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Marketing made simple Your insider guide from the experts


Helping you to get your business noticed Welcome to Yorkshire is here to help your business grow and prosper in England’s finest county. The opportunities for businesses in Yorkshire are huge, and they are getting better. That’s because visitor numbers are increasing every year. As part of your membership package, our award-winning marketing specialists have put their heads together to come up with this easy-tofollow guide to marketing your business. It’s all about understanding what your customers need, identifying your strengths as a business and making sure you shout about them in the right way, in the right places, and to the right people. I hope you find this a useful guide to enhance and develop your marketing activities. We want you to share in the success of Yorkshire as a destination for tourism and business. Good luck!

Gary Verity Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire


contents Customer service

1

Market research

4

Brand identity

6

Website

7

Press releases

10

Social media

12

Marketing literature

14

Events

16

E-newsletters

17

Press trips

19

WTY membership benefits

21

Your page on yorkshire.com

23

Cover Graphic Illustrates our award winning campaigns


1. Customer Service Deliver friendly 5-star customer service No matter how many demands there are on your time, one thing you should never compromise on is customer service. You should always maintain a friendly approach whenever you are dealing with customers – it’s what Yorkshire is renowned for, after all! Remember, happy customers can be your most valuable advocates, but an unhappy customer can seriously damage your reputation. Here are a few tips on maintaining a positive, friendly approach to all your customers: 1. Become genuinely interested in other people 2. Smile (with your eyes) 3. Be a good listener

Encourage your customers to talk about themselves, e.g. ask them about their plans for the day and whether you can help them organise anything.

4. Talk about your visitors’ or guests’ interests Find out just a couple of things about them which you can raise in conversation. 5. Make your customers feel important And do it sincerely. Use their name – it matters and makes a huge difference when you do. 6. Treat your customers with respect Treat your customers like you would treat your grandmother – with respect, helpfulness and care.

Encourage your customers to talk about themselves, e.g. ask them about their plans for the day and whether you can help them organise anything.

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7. On the phone, let your personality shine through

Try smiling when you answer – it really does make a difference to your voice.

8. When dealing with a complaint, don’t take it personally

Try to empathise with your customer – it helps you to find a speedy resolution. Never raise your voice or enter into an argument. Remember, a complaint provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your awesome customer service by putting things right.

9. Learn about your local area and some of Yorkshire’s key assets

For example Yorkshire has two World Heritage Sites (Fountains Abbey and Saltaire), two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Nidderdale and the Howardian Hills) and three National Parks (Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and the Peak District).

10. First impressions are vital, but so are final impressions

For accommodation providers, make sure your check-out procedure is as impressive as your check-in.

To experience ‘Yorkshire Pride’ training, based on ‘delivering 5-star customer service on a 1-star budget’, go to yorkshire.com/pride or contact Kim Broderick on 0113 322 3528 or kbroderick@yorkshire.com.

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2. Market Research Research is the foundation of an effective marketing campaign It’s a fact that companies that understand their customers and their buying habits are able to sell more effectively, are more competitive and can identify new opportunities faster. Good market research is the bedrock of any successful marketing campaign – in fact, of any successful business. Know your visitor/customer It’s essential that you understand your marketplace and the customers or visitors you want to attract. Welcome to Yorkshire has invested heavily in visitor research and market intelligence and has completed an extensive three-year survey to find out more about the county’s visitors. This information is gold dust to any tourism business. You can find out more at yorkshire.com/industry. Knowing about your own customers, their buying habits and what they think of your business is vital too. It will help you to adapt your sales processes and marketing materials to directly target your customers. Work out what questions you need to ask to obtain this information and include them on feedback forms or in your own research programme. Prioritise your target markets Identifying your target markets will help you create stronger and more effective marketing messages. It’s useful to create a ‘pen portrait’ of your target customer – think about who they are, what they are like and what drives them to buy. Put this in front of you next time you’re writing some promotional material so you can address your target customer directly. Know what your competitors are doing It’s good to know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to stay one step ahead. As aggressive as it may sound, you must exploit your competitors’ weaknesses. Know the market trends You need to understand your market, so you can be proactive and lead the way, not just follow others. To help you do this, you should know: • Whether demand for your products or service is growing or declining. • How are customers buying now and how will they buy in the future? • Are there any products in development that could make yours obsolete? • How much do your competitors charge and do they have any special offers? • What promotional and advertising tactics do your competitors use? • Are there any legislative changes coming up which could affect your market?

