Without knowing how your competitors are performing, it’s easy to operate in your own bubble. You’ve built up a loyal base of repeat customers, your products and services are well received and your order book remains full. But if market conditions suddenly change or if a new competitor enters the market, do you have the data and intelligence you need to adapt your products or services, channels or target markets?
Conducting a competitor analysis, and regularly maintaining it, is a vital activity in making sure your business remains relevant.
We often think of ‘the competition’ purely in terms of other businesses or organisations that are selling the same products or services as us. In reality, there are three types of competition:
Primary: those direct competitors who are offering the same or similar products or services to the same customer audience.
Secondary: those offering similar products or services to a different audience.
Tertiary: those serving the same audience but not with the same products. Even if your products are very different, you may still be competing for the same budget.
There’s also a fourth type of competition that is often ignored: that of the customer choosing to ‘do nothing’. In other words, not choosing you or any of your competitors but simply carrying on as normal.
Competitor analysis not only helps you future proof your business, it also helps with the here and now.
Taking the time to research the alternatives a customer may have other than choosing your business, means you are better prepared to deal with any objections in their decision making.
A Simple Guide to Competitor Analysis from Yellow Bird Marketing and Communications is designed to help you:
identify your competition in all its forms;
apply both tools and gut feel to compare and contrast your offer with that of your competitors;
determine which assessment criteria to use in your analysis; and
continually monitor market activity to always remain one step ahead.
To download the guide, simply click the image below or download it from Google Drive.
A copywriter writes copy that influences readers in some way. It could be copy that entices them to find out more about you or to buy your product; that educates them about a particular subject; or that entertains them. Whatever the desired outcome, there’s a common theme: that of making something memorable and building trust with your audience.
A good copywriter will help you identify what to write about (and what not). In a manner and tone that’s true to your business. They will take into account your wider business strategy and ambitions. They will relish the challenge of writing for channels as wide ranging as websites, magazine articles, blogs, newsletters, brochures, case studies, press releases, speeches and whitepapers.
Isn’t it easier to write my own copy?
Writing your own copy is often seen as the most appropriate way to engage with your audience. However, it can soon become a painful, never-quite-finished task. There’s a number of reasons why.
Firstly, time. Even for those who really enjoy writing, it’s an activity that often gets pushed to the back burner.
Secondly, perspective. When you’re so passionate about your business, it can be incredibly difficult to write about it both objectively and with your customer, not your business, in mind.
Thirdly, knowledge. When you are expert in a subject, there’s a tendency to live in the detail which can easily overwhelm or confuse your audience.
With an aptitude for assuming the client’s perspective, an external copywriter can work at pace to capture your expertise in compelling headlines and clear copy.
Adding regular and engaging content to your website is not only good SEO practice, it also helps reinforces your brand and shows your clients you’re engaged in subjects they care about.
I love writing copy. I get paid for what I love and have the opportunity to work on a completely different subject every day. When I’m writing for my clients, ideas on what to write about next come easily. When it comes to writing content for my own business, however, it’s often a job that’s forever on the longlist…
Do you too struggle to come up with content ideas? Or maybe the ideas are there but you never find the time to make a start? Here’s five pointers to help you create great written content for your business:
1.What are you going to write about?
Before you start to write, think about what you know about. Where do you and your company add value and how might you reinforce that through useful content (and definitely not as a sales pitch)?
What advice or thought leadership might you offer to customers to improve their understanding of a particular topic? How might that understanding then save them time, money, help them implement new processes or efficiencies, offer better customer service or win new business? What questions might they be seeking answers to?
A good starting point for coming up with your list of topics is answerthepublic.com which identifies search terms related to your topic posed via Google or Bing. A search on ‘photographer’, as an example, (more…)
For many UK businesses, shouting about their achievements just seems, well, a little immodest. Client case studies are ideal in illustrating your great work but through the eyes of those who matter. Not only that, working with a client in this way gives you a much better insight into how your product or service sits within their wider business strategy.
Say something meaningful
What’s worse than having no case studies? Case studies that don’t say or mean anything! They should reflect different elements of your business: whether that be different products or services; different sectors or geographies; or, most powerfully, which client ‘problems’ you seek to address. Segmenting your audience in this way will ensure a breadth of different case studies and will avoid duplication.
