Small businesses shouldn’t be afraid to get help with their marketing

Due to time and budget constraints, small businesses often overlook the significance of marketing. Here’s why we think you shouldn’t, especially now that the government has launched the Growth Vouchers programme.

Why ask for marketing advice?

A marketing plan helps make sense of your business environment – understanding your customers, your competitors, how to operate, and sell your product and services effectively. In today’s crowded marketplace how you position your brand and communicate, and on what platforms, is critical to success.

Too often, marketing is overlooked or left to someone who has little marketing experience. Increasingly, operations need to be lean and efficient, particularly for starts ups and small businesses. However, considering marketing as an area that does not merit investment can be detrimental. You wouldn’t leave your accounting to someone with no finance experience (we hope!).

Time and time again we have been approached by businesses that have realised they need a marketing intervention. Often, they have spent time and money inefficiently trying to do their marketing themselves with little knowledge or experience. Often, they realise that they need to backtrack and start from scratch, clarifying what it is that they want to achieve. Marketers can help you realise your goals without the pain of trying to struggle through it on your own, optimising your investment.

Effective marketing isn’t achieved through ad hoc actions or a cowboy approach. There’s deep thought and well-researched planning that backs up a smart strategy or successful campaign. Hopefully, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it pertains to every other area of running a business.

How can we help?

We will work with you and advise on how to develop an effective, sustainable marketing strategy. With 18 years of experience, our team can provide invaluable expertise, such as PR & media planning; branding & identity; social media and digital advertising.

As a small business you can benefit from the resources of a full-service agency with precise, targeted campaigns and strategy. You’ll be able to draw on the knowledge of all our team members, each with years of experience in their fields. And as a Growth Voucher Adviser, you can receive excellent value for your investment with Sans Frontiere with government subsidies.

About the Growth Vouchers programme

The government’s £30m Growth Vouchers programme delivers support to small businesses in England through the use of subsidised business advice. You could get a voucher to help pay for business support in Marketing & Customer Services.

As an approved Growth Voucher Adviser you can solicit the services of Sans Frontiere and receive 50%, up to £2000, back from the government. You will have to be able to match the amount with your own funds.

The Growth Vouchers programme is available to small businesses in England who are actively selling goods and/or services, have a turnover no greater than £45m, own 75% or more of their business, and have 250 employees or less.

Learn more about the Growth Vouchers programme

Business Advice on Marketing, attracting and keeping customers


Chantal Yeung Dresner is the Digital Marketing Manager at Sans Frontiere. You can contact her at or call 01273 487800. 

Don’t ignore the value of PPC

If you’re launching a new website this year, chances are you want people to find it straight away. However, Google’s indexing and algorithms mean it can be difficult for new sites to compete for traffic.

Think about it like this – if you open a restaurant on a street that gets no foot traffic, and there are many popular restaurants already on the high street, you’re going to need to get people’s attention on the high street to get them into your new place.

Recently, Sans Frontiere launched a new game site for a long-standing client for a short-term competition they were running. Because the site was set up as a game that is mostly functional, there was minimal text content, making it less ‘crawlable’.

We quickly discovered that despite promoting the URL in all campaign messaging and materials, hopeful entrants were simply searching the competition name in Google. Often this is because Google search bars are set as address bars in browsers, or plain old user habit.

What does this mean? The new website, despite having the competition name as the URL, was not coming up in Google’s search results. Entrants were quick to point this out.

Our client was keen to get people entering their competition as quickly as possible, as it was only running for 6 weeks. They asked us to ‘fix’ it – but unfortunately there’s no magical solution that will get your brand new website instantly ranking number one on Google.

So, we recommended using a Google AdWords campaign to ensure entrants would immediately find their new site when searching in Google. They only needed a very small budget and it worked a charm.

Some think that people never actually click on Google Ads at the top of their search results. However, in our experience, no matter how big or small, the budget gets used up because people are clicking on the ads. There’s no shortage of Internet traffic and searches, and people like to be signposted to relevant pages. If campaigns are costing money – then people are obviously not ignoring the ads.

Many people seem to think of PPC as cheating somehow. To us, PPC isn’t ‘cheating’; it’s a quick win and a vital part of our digital marketing strategies that go hand-in-hand with other activities. It’s particularly essential for new websites or new product launches. Also, it can be key if it is impossible for you to highly rank organically for a search term.

SEO is a slow, long game. It shouldn’t be discounted, because in the end, you will want your website to rank as highly as possible in organic search results. But it doesn’t get immediate results.

If you want maximum impact and are on a limited timescale, or you want fast results for a launch, then PPC should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.

