Perfect Layout Digital Marketing visits local businesses regularly to talk about how they established their business and how they are getting on. The aim is to acquire knowledge and insights inspired by these business owners’ personal experiences.
Perfect Layout believes that sharing knowledge is a way of helping other business owners develop. We are passionate about promoting the fantastically, creative and varied companies that are all around us in Essex.
Read our interview with founder of Baby Bears Upminster – a weekend baby and toddler group.
Business name – Baby Bears Upminster
Owner – Hayley Worton
Location – Upminster, Essex
Tell us a bit about you?
When I went on maternity leave I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to teaching full time. I had done that for 15 years and felt that it was perhaps time to do something different. I thought about running a sensory group or something along those lines. At the end of the first year after my son was born, all the mummy friends that I had met returned to work. I realised that I didn’t see them anymore. They couldn’t take their children to classes either, as they were working. My son also suddenly stopped seeing his friends. My partner Jon and I had a chat about running a weekend baby and toddler group. We have started by running it once a month, so that it doesn’t eat too much into our own family time.
How long have you run Baby Bears? Can you explain what happens during a session?
We started it in August 2018. We were very lucky in that many of the items we use in the playgroup were donated from a local school and the community. I have a trailer to take things back and forth. My mum makes the cakes for us and does the refreshments. Each session has different toys for the children to play with, so that there is variety each time they come - we even have puppet shows. At the end of the session we have songs, bubbles, parachute etc and we sing happy birthday to anyone who has a birthday that month. They also get a birthday card too.
In the new year we are introducing messy play. We are also aiming to bring in other local businesses to showcase their products and services to the parents attending. Companies that we have invited include: Painted Peppermint, Logan’s Plate, The Little Letter Company. In December, all parents will have the chance to get a free neck and shoulder massage.
Where are your premises?
It’s at St Lawrence’s Church Hall in Upminster. There are two halls in the building. We started in the smaller hall but have recently moved to the bigger one. It is more practical for the refreshments as it has its own kitchen, as well as allowing us to hold more families in each session – 25 families vs 15 families.
How did you come up with your business name?
After my son, it’s his nickname.
Did you need any formal training?
Not specifically for this role, as I am a qualified EarlyYears Teacher I am transferring my skills from that to the playgroup.
A recent Facebook post shows that you are fully booked in November and many of your December places are filling up fast; so business is going well. Do people book in blocks in advance?
Yes, they book online, which secures their place. Payment is taken on the day. The price is £4.50, and it includes homemade cakes and refreshments.
It’s unusual to have weekend groups. Do you find that both parents attend? Or do you find that it’s a chance for the parent that is working during the week to do some one-to-one, baby bonding?
I get a lot of families coming altogether although there are some dads who come on their own with their children. Sometimes grandparents and aunties join in as well. I have had some parents comment that they are surprised when we say that the whole family is welcome as there are some groups that only allow one parent. We welcome everyone and we ensure that dads feel comfortable coming on their own.
I have also had a group of NCT parents come together too. It’s lovely so see the word spreading and new people attending.
Do you have anything special planned to celebrate the Christmas season?
We are having a Christmas Party with Father Christmas and have an elf dropping by. We are finding out how old the children are and what they are in to, so that we can buy an age-related present that the children will enjoy. The play session will be all Christmassy too.
“I really loved the session. My husband joined us and he didn't feel out of place as there were lots of other daddies there too. It was nice to play as a family and meet other families too!
Setting up a new business comes with its challenges. What would you do differently if you started over?
Storage has been the biggest issue. It would be nice to have a hall with storage. Unfortunately, the one that we are using now, doesn’t. We had to buy a trailer to take things back and forth. The trailer also needs to be stored. So, if we could do things differently it would be to get the logistics more aligned.
I also need to find a way to stop the repeat offenders who book and then don’t show up. I’ve noticed some people who book several slots in advance, but then don’t show up. It’s a shame as it means someone else could have used that space. We are not at the point of taking money in advance, as it’s such a small amount, but if we were bigger, it would be something I would investigate.
What are your hopes for the business?
Continue to be fully booked for every session. I’d like to secure the bigger hall for all of 2019. I want to arrange more themed sessions. As I have done already, I would like to bring other local businesses into each session to give them some publicity.
I want to add an educational slant to my sessions by adding numeracy and literacy activities. I have lots of ideas I just need to get them out of my head and action them.
Do you have a marketing strategy?
Not a structured and regular one, as such. I post regularly on the Baby Bears’ Facebook page and then I post out to other groups on Facebook. I am listed on Mums Guide to Romford. I also have a poster up in the Soft Play in Harold Hill. The business has grown from friends and word of mouth. A few mums have told me that they found me on Netmums.
I know I need to do more, but as we have strong numbers at this point, until we upscale, our marketing efforts are working.
Your business is doing well on social media, but have you thought about growing your business with a website?
Yes and no. I don’t think I have time to manage a website. Social media is more on the go. I don’t know how that will help me at this stage, with the business only running once per month, but when this grows there may be a need for it then.
If you would like to find out more about Baby Bears Upminster go to:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/babybearsupminster
You can also book places by visiting: https://bookwhen.com/
The end of another year is almost upon us and as a chapter closes, it’s always a good idea to reflect upon the events of the preceding months. At Perfect Layout we regularly work on the business in this manner. It’s a positive way of learning and growing the business – as well as learning and growing ourselves as successful people and business owners.
Once in a while we also think that it’s really important to blow ones’ own trumpet. To boast about the good things that are happening in the business and to give each other a cheesy high five! So, read on to find out about our most recent success stories…
Revamped website for Antino and Associates
One of our most recent clients came to us seeking help with his current site. It was old fashioned, clunky and outdated. Whilst the content was good, it was too technical, and it wasn't the right tone for their ideal clients.
Based in Chelmsford, this Chartered Surveyor wanted a website that highlighted his skills to do with: party walls, injunctions and being an expert witness. The owner works across the UK and wanted his website to reflect this, whilst giving focus to East London, Norfolk, Cambridge and Essex.
We worked with him to achieve a website that was attractive to all. It needed clear navigation, relevant images and monthly blogs. His site went live 30 August and all of the keywords we are monitoring are already ranking well. Happy days…
Make-over for RBSS Consulting
This client came to us as a result of a networking event. He felt that our services were just what he needed. He wanted to update his website and to be found by more local businesses. His website already had a good amount of content and used video to help draw in traffic from different avenues.
Based in Romford, this Business Consultant, was ready to invest in his business. He requested that we write new content that was keyword rich. Our aim was to maintain the language of his profession as well as describing his services in a way that would appeal to potential clients. We also repurposed the blogs that were on his original site.
For a site that was relaunched on 1 October, to date his website is doing remarkably well. All of the keywords and keyword phrases that we are monitoring have appeared on page 1 of Google search. We will continue to apply our digital marketing strategies to ensure that his website remains in those top spots. Another satisfied customer…
One year on for Arco
Last month, one of our clients reached their one-year anniversary. Arco, run a central heating and plumbing business in Collier Row and have clients across, Romford, Upminster, Gidea Park, Chelmsford, Shenfield, Billericay, Brentwood, Harold Wood and Dagenham.
They came to us wanting their site to be more visible. Their previous website had been built by a big, well known, website provider. The previous website did not rank highly and neither did it generate new business leads.
This company is now visible on page one for the following search terms: central heating Romford, central heating Dagenham and central heating Upminster. We are still working with them on implementing some basic digital marketing strategies.
But what’s holding them back, I hear you ask? Are there actions that we should have taken but failed to do? No. The truth is, that like many businesses, there has got to be time put aside to work on the business. If not, the results just won’t be as they should be.
We are passionate about what we do. We get excited when websites we’ve worked on show up on organic search in the number one spot or within the map pack. Our job is to ensure that this continues to happen and by working alongside our clients (however busy!) we know that this will become a reality. Watch this space…
We'd love the opportunity to do SEO for your website, our to discuss how we can bring more leads to your door with no upfront costs to you. Call us on 01708 578 015 today!
Recently, I have been motivated to have a clear out. Now, I’m not just talking about having a clear out of my sock draw. I’m talking about a full on, whole house, clear out of everything! Every room in the house has come under my scrutiny. Every area of storage. Every single pen and pencil are being reviewed for ink levels and colouring quality. If it’s not got a use, it’s being offered to family, friends, the local charity shop or being taken to the tip.
It was whilst undertaking this manhunt of rubbish that I came across the above inspirational words that I’ve made into this meme…yes, even the storage on my phone is being reorganised and deleted! Now whilst the Perfect Layout memes are usually insightful words of wisdom created by our team – this one was not.
They are words that I’d noted whilst reading. Unfortunately, I was careless and forgot to note the authors name. But when I came across these words they really struck a chord. Number one–the words were super relevant to my current state of spring clean and number two–they were super true!
As part of our continued professional development, we are subscribers to Audible by Amazon. We don’t have shares in the company (if only!) but I cannot recommend highly enough having access to this resource.
It allows you to listen to the minds of great, businessmen and women that have made their fortunes. Whether or not your entrepreneurial path is the same as theirs, their message of how you can change things within you to become a success is relevant to all.
