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Special Guest: Business Marketing with Emma Raines

Nov 3, 2021 | Business Finance, Special Guest | 0 comments

This episode of the Money Compass podcast was published on 3rd November 2021. You can listen again by heading to our Episodes page, or on your favourite podcast player.

In this Special Guest episode Emma is joined by marketing whizz Emma Raines, owner of Example Marketing and Web Design – a full service marketing agency who specialise in helping small businesses get noticed.

Emma’s Top Tips

  • Marketing is important for any business – it’s no use having a business if nobody knows you exist!
  • One thing that a lot of business owners are guilty of is trying to say what they think they want to say, rather than coming at it from the other direction which is what does the customer want to hear that’s actually going to make them choose me over somebody else?
  • A marketing expert can free your time up so you can spend your time doing what you are good at.
  • Good marketing should be seen as an investment into your business rather than a cost. If you, do it well you will make any money spent back many times over.

 

Marketing

Emma Knights 
So today I’m joined by the lovely Emma Raines from Example Marketing. It’s lovely to have you Emma.

 

Emma Raines 
Thank you, lovely to be here.

 

Emma Knights 
And do you want to tell everybody a little bit about who you are and what it is that you do?

 

Emma Raines 
Sure. Well, as you’ve said, my name is Emma. Emma Raines.

 

Emma Knights 
Great name!

 

Emma Raines 
Well, of course. It gets confusing. We have another Emma in our office as well so it gets very confusing.

 

Emma Knights 
I must admit when we get emails from you and someone says “Emma just said this” and I’m like no I didn’t!

 

Emma Raines 
I think everyone should just change their name to Emma. Anyway. So I am founder of Example Marketing and Web Design with my husband Gavin. And we are what I would loosely describe, I suppose, as a full service marketing agency which means we cover lots of different areas of marketing for our clients. We are a small team based in Dereham in Norfolk, and we work with lots of small businesses to help them get their businesses noticed.

 

Emma Knights 
Very good. So I noticed you use “loosely” in your description of what you do. Why do you say that?

 

Emma Raines 
Well, I think it’s probably dangerous to describe us as a full service marketing agency because they’ll always be something, potentially, that we we don’t do as strongly as some other agencies do. But otherwise, I’d list loads of different things that we do do.

 

Emma Knights 
Fair enough. So what made you get into marketing? How did you end up founding Example Marketing?

 

Emma Raines 
Well, getting into marketing was a pure accident that happened a long time ago. I’m always surprised if anyone is intentional in their choice of marketing as a career, but for me, it was an accident. It started off as this sort of sideways step just because an opportunity came up that was better than retail management, which is what I was doing at the time.

My first role in marketing was working for the BBC on their kids magazines, so on the Bob the Builder magazine. It was really quite fun actually. So that was that was where I started and then it was really just a series of sort of upwards moves in various marketing roles. That took me to my most recent what I call ‘proper job’, which was marketing manager for a publishing company in Norwich.

I suppose I got sort of, well, I got to the point in the corporate ladder where I looked at the next step up and thought that’s not for me. There were too many meetings about meetings. I was just a bit fed up of it really and also I wanted to do something that felt a bit more fulfilling in terms of helping people. Sometimes I felt like marketing was a bit soulless. And by coincidence, I’d married Gavin who was also a marketing director. So there seemed to be an opportunity there for us to sort of gather our collective wisdom and do something a bit different with it.

So we took the plunge and launched Example Marketing thinking, well, we’ve got a lot of skills between us and if we can put those to good use helping other local businesses then that will feel a lot better and will feel like a really good thing to do. And something that that we can really enjoy. So that’s sort of how we ended up where we are. And we’ve been in business now for nearly eight years, and we’ve grown as a business since then. And it’s all continued to go well, so yeah, that’s that’s where we are now.

 

Emma Knights 
Very good, so both being from marketing backgrounds do you ever clash on the direction that you’re taking things? Or do you have similar kind of views on things now?

