The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018. This is a new legislation, enforced by the European Commission, which aims to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the European Union (EU), whilst also addressing the use and dissemination of personal data outside the EU.
The two main objectives of GDPR are to:
1) give individuals back control of their personal data
2) simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU
The key changes of GDPR from the Data Protection Act 1998 fall under the following areas:
To understand the full details for each of these areas take a look at the EU GDPR website.
GDPR is intended for every business that collects and stores data and the GDPR recognises that smaller businesses need to be treated differently to large or public companies. Article 30 of the regulation declares that organisations with fewer than 250 employees do not need to strictly follow GDPR. That said though, when you read the stipulations, it is highly recommended that they do.
The penalties for not being compliant are high; including individuals being able to seek for compensation from businesses that abuse their data. This applies to both large and small companies.
How will this change when we leave the EU?
Although the UK has voted to leave the EU, UK businesses will need to follow these regulations if the data they handle is about EU individuals. GDPR replaces the UK 1988 Data Protection Act (DPA), and will continue to do so once Brexit has been implemented.
Perfect Layout hopes that this article has helped you to understand some basics about GDPR and has signposted you to some useful resources. We highlight to all our clients the importance of GDPR, especially when it comes to collecting data via their websites. If you have any question, give us a call on 01708 578 015.
Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is supporting the local community and is happy to be supporting the Summer Fayre at St Peter’s Primary School this year.
If you’re free on Saturday 30 June from 11am - 3pm, come along and have a fun day out with your family and help a local school provide better services for their pupils. The school is located on Dorset Avenue in Romford.
All monies raised by the event will directly help the Parents' Association fund equipment and activities for the children.
Last night we attended the Your Business Community (YBC) mega networking event at Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street.
Organised and run by, Ted, Mia and Paul - they were excellent hosts that championed getting to know each other in a relax and friendly way.
It helped that this free event offered an open bar of wine, beer, orange juice and water for the evening as well as a selection of hot snacks.
YBC presented us with a platform that had many open doors of possibilities and we spoke to as many as we could over the next three hours. People had travelled from all over London and the Home Counties to participate. Some were veteran members and others were like us, attending for the first time.
We chatted and mingled with some great people and heard some inspiring stories of how businesses had been started and breathed into being. The passion and enthusiasm were infectious and whilst not every chat was a potential lead, the energy and drive of these stories will help feed our own determination to succeed.
Not every networking event will end up with you obtaining a new client. But what it can do, if you make the effort, is recharge your batteries and help keep your mindset positively focused on the limitless opportunities that your business may bring your way.
We have found that whoever we spoke to, they were able to either ignite an idea in our minds, or share a story of common interest. Rarely was a conversation not worth the time spent with that person.
Your business is worth working on, as well as working in. Keep your business fresh and up-to-date by hearing how others are offering their services. Maybe it’s a way that you’d never thought of before that could save you time and make you money.
Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back from achieving your goals and dreams. Take a risk, try something new and quash forever the negative power of your imagination. Often the thinking about something is a million times worse than the actual doing and at the YBC events there will always be a friendly face just around the corner...
There are good websites and there are bad websites. If you have had a website for a while, but you find that you are not getting much from it, in terms of traffic, leads, calls etc, it could be that people are finding your website tricky to navigate or difficult to find the right information. I know it’s hard, but every six months or so, it is worth doing an audit of your website with, 'a fresh pair of eyes’, to check that everything is relevant and it all still makes sense.
Is it mobile-optimised?
The first thing to check is whether or not your website is on a mobile optimised platform? If not, the search engines will penalise your organic rankings. You will also find that customers, who have to pinch and expand the page to read the text, will more often bounce off to find another website that has a better user experience.
- Check: Is your website built on a mobile optimised platform?
Is your site easy to navigate with clear navigation buttons?
Most websites follow a similar structure which includes, a home page, an about page, pages on the services that you offer and a contact page. It may also be useful to have pages about the areas you serve, a portfolio of what you offer (whether it’s services or products) and even a testimonial page.