From the 26 books that I listened to last year (impressive right 😉!), there were many over-lapping messages that came from the authors. One of these nuggets was about not letting non-essential thoughts get in the way of you becoming a master of your destiny. That by writing a list of all the niggles in your life and resolving each one, it would free up valuable head space to concentrate on what mattered.
Now whilst I believed in this principle, I never got around to fully doing this as life got in the way. That is until recently. I can now write about this belief and say that it works.
I have been amazed at how the deep cleansing process of my home has also given me a much needed mental cleanse.
I can actually feel and see a space in my head which was formally occupied by my mad mutterings of how much the garage made me sick. I could never find anything in there! But now, I feel the transformation is happening. I just wished I’d acted sooner!
Is it time for change in your business? Have you sat around thinking about what to do but are unsure about which path to take or too fearful about taking the plunge? We can help lighten your burden by offering a listening ear and giving practical advice. Don’t leave it like I did.
Act now and set your business transformation in motion today!
This evening, thousands of people across the UK will come out of their homes, go out into the dark and stand in the cold night to watch a fire burn. It’s a tradition that has been observed for hundreds of years following the failed attempt by a group of young men in 1605 to blow up Parliament and King James I.
Guy Fawkes is the man that was captured and who jumped to his death to avoid being hung drawn and quartered. Today his name and memory lives on as he sits on top of bonfires across the country, in the form of a stuffed doll. All rather twisted and macabre, but a night out that appeals to the young and old. Add to the night some fireworks, glow sticks, fast food and drinks and it’s a night where profits can be made.
Is your business following the family traditions that has been passed down for generations? Or are you offering services and products in a way that is safe, earning you some money, but not the wealth you expected when you started on this journey?
Whilst some things are best left well alone, it’s still important to regularly give your business the once over to make sure that it’s working to its maximum capacity. Times change, people evolve and for the clever few that are able to predict the next big thing – big money is waiting for them.
Who would have thought that Bonfire Night, for example, would turn into an extravaganza that appealed to schools, sports clubs and parks as a way of making money? They open up their doors and charge an entrance fee, charge local businesses for a pitch and after their costs – make a profit!
If you would a fresh pair of eyes to review your online business, get in touch. We are not just good a creating effective websites, we are also excellent at offering ideas on:
- how your business could work better
- how your business is working amongst your competitors and
- how you could expand your offerings to a wider market
So, don’t be like these forgotten companies that were slow to respond to change. Aim to be a business with an evolving brand that has real connections and understanding of what their customers want and how.
Blackberry - remember this phone provider? This business thought they would stay at the top without having to think about their future customers and competitors, like Apple and Google.
Blockbuster – this shop hired out videos and games to an audience that didn't have much choice at the time. The CEO, however, couldn't see how good he had it and was blind to the big future of digital. He turned down an offer from Netflix to sell for $50 million.
Kodak – everyone knew this high street brand that sold quality camera film rolls and other products in the shops. It was another firm that played it safe and failed to see the opportunities emerging with the digital times.
It's not just established businesses that can get it wrong. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 start-up businesses fail within the first 18 months. Do not be one of them!
Regular readers will be aware of us advocating the power of networking. If you want to grow your customer base, build relationships with local businesses in your area and get your name and face recognised - regular networking should be on your list of things to do.
As a consequence of presenting at a recent networking event, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing was invited to give the same presentation at another networking group called the Hornchurch Professional & Business Association. It is open to all business and professional people in Hornchurch and surrounding areas and has been in existence for over 70 years.
We felt honoured by the invitation and made to feel immediately at home by the Chairman, Robert Copeland, and Secretary, Ian Gorsuch. We sat down for a delicious three course lunch and got to know the members. It was an informal occasion, with conversation that went from business talk to deep discussions about the current performance of West Ham football club.
Our presentation followed. We gave the guests four practical exercises to do on their mobile phone. The aim, to reveal whether their website was visible and working to bring in new leads to their business.
Here are the four tests. Check to see how visible your company is. In your browser…
1. Type in your business type and location, i.e. plumber Romford. Where is your business listed? If it is not on page one, you have an issue with the content on your site.
2. Type in your exact company name i.e. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing – is there a Google My Business listing for your company. If you haven’t got one, you are missing a digital marketing trick.
3. Looking at the organic results of this page. Is your business listed in external directories? If they are not, we recommend that you invest time in creating them, they are a valuable asset for your online visibility.
4. Does your company have a blog/news section? If you don’t, you are missing out in enriching your site with new, fresh and relevant content for your audience. These blogs are additional ways of reaching customers via your website.
There was mixed feedback following each of these exercises. Participants were:
- surprised to see how invisible their company was when searched for locally
- happy to view their google my business profile
- in the dark about their business being listed on local directories
- accepting that they were not posting regular content to their customers
If you have just done the same test and found that your business is missing out on some or all of these points, get in touch with the Perfect Layout team today to see how we can help.
Interested in joining this informal networking organisation? For £160 per year, you will have the opportunity of mixing with some friendly, local business owners. Membership is for one person, but if you are unable to attend, you are welcome to send someone in your place. In addition to a lavish lunch, once a month, there is the chance to mingle and discuss the outcome of that afternoon’s presentation.
For further information contact Ian Gorsuch: IGorsuch@hwca.com
Are you failing to get leads from your website? Does it feel like a ghoul has hijacked business leads? Are you scared about this ever-changing world of digital marketing? Well, Perfect Layout are here to rescue you from your nightmares as we explain how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) works. If you put in place these strategies, you will see your ranking improve. Are you ready to handle more leads coming to your business?
If you’re serious about wanting people to find you through a Google search, Search engine Optimisation (SEO) must be at the top of your priority list. You won’t be able to generate leads for your business if nobody can find you.
So, what happens after someone makes a search? Here is the likelihood of someone clicking on a link, depending on their organic positioning.
Breakdown of Google Click-Through Rates in by position
Position 1 – 20.5%
Position 2 – 13.32%
Position 3 – 13.14%
Position 4 – 8.98%
Position 5 – 9.21%
Position 6 – 6.73%
Position 7 – 7.61%
Position 8 – 6.92%
Position 9 – 5.52%
Position 10 – 7.95%
That means if you’re not number one on the page, you just missed out on a fifth of potential traffic. Most people won’t even click on the second page of the search results. If you are wondering why other websites are ranking higher than you on Google. It is because they are making a concerted effort to work on their SEO.
The good news is that it's never too late to start...you just have some catching up to do. There are techniques and strategies that you can apply to get you going.
The following 17 tips will increase your chances of getting ranked higher on Google searches.
1. Optimise your site for mobile devices
Long has the tablet and smartphone been around. They have taken over as preferred devices to search on when compared with a laptop. If your website design is not mobile friendly, you are going to be penalised. Why? Because Google recognises whether your site is mobile-friendly and ranks sites accordingly. Your website must be optimised for mobile users. If this means investing in a new web design, it will be money well spent. Ignore this tip at your peril.
2. Make sure your site is readable
Is the language that you are using on your site, written with your customer in mind? If you want people to visit your site and spend time there, speak in a way that they will understand. Don’t try to sound too professional. Write your content in clear and simple terms. Use short sentences. If you are not sure if your content is readable, use the Hemmingway App. It highlights where your content isn't working as well as it could be.
3. Format your page
When designing your website, take time to think about the layout for each page. Make sure it is neat, logical and uncluttered. Consider things like your font size and typography. Use coloured text, bold font, and italics sparingly. Consider using bullet points and checklists to make it easy to scan through your content. A clean design and format will improve your organic ranking.
4. Encourage people to stay on your site
How much time do people spend on your website per visit? If your site has fresh information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and this can be achieved in various ways, as outlined below.
5. Produce high quality content
There is no substitute for great content. Quality content created for your audience will increase site traffic. How often do you update your website? To encourage visitors to return you need fresh content. The more traffic to your website the more you will increase its popularity. Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant.
6. Start blogging
Blogging is great for your business. It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors that come to your website. If you can create a group of loyal readers, you can get lots of traffic to your site on a regular basis. Blogs that incorporate good SEO practice, such as links, increased readability, and keywords, all positively impact on your search engine ranking.
7. Use keywords
Keywords play a major role in ranking. Brainstorm your sector. How do you think people will find you? 'Plumber in Romford', vs 'Central Heating Company in Romford' or 'Emergency Plumber in Romford'. There are so many ways people may look for your company. Now you need to include these 'keywords' into the content of your site. But do it sparingly. Keyword stuffing is frowned upon by the search engines and you will be penalised.
Keywords should fit naturally into sentences:
· Include them in your header tags
· Include then in image captions
· Include the use of long-tail keywords, (three or four words that make phrase)
If your keywords match their search, your website will have a greater chance of getting ranked higher.
8. Break up your content with header tags
Headings are another way to help improve the user experience. They break up the content and make it easier to read. If your website is big block of text, people are going to click off your website. If you’re not using headers, try and incorporate them within your content now.
