It was back in January 2018 when I, Christine Huntingford, one of the founders at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing attended the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) networking event in Havering.
It was there that I bumped into Simon Lewin, Business Growth Manager (BGM) from Building Legacies. He got talking to me about how he, as a BGM, helped start-ups and young companies with business mentoring free of charge.
My first question was, what ‘free’ free? To which Simon said ‘yes’. He explained that Building Legacies is a fully funded business support programme, delivered in partnership by Newham College Centre for Innovation and Partnerships (CIPs) and East London Business Place (ELBP), that offers tailored solutions for London-based Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) seeking competitive business advantage.
After the meeting I did some more research and found that Building Legacies is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the purpose of delivering a support programme that tackles gaps in SMMEs’:
This chance meeting with Simon was a serendipitous opportunity to acquire a business mentor that would guide Perfect Layout Digital Marketing to grow and expand both its business acumen and client base…all without charge!
We saw the immediate benefits and following the completion of some necessary paperwork, we met with Simon.
Our first meeting involved answering lots of questions about what we did, how we did things and the processes we had in place to help us do our work. He carried out a full business needs analysis.
Perfect Layout is a company still in its infancy. Whilst there is a lot that we have achieved on our journey so far, there are still many more things to think about, improve on and processes to put in place that will help us grow and succeed.
We came away from our first meeting proud of our accomplishments and achievements to date. It was a most worthwhile exercise that allowed us to focus on our business and have an experienced eye constructively critique how we currently do things. It also gave us the opportunity to cement the ideas that we had for the next stage of our business development.
Our BGM Simon, is interested and eager to see us achieve and do well. He can often be a tough cookie (meant in the nicest possible way!) but his intentions are good in that he constantly challenges our thinking and our processes. He offers valuable advice on matters that are currently affecting us and is happy to put us on the spot to do exercises and role play that could help us gain our next client.
Our task, following this meeting, was to develop our Business Plan in more detail. The Business Plan template that Simon presented us with was very comprehensive and we realised that much more research was needed as well as a more thorough look at our competitors.
It took time to work on the Business Plan but being firm believers in setting aside time to work on the business as well as in the business, we put our heads down and got writing. We headed into the second meeting pleased with the progress that we had made on the Plan.
Simon challenged us again with further questions - making us think even harder about our business. His points were valid and we discussed various ideas, some that we had already thought about but not yet actioned, others that were new and got us excited. We left that day exhausted but satisfied with our progress. On our to-do list that day was the task of preparing a Three-Year Sales Forecast, which we are currently working on.
Whilst it’s only been a couple of months, our journey so far with Building Legacies has been rich and rewarding. The support and areas of focus that we are currently working on is pushing us harder and faster than we would have done otherwise.
We have been provided with expert business guidance that has opened our eyes and encouraged us to focus on areas of the business that we may not have addressed at this stage. It has also provided us with the opportunity to think about ways of expanding our product offering.
We feel very grateful to have bumped into Simon at that networking event. Not only have we received great mentoring (as described above) we have also been offered the option to attend free training workshops and been introduced to business owners in need of new websites or help with their digital marketing.
Building Legacies offers this programme predominantly (but not exclusively) to companies in construction, digital/creative and care-related sectors. Their aim is to assist them in becoming better businesses by providing tailored solutions through:
For SMMEs that take part, they will find themselves considering; new and legacy market opportunities; locating new customer bases and identifying and capitalising on new opportunities to grow their business.
The Building Legacies business support programme is one that we would highly recommend. If you are in East London with a new business idea or your company has a turnover of less than £5m, seriously consider being mentored by Simon or one of his colleagues. It’s a challenging process that is extremely rewarding.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this scheme, you must complete and return a registration form. To get this, email email@example.com or call on 020 7537 6480.
For more information visit: https://buildinglegacies.co.uk/
Come and join Perfect Layout Digital Marketing tomorrow for St Peter’s Primary School Summer Fayre.
