Forward Line Events

Forward Line Events Birmingham, B37 7GN
We here at Forwardline Events came into contact with Market Location back in May this year. We are an Events Company that host Regional Business Growth and Development shows. We came with the view of using your facilities of data contacts to email out Invitation Campaigns and we also purchased telesales lists to use to call off as well. The service we received from Market Location  was very through and professional, with constant contact with our Account Manager. The original outcome of the first email send was pretty good on a results side of things for us. We had lots of hits from our website and some telephone calls. In all we cannot fault the service that Market Location  has offered us with the products we have used. Our account manager has been the best part of the whole relationship. She is a lovely, warm, friendly person that is really easy to talk to, listens to our needs and understands fully what we required from using you. She has been professional to the very letter but accommodating where she can with our needs. Looking at moving forward we would like to keep using Market Location  for the services and products that they offer and the professionalism that comes from all the staff. Yours sincerely, Simon Harrington (Event Manager)

12 Tips to Achieve Success with Email Marketing

Email marketing allows businesses to engage with potential and current customers. However to achieve success, you need to follow these 12 simple steps.

Success With Email Marketing Email marketing is a great way to make potential and current customers aware of what your business has to offer. However, due to the popularity of this medium, your message has to stand out from the ‘noise’ that now populates most people’s inbox. For this reason, above all other concerns, you need to ensure your email is well targeted and highly relevant. So, how can you maximise the visibility and responsiveness of your emails?
Here are 12 tips that will save your email campaigns from the trash and turn them into cash:
  1. Set Clear Goals – Define specific objectives for your campaign and set up goals and objectives that are clearly measurable.
  1. Segment Your Audience – Make sure your message matches what your audience wants.  Segmenting your audience allows you to test different creative approaches, which you can then measure against each other.
  1. Grab Your Headline – Be clear and concise: you’ve only got seconds before your message ends up in the trash folder. You should look to avoid using capital letters and exclamation marks, as this looks unprofessional and may appear as spam to the recipient.
  1. Timing – Do you know what the optimum time is for your audience to see your message? It’s different for different businesses, but you need to see what works best for you.
  1. Branding – Make sure the ‘from’ includes your brand name, sent from an email address that’s your recognised domain. Use your logo and brand colours so your email is in sync with your brand. You should also ensure the language and tone is consistent across all your marketing collateral to maximise impact, and prevent brand confusion and dilution of message.
  1. Design – Sometimes very simple, uncluttered, text-based emails work best; but it depends on the objectives of the campaign. Test and test again – remembering that the message should be compatible across all devices. Images often don’t display, as they are stripped for security reasons – so you need to ensure your call to actions have text links to improve the click-throughs.
  1. Personalisation – When used in an appropriate way, there is nothing more powerful than personalisation for engaging with prospects. Using the name of the business or the contact, or indeed referencing the location of the business, all add an element of engagement and help your message stand out.
  1. Call To Action – What’s the point of your email? Make sure the action is clear and the response required simple. You are unlikely to elicit reams of information, so don’t include a long form for prospects to fill in (unless you incentivise completion).
  1. Effective Landing Page – Landing pages are a great way to measure your email campaigns. The best landing pages are distraction free, so just include the information required.
  1. Sharing – Make sure that you allow your email to be shared, by including links to social media and encouraging referrals. You could also try offering an incentive such as a discount for future purchases, if customers forward your message to spread awareness of your business.
  1. Tracking – This goes way beyond opens and clicks. Often the email is the starting point that may end in a purchase or some other ‘action’. Tracking these can help you to improve targeting next time around. It is also important to monitor social media to know what is being said about your business.
  1. Testing – The beauty of email marketing is the flexibility to test every aspect of the campaign without incurring huge costs. Everything can be tested to improve impact – from the audience, copy, creative, message, position of key calls to action, frequency of sends, timing etc.
Final thoughts So there you have it, 12 tips to achieve success with email marketing. When it comes to B2B email marketing, the magic formula is simple – give the right audience, the right message at the right time. However, getting the combination right isn’t always straightforward.

10 Tips for Improving Your Direct Marketing ROI

Are you looking to boost the return on investment (ROI) of your direct marketing efforts? Then these 10 tips provide essential reading.

