Road Map Out Of Lockdown

The end of lockdown is sight

We are delighted that there is some good news at last with the publication of the road map out of the current situation, and some light at the end of a very long tunnel for small businesses across the UK. 

The sap is rising and Spring is well on its way. A sense of energy and potential is sweeping through the Local Pages Team so we wanted to share our thoughts on how to use the next few weeks effectively and dynamically.  therefore given a high degree of trust.  

For those of you who will be looking to your business re-opening, or those who have traded throughout, there will be some things you may want to consider to capitalise on the relaxation of lockdown regulations;

*

Safety first

kelly-sikkema-tdtwc11xjuu-unsplash-1

Your customers are going to appreciate the reassurance of their safety, and since it appears mask-wearing and social distancing are going to be the norm for a few months yet, it’s a good opportunity to check the up-to-date government guidelines on Covid safety. They can be found by clicking here.

*

Get organised

tonik-haz3tnzqp6w-unsplash-1

Use the final few weeks of quiet time to plan and get organised.  Now is the time to check when your insurance policies are due for renewal and that all your competency training is up to date. Put these dates in your calendar now as annual reminders so that you know you are covered.

 

*

Make a business plan

kelly-sikkema-v9fqr4tbiq8-unsplash-1

Setting goals and ways to measure your progress will help you focus on each step of the growth of your business. The Government has announced further grants and loans for small businesses so take a look to see what help is available. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. There is useful information on making a business plan here too. Don’t forget to include your advertising budget. You will want to let your existing and potential customers know that you have ridden the storm and are still available for them, or if you are a new business, now is the time to get the word out so you can hit the ground running.

*

Sort your advertising budget

businessman_adding_golden_coins_with_a_young_plant_in_the_final_row_of_a_coin_stack-1

Use your advertising budget to shout about any developments, changes, or simply the fact you have survived and can’t wait to get back to it!

Our in-house designers can help you make the most out of your LP adverting and our Digital Team are available to talk through any and all online promotion, from Pay Per Click to Website Creation or Social Media Campaign Management. We have over 40 years experience of the local advertising marketplace and out expertise is available to help maximise your spend.

*

And finally

We have all been shaped and affected in one way or another by the events of the last year so let’s use our experiences to reflect, appreciate and grow from here.

The Local Pages Team are here to help you secure your spot in the marketplace.  *

*

For help with all your marketing post lockdown, call 0117 923 1122, email sales@localpages.co.uk or book an appointment with the Local Pages Lead Generation Team below. 

*

*

*

download

Share Button
Leave a comment on Road Map Out Of LockdownCategories Blog, Local Pages News, Marketing, Small businesses

The Importance of Reviews

Everyone now looks at reviews

customer-review

Don’t try and kid yourself that your customers don’t go online and research your business before they make a decision. They do. The days of customer loyalty are almost over as customers more than ever consider all the various options open to them. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in 2020 an average of 46.6 million people in the UK access the internet on any given day and only 7% of households in the UK do not have wi-fi.   

Customers will research your business to ensure you can: solve their problems, carry out any work to a high standard and can be relied upon. Reviews are the modern-day equivalent of a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation. They are independent of you and your website are therefore given a high degree of trust.  

*

Search Engines love them

solen-feyissa-uwvjadvxw_c-unsplash

Search engines also take into consideration your star rating, and voice activated smart speakers like Alexa, Siri and Google use them to decide who to recommend when being asked for a ‘plumber or builder near me.’  

*

Dealing with bad reviews

project_20_1_4

The reality of reviews is that most people leave them if they are very happy or wish to complain. You seldom get a review that falls between the two. Obviously you wish to obtain as many positive reviews as possible, but even negative reviews can be turned around to a positive advantage if you deal with them in the right way. This involves staying positive and professional and not trying to deal with the issue in the public domain. An example would be to say, ‘Sorry you feel you had a bad experience with us. This isn’t something we often get but would like to sort this out with you. Please get back in contact…etc. Showing a potential customer that if something does go wrong then you are easy to deal with and will not shy away from an issue is as important as lots of 5* reviews.  

*

Google My Business

google-reviews

One of the most powerful review sites, and one we recommend, is Google Reviews. Google Reviews are highly trusted, have a positive impact on Search Engine Optimisation and are displayed alongside Google’s search results. To obtain Google Reviews, you simply need a Google My Business account.  

If you don’t already have a Google My Business (GMB) account, set one up.  

Once set up you can download a link that will take your previous customers straight to the review section of your GMB page where they can read previous comments and leave reviews of their own.