If you’re free on Saturday 30 June betwen 11am - 3pm, have a fun day out with your family and help a local school provide better services for their pupils. There is lots going on in the Fun Zone, dedicated to the younger children, including a bouncy castle and a petting zoo. There will be face painting, arts and crafts too. for the adults, enjoy a glass of Pimms or Beer to go with your burger or sausage from the BBQ. 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.
When people think of branding, they often associate it with having a great logo or a memorable name. But branding goes far beyond the visual aspects of your business. So what exactly is a brand?
The short answer is: everything.
Your brand includes things such as the look and feel of your website, your customer service and how you engage on social media. It represents every single aspect of your business. Your company’s branding will influence what people think about your business and whether they perceive your brand as being reliable, fun, modern, attractive, cutting edge etc.
Beyond just having a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of your company. For larger organisations it provides employees with a purpose and direction. When done correctly it can make getting new customers easier. When all of these parts of the business are working well, the overall brand tends to be in a good position.
After formalising a company, anyone serious about their new business will set themselves the tasks of:
Now whilst these are all essential and worthwhile jobs has thought gone into how the branding of the company fits in? Is it being done in the right way?
Let’s take a look at how the brand impacts your business:
It’s not surprising that the first thing people associate with branding is the logo; as it’s the first component that people tend to see. Logo design is critical because that simple graphic or icon will be on everything that you do. A professional logo design should be created so that it is simple enough to be remembered - but it must also convey the desired impression of your company.
A professional appearance builds credibility and trust. People are more likely to purchase from a business that appears professional and polished, rather than something that looks ‘cobbled together’ or done on a very tight budget. Getting this step wrong could seriously impact the success of your business. Once you have established a (bad) reputation, it’s hard to change it.
Positive recognition is essential because it develops a good relationship between your business and your customers.
Trust and Confidence
People are more likely to buy again from a company when their first experience was good, or when someone has recommended them. Through their own experience they too build confidence and trust with you and your products or services. Once you start to be recognised, you begin to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Strong brands can feel like an extension of you. Just think of the products you buy that you just wouldn’t buy from any other brand.
A strong brand, with a professional structure behind it, will begin to build loyalty. Once all the aforementioned factors are working in harmony, you are likely to have a customer base that will keep coming back for more.
Advertising is another component of your brand strategy. It is essential for your business to bring customers to you and communicate to the world what your business offers. If it resonates with your would-be customer, then your brand will draw them to your business.
It is important to have thought through what you want to advertise, how you want to advertise and where and when you want to advertise. Not thinking through your message and tactics properly may not achieve the desired effect that you want. If done badly, it could lose you money and damage your brand.
Branding enables your company to get referral business from those that are now loyal to you. This is where all companies want to be, as it is the most profitable advertising source. Word-of-mouth referrals are only possible where you have built a solid reputation on delivering a great product or service.
Let customers engage with your brand
Being on social media will allow customers the opportunity to engage directly with your brand. You can do this by simply creating a hashtag for your business, which should feature in every post you publish. This will help people remember the brand if they see this in every post.
Branding motivates employees
Many people choose the companies they want to work for because they are aligned with their ethos and practices. People often aren’t simply looking for work, but looking for their ideal employer. When employees understand your mission and reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and passion and will align their attitude with the company’s.
Take the time to invest in your brand
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t prioritise branding and this is a huge mistake. Poor branding impacts your business in many negative ways and can threaten the survival of your company. Your brand is the face of your business. How do you want people to feel about your brand?
Invest the time, energy and resources to develop a brand that you’re proud of. This is not a quick win – good branding takes time and planning. But remember that it’s worth the investment and it will help boost your profits.
If you need advice on branding for your business or are looking for a website design in Essex, then look no further. Call Perfect Layout Digital Marketing on 01708 578 015, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact form below.
So we landed in Las Vegas yesterday afternoon for this year’s annual conference. It’s the first year that we are attending. As with any industry conference, you have to decide which are the right ones for you. You need to evaluate what you are going to gain from it and consider whether or not it will see a return on your investment.
