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7 Ways to Promote and Market your Business

7 Ways to Promote and Market your Business Engage with customers, gather feedback, and welcome suggestions The easiest way to promote and market your business effectively is by talking to customers! You should do this at every given opportunity, through phone calls, face-to-face interactions, and where relevant through surveys published via CRM’s, email marketing, social media, et al. Always establish what you are doing right and what else the customer might buy from you, in terms of products or services. A customer who likes doing business with you, is highly likely, if asked, to open up and tell you what else they buy elsewhere, that they would prefer to buy from you, due to convenience or better service (or simply because they would prefer to give you their money instead of another competitor) Customers will also share feedback on other competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, giving you valuable insight into how you might diversify into other areas of business. Disclaimer: You are not going to get great ideas from every customer and some requests might simply not work within your current business model. No matter. Stay positive and engaged; in a worst-case scenario, the customer will feel more positive towards you, share their conversation with others (word of mouth)  and reinforce the fact you are interested in them (reinforcing loyalty) Speaking with existing customers is the most effective way to boost your promotion and marketing and in many cases, it’s free! 2. Keep your business premises and/or shop front neat, clean, and tidy! The first rule in marketing is to keep your premises neat, clean, and tidy, especially those areas where the general public has access (and don’t think customers won’t go into your ‘off limits’ areas once in a while) The overall presentation of your business, inside and out, tells customers everything they need to know about your professional standards. This sets the tone and leads to those BIG questions a customer is going to be thinking about before they do business with you. For example, can they trust you? Presentation is key to doing business with people, whatever attire you choose to dress in (doesn’t matter) as long as you are clean and tidy and meet their expectations. Also – is your product or service going to meet their expectations and do you pay attention to the details? A tidy business premises say YES; an untidy one says NO (or at least creates doubt) 3. Dress up your business premises and make them stand out from the other buildings around you. This is a massive one! So many areas of business and commerce are bland across the world, no more so than the UK! You only need to do some image searches on Google around ‘high street japan, or ‘Japanese high streets’ to see how dressing up business premises can be done effectively, using colour and engaging signage. Disclaimer: There is a reason why UK business areas and high streets are bland and it very often ties into local council rules and regulations. These regulations tend to be enforced on permanent signage or signage that poses a health and safety issue or is ‘not in keeping’ with the area. You need to box clever, so to speak. There are rarely any regs in place for temporary signage, especially if it’s out of harm’s way and is in keeping with the local area and surroundings. Here is a list of items you can use you dress up your premises at minimal cost: Balloons – Businesses often only use balloons for new openings or special occasions. Why? There is no reason why you cannot place balloons by the business entrance or in a window display regularly. Just don’t leave them in place if they look deflated – nothing looks worse! Fairy Lights – Everyone likes warm glowing lights and they fit in perfectly with most locations. They also look very inviting around doors and windows (internal fixing recommended) Promotional Flags – You will see lots of promotional flags at events, but they are also highly effective at highlighting business premises. You can buy wall-mounted flags or freestanding ones that can be placed outside the premises in the morning and brought at the end of the business day. Be sure to bring them in each day to prolong product life. You will be amazed by how much more your business is noticed by using them! View Feather Flags Trapezoid Flags – These are flags that hang down from an angled bracket; usually set at first-floor ground height or higher. View Trapezoid Flags Bunting – This is a very traditional, fun, and bright product to display externally – customers love it and notice it – giving your business a higher profile. Banners – brightly coloured banners will attract the eye, but be sure to keep them clean, as they can look grubby if left to spoil. 4. Work with your suppliers to offer regular promotions Nothing works wonders than offering customers old (and new) a special deal or offer to increase footfall and sales. There is no business on this planet that wouldn’t benefit by running promotions. Customers are in tune with special offers, promotions and the ‘odd’ bargain – it’s in our DNA, so never discount (excuse the pun) working hard with your suppliers or partners to offer something enticing. It works! 5. Create events around themes This is another underused marketing and promotion strategy that works a treat, especially if you can get experts involved in giving talks and demonstrations. Tie the event into new product launches or special promotions and BAM! That’s gold dust right there! 6. Evolve and Research how your business can change product and service offerings. Set up a new project, away from ‘business as usual’, and do some thorough research into how you can evolve your business, move with the times and pivot this into new product/service launches. Change is inevitable and you must embrace evolving your business, so you stay fresh and relevant. Research can

