Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy

Michael Austen is the boss of Big Van World, the UK's largest used van supermarket based near Swindon. He started selling vans from a caravan in 2000 and now his business is turning over close to £18million. Brought up in the circus, his dad owned Austen Circus and his entrepreneurial spirit clearly inspired his son.

This month, Michael turns 40 and he'll be sharing over the next four weeks 40 things he's learned in business and in his sector. This week tips 11 to 20 are around marketing which, he says, is a different discipline to sales.

  1. The right advertising to the right audience - I started off advertising individual vans and cars in the Thames Valley Autotrader and I still use that resource today though it’s online. Someone who is looking for a van right now will look at this kind of site.
  2. Sponsorship - we sponsor several successful motor cross riders who are well known in the UK and overseas and that raises brand awareness over time. This also speaks to my personal passion for this sport. People who love cars, vans, bikes will be part of this tribe too.
  3. Community – be part of a community. We sponsor Cricklade Cricket Club because as a local business, employing local people it’s good for brand awareness to give back to the community. This shows potential customers you are committed to a community and keeps you front of mind.
  4. Social media & SEO – digital marketing is becoming more and more important to raise awareness to potential future customers. Those who might want a van in the future or who might know someone who does. We recognise we must embrace this.
  5. Public relations – tell stories more widely around your business. This investment shows the local and wider community that things are happening in the business, it celebrates the people in your business and it allows you to become known as a voice in the business community.
  6. Good signage at your premises – this can be easily forgotten or seen as something obvious. However people need to know where you are, the signs need to be clear from all directions into your premises as this gives visitors confidence they are in the right place. This is especially important if your premises are remote.
  7. Branded clothing for staff – this may not be suitable for all businesses however when you have sales staff it’s important that people know they are talking to a member of staff and feel confident about it.
  8. Great website – ensure you have a good website which is easy to read, user friendly, has appropriate contact details and showcases up to date information.
  9. Invest in marketing assets – have banners which are kept up to date, flyer information which is accurate and carry it with you so you can share when appropriate – and give those assets to any member of your team who are ‘out and about’.
  10. Don’t be afraid of trying something new – sometimes you can try something new to get the word out there, sometimes in marketing you have to take a risk such as putting your name up on that billboard, offering help to that local charity. New opportunities can come from unexpected places.
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Fiona Scott
Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy
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