 

Emma Raines 
We have similar views. I think there’s always differences sometimes, particularly if there’s a bit of creativity involved, because obviously, that’s really subjective. So there’ll be times when I think something looks alright, and he doesn’t, but that’s good. It’s good to have those differences of opinions as well because, you know, that’s the same with any audience that you’re putting some marketing in front of, not everyone is going to have the same opinion. So it’s quite good to thresh those things out sometimes and try and figure out why one is maybe objectively better than the other for what you’re trying to achieve.

 

Emma Knights 
Fair enough. So is there an area in particular that you specialise in with your marketing.

 

Emma Raines 
I think as a business it’s more in terms of a client base, so small to medium businesses who are keen to grow but maybe don’t quite know how to do that themselves or have the skills to do that themselves or the time, arguably.

We work with clients from lots of different industries from financial services, through to charities through to spa maintenance people and all kinds of things. In terms of what we offer, as I said, it’s sort of a full range of stuff, but I guess one of our real strengths is building websites for clients. Right through from thinking about what should be on there, writing the content, getting it all looking fabulous and working well, putting in place the sort of building blocks from a search engine optimization perspective as well so that once it’s out there, it has the best chance of being found. It’s no good having something there if nobody sees it.

 

Emma Knights 
That’s very true. Very important. So you say about working with small businesses to grow their business. So what would you say is important about marketing that helps a business to grow?

 

Emma Raines 
Well, like we’ve just said, it’s the same sort of principle really, it’s no good having a business if nobody knows you exist, because you’re never going to get any customers. And marketing is such a broad term. I mean, that does cover things like word of mouth marketing, where somebody just goes and tells their mate that they’ve had a really good experience, which is not something we can really make happen. That’s going to partly be down to the service that a business provides. But relying on that alone is not usually a good principle for businesses. So it’s about making sure that people know you’re there and telling them the right things about your business so that when they need you, they know where to come. And they have all those sort of positive first impressions that mean that they actually get in touch and do whatever it is you want them to do, be that buy something or employ you to help them with whatever it is that you offer.

 

Emma Knights 
Okay, so why do business owners tend to use somebody? Why don’t they do it themselves? Now, I know there’ll be certain things they wouldn’t know how to do and that’s why you’d use someone else but someone that has the knowledge, why wouldn’t they do it themselves?

 

Emma Raines 
I think there’s a number of reasons, one is time. I think every business owner will know that time is something you can never have enough of. And so I would always encourage business owners that it’s best to use your time doing what you are best at, which is presumably whatever you set your business up to do. Handing over the marketing to someone else sort of eases a big old workload off you and so you don’t have to worry about that side of things.

I think it’s also true that people may have some good skills in that sort of marketing remit and there are a lot of tools out there now which help people be able to deliver stuff. So things like design. I know a lot of people use Canva and obviously social media makes some marketing feel a lot more accessible. There’s a lot of website builders, that people can use to build a website. But I think there is a big difference between the quality perhaps of what someone can produce themselves and what a professional team can produce, it’s the same with anything really.

 

Emma Knights 
It’s the reason we have experts.

 

Emma Raines 
Exactly. So we’ve had clients come to us before, maybe they’ve even gone as far as designing a leaflet and would like us just to print it for them. And we’ll see it and diplomatically have a conversation with them about the fact that maybe we could have a go and tweak it and make it look better.

That’s kind of when the penny drops, when you then deliver something that’s been designed professionally. They’re like “Oh, I get it now. Okay, you can do it from now on!” Because it does make a difference.

 

Emma Knights 
Definitely. When you say that it always makes me think of my dad. He has his own business and there’s a village magazine, he’s always had an advert in there and I had one put in there as well for myself. When I look at the two side by side I think you can tell he did his himself. He came in the other day and said I’ve run out of business cards, this is my last one, I looked at it and said it looks like you’ve just printed that out on Word and cut them up a little bit and I think you can have something much better than that. So eventually he’s actually come around to the the idea of needing something that looks a bit more professional.

 

Emma Raines 
It’s not only what something looks like, I think getting the right message across is really key. And one thing that a lot of business owners are guilty of is trying to say what they think they want to say, rather than coming at it from the other direction which is ‘what does the customer want to hear that’s actually going to make them choose me over somebody else?’ And that is a really key part of what we do, trying to sort of climb into the shoes of whoever your customer is, unpicking all the things that you’ve got to offer and figuring out what is it they want to hear that’s really going to make them buy into you as a business.

So there’s lots of different elements, you know, the design is one side, the messaging is is equally as important, if not more so.

 

Emma Knights 
I suppose even when it comes down to actually printing them out, the quality, how they feel, the texture of them and all those things kind of add to the senses of someone who’s receiving that and how they’re going to respond to what they’ve been given.

 

Emma Raines 
Yeah, exactly. It all helps build your brand. So you know it does depend what your business is and what your key selling points are and what you want to get across and actually, you know, funnily enough a business card for some businesses may be all they need. But I think for a lot of businesses, particularly those that may be are targeting higher end customers and really want to get across quality then something as simple as the card that you get your business card printed on, you know it might sound silly, but it does it does affect how someone perceives you.

 

Emma Knights 
So, we’ve talked about marketing and websites and bits and pieces, but what do you do when it comes to actually branding? So if a client came to you starting a new business and had absolutely nothing, where would you start with helping them to create a brand?

 

Emma Raines 
Lots of questions. So I always ask loads of questions and listen really carefully to the answers. And usually one question leads to a load more because what I really need to get to the bottom of is obviously what you’re actually doing so the nuts and bolts of it. But I think more important is trying to understand the sort of character of your brand, how you want to make someone feel, what makes you different to someone else. You know what your character is, if it’s a one man band and how to get that across.

We do ask practical questions like ‘do you have a colour you particularly want to use or ones you particularly don’t like?’ and things like that, but often it’s about interpreting the softer side of things really, to try and make sure that comes through because it’s important to get that right, because that’s going to influence everything else that comes after that point.

 

Emma Knights 
Is it something that obviously you’ve spent so much time asking questions when you kind of deliver that to someone you’re normally quite close with what they want? And then it’s just a few tweaks here and there or?

 

Emma Raines 
Usually, thank goodness! We always come up with a few different examples with people to choose from and we will quite often come up with a couple that we think are may be safer options that are quite close to the discussion that we’ve had. We might chuck in a wild card to see the reaction because sometimes actually, people don’t know what they want. And they might come sort of saying, ‘oh, I want something that’s blue and square’ and what have you and actually you chuck something else completely different in that’s maybe taking a slightly different perspective on the things that they’ve said. And that can really sort of surprise people in a good way.

I mean, we have had a couple where you go round and round the houses, and it’s really frustrating. And I don’t think there’s anything we could have done differently in those circumstances. I think for some people it’s a big commitment when you’re branding your company and so I think some people are just so worried about saying that they keep trying to tweak things. And, you know, we do our best to accommodate that. We can sympathise.

 

Emma Knights 
How difficult was it to choose your own branding then?

 

Emma Raines 
Hard! We’ve rebranded once completely since we began. And I think that is something important that businesses shouldn’t be afraid of doing. If you’ve started in one place and think, ‘do you know what that doesn’t fit me anymore’ then, you know, start again, reinvent yourself. We did that. We had a much more corporate logo and we wanted something that’s much more fun and approachable because we felt that was much more us. So we went through quite a process there and we threw a lot of the rules out that was the thing. So when it comes to using our logo, sometimes we’re like oh, man, we’ve made our life really hard for ourselves. But we were aware of that at the time.

It was hard though, we actually worked with a couple of different designers. Despite the fact that I think probably at that stage Gav still did quite a lot of our design in house. We’ve now employed another graphic designer, I think we worked with a couple of different ones just because we were like, no, we’re not getting there and wanted a fresh set of eyes and sometimes you need that. That’s another good reason for businesses to work with us. With an external agency is just that fresh pair of eyes on things that can really make a difference.

 

Emma Knights 
Someone to look over different things as well. I know we’ve sent things to you and you send them back to us and we look at them and think wow, why did we not do it like that? It was so simple, but so effective and makes such a difference.

 

Emma Raines 
Sometimes it’s the simple things which can make a huge difference.

 

Emma Knights 
Definitely. So, when we think about marketing, I’m sure some people think, oh my god, that’s so expensive. I could never afford to do that. What kind of costs are involved in the sort of things that you do?