*

Tips for getting great reviews

project_13_53

To achieve the maximum number of high scoring reviews we suggest the following:  

  • Put links to your GMB reviews on all pages of your website.   
  • Include the GMB link in your emails and any social media posts where it is appropriate.  
  • Ask every customer to leave a review. You’ll be surprised how many will do it. By inviting reviews, you are telling your customers that you are proud of your work and can be trusted. It’s a good idea to have business cards or flyers printed with instructions on how to leave a review. These can be left with customers on the completion of any job.  
  • If a customer hasn’t left a review after a couple of weeks, contact them to make sure they are still happy with your work and politely ask them to leave a review.  For example, a double-glazing company, known for its high level of customer service, followed up every job after a couple of months and inspected the work they had done. This simple act of ‘caring’ for the customer generated many positive reviews and recommendations  
  • Create a customer service questionnaire for customers to fill in when the work is completed. Use this information to inform others of how well you carry out your work. For example, most people employing tradespeople consider tidiness and cleanliness as being important. To say that 96% of your customers gave you 5/5 for cleanliness would be a highly advantageous selling point. 
  • Make sure that all reviews are honest and genuine and don’t forget to thank customers for leaving a review or filling out a questionnaire.   

*

For help with Google My Business, reviews, questionnaires, business cards, leaflets & flyers – Call 0117 923 1122, email sales@localpages.co.uk or book an appointment with the Local Pages Lead Generation Team below. 

*

*

*

download

Share Button
Leave a comment on The Importance of ReviewsCategories Blog, Business Tips, Help & Advice, Marketing, Small businesses

Lead Generation

Our Mission

Our mission is to help local businesses in the South West and South Wales grow by providing exceptional online and offline marketing solutions that connect local businesses with local customers in the communities they serve. We’ve been doing this for over 40 years now and we’re pretty good at it.

*

Lessons Learnt

Like many of our 2500 customers, we are a small family business. It is this unique insight that has allowed us to evolve and fine tune our lead generating products to meet the needs and demands of our customers and based on the following:

– Local matters.

– Local is a powerful advertising tool

– Service providers want to work locally to reduce their travelling time and costs.

– Most customers prefer local suppliers and services.

– Marketing and lead generation is more complex in a digital age.

– Many smaller business owners need a reliable marketing partner with specialist knowledge and capabilities.

*

This is how we do it

*

Little Blue Book

*

little-blue-book

*

Still highly relevant in the 24 areas we service.

Delivered by Royal Mail to over 500,000 homes and businesses

It contains:

  • Classified adverts under directory headings
  • Local maps and street guide
  • Other useful information

Exceptional return on investment

Updated every 12 months

*

LocalPages.co.uk

*

*

  • Serves the same areas as our Little Blue Book
  • Over 15,000 searches made each month for local businesses
  • Mobile friendly
  • Very cost effective especially for small businesses
  • Free listings available by clicking here
  • Updated immediately

Get a free listing by clicking here

*

Digital Marketing

*

 

Includes:

  • Website design
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Online advertising
  • Social media
  • e-Commerce
  • Content
  • Strategy

*

Print Services

*

menu-web

*

Includes:

  • Logos
  • Branding
  • Business stationery
  • Flyers
  • Menus
  • Brochures
  • Posters

*

Find out more regarding how Local Pages can drive more customers to your business. Call 0117 923 1122 today, email sales@localpages.co.uk or book an appointment with the Local Pages Team below. 

*

*

*

download

Share Button
Leave a comment on Lead GenerationCategories Advertising, Blog, Help & Advice, Marketing, Sales, Small businesses, Websites

Latest Covid Advice

Below is the current latest information regarding lockdowns in the local areas covered by Local Pages. The information is correct as of 26th November 2020.

Please use the links provided to keep up to date with any changes.

England

Our areas in the west of England have been placed in the tier categories stated below.

Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators:

  • case detection rates in all age groups
  • case detection rates in the over-60s
  • the rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
  • pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy

The indicators are designed to provide a full picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.

 

Tier 2: High alert

  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Gloucestershire
  • South Somerset
  • Somerset West and Taunton
  • Mendip and Sedgemoor
  • Wiltshire and Swindon
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire
  • Telford & Wrekin
  • Worcestershire

Tier 3: Very High alert

  • Bristol
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire

Click here for more information on tiers, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.

