If you read our last blog, you would know that it covered some important reasons for being on social media. Whilst it can be a great way to get more traffic to your website, it can also be an overwhelming element of digital marketing to understand and implement.
If you're unsure about how to get to grips with social media, not sure about what you're doing, or simply feel confused about which platform is right for your business - then keep reading. This weeks blog outlines some of the pros and cons of the most popular social media platforms around.
There are several ways that a company can use SEO to improve the rankings of a website. One way that this can be done is through the use of social media. You may think that when you post your comments or blogs that only a few people see what you’ve written. However, it’s the sharing element of your creations that creates the magic - it increases visibility, improves traffic, and generate backlinks. Let’s take a deeper look at how social media can help improve your online visibility…
You don’t have to be a website designer or developer to know that when lots of people visit your website, that’s a good thing. It means that you are offering potential customers services and/or products that they want to buy or hire.
But (yes, there’s always a but…) getting people to your site and opening doors for them to peruse is not an easy objective to attain. The online market is saturated with services like yours and finding unique ways to stand out gets increasingly difficult, year on year.
Back in 2017, we wrote a blog that outlined actions that would result in your website bringing in more business. Three years on and those principles remain the same…
To ensure that your website delivers more business to you, here are 10 effective steps that you can take.
1 - Mobile Friendly Design
In April 2015, Google announced that it would favour websites that are “mobile-friendly”. Companies that are not investing in new websites, could see a decline in their business leads as their websites fall down the rankings.
A responsive web design ensures that no matter what device someone uses (i.e. tablet, laptop, mobile phone) your website is displayed on the screen in the most effective way. No longer should mobile phone visitors see a website that is used for standard desktops, like a laptop, which can make viewing content, navigating menus and clicking on links difficult and awkward to use.
Yesterday, I attended a social media course run by Building Legacies. Renee Wallen was the trainer and she covered various topics that included content marketing, SEO, and social media platforms; LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
I must be honest and admit that engaging on social media platforms isn’t my first passion. Our Perfect Layout team consists of an excellent social media duo which means that I can spend more time doing what I love, which is creating wonderful websites!
However, just because this task doesn’t make me leap out of bed in the morning, doesn’t mean I can’t see the amazing value and positive impact it can have on a business. In the blink of an eye, it can spread your news to a vast, wide reaching audience and open up the door to clients you might never meet face to face.
There’s no getting away from the fact that building a business from scratch will bring forth certain challenges. Coming out of your comfort zone may make you start sweating and feeling nervous, but is a must if you want to grow your business and your self-confidence.
Just a few advantages of being on social media are:
- You get to learn new things
- You can engage and build relationships with customers
- You can share your knowledge and opinion
- You can get seen by a wide, varied audience
- It’s a flexible process that you can connect with at any time, in a variety of ways,
from your mobile phone
- You can increase the business coming to your virtual shop window
So what have you got to lose? Investment is key!
Today more than half the media we consume comes through digital channels. Reaching consumers through digital channels offers various advantages and today we will discuss five of those reasons. In 2019, no business wanting to succeed can be without a digital strategy. It should be a fundamental part of all businesses to produce, publish and distribute content which allows them to expand awareness of products and services through digital channels.
It takes money to make money. If you want to expand your brand, increase sales and grow your business fast, then it is important to invest in marketing for it to happen.
Offering a sale during a festive season in a certain area, can be an example of location-based targeting. Example: A Sandwich Bar can post google ads during rush hours to working class people at 4 PM around 6 KM diameter of the bar.
Reason 2 - Visibility in the Online World
All potential customers have moved online where they are actively searching for products and services. Unlike the traditional form of marketing, Digital Marketing has the capacity to reach the right audience and also engage with them in various forms of communications. The more you penetrate online the more you can motivate the customers to take action, which generally leads to a better Return of Investment (ROI).