One of the key barriers in creating case studies is a lack of time – not only yours but your client’s. He or she may happily agree to be the subject of a case study but be hijacked by other projects. Make the process as easy as possible by scheduling a 30-minute call to capture the information you need. Sending your questions in advance helps the client to prepare and collate any figures needed. (more…)
There are literally thousands of funding programmes in operation across the UK. They range from the European Commission to national government, regional programmes, local trusts and corporate donors. Trawling through those opportunities to find the most relevant can be both time-consuming and overwhelming.
Where to start?
Funding databases like GRANTfinder (UK wide) and Funding Central (England voluntary and charitable sector only) take the legwork out of the search process as they present the opportunity to ‘model’ your project according to those criteria which are most important to funders. Who’s delivering the project, where the project will take place and what the project hopes to achieve (common examples being employment; innovation; upskilling; and regeneration) are all important.
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English―it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.”
Wise words indeed from Mark Twain but when time is of the essence, it’s easier to scrap this discipline and type your thoughts straight onto the page. The result? A gush of thoughts which overwhelm your readers.
Regardless of whether you’re writing an email, a business proposal, annual report or marketing brochure, there are 8 common principles that can transform your writing:
1. Focus & meaning
What’s the single objective of this piece of writing? Want do you want your readers to do as a result of reading your content? Do you want them to say Yes to a proposal? Take action by sharing an article? Compel them to change their behaviour in some way or sign up to a cause? Meaningful content should inform, engage or influence.
2. Never forget your reader
Always write with your reader in mind. Have you made any assumptions on knowledge through use of acronyms or technical language? Will a reader who doesn’t have English as a first language understand the words or phrases you’ve used?
Imagine you are talking to your reader. Write sincerely, personally, in a style that is suitable and with the right tone of voice.
Before you start jangling the keys on your keyboard, stop! Make a note of the points you want to make in a logical order.
It might be helpful to consider the AIDA model of marketing and the stages you want your audience to go through as they read your content: (more…)
There are numerous benefits in accessing grant funding:
Sharing risk and cost
Building new infrastructure and resources
Learning from new partners and using their expertise to improve skillsets in your team
Accessing new markets
Strengthening partnerships to open up opportunities for future collaborations
Establishing yourselves as market leaders or innovators
Raising your profile with future funders
But before you throw yourself into the application process, are you sure your organisation is ‘funding ready’?
5 questions to ask yourself from the outset
1. Are you appropriately resourced?
Funders will expect to see evidence of a well-run organisation with a clear direction of travel such as a business plan or strategy plus financial projections. They will also want to see how you expect to sustain the project after funding has ended.
Running a funded project takes sound organisation and planning.
As well as staff time to dedicate to the project, you will need tools in place to help you deliver. This can include suitable administration systems and timesheeting software. Teleconferencing tools are useful where you have multiple partners or where part of the project delivery relies on communication to large groups.
2. Do you inspire confidence?
Even the smallest of organisations are expected to have some sort of ‘physical evidence ’ (one of the 7 Ps of Marketing). Potential funders will feel reassured if they can see your organisation has (more…)
Executed well and your delegates will use your event as the benchmark for all future events, marvelling at how well-organised it was, how motivational the speakers were and how thought-provoking the workshops. Executed poorly and your event will be added to the long list of dull and uninspiring conferences with the same tired presentations and format.
Make sure your event is remembered for all the right reasons with Yellow Bird’s helpful 30-step checklist:
1. Your ‘why’
What’s your single objective for running the event? To inform, engage, motivate? This is the single most important question to ask before you look at any other element of the event planning.
Who’s your target audience? Who you expect to attend should influence every part of early planning: where you hold it; when (weekday, weekend, daytime, evening); style of delivery; and format. Consider how you are going to inspire delegates to see this as a not-to-be-missed event. This starts with early communications to whet appetites, built around a strong and relevant event theme.
3. Project plan
Create a project plan (Excel is perfectly adequate for this) which outlines actions, dependencies, owners and timescales.
4. Project management
Appoint one overall project manager who can keep track on progress of all activities and who can keep all relevant stakeholders updated.
5. Event masterplan
Develop an event masterplan with staff and volunteers committed to specific tasks – media relations, ambassador coordination, printed material, presentations, signage, social media etc). (more…)
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