Click here for the latest information regarding coronavirus in England

Wales

 The firebreak has been lifted and the current guidelines are as follows:
  • People will only be able to meet people who are part of their ‘bubble’ in their own home; only 2 households will be able to form a ‘bubble’. If one person from either household develops symptoms, everyone should immediately self-isolate.
  • People will be able to meet in groups of up to 4 people (not including any children aged under 11) in regulated indoor places, such as hospitality – bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants. No alcohol can be served in any of these venues between 10pm and 6am, and where premises have a licence to sell alcohol they will have to close at 10.20pm.
  • As part of keeping our risks to a minimum, people should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but people can only travel into and out of Wales with a reasonable excuse.
  • Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity (such as an exercise class – where a responsible body is managing the event) and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other covid safety measures are followed.

In addition:

  • All childcare facilities, schools, further education colleges, work-based learning and adult learning providers can return to the same model of operation as before the firebreak. Universities can continue to provide a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.
  • Places of worship can resume services.
  • All retail businesses can reopen, including close-contact services such as hair dressers/barbers and beauty salons.
  • Sport and leisure facilities, including gyms and swimming pools, can reopen, but the operators must take all reasonable measures to manage risk and maintain physical distancing;
  • Entertainment venues can reopen. These include cinemas, bowling alleys, skating rinks, museums, galleries, bingo halls, casinos and amusement arcades, but theatres and concert halls, nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues are still required to be closed.
  • Local authority services can resume based on local circumstances.
  • Home viewings and home moves are allowed.
  • Visits to care homes will be permitted, subject to local circumstances.

All premises re-opening will still be required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risks of spreading the virus. This includes measures to ensure 2 metre social distancing is observed, as well as other measures, such as restricting numbers, implementing one-way systems or limiting the time people can remain on the premises.

Everyone is also being urged to follow the basics at all times – maintain social distancing; washing their hands often and wearing a face mask indoor public places. People will also be asked to work from home whenever possible.

Click here for frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus restrictions in Wales

Share Button
Leave a comment on Latest Covid AdviceCategories Blog

Amazing Cyber Monday Deal

Order a new website from Local Pages before 1st December and get six months half price Search Engine Optimisation saving you £750.00!

*

With websites starting from just £695.00, there has never been a better time to buy!

*

patrick-fore-0_ax9pab940-unsplash*

*

For extra customer engagement add a game.

Click here for details

forknale-beer

*

Local Pages – Connecting local businesses and local people

*

To take advantage of this amazing offer, call 0117 923 1122 today or book an appointment with the Digital Team below. 

*

*

download

Share Button
Leave a comment on Amazing Cyber Monday DealCategories Blog, Sales

Fork ‘n’ Ale Beer Game

We build games

One thing you may not know about Local Pages is that we have a game designer in our studio.

So, when Fork ‘n’ Ale wanted a fun way to encourage more customers to visit their website and increase the amount of time that they stayed there… what better way to meet the brief than to create an addictive game for customers to play.

The game is simple. By pressing the space bar on your computer or the ‘pour’ button on your mobile phone you fill a glass with beer. Once the glass is full, your time is recorded and you can leave your initials on the leader board.

At the end of each month there is a prize for the top score .

*

So why is this particular game such a good marketing tool?

1 – You have to engage with Fork ‘n’ Ale’s website – the game is at the bottom of the home page exposing players to all Fork ‘n’ Ales’s marketing, including special offers and menu.

2 – The game is easy and quick to play – ideal for groups to play in a pub on a mobile phone. E.g. the one with the lowest time buys the next round.

3- To enter your score on the leader board you have to leave an email address – ideal for data capture and future marketing activities.

4 – Winners are announced on their Facebook page –  encouraging players to interact with Fork ‘n’ Ale on their social media platform.

*

It ticks lots of boxes!

*

Play the game by clicking the box below.

forknale-beer

Get a game to encourage more visitors to your website

*

Call the LP Digital team today on 0117 923 1122 or book an appointment below for a call back.

*

*

*

download

Share Button
Leave a comment on Fork ‘n’ Ale Beer GameCategories Blog, Branding, Creative, Design, Marketing, Small businesses, Social media, Websites

At last some good news…

Covid has been difficult for many businesses. in fact it has probably been the hardest trading year in living memory with many businesses hardly surviving and many others, unfortunately, going to the wall.

*

Recent new reports regarding the economy have been encouraging with the Office of National Statistics reporting that the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by a record 15.5% during Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020, as lockdown measures were eased.

*

This was mostly due to the services, production and construction sectors increasing by record amounts. In September alone, the services sector grew by 1.0%, production by 0.5% and construction by 2.9%.

*

But what does this mean in real terms for the average small to medium sized business? How do these figures relate to what is happening on the ground?

*

The good news is that consumer confidence has increased as people with disposable incomes seek to find ways to dispose of it. This is reflected in the massive rise of search requests we have seen at Local Pages during a similar time frame.

