Category Archives for "Square Tree News"

Sep 09

Niche to see you, to see you Niche

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Square Tree News

Niche to see you, to see you niche

Today, I made that classic mistake of asking the wrong question on The Content Marketing Academy Facebook group. The question, in question, was about what I should charge for two different types of copywriting. The question, though well intended, was wrong and frankly a little bit naive. Sometimes, like a lot of people, I get overly excited and want to move too quickly.

The question sounded simple enough, but there are so many factors that determine what anybody is willing to pay for anything. I have a much bigger, more fundamental question to address. Who can I best serve?

I’ve already made the decision to be a commercial writer.(If you’re interested you can read ‘the why I write’ blog post here.) That was a big decision for me, but I know that I now need to make an even bigger one. I need to narrow my focus further.

A Nice Niche?

I have worked in marketing communications, software development, publishing and the advertising industry. So it would make sense to focus on one of these areas. That would be logical. It’s where I have more authority and more credibility. But then I look at who I have worked with since launching my business in February this year.

  • A Baby Swimming Franchise
    p36-forsyth

    “Niche to see you to see you…….”

  • A Learning & Development Company
  • An Executive Coach
  • An Event Production Company
  • An Outdoor Adventure Company
  • A Web Development Business
  • A Graphic Designer
  • A Construction Services Business
  • A Commercial Cleaning Company
  • A Mobile Bar Company
  • A Professional Guitar Player

The only thing that these clients have in common is that they have, on the surface, NOTHING in common. Some are B2B, and some are B2C, but as Chris Marr reminded me via his ‘The Marketing Academy Podcast’ I should be thinking about ‘P2P’ – PEOPLE to PEOPLE. In other words – people buy from people. Yes, it’s a cliche, but like most cliches – it’s true.

As arrogant as this may sound, the reason I have won and retained so much of that business is because I made a connection on a personal level. In all cases I work with the business owner, I spend the time to understand them as the unique individuals they are. Unique individuals that run unique businesses.

I’ve gone from the euphoric ‘after conference high’ to ’confused Kev’ in a very short space of time. I’ve probably been over thinking it.

The Non-Niche Niche?

I spoke to a few people today. All have The Content Marketing Academy in common. The advice I’ve received has been hugely valuable, and it’s helped me get the clarity I so badly needed. My niche is a little bit different, but I still think it qualifies as a niche. I want to work with Content Marketing ’True Believers’ that need help with any of their written content. The type of people that are as passionate about content as I am, but just need help producing the volume of written content they require.

And for those that fall into the ‘Write It Yourself’ category, I want to help them by offering practical advice, tips and support.

Final Thoughts

I’m a small man that runs a small business. I don’t need hundreds of clients. All I need is a handful of ‘true believers’ that I can develop deep relationships with. That’s who I can serve best and as far as personal breakthroughs go – this one is priceless.

Jun 01

The Merry Merry Month of May

By Kevin Anderson | Square Tree News

The office door was littered with Post-It notes. A colourful reminder of how far the business had come in a relatively short time. It was a simple way of managing my week, a week which would see me working on projects for five different clients. Yes it was a logisitcal challenge, yes I had tight deadlines to meet and yes at times it was a bit overwhelming. But what a buzz. What a feeling.

Merry Month May

May, our best month yet.

It was the week where it all came together. Each project was different but all were equally enjoyable. It’s only now, a few weeks later, that I understand why that week was so crticial for me and for my family.

Before starting the business, and while employed, I talked about success being measured by my ability to answer ‘yes’ to two key questions. They were –

  1. Am I adding value?
  2. Am I valued?

And the truth was, I couldn’t answer yes to either of them. It’s not to say that I didn’t work hard, I absolutely did, but I never felt that I really added the value that I could, because of the parameters of my role. And although I may have been valued by some, I was never made to feel that way.

Fast forward and now I can absolutely answer yes to both questions. How do I know I’m adding value? My clients tell me. How do I know I’m valued? My clients tell me. But more than that, I feel it. I feel what I do matters. I feel what I do is making a difference, and that it is quite a liberating experience.

Writing Image

I’m making the majority of my living as a writer.

As I reflect on the last couple of months, something else strikes me. I’m making the vast majority of my living through the act of writing. I’ve written marketing plans, social media campaigns, press releases, an awards submission, blog posts, web copy, scripts for videos and social media posts. It might not be a novel or a script for a movie that will be remembered long after I’m gone, but it’s content that has mattered to my clients and content that helped their business, and just as importantly, it’s content that I’ve really enjoyed writing.

I believe that content, like blog posts, case studies, social media posts and animated videos can make a massive difference to any business. They allow businesses, and the people that run them, to tell the stories that make them unique. Stories that make connections and that have the power to change the relationship between buyer and seller. They also have the power to surprise and entertain.

One client told me today that they had a conversation with one of their customers recently. They shared their origin story. Where they started, the struggles, the hard times, to the very successful business they are today. The customer responded by saying “I never knew that?”. That story will be one of the first pieces of content they write on the new blog section of their site. They have countless more tales to tell. Tales that they take for granted, but each one is an opportunity for them to make a connection.

IMG_5732

I see so many business owners investing time, effort and cold hard cash in driving people to their website. Sometimes when visitors arive at the site, the content is good, sometimes it’s awesome but mostly, it’s not. It’s bland, it’s weak and it certainly doesn’t make a connection. I should know. My own site looks fine, but the content is poor, because I’ve been so busy working on client projects and on trying to grow my own business that my website and in fact all my content has played 2nd fiddle to almist everything else. That ends now. Now is the time to create meaningful content. Content that small business owners can use. Content that makes people stop and think. And content that is valued, and adds value.