We knew that this was the year that we were going to make it to Las Vegas and that it would tick all three boxes. Whilst we could have saved ourselves the expense of the trip, and watched the online videos when they became available, we decided that we had to be there to gain the most from the experience. It was time to head on over to meet our peers face-to-face, share our experiences and learn from theirs.
The 10-hour flight passed quickly (thanks Virgin for your stream of food and drinks - though your entertainment system’s touch screen was frustrating to say the least!). The two-hour wait to make it through passport control was not so much fun. By the time we got to our hotel, we were feeling the strain of the long day.
A little siesta helped recharge the batteries and we soaked up the bright, brash adult theme park that is Vegas. The temperature was high and the desert wind felt like someone was blowing a hairdryer over our bodies as we walked the strip - it took some getting used to!
Today, our bodies have adjusted to the US time-zone. We have explored the hotel and got our bearings for the conference tomorrow. There are plans on the Facebook group to meet up with delegates later and we can’t wait…
These next few days, will bring us up to speed with digital marketing changes and give us the opportunity to immerse ourselves with experts who have walked the path that we are walking on. We hope to make new friendships, some that may last a lifetime.
Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust that things will work out and we can already feel that this will happen.
We will keep posting on our learnings and adventures, so watch this space!
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 in July.
Many business owners are busy working ‘in’ their business and rarely take the time to work ‘on’ their business. Are you one of them?
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. Often the, ‘time thief’, prevents us from taking action. But there are simple and relatively quick things that you can implement (if you haven’t already) that can make a big difference. 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) and things that you can implement quickly.
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.
Have you been gripped by World Cup fever? Wherever you live in the world, it would be hard to avoid the pull of watching two teams of grown men kicking a ball about. Whether you’re an ardent fan or occasional watcher, like myself, every four years I find that I am drawn into the highs and lows of watching a sport that unites the world.
It’s the world-wide appeal of this tournament that intrigues me. That a ball, kicked about by 22 men, is able to grab the attention of so many different people, from countries across the world, that are from such varied walks of life. A marketer’s dream!
Imagine having a target audience of billions that is ready to buy a wide range of products associated with the event and the nations home team… football kits, balls, books, clothes, teddy bears and hair accessories are just a few items that established businesses and budding entrepreneurs with a keen eye for making quick money are ready to sell to a hungry public.
If you are one of the billions of people already glued to their TVs – here are a few facts about this event that may surprise you:
Whilst these amounts of money are positively eye-watering, it just shows that money really does make the world go around! Are you ready to get your portion by having your website reach the target audience it deserves? Get in touch on 01708 578 015 if you’re ready to make that happen.
The Perfect Layout has a team of copywriters that can create relevant content for your website. Having a team means that we are able to provide a wide ranging bespoke copywriting service that caters for all markets.
You will have seen us write about content in our blogs before. The importance of content on your website relates not only to the visitors to your site, but also when it comes to being found by search engines like Google. We understand the importance and will ensure that the language of the text:
• reflects you – the face behind the business
• your ethos – what your business stands for
• and describes your services and products in a way that will engage your customers and allow them
to quickly grasp what you do
It’s paramount to create content that people will be interested in reading and that’s exactly what we do. Our process is simple. We will meet with you face-to-face or arrange a time to Skype or talk to you on the phone. We are good at asking questions and the more questions we ask, the more we will be able to write in a way that sounds like you. We want to hear how you would speak to prospective clients so that when it comes to writing about what you do, it will be as though you wrote it yourself.
We will ask questions like:
These are questions you could ask yourself now. Does the content on your website answer these enquiries? If not, it may be time to either re-write your content or give us a call.
The fact is, whether you are in the line of work that provides a locksmith service or have just started your own firm of solicitors – the principles behind asking these types of questions remain the same. For every service, we’ll incorporate relevant facts that are appropriate. For example, your new firm of solicitors will need to include an overview of how the law impacts on what you do for your clients. It’s always key to remember who your target audience is to ensure that your services can be understood and accessed by as many people as possible.
The content we produce will also incorporate keywords relevant to your sector. Are you a locksmith that is able to change the locks to only certain doors? If so, describe the type of doors. Do your services cover a certain area? If so, describe the services you provide and where. Does your business offer a 24 hour lock changing service? If yes, then say how and where your out of hours facility works.
Think of pertinent questions that your customer might ask and answer them.
That way you will begin to build a picture of your business that will contain relevant keywords to get you found by your customers as well as the search engines.
Other than listening to what you need, our service also includes offering ideas that will help draw out the best aspects of your business.
For example, ideas that will:
• make you stand out from your competitors
• incorporate current trends within your industry that should be included in your content
• include changes that are occurring in the local area that could have an affect your service
Get in touch if you feel that your content is in need of being re-worked. The bottom line is, great content will get you noticed for all the right reasons!
Give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call on 01708 578 015, email us at email@example.com, or complete the contact form below.
If your business has a website, it is important not to see yourself as a stand-alone island with no links to other shores. If you want your island to be successful it needs to have connections with other islands that are well connected too.
In other words, having your website is just one of the steps of having a good online presence. However, it is imperative to take the time to list your business on other online directories too; so that they not only promote your services, but also add authority that you’re a current and valid business to approach.
When creating your listing on directories, like Thomson; on websites like NetMums, or on social media platforms like Facebook, you should include as much information about your business as possible. This includes giving obvious information such as your name, address and phone number (NAP).
Google My Business has made many changes to their features (read our article: What's new with Google My Business?). All businesses should list their information on it as a starting point in creating citations.
Why is it worth taking the time to cite your business on directories?
It allows you to be found by a greater number of customers through search engines like Google. The more directories your business is cited on, the better chance you will have for your business to rank highly in organic search.
With the majority of users turning to their mobile device to look for products, information and services, online directories help facilitate being found at any time, from anywhere. Do you want to miss out on potential business because you didn’t take the time to invest in this digital strategy?
Each directory company will offer different features, but this is what you may be asked to provide:
Listing a business on a directory is not difficult, but it can be time consuming. If you choose to give it a go yourself, make sure you do the job properly. If you don’t, it could affect your income, online rankings as well as your reputation.
Follow these tips to ensure that search engines, like Google, view you as a business that’s real and trustworthy and ultimately worth ranking:
Remember, citations that are accurate will help your business get noticed. So what are you waiting for?
If you don’t have the time, or the inclination, to do this, the team at Perfect Layout can help you. Fill in your details below and we’ll get in touch to find out more about your business.
By filling out this form, we will only contact you regarding this matter; we respect your data.
If you have accessed your Google My Business (GMB) listing recently you may have noticed some changes. Whilst you may think, ‘here we go again, another thing to add to my to-do list’ it is worth taking the time to update your profile and ensure that everything is relevant and fresh.
If you are a small business you will know that reaching a wide customer base can be tricky. With this free-to-use profile, invest the time to make your business shine. Be one of the leaders in this change making sure that your profile is singing your praises from the rooftops.
If you haven’t created a Google My Business listing, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing recommends that you do. Not only does it show the essence of what your business has to offer, but the new features means that this platform is more attractive than before.
Why is local SEO so important?
If you are a local business, local SEO could have a huge impact on the success or failure of your business. You can use local SEO to outrank the competition. The relevant information is accessible for everyone to take advantage of and whilst many local businesses spend their time running their business, digital marketing is usually at the bottom of their list of things to do.
For companies making use of local SEO and in the case of Google My Business, taking advantage of the new features demonstrates to potential customers that they are: staying up-to-date, that they are knowledgeable and well-informed and that they are taking strides to separate themselves from the competition. The result is that it can help secure potential customers more easily. Would you like this to be you?
So what’s new with the Google My Business Listing?
This is a snapshot of the most important information that a potential customer may be interested in The information section includes opening hours, reviews, address, phone number etc.
Ok, so what’s so great about the description feature? Well it’s back! And that IS exciting. When Google My Business was called Google Places, the description section about your company was available, but then they took it away. Now all businesses have the opportunity to describe the wonder of their business on GMB in 750 words or less. Make sure you spend time writing a description that will attract customers to engage with you.
In 2017, Google released a new messaging feature, which allows you to 'live message' with customers directly from the search results page. So if a customer has a quick question, when you have this function enabled they can send you a message and in an instant you can reply…talk about fabulous customer service before they have even come to you!
If your information changes, like your business location, name, or telephone number, Google will allow you to easily make updates to your dashboard. This is another feature that they once removed but has resurfaced again and it is this tool that will help you make changes more easily.
Yes Google My Business Photos has added video content as a feature. Posting videos on your listing can help encourage customers to stay on your listing for longer and therefore find out more about you. These videos can give you the edge to your competitors. Currently, video clips are limited to 30 seconds in length and they will feature next to the photo section.
If the business you own is a restaurant and your listing is categorised as a restaurant (vs a café or bistro), Google have been thinking hard about you guys. Restaurant owners can now add and edit menus on their Google My Business listing. There is now a facility that will allow you to categorise the food into sections, such as starters, mains and desserts, as well as adding descriptions and prices.
Again, this is a powerful tool that can help you stand out from the crowd. Why is your restaurant different from the others in your area, what makes you special? Do you have something unique? Do you have special offers? Remember to include as much information as you can to help you stand out and get the diners through the door.
‘Posts’ is the most exciting feature that looks to have a big impact on local businesses and their local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. The feature will allow businesses to quickly connect with customers, both new and old, in a unique and attention grabbing way.
Posts allow you to share content with people who are searching for terms related to your business. It can be seen as a cross between social media marketing and search engine optimisation. It not only allows you to increase the visibility of your business, it also offers a way in which you can give deeper information about your services and products, that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. You can also post links to your website and include call to action buttons like ‘Buy’ or ‘Learn More’. Using Posts also helps you to get more of the organic search impressions and clicks.
When you decide to include Posts on Google as part of your local SEO strategy, remember that this task will never stop. This is another beast that will need constant feeding. However, it is worth giving it a try. What have you got to lose versus how much do you have to gain?
If all of this just seems too much, help is at hand. Give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call on 01708 578015, or fill out the quick form below so we can get in touch with you.
If you complete this form, we will only contact you to ask you about GMB listings.
Three months ago my life changed in an amazing way. What happened? I hear you cry! Did I get married, move home, win the lottery, have a baby? It was none of the above, although I would liken it to having a baby - we got a puppy!
So what’s getting a puppy got to do with websites? Nothing directly, but the stress, newness and challenges it has bought into my life has yet again altered my perspective on business life. Let me explain…
My husband had been researching the Basenji breed for the last two years and over that time he’d been like a scratched record talking about the benefits of owning one: the privilege it would be to own a primitive breed, the exercise and fresh air it would force us to get and the responsibility it would give the kids whilst learning to care for her.
What he failed to elaborate on was exactly how hard it would be in the beginning. The sleepless nights. The biting. The constant peeing and pooing everywhere....It’s a lot to take on board when you’re working full time and running a home! To be honest, I think he too was surprised at the massive impact she has had on our lives.
But life is too short not take risks on the unknown he told me – and he was right. It was time to take a leap of faith and take on a challenge that would ultimately benefit the whole family. I’ve put the time in with training her each day, creating a family rota of who does what/when and voila - things have gotten soooo much better! Now I can really see the advantages of having a dog.
Getting a website, may feel a little like getting a dog. Daunting, hard work, uncharted territory...but do the research with various suppliers before you commit. Ask questions about how they will provide support for your website and make sure you’re getting value for your money.
Our dog Darcy has added a new light and element of joy to our household. She has benefited our well-being. Having an online presence will benefit your business by bringing new customers your way and turn those leads into real profits.
Perfect Layout can speak your language and dissect the ins and outs of how our services can help your business. The results may not be immediate, but the payback from investing your time and money will eventually see a return.
You can expect from us:
You never know until you try – so get in touch today so that we can help grow your business. Call us on 01708 578015.