9. More than words
Your website shouldn’t be only written words. Break up the pages with relevant, high-quality pictures. Consider also adding videos, slideshows, or audio to your site. This improves the user experience, as not everyone enjoys just reading.
Also remember what we said about the time people spend on your site. Videos, for example, can extend significantly the amount of time spent on your website. If that happens, it will boost your search ranking.
10. Optimise your images
Pictures and other images are not only visually great for your website. But when they are optimized properly they can improve your SEO ranking. Make sure you do the following:
Resize your images. Huge images can slow your page loading time, which can hurt your ranking. Use your images to sneak in keywords by naming them accordingly. Add keywords in the title of your image as well as the caption or description.
11. Include internal links
Internal links direct visitors to other pages on your website. Not only are you encouraging the reader to find out more about what you do, you are keeping visitors on your site for longer and reducing your bounce rate.
12. Use outbound links
When you are writing a blog or have content that researches a topic, link to sites you have used for information or that go into further detail. Connect your facts to the data source with a hyperlink back to them. When you source something, try to ensure that it is the most recent information.
13. Create anchor text properly
If you ever type 'Click here for more information'. STOP. Start creating relevant links within the text. 'Click here means nothing to the search engine. “Central Heating Installations” is rich with keywords. It will improve your search engine rankings, as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to.
14. Provide appropriate contact information
Have you ever struggled to find the contact information of a business on a website? This should never happen. All your contact information should be easy to find. Make sure you have a footer on every page of your site that includes your Name, Address and Phone number, otherwise known as the NAP.
15. Sharing is caring
Every business and website need to be active on social media. Your SEO ranking will improve when people share links to your website on social media. If you encourage social sharing as a regular part of your SEO campaigns, you will see a difference. Include social sharing icons on all your content and share links on your social media pages.
16. Title Metadata
Title metadata is the page title displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. It is the most important metadata on your page. Make sure your site has this section filled in.
17. Description Metadata
When you see the results in organic search there will be a title and a description. This description metadata is vital to encouraging visitors to click to your site.
Search engine optimisation isn’t going away. If anything, it is getting more sophisticated and complex and is an ongoing job that needs focus and attention. This blog contains a long list of actions but don’t be put off! Write these actions on your to-do-list and go through them week, by week. Every improvement you make will stand your website in good stead.
Monitor your results monthly. Checking your traffic and search ranking will help validate your SEO strategy. It will also highlight areas on your website that need more attention. Who knows, by working on these elements, you might claim that elusive number one spot! It's all about outsmarting your competition. That’s what we at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing are working on every day with our clients.
These are only a few of the many methods for improving your search engine ranking. If you want to learn more, we recommend that you visit: Improve your performance on Google Search or give us a call and speak to our friendly team. Call 01708 578 015.
In short, yes!
When it comes to branding and awareness of your company, you should try to be as visually consistent as you can. You want your customers to instantly recognise you. First you must start with your logo and then build out your brand from there.
Ensure brand consistency across all your channels
Brand consistency refers to your brand identity, brand voice and brand guidelines. Does everything you create follow these guidelines? Doing so is a major step towards letting consumers get to know you as an organisation.
When they know you, they will identify with you and your purpose. And when consumers feel like they know you and can trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you. They will also be more likely to recommend you to their peers.
The content on your website, social media channels, newsletters and any offline marketing should all have the same 'feel'. Making connections between the content you own is a great way to maximise your presence. This way you can ensure you get the largest number of eyes on your products and services.
When it comes to your website you should ensure that it is consistent with all your other marketing. You should also be mindful of how user-friendly your site is. Can customers navigate around your website easily?
Structure: how well structured is the content on your website? You need to aim for a minimum number of navigation layers. Customers want as few clicks as possible to get to what they want. The website section division must be clear, logical and predictable.
Minimalism: efficient web page navigation is always simple and user-friendly. Add only those elements to your menu design that are essential for the effective communication. The key to success is a menu bar consisting of a minimal number of sections that goes to what they need.
Design: when selecting a design focus on readability, integrity, and harmony. Too many icons, buttons and shortcuts will put visitors off your site. The simpler the web navigation, the likelier customers will stay on your website.
Remember that: navigation can affect traffic and how high you’ll rank and how much traffic you’ll get from search.
Navigation affects conversions: how easy the site is to use effects what percentage of visitors convert into leads and customers.
Social Media Integration
Do you want to grow your market and reach a broader audience? Then the key is to integrate your business into social media. Social media channels and your website should work together to promote your online brand. Opening accounts in these platforms is completely free. They are a very good tool to increase your popularity and online presence.
Add links to your social channels from your website to increase the chance that search engine users will find your website.
Being active on social media channels can help build (or retain) a solid audience. Post regularly and keep your audience updated on your products and services as well as what's new on the market.
Unless you are able to do it yourself, marketing requires a lot of time, effort and money. But when it is done correctly and consistently across the various channels, it can be extremely powerful and rewarding.
Getting your brand, marketing strategy, website and social media platforms to where you want them to be, takes time and a lot of effort. If you are a small company, it might be worth considering hiring external professionals to help you.
If you want to know more about this important topic read our blog How important is branding for my company?
You might also like: 50 meticulous style guides every startup should see before launching by Canva.
Nowadays it’s plain to see that a massive part of our marketing strategy is undertaken digitally. Consumers and businesses spend more time searching online than anywhere else, so that's exactly where your business needs to be in order to reach them.
Whether you have been in business for a while or your business is in its infancy, the ever-changing picture of digital marketing can quickly grow and feel overwhelming. As a self-employed business owner, you are already faced with a long daily to-do list. How are you supposed to create, and maintain, an effective digital marketing strategy too?
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Your digital marketing strategy encompasses a series of actions (that take place online) with the aim of marketing your business and attracting the right customers.
The term ‘strategy’ might seem frightening but simply means, ‘plan of action’. Creating an effective digital strategy doesn’t need to be scary and should be viewed as a necessary tool that's used for bringing more paying customers to your business.
How to build a comprehensive digital marketing strategy
You will gain a better insight into your sector by studying other business models and reviewing the approach taken by your competitors. The results can form part of your strategy.
The following is a list of other factors to consider when devising your strategy.
1) Identify and build your buyer personas
Buyer persona's shows your ideal customer and can be developed by researching, surveying, and interviewing the target audience of your business. It’s important to note that this information should be based upon real data. Making assumptions about your audience can cause your marketing strategy to fail.
To get a rounded picture of your persona, try and include information that relates to their demographics, motivations, behaviour patterns and goals. Include a mixture of customers and people outside your contacts database who align with your target audience.
2) Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need
Your marketing goals should form a significant part of the objectives for your business. For example, if your business’s goal is to increase online revenue by 20 per cent, your goal as a marketer might be to generate 50 per cent more leads via the website than you did last year to contribute towards that success.
Whatever your dominating goal is, you need to know how to measure it. The success of a digital strategy will be measured differently for each business and will vary dependent upon the nature of your goal. Having the ability to measure the impact of a marketing strategy is essential as it will allow you to refine your approach accordingly.
3) Evaluate your existing digital marketing channels and assets. Which ones are you using? Should you be on others?
The digital landscape changes quite often, so it’s a good idea to do your homework and find out what is out there, who is using it, why are they using it and if it’s a method that will fit in with your business. Not all platforms or assets are right for every business.
The key is to build a plan of what you would like to do and how you are going to achieve this. Can it be executed with your current resources or do you need to invest in more staff or external help?
4) Audit and plan your owned media.
Your owned media (original content that you create yourself) is often placed at the heart of digital marketing – your website. Each element of content that your brand creates, such as your website pages, product descriptions, blog posts, e-books, infographics, all helps transform your website viewers into leads and customers. It can also boost your search/organic traffic.
Whatever your goal is, you’ll need owned content to form part of your digital marketing strategy. You can then use other platforms (e.g. social media) to broadcast your messages to other audiences.
5) Create a content strategy and develop your earned media
Earned media is external publicity that you haven’t paid for. This is media exposure that comes to your business via methods such as, customer reviews, or content that has been shared, reposted, or mentioned by other people on their social media channels.
A good content strategy creates earned media. In turn, this exposure gets picked up by search engines and works towards them favourably ranking you above your competitors. Review the digital marketing asset column above and consider which tools will help your business receive more engagements and improve the external publicity for your site.
6) Do you have a budget for paid media?
If you have a marketing budget, you may want to spend some of it on advertising. Branded content, pay per click advertising (PPC) or display ads in print/online newspapers/magazines are all varieties of paid media. Budgets can be spent easily, so choose wisely where you want to spend your money. For online businesses, this is an essential aspect of revenue growth and building brand awareness.
7) Bring it all together.
It’s never too late to start implementing a good digital marketing strategy for your online business. A combination of owned, earned and paid for media can often give you better results.
Remember to plan ahead (as much as is realistically possible) and schedule regular meetings to evaluate the impact and performance of what has gone out. What lessons have you learned? Going forward, does the marketing plan you have in place need to be tweaked?