I’m creating topic lists and ideas that I’ll turn into blog posts and videos, but if anyone has any challenges they’re facing in their own business, related to sales, marketing or business development, I’ll happily tackle that as well.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported Square Tree Marketing so far. That includes my family and friends. And a special thanks to the following companies who have trusted Square Tree Marketing to help tackle their marketing challenges.

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PS – I’ve updated our Animated Video Marketing page with some examples of the work we’ve created in the merry month of May.

Mar 23

Square Tree partners with The Ad Shed

By Kevin Anderson | Square Tree News

I’m delighted to announce that Square Tree Marketing have today agreed a creative partnership with Perth based advertising & design agency, The Ad Shed Ltd. Over the last 10 years I’ve worked with Crawford Mollison (The Ad Shed Managing Director), on various projects. His approach to doing business is very similar to my own, which makes this a natural fit for both businesses. The Ad Shed will provide advertising, design, media buying and print buying services to Square Tree Marketing and our clients.

Untitled design (2)

Similarly The Ad Shed will now be able to offer their clients a broad range of marketing services including marketing planning, social media marketing, search engine marketing and content marketing.

The big winner will be our clients, as we now have the ability to package up complimentary services. This means one point of contact, one project manager, one invoice but critically, the knowledge and expertise of two advertising and marketing professionals with over 40 years combined experience. As a result many clients will now enjoy a one-stop shop marketing, advertising and design service.

The agreement is structured in such a way that neither business will mark-up the others prices – in other words you’ll get the same price if you come to me direct, or if you engage my services through Crawford at The Ad Shed. This was an important part of our discussions, as we want to be completely transparent with our clients and potential clients about how we do business.

Introducing Crawford Mollison, Managing Director, The Ad Shed Ltd.

Crawford has amassed over 25 years experience in advertising and design. During that time he’s worked for top advertising agencies both north and south of the border – including a 3 year spell with J Walter Thompson in London (part of WPP, the World’s largest advertising group) where he worked on Persil, Kellogg’s, Jaguar, Siemens, Boots and KitKat accounts to name but a few.  Having worked his way up to Creative Director level for Strathearn Advertising in Edinburgh in 2001, Crawford then launched The Ad Shed Ltd in 2003.

Cost-effective advertising, design, media buying and print buying are at the core of The Ad Shed’s philosophy and the majority of Ad Shed clients have been with Crawford for around 10 years. It just seems to work!

I’m delighted to be working with Kevin at Square Tree Marketing and see our partnership being hugely beneficial for any clients looking for honesty, experience and professionalism without the technical jargon and fluff. We’re both really looking forward to the months ahead.

(Crawford Mollison, The Ad Shed Managing Director)

 

Feb 27

We Have Lift Off

By Kevin Anderson | Square Tree News

While I’ve officially been in business for a few months, the phrase that seems apt for this week is ‘We Have Lift Off’.

This week I’ve been working with my first two clients. The Water Babies franchise in Dundee and Aberdeen and Complete Cleaning Contracts, who are based in Edinburgh. The two clients couldn’t be more different. One teaches babies to swim, the other offers a range of commercial cleaning services. They have three things in common though.

1. The opportunities came from Facebook

That’s right 100% of my clients so far have found me as a result of my personal Facebook updates. At the time I was really just sharing with my friends the fact that I had left the world of the employed and was about to start the process of setting up my own business. That act created awareness.

2. Both businesses wanted Facebook marketing assistance

Ironically enough Suzie and Steve both wanted help in setting up their own Facebook Page. The motivation was the same – they want to attract leads, they want to convert them and they want to maintain healthy relationships with their client base. The customer base couldn’t be more different, yet the principle of social media marketing will work for both businesses.

Yes, the implementation will naturally vary, but many of the tactics and strategies of effective Facebook marketing can work just as well for both businesses.

3. They were both a joy to work with 

The entire project with Steve at Complete Cleaning Contracts was done remotely, while the work for Suzie at Water Babies was carried out on site, at their office in Dundee. The communication, though different, were equally successful and both Steve and Suzie were a joy to work with. I’m comfortable working from my own office, but I’m equally at home working on site.

SexyMugI admit that it was especially nice to be part of the ‘office banter’ at Water Babies and special thanks to Jill, Jenni and Liz for treating me like ‘one of the girls’. Although the choice of mugs for my morning cup of tea had me slightly worried.

In the very short history of Square Tree Marketing, the last week of February 2015 will go down as my most successful, and enjoyable yet.

What I Learned This Week

  1. I get far more satisfaction working for small to medium sized companies and I believe I can make a bigger impact on businesses of this size. Working directly with the business owner and their team is especially rewarding.
  2. I don’t have to be like ‘other consultants’. I can do it my own way, with my own personality front and centre.
  3. www.canva.com is a brilliant, free online design tool. Anyone managing a blog, website or Facebook page should check it out.
  4. I love ‘Sexy Mugs’
  5. I love working with Facebook.
  6. I know Facebook Pages and Facebook Adverts have the power to deliver for small to medium sized business owners.

Next Week

With that last point in mind, I’ll be launching a range of Facebook Marketing services next week. It’s an exciting time for the business and for me personally.

Once again, I appreciate the support of everyone who has offered me words of encouragement and helped me get to this stage.

Finally though, a big thanks to Suzie, Jill, Jenni and Liz at Water Babies and Stephen at Complete Cleaning Contracts for giving me the opportunity to work with them.

Have a great weekend folks!