- Check: Are your navigation headers clear for a brand new visitor to understand?
Do you explain what you do?
It is all well and good you knowing what you do, but is this clear to your potential customers? If your business is selling products, do they have relevant descriptions that will help minimise the chance of those products being returned? If you offer a service, do you explain, in everyday language, what it is that you offer? When you work in a particular sector, it can become second nature to speak the jargon of that industry. But would everybody be able understand such specific terminology? Also make sure that you have clear headings throughout each page to make it easy to skim read. Often people are time-poor, so make your website a breeze to read through.
- Check: Is your website easy to understand? Ask a friend or family member to read through to see if it is clear to them. Do they have any questions about elements that remain unclear?
Can you add more visual elements to your website?
As they saying goes: ‘A photo tells a thousand words.’ Remember to include high resolution photos (that are saved for web) that convey clearly your products and services. If you offer a service then show before and after photos of projects that you have worked on. Be proud of the transformation that you can achieve.
- Check: What are the photos like on your site? Do you have relevant images that are crystal clear? Blurry photos will convey a slap-dash image of your company.
Do you have ways that customers can reach you?
The majority of users will be viewing your website on a mobile device. No longer is it OK to have your phone number only on the Contact Us page. Think about adding your contact details in your footer, so that it is easy to find you. If you are on a mobile optimised platform your web designer will be able to enable phone number hyperlinks, so that visitors can click on your number and call you straight away. Also think about other Call to Action buttons that you could include on each page.
- Check: How you can optimise better user engagement on every page, so that visitors can contact you immediately. Does your footer have contact details?
What are your customers saying about you?
If you are getting positive feedback from clients, then add this to your website. Why not create a testimonial page to enable new visitors to see what your customers think of you. Lots of lovely reviews will more likely result in a new visitor engaging with you.
- Check: When did you last upload a testimonial? Visitors will look for recent reviews, so keep adding them to your site.
Is your logo on your website?
Add your logo to the top left of your pages. The readers’ eyes will read from left to right and top to bottom. So by adding your logo to the top left will ensure that it is the first thing the reader sees. This implants your branding into their memory; making it easier to remember you when they re-visit your site.
- Check: Is your logo positioned in the top left hand corner?
For more user-friendly tips for your website visit Hubspot’s article.
Is your website in need of redesigning in order to make it a more user-friendly? Or perhaps you want to take this opportunity to start afresh? Either way, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call on 01708 578 015.
Whatever you think about the royal family you’ve got to admire how they’ve moved with the times. Gone are the days when the head of the monarchy influenced the love choices of her children. The old days that saw decisions being made that were more about ensuring ‘best fit’ as opposed to encouraging ‘freedom of choice’.
When the money and privileges are stripped away, the royal family really is like any other family...they have their ups and downs; some family members don’t get on; and some are just plain embarrassing!
The point is, the royal family, as a brand, continues to successfully strengthen national unity and stability. I have always felt that, overall, the British public loves the Queen and her successes, disasters and numerous emotional rollercoasters that have made up part of her 65 year reign. The royal family is a global brand and is recognised in countries across the world.
On 19 May, all eyes worldwide, will be back on them as the marriage between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Perfect Layout wish them all the best on their big day and we encourage you - our readers - to think about the branding of your business. Does it have what it takes to carry your products and services forward and produce a great income for the long term?
Get in touch if you require another perspective on how your website can help create for you a solid brand that will last the test of time.
As a business still finding its feet, you may have noticed from previous blogs that networking is something we actively promote.
Whether you’re a business start-up or have been established for over 20 years, if your objective is to make money, you should still undertake some form of networking. Why settle for your income to be okay when, for a little extra effort, your income could be amazing!
Yesterday, we attended The Business Show at Excel in London. It’s a free, two-day event that boasts: 350 exhibitors, 250 speakers, 170 masterclasses, 7 show features and much more. It was wonderfully busy with many exhibitors vying to catch your attention, find out what you do and pitch their products and services.