Digital marketing checklist:
- Profile of your buyer persona
- One or more marketing-specific goals
- An inventory and audit of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
- An owned content strategy plan
- Social media marketing plan
- Ideas of how you can create earned content
- A budget and plan for paid for content (advertising)
Have you got everything covered? We’d love to hear how you plan and action your digital marketing strategy. Leave a comment below to get the discussion started.
On 1 October the Havering Chambers of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) held their annual showcase event at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch. For the first time, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing were in attendance as exhibitors.
As we arrived to set up, many businesses had already organised their tables and there was a buzz of anticipation in the air. Exhibiting at this event was open to both members and non-members of the HCCI and Barry Hicks (Chairman of the HCCI) had meticulously overseen the planning and administration.
The evening was opened by the Mayor of Havering, Dilip Patel, who spoke about the value that local businesses added to the community. There was a raffle with prizes that had been donated by the exhibitors and a free buffet and wine, for everyone in attendance.
Being on the other side of the table presented the challenge of attracting business owners to the table to talk about how our services could help theirs. Whilst we understand that not everyone needs our services, it was our aim to highlight that having a website that ‘looked good’ was only one element of drawing regular leads to an online business.
We presented a PowerPoint questionnaire that asked attendees the following questions:
Does your website and digital marketing need some TLC?
We have some quick tips to help make your site work better for you.
Enter your business service plus location to find out where your business comes up, i.e. website designers Romford
It’s a well-known fact that when people search for a service, businesses beyond page two don’t get looked at
When searched for locally, where does your business appear?
Does it appear in the Map Pack?
Do you have a ‘Google My Business’ listing for your business?
When you type your name into Google, does your business appear in a box to the right and does a list show where your business appears in directories?
Claiming your GMB and optimising your profile can do wonders for increasing your online visibility
– and it’s free!
If you are struggling to be found, let us put the icing on your ‘website’ cake.
Do any of these questions touch a nerve or highlight aspects of digital marketing that your business is lacking? If so, get in touch, was we can definitely help!
We really enjoyed attending the HCCI showcase event. It enabled us to mingle with other businesses and sow a seed in their minds about what we do. It’s still early days to know whether or not we’ve acquired any new customers, but networking for us isn’t just about that. It’s about getting to know the faces and personalities behind the businesses in our area and passing details on to others that may need their help. For us, creating real connections in this way is what networking is all about.
I’m keen to have a website for my business, but money is tight. I’m thinking of creating one myself, any tips?
Whatever type of business you have, there is no getting away from the fact that people will expect you to have an online presence. Whilst some business owners are able to make a reasonable income via social media platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) or e-commerce platforms (like Etsy and Shopify) having your own website has many benefits.
If your budget limits you from hiring a website designer, or you are attracted to the idea of creating a website yourself, there are many website providers to choose from. They will advertise low-cost packages with guidance on how to do it yourself, but will the end result generate more customers coming to your site?
Five top tips to having a great website
Top tip 1 – ensure that the content on your site accurately reflects the services/products of your business. Your bounce rate will increase if your writing style includes over long sentences, has grammatical mistakes or has a dull/flat tone. Analyse your competitors and review what does and doesn’t work for them. Let your website reflect your personality and the type of business that you have so that you don’t come across as cold and boring.
Brainstorm the terms that your customers search for you. Googles keyword planner is a tool that can help you pinpoint relevant long and short tail keywords. Having relevant keywords allow search engines, like Bing and Google, to match the right business to the right customer.
We understand that creative writing is not everyone’s cup of tea, so if the thought of doing this doesn’t sit well with you, why not give us a call? We have an excellent copywriting service that can be accessed in isolation or as part of an ongoing package.
Top tip 2 – be sure to encourage your conversion rate by giving those perusing your site every opportunity to get in touch or make a purchase. Using Call to Actions (CTA’s) throughout your website are a great way of nudging customers to act. CTA’s can be contact forms, telephone or current special offers.
Top tip 3 – gone are the days when all websites were difficult to view on a mobile phone. Business owners on platforms that are not mobile friendly will be penalised by search engines, which could negatively affect your rankings.
When creating your site, make sure it has the ability to respond to the device (mobile phone, laptop or iPad) that is being used. Customers do not like websites that have poor navigation. Make it easy and obvious for people to find their way around your site as clumsy navigation that has not been thought through could lose you income.
Top tip 4 – take the time and get your business listed on external directories. This will help boost your online presence as search engines view you as a trustworthy business. Read our blog for more details about why your business needs to be listed on directories.
Top tip 5 – consider the layout of your website. Have a theme that limits the use of colours, fonts and gifs. You will want each page to look its best and engage with customers – not distract them. High engagement leads to a higher conversion rate. Pages that are cluttered will prohibit users from scanning text for key points.
The use of photographs can really bring a website to life. Avoid using stock images, wherever possible, as they can depersonalise your business. Having images of yourself, staff and business premises will assist customers build a picture of who you are and the service/product you offer.
This list will definitely put you on the right track to getting the most from your website. If you find that later down the line your rankings haven’t improved, why not get in touch? Our Perfect Layout web development team are ready to help!
Whether you’re a small start-up business or an established company looking to increase your visibility, it’s important to spread the word about what you do, the service you provide and the products you sell. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as online and print. However, you can't beat meeting people face-to-face.
Networking is a way of introducing your company to other business owners. You never know, what they do that might be of interest to you.
There are many different networking groups and each one has their own style. Perfect Layout are members of the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI). It's a friendly group and each month it has a breakfast meeting. Within each meeting there is a talk/presentation given by two members, as well as the opportunity to network with other members and guests.
HCCI also organises its annual business showcase. (In fact, this is where the start of our networking journey began!)
Come and join us. We will be exhibiting at the Havering Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase 2018. It takes place on Monday 1st October 6.30pm-9.00pm at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch.
The event includes:
It’s free to attend. All you have to do is register your place on Eventbrite.
Are you interested in exhibiting information? Contact Barry Hicks, Chairman, Havering Chamber: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01708 560066
Interviewing local businesses is a bi-monthly ritual that the team at Perfect Layout really enjoy. It allows us to become more known in the community and learn from the experiences of other businesses. By undertaking an interview in this way, Perfect Layout believes that we are able to help our readers learn how to run their business better by taking on board the pros and cons of how a business has conducted themselves.
We hope that sharing the personal experiences of these companies will give them exposure to readers that may need their services as well as providing insights into what has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
This month, we interview Jennie Bardrick, Co-Owner and Co-Director of Radfield Home Care Havering & Brentwood.
Lisa and I went to the British Franchise Exhibition in London in January 2017 and we came across Radfield Home Care there. We had an instant connection, immediately aligning with their family values, and from there the business began.
Radfield Care Home is a franchise. What is it like running a business that is part of a franchise?
The support you get from Radfield’s franchise support team is amazing. Any problems that come up, we can call National Office for help. We also have a Franchise Support Manager that comes to visit us and goes through cash flow and other matters that are important to ensuring the business runs smoothly.
Ultimately, Radfield has been in the home care business for many years and, as a result, has developed the systems and franchise support to make sure we run a successful and profitable business.
Lisa and I both didn’t have any background in care to begin with (we now are fully trained carers!) so this advice has been fundamental to us, as well as having a fantastic Care Manager – Natalea Haydon, who has lots of experience and manages the home care operations on a day to day basis. Read about Natalea’s story here.
How much independence do you get to make this your business?
We get a lot of independence and ultimately, we are responsible for growing our business and making a difference in our local community. Our home care clients love the fact that we are local and our office on Butts Green Road is always open for people to pop in. As we are one of the first Radfield franchise partners, we have the opportunity to influence the growth of the network and collaborate in partnership with them.
I imagine you have a business plan. Is this something that came from National Office or something you have had to prepare prior to investing in the franchise?
Ultimately, we developed our own business plan, but National Office and the franchise support team supported us with guidance in terms of expectations for business growth and financial targets. We are very focused on setting targets with our Franchise Support Manager and working with our office team to ensure we deliver and grow the business in line with (or ahead of!) our targets. In addition to having this there was a lot of screening and profiling that took place before we were accepted into the franchise. A big thing for Radfield is family and they liked the fact that Lisa and I are cousins and hold those strong family values.
What has it been like breaking into the home care market in this area?
It’s been very rewarding! Havering has got the highest proportion of over 65’s out of all the London boroughs which means there is a huge amount of people that we could help and support to live independent, happy lives at home. The nicest thing that we can give to families is peace of mind that their loved ones are well looked after. We have families that live far away from their parents that need someone to look after their Mum, Dad or elderly relative and we are able to provide that service and give reassurance.
What do you provide as a service that’s different to your competitors?
Lisa and I are really passionate about our family values, and run the business in memory of our nan – ‘Nanny Fish’. Having solid family values is something that we look for in the members of our home care team, so that they treat our clients as if they were family themselves. Our care proposition is focused on delivering high quality care, where our carers aren’t rushed, but focus on providing companionship support to our clients throughout the visit and building good relationships with our clients.
We are also really proud of our cutting edge technology systems, where our carers use a mobile phone app to log in to their care visits and log their notes, which gives immediate feedback to the office and means we are a highly responsive service.
What have you found to be the biggest hurdle since starting this business?
I’d probably say dealing with the emotional side of the business, when a client you have built up a good relationship with passes away. It can be very sad for our care team as they see some clients every day, so to pass on this kind of news can be really tough.
Describe your typical day?
I’d say no two days are the same for sure! At the moment I’d say I get up around 6am and may have a couple of clients to visit. I’d then be in the office, working with the office team to ensure they are set up for success and clear on the priorities for the day. I use Trello to manage my to do list and this seems to work well as it allows me to focus on the strategic business priorities but also to get the smaller tactical things done on a day to day basis. The office shuts at 4pm which is nice and early compared to my previous corporate jobs, but as we are a care operation we are open 24/7 really. In the evenings I spend time with my dog, see friends and family and like to do yoga.
Since starting this service, have you found yourself exhibiting talents that you never knew you had?
I think that’s a great question. I think the biggest difference in having your own business is the amount you learn and the confidence it gives you, and for me I would say that’s around the financial management of the business. I would also say that you definitely end up doing jobs you never thought you would do, but ultimately the reward comes and it is so worth it!
I note that you have a website that is part of the franchise? How well does it work for you, or would having more control of your own website make it easier?
National Office control the website, but this works well for us, because the Radfield Home Care brand looks strong and we have consistency with all the other offices. We are responsible for providing content to ensure our microsite is up to date and fresh, and this means our site is relevant and has that local feel to it.
Would you like your business to be found by more customers online?
Definitely! We have seen a trend that more and more clients are doing their research beforehand, which is great as we are really proud to have a 10/10 score from our customers on Homecare.co.uk. I’d say at the moment we get most customers via word of mouth, but most of the time these people have Googled us and read a bit about the company beforehand.
Are you promoting your business in any other ways?
We advertise in the Romford Recorder newspaper and on their website too. As well as this we hold community events to support local charities such as Saint Francis Hospice, as well as national charities like the Alzheimer’s Society.
Congratulations on winning the New Business of the Year Award in 2018 at the Havering Business Awards and the Judges Award at the Thames Gateway Business Awards. You were also awarded the ‘Top 20’ Home Care providers in the whole of London at the annual Homecare.co.uk awards in 2018 too. Most recently you were awarded Business Woman of the Year and Franchisee of the Year at the National New Business of the Year Awards. These are phenomenal achievements.
What else is in store for you and your team?
Our current plan is to continue to grow the business in the Havering area and ensure we are supporting as many elderly people as we can to live independent, healthy and happy lives in their own homes. We have recently expanded our office team to support this growth and are excited to have our new Marketing Apprentice and Care Coordinator on board to support this.
Where do you see yourself and this business going in the next 5-10 years?
Longer term, we have big growth plans to expand beyond Havering and across Essex to help more people, and ultimately support Radfield Home Care to become a national brand with a network of passionate franchise partners.
You can find out more about Radfield Home Care by logging onto their website or by accessing them via: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!
Search Engine Optimisation, also known as SEO, is the techy way of describing how to make the most of a website’s online visibility. Imagine you have purchased a house that was in desperate need of repair. How would you go about getting it to look it’s best?
There are various things that you could do. You could: replace the windows, build an extension, re-plaster the walls inside out and landscape the garden. After completing these jobs, the house would serve better as a home. It would also be more comfortable and functional. That’s what SEO is. It’s a way of making the purpose of a website work better and be found by people looking for it.
If you have a website, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and get your business found online. SEO techniques vary. It’s a good idea to make sure that you put in place the basic strategies and check them regularly. The process of optimisation is not a one-time process. It requires regular maintenance and fine tuning alongside continuous testing and monitoring.
SEO can increase the quality of a website by making it user friendly, faster and easier to navigate. In today’s competitive market, undertaking SEO is more important than ever. Search engines serve millions of users per day. They look for answers to questions and solutions to their problems. The job of a search engine is to come up with the best options for its users. When applied correctly, good SEO will bring in online traffic and grow your customer base.
The following is a list of some SEO techniques that you can apply to your site:
- Your competitors are doing it
If your competitors appear above you in organic search, it’s likely that they are applying SEO techniques. If it can work for them, it can work for you too. Invest time doing it yourself or employing someone to do it for you.
Backlinking is a key feature of Search Engine Optimisation. Also known as ‘incoming links’ and ‘inbound links’. This is when a link from an external website is directed towards yours. Websites that link to a variety of authoritative sites will rank higher in search engine results pages compared to those who have links to sites that are not as powerful. Getting it right is key.
If you have inbound links on your site that don't relate to the content on the page, they will be considered irrelevant. Your website could be penalised. The higher the relevancy of inbound links, the greater their quality.
- Internal linking
Linking to related articles, or pages, on your own website helps search engines better understand the importance and topical focus of each page. Creating links this way assists Google in determining the relevancy of your website. The more people like and share your content, the more visibility you’ll receive from these social media channels. As you develop quality backlinks, it will help to boost and sustain your rankings over the long term.
- Back end SEO
Complete the page title, page description and meta keywords for each page of your website. Search engine algorithms select websites with keywords that match the users search terms.
- Page titles
Keyword-based titles help establish page theme and direction for your keywords. Choose a title that reads naturally and effectively. Make sure it communicates the topic of the page’s content.
- Meta tags
Meta description tags can influence click-throughs but aren't used for rankings. Meta tags contain keywords or phrases alerting search engines of a website's content.
- Place strategic search phrases on pages
Integrate selected keywords into your website's content. Make sure the tone sounds natural. Doing this will help the search engines quickly determine what the page is about.
- Sign up your websites to online directories
Find directories where you can list your business for free. This method will get links to your website quickly and naturally. It also helps get your site indexed by the search engines. Start with directories such as yelp, Yellow Pages and Thomson Local.
It’s important to continually review the movement of your website. Where does it sit alongside your competitors? You will achieve good results if you consistently undertake these SEO principles. A common mistake is to focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of backlinks. If you’ve ranked for a particular keyword, there is no need to build excessive backlinks to that page. Google can detect if a site is gaining links at an unreasonable pace. Building links too fast is like waving a red flag that can potentially get your website closed down. If you want to maintain your keyword ranking, try to expand your inbound links to the various pages on your site. This strategy will diversify your backlinking profile and increase your website authority.
If this sounds confusing, fear not. The team at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing, would love to help fix your website with some SEO TLC. Give us a call on 01708 578 015
This blog has been inspired following a friend’s recent experience with the medical system in the UK. Said friend went in for a routine operation about seven weeks ago. The procedure lasted only five minutes and the recovery was supposed to be a week.
To cut a long story short. She was nowhere near better by the end of that first week. In the past seven weeks she has been back and forth to GP’s, consultants and hospitals, being misdiagnosed. It took four days of waiting in a hospital bed and a lot of pain-relief drugs before they did any scans. As it turned out she needed another operation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she is now on the path to a full recovery.
As this story unfolded, I despaired at the way things were being run. It seemed such an inefficient use of time, money, medication etc. It got me thinking. How can hospitals - or any business for that matter - afford to be inefficient? And so, I have identified some areas that you might want to look for in your business.
Check if you are running an efficient and profitable company.
Maybe the institution itself has such rigid and old ways of doing things. Just because ‘that’s the way we always do it’, doesn’t mean it is still fit for purpose. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Bad financial management
Many businesses find themselves running out of money. Cash flow is key for all businesses. How this happens usually falls into one of these categories:
To avoid this, you have to know your figures inside and out. You need to keep an eye on them regularly, so that you can spot dips or downward trends. Make sure that your financial projections are on track. If you see things changing, then something elsewhere may need to change too. Try to stick within your budget. Cut any unnecessary expenses. Always invoice straight away and get paid on time. Where possible set up automatic billing that you can be in control of.
2. Bad Management
Every organisation needs someone at the helm, leading, taking charge. They have to ensure that no matter how big the company is, that the right processes and procedures are in place. The entire organisation should be seamless and efficient. This is true for both the staff and its customers.
For that to happen, there needs to be regular training, communication and policies. Everyone must be on the same page. No one person or department should be the ones doing it all. Every role should work as a cog to help the wheel roll smoothly. There also has to be a single point of authority. Larger companies often appoint department heads and team leaders to make decisions.
So, do you have the right staff in place? Do they do the job with pride, care and attention. Are you paying them what they deserve? Do you offer rewards and incentives? Your staff are your biggest asset, so you need to treat them well. Good management also recognises when they don’t have motivated staff. First you need to address it to see if you are able to change this, otherwise you face the tough task of letting them go. Dead weights can also hinder a company and have devastating consequences.
Can you honestly say that your company is working as efficient as it could be? Do you conduct regular days on the business with staff? Do you ask them how things are, what could be better, what needs to stop, what to introduce? The people on the ground can often find solutions. Do you spend time thinking about what the business might look like in 12 months’ time, or in five years? Be forward thinking, be proactive.