*

In October, trackable leads from our printed directories showed a 6.5% increase. As good as that figure is, it pales into insignificance when you consider the number of customer searches requested at localpages.co.uk

*

lp-searches

The above graph shows monthly localpages.co.uk searches over last three years

*

After a big slump during the spring when most of country was in lockdown, the number of online searches has increased to record levels. The average number of monthly searches between August and October this year is 15,934, an amazing 28.5% increase on the same period last year and a 51.7% increase on the year before.

*

More than ever, people are relying on Local Pages Online to connect with local businesses within their communities. This large increase in users means that localpages.co.uk has never been so cost-effective or, with annual ‘Enhanced’ contracts available for less than £5.00 per week, delivered such high returns on investment.

*

To find out more about how your business can tap into this huge increase in potential customers, book an appointment with one of our sales team below.

*

Local Pages – Connecting local businesses and local people

Share Button
Leave a comment on At last some good news…Categories Blog, Business Tips, Local Pages News, Sales, Small businesses

Homeworking – The New Normal

Like many other companies, over the last five months most  of us at Local Pages have spent a considerable amount of time working from home. Unthought of a year ago, we have now discovered that by changing our working practices and investing in new technology we can be more efficient while offering our team greater flexibility in how and where they work. 

There have been other benefits too. Cutting back on commuting and replacing face-to-face client visits with video calls has substantially reduced our carbon footprint and less people in the office means savings on space, heating and lighting. 

Five months in and we are still counting the benefits from a business perspective. But how do the staff feel about such a radical change? So, we asked them. Specifically we asked what were the best and worst bits about working from home. You can see from the list below that the positives far outweigh the negatives and where there are negatives we are doing our best to address them.

lp-logo-30px Best

 

  • Not having to spend time putting on makeup
  • Not having to sit in traffic every day getting to work
  • Saving money on petrol
  • Looking out over my garden from the office chair
  • Being able to work in casual clothes (but definitely notmy PJs!)
  • Having a well organised and ergonomically functioning office based around me.
  • Being able to concentrate without distractions
  • Greater productivity and accuracy
  • It’s quiet 
  • Not having to walk miles/downstairs to the printer/shredder
  • Having more ‘me’ time without having to commute
  • Being able to hang out the washing during the day
  • Feeling safe from coronavirus
  • Be able to accept Amazon parcels
  • The days fly by
  • Being able to spend more time talking to customers
  • Losing weight (away from the office biscuit tin)
  • Reducing our carbon footprint
  • Saving on paper
  • Greater efficiency with video calls replacing face to face meetings 
  • Enjoying the company of my dogs and cats

lp-logo-30px Worst 

 

  • It’s harder working on a diddy little screen
  • Missing the banter and interaction with colleagues
  • Using my electricity (offset by the savings on fuel)
  • IT issues more difficult to resolve remotely
  • Using a lot more printer paper
  • Missing the ‘buzz’ of a busy office
  • Connectivity issues
  • Motivation and moral is lower without the support of the rest of the team
  • Unlimited snacking
  • Loneliness if you don’t have a dog or cat to keep you company

Working from home is now the new normal with commercial, environmental and employee benefits. It’s just a shame that it took a global pandemic to force us into taking off our blinkers, opening our eyes and doing things differently.

Share Button
Leave a comment on Homeworking – The New NormalCategories Blog, Local Pages News

How to Choose a Tradesman

At Local pages you’ll find a wealth of plumbers, builders, heating engineers, roofers, window installers and many other trades.

There are so many that choosing the right one for your job could seem like a daunting task.

So to help you avoid the cowboys, below is a list of things to consider when employing people to carry out work around your home.

 

 

 

lp-logo-30px Check their credentials

  • Have they been recommended?
  • Are they a member of any trade association?
  • Check their website to see if previous customers have left feedback or testimonials.
  • How does their website look? If they take care of how they present themselves it’s a good indication that they will offer the same levels of care to you.
  • Ask for references regarding similar work to that which you want done. Don’t just phone the references, go and inspect the quality of the work and ask questions.
  • Don’t be pressured into employing the first person you speak to.
  • Don’t ignore your gut instincts. If something feels wrong, don’t pursue it further.
  • Never employ a tradesman that cold calls.

lp-logo-30px Agree the price

  • Make sure you ask for a written quote and not an estimate. A quote is a fixed price. An estimate can be added to with extras later on down the line.
  • Get at least three quotes so that you can compare and make a considered choice.
  • Before any work takes place, ask for a contract that sets out; start date, finishing date, the price and clearly states the scope of the work that needs carrying out. The clearer this is set out, the less room there will be for arguing should the work not be carried out to your satisfaction. You may wish to draw this up yourself.