Direct Marketing ROI In the right hands, direct marketing is a cost-effective tool for generating sales. In addition, it’s great for making contact with potential and existing customers. For this reason, direct marketing is also a powerful method for promoting your products and services and creating brand awareness for your business However to get your business in front of the right people, at the right time, you have to know what tactics to use and when. With that thought in mind, the following 10 tips will help improve your direct marketing efforts and boost your return on investment.

Tip 1: Choose the right contacts

The success of any direct marketing campaign relies heavily on the data you use. It must be well targeted at the type of individuals or businesses that are most likely to purchase your products or services. Make sure you understand the profile and key characteristics of your best customers, so you can seek out and target more prospects just like them with your marketing campaigns.

Tip 2:  Keep your list up to date

All marketing lists go out-of-date with time, and an outdated list will seriously hamper the success of your campaign. Expensive mailings can end up straight in the bin, and time can be wasted on telemarketing calls that don’t connect to the right prospect. Close to the beginning of your campaign date, refresh or purchase a new list to give yourself the best chance of reaching your target audience and minimising wastage.

Tip 3:  Define your campaign objective

Before purchasing any data, ask yourself: “What am I trying to achieve with this campaign?” Some businesses launch a campaign to generate leads and orders, others aim to raise awareness of their brand and products. Determining your objective is the first and most important step in any direct marketing campaign because all other steps should drive towards achieving that goal. Without a clear objective, it is impossible to determine whether or not you’ve been successful.

Tip 4:  Make sure your objectives are SMART

Your campaign goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. With SMART objectives documented, you can make sure that you are focused on making progress towards achieving them, which should have the greatest positive impact on your business.

Tip 5: Include an offer, call-to-action and multiple response mechanisms

To generate high response levels, your campaign needs to excite your prospects. One of the best ways to do this is to include a time sensitive special offer in your communication – and then shout about it. It’s no good if your offer doesn’t stand out and grab attention. The deadline will give the prospect a reason to respond quickly. Plus a clear call-to-action will tell them what you want them to do and how you want them to do it. Some prospects will prefer to call, some an email, while others will prefer to visit a landing page on a website – where they can get more information and complete a call back form in their own time. As a result, you should try and include all these different response options in your direct marketing campaign.

Tip 6: Include testimonials

Including a customer testimonial in your direct marketing campaign is one of the most compelling messages you have at your disposal. You’re not saying how great you are, your genuine customers are! A message from your customers provides a greater impact because of its objectivity and independence from your company.

Tip 7: Keep testing

Once you have delivered your first campaign, it’s important to measure your response and then try to improve it with your second campaign. What’s more, you should repeat this process for every campaign you launch, as testing and learning what works best for your target audience is vital to success.

Tip 8: Call to follow-up

Calling your prospects after a direct mail or email marketing campaign is a great way to personalise and reinforce your message. Following up with a timely phone call will help you to turn more prospects into leads, which, in turn, will help increase sales and revenue.

Tip 9: Have realistic expectations

Before you spend time and money on conducting your campaign, you should work out how many leads and sales you are likely to generate. This will give you the confidence that all your hard work will provide the positive ROI that you’re looking for. This might sound difficult, especially if you haven’t done much marketing previously. However, you can set realistic expectations about response rates to determine how many leads you are likely to generate. For example, a typical direct mail response rate is around 1% of the total volume you mail. So if you send out 1,000 mailings you can expect around 10 enquiries back. For business email campaigns to cold prospects, you can expect around 0.5% in clicks, of which only a portion will become actual leads.

Tip 10: Track your response properly

The more mechanisms you include for response, the harder it can become to keep track of how many leads your campaign has actually generated. If you include a telephone number, you should include a unique quote code so you can track the resulting leads. If you include an email address, either make it unique to your campaign or again ask the prospect to quote a code. Finally, if you direct prospects to your website, make sure it is a dedicated campaign landing page with a uniquely trackable form. Following each of these tips will help you significantly improve the number and quality of the leads you generate, and ultimately your sales and return on investment.

Kevin Sanders Web Designer

Kevin Sanders Web Designer Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, SN4 7DP
With reference to the New Business Data (New Connections) service that Market Location are providing me with, please find my testimonial below for your use as you see fit. The new business notification service has proved to be a valuable part of my marketing strategy. As a sole trader I have to be careful with both my time and money, and so far I have found the service to provide a good return on both those things. I opted to have the data sent through on a daily basis, and have found that I therefore need to be able to dedicate a small amount of time every day to dealing with it. It’s no good saving it up to do one big monthly calling session, or mailshot – you have to strike while the iron is hot. For that reason, if you’re not able to put this time aside on a regular basis, this probably isn’t the service for you. But if you can, it’s great to be able to get your foot in the door before anyone else. Market Location have been extremely helpful throughout the process. From the initial sign-up to checking up on how things are going their reps are more than willing to give you advice on the best way to use the data they provide. In general I would say this is a service where you definitely get back what you put in. You may need to work a little harder to secure the deals, making time for cold calling or sending out letters, but this means that the relationships you form are strong and will probably last longer than others. Yours sincerely, Kevin Sanders (Owner)

Is Manchester Really as Digital as They Say?

Digital Manchester In a series of articles we look at major tech cities across the UK and find out how digital their retailers are. In cities full of talented digital people we expected to see a large proportion of their retailers trading online. This report looks at how digital Manchester is. Manchester is a real up and coming digital city. The transformation into a digital hub has happened in the last five years with companies such as the BBC moving around 2,000 jobs to the recently developed MediaCityUK in Salford Quays[1]. Manchester is also staking a claim to be Europe’s 3D centre with tech giant EON Reality opening up a base in the city[2]. The websites of retail businesses in and around Manchester were analysed to find out how well they are engaging with digital. Using data from Market Location, the analysis looked at whether retailers have websites that offer e-commerce functionality, whether the websites are designed to be viewed on mobile devices and how often the websites have been shared on social media. Digital Manchester Around a fifth of the sites that were analysed had e-commerce functionality. This shows that there is potential for 80% of the businesses who don’t currently sell online to look into adding e-commerce functionality to their sites. Despite high-street retailers having a tough time at the moment e-commerce revenue in the UK is growing quickly, with some months showing a year-on-year growth of over 20%[3]. Soundbase Megastore is a retailer located in the upbeat Northern Quarter of Manchester City Centre. They supply digital DJ equipment ranging from turntables for the bedroom DJ to full PA systems for large events. Having e-commerce functionality on their site enables them to offer their entire product range to anyone in the world. By listing all of their products on their website they are also likely to encourage more local DJs to visits their retail store. The retailer websites were analysed to see if they were designed responsively so that they work on mobile and tablet devices. This test also looked at whether the retailers had a dedicated mobile website. Digital Manchester Around 22% of the Manchester retailer sites in our study are responsive or purpose built for mobile devices. This compares favourably to a recent study that showed that around 12.5% of all websites are responsive. This number is rising rapidly and retailers should look into ensuing that their websites work well on all devices to give their customers a better user experience. Bakery retailer Kara specialise in frozen bakery products for the food service industry. Their site enables users to see their full product range on all devices, showing a collapsible menu to those with mobile phone sized screens. This gives them a clear advantage over competitors whose sites do not respond to different screensizes. Finally, the websites were analysed to see how often they had been shared across social media. Sites were grouped by the number of Facebook Likes and Tweets on Twitter that they received. Digital Manchester While the websites of most Manchester retailer shops had less than 100 Likes or Tweets it is good to see some of the independent businesses have over 500 Likes or Tweets. Engaging with your customers through social media is a great way to increase your brand awareness and improve your customer service. When combing some of this data we can see that website owners who have sites that work on mobile devices and offer e-commerce functionality tend to have more social shares. Around 6% of the sites in the sample had websites with both mobile and e-commerce capabilities with these sites having a much higher than average number of social shares. The website of Faiths Florists has had an impressive 679 Likes on Facebook. This shows that they are popular with their customers and provides ‘social proof’ to others who are considering ordering flowers from them. Manchester has seen a big increase in their digital sector and this is slowly being reflected by local retailers. While only around 20% of retailer sites offer e-commerce, around 22% of the sites are responsive, showing that retailers are aware of the increase in mobile device usage. With Manchester predicted to create 23,000 digital jobs[4] in the next decade local retailers have plenty of help with building a perfect e-commerce website! 1. 2. 3. 4.