Nowadays, there are various platforms in which businesses can be listed. Using social media, directory listing services like Google Maps, Trip Advisor and Yelp can help to increase the brand visibility on the internet. Search Engine Optimisation plays a huge role in the organic side of visibility. Placing Ads on Google or social media are other ways to help increase the visibility of the brand.
Reason 4 - Fast, Effective and Low-Cost
Unlike traditional media, digital marketing is able to penetrate the market quicker. Campaigns can be effective when applied with great marketing vision. When comparing costs, it’s more likely to be much cheaper than traditional medians such as directory, print, radio or TV advertising. Businesses can market their services with better effectiveness and at a lower cost.
Reason 5 - Measurable
Digital marketing campaigns are measurable and can be segmented in metrics to create a meaningful output. The output can be further analysed, in order to optimise further campaigns to create more efficient results. Some of the tools used for Digital Marketing are Google Analytics, Google Ads Platform, Facebook Analytics.
An example of how analytics can have an effective impact on a business is demonstrated by this example…A barbershop decides to put a store ad to Facebook. He creates an ad which ran 24h every day. After a few weeks, he looks at the analytics and finds that the peak hour of the clicks in the ads are during the day from 12pm-4pm. Now, he edits his campaign so that the ads run with more budget during these peak hours, and less or not at all outside of these time frames. This way the barbershop used the power of Digital Marketing to successfully give him an increase on his Return of Investment (ROI).
Get in touch you if require help with your marketing strategy by emailing us, or calling 01708 578 015.
Online Marketing is the method to deliver promotional content through the internet to the
people’s browser or email. Online Marketing can be done by text ads, image ads, video ads,
native content or from Apps like Facebook or Twitter and many more. Online Marketing allows
you to reach people you may not reach with offline marketing campaigns.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic
using various strategies, techniques and tactics to obtain high ranking in organic [Unpaid]
search results. In other words, SEO is a process of making web pages attractive to the search
engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.
SEO can be done by editing on-site and off-site elements of the website to improve the chances
of showing up higher in Search Engines Results Page (SERP) for important keywords.
According to Hootsuite, Google holds 76% of the total Search Engine market share while 93%
of people click on the search results in the first page of Google.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM refers to paid search marketing in the search results. We can define SEM as serving an advertisement to a user using a search engine based in their query. For example, for a user who searches for a query, we can bid on certain keywords which match algorithmically to the user query and serve a text ad to them.
Search engine marketing has grown exponentially over the past decade. Google AdWords is the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers followed by Bing.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social Media Marketing is a method to increase traffic and promote your content, product or
service using social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or other
social media apps. We can term Social Media Marketing as the process of using the potential
of social media to leverage the value of your business.
Out of 4 billion internet users, 3 billion people use social media. So, the power to networking
and publishing through social media is high.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It is a model of online marketing in which advertisers pay a fee
each time one of their ads is clicked.
Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to 'earn' those visits
organically. The advertiser pays publishers every time a visitor clicks their ad, hence the model
is known as pay-per-click, as advertisers only pay when the visitor clicks their ad. If a visitor
sees an ad but doesn’t click it, the advertiser is made aware of the impression but doesn’t have
to pay as no click took place.
Content Marketing is promoting free or additional value to your targeted audience or users
that you already have. Good content either should provide information [that the user is
looking for to solve the problem], inspiration [So people can get inspired to buy or use the
product service to solve the problem.] or entertaining so that user will stick to the content for
better click through rates.
Writing a blog, making video contents, creating a podcast can be few examples of Content
Affiliate marketing is monetisation of word-of-mouth marketing. It is a way of getting a
commission in exchange for referring a product or service to another customer. Affiliate
marketing has evolved over the past decade as the internet has evolved and a number of
channels such as social or email etc. Basically, it is influencers that are recommending products
and services that are not their own, but people go to them to get the information.
Email marketing is a workhorse of digital marketing as you can deliver a highly personalised
experience, multiple times on a scale through email. The main advantage of an email marketing
is that you precisely know how many emails have been delivered, opened or clicked upon.
Tying up these numbers with revenue metrics, the numbers will have a big meaning to your
email marketing campaigns.
Example of email marketing can be sending promotional emails, email with offers or discount or
thanking customers or users for using the product or can be used to provide inspirations to try
your product or services. Some of the popular automated email marketing tools are MailChimp,
Constant Contact, drip and convert Kit.
Social media should be part of your digital media strategy, if you want your business to grow this year. As with all aspects of life, you can choose two paths:
1) to wing it and hope that the path that you follow will work out OK.
2) Set yourself goals and have a plan in place ,which enables you to carry out those steps that lead you to your goal.
For business marketing, goal setting is a must, and within that social media should be included. Sometimes it can be difficult to define what your objectives should be. To help you out, here are some of the most usual social media goals to think about:
Raise brand awareness
Do people know about the products and service that you offer. In order to create authentic brand awareness, avoid a barrage of promotional messages. Instead, focus on meaningful content. What questions do your customers often ask? Provide them with those answers in good quality content. If you are the right fit for them, they will remember you and will potentially use your services. You can build a strong brand personality through your social channels and regular content that explains who you are and what makes you interesting to them.
Drive traffic to your website
Whilst you can build your followers within each platform, you may also have a need to drive traffic to your website for them to find out more information, learn about your services, and drive product sales. Using the right tools, you can measure how much traffic your website is getting from your social media posts.
Build your fan base
The destination in this social media journey is to have a large and regular following, where your fan base interacts with your page in a natural and engaging way. Spending time and effort to create a positive brand persona on social will get you to this point.
Higher quality of sales
On social media, use the hashtags and make sure that you are using specific keywords and phrases. Through structured and thought-through social media targeting, you can reach your core audience much faster.
Increase in-person sales
Do you have a store/office or other in-person location? These businesses use social media marketing to drive in-store sales. Do you have new products to offer? Consider offering a promotion to those who see your posts and come in-person to see you. This way you can monitor what is working within your marketing efforts.
Better pulse on the industry
What are your competitors doing that seems to be working? What strategies are they using to drive engagement or sales? Having a pulse on the industry could simply help you improve your efforts and take some tips from those doing well.
To summarise, you can be as involved in social media as you want it to be. However, if you want to get the most out of your efforts, by wanting people to see your social media posts, you have to produce engaging content and respond to your community. By thinking about what you want, will help you decide how to get there.
In short, yes!
When it comes to branding and awareness of your company, you should try to be as visually consistent as you can. You want your customers to instantly recognise you. First you must start with your logo and then build out your brand from there.
Ensure brand consistency across all your channels
Brand consistency refers to your brand identity, brand voice and brand guidelines. Does everything you create follow these guidelines? Doing so is a major step towards letting consumers get to know you as an organisation.
When they know you, they will identify with you and your purpose. And when consumers feel like they know you and can trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you. They will also be more likely to recommend you to their peers.
The content on your website, social media channels, newsletters and any offline marketing should all have the same 'feel'. Making connections between the content you own is a great way to maximise your presence. This way you can ensure you get the largest number of eyes on your products and services.
When it comes to your website you should ensure that it is consistent with all your other marketing. You should also be mindful of how user-friendly your site is. Can customers navigate around your website easily?
Structure: how well structured is the content on your website? You need to aim for a minimum number of navigation layers. Customers want as few clicks as possible to get to what they want. The website section division must be clear, logical and predictable.
Minimalism: efficient web page navigation is always simple and user-friendly. Add only those elements to your menu design that are essential for the effective communication. The key to success is a menu bar consisting of a minimal number of sections that goes to what they need.
Design: when selecting a design focus on readability, integrity, and harmony. Too many icons, buttons and shortcuts will put visitors off your site. The simpler the web navigation, the likelier customers will stay on your website.
