How Can I Forward Plan Marketing For My Business?

Well, I think it is safe to say we are all looking forward to the end of 2020! What a year it has been! It has been a tough year for a lot of people and businesses but this year has also brought us together; we clapped for the NHS, decorated our windows with rainbows and cheered for Captain Tom.

It’s time to get ready and forward plan for 2021!

Where do I start?

Look back on your marketing campaigns from the last 12 months. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t so you can learn from it. Ask questions, if something didn’t work, ask ‘why didn’t it work?’.

Next, it’s time to look forward and make a plan. I personally use an A4 day per page diary, this way I can make plenty of notes. Look at a calendar and see what events are happening throughout the year that you can use in marketing campaigns. This could be Valentine’s Day or St Patrick’s day for example. There are also so many weird and wonderful days that you can take advantage of, like Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you and International Gin Day 😀

We have come up with a handy events calendar for you to help plan your year. You can find it here – Events Calendar

Go Digital

Due to the current pandemic, more and more people are staying in. If you haven’t already created social media accounts, now is the time to set one or two up. There are so many social media platforms to choose from; if you are unsure which one(s) to go for, have a look at your competition and see what they use.

If you are selling products, do not fill your page with products. People do not respond to buy buy buy, you will lose followers quickly. Limit selling posts to once a week. Get creative and encourage your followers to interact with you. Post a variety of media, have a mix of images, videos and animations to keep engagement up.

Video Calls

Video calling has become extremely popular with Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Rooms. Many of us used these platforms to keep connected with friends and family over lockdown, but they have also opened the doors to working from home. The lack of flights and limit on travelling has meant that more businesses are using video calls to communicate between clients, customers and other colleagues around the world. You can market your brand by simply having a backdrop. Backdrops with your name and/or logo can help increase brand awareness plus it will give your business a more corporate and professional image. Using Pull-up banners printed with your logo is a great way of getting your brand known…plus they can hide what you don’t want people to see.

Your Shop or Stall

Whether you have a shop or stall, the future on when you are allowed to open is uncertain. We have just come out of lockdown number 2 and the country has been split into tiers. Shops are allowed to open in all tiers for the lead up to Christmas but this can all change. Create displays that can be left in situ, like a window display or something that can be put away quickly, such as a banner. If you sell fresh produce, it is best not to use it in your displays as it can spoil. Come up with creative ways of marketing your product. If you sell fruit and veg, why not use artificial food that can be left and will look just as fresh in a month or two or three. You could take photographs of your products and showcase them in eye-catching banners and posters. These can be used time and time again.

I hope this helps you plan for next year…what ever it brings 🙂

I will be back in the new year with a new blog, in the meantime, I hope you have a great Christmas and a happy new year!

How Can I Make My Displays Last?

This month I want to discuss the advantages of using artificial products in your displays and give you some ideas. Artificial products can create stunning, eye-catching displays that will attract and entice your customers.

Due to the pandemic, we do not know what will happen from this week to the next and with the new three tier system, businesses are at risk of being forced to close with only a few days notice. Your display needs to make your business stand out when you are open and remain looking fresh even when you are closed.

Why artificial and not fresh?

The range of artificial products is vast, from fruit and veg to fish and dairy products. They are so realistic it is hard to tell they are not the real thing!

Although you can create the same great-looking displays with fresh produce, over time they spoil. To replace the spoiled products costs time and money and now more than ever, businesses just like yours are trying to save money and decrease outgoings. Artificial displays can help you do just that! No spoiling, no waste, just long-lasting items which can be used time and time again.

But what about the smells?

As consumers, we are not just drawn in by what we see, what we smell can be just as important.

Have you ever noticed as you enter a supermarket, the scent of freshly baked bread or doughnuts, even when there is no bakery in the store? This is designed to make you feel hungry as you shop which will then get you to buy more. Smells given off by fresh produce can do the same thing but as they start to turn, the smells can have the opposite effect.

Artificial items are unscented, so why not hide scent sticks in your displays? Some scent sticks can last for over a month and with so many scents to choose from you are sure to find a smell to match your display.

What displays can I create?

The only limit is your imagination!

Think about what your selling and where your display is going to be. Is it going to be in a window, on a bar or on a table as a focal point? What time of year is it?

Let’s create displays that will attract customers which will in turn increase footfall and sales.