lp-logo-30px Insurance

  • Check they have liability insurance to cover any damage should things go wrong
  • Check your own insurance policies to make sure everything is covered
  • A legal protection policy may be useful to cover any costs should you be unfortunate enough to be in dispute with a rogue trader. 

lp-logo-30px Agree how you will pay

  • A deposit paid before work starts is a reasonable request as there will be upfront costs for materials etc.
  • Never pay the whole amount until the work is finished and you are totally satisfied
  • Agree with the tradesman a plan for staged payments at different milestones and only pay when you are happy at each stage.
  • Even though you will have agreed the price upfront, insist that all labour and material costs are well documented so that you can ensure the work is not going over budget.
  • Pay by credit card if possible as this gives you extra protection in the event of the business going bust.
  • Before you make the final payment ensure that you are totally satisfied with the quality of the work carried out and that all the terms of your contract have been fulfilled.
Share Button
Leave a comment on How to Choose a TradesmanCategories Blog

Market Research Advice for Small Businesses

lp-logo-30px  Research your market

Before investing any money on developing or advertising a new product or service, it is important to find out if anyone wants it. Researching the market enables you to test your idea, evaluate the competition and check to make sure your idea is viable. 

The following headings will help guide you through the process.

lp-logo-30px  USP

The first thing you need to discover is what sets you apart from all the other competitors in the market. There is  a temptation to say that the people within your organisation is what makes it unique. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough. Consider the following:

  • What does my product or service provide that is better than anything else available?
  • How can I go the extra mile to ensure my customers have the best user experience?
  • Is my product or service required by the general public or is it more niche?
  • Can my product or service solve my customer’s problems in a way that’s never been done before.
  • How is my product or service easier to use than that of my competitors.

lp-logo-30px  Customers

It is essential to know who your customers are so that you can tailor your products and services to meet their needs. Defining them will also help you build a relationship with them in your communications. It is highly probable that you will have multiple customer types. To help you identify your customer types consider the following:

  • Who is buying similar products and services?
  • Create a picture of each of your ideal target customers based on their demographic (age, gender, profession etc.), likes, dislikes and behaviours.
  • What needs or problems will your products or services solve for each of your customer types?
  • Will your customers types be interested in paying for the products and services you offer?

lp-logo-30px  Prices

Once you have established that there are customers for your products or services, you then need to find out how much to charge. Consider the following:

  • What prices are being charged for similar products and services by your competitors.
  • Ask potential customers how much they would be willing to pay.
  • Could you charge different prices to different customers based on levels of service or quality?
  • Could you offer discounted packages of products?
  • Try some either or questions with different customer types to find out what your product or service is actually worth.
  • Once you have decided on a pricing structure, ensure that your business idea is still viable.

lp-logo-30px  The Competition

By finding out what your competitors are doing, you can challenge them on price and service.

  • Check out what people think of your competitors’ prices, levels of service and what could be improved by asking their current customers.
  • Research your competitors online, through trade associations, trade publications, market reports, local chamber of commerce and their advertising
  • Ask your competitors questions either by phoning them or email.

lp-logo-30px  Product

If you are developing a product it is essential to find out what potential customers think of it. 

  • Develop a prototype to test it.
  • Use focus groups to obtain a wide range of opinions.

lp-logo-30px  Tips

  • Use questionnaires and surveys. 
  • Surveys, questionnaires and focus groups can be carried out simply and cheaply using online platforms like Mailchimp, Survey Monkey and social media.
  • All answers should offer a score or opinion rather than a yes or no.
  • All questions should be clear and concise.
  • Be wary of questions that could be misinterpreted
  • Encourage both positive and negative responses
  • Ask a reasonable number of people to get a better perspective.
  • Do not try to lead people to a particular answer.
  • Be realistic and remember that people don’t always say what they feel.
  • Get qualitative data that involve thoughts and feelings
  • Get quantitative data that involve facts and figures that can be measured.

lp-logo-30px  A Continual Process

Market research should be done continually. Once you become established in a market, your competitors will look to copy and improve on what you are doing to reclaim their lost market share. By regularly testing and researching your market, and adapting your products in light of any feedback, you should always stay one step ahead. 

lp-logo-30px  For more information…

For help with market research or generating leads call the marketing team at Local Pages on 0117 9231122 or email us at marketing@localpages.co.uk

 

Share Button
Leave a comment on Market Research Advice for Small BusinessesCategories Blog, Business Tips, Help & Advice, Marketing, Small businesses