 

Emma Raines 
It really varies, that’s the answer to a lot of marketing questions. It depends. It depends very much on what the objectives are, I suppose.

So there’s a few different ways to unpick that I guess. As a business, people sometimes don’t know what they should be spending on their marketing. And, you know, obviously one answer to that is what you can afford. But people like a bit of a rule of thumb so as a guide, sort of 5% of your projected revenue is a good budget to have in mind if you want your business to stay still. 10% if you really want it to start growing and up to 20% if you have got maybe a product launch or want to move into a new area.

That helps people maybe see what they maybe ought to be investing in their marketing and I think that’s the key thing. It’s an investment – it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost. Because, obviously done well, you’ll get that money back many times over.

But in terms of what people are going to spend that on, it really depends where they are in the stage of their business and also what they want from it. So I think you know, obviously when we’re looking at a brand new business, for example, we might be looking at designing their logo, which would be a good starting point. Usually they may need things like stationery, which they may want to print so you’ve got a design and a print cost there. It’s a good idea to launch with a website. So you’ve got your website to design and build and host as well, which is an ongoing cost for any website no matter how it’s done.

But I think people then think right, I’m done. That’s it. And that’s obviously not the case. So it depends where people want to go from there. Really, I mean, it’s a good idea to spend some ongoing budget on your website in terms of optimising it, keeping up to date, maintaining it, because that’s often going to be the first place people find a lot of businesses or at least somewhere they go and check you out. So even if they found out about you some other way, it’s somewhere people go to have a look to check how credible you are and what else you do.

And then from there, I think it depends whether people are operating locally, whether they’re operating nationally, what budget they have to play with, obviously, as a new business that’s got to come from somewhere. And so it is really varied and there’s no right answer because there’s so many different ways to slice and dice you know, from there, you could look at paid search campaigns, things like Google ads, you could look at printed stuff, so brochures and if you’re going to be out and about seeing people, direct mail campaigns, email marketing, you know. There are so many different things that you could bring into the mix and it’s just identifying which is going to be best for your particular sort of objectives and your business.

 

Emma Knights
It depends on the type of client and everything like that, and how they tend to find people.

 

Emma Raines
Yeah, where they are, what sort of buying stage people are at as well. You can approach people in different ways and what resources you have. So you might market in a slightly different way if you’ve got capacity to follow up with phone calls, for example, whereas if that’s never gonna happen, you need something that’s sort of hopefully going to close those and convert on its own without any kind of intervention. So there’s lots of different things to think about.

 

Emma Knights 
So you’ve mentioned about investing in your marketing and it’s not a cost, it is actually investing. Would you say from investing into good marketing is kind of directly linked to business growth?

 

Emma Raines 
Absolutely. Yeah, I think any business is going to struggle to grow significantly without some kind of marketing. It keeps your pipeline topped up.

I think that’s one thing a lot of businesses are guilty of. They spend a bit of money on their marketing. They get the new business as a result of it and then they stop because they think right well, I’ve got a new business. And then, you know, obviously it depends what your business is but that pipeline gradually empties. And people think, oh, now I should do something. And that’s a bit of a dangerous way to operate really because there’s a lot of benefits in having some kind of marketing the whole time so that people know where you are. And you know, you don’t want to miss someone who could be a great client, just because at that point in time, you were quiet on your marketing.

 

Emma Knights 
Fantastic. So would you say that you’re seeing any kind of trends in marketing at the moment, like things that people tend to be asking for more regularly, that some of our listeners might want to consider for their own businesses.

 

Emma Raines 
I think there are a couple of things, I suppose one, which I won’t talk too much about, is social media marketing, because I think probably most of your listeners already know what that is and probably doing something there. Although I would say that sometimes businesses fall into the trap of thinking they have to be on social media and they have to spend a lot of time on it. And actually, sometimes your time and your budget could be much better spent on something else. So that’s just a sort of little word of warning on social media marketing. And also related to that, people doing paid social media campaigns without any experience or any knowledge because you can very easily just throw a load of money away. So that’s another area to be careful about.

 

Emma Knights 
I’ve heard horror stories about that. How much people have paid and not received anything off the back of it.