3. Bad customer service
It is surprising to see how many businesses have bad customer service. This could be because of what we have discussed about management and procedures. Yet, without any customers, you wouldn’t have any business. Giving good customer service should come easy. Ask yourself, how would you like to be treated and map that out. Use your common sense. Good customer service doesn’t need to be expensive. If you do get complaints, listen to your customers and put it right fast. Then tell your staff what you have learned from the experience. Explain how you want them to do things from now on, so that you ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Good interdepartmental communication will pay dividends. You don’t want to end up with a bad reputation. Some businesses never recover.
4. Staying up-to-date with technology
Technology covers a wide range of things. Computers, phones, broadband and IT servers. It can also include websites and social media platforms. Whatever it is, make sure that you invest in the best technology and support that you can afford. If all your computers are old and staff are struggling to complete simple tasks, invest in new ones. This downtime could start costing you thousands. Is your website current? Does it reflect your business as it stands today? Is it mobile optimised? If the answer is no to any of these, you need to plan to change this. If you are not active on the right social media channels, you could be missing on potential clients. I know that social media is a hungry beast that needs feeding all the time, but it’s essential to do it these day. Now more than ever you must have an efficient website, that it is mobile and SEO friendly. You need to be active on social media and posting every day (or more). If this is not part of your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional, like us at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing.
Running a business is about always being willing to learn. Things around us are changing all the time. We all will make mistakes. It’s those that carry on doing it, ‘because that’s the way we do it’ will find that they will get left behind. Acting fast and making necessary changes can determine the future of your business.
Regularly check that your business is in good health. If there are signs that things need a reboot, then do something about it before it takes over.
Wow, so the six-week summer break comes to an end this week.
Families up and down the country have had a chance to break from the usual routine, spend more time with loved ones and recharge the batteries. With the glorious summer weather 2018 has given us, we've had plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors, go for days out and do things that we don't get to do the rest of the year. Holidays also give you the chance to ponder life and what you want out of it.
For me, it feels like September brings a chance to start afresh...almost like the feeling the new year brings. For our children, they get to start a new adventure as they embark on the next school year; new teachers, new uniform, for some it might even mean new schools. It's even a chance to shake up the routine a little, as the things that you may be doing in this final stretch of the year, may be different to what you were doing just a few weeks ago. Will your children start new after-school activities? Do you want to start a class and learn a new skill or spend time developing a talent? Do you want to get fitter / eat better?
For us at Perfect Layout, we have spent part of the summer break reflecting on where we are in the year, we've looked at what we have achieved and we are looking forward to this next period to push ourselves harder.
We are dedicated to learning about our industry and looking at what strategies we could implement to make the websites that we look after perform even better. Off the back of an industry conference we attended just before the summer break, we are eager to put those tactics into practice at to see how it improves the rankings of our clients.Today is not just the start of another week, it is milestone week.
We could easily slip back into old ways and habits or we can take this week as a way to begin on a new path and take those ideas that we had over the summer and work towards making them a reality. What will you do?
The Havering Museum came about eight years ago thanks to a small band of local people. This included librarians and historians, who wanted a home to celebrate the rich history of Havering from pre-history to the present day. It acknowledges the achievements of local people while exploring how the areas that make up the Borough were formed and developed. The Museum, located in the old Romford Brewery building, opened in May 2010 and is completely volunteer led.
other businesses in the area. I encourage you to see what the Museum has to offer. I am personally thrilled and amazed by the current artefacts that are on display from the Titanic Exhibition and the wealth of external activities and support that the Museum provides to schools and various community groups with for regular events and talks.”
For details of forthcoming Events at the Havering Museum go to What’s On.
Perfect Layout is a Romford-based company which aims to help business owners (in Essex, London and beyond) succeed online by creating for them the best website that will attract new customers and generate genuine leads.
The summer months can often see things slowing down for many businesses. It's a chance to take some time off, perhaps get away from the usual routine and relax in a sunny location at home or abroad. It may even be a time for reflection and to see what you have done well so far this year and what you want to achieve before the year is out. For other business owners, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get ready for an upsurge in productivity as their services and/or products rely on tourism to bring the money in. Whatever your situation, the team at Perfect Layout hope that you are managing to squeeze in some relaxation and reflection time.
We ask, what has worked for you; what is special about your business and what you offer; and what you would have done differently if you had your time over again. It really does require minimal effort, as we come to you (or talk over the phone) to conduct the interview and you get to tell all our readers about your business. Who doesn’t want some free advertising?
It’s even more important for local businesses to get exposure, as often marketing budgets are small (or non-existent). That’s what we are trying to do; to create a sense of community. We believe that sharing such valuable information can motivate and inspire others, as well as assist them in finding solutions that they might not have thought about before.
The team at Perfect Layout are not your typical website designers. We don’t only take instruction on how you want your website to look, build it and then leave you to it. We care about the businesses we work with and we strive to give you the best website for your business by asking relevant questions that others may not bother to query. We want to really get to know your business, understand where and how you want to grow and make sure that the website that we build for you caters for expansion.
If you are a local business owner and would like us to feature your company in our regular blog, get in touch with a member of the team today to arrange for your interview. Either call on 01708 578 015 or email us at email@example.com
The success of your website is determined primarily by its content. Good content is what sets your website apart from the masses and delivers the right message into the minds of your customers or audience.
Having clear, relevant and keyword-rich content that delivers the right message with power and conviction is the key to success. The content of your website should always begin with proper market research.
Taglines and slogans that are customer-centric (focusing on the needs of the customer) are essential to capturing their attention. The content on your website should target your audience, engage them and persuade them to take action.
Content marketing involves the creation and publishing of content and sharing that content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including blog posts, videos, white papers, infographics, case studies, and so on. Posting relevant, valuable and frequently updated information on your website will help boost your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It will also help by placing you in the position of an expert and allow you to build relationships with your audience professionally.
Your SEO keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines.
Quality content writing is the most important part of your SEO. Keywords are very important for every business and a website drives targeted web traffic to your business for free.
When a visitor uses a search engine, like Google, to find what they are looking for the content on your website comes under scrutiny. With quality content and SEO-friendly formatting the Google algorithm will look for important words at particular places on your web page or blog post – thus enabling you to get found.
Another important detail to keep in mind are long-tail keywords. These are keyword phrases that contain at least three words, and sometimes more. Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than mass audiences. In other words, they're more specific and often less competitive than generic keyword terms. They are very specific to whatever you are selling. So, said more specifically, whenever a customer uses a highly specific search phrase, they tend to be looking for exactly what they are actually going to buy.
Some businesses choose to include keywords relevant to their business in their domain name. This strategy works as long as the name is in line with the brand identity for the website. It is also important not to limit your business by choosing a name that is applicable for your business only in the short term. Let your 5 to 10 year business plan reflect where you want to be long term.
One way in which to create relevant and powerful SEO keyword-content for your website, is through brainstorming. Try and put yourself in the position of your customers and think about the words they might use to search for the services and/or products you are offering. This process can be undertaken on your own or in a group.
Because algorithms are constantly changing, it’s paramount that you keep a fresh eye on the content of your site. If people are changing the way in which they search for you – the keywords on your website will need to reflect this too.
Why not have a look at your site today and think through some of the keywords your customers might be using. Do they appear on the pages of your site?
Simple answer - YES! Whilst there are website design companies like us that optimise websites for a living, undertaking this role is something that you can do yourself. For example, designing a landing page that’s built for leads doesn’t have to be an overwhelming nor time-consuming exercise. By simply looking at examples of some of the best converting lead generation websites, you can learn precisely what works and why. If you want to attract visitors who have a strong intention of ultimately using your services, your landing page will have to have plenty of good content, quality links and authority.
14 Top tips for optimising your website…
The following steps are proven to increase not only conversions, but also your site's trust factor and presence. For good optimisation of your website that will help generate more customers it's worth considering the following...
Top tip 1 - add forms to the pages that get the most traffic
To begin with, conduct an audit of where most of your online traffic and outreach comes from.
Here are some of the most common places that a business might get visitors from:
Email Marketing - traffic might come from users who click through to your website from one of your emails that you have provided.
Social Media - traffic might come from users who engage in a campaign through one of your social media profiles linked with your website.
Live Chat - traffic might come in the form of users who reach out to your customer service team through a live chat window on your website.
Blog Posts - traffic might come from your highest-performing blog posts.
Top tip 2 - start with a basic CTA on your homepage
If your homepage's design is what catches a person's attention, the CTA (Call to Action) is what keeps it. Your homepage sits at the top of the marketing funnel and should therefore offer either a free trial or subscription to a recurring campaign, such as a newsletter. Consider including one of the following CTAs on the front of your website:
Top tip 3 - offer ebooks for download on specific blog posts
Another way to generate interest in your business is to create blog content that promotes an ebook or whitepaper, wherein your website visitors can learn more about the same topic they have just read about on your blog. We are always writing about the importance of blog posts and keeping content on your site fresh and relevant and this strategy is where lead generation meets search engine optimisation (SEO).
To start, conduct keyword research on a topic that's relevant to your industry, and create a group of blog posts around this topic. Then, draft a report that delves much deeper into this topic. Package this report into a PDF that your blog readers can download using their name, company, and email address.
