Slowing Down

Are you too busy?

We all live incredibly busy lives, often at 100mph without even registering what we’re doing and without being in the moment.  We have jobs, there may be children to take to school and take to activities or parties, we might go to the gym, try and have a social life and then spend quality time with our loved ones. 

There are a few simple things that you can take on board to start to slow down and maybe have time to think about self care – you might be like me and looking after number 1 goes to the bottom of the ‘to-do list’ every single day.

Switching off

If you run your own business, chances are you have your emails synced with your mobile phone meaning that you are ALWAYS connected to work.  You may have a ‘9-5 job’ where you have the same situation.  Try not to reply to work emails out of office hours (i.e. after 6pm).  We need to be able to switch off from work mode in the evenings and weekends allowing my already busy minds to unwind.

Slowing down

After a break from work or you’re normal routine, it’s obviously going to be busy catching up with emails and client work.  For some, a list is the ultimate organisation tool – ploughing through to tick everything off is extremely satisfying! However, we need to remind ourselves that not everything needs to be done right this instant.  Something’s can wait until tomorrow, next week or even next month.

Saying no

This leads on from slowing down. Some weeks our diaries are packed with work appointments, life appointments and social gatherings.  Stop and think about what you are saying yes to and start to say no to every invite or meeting.  We’re not going to miss out.  Busy people often find it difficult to just sit and relax some times, doing nothing.  Work on this, if only for 15 minutes day but it again allows you start to unwind and relax.

None of these points are new and groundbreaking, but essentially we want to keep that chilled holiday mode going for as long as possible!!

I think sometimes we also just need to take a step back and look at how BUSY we’ve become.

Share Button
Leave a comment on Slowing DownCategories Blog, Small businessesTags , , , , , ,

Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2018

Our Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2018

With 2018 fast approaching we have been exploring New Marketing trends to look out for in 2018.

Here we discuss the 5 trends we believe will be the most influential next year. Let us know your thoughts…

 

 

Augmented Reality 

augmented-reality

Augmented Reality is a fascinating way of enhancing a version of reality, created by overlaying digital information onto an image.  It allows consumers to not simply imagine but actually see potential purchases & designs in ‘real life’, aiding quicker and slicker purchasing.

Brands are quickly jumping on board. IKEA has rolled out an App called Place, which allows customers to preview furniture in their homes before they buy, increasing conversion and customer satisfaction.

This year the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X have also launched with new augmented reality experiences, which will inevitably encourage social media channels to follow suit with new ways of integrating AR onto their platforms.

There is a wide selection of Augmented Reality tools readily available to help businesses achieve 3 main goals:

  1. Streamline and drive sales
  2. Increase engagement
  3. Connect Print & Digital mediums

With Brands finding it difficult to stand out from the crowd, Augmented Reality is being recognised as a powerful tool within the Marketing world.

Here, at Local Pages we can offer iSmart Photo Augmented reality, technology which allows videos and slideshows to appear through your printed adverts. If this is something you would be interested in finding out more about, don’t hesitate click here to get in contact with us today.

 

 

Chatbots 

chatbots

Chatbots are providing customer interface which is instant and can be accessed 24/7, and they are quickly proving to be a successful marketing tool.

The instantaneity of the Chatbots has proven to be popular in a world where customers want issues solved quickly and all answers supplied immediately. These instant messengers save both time and money.

Chatbots also enable businesses the opportunity to customise their own ‘Brand Voice’ and send personalised messages directly to their users/clients, for a truly personable approach, rather than it feeling as though you are conversing with a robot.

In addition, business profitability can also be targeted, with Chatbots providing the opportunity for swift, easy transactions. 47% of consumers have already expressed they would buy directly from a Chatbot (HubSