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
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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!
Perfect Layout attended a Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) business showcasing event last year, which you may have read about. It was a well-attended event where we got to network, not only for potential clients, but also to gain a feel for other local services and what they had to offer.
Whilst there, we found out that HCCI also offers monthly breakfast meetings, where non-members are welcome to join for a small fee. The aim of the Breakfast Club is to have guest speakers, workshops, specialist advice, business showcases, networking and more. What was there not to like?
At the beginning of January, Perfect Layout went along and found the group to be extremely welcoming. Isn’t it always a little daunting heading to these things when you don’t know anybody…? I think we all feel the same way. But with the HCCI there was no need to be, everyone mingled and I met a number of interesting people and businesses. Some of them may help improve our business and others, we hope, will use our services at some point in the future. Time will tell, but these are the little seeds that will grow into wonderful oak trees.
If you are the owner of a local business, I recommend you look for your own networking groups in your area. Go along and learn what’s going on in your neighbourhood; there may be an chance for you and your business to grow connections in the local business community.
Later in the month Havering Women in Business were hosting a networking evening in Hornchurch. The theme of the evening was how to increase profit with training. This provided us with insight into hiring apprentices and offering work experience, as a way for smaller businesses to expand their team with staff wanting to learn on the job whilst at the same time studying for a qualification. This was a smaller gathering, but it was rich in information, contacts and prospective opportunities.
Off the back of that meeting we were invited by one of the ladies to attend a Women in Business Network lunch, which was another opportunity to meet other local business owners, exchange business cards, have a chance to tell the group what you do, as well as network independently. From that meeting we made more interesting contacts that could potentially turn into new business.
If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into networking events - be bold, be brave and go forth. It can open you up to a whole new world that you were previously closed off too. As I always say, it not just the people you meet, but it is who they know that might benefit you too.
On Monday 9 October, The Havering Chambers of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) ran a local networking event at the Queens Theatre, Billet Lane, Essex. Despite having to make a mad dash to get there on time (it started at 6.30pm) this free event was a ‘must attend’ activity in the Perfect Layout calendar.
So who are the HCCI?
The HCCI works in partnership with the London Borough of Havering and was formed over 20 years ago. It represents more than 200 different businesses that together employ over 2,750 staff. Its members are provided with networking opportunities to meet new customers, suppliers and business partners.
Their mission is,
“to promote a positive, balanced, vital economy and preserve those unique qualities that are good for business and make Havering a very special place in which to live and work”
According to their website these are the benefits of becoming a member:
If you are keen to expand your business and engage with likeminded entrepreneurs in Havering, this could be the networking organisation that’s right for you. But before you make any decisions be aware that the HCCI is not the only networking membership company that exists in the Havering area.
The Havering London Borough has a list of other networking companies that are set up to help businesses build good relationships with other businesses. If your business is set up outside of this borough, check out the details on your Council website, or search google for ‘networking groups +your area’.
Was making the mad dash worth the effort?
Yes! Set in the atmospheric foyer of the Queens theatre, there was a lively buzz as we arrived. We were greeted with an option of wine or orange juice and then there was a gentle hush as the mayor went on stage to say a few words about the night ahead. He said that Havering was a good location that was continually being regenerated with local businesses emerging like the new leisure centre in Romford due to be opened very soon.
He said that Havering had met the demand for new school places following a rise in the population. Transport links were expanding with Crossrail finishing in 2018 and there was also going to be a new station opening in Rainham alongside the upcoming redevelopment. It was hoped that there would be better transport links created from north to south of the borough in the coming years. He also mentioned that Havering’s location was good for its proximity to London Riverside Deep Sea Docks and Stansted International Airport for improving business links for local companies.
The evening was well attended and once the formalities were over it was time to get chatting. There were various businesses in formal attendance, sat behind tables, their stands laden with brochures, business cards and free pens. Ready to give you their time, cards and advice, smiles were abundant and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere made it easy to mingle.
Attendees were also treated to a lavish buffet that could have fed three times the amount of people and further socialising was done around these tables. What really came across that evening was the feeling of comradery of the attendees and exhibitors. There was a real sense of community. We were there to help each other; get to know each other and connect with businesses that we might well need one day in the future.
I’m pleased to report that quite a few of our cards were handed out that evening with follow-up emails sent by us to companies that we felt could improve the performance of their website. Whilst networking in such a manner is important, it’s also imperative to give your online customer the best user experience possible when accessing a website.
This means that your website should:
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg but they represent good visual tips that anyone can do when thinking about revamping their website. If you feel that your website doesn’t meet some of the above points, give us a call and we’d be happy to give you a free analysis of what improvements could be made and where.
Whether you’re a small start-up business or an established company looking to increase your profits being visible must be one of your primary objectives if you want to achieve this goal.
Spreading the word about what you do, the service you provide and the products you sell can be done in a variety of ways and advertising in print still a popular option. This can be accomplished through:
If you have a shop on your local high street, you will continually be advertising your brand with your logo above the door and your wares in the front window. But how many of us have a traditional shop front to be visible to passers-by?
The fact is, the way we shop is changing with an increasing number of high street shops going out of business every day. In 2016 there were a reported 15 shop closures a day across the UK and online shopping is one of the factors contributing to this outcome. With the demise of the traditional physical shop and the increase in businesses going online, the way one advertises a business has transformed. Having an online website window can offer far more sophisticated ways to reach an endless, much broader, supply of customers potentially from around the world.
Print advertising not working for you? Then try something new…
Networking is a way of getting your company advertised by business owners and being open to doing the same for someone else’s business. If directly reaching out to like-minded businesses isn’t your thing, or if talking to friends, family and strangers fills you with dread, one option (to start you off gently) is to go to a conference. They are full of people open to being spoken to, having an exchange of ideas and maybe most important of all - exchanging contact details. Who knows, you could be talking to the next Bill Gates!
The Perfect Layout team recently attended the free Mums Enterprise Roadshow event in London and we were delighted to see how many people attended. There were numerous stands offering various services and franchises and talks given by industry experts every half an hour. It provided the perfect opportunity to have a chat with other aspiring individuals who were keen to follow their passion and soak up as much information as possible. Whilst the topics were of a preliminary advisory level, looking beyond this, it was a brilliant place to do some networking and get our name known! Read more about our experience here.
Online social networking involves working from social media platforms such as, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have something interesting and unique to say about what you do, then use these methods to get your message out there.
As long as you stay within the terms and conditions of each social media platform, you will be able to attract new and repeat customers through what you say. You can also run advertising campaigns, gain followers and engage deeply with your customers and get to know them. They then ‘like’ or recommend what you’re offering, your credibility and reputation grows and so will your visibility and profits. The cost for using this method is mainly your time. You really do get out, what you put in, so make the effort (or hire someone to do it for you!) and start writing.
2 Google AdWords
If spending money on advertising is not a problem, running a Google AdWords campaign is another option to increasing your visibility. Also known as Pay-per-Click (PPC), it allows you to be seen above your competitors when a search is made using keywords related to your business. A big plus is that you can track the number of clicks people make on your advert, measure the cost and pay Google only made when a customer visits your website.
The cons of undertaking a Google AdWords campaign are that you need to really understand your business, your customers and, to a certain extent, how the internet works. For example, what words will people use when searching for your business? Choose those terms and then you can set your budget. If you have numerous search terms then your budget will need to be set accordingly. It may take a while to see a return on your investment (ROI), but over time, with some tweaking, this can be achieved.
3 List on local directories
If your business hasn’t done so already, claim your spot on online directories like Google My Business, Yahoo Local and Bing. There are many others, all free, including Thomson Local, Yell and Yelp. They all help increase your visibility when search engines like Google and Bing, crawl the internet looking for sites that your website is linked to. If your business is cited on these directories, the search engines will see this and view you as being more trustworthy and credible than someone who isn’t listed. The result – your rankings improve.
4 Blogging and Newsletters
Another way of getting your website more visible is to Blog or provide regular Newsletters for your customers. The more regularly you post, the greater your rate of online traffic will be. Depending on your type of business, this may be easier said than done. It’s important to gauge the type of things your audience may want to hear about against your ability to provide them with interesting ways to share your expertise. So, get creative and start writing about how the life of your business can add value to the life of your customers.
So, step out of your comfort zone and try one of these techniques. If you want your business to be more visible online you must develop ways of reaching your customers. If investing in social media platforms isn’t your thing, then take the time to master something else first. You’ll probably surprise yourself with your own creativity and ability at thinking outside the box. The more confident you become, the more skills you’ll attain and the more your business will benefit.
If you need help with that journey – you know where we are.
When was the last time you went to a conference to network?
On 25 September 2017, the Mums Enterprise Roadshow event came to London. The Perfect Layout team took time out of their busy schedule to go and assess the event and see if any networking opportunities presented themselves.
Located in the London Business Design Centre close to Angel tube station, we arrived to see a queue of women already eagerly waiting to see what the day had in store for them and what new opportunities would arise. The uniqueness of this event was present early with the audience (mostly women) carrying babies on their fronts, backs and in buggies.
The atmosphere was one of anticipation and expectation (in between the background din of babies babbling) as the welcoming atmosphere embraced the almost playpen-like environment. It was refreshing to see how relaxed everyone was and feel the excitement of this day - potentially being the day that their life would change forever.
The main area was full of stalls offering women part-time and full-time opportunities of work. Flexible work that would allow them, if required, to fit around childcare. There were also franchises to be purchased for those wanting to take the plunge and truly be their own boss of something tried and tested. For those already in the throw of setting up their own business, there were companies offering outsourced services too.
The conference part of the event offered multiple tracks, where speakers changed every half an hour, talking about their areas of expertise. Many in the audience were frantically scribbling down their every word, in between offering their little ones a bite to eat or an iPad to keep them quiet.
Whilst we were there, we spoke to several interesting characters, but one in particular stood out. Her name was Poppy. A thirty-something from Hampstead Heath accompanied by her 3-year-old daughter. She was ready to go back to work, but not in her previous role as a Social Worker. She desired to have more kids in the future, but also wanted to start carving out something for her to work on now. Her dilemma was not knowing what she wanted to do. A feeling that resonates with so many of us. Do we ever truly work in an area that we love and enjoy until retirement?
She continued by saying that her passion was crocheting. She was able to crochet anything and everything. From an adult hat to baby booties for a newborn. She had sold some items through Etsy, had a Facebook page, but was at a loss as to how she could increase her visibility and actually begin making enough money so that she didn’t have to go back to work.
We told her about our business, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing. That we were a website company based in Romford, Essex, there to help small local companies across Essex and London to increase their visibility online.
We explained that having an e-commerce website was something that she should consider to really exploit her audience – which was effectively, the entire world wide web.
She would be able to display all her merchandise in categories and offer her clients a portal into what makes her company tick the way that it does. Having a website was a real must. It would allow her to have a blog and create interesting keyword rich content that would grow her followers. She was already on Facebook so we suggested that she join other social media platforms, like YouTube and Pinterest to optimise being seen. These platforms could then be linked back to her website where the full range of her merchandise could be viewed.
We also suggested that she put her business on local directories like Google My Business, Bing and Thomson Local. They were numerous other directories she could list her business on with the bonus of being all for free. The knock-on effect would be that search engines, like Google and Yahoo would see her business as being trustworthy and credible and rank her well.
Running a Google Adwords campaign was another way to be seen above competitors. It would allow you to set the budget and the keywords most likely to be searched for by your customer. As well as being seen above your competitors it works as a Pay Per Click which means that you only pay Google when a customer clicks on your advert.
Whilst these were all services that Perfect Layout were happy to do, we explained that a lot of it she would be able to do herself. Optimising her site (creating keyword rich content and backlinking to trustworthy external websites) may be something she could seek professional help with.
Poppy was a little overwhelmed at first, but grew more confident in understanding each aspect as we spoke over coffee. She was very grateful for our advice and felt empowered to know that her future could change if she decided to take the reins and explore the unknown.
But now she didn’t feel that she was quite so alone. She had the team at Perfect Layout to hold her hand and build up her knowledge about all things digital.