Hardware Delays and Import Issues

Hardware Delays and Import Issues We have noticed in recent weeks that a lot of printers are running out of hardware on portable flags and free-standing banners. The types of hardware include pole systems, bases, and cartridges. This issue is not going away at the moment and the main causes appear to be rising manufacturing costs overseas, landing costs, import duties, and freight. It’s also been a busy summer, with many printers reporting sales in excess of pre covid levels, which in turn has resulted in a shortage of certain supplies. We have been fortunate enough to keep stock levels at a healthy level, but have had a lot of customers asking for kit they cannot buy from existing suppliers. The pole sets, for example, are not made to a single standard industry size, which can result in customers not being able to source their normal flags. If it helps, we can custom make the flags if we have either an old flag, or an existing pole system. Failing that, we would recommend ordering our flags and pole sets, so you know everything will fit just right.          

Preparation is key when planning for events

Preparation is key when planning for events With events still not confirming before a week or just a few days, it’s little wonder exhibitors are not taking account of their itinerary until the last minute. This is leading to pressure within the printing industry, especially when new flags, banners, and other stand equipment are required at short notice. The print industry is still experiencing supply chain issues, particularly with ink and paper. The recent national shortage of ink is still on a knife-edge. Another issue in the area of flag printing is the shortage of base options for portable flag systems. There is still a great deal of stock still on the water, days, weeks away from UK ports. Most of the supplies have already been sold before they arrive. If you are an exhibitor or you have booked up to have a presence at a show or event, it really pays to dust off the kit you have already, so you can see what needs to be replaced. The sooner you do this, the better prepared you are for sourcing new supplies. For some though, spending money on new items is not very appealing, at least until you know whether your next show or event is going ahead. Whilst this is understandable, it is well worth investing in the minimum you need, using a generic design that can be re-used for future events. There is nothing worse than not receiving important items in time, simply because you missed out by a few day’s notice to your print partners. Another issue that is causing problems is delivery services, which are also being overwhelmed with the increase in timed services, where pre 9, 10, and 12 delivery slots are being used for urgent items. By planning what you need as a minimum in advance makes a massive difference in the long run, ensuring you don’t get caught out if your printer is really too busy to get any items out well before your next show or event.  

Dressing up food and drink trailer units

Dressing up food and drink trailer units When you are selling food and drink at outdoor events, it pays to dress up your trailer or unit as best as you can, especially if there’s competition. At larger events, for example, it does pay to make your unit stand out from the rest. By doing this, you obviously maximise the amount of money and return on investment you’ve made to have the space. There is nothing worse than turning up for a show or event, where you are a little way away from the main footfall. Having large flags with you to help you stand out in the crowds, can really save the event for you, so they are well worth having in your itinerary. The size of flags available, will vary from 2m up to 5.2m. Some customers we deal with secure them up as high as possible, so they can be seen from every conceivable area of the showground or event ground. Another nice feature regarding using promotional flags at events is, they break down into small sections and can be easily stored away in the back of a van or boot of a car. Don’t get caught out at shows and buy a couple for your next event – you won’t regret it!

Nothing quite says open like a flag does!

Nothing quite says open like a flag does! In times of adversity it pays to go back to the basics in terms of telling your customers it’s business as usual, whilst working around the clock to deliver everything promised and win trust. Using brightly coloured flags is a cost effective and simple way to attract positive attention in your business premises and promoting your customer satisfaction ratings is a must. If you run any type of business where hygiene standards are relevant, displaying those 5 out of 5 stars is going to make all the difference too. Nothing quite says open like a wonderful display of brightly coloured flags and they will make customers feel positive towards your business and/or brand. How to design the right flag Keep the layout simple and use single words to describe your business or just use open as the main focus. Use bright and vibrant colours that make you stand out and include any star ratings you have achieved (can be industry standards, Trustpilot Reviews, Trip Advisor Reviews, Hygiene Ratings) Caring for your flags Keeping flags clean, tidy and free from damage is relatively simple, especially if you bring them down each day and store on a flat surface.  