If you’re thinking about attending our tips are:
This event has the opportunity to open the door to: an idea that’s been in your head for ages; a service provider you can collaborate with; a product that can make how you work more efficient and effective. So why wait to take those steps and grow your business?
Get your diary out now and find out the next time The Business Show will be in your vicinity. It may just be the event that will take your business to the next level.
Take a look at your website. Does it convey the culture of your business and your personality?
All too often websites are faceless. The tone of the content is formal and photos have been uploaded from stock libraries that don’t truly reflect the nature of the services and/or products.
If you offer a service, where you start and finish a project, nothing will truly convey who you are and what you do better than visual files - whether that be photos or videos. We live in a world where social media is a dominating part of our lives, where reading one post can lead to 30 minutes of unplanned surfing…So why not turn this time and energy observing from the outside, to becoming somebody that is observed? By putting your real presence into your website, your personality will shine through in a positive way that will get you noticed and potentially earn you income creating leads.
Even if what you offer is a generic service, your website can incorporate a portfolio of the work you have undertaken. Excellent ways of capturing this are by having before and after shots or images that detail the progress more in-depth. If you’re not good at taking photos, why not hire a photographer that is willing to follow you around for a day or two, taking photos while you work. These don’t need to be staged, they can be documentary-style photos capturing you in a natural way.
We live in a competitive age, where businesses that do the same as you are peering over your digital shoulder. It’s important that you take the time and think of ways you can stand above the opposition and entice people to choose you over them.
There are other ways to make your website reflect your personality and below is our sum up of some definite, 'must do's'.
5 tips to making your website look unique:
Tip 1 Use great photos - make them personal and relevant to your services and products. Your personality will come across if customers can see you at work; see your work in progress; or have the opportunity to view your end results.
Tip 2 Videos that show your services/products are an excellent way of showing what you do in a different way. If you're confident in front of the camera, allow your personality to shine in front of your customers.
Tip 3 The content on your website can also convey the person behind the business. Whilst you want to avoid grammatical mistakes and spelling errors at all costs, your voice should also come through to relay what your business does in a way that attracts the right customers.
Tip 4 Pay attention to the layout of your imagery and content. Each page should be thoughtfully considered to ensure that your user has the best visitor experience possible.
Tip 5 Does your business have a unique name and image? Branding your business will help establish your foothold in your market. Deciding on a logo, colours and font all help to differentiate you from competitors and attract online visitors.
If your website could do with a makeover, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call. We can help you decide in which direction to redesign your website as well as recommending logo and branding designers, and documentary photographers to make your website shine!
Are you a local company in the Essex area that would like to connect with new customers? If the answer is yes - why not get in touch so that you can feature in our bi-monthly blog, Interview with...
The purpose of this blog spot is for Perfect Layout to get to know local businesses better and share with our readers the personal experiences of these companies. What has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
Perfect Layout believe that sharing knowledge and experiences is a great way to help other local businesses. Attracting customers to the Essex area is paramount if independent companies are to thrive. As a result, we are keen to promote the new, bold and varied companies that exist right here on our Essex doorstep.
Read on to find out more about a talented designer that may just have that niche gift you've been looking for...
Business name: Ashare Designs
Owner: Lucy Joseph
What type of business is Ashare Designs?
It’s a product design business, specialising in laser cut, home décor and personalised gifts.
How long have you been in business for?
Since March 2017.
How did you come up with your business name?
The name has been inspired by the names of my children. Two names have been joined together to make Ashare.
What type of items does Ashare Designs make?
Personalised home décor, wall décor and personalised gifts like keyrings and keepsake boxes. I’ve also started making cake toppers. Any message can be made to make a cake look even better.
How did your design idea come about? Are you self-taught? Had formal training?
