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Spirus Marketing
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Spirus is run by Jo Riches & Tania Verdonk Speak to us about 'Marketing for Sales'
Spirus is run by Jo Riches & Tania Verdonk Speak to us about 'Marketing for Sales'

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Building your brand – where do you start?
Building your brand can strike fear into the heart of any business, especially when your success means you are time poor. You probably know it’s more than just coming up with a great logo – but what else should you be doing?

What is a brand?
This can seem vague, but is essentially everything about your business that the outside world can see or experience. It definitely includes your logo, letterhead and the look of your website. These need to be consistent and look professional. But it also includes the parts of your business that are not just about the design of your marketing materials. So your brand is also your messaging, your corporate history and storytelling, customer service, the way you communicate with customers and staff, your reputation and ethics.

In fact, thinking about your brand identity starts way before you consider hiring a designer. Your brand encompasses every aspect of your business and the way that it is perceived. When helping clients to create their brand, we ask them to think about who they are as an organisation.
Read more!
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Cambridge Open Studios begins this weekend!

PR and communications has been our remit for the sixth year running for local artist organisation Cambridge Open Studios. We've thoroughly enjoyed working on this campaign and meeting so many new members.

July sees the start of Cambridge Open Studios, during which artists open up their workshops and give visitors a peek behind the scenes over the first four weekends. It’s one of our favourite times of year as we always we get to meet artists from a huge range of specialisms, including fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture making, among others.
This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to see artists at work, discuss their inspirations and techniques, and to browse, purchase or even commission their work. Visitors are guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome - and no pressure whatsoever to buy anything. Cambridge Open Studios is completely free to visitors of all ages.

Our PR and communications tasks have included arranging interviews for Open Studios’ artists with the press, local TV and on the radio. This year we'll be sending out several different press releases to secure editorial coverage in the media. What’s more, you may have spotted our lamppost banners around Cambridge, adverts in print media or information stalls with Open Studios’ branded yellow balloons.

This year artists have been asked to provide works of art in a heart support of the proposed Arthur Rank Hospice to be sited at Shelford Bottom - which still needs to raise almost £3m. Members of the public are then invited to bid on the hearts while visiting the studios for a chance to own the unique artwork.

The event will run on the weekends of July 2/3, 9/10, 16/17 and 23/24. The famous yellow Guide Book for Cambridge Open Studios is available shops, galleries, tourist information centres, Park & Ride sites and more. Alternatively, you can download a free Guide Book from the website. For updates and insights follow on Facebook and Twitter

So get out there and discover your local artists!
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Four steps to a killer marketing plan

Decide on your goal
If you don’t know the destination, how will you get there? It is vital to decide what your business wants to achieve with your marketing, so that you can take the right steps to achieve your goal. http://bit.ly/1WuqPMf
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Spirus supports Government Campaign. At Spirus, we’ve been honoured to produce supportive awareness material to help raise the profile of the Government’s PREVENT initiative, which aims to stop young people from joining extremist groups by confronting their opinions with alternative, moderate viewpoints – work that does not criminalise young people, but aims to support them. http://spirusmarketing.com/spirus-supports-government-campaign/
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Compulsory number display – the ethical telemarketing perspective
In the news this week we read that the government would like to force companies who cold call to display their numbers, in an effort to reduce the negative effects of “nuisance calls”.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is reportedly expected to announce the legislation change in late April, to take effect from 16th May. As a telemarketing consultancy providing a valuable marketing for sales service for our customers, we naturally take an interest in this area, and share the government’s stance on discouraging rogue and nuisance callers from intruding on people’s lives. We also know, though, that tarring all telemarketing and telesales operators with the same brush is neither relevant nor constructive.

However, forcing companies to display their number would certainly would make life difficult for legitimate, caring companies like ours; but not, perhaps, for the reasons you may think. So why is it necessary to withhold your number when you “cold” call? 

In the business to business area where we operate, we can call between 30 to 40 companies each hour; but on average, only get to speak to 10.  On seeing a missed call, many will call back, representing potentially 30 companies calling us back wanting to know who called.  Now, we don’t mind that too much in theory, as we would happily speak to them. However, we work for multiple clients, so it would be tricky to know instantly which each particular call related to.

Secondly, our clients usually prefer us to call on their behalf, as though from within the company, rather than appearing to use an external service. Withholding our own number means we can represent them in the most authentic way, which gets a better response from prospective customers and is a reassurance that this is a genuine call. Someone calling back will be greeted with the Spirus welcome; but they won’t necessarily know who “Spirus” is, which won’t help the ensuing conversation! We have worked with many of our clients on this basis for several years and we really are very much part of their team, providing a valuable marketing and sales function. We are ambassadors for their brand, and it is always in our mutual interest to respect the people we are calling. Most are not “cold” contacts in the usual sense, and usually the service we are calling about is extremely relevant and useful to the recipient; we don’t get our success rates by accident!