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3. Brand Identity How to create a strong brand identity You don’t have to be a big company with a huge budget to have a brand – small businesses have great brands too. Your brand is simply your business’s unique identity and personality. It’s not just a logo and strapline – it’s reflected in the way you present yourself to customers, the products you offer, the service you deliver, the personality you project and the tone of voice you use. Your brand identity should be reflected in every piece of literature you produce; across your website, your signage and in the behaviour and attitude of you and your staff. A strong brand differentiates your company from others and can instil trust and loyalty among customers. Understand your strengths and values To determine your own brand identity, you first need to identify your strengths as a business and the values that define you. For example, do you offer fine cuisine, luxurious décor and deferential service, or are you all about family fun, quick and cheerful dining, and a bubbly upbeat style of service? These characteristics and values need to be reflected in the logo and strapline you choose and in the way your marketing materials are designed and presented. They will be evident in the type of language you use to describe your business and promote it to customers. They will also determine the type of offers you promote and the target audience you want to appeal to. If you find it difficult to define your own strengths and values, it might be helpful to find out what your customers think they are. This is where market research can be very useful (see page 4). There’s no sense in inventing an identity that does not reflect the reality of your business and the way you are perceived by customers. Be consistent Once you have developed your brand look and style, you need to be consistent in the way it is presented across all your marketing and advertising materials. Your employees need to support your values too, and must live and breathe them in everything they do. Over time, customers will become familiar with your brand identity, they will know what to expect and, if you live up to your values, they will come to trust your brand.

You don’t have to be a big company with a huge budget to have a strong brand.

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4. Website Optimise your online presence Your website is probably your most important and most accessible promotional tool. It needs to look professional and to effectively sell your business to customers. It also needs to be easy for people to find using search engines. Here are some top tips for developing a really effective website: 1. Write good content

Don’t be too wordy, keep it succinct and to the point. People will lose interest if they cannot quickly find what you are offering or what they are searching for. Try to include a good number of keywords, while ensuring your text remains engaging and readable. Keywords are the terms people use to find businesses like yours in internet searches.

2. Use high-quality images

Choose visually engaging professional photos where possible. Poor quality, outdated images will make your site look amateurish. You can download free, high-quality images of Yorkshire at yorkshire.com/industry.

3. Integrate social media

Incorporate your social network plug-ins onto your site, e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. These can help to raise your profile and drive traffic very quickly.

4. Use open source web software

Software such as WordPress Blog or Google Maps API are free and an under-used resource. It can add valuable technology to your website.

Choose visually engaging professional photos where possible. Poor quality, outdated images will make your site look amateurish.

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5. Film

Films can be a cheap and easy way to entice visitors to your attraction or guests to your accommodation. Remember to host it on YouTube and Vimeo for greater visibility and to reduce hosting/bandwidth costs. You can download free high quality films of Yorkshire at yorkshire.com/industry

6. Google Analytics

This is a powerful free tool from Google which allows you to track your visitors, their habits and conversions. It is quick and easy to install and will help you to understand the performance of your site.

7. Don’t use too much animation

This can annoy users and distract their attention from what you’re trying to say. It can also make your site slower to download and navigate.

8. Don’t overcrowd the screen

Keep your design clean and simple, and use contrasting colours. Don’t put too much on each page as it could confuse visitors.

9. Engage with your users

If website visitors contact you via a web form or on Twitter or Facebook, respond to them promptly and politely.

10. Promote special offers

These are an easy way to attract sales at either low or no cost to your business. Users love them and they often lead to further business.

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5. Press Releases How to hit the headlines Sending out a press release can be a great way to get news of forthcoming events, product launches or special achievements into the media. But you can’t simply send out sales messages or adverts for your business in a press release – it has to be newsworthy and relevant. Remember, reporters are busy, so the easier you make it for them the better your chances of getting the story printed. Give them all the information they need so they don’t have to do any extra research. Journalists like new, quirky stories, award wins, big anniversaries, human interest, unexpected events or local celebrity. If you don’t have any news, you can always make some; grab attention with a PR stunt that will make people notice and create a good photo opportunity. Here are some key points to bear in mind when writing a press release: • Start with a strong, attention-grabbing headline that creates intrigue and encourages the journalist to read on. •

Open with a dynamic first paragraph that tells the story in a nutshell. Don’t leave your news to the end of the press release – the journalist may never get that far. The first paragraph should contain the key messages you want to get across. The rest of the release fills in the details.

