March Favourites | 2016

March Favourites 2016

Welcome to a new feature on The Little Blue Blog! Each month we will do a brief round up of the little things that we’ve enjoyed, either in Bristol (where our offices are based), or in the Local Areas where our books are delivered.

Easter, and the end of March snuck up on us, so we thought for this month we would plan out our ultimate long weekend.

Gardens

The beautiful gardens at Wyndcliffe Court are open all Easter Weekend. They provide the perfect opportunity to get outside, breath in some fresh Spring air and enjoy the beautiful Arts & Crafts design of the gardens.

http://www.wyndcliffecourt.co.uk

march Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Gardens

Bargain Hunting

On Easter Sunday the Antique and Vintage Fair is on at Taurus Crafts in Lydney.

While away a few hours browsing stalls selling antiques, vintage items, collectables, clothing and memorabilia.

It’s open from 10am-5pm. Free entry and parking.

ts/taurus-crafts-antique-and-vintage-fair.htm

Daylight

British Summer Time officially begins this weekend! Remember to put your clocks forwards an hour.

We know, we know – less time snoozing BUT more time in the sunshine also has it’s benefits!

march Hello Spring

Image Source

Eat

Stop and watch the world go by, and order some Afternoon Tea at Five The Beach in Clevedon.

We can speak from personal experience, their scones are amazing!

Booking highly recommended over the Easter Weekend.

https://www.facebook.com/fivethebeachclevedon

march Five The Beach Cakes

Image Source

Laugh

And finally, don’t do this!

march Spring Joke

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1MC4uTw

 

Happy Easter everyone!

What were your favourite things about March? Comment below, we love hearing from you.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Email marketing remains the single most popular customer acquisition channel, but in 2015 76% of emails were deleted within 24 hours. Read our top do’s and don’ts to make sure your email campaigns are working for you.

Do test. Test different browsers and email clients- there are many ways of reading emails now. Test for spam- it is never going to convert if it doesn’t reach the inbox in the first place. Test results – A/B testing is all about you, which method works best? You could test your call to action, subject line, the specific offer, the text and images.

Don’t presume anything. Don’t presume you know your demographic – test. Don’t presume your template is the best. Test!

Do use a short and simple subject line. With 89% mobile users deleting emails before opening, subject lines can be killer. Keep it punchy.

Don’t forget mobile. 50% of users check email on mobile devices, so everything should be built mobile-up.

Do use a clear and impactful call to action. This is what will convert your email into clicks.

Don’t bombard them. Don’t spam. Don’t annoy people. This will only lead to the unsubscribe button.

Do know the best time to send. Traditionally midday in the middle of the week is the best time to send emails, but with mobile users the whole game has changed. The best way to find the perfect timing? Yep, that’s right! Test!

Don’t ramble on. Get to the point quickly. You only have a few seconds to capture their attention.

Do use pre-header text. If your image doesn’t load, pre-header text will still communicate the main subject of the email to the recipient.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Even if your email is working well, don’t be afraid to switch it up a bit. Everyone gets bored of having the same thing, and there could be an even better solution. Also, customers get complacent in what they expect from you, try surprising them.

Do optimise images for lighter load. Especially for mobile. You don’t want the quality to be bad but you need to think about how long it is going to take to load on mobile, there is a fine line between image quality and weight. Find out what it is.

Don’t end up in the junk folder. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you reach the inbox. Don’t use the terms “free”, “click here” or “buy now”. Think about image to text ratio and image size and weight. Don’t use ALL CAPS, especially in the subject line. And avoid excessive use of exclamation points!!!!!!

Do be selective when buying email lists. Buying lists is a common practice, but you need to be targeted, and make sure those people are relevant to your demographic. Sending to the wrong demographic can be damaging to your brand.

Don’t be discouraged by bad results. They might not be as bad as you think! Industry standards have an average click-through rate of 1.5-5.7%. Even if your results really are bad, this just gives you an opportunity to not repeat your mistakes. Why didn’t a particular campaign work? Find out, and make sure your next campaign is better!

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How To Keep Your Employees Happy

As a business coach I work with lots of businesses from all sectors and of all sizes and this subject comes up repeatedly. In my experience what makes a team and employees happy is involvement. As individuals we all crave the following, it’s a basic need..:

  1. Autonomy – have your employees got the autonomy/accountability/responsibility?
  2. Relatedness – do your employees feel part of something bigger?
  3. Competency – can your employees grow their skills/knowledge and do they have opportunity?

With the above in mind we need to find ways of ensuring that our employees have the above as part of their role, that we understand them and that they have the opportunity to grow.

I recently spent a full day with a client running a strategic planning day. It was a big investment to take close to 20 people out of the business for a full day but wow, the response. I spent some time after the session reflecting on why it was so successful. The first point to make is that we expect a lot from our teams and sometimes it might feel like they aren’t supporting us as much as we would like. I often hear directors say, “They just don’t get it”, “why won’t they just do this”, and “surely it’s obvious”.

The problem is ASSUMPTION.

We assume our employees know what we are trying to achieve, we assume they know how they can impact it, we assume they know why we are doing what we do, and why we are headed where we are headed.

The session we ran was all about alignment; communicating the next couple of years’ plan, why we want to go there, what it means to them as a team, the opportunities it brings, and why we need their support to get there. The directors didn’t have all the answers and so we asked the team how they could support it (ownership and involvement). We covered current restrictions, then strategies and solutions to overcome them, and finished with 90 day plans to start the process of implementation.

The team left with a renewed enthusiasm for the business, total clarity and direction about where they are headed and why. They were clear in what they can do, feeling part of the process and with ownership of projects to deliver. The directors left with a motivated team, reassurance that the business it totally aligned and team involvement rather than a reliance on the directors to do everything.

Alignment is a critical success factor in every great business to ensure a happy team, so ask yourself the question: Are you aligned or do you assume?

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Welcome to The Little Blue Blog!

Hello and welcome to the Little Blue Blog! We’re so happy you found our little corner of the Internet. Here we hope to provide both practical and informative weekly content on how to effectively market and grow your small business; alongside some interviews with local businesses and snapshots from the areas where our Little Blue Books are distributed. 

Local Pages was founded in 1979 by Boris Bernard. It remains a family company to this day with his two sons, Dan and Ollie at the helm supported by their amazing team. The world has changed a lot since the 70’s. Promoting and marketing your business has never been easier, yet at the same time, it’s more complex than ever with the overwhelming amount of platforms and ways to do this.

We’re passionate about small businesses and our goal is to become a one-stop-shop for all marketing strategy. From advertising in our heritage Little Blue Books to social media and website design & hosting, we’re here to provide solutions. Connecting local people with local businesses is at the core of Local Pages.

Thanks for stopping by! We’re a friendly bunch, so please feel free to comment on or share our posts – we’d love hearing from you. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and please subscribe to The Little Blue Blog.

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