DMA Guest Blog: Data hygiene and accuracy have never been more important.

Data hygiene and accuracy have never been more important.; As we create more mature relationships with consumers (built on honesty, openness and transparency) then the way that we keep our databases up to date, relevant and accurate must also move with the times.

Data hygiene and accuracy It is, in fact, a surprisingly mature market; we launched The GAS File (the UK’s first suppression file) in 1992, some 23 years ago. Yet in the majority of suppression files sold today, the offering remains essentially the same. This means it will find someone that it thinks has moved house or died and stop spending the client’s money on sending mail to them. On the face of it, simples! But of course it rarely is. What happens if a person moves jobs, or a business closes (50% of start-ups close in the first two years)? What happens in the event of a divorce (one in four households)? What happens if the husband has died but the wife continues to live at the house (about 34% of deaths)? What happens if the household has only moved out for six months to refurbish the house (80,000 a year)? What if the child, now at university, has the same name as the father or mother (more common that you might think)? Not quite so “simples” as it seems. In the days where carpet bombing and mass targeting were the de-facto strategies, the idea of getting rid of another 40, 50, or 60 thousand names from your file really didn’t matter; the so called “Spot and Drop” model. However, in this new-found era of “less is more”, with marketers trying to forge “real” relationships with their customers and prospects, the number of targets prospects is much smaller. Therefore every single one should be nurtured as fully as possible, creating no room for error. If you get something wrong, they will be in the arms of a competitor faster than you can say Jack Robinson! I still sit in many meetings and have clients say to me “Great, supplier x has achieved twice as many matches as suppliers a, b or c”. I explain that they are asking the wrong question; what in fact they should be asking is “how and why has supplier x matched more than a, b and c?”. Querying where the data is from is a remarkably infrequent question asked these days. A single source of data in such a peripatetic marketplace is unlikely to ever cut it. The Spot and Drop model also concerns me as we should be using that data to enhance our positive targeting. How often do you undertake an analysis of those customers that have moved house without notification? Is this important? If you knew the profile of these individual customers, could you try and preempt it? How often do you take your Gone Away file and, firstly, see if they are still customers and, secondly, if they are not, try and relocate and re-engage? Experience shows that the longer you leave it after moving home, the less likely they are to return. Over the years, we have discovered that by building a universe of population movements we now receive a raft of confirmations that lift the levels of certainty on these issues to extremely high levels. So in the case of home movements, we track the whole range: move outs, move ins, temporary changes, single move outs/ins, as well as a host of other transactional information to validate either a constant address presence or a new one. We apply the same validation rules across our entire data product suite as we know that using the wrong information will always be more expensive than doing nothing at all. This is not to discourage you from doing anything at all, but to impress upon you that, these days, using accurate, qualified data is the only way forward. So the next time someone says they’ve just cleaned up your database and got rid of 500,000 records, think of that as the start of something, not the end of it.