Remember that: navigation can affect traffic and how high you’ll rank and how much traffic you’ll get from search.
Navigation affects conversions: how easy the site is to use effects what percentage of visitors convert into leads and customers.
Social Media Integration
Do you want to grow your market and reach a broader audience? Then the key is to integrate your business into social media. Social media channels and your website should work together to promote your online brand. Opening accounts in these platforms is completely free. They are a very good tool to increase your popularity and online presence.
Add links to your social channels from your website to increase the chance that search engine users will find your website.
Being active on social media channels can help build (or retain) a solid audience. Post regularly and keep your audience updated on your products and services as well as what's new on the market.
Unless you are able to do it yourself, marketing requires a lot of time, effort and money. But when it is done correctly and consistently across the various channels, it can be extremely powerful and rewarding.
Getting your brand, marketing strategy, website and social media platforms to where you want them to be, takes time and a lot of effort. If you are a small company, it might be worth considering hiring external professionals to help you.
If you want to know more about this important topic read our blog How important is branding for my company?
You might also like: 50 meticulous style guides every startup should see before launching by Canva.
This blog has been inspired following a friend’s recent experience with the medical system in the UK. Said friend went in for a routine operation about seven weeks ago. The procedure lasted only five minutes and the recovery was supposed to be a week.
To cut a long story short. She was nowhere near better by the end of that first week. In the past seven weeks she has been back and forth to GP’s, consultants and hospitals, being misdiagnosed. It took four days of waiting in a hospital bed and a lot of pain-relief drugs before they did any scans. As it turned out she needed another operation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she is now on the path to a full recovery.
As this story unfolded, I despaired at the way things were being run. It seemed such an inefficient use of time, money, medication etc. It got me thinking. How can hospitals - or any business for that matter - afford to be inefficient? And so, I have identified some areas that you might want to look for in your business.
Check if you are running an efficient and profitable company.
Maybe the institution itself has such rigid and old ways of doing things. Just because ‘that’s the way we always do it’, doesn’t mean it is still fit for purpose. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Bad financial management
Many businesses find themselves running out of money. Cash flow is key for all businesses. How this happens usually falls into one of these categories:
To avoid this, you have to know your figures inside and out. You need to keep an eye on them regularly, so that you can spot dips or downward trends. Make sure that your financial projections are on track. If you see things changing, then something elsewhere may need to change too. Try to stick within your budget. Cut any unnecessary expenses. Always invoice straight away and get paid on time. Where possible set up automatic billing that you can be in control of.
2. Bad Management
Every organisation needs someone at the helm, leading, taking charge. They have to ensure that no matter how big the company is, that the right processes and procedures are in place. The entire organisation should be seamless and efficient. This is true for both the staff and its customers.
For that to happen, there needs to be regular training, communication and policies. Everyone must be on the same page. No one person or department should be the ones doing it all. Every role should work as a cog to help the wheel roll smoothly. There also has to be a single point of authority. Larger companies often appoint department heads and team leaders to make decisions.
So, do you have the right staff in place? Do they do the job with pride, care and attention. Are you paying them what they deserve? Do you offer rewards and incentives? Your staff are your biggest asset, so you need to treat them well. Good management also recognises when they don’t have motivated staff. First you need to address it to see if you are able to change this, otherwise you face the tough task of letting them go. Dead weights can also hinder a company and have devastating consequences.
Can you honestly say that your company is working as efficient as it could be? Do you conduct regular days on the business with staff? Do you ask them how things are, what could be better, what needs to stop, what to introduce? The people on the ground can often find solutions. Do you spend time thinking about what the business might look like in 12 months’ time, or in five years? Be forward thinking, be proactive.