Perhaps most importantly though, these measures simply won’t stop rogue companies from making nuisance calls because, as the name indicates, they are rogue.  They don’t care about who they harass or annoy.  To them, you are simply a number, one of thousands to be ticked off an automated list. That approach is so very different from our own values about telemarketing, which focus on building relationships, connecting with real people and a genuine desire to be helpful and have really good conversations. Plus, unless you have had previous contact with a business, you won’t know who each number calling you is anyway, so it won’t make a meaningful difference to the people receiving the calls; the only ostensible benefit is the opportunity to report specific nuisance callers to the regulators.

We openly applaud initiatives like the Telephone Preference Service.  Everybody should have the right to choose whether they would mind being approached in this way.  It makes life easier for us too as we certainly don’t want to call people who would rather not be called. However, there are many instances where telemarketing and telesales can be a very valuable and important part of business, creating new relationships, contacts and opportunities which simply can’t happen in any other way. Telemarketing is a fantastic and often irreplaceable part of a strong marketing or sales campaign, and when handled well will also go a long way to building positive brand awareness. We would hate for all unsolicited calls to be immediately assumed to be “rogue” or “nuisance” when so many times they are welcomed as the valid communication channel they are.

So how do we solve the problem of nuisance calls?  Having a blanket approach that will disadvantage telemarketing companies like ours, as well as their clients, is not the solution.  Perhaps the answer lies in closer co-operation between government officials and the telecoms and internet companies involved, to deal with the rogue companies causing the problem. Showing the punitive measures that will be taken for nuisance calling may also help to discourage persistent offenders; for example, a firm in Brighton was fined £350,000 in February for cold-calling, having made more than 46 million nuisance calls. In the meantime, companies offering a genuine service such as ours have nothing to apologise for.  
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Spirus appointed as PR and communication providers for East Cambridgeshire District

Spirus, based in East Cambridgeshire, is delighted to announce it has been awarded the new PR and communications contract for the District Council.

Selected by Chief Executive, John Hill, after a two round interview process, they will now divide their time between their office in Burwell and the council offices in Ely.

This new partnership will bring new resource and a fresh perspective to proceedings, thus enabling Spirus to effectively communicate ECDC’s four year Corporate Plan and its key priorities. Spirus fully recognises the responsibility of this role and through active engagement will accurately inform local residents of what is being done to achieve the council’s overriding aim of making East Cambridgeshire an even better place to live, work and visit.

Since the merger of marketing, PR and events consultancy, Jo Riches Ltd, and telemarketing experts, Blue Warthog, in 2013, Spirus has steadily grown, working with global organisations to well-known high street brands, as well as securing contracts with various Cambridgeshire-based businesses spanning many sectors.

Senior Communications Director, Jo Riches, says: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with East Cambridgeshire District Council.  As a business owner and resident of ECDC, I have a great personal interest and we’re really looking forward to being part of local projects.  The four year Corporate Plan has a diverse list of priorities, which will present an exciting challenge, one we will tackle with great enthusiasm. We are looking forward to meeting the management team and councillors, and putting together a powerful PR & communications strategy. Our in house team has an exceptional range of specialisms and experience, from research and telemarketing, to copywriting and PR, and we can’t wait to get started.”
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It's not enough to be on social media any more - you need to be visual to get the best results for your business!

See why and how in our latest blog post...
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“Hello, it’s me, I was wondering if after all these years you’d like meet, to go over everything?”

Not only do these moving, emotionally-sung lyrics from Adele – one of Britain’s finest female artists – strike a chord with us, they are also a strong reminder of a key question that companies should ask themselves on a regular basis… When was the last time I made contact with past clients and leads?

But don’t worry… you don’t have to pick up the phone and sing in the dulcet tones of Adele to make them aware that you’re still alive. For a start, they’ll probably think you’re being a tad overdramatic!

Although just five characters long, the little word of ‘hello,’ followed by a casual (but always professional) chat, scheduled for various times throughout the year, can be enough to keep you in the frame for future business, avoiding the chance of being lost at sea.

So next time you hear that wonderful song, let it be a reminder, an inspiration even, to get back in touch with people you once discussed business with. And if you don’t have time to do this, or would like someone else to do it for you, then we would be more than happy to oblige.
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