Online Marketing Strategy for SMB’s

Online Marketing Small to medium sized businesses often have a hard time of it when it comes to online marketing; often lacking the niche interest of micro businesses (with close knitted clientele), and not big enough to warrant huge budgets on expensive campaigns. SMB’s are frequently left with the less glamorous aspects of online marketing.  That said, whilst they might not be glamorous, many of the campaign types appropriate for SMB’s can be hugely effective, manageable in-house with a small team and can be an opportunity for achieving a great return on investment (ROI).  Here we go through a few of the most popular techniques to engage your prospects online. Social Media; Social media is where many of the customers are spending their free time; it’s important to join them there, whether it is simply by being visible on their preferred platforms or by hosting competitions, giveaways or promotions through these channels, social media can offer great visibility for free, with the option to increase results through paid promotion. Whilst this may be best suited to B2C businesses, there is no reason you can’t leverage your ‘thought leadership’ to dominate online conversation in most B2B industries also; using LinkedIn and Twitter can be an effective way to reach buyers at all stages of the funnel. Email; Whilst social media may be the talking point now, the dinosaur of the internet – email – is as effective as ever, research show that marketers can expect a 40 times return on investment through using email campaigns. Building and nurturing contacts lists should be a priority for your SMB. Search Engine Optimisation; SEO is an tool for being discovered online by your target audience.  Without an optimised online presence you may be getting overlooked by countless potential customers, but by using local search techniques such as citation building, directory listing and onsite optimisation, to name a few, you can generate dramatic uplifts in revenue for your business, even if yours is a primarily offline offering. Blogging; This can be a great method to help your search engine optimisation attempts and thought leadership simultaneously. By publishing fresh content online regularly, Google will have more to crawl and your pages will become valid results for increasing numbers of search queries. In addition, the blog posts should be interesting enough to encourage return visitors and can have a soft sales message to maximize conversion on your site. Paid Efforts; Terms such as ‘pay per click’ and ‘display network’ might intimidate small business owners, however this needn’t be the case. Paid advertising online can help you reach potential customers wherever they are on the web. It can also be a handy method of encouraging return visits by ‘retargeting’ browsers who have visited your site before. Press Releases; Just like the offline world, there are plenty of press outlets who could be interested in reporting your news, in fact, you’re much more likely to find an interested outlet online due to the vast quantity and range of topics covered.
Using a combination of the above methods is a great way to get started with your online marketing, the process may seem daunting, but in reality much of it can be learnt online and can be made much easier by using available marketing tools. Whilst we cannot recommend a specific order to tackle these processes, the general advice is to play to your strengths, if you have a great customer database, use email campaigns to engage them, if people are walking past your business, make sure you’re visible on local search and if you have something genuinely interesting to say, publish it online either through social media or blogs!

Is Birmingham Really as Digital as They Say?

Digital Birmingham In a series of articles we look at major tech cities across the UK and find out how digital their retailers are. In cities full of talented digital people we expected to see a large proportion of their retailers trading online. This report looks at how digital Birmingham is. Birmingham has the largest GDP and population outside of London[1] and is poised to become a global centre for digital technology. The creative and digital media sector generates more than £890m for the local economy[2]. Last year Birmingham successfully applied for a European Regional Development fund of £2.3 million to support Digital Connectivity across the city[3]. The websites of retail businesses in and around Birmingham were analysed to find out how well they are engaging with digital. Using data from Market Location, the analysis looked at whether retailers have websites that offer e-commerce functionality, whether the website was designed to be viewed on mobile devices and how often the website has been shared on social media. Firstly the websites were reviewed to see how many of them offered e-commerce functionality to allow their users to make purchases through the site. Digital Birmingham Around 20% of the sites that were analysed had e-commerce functionality with 80% only selling in their shops or over the phone. This means there is a big opportunity for a lot of Birmingham-based retailers to reach out to a wider customer base through their website. In fact, small businesses are driving growth faster than big name chains with December 2013 showing a 11.8% increase in online sales[4]. Carpet and rug retailer Royal Carpets sell a range of different flooring through their excellent e-commerce site. Royal Carpets have realised that it is not enough just to have the functionality to be able to sell products online, their site enables users to search by colour, décor, room or brand to find the ideal flooring for your home. The retailer websites were then analysed to see if they were designed responsively so that they work on mobile and tablet devices. This test also looked at whether the retailers had a dedicated mobile website. Digital Birmingham 22% of Birmingham retailer sites in our study are responsive or purpose built for mobile devices. The rise in mobile usage looks set to continue. The younger generation has already taken to using tablets with 17% of children under 8 using a mobile device every day[5]! Mobile e-commerce is also rising as people have less security concerns about ordering goods on their mobiles. The People Shop is a lifestyle store run by design duo Allison and Christian Sadler offering clothes and accessories made by themselves and by other independent designer makers. The site responds well to a range of mobile devices giving users easy to use menus even on phones with small screens. As well as displaying their product range with some nice photos the personality of the shop owners comes across though a well maintained blog. Finally, the websites were analysed to see how often they had been shared across social media. Sites were grouped by the number of Facebook Likes and Tweets on Twitter that they received. Digital Birmingham While the websites of most Birmingham retailer shops had less than 100 Tweets it is good to see the majority had at least some Facebook Likes. With more importance being placed on the use of social media for businesses improving your profile on these networks can offer a cost effective way to promote your shop online. When combing some of this data we can see that website owners who have sites that work on mobile devices and offer e-commerce functionality tend to have more social shares. Around 6.5% of the sites in the sample had websites with both mobile and e-commerce capabilities with these sites having a much higher than average number of social shares. Atoo Menswear have been selling alternative streetwear since their shop opened in 1998. The fact that the shop sells rare hard-to-find labels from around the world means they have dedicated fans across social media. They have over 700 followers of their Twitter account and over 2,000 Likes on their Facebook page where they showcase some of their latest products. As expected for a city of its size Birmingham retailers have a reasonably high proportion of e-commerce sites. There is room for improvement though with a lot of those sites not being designed with mobile devices in mind and with the sites lacking shares on social media. Social media provides a way for smaller retailers to talk directly to their customers and can be highly effective at building a company’s brand. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Performance Based Email Marketing