3. Bad customer service
It is surprising to see how many businesses have bad customer service. This could be because of what we have discussed about management and procedures. Yet, without any customers, you wouldn’t have any business. Giving good customer service should come easy. Ask yourself, how would you like to be treated and map that out. Use your common sense. Good customer service doesn’t need to be expensive. If you do get complaints, listen to your customers and put it right fast. Then tell your staff what you have learned from the experience. Explain how you want them to do things from now on, so that you ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Good interdepartmental communication will pay dividends. You don’t want to end up with a bad reputation. Some businesses never recover.
4. Staying up-to-date with technology
Technology covers a wide range of things. Computers, phones, broadband and IT servers. It can also include websites and social media platforms. Whatever it is, make sure that you invest in the best technology and support that you can afford. If all your computers are old and staff are struggling to complete simple tasks, invest in new ones. This downtime could start costing you thousands. Is your website current? Does it reflect your business as it stands today? Is it mobile optimised? If the answer is no to any of these, you need to plan to change this. If you are not active on the right social media channels, you could be missing on potential clients. I know that social media is a hungry beast that needs feeding all the time, but it’s essential to do it these day. Now more than ever you must have an efficient website, that it is mobile and SEO friendly. You need to be active on social media and posting every day (or more). If this is not part of your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional, like us at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing.
Running a business is about always being willing to learn. Things around us are changing all the time. We all will make mistakes. It’s those that carry on doing it, ‘because that’s the way we do it’ will find that they will get left behind. Acting fast and making necessary changes can determine the future of your business.
Regularly check that your business is in good health. If there are signs that things need a reboot, then do something about it before it takes over.
For many businesses, social media is an indispensable tool for finding and engaging with customers, improving sales, advertising and promoting products and services as well as gauging trends and offering customer service.
Social media has a significant role in helping businesses as it:
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.
Every other month, Perfect Layout goes out into the community to talk to local businesses. The aim is 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 businesses wherever they may be situated. Attracting customers to the local area is paramount if independent companies are to thrive.
As a result, and being fairly new on the block ourselves, we are keen to promote the awesome, creative and varied companies that exist right here on our Essex doorstep.
Read on for our very first inspirational interview…
Business name - It’s Mine Cakes
Owner – Amanda Easy
Location – 3 Grange Road, Harold Hill, Essex, RM3 7DU
What was life like before making cakes?
Life before cakes saw me working full time as a trainer in my other business called ‘Easy Management of Aggression’ otherwise known as EMA. This business delivers mandatory training and secure patient transport within the mental health sector.
Making cakes is quite far removed from your role within your other business. What inspired you to start making cakes?
My sister asked me to make her a birthday cake, for herself, as she couldn’t find what she wanted in the shops. When I made the cake, it came out so nice that my other sister wanted one and then other family members began asking me to make cakes for them too.
After making three or four cakes, I saw other cakes that were on sale in a new business and comparing my cakes with theirs, I decided that mine were a lot better! I thought to myself, if they can do it, I can do it. I made an Instagram page of the cakes that I’d already made and within a week I had someone email me with an order.
I then started making cakes from my kitchen and had so many cake orders that my husband had to go out and buy me a wallpaper paste table to put all the cakes on. I had them all lined up on this table and my kids began complaining that they were taking up too much space.
Making cakes from my kitchen went on for about 4 months. I couldn’t cope with the amount. For the cakes that I was unable to make, I had to get another cake firm to make them for me. After that, for consistency, I had to work from a bigger base. It was at that point that I realised that in order to grow the business I had to get premises for all the cakes and taking on staff. Plus, my house was getting destroyed!
I started looking at information on how you get premises, and what would be needed to get a shop.
It was then that I realised that the outlay would be too much and I had to get a business loan. I used the Government funded scheme for start-up businesses. I had to write a business plan with forecasts etc and talk to various people about the business. I spoke with them twice and got approval for plans within days. Two days later the money was in my account. Part of my plan submission included the details of the shop, which I think made my proposal look more attractive and got quicker approval.
The rest is history!
How did you come up with your business name?