• Include one or two interesting quotes from real people. Choose a spokesperson for your business, which could be a manager or owner – and give their full name and position. • Make your release concise and punchy – no longer than one side of A4. • Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. • Include a good photograph, in jpeg format (max 1MB), if possible. A picture can significantly increase the chances of your story being published. • Include your website address and give the contact details of at least two people who can provide further information or comment – journalists like mobile numbers.

Make your release concise and punchy – no longer than one side of A4.

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6. Social Media Join the conversation and raise your profile Joining social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a great way to spread the word about your business in an informal way. Strong sales pitches are taboo on these sites, but there are ways you can talk about your business and contribute to relevant discussions that will subtly help to raise your profile. Here are some tips for making the most of social media: 1. It’s not a sales tool – use it to connect with people. As a rule, a maximum of one in every ten tweets or status updates should be sales orientated. 2. Listen. Why should people listen to you if you don’t listen to them? Take time to read other people’s updates and comment on them. 3.

Facebook updates should be treated more delicately than Twitter entries. Facebookers have invited you into their personal timeline and if you abuse that privilege they may ‘unlike’ you. It’s then very difficult to win them back. Aim for one Facebook update a day.

4. Be human! Put some personality into your updates. Avoid churning out corporate messages; instead, express yourself as if you were talking to a friend. 5.

When setting up your Facebook presence, make sure you create a ‘page’ (facebook.com/pages/create.php), not a ‘profile’. This gives you an increased level of privacy when people ‘like’ you and enables you to make your page more interesting with custom areas.

6. Put your Facebook and Twitter handles on your website and on all emails you send. 7. Keep an eye on it! Social media is active 24 hours a day so always check what people are saying, especially if they are talking about you. 8. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build up a large number of followers or fans, so stick at it by updating and contributing regularly. 9. Encourage your staff to get involved. They will see your business from a different perspective and can offer insights that you might not be able to. For example, you could ask your chef to show off his latest addition to the menu. 10. People love free stuff! Perhaps offer a discount code only through Twitter or Facebook, or run a competition for people to win free entry by re-tweeting one of your tweets (the better and more unique the prize, the better the response will be).

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7. Marketing Literature Communications that stand out from the crowd Whether you are producing brochures, sales leaflets, direct mail, newsletters or any other piece of marketing literature, you need to have a plan and to develop a consistent style of presentation as outlined in section 3, brand identity. Here are a few guidelines for producing your own marketing literature: 1. Make sure your marketing style is consistent by applying your brand guidelines. This will enable your audience to instantly recognise you, and what you represent, each time they see a piece of your literature. 2. Develop a strapline or a key message and use it on all of your documentation and marketing material. Keep it snappy and memorable. 3. Use good images. A great picture can work wonders. 4. Use simple language that will inspire your audience. Don’t overcomplicate your message with jargon. Plain English and clear statements will work much more effectively than flowery language and complicated sentences. 5. From your market research you should already know who your target customers are and what they need to know about you. Make sure you tailor your messages to deliver this information. 6. Use a marketing plan to tie all of your activity together and coordinate your campaigns – building on each activity throughout the year. Use AIDA to guide your marketing plan. Your materials should aim to generate:

Awareness of your business

Interest in your service or product

Desire to buy or experience what you are offering

Action – a customer contact, visit or purchase

7. Evaluate and review every piece of activity, so you can understand what worked well and what didn’t. Refine your planned marketing activity to ensure you continuously improve.

From your market research you should already know who your target customers are and what they need to know about you.

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8. Events Put your business in the spotlight Hosting an event is a great way to showcase your business, create a buzz and show people what you have to offer. You can use events to unveil seasonal offers, generate PR and get people talking about your business. Meeting people face-to-face is the perfect way to create strong relationships, develop cross-promotional opportunities with other businesses and build brand loyalty. Here are a few tips for planning and organising your own event: 1. Decide why you want to hold the event – make sure you have a clear purpose. Perhaps you have a new attraction or bedrooms to promote, a new menu or new facilities to launch? 2. Decide who you’d like to invite. Who is the event aimed at? 3. Think about timing – avoid clashes with other events. If you want to invite other businesses, think about a time that works for them – breakfast events may not be popular with accommodation providers who will be busy with breakfasts and guest check outs. 4. Send out your invitations – excite people, give them a flavour of what to expect, inform them of any practical arrangements. 5. Work with local connections to add value to the event – food sampling, guest speakers and add-on extras that don’t cost anything. 6. On the day, think about the atmosphere – lighting, music and heating. Are your staff fully briefed? Decide who is going to welcome guests and deliver the presentations – choose someone who is a confident public speaker, or draft in a local celebrity or relevant business person. 7.