I teach design and technology across a range of years as well as GCSE and A’ level students. I teach them how to design and create products. This idea came to me because you can only teach to a certain level with students. I felt that I wasn’t using my skills to my full potential and because people would always want to make things, I wanted to turn my passion into a business. I knew I could make commercial products. I also wanted to spend more time at home with the kids and running my own business at home means that I can make money from something I enjoy doing which is a bonus.
Is this a full-time job for you?
At the moment it’s not. I do this part-time as I’m also a secondary school teacher of Design and Technology.
Who are your main customers?
People through Etsy, family and friends of friends. Mainly female customers at the moment, which I think is due to women having more of an eye for buying personalised gifts.
Do you have any staff?
How much do your personalised gifts sell for?
Costs for these items range from £5 to about £50 at the moment.
How do you reach out to your customers as I note that you don’t have a website?
I use social media at the moment. Facebook, Etsy and Instagram. I’m seeing most of my customers come from Instagram. I always try to put the words ‘personalised’ in the taglines. I see a lot of the types of products that I’m able to produce on the ‘Not on the High Street’ website. I wouldn’t want to advertise my goods on there as it’s a bit pricey and I want to keep my products affordable for all.
What advice would you give small businesses that sell their products on Etsy, Facebook and Instagram?
You’ve got to stay active and you have to try and build up a genuine following. You have to post frequently as well as comment on posts too. Asking questions, like ‘Which do you prefer?’ helps with the engagement of your followers. I also run competitions, i.e. when I reach a 1,000 followers (that have to provide a comment), I randomly choose a winner and send them a gift. I would class being active as posting 1 or 2 photos a day. Accessing brand reps to promote your products is also a good way to generate visibility.
What types of businesses do you think would benefit from using Etsy and Facebook?
Anything niche. Etsy is more craft based and is an arty type of shop. Facebook can be used by any type of business. But as your business gets bigger it becomes more about networking and you would eventually need a website to take orders etc.
How’s business going since you first started out?
It’s good. I’m not as active as I could be because I’m trying to keep it small and manageable.
Whilst your business is doing well on Etsy/Facebook, have you thought about growing your business with the benefit of having a website?
Yes, that would be the next step once I build up a better client base.
Do you have a marketing strategy? Both digital and non-digital.
At the moment, my plan is to continue using the social media platforms.
If you had the power to re-set the clock regarding the setting up of Ashare Designs, what would you do differently?
I would perhaps have made it more streamlined. I had an idea in the beginning that I would create one new product per week and add that to the range. This would then have been part of the social media promotion regarding posts, but it didn’t really happen.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
Continue to design more products and add to the range.
Where do you see Ashare Designs in 5 years’ time?
I’d like to be in a position where someone else can help with orders and I can oversee the business more.
So, if you’re looking for a gift that offers an extra special something, how about you check out some of Lucy’s creations. The products from her shop can be seen via:
Facebook - asharedesigns
Etsy – www.esty.com/uk/shop/asharedesigns
Instagram - @ashare_designs
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
The thought of networking can fill some people with dread. They can’t think of anything worse than being in a room full of strangers. I have been there myself too.
I used to run and manage events when I was in the magazine media industry. Because it was ‘my’ event, many of the delegates that were there, I had spoken to before via emails and/or phone calls so striking up a conversation face-to-face was much easier. However, there were occasions when I attended other events and found myself in a room full of complete strangers. It was so daunting! Especially when I saw clusters of people already chatting – I assumed they already knew each other…or did they?
Over the years, I learned two top tips that I would like to share with you now:
I remember once being at an awards night and there, during the welcome drinks reception, was a well-known comedian looking a little bit lonely and awkward. He was watching people milling about below from where he was standing on a balcony. I went over and said ‘hi’. As it turned out, a magazine that he was writing a column for was up for an award. We had a chat for a short while and before we parted company he thanked me for coming over and introducing myself. So remember, even those in the public eye that appear confident can turn up to an event and feel anxious and alone. As humans, we all appreciate someone extending a welcoming hand of friendship, however fleeting that may be.
Networking events…why should you bother?