I first of all thought about using my own name with cakes in the title. But I thought that if my name was in the title I would become the brand and I didn’t want that. Eventually, I want to really grow the company. The idea for my name came when watching how everyone reacts to having a cake. They would react by saying, “it’s mine”. I thought it was catchy so went with it. It makes me laugh as people still have that reaction when I deliver their cake.
Have you had any formal training?
No! I am completely self-taught.
How long have you had your shop in Grange Road?
Three years this November.
How many employees do you have?
I currently have one part-time member of staff. I have tried working with a young apprentice from a baking school but the person didn’t fit and it worked out that the role wasn’t right for her. I do believe in hiring staff in this way and will revisit doing this in the future.
What advice would you give to other cake makers and decorators that would like to make money from their creations?
Don’t under price because you think people won’t pay it. Take a deposit to cover your costs before you start working on your cake and have a good set of terms and conditions.
How’s business going since you first started out?
It’s going well! I’ve increased my product range to include, glow in the dark cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes, push cakes, cake pops, biscuits, chocolate covered strawberries and oreos. I also make my own creations using the current trends like, ‘whole in the cake or look through the cake’ or ‘abandoned theatre’ style. My twist on this is to create a circus tent inside a cake.
Next year I’d also like to introduce taster open days for wedding cakes. This would be done on a group basis of 4 to 5 couples. On offer to taste would be sponges (vanilla, chocolate, red velvet and lemon flavours) butter creams (chocolate, vanilla, cream cheese and lemon flavours) and fruit fillings (raspberry, lemon and cherry flavours).
Where do you see It's Mine Cakes in 5 years time?
Becoming a preferred provider for wedding venues and with a team of 5 full time members of staff.
Do you have a digital marketing strategy?
I use Instagram and Facebook to promote my products, word of mouth and loyalty scheme. My loyalty scheme is that for every spend over £50 they get a stamp. Acquiring 3 stamps, will get the customer 6 free cup-cakes, for 6 stamps, they get 12 cup cakes and for 9 stamps they will get a 6-inch cake.
What types of businesses do you think would benefit from using Instagram?
Any business that can promote their business with a photograph.
I note that you are very active on social media. Have you thought about growing your business with the benefit of having a website?
Yes! I think that having a website will help me reach more people and give me a more professional image. It will also allow me to write more information about my products and offer people the chance to make payments online.
If you could start It's Mine Cakes all over again, what would you do differently?
I would try to work on the business rather than in the business. I would have concentrated more on establishing the processes and marketing rather than making the cakes.
Do you watch the Great British Bake-off on Channel Four?
No. It’s a show about baking and I run a business focussed on decorating cakes.
So for all things cake – check out Amanda’s varied delicious selections via:
Facebook - itsminecake
Instagram - itsminecakes
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!
Whilst having a well-constructed, informative website has the obvious benefits of helping promote your business, you can’t underestimate the need to engage with your customers in other ways and on other online platforms.
Engaging on at least one social media platform like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook is a must to get your brand known and the services in your business used by new and repeat customers. These platforms allow you to distribute your business ideas and talk about your services and/or products in a way that entertains and informs the customer.
Facebook, is a platform that you may already be engaged in socially. Sharing your personal information, photos of your latest holiday or passing on clips of a silly video is easy to master. On the other hand, if you have or are thinking about creating a business page to promote your wares – you will have to think deeper about how to encourage people to view, like and share what you’ve posted.
I wanted to keep this blog simple and basically offer some ideas of what you can talk about week in week out to promote your business page on Facebook. This list is also good enough to use on other social media sites, so pick your theme appropriate to the platform you're using and get writing.
You have no excuse but to get into the habit of spreading your news.
The following ideas have been taken from another source that proved to be an excellent read….Enjoy creating!
The term ‘Content is King’ has been bandied about for many years. It’s something that you may have heard mentioned on one of the blogs at Perfect Layout or whilst perusing the internet for news and top tips on how to make your website attract customers.
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.