Why we value your customers too

Why we value your customers too At Sailflags, as well as looking after your needs, we also think about how your customers will view your flags and banners too. After all, we want you to look good in front of your customers and we want your customers to feel positive about them also. The basics we generally cover are: Will the design highlight your premises or show stand well? Are they easy to read? Do they look good? Will your customers find them helpful? Will your customers feel positive towards your organisation / business or brand? When we design or proof artwork, occasionally, we do pick up certain issues that may reduce the effectiveness of your display. When this is the case, we will feed this back to you in writing (or over the phone if necessary) In some cases we may adjust the artwork or provide you with an alternative design. Either way, you are under no obligation to accept our recommendations. Whether we have guided you to this page or not, please rest assured, Sailflags will always put you and your customers at the forefront of our thinking. We do however, respect that creative differences can sometimes occur. We are always on hand to speak to you about any concerns you have in respect of design, artwork submitted, so please do not hesitate to contact us.        

Sailflags achieve Plastic Free Status

Sailflags achieve Plastic Free Status Sailflags have recently achieved Plastic Free Approved Status through The Plastic Free Communities Scheme run by Surfers Against Sewage. The company have gone to great lengths to reduce single use plastics within the business by embracing a number of initiatives, including: Packaging products in cardboard, paper (new and salvaged) and recycled or salvaged plastic Using used or salvaged bubble wrap for delicate items Sealing packages for dispatch with paper packing tape Stopped printing on PVC and use a water-based printed fabric Instructed a key German supplier to stop wrapping in plastic bags, saving 4000 bags per year. Expanded and discounted plastic free products Launched a unique “ECOTEX” range of banners & flags, made from recycled materials Trialling a new wooden base for flags In addition: 8/10 of Sailflags staff cycle or walk to work Carbon Neutral for over ten years Most local deliveries are done using an electric vehicle   Peter Williams, Managing Director commented “We need to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and we’ve got to start somewhere. It just seems like a completely natural thing to do. Why put more plastic into the environment? There are plenty of other options available. “It hasn’t been hard at all, in fact it’s been quite easy. Luckily we had already been very conscious of it and we’ve slowly been asking our suppliers to stop sending plastic. If they want to keep our custom they’ve got to do it, so we’ve got slightly the upper hand because we can dictate what we want as a business. “The only plastic we were generating was goods that came in from other suppliers and it’s down to us to put that pressure on. That pressure is passed to us from our customers, so it works its way back through the chain and eventually the manufacturers will start thinking about how they package things and how to start reducing plastic”

5 Top Tips for Retailers in 2019

As we edge ever closer to the end of the year, make sure you finish 2019 with a bang and prepare yourself for successful retail trading in 2020. Here is our list of top tips to help you on your way. Plan your activity in advance and speak to suppliers regarding bulk discounts, promotions and extended terms. Every retail business needs ‘hooks’ in terms of engaging with passers by and existing customers. You will be surprised how receptive customers are to special offers. Make sure you secure as much POS (point of sale) material as possible and be creative in setting up a display. Take a leaf out of larger retailers books’ and present the offers beautifully. Customers will find it very hard to resist a good offer, especially if it’s presented well. Invest in outside signage that helps ‘flag’ your business premises. Moving signage often works best. If you have a tight budget and you have never tried flags before, give them a try. There is many different types available and they often move without much breeze, attracting the eye. Don’t run out of stock! Keep a daily eye on your most popular items and keep a healthy back stock. Talk to your customers and gauge what items they are shopping for this season. Try and identify items they are finding difficult to buy. Gauge what level of quality they are looking for. Gift up popular items and make it easier for your customers to buy for friends and family. Sailflags have been producing flags, banners and displays for the retail sector for over 15 years.

Sailflags Beach Clean

Sailflags staff recently enjoyed a beach clean