Here are some ideas I have come up with…

Autumnal Display

You will need:

Turn the wooden crates on their side, you can place one crate on top of the other to give height or have them side by side. Place some of the wood wool in the crates and then scatter so it looks as though some of the wool is emptying out. Place your mini pumpkins in the crates and on your base which may be a table, countertop or floor if a window display.

Add some optional extras. Add a free-standing chalkboard and add a message with Chalkpens in autumnal colours to advertise a product, promotion or event. Why not add some lights? You can drape a string of warm white fairy lights over the crates and weave in the wood wool. Or you can add battery operated tea lights and scatter them randomly throughout your display. If customers are going to be passing the display you can add a scent, find a warming spiced pumpkin scent stick.

Make it BIG! Instead of crates, why not use a 4 tier ladder display stand and create an amazing window display? Add the wood wool in each shelf and drape over the edges so it looks like the wool is cascading down the display unit. Scatter more pumpkins, you could also add other artificial fruit and veg such as red apples, figs and cherries or potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Add clothed manikins to the displays or homewares for the finishing touch.

Tropical Themed Bar Display

You will need:

A tropical theme makes me think of fruit cocktails! Cocktails are usually mixed with lots of fruit and served on ice. Let’s make a display to reflect this.

Take your display cubes, the 200mm size or 250mm if you have space. You will need one cube for the lemons, another for mangos and a third for oranges. Fill the base with the ice cubes and then fill the rest with the fruit You can scatter more ice to help fill any gaps in the cube. Space out the cubes on the back of your bar or on a shelf and then in between each cube place a pineapple and scatter some more ice.

Add some optional extras, weave a string LED lights in the cubes and around the pineapples. The light will shine through the ice cubes and create an eye-catching feature. Tell your customers your cocktail menu, or let them know you have an offer on with an acrylic cocktail chalkboard and write your message using coloured chalk pens that glow under UV lighting!

Make it BIG! Stacking is bang on-trend right now so why not stack the acrylic display cubes. Starting with the biggest cube at the bottom and the smaller sizes stacked on top.

Organic Produce Display

You will need:

First, lay the hessian across your display area. Make sure the material is not completely flat, gather the material in areas to create a rustic look. Take your display crate and place it at an angle. You can cut some of the hessian to line the crate, if you do this, let some of the material fall over the edges. Full your crate with the cabbages, the spring onions, some of the carrots and potatoes. Make your crate look like it’s abundant with produce. Scatter some of the potatoes, as if they have fallen out of the crate…because it is so full. Place about 3 carrots in a bunch and lay them in front of the crate. Take your chalkboard easel and place it next to your crate. You can write your message with your pens and your done 🙂

Add some extras! If you have a large display area you can add more crates, you could even add some baskets to fill with veg. If you use brown paper bags, you can fill them with artificial mushrooms and place them in or in front of your crate. Add more vegetables, add artificial cauliflowers, loose garlic bulbs, red and green bell peppers.

Make it BIG! Do you have a large window or floor space for your display? If you do, create your display on top of a Flat Top Display cart! Add hessian sacks to your display, full them with a lightweight material to make them look full and display your veg at the mouth of the bag to give the illusion of a full veg sack.

These displays will last throughout the pandemic and beyond. You can mix and match each design to suit your vision, and use them time and time again. These displays will not only attract customers and increase sales, they will save you money in the long run!

I do hope these ideas have inspired you to create displays using artificial products, your imagination truly is the limit 🙂

Which Pavement Sign is Right for my Business?

Pavement signs are one of the most popular and possibly even one of the oldest forms of outside advertising. The purpose of a Pavement Sign is to attract customers and boost sales. They can help increase brand awareness, promote special offers and events, advise of upcoming changes and warn of any dangers.

Pavement signs can also be known as A-boards, A-frames, sandwich boards and kerb signs, all available in a wide range of materials, styles and sizes, with most being foldable so they can easily be stored when not in use and usually double-sided, enabling your message to have full visibility from all angles.

There are many forms of pavement signs, how can you decide which one is right for you? Hopefully, the answers and advice below will help 🙂

How much is your budget? Prices can differ greatly depending on your requirements. For example, a very basic snap frame a-board that can display a poster in a sheltered location is only around £40, compared to a solid wooden a-board that is branded, has the dual functionality of a poster holder and a chalkboard and can be positioned in a relatively windy location will be around £400.