Top tip 4 - develop a live chat service for your website
To generate leads though live chat, audit your website to see which pages your visitors spend most of their time on. With the right development resources, you can install a live chat tool on the pages where customers need the most assistance or information. This allows you to practically collect and log insight on their product needs while answering their questions.
Top tip 5 - personalise your calls-to-action
Personalised calls-to-action convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. Visitors who see website pages that remember them from an earlier date are more inclined to stick around and start a conversation with you.
Top tip 6 - make your videos speak to the user
Online videos greatly increase conversion rates for a wide range of industries (particularly e-commerce websites). The highest performing videos speak to the user rather than at them. Online users who viewed a product video are much more likely to convert over users who simply viewed an ad.
Top tip 7 - use action oriented words when describing your offers
Using action-oriented words in your offer (such as, ''feel'' and ''get'' etc.), places the customer in a pivotal role as the one receiving the benefits as opposed to simply imagining them.
Top tip 8 - featured image
Every great post has a great image. This makes the post more attractive, both on your site and in the social streams when it gets shared. This is your chance to explain concepts visually with informative charts or diagrams.
Top tip 9 - descriptive header
A descriptive header is good for visitors and good for search rankings.
Top tip 10 - social sharing buttons
Make it easy to spread the word. Share buttons can appear at both the top and bottom of the post, or even as a “sticky” element that follows them as they scroll down the page.
Top tip 11 - try to avoid cookie-cutter site templates
It is best you avoid any cookie cutter “all-the-work-is-done-for-you” website templates. Instead, consider investing in the best possible website that you can afford, and make sure you make the purpose of each page clear, up front, so that the designer can tailor it to generating leads.
Top tip 12 - evidence, data and social proof
Add evidence of your legitimacy and the value of your services. This may include examples, statistics and research.
Top tip 13 - personality, values and your story
Talk about your values, your origin and why this work is important in order to make this a page that sets you apart.
Top tip 14 - nurture your leads
Place leads into a workflow once they fill out a form on your landing page so they don't forget about you. Deliver them valuable content that matches their interest. Lead nurturing should start with relevant follow up emails that include great content.
Finally, take a look at your website. How do you think it’s doing against the above points? Call us today so that we can discuss how we can help you put in action what you currently have missing.
Last week, 13 July, Christine Huntingford from Perfect Layout Digital Marketing was invited to give a presentation at the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) breakfast meeting, where members and visitors attended. She thought long and hard about what to talk to them about and decided to make it an interactive session with the participants and let them know in 10 minutes, after a few simple checks, whether their website was working well for their business and whether their website and digital marketing need some real Tender Loving Care (TLC).
Firstly, to get a sense of their initial thoughts she asked the following questions:
This gave everyone a moment to reflect not only if were they genuinely happy with their current service, but also to validate if this was a way in which they were bringing in customers.
Now we know its all very easy to think that everything is fine with our website, but how do we really know? Well, these next simple tasks can reveal whether your website is working for you. You can do this for your site at any time.
Open your search browser for the internet and look for your business, by type and location. Please don’t type in your company name but instead type in say ‘Accountants in Romford’.
Is your company is listed on page one?
If it is that’s great news. Potential customers have a chance of finding you and calling up your business.
For those of you that didn’t appear on page one, you may need to think about how to improve the content of your website to help you to be found.
Whilst before you were asked not to type in your company name into the browser, this time, do exactly that. For example, for our Company it would be, ‘Perfect Layout Digital Marketing’.
Can you see the Google My Business (GMB) listing for your business? Can you also see photos, posts and full details about your company? Do you have reviews?
If it’s a ‘yes’ for all of that, that is excellent! You are on track with taking full advantage of GMB’s latest updates and features.
If you didn’t, Perfect Layout can help you either set up a Google My Business, or help you enhance what you already have there.
Keeping the page that you had open for task 2, now scroll down the results page, do you have your business listed in external directories? Such as Yell, Thomson, Netmums, or any online directory for your sector?
If you have more than 3 external directory listings, you are doing well, these connections on external sites help give your website relevancy and demonstrate that you are an active business.
If you are not listed on any external directories, it is recommended that this strategy is employed in order to help your business get found.
Does your website have a blog section? If it does, was the last post published within the last month?
If this is you - congratulations! You are doing a good job of sharing news about your company’s activities and products to your community.
If you don’t, get in touch with Perfect Layout about the benefits of a blog, which can help your website rank better.
Being on external directories can improve your online visibility with prospective clients.
Having a blog section is an opportunity to update your community on what you are doing and makes your business more authoritative.
In the second half of the presentation we introduced an alternative strategy for phone-based businesses who don’t have the money to invest in a new website or redesign of their current website - but need to be earning more money and secure new customers.
To clarify, a phone-based business is when people would call you as their primary way of contacting you, rather than via email or walking into your business premises.
Let’s imagine the following:
Our client, a dentist, gets some enquiries from his website, but he would like more. His family is growing and they need a bigger house, but what he is currently earning isn’t quite enough to be able to move, just yet. He doesn’t have the money to rebuild his website and invest in keyword-rich content.
However, as a phone-based business, he has the option of securing potential customers through a customer generating website that’s run by a digital marketing agency. This website will generate new contacts specifically for his business by creating a new website free of charge. It will be found organically on the top pages of search engines and could bring him that extra revenue that he is looking for. From these new clients there’s a high likelihood of them becoming repeat customers, who will visit for check-ups, as well as the need for ad hoc additional treatments. Fabulous recurring revenue for years to come.
It’s a no brainer – so where's the catch? It’s simply a matter of paying a small fee to the digital marketing agency for each enquiry that comes via that website.
If this has struck a chord with you and you would like your business to build up its client base and recurring customers, give us a call today to talk about whether your niche would suit such a website.
For many businesses, social media is an indispensable tool for finding and engaging with customers, improving sales, advertising and promoting products and services as well as gauging trends and offering customer service.
Social media has a significant role in helping businesses as it:
While 76% of direct sellers use social media for promotional purposes, 55% use it for recruiting new distributors and 42% use it for reactive purposes. Consumers are the most popular target for social media, followed by distributors and communities. Social media has evolved into a driver of strategy, and will become even more important in the future as customer relationships are improved and developed by listening and reacting to concerns. The transparency created by social media is enhancing trust and ethical organisational cultures. In addition, consumer brand communities are emerging that are increasing brand value.
1 – Facebook
This is easily the largest social networking site in the world and one of the most widely used.
Facebook was perhaps the first that surpassed the landmark of 1 billion user accounts.
An average Facebook user has 180 friends.
Apart from the ability to network with friends and relatives, different Facebook apps can be accessed to sell online and market or promote a businesses brand and products by using paid Facebook ads.
Facebook has incredible insights about their users and can target very specific demographics with very specific ads. Facebook ads are shown more regularly to advertisers who are willing to pay more than other advertisers targeting the same people.
This creates a bidding war and makes advertising campaigns that focus on a small niche more profitable.
Number of active users per month: approximately 1.7 billion
2 – Instagram
Instagram was launched as a unique social networking platform that was completely based on sharing photos and videos.
This photo sharing social networking app thus enables you to capture the best moments of your life, with your phone’s camera or any other camera, and convert them into works of art.
This is possible because Instagram allows you to apply multiple filters to your photos and you can easily post them to other popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. It is now part of the Facebook empire, with 1 billion registered users.
More than 80% of Instagram’s community lives outside of the U.S.
More than 300 million users check Instagram Stories daily.
Number of active users per month: 500 million approximately
3 – Twitter
This social networking site enables you to post short text messages (called tweets), containing a limited number of characters (up to 240), to convey your message to the world. With the growing craze for online shopping, Twitter makes it possible to promote your business and shop directly through tweets.
More political leaders use Twitter than any other social platform. 276 heads of state, government and ministries in 178 countries use Twitter.
68 million monthly active users are located in the U.S.
262 million monthly active users live outside of the U.S. (roughly 80%of all users).
42% of Twitter users use the site daily.
8% of US Companies use Twitter for marketing purposes.
74% of Twitter users follow small businesses to get product updates.
Number of active users per month: 330 million approximately
4 – Google+
Owned by the tech giant Alphabet (Google), this interest-based social networking platform enables you to stay in touch with people by sharing messages, photos, videos, useful links to sites and so on. It is estimated that it has a total of 2 billion registered users.
It also extends support for video conferencing through Hangouts and allows businesses to promote their brands and products through Google+ business pages.
Top 5 countries using G+ are USA, India, Brazil, UK & Canada.
Number of active users: 395 million approximately
LinkedIn is easily one of the most popular professional social networking sites or apps and is available in over 20 languages.
It is used across the globe by all types of professionals and serves as an ideal platform to connect with different businesses, locate and hire ideal candidates and more. It also boasts over 500 million members.
The more precise demographical data about people you are connected with is usually behind a pay-wall (a tool to monetize digital content securely and efficiently) such as on LinkedIn. 171 million users are based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The U.S. has the largest national user base (146 million members), followed by India, China and Brazil.
49% of college graduates use LinkedIn.
45% of adults making more than US$75,000 per year are on LinkedIn.