After the event – follow up. This is essential. Collect the names and email addresses of everybody who attends. Send an email to thank them for coming and alert them to future opportunities. Attach a feedback form to request their views on your event. This will help with planning of future events.

Work with local connections to add value to the event – food sampling, guest speakers and add-on extras that don’t cost anything.

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9. E-newsletters Read all about you! E-newsletters are an effective, low-cost way of communicating with large numbers of customers or potential customers. To build an effective programme of e-communications the style of the e-newsletter needs to be professional and consistent in order to enhance the reputation of your business. A poorly written and presented e-newsletter with little relevant information can do more harm than good Here are a few top tips: 1. Make sure your e-newsletter has a clear purpose

Have you had a refurbishment, do you want to update customers on new products or are you looking to promote a special offer? Decide on the purpose of your newsletter and stick to this when deciding on your content. It’s a good idea to have a theme. Develop an annual plan for content that delivers your key messages in a timely and appropriate way.

2. Link your newsletter to your company’s website or blog

In return, promote your e-newsletter on your company blog or website by including a sign-up form.

3. Stick to a set format

If you stick to the same format, readers will start to feel familiar with your newsletter. Choose a single typeface for all of your headlines and limit headlines to two sizes; one for your principal stories and one for secondary stories. This helps readers to quickly identify the most important topics.

4. Create an effective template design

Ensure the design template is engaging for the reader when displayed in a preview panel. The first few seconds when the e-mail is seen determine how likely it is to be opened. Keep the design simple and easy to read.

Featuring stories about satisfied customers can be extremely persuasive to other potential clients who may just need a little bit of reassurance.

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5. Feature relevant, good-quality content

Create relevant content for the time of year or audience so people can immediately see why they have received the e-mail, making them more likely to open it. Focus on incorporating your company’s personality so the reader gets to know your ethos as well as understanding what you are selling or promoting.

6. Encourage feedback from your readers

Provide a feedback form or an email address so readers can get in touch. Incorporate any suggestions into future issues to ensure you meet your audience’s needs.

7. Feature free, helpful tips relating to your expertise

These tips should be useful to your readers. They are also a good way of positioning your company as an industry expert.

8. Include satisfied customer testimonials

Featuring stories about satisfied customers can be extremely persuasive to other potential clients who may just need a little bit of reassurance.

9. Don’t send too many emails

If you bombard your customers with emails, they will soon get bored and start deleting your messages without reading them. Only email your customers if you have something new or interesting to tell them.

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10. Press Tips How to be the perfect host If you run a hotel, B&B, restaurant or visitor attraction, hosting journalists can be a great way to get an impartial review of your business into print. However, you need to ensure the journalist has a good experience so they have nothing but positive comments to make in their report. Here are some simple rules to follow when hosting members of the press: Be prepared Check all the booking details for the journalist and let all key staff know who is visiting and which newspaper or magazine they are writing for. Offer a warm welcome Generally journalists like to be treated like any other visitor. It is really helpful to allocate a key member of staff to personally introduce themselves and ask if there is anything in particular they need. Be remembered Personally offer a business card. Welcome letter Provide a personal letter of welcome highlighting brief details of special offers you would like the journalist to feature in their article. Promotion Make sure your website and contact details are on everything you give to the media.

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Make sure you have a stock of three or four terrific images that you can send out to the media to show off your business.

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Images Make sure you have a stock of three or four terrific images that you can send out to the media to show off your business. Group visits Timings on group trips are crucial. Keep your part of their itinerary as tight as you can, e.g. if you are hosting a lunch, pull out all the stops to ensure service is as efficient as possible. Be flexible Journalists’ plans often change, so please do what you can to accommodate this. And finally You’re flying the flag not only for yourself but for Yorkshire. If you ensure the journalist has the best possible stay they are sure to tell the world about your business and how wonderful our county is! Help from Welcome to Yorkshire If you’re daunted by the prospect of hosting a press visit, don’t panic – help is at hand from the experienced team at Welcome to Yorkshire. We can act as facilitators, assisting the journalist with queries before and after the trip, and providing them with your contact details, images, special offers and brief details about your business. We will also send you cuttings of any articles published.