Will you need it to be branded with your business name or logo? If you are choosing to use your pavement sign as a temporary sign you may be displaying posters that are changed regularly and as such may have your business name on the poster, on the other hand, you may want an opulent look for your business signage and prefer for your a-board to be professionally written and to be in keeping with your brand.

Is it going to be a temporary sign and display a poster, have a hand-written message on it or will it be used as a permanent sign? The use of your pavement sign is very important. How do you intend to portray your message to your customers? What is your message? Is it a permanent message e.g. Car Park 200m Right or is it a temporary message e.g. Quiz Night this Friday? The changeability of your message should determine whether you need a chalkboard surface like our chunky wooden a-board, a poster holder or a printed permanent message.

What material would you like your pavement sign to be made from? The first thing to think about is what will suit your business image? Do you have a modern or contemporary business? Do you run a fish and chip shop or a ladies boutique? Maybe a swinger sign is appropriate for The Golden Fry but for Amelia’s Accessories, our painted wooden a-board would be more suited. There is a vast range to choose from including wood, steel and aluminium.

What size do you need? This may sound like a simple question however it is a very important one. If you are positioning your pavement sign by the side of a road to catch the eye of a motorist then you will need a generously sized sign, like our Defender Forecourt Sign to ensure your message can be read, on the other hand, if your business is positioned in a high street you may be governed by the size of the pavement width and council restrictions, it is always best to double-check with your local council before purchasing.

Hopefully, the above guidance will help you choose the right pavement sign for your business, however, if you would like a little more help please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01353 665141, we are always happy to pass on our expertise and knowledge.

How Do I Make My Signs Stand Out?

Due to the pandemic, we are displaying more signs than ever before!

Your signs could be displaying social distancing regulations to reassure your customers they are safe visiting your business. They could also be special offers you may have or Menus to draw consumers out and back to your establishment. Whatever you are displaying, it needs to stand out…but for the right reasons!

What is your message and who is your audience?

Before we make your sign stand out, we need to know what message would you like to put across. Is it a menu? Are you advertising an event? Or do you have important information that needs to be displayed?

You then need to decide who your message is aimed at. For example, this could be an age range or it could be an industry. This will affect how you create our artwork.

If your message is aimed at children, make it colourful. Use images as well as text. If you are a school, some of your younger children may not be able to read yet so images will help get your message across.

Are your customers whizzing past? I don’t know about you; but when I am in the supermarket, my aim is to get in and out as quickly as possible, so a notice with a huge essay would not catch my eye at all. A short and to the point message would have more impact, such as ‘Please use Hand Sanitiser Before Entering’ with a symbol.

How are you going to display your sign?

So we know the message, who it is for and have the artwork, next we need to think about how we are going to display the sign and what environment the sign will be used and displayed in. If you are mounting your sign outside, it will need to be printed on a material which is suitable for external use, whereas you can use paper or card inside for a more economical and temporary sign. Some of the more popular materials are:

Flexible PVC – This is a versatile material that can be used for banners and posters. It is perfect for internal and external displays and the thickness determines the type of sign it is used for. I would recommend 440gsm PVC for outdoor printed banners and posters, and at least a 1mm thickness for a standard wall mounted sign.

Aluminium and Dibond – These are perfect for a sign that needs to last a little longer and the message is going to be current for a while. Aluminium can be flexible whereas Dibond is more rigid and preferred in the sign industry for durability. It looks like aluminium on the surface but has a solid polythene centre that is sandwiched between two sheets of aluminium.

Paper & Card – This is really handy when you need to get a message out quickly and it will only be displayed for a short term. Please don’t write your sign by hand as it will give the impression that your business is not professional, why not try our downloadable signs to give a more polished appearance. Remember paper and card will go soggy in the rain so it’s best for internal displays.

How to make your signs stand out

Once you have your sign prominently displayed how can you make it get noticed?

Think about the seasons! We are heading into Autumn and Winter, so it will start to get dark earlier, straightaway this makes me think of illumination! There are a number of ways you can illuminate your sign and catch your customers attention, the more popular options are:

Lightboxes – these illuminate your posters from behind, making your poster much brighter and more visible. For internal use, a Snap Frame Lightbox is a great solution and enables you to change your displays quickly if needed by simply snapping open the frame. For external use, Coloured Outdoor LED Light Boxes can be used and they are available in a range of colours to suit any business. Great for shops, leisure centres, bowling alleys and more.