More than 46 million students and recent college graduates use LinkedIn. They are the networking site’s fastest-growing demographic.
Number of active users per month: 250 million approximately
Love them or loathe them, social media platforms are a must for all business owners to use. Denying your business a presence on the right social media platforms could lose you leads, revenue and repeat custom.
If you are overwhelmed with where you should start, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call to see how we can help build the right social media strategy for you.
Perfect Layout believes that sharing knowledge and experiences is a great way of helping each other learn how to run a business better. Interviewing local businesses is a bi-monthly ritual that we really enjoy as it allows us to become more known in the community and learn about how other businesses work.
We hope that sharing the personal experiences of these companies will give them exposure to you - readers, that may need their services as well as providing insights into what has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
This month, we interview Cyrus Mehta. An experienced Photographer that has recently taken the leap and become a full-time business owner.
How did your career in photography begin?
I have always loved photography from a very young age and dipped in and out of it over the years but my passion really reignited whilst working as a Project Manager for an events company that specialised in automotive press launches. We were away on a launch in Siena for about 4-5 weeks and during one of my weekends off I decided to explore the landscape and took the company digital compact camera with me. The Tuscan landscape is simply beautiful and I was totally hooked on capturing images of anything and everything from that moment.
During this trip one of my colleagues on the launch was due to get married when we got back to the UK. I was invited to the wedding and took the photographs throughout the day. I retouched them using Photoshop and the couple really liked them. I loved doing it! Then another friend asked me to do his wedding and I thought, if I’m going to do this properly and one day make this my full time career I have to invest in the right equipment. So I invested in a Canon DSLR system. It was my first paying wedding. I continued doing this alongside my main job.
How long have you been a photographer for?
I’ve been working as a part time photographer for over 10 years now. But I actually got my first camera when I was 10 years old and I was hooked from then. I also studied photography as part of my graphics course at college. I set up my own darkroom at home where I processed all my images. Even with a full time job and travelling for work, I managed to study O’level photography at night class.
What draws you to taking photographs for a living?
The passion for creating. I love the whole process of capturing the still image and then making a good image even better through post production … if the image needs it.
What did you do beforehand?
I was a Project Manager for an events company that specialised in automotive press launches.
How has the transition been from taking photographs part-time to doing it full time?
Exciting! I can now concentrate on getting things done as there’s no longer the distraction of my main job. Before, I had to book days off as holiday well in advance to make sure that I would be available for my clients. I would never want to let clients down. I have a lot of trust put on me to capture events like weddings for instance where you only get one chance to capture the whole day.
What type of pictures do you enjoy taking the most?
Mainly weddings as this encompasses a wide range of photography skills like portraiture, social interaction, fashion, landscape and architectural photography. Although my main photography avenues are weddings, portraits etc, I photograph a wide variety of subjects such as products. I recently shot a range of high end scarves for a client who is selling through her new website. I’m just about to do a shoot in Southend for an adventure playground who are revamping their website. So my photography is quite diverse.
What makes you different from other photographers?
I go out of my way to make sure my clients are happy with what they have hired me for. Retouching for me is also a big part of photography. It can really enhance an image and as a tool makes a difference to the quality of a photo. I go the extra mile with my post production retouching and the techniques I’ve developed over the years help me achieve the look I’m after. For example a wedding is a loving and romantic occasion and I try to convey that in every image I take on the day so that I can produce a digital story for the couple that they can cherish for many years to come.
Which ways are you promoting your business at the moment?
Through my website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. I post images as often as I can and slowly but surely I’m getting likes and my name out there. I’ve tried pay per click with Google before but that didn’t really work for me. I recently tried an ad campaign through Facebook with a very small budget over ten days. The ad reached over 2,500 people but unfortunately no enquiry’s. My next step is to go to wedding fairs and try to get business face to face with couples who are planning their big day.
Do you have a website?
Yes, which I built myself.
How did you find designing your website yourself?
I’ve been dabbling with websites for a number of years now so I found it relatively easy but with some major headaches along the way as the learning curve with my current platform provider was quite steep. I’ve now got the hang of it, so I can make changes quickly and whenever I want.
Which search engine optimisation techniques have you used?
Nearly every image is described with alt tags and keywords embedded. On each page I’ve also got relevant keywords in the text. I transferred my domain to my current platform provider as my previous site was old and non-responsive making my site not very user friendly. I’m also working my way through business directories and making sure all my details are correct on all the free listings.
Do you have a business plan?
To make it work! The plan is in my head regarding how I want it to develop and all the things I need to do. I think social media will play a big part but also bringing my portfolio up to date and going to wedding fairs … I need to attend face-to-face, live events which I know will bring in the business.
So, if you’re thinking about hiring a professional photographer for your next special occasion you can contact Cyrus via:
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!
You can contact us via the social media methods below or call us on 01708 578 015.
Christine Huntingford, CEO, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing will be one of the guest speakers at the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (HCCI) breakfast meeting this Friday (13 July). She will talk about how businesses need to invest in their website and digital marketing; in order to stay ahead of the competition. Breakfast meetings are free to members and guests are welcome too.
As a local business owner, it is likely that your days are filled working with for your customers with your specialist skill-set. If you are lucky to have a lot of referral work, it is likely that one day rolls into the next and one week into another and before you know it, that promise that you made to yourself that you will update your website, or that you will post more often on social media, falls to the way side.
If you are one you one of them, now is really is a good time to take stock and find out if what you are doing is really working for your business?
Ask yourself: when was the last time you really looked at your website? Does it really work for you in the way that you want it to? (- i.e. are you getting leads from it). Do you know how easy it is for potential customers to find you? Is your social media activity where it should be?
We all know that there is more that we can, and should, do. There are simple and relatively quick things that you can do that can make a big difference to your visibility online. Some elements cost you time, not money. And those that do cost money, can be scaled to what is affordable for you.
Come along on Friday 13 July to the Havering Museum in Romford and join the members and guests of the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry to hear Christine share ways for you to check if your website is easily found (or not); your website is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy and if that isn’t right, that is where you need to start first. From there we can build the blocks to ensure that you are engaging with potential customers on a regular basis.
The meeting starts at 7:30am for networking and the speakers will be presenting between 8am and 9am. There is a further opportunity to network until 9:30am.
Guests welcome: £10 on the door.
You may have noticed that the world we live in is changing…how we communicate, how we shop and how we do business. Many of these changes have come about as more and more people walk around with mini computers in their pockets. The owners of these Smart Phones range from the very young (many a lot younger than my 12 year daughter!) to the very old - my father wouldn’t thank me for mentioning his age (!). They have a worldwide appeal and their technology becomes more and more sophisticated with each passing year.
According to a recent survey of 170,000 adult internet users in 32 markets conducted by GlobalWebIndex 75% of adults that own a smartphone are using them to access the internet. That’s a lot of people!
If your business has a website that doesn’t convert for mobile users, you will be missing out on a massive market of potential customers and the real chance of increasing your profits. If you’re reading this blog and wondering how it is that you’ve never come across the term, ‘mobile strategy’ before – don’t worry, there is a way for you to catch up if you implement these 5 tips to creating a mobile strategy.
Tip 1 – ask questions
Before you begin creating your strategy, have a think about what you would like to achieve by asking yourself and/or your team some of the following. For example:
Tip 2 – do you want a mobile site or a mobile application?
If your business has a website you will want it to be mobile responsive. This means that users will not have to download anything to view your information properly. The mobile site can detect the user’s device and automatically format the content for optimal viewing on that platform.
Mobile applications require a device-specific download from a marketplace, such as the Apple App Store or the Android Market. Whether you choose to incorporate a mobile site or mobile application as part of your strategy, you will want to ensure that the information is clear and concise – thus easy to understand. Make the user experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. You want to encourage people to return or recommend your service and/or product.
Tip 3 – combine the use of Social Media into your campaign
We all know the power and influence social media platforms have, so now it’s time to think about how best to turn their strength to your advantage. Each social media platform offers tools that enable you to listen to, engage with and monitor your audience.
Did you know that 40% of Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook users have purchased something after watching and sharing it? This means that your mobile strategy should integrate with your social media platforms. This includes sharing reviews, having social sharing buttons and creating content that is both engaging for your audience and promoted through social media ads.
Tip 4 – create different device campaigns
It’s common that households today have multiple laptops, tablets and smartphones that cater for the uses of all the family. According to KISSMetrics, “over 40% of smartphone users watch TV while browsing a smartphone.” Because people are now adept at multi-tasking on this level, it’s important that marketing campaigns are adjusted to take into account the device, location and time of day of the end user. This way, you will be able to maximise your return on investment by delivering content that is relevant to different members of your audience.
Tip 5 – send out timely alerts
Have you ever found yourself checking your phone even when it’s not made one of those little ‘ping’ noises? Well you’re not alone. If you have done your research and truly know your audience and the time they would like to receive these alerts, take advantage of people wanting to look busy by sending out notifications of your latest discounts, savings or next big event.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is offered as a starting point to help businesses create a strategy.
Have you found this article useful? Give us your feedback and let us know how you have implemented your mobile strategy. We’d love to hear from you!