Chantal Yeung Dresner is a Digital Marketer at Sans Frontiere. If you would like to learn more about PPC, you can contact her here

Make friends & influence people with a Sans Frontiere online loyalty club

Ferroli’s brand new online loyalty club is now open for business and signing up members, thanks to Sans Frontiere’s digital design and development expertise.

Installersmate is much more than just a website; as well as a range of benefits for plumbing & heating engineers who install Ferroli boilers, the key offering of the site required Sans Frontiere to utilise the web services of a third party organisation by using their API.

This complex back-end development work allows installers to make their boiler installation notifications with Gas Safe Register – something they are required to do by law – via Installersmate with Ferroli paying the £2.20 fee for them. The success of this project involved precise adherence to Gas Safe Register’s requirements, which we achieved thanks to our digital expert knowledge and dedicated account management.

Building brand loyalty is achieved by giving the customer what they want; Sans Frontiere’s experience of marketing within the energy sector meant that we knew what Ferroli’s customers would be looking for, and it didn’t need to be over-complicated.

As well as free Gas Safe notifications, Installersmate provides installers with a secure place to keep a record of all their Ferroli boiler installations, a quick and simple way of registering their customers’ valuable warranties and regular competitions, plus a points-per-purchase rewards scheme planned for 2015.

Installersmate also comes with a great business-building tool – an email reminder service that tells both the customer and the installer that the boiler’s annual service is due. By programming the system to trigger an email to both parties six weeks before the anniversary of the installation, Installersmate helps to build loyalty between the installer and customer and protects the reputation of the brand by encouraging best practice.

The creative design of the website reflects Ferroli’s branding, which is both striking and familiar to installers, and has a friendly ‘face’ that was meticulously selected to appeal to our target market.

If you would like a loyalty club that helps you connect with your customers and develop your brand, contact Sans Frontiere today – we’re always happy to chat.

Sans Frontiere invited record numbers of visitors to “Tuck into the Best of British”

To promote the three glorious days of the 2014 South of England Show, Sans Frontiere delivered a basket of goodies encouraging visitors to “Tuck into the Best of British Countryside” and enjoy the best of British agriculture, equestrianism, horticulture, food and drink, country crafts, sports and many other activities.

Our creative was rolled out across press, radio, TV, online and social media and attracted over 70,000 people to the Showground, a record number of visitors to the region’s largest event of its kind.

Plans for the Autumn Show & Game Fair on 4th & 5th October are now underway and we look forward to delivering a similarly successful campaign.

The Autumn Show & Game Fair is a great day out for fans of hunting, shooting and fishing, with lots of attractions to entertain the whole family.

Sans Frontiere dazzles with a multi-platform campaign for fashion and health brand

When Eyesite asked us to promote their new range of sunglasses to existing customers, Sans Frontiere Marketing knew a multimedia campaign would hit the mark in terms of both impact and budget. Our marketing strategists have used their strong experience of direct mail, email communication, retail display and social media to reach a wide demographic audience with high style values.

Our design team began by brainstorming ideas for a creative piece of direct mail that would prove virtually irresistible when it landed on customers’ doormats. The winning idea was to create a wallet that emulates a leather sunglasses case which opens to reveal an 8-sided DL flyer showing a range of fabulous sunglasses for men and women.

Our creative director developed the visual to feature a map of the world with a spotlight on seven sunny, glamorous destinations and images of selected stunning frames. The call to action invites customers to pop into their Eyesite branch to try on as many frames as they like and, importantly, to book an eye test if needed.

To reflect the high value of the products we are promoting for Eyesite, this two-piece multi-folded item needed to be a superior quality item and thanks to Sans Frontiere’s experience of print buying and long-standing relationships with our suppliers, we were able to deliver an excellent product at an affordable price. We also designed a bespoke envelope and accompanying letter.

The creative concept was developed by our digital studio to create an email that also contains a link to Gucci’s promotional You Tube video so that customers can see the frames in more detail. We created four versions of the eshot tailored for each of the four branches with an inviting subject line that was personalised to their location.

To spread the message to the wider communities of the four Eyesite practices, Sans Frontiere’s PR department delivered pitches to the regional newspapers and magazines showing tempting high res images of selected sunglasses that would make perfect content for features on spring and summer fashion & accessories. Through our established network of contacts with our media targets, editors’ interest was piqued and coverage is set to roll in.

New customers will also be attracted to come in-store by the dazzling poster designs for A-boards that now command attention in the shopping districts of Brighton, Reading, Winchester and Oxford.

Sans Frontiere Marketing has been creating multi-platform communications designed to increase sales since 1997. We present marketing initiatives to support your sales division and help you to achieve your business goals. We will make sure that your brand and your brand communication channels, your website and online presence, your brochures and advertising, are kept up to speed with the latest technologies and creative trends.