Menu Cases – these illuminate from their sides, highlighting the contents. You will have seen illuminated menu cases outside many restaurants however these cases are not just for menus. There are many designs, colours and sizes for a multitude of uses. Maybe you are looking for something a little trendy and upmarket? Then the Copper Menu Case is the ideal candidate! Copper is bang on trend at the moment and will definitely catch the attention of most bystanders. If you are a little narrow on space then one of our sleek free-standing cases is just the job, with their small footprint they don’t take up very much space and have very little impact on a walkway or entrance.

White Flashing LED’s – these are a completely different way of adding illumination to your designs. Placing single LED bulbs through carefully placed holes in your artwork can create stunning features. Great for seasonal artwork for Christmas, New Years or Bonfire Night. Give them a try, you will not be disappointed!

In the current climate, you are probably displaying important information regarding government regulations; so it is vital your customers notice your signage. Some will be more important than others, some inside, some outside! I hope this guide helps to get your messages noticed and if you would like any further advice please give our sales team a call on 01353 665141, they are always happy to help.

Why Practice Social Distancing?

Information gathered from the CDC (Centres for Disease Control & prevention) says that COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact.  I think we all now appreciate that much now.  The spread happens when an infected person, spreads droplets, by coughing, sneezing, or even talking to another person. The droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the eyes, mouths or noses of people nearby.  The UK Governments ruling is to ‘socially distance’ by two metres is to assist in minimising this possibility.  The droplets can also be inhaled into our lungs, where the virus can attach itself to our own cells.  Recent studies indicate that people who are infected, but do not have symptoms, are likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19, because they literally don’t know they have it, and therefore don’t avoid others as they should.  We; at BHMA realised these possibilities of the person to person spread a while ago, and were prompted to make screens for business’, transportation and offices, which are now within many businesses already.

COVID-19 can be contracted by touching a surface or object that has been infected by the virus.  If you then touch the contaminated surface with your hand and transfer it to your own mouth, nose, or eyes, you stand a chance of becoming ill.  However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The main spread is person to person, hence the Government locking us all down. COVID-19 can live for 72 hours on some surfaces it is thought, dependant on factors such as sun light and humidity.  Again; BHMA has a product to kill germs on a non porous surface, we recommend using a 70% alcohol medical grade cleaner.  Its listed in the Sanitiser link below.  It saves having to buy anti-bacterial wipes, which contain the dreaded plastics.

The risk of severe illness may be different from person to person.  Some seem to have a mild version, others may die from this dreadful disease. Anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community.  Business’ play a key role in ‘Keeping the Country’s economy going’ as well as protecting their workforce.  They have a huge responsibility.  Keeping their employees two metres apart can be very challenging in many office, factory and warehouse situations.  It is especially difficult if the business’ interact directly with the public at the same time.  Take-aways, Shops, Banks, Garages, Cafes and many others all have customers and staff together.  The 3 S’s below will certainly assist both customer and staff to stay safe.  Please take a look, and then share this blog.  Your action could help save others.

Sanitiser – https://www.bhma.co.uk/hand-sanitiser

Screens- https://www.bhma.co.uk/sneeze-screens-shields

Stay Safe – A message from the Team at BHMA.

Employee of the Month: Hitesh Patel

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH.

January’s employee of the month is our I.T. Manager, Hitesh. He has been nominated for the following reasons:

  • Dedicated & hard working.
  • Problem solver.
  • Being our I.T. Guru.

 

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Hitesh, I am 24 years old and I graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015 where I studied Multimedia Computing. I chose this subject because I was interested in a range of computer-related subjects, but definitely enjoyed the website development side of it the most. After graduating I went onto developing a few websites for myself to enhance my skills further.  I secured my first job with Ideal Shopping Direct where I worked for 2 years before starting here at BHMA.

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Overview of 2018 at BHMA

It always seems a little crazy that in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we somehow choose this time of year to try to set some new goals for ourselves for the coming year! With 2018 coming to a close and 2019 just a matter of a few weeks away, we have decided to do a brief overview to highlight our year.

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Out with The Old & In with The New

For many pubs, bars & restaurants New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest & most profitable days of the year, with customers in and out all day long, New Year’s Eve parties are a brilliant way to encourage families and their friends into your business to celebrate the big night with you and see in the new year.