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WTY Membership Benefits How to make the most of your Y membership This guide provides marketing tips and advice to help you grow your business and be successful. In addition, it’s important that as a Y member you take full advantage of the membership benefits available to support your marketing activities. Here’s a reminder of all the benefits of Welcome to Yorkshire membership – and how to access them. Showcase your business at yorkshire.com • Create and update your dedicated page on the award-winning Welcome to Yorkshire website as often as you like. See page 23 for more information. • Login to your member area on yorkshire.com/industry to promote and upload your offers, packages and events. Your login details will be sent to you when joining. Display your Yorkshire branding with pride • Display your Welcome to Yorkshire plaque prominently at your premises, wear your Y badge and use the Welcome to Yorkshire logo on your marketing literature. Download a copy at yorkshire.com/industry. • Display free Welcome to Yorkshire literature at your premises. Visit www.infodisplay.org to register. Tip into specialist marketing expertise • Use the tips and advice in this guide to help you attract more visitors • Enhance your brochures and website with the professional photos available from our image library at yorkshire.com/industry – free of charge. Raise awareness of your business • Get involved in our prominent campaigns promoting the county – see yorkshire.com/marketingopps for details. • If you have a PR story to tell or if you’d like to host a journalist, contact Dee Marshall on 0113 322 3505 or email dmarshall@yorkshire.com. • Follow us on twitter @welcome2yorks or @wtymembership and become a fan at facebook.com/welcometoyorkshire

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Enhance your training and networking • Join monthly member events and workshops, and get reduced rates on courses run by Welcome to Yorkshire partners. See the full list at yorkshire.com/memberevents Save money • Enjoy exclusive advertising rates in our publications and website. Go to yorkshire.com/marketingopps for details. • Discounts and preferential rates are also available from a host of product and service providers, including Streamline credit card payments, Ellis Bates Insurance, Ware & Kaye LLP, Crown Decorating Centres and other WTY supplier members. See yorkshire.com/industry for details. Stay informed, advised and up to date • Look out for our monthly e-newsletters and dates for your diary e-news, along with our quarterly research digest. You can download our annual digest of Yorkshire events for use on your own website at yorkshire.com/industry. For all your membership enquiries, call 0113 322 3564, membership@yorkshire.com or visit yorkshire.com/industry

Login to your member area on yorkshire.com/industry to promote and upload your offers, packages and events. Your login details will be sent to you when joining.

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A5 Ad

Your page on yorkshire.com Optimise your free yorkshire.com web page As a Welcome to Yorkshire member, you get a free web page entry on the awardwinning yorkshire.com website, which attracts more than five million visitors. It’s the ideal place to promote your business to people interested in visiting or working in Yorkshire. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of this great opportunity: 1. Go to yorkshire.com/yourbusiness to create and update your page on yorkshire.com 2. For hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation providers, website visitors can check availability when they visit your WTY web page. You will appear more often in our searches, and get more bookings, if you use an online booking provider. A full list of providers that we pull availability from can be found at yorkshire.com/yourbusiness 3. You can include up to six photos on your web page, so make sure they’re up to date. Try to use pictures that show your business on a sunny day, and show some of your best rooms or features, as well as views of the local area. 4. You can use up to 750 words to promote your business, but the most successful entries keep it to around 350. Be friendly and honest in your description. Double check your spelling and grammar too. 5. Make sure your web page shows your full address, website, telephone number and email address. 6. Facilities and accessibility – you can update these by using the forms at yorkshire.com/yourbusiness 7. Login to your member area on yorkshire.com/industry to promote and upload your offers, packages and events. Your dedicated member login details will be sent to you when you join. 8. Tell people about your entry, “Share on Twitter” buttons and Facebook “likes” are available at the top of your profile.

Try to use pictures that show your business on a sunny day, and show some of your best rooms or features, as well as views of the local area.

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Marketing Made Simple  

Your insider guide from the experts at Welcome to Yorkshire

Marketing Made Simple  

Your insider guide from the experts at Welcome to Yorkshire