Is Lack of Control an Issue?

If done correctly email marketing is very profitable. But does a lack of control with performance-based email marketing compromise business success?

Performance Based Email Marketing Email marketing is without doubt a hugely successful approach for both retention and acquisition marketing. Techniques have now become very sophisticated, and integration with other marketing channels has maximised the potential returns from email marketing campaigns. In addition, the relatively low cost of testing what works (in terms of message, creative, target audience etc.) makes email marketing a very flexible way to refine your marketing activities and improve results. With its popularity continuing to increase, it is therefore not surprising that there are now several different models that are used to price email marketing – such as buying a managed service, or buying an email list or paying on a cost per lead basis. So, which one should you choose? On the surface, the cost per lead model seems a “no-brainer” – because you only pay for each lead generated, rather than for every prospect the email is sent to. However this increase in performance based marketing (lead generation on a cost per lead basis) does have some downsides. For example, a client will brief an agency on what is needed, and the agency will then source different providers to obtain the relevant email data needed for the campaigns. So far so good – but there are only a very limited number of data sources, although there are many email data providers to work with. In the end, working with multiple performance-based marketing agencies can lead to target customers receiving multiple examples of the same email, as each company is working in isolation from each other. This is about as far removed from good target marketing as you can get – and a total waste of money! Here is a real life example: At Market Location, we work directly with a blue chip client on customer acquisition email marketing campaigns.  We provide email data for them to manage their own email sends, as well as direct mail and telemarketing data for their call centre. This is a tightly controlled environment; they only work with one data provider, so are able to ensure that any duplicate customers are removed and the recipient communication is fully managed.   This seems straight forward enough, but then performance marketing is introduced – i.e. where the company pays other agencies on a cost per lead basis. What could be better for a client?  Well, surprisingly perhaps, we also work with that same payment provider through a performance based agency.   Although unusual, their different creative treatments are broadcast, and we are able to manage the number of emails a recipient receives. However, this is where it gets complicated: The client also works with two companies who licence our data on an ad hoc basis, and we have received the same performance brief through another two agencies that are offering the identical creative to what we are already sending. In other words, in the client’s eyes they are sending one or two emails a month to an individual, when in reality they could be sending as many as seven.   These are, of course, just the ones that come across our desk – yet an email address is related to an individual, which means as well as it appearing on our database it could be on numerous others.   How many emails could one person receive in a month?! Fighting a lack of control  This lack of control is worrying. Clearly, the client wastes a lot of money. But in addition to that, the recipient who is receiving multiple emails is going to get annoyed. This ensures the message becomes diluted at the same time as making your business or brand look very unprofessional. Furthermore, a lack of management in regard to performance marketing also means that the client’s customers get a lot of prospecting emails. Ask yourself: is this okay? Of course it isn’t. Why on earth would you need to send multiple emails to the same recipient? Naturally this is a situation that could be easily rectified, but no one seems to want to. All a client would need to do is ask all their data suppliers to upload data to match and de-dupe against others and output the net records. This may cost the client extra money, but which client wouldn’t want to protect their brand?