However, there is nothing worse than putting all of your efforts into creating a great party for no one to turn up. Let’s not let this happen to you this year, we have some great products that will help you with your advertising efforts for New Year’s Eve but can also be re-used throughout the year.

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How to maximise your profits this Christmas

xmas_deadline_article

If you’re not advertising this Christmas you’re missing a trick. You really don’t want to be the one to sit on your laurels and regret it; it may seem like Christmas starts earlier every year but the seasonal window for marketing is short.

Take a leaf out of John Lewis books. Their Christmas advert doesn’t come cheap; it’s well thought out, it’s different every year and it’s designed to create brand awareness and bring customers through the door.  They don’t advertise what’s on offer, they establish an emotional connection with their audience which creates familiarity and leads to loyalty.

Whilst I am sure not everybody has the budget for mainstream advertising campaigns there are still a few things you can do to increase your footfall this season.

Follow my top tips below to ensure your business maximises its potential.

1. Encourage indecisive shoppers with slogans like “Order Now for Guaranteed Delivery Before Christmas” and “Last Few Left”. Make sure you don’t overdo it though and keep it genuine. Customers are smart and will sniff out a rat a mile away when they are spending money, genuine offers will keep them coming back and your generosity will be the talk of the town.

2. Make your window stand out from the crowd, there is nothing more enticing than a festive display. Make it eye-catching, inspire people and link it to your overall promotion. Traditional snowy scenes always work best, we all want a white Christmas at heart!

3. Promote your offers and activities on Facebook & Twitter. If you have a café or restaurant this is the perfect place for showcasing your festive menu. Don’t forget to encourage them to book, let them know your tables are going fast!

4. If your eatery is located near the shopping area, open early and catch the exhausted shoppers. It’s a great time to offer a free mince pie with a hot drink and advertise your Christmas events.

5. Encourage your customers to join your mailing list and provide them with a voucher in return. January is often an anti-climax, everybody is partied out and spent too much and this offers them the perfect opportunity to dispel the January blues, it also gives you a chance to turn them into loyal customers!

6. Don’t forget your website, online shopping is increasing year on year. Create categories that are gift specific, for example a page focused at the perfect gift for him. This may sound simple but it is a tactic that works. Not only will it help a busy and stressed shopper it will display all your relevant products in one place, which may encourage them to buy more!

7. Teach them to share! Social media is an important part of marketing. Invite your customers to share their online deals and in return email them a promotional code to spend on their next purchase.

Christmas is a season that is jam packed with advertising, the golden rules are not to rely on advertising alone but to combine it with perfect presentation, outstanding customer service and a reciprocal gesture.

But most of all enjoy yourself and have a merry old Christmas.

Why do the clocks go back?

clocks go back

October 25th at 2am will see the end to our British Summer Time, this means you will have a shorter clubbing session but on the positive side you will get an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning to push out the zeds, but why do we do this?

William Willett originally came up with the idea in 1907. He wanted to stop people from wasting too much time in bed on a summer morning and published a leaflet called, The Waste of Daylight. William devoted much of his life to trying to convince people that it was a good scheme but sadly died of influenza in 1915, aged 58 before his idea took off.

It was the Germans who finally adopted the plan on April 30, 1916, when they set their clocks forward an hour to 11pm and Britain was quick to follow and brought Daylight Saving into effect just a month later on May 21.

Now, the clocks change at 2am as it is considered the least disruptive time of day, but what else does the clock change bring? Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas & New Year!

It’s not all doom and gloom it’s a first class time for marketing! Everybody loves the first time the woolly pully goes on, the first real fire, the first hot chocolate of the season, it’s a comforting time; make sure your business is promoting the good things in life.

Holler about your Halloween event, chalk up your blackboards and start advertising. This day and age it is never too soon to start chatting about Christmas; make sure your promotions can be seen, locate a table top chalkboard near the fireplace (it’s always a good focal point) make sure you stand an easel and blackboard near the entrance (how can it not be noticed!).

Don’t forget your outside advertising; hang printed banners to promote your seasonal events and proudly display your a-board, remember this is one time of the year you don’t need to concern yourself with what the weather is doing!

Fear not if you are a hot blooded summer lover at heart, the clocks go forward again at 1am on Sunday, March 27, 2016!

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