are:

  • Audience/s (list/s) – make sure your fields are all populated so you can personalise eg Dear Nicole.
    • You can create sign up forms per audience so people can easily sign up and you can keep a written record of this for GDPR purposes
    • You can have one list or if you think you will want to send different messages and emails to different groups of contacts, then split these over multiple lists (whilst sticking to the rules based on your account type)
  • Templates (your email itself – fonts, images, links, headers, footers, layout)
    • Don’t forget to include your social media links and refer to your brand guidelines to use the right colours (RGB), pantones, fonts and logos
  • Campaigns (the process of sending your email/template) *
  • Note when sending you can send split test eg send one half of your audience one email with a subject line and then the other half the same email but a different subject line

Don’t forget to integrate your social media accounts as well (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) so your campaign gets posted to these accounts as a post.

* Once you have sent your campaign, do not forget to measure and track it after a few weeks. Why? Find out who opened it, what they clicked on, what data bounced etc. Use the opens and clicks to follow up with as potential leads or connect with on social media and use the bounced data to clean your database.

Of course, do not forget to adhere to GDPR rules. Find out more here and here via the ICO.


Find out more about our training (online and face to face when we can), email marketing template design service and more on our website.

How to keep your business marketing going from home?

Marketing from home

Firstly, may I start by saying this piece isn’t meant to cause alarm or be in any way scare mongering. Secondly, this piece is aimed at those that are self-employed and for small businesses. Hopefully you will take these practical and genuine tips for what they are worth. Note not all the ideas will suit all businesses.

These are strange and uncertain times, but I am hoping my thoughts and tips will help you manage and maintain the marketing of your business whatever happens so your business can remain as healthy as possible and so you continue to generate leads and new business for the short and long term.

In today’s digital marketing world, the good news is there are many options that are low cost and that can be done remotely in your home office or even from your sofa or dining room table. Digital marketing, which assuming you have the passwords for, can be accessed on your phone at home via your phone or laptop. Remember, if you do share passwords with colleagues or customers in any way then do so in a secure way and treat these and any other data shared confidentially and respectfully. Refer to your GDPR and data protection policies at this point.

So, what can you do and what apps/tools or activities can you implement:

Social media – review your social media profiles (Facebook, Linkedin, Linkedin business page, Linkedin showcase page, Twitter, Instagram, Google my Business etc) and make sure they are up to date information and contact details wise. If you have had to shut down then you could also amend your opening hours.

Create posts to share across social media keeping customers informed of delayed deliveries, order statuses, issues, news etc. Also create good news and standard posts as you would usually to keep the marketing and operations as normal as possible. Videos or Facebook lives as posts are also a great way to spread news and keep in touch.

Create a content plan for future social media posts and general marketing messaging, covering all the marketing channels you use.

Advertise your business or events or special offers if relevant and seasonal, using the boost and advertising options.

Scheduling – think what marketing you can do ahead of time e.g. for the coming weeks and months, even ahead of when everything goes back to normal. You can plan ahead by writing blogs and scheduling these for future dates on your website. You can write and schedule social media posts using tools like Hootsuite. You can also write and schedule newsletters using cloud based or CRM based software too.


Communications – emails from your phone or laptop, assuming you have these set up (and if you don’t I would imagine an IT company can help you remotely) can still be sent to colleagues and customers.

You could also be traditional and pick up the telephone to talk with the outside world too. Software like Zoom is also great for conference calls, sharing screens and seeing people as well as hearing them. Multiple people can use Zoom too so its ideal for teams or small groups.  If you have to Naturally cancel client or supplier meetings, use Zoom or Skype instead and keep working that way.

Email marketing is still also an option, using cloud based software to keep in touch and for keeping people and contacts updated. Direct mail may not be suitable as this will require leaving the house, buying stamps and so on.

Always use passwords and stay safe online!

Plan, review and measure – Why not make the most of the downtime if you are forced to be at home and review your business plan and your marketing plan and goals. A plan helps to focus the mind and act as a checklist to make that nothing gets forgotten or missed out. A plan will make you accountable as well as creating processes to streamline and manage your marketing.

Update your databases, records and processes.

Use the time to declutter your office, tidy, shred and have a sort out.

Continue your networking by doing it online. Make connections and contacts with people via social media.

Look at your website and review it for changes to make, updates to add. What else can you do e.g. review SEO and keywords for example.

Research your markets and competitors online. Google and see what you find and use the findings to improve and grow your business. Do not copy of course.


Good marketing is all about consistency and regularity, so remember whatever marketing you undertake, then do it periodically rather than sporadically. Don’t also forget the all important activity of measuring the activity that you implement to review it, amend if necessary and then continue it.

Stay well and healthy!

What are the benefits of measuring your marketing and what can you measure? …

What are the benefits of measuring your marketing

What are the benefits of measuring your marketing activities, campaigns and efforts?

Here are the main reasons:

  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Reason and purpose
  • Informed decisions
  • Avoid guesswork and risk
  • Avoid pushy salespeople
  • Improve chances

What you can measure and what it will tell you?

  • Leads – numbers, sources = where to spend time and money
  • Website – numbers, keywords, bounce rates = is your site being found and is the content right?
  • Email marketing – no of subscribers on database, no of opens and clicks = is your database growing and is your content right and engaging enough? Note re GDPR
  • Social media – no of likes, follows and engagement = is your content good, are people converting and making purchases. Is your brand awareness good?


What to remember

Don’t get obsessed by numbers

Quality not quantity

Find out more