It’s simple; people buy from people. If you find that you are not getting enough new business in and you could do with new opportunities, it’s time to get out and network.
As a business owner, I believe that it is extremely important to participate in this activity and network as much as your diary will allow. The bottom line is that you just don’t know who you are going to meet and what opportunities may arise - and that’s the exciting part of it! Perhaps you will find someone who requires your service, or meet a company that can provide you with a must have product. If nothing else you can find out what is going on in your community and begin building important links and form long lasting relationships.
Last week, the YBC – Your Business Community launched a new meet up in our local area. That morning we chatted to 20 other business owners who were looking to make connections with other businesses. As digital marketing specialists, we are in a sector where people will want to talk to us about their website or aspects of digital marketing that they may have questions about.
Investing your time in building and developing long-term relationships won’t necessarily translate into immediate profits, but it is the start of building strong businesses in the medium to long term and provide other additional benefits.
Here are nine reasons how networking can be beneficial for your business:
1. Fine-tuning your elevator pitch
Getting out there and introducing yourself regularly soon teaches you the best way to get your message across. At first it can be hard (maybe even nerve-wracking), but practice and familiarity soon makes it feel like second nature. If you’re just starting out, it is worth spending time writing out a couple of paragraphs about your business and repeating it in different ways, to different people. This will help you sound natural and confident when it comes to speaking for real in front of a new group of networking potentials.
2. Fostering word-of-mouth recommendations
This is the crux of why people network. The more people you are able to pass your business message onto, the more recommendations you will get. Successful businesses are built on referrals.
3. Finding Suppliers
As a business owner you will need a wealth of suppliers to run the various aspects of your business: from accountants, IT support, insurance brokers etc. At networking events you will come across these types of professionals, and many others. Finding suppliers that network often provides opportunities for two-way business. And even if you don’t directly get business from them, you don’t know who they know...
4. Finding a connection to someone you’re trying to get an introduction with
Six degrees of separation - anything is possible. Everyone wants to meet someone. As a general rule, there are never more than six people between you and the person you want to talk to. Networking is a way to access otherwise inaccessible people.
5. Learning from other peoples experiences
Networking groups are full of people with lots of business experiences who are often very willing to share their knowledge. Successful business people are usually generous with offering advice to people that are eager to learn and open to listening. So don't be shy, ask that question that's been bothering you and get an answer that's based on real life experience.
6. Welcoming new opportunities
Networking events will often have presentations. These specialists will offer you their expertise and help you perhaps think differently. Maybe you will find new ideas to reach potential clients or realise that there are different target markets that were not on your radar. People you meet at networking events may identify new market opportunities you hadn't thought of before and open the door to new partnerships being forged.
7. Inspiration from other sectors
Talking to others and asking questions about how they run their business – even if it’s a different business to yours – may inspire you to adapt those ideas, processes and innovations into your own business.
8. Sharing experiences
Business owners share a common energy and drive to want to succeed. Business people, who have the same challenges as you do, are often willing to share their experiences and offer solutions – this is when two heads are better than one.
9. Making new friends
Although your primary focus is building business contacts, networking can also create new friendships. When you share your ideas and your enthusiasm for your business with like-minded people, they are going to connect with you. Strong friendships combined with strong business connections can be a powerful way to build your overall network.
What networking events are out there?
As a digital marketing company based in Havering, Essex, here are some regular networking events that we have come across:
Networking can deliver more return on investment than any other tool in business. Those who believe in networking agree that in both financial and non-financial terms their network has delivered a lot of value.
Getting results from networking can take a while. People who buy from people, will usually invest time before committing, so networking is not a quick-fix to finding new business. Time is needed to build trust and you need to show up regularly to ensure that you are recognised and remembered for what you do.
Every time you network, remind yourself of the following:
The last top tip of networking is to always exchange contact details before you part company. Don’t just give them yours, always ask for theirs so that you have the opportunity to follow up.
A good network is nothing more than an extended circle of friends. It’s a two-way street of helpful relationships. Good luck!