 

Emma Raines 
Yeah, yeah, it can be a bit of a dangerous one. But I think the other thing which maybe people are less aware of but it’s becoming more important is more around the branding and messaging side of things in relation to this kind of sustainability piece, or the kindness economy is another phrase that’s used, but it’s it’s sort of all around the fact that I think in the past people would maybe buy more based on price or on quality. Now people are becoming much more interested in some of the other things around a business.

So it’s this sort of triumvirate of people, profit, planet, and businesses that are proving that they are giving more consideration to people and planet over profit. I think that’s going to become increasingly important. People are more concerned about who they’re buying from, and maybe the broader implications of that. So getting those messages across within your marketing and letting people know some of the good stuff that you’re doing is really important, but I think it has to be done in such a careful way. So it doesn’t just sound like greenwashing.

 

Emma Knights 
A subtle kind of indication that this is what we do.

 

Emma Raines 
Yeah, exactly. And making sure that runs through everything that you do and it’s not just a sort of stuck on the end type thing. So I think, I think in terms of where marketing is going, I think that the messaging around that kind of stuff is going to become even more important.

 

Emma Knights 
Okay, sounds really interesting. So have you had a favourite project or marketing piece that you’ve worked on yourself?

 

Emma Raines 
I think there’s one that I can’t talk about. We’ve been working on a new website. And it’s been probably our biggest project to date. And it’s something that again, I feel quite personally passionate about. It’s a lovely team of people and just to see point A where their existing website is and point B which is what’s coming over the hill is really exciting. I can’t wait to get that out into the real world.

I actually really like working with new companies, because there’s so much that we can do to help get them off the ground. It’s difficult because we kind of need to work with a new company that has a bit of budget behind them, which not all do, but that’s just being realistic. If they’re going to pay for our help they need to have something to get them started. But I love the fact that you’re looking at the whole package and helping them build things from the ground up so that they’ve got the best chance of that business succeeding from the off because they they’ve got all the right things in place to get out there and start shouting about stuff. So I do really like those kind of projects.

 

Emma Knights 
I suppose it’s kind of similar to us, where you start at the very beginning with someone and you kind of hold their hand all the way through it. And then you see them spread their wings and fly and see how successful they are. And it’s just a proud moment.

 

Emma Raines 
It’s always lovely when a client comes back to us obviously and says, Oh, I get a lot of compliments about how great my website is, and that kind of stuff really, you think oh, we really made a difference there that’s going to really help them grow their business and become more successful.

 

Emma Knights 
Very nice. So if our listeners wanted to get in touch with you to find out about marketing for their own business and how they could grow their own business, what is the best way for them to get in contact with you?

 

Emma Raines 
The easiest way would be to go to our website, which is just examplemarketing.co.uk that way you can find out a bit more about what we do there. Obviously, there’s phone numbers, there’s email addresses on there.

 

Emma Knights 
And you can see a good example of a website that you have designed!

 

Emma Raines 
Well quite yes. So that’s great. We are on social media, but we’re a terrible example of social media marketing because we’re too busy looking after other people. But you can find us on Instagram, it’s we.are.examplemarketing on on there as well.

 

Emma Knights 
Fantastic. So just before I let you go, there’s one more question that I haven’t prepped you with. So hopefully this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. As we are the Money Compass and we love a bit of travel, what is your favourite holiday destination?

 

Emma Raines 
Oh, I do love Canada. Gavin and I went to Canada as part of our honeymoon adventure I’m going to call it, and I totally love it. We are really outdoor type people, we love hiking and that kind of thing. So we got a camper van and did a bit of a tour around the Rockies, which was wonderful. I would say that’s probably one of the favourite places that I’ve been although we do love a UK break.

 

Emma Knights 
Where’s your favourite UK break?

 

Emma Raines 
Well, I love Cornwall but I haven’t been down there for a little while. But I’m desperate to take my son down there to you know, splash around on the beaches and everything. Yeah, so I have to say that’s probably my favourite.

 

Emma Knights 
Fantastic. Well, thank you very much for joining us today Emma. It’s been a pleasure to have you and I’m sure we’ll have you back in future if it’s not been too terrifying.

 

Emma Raines 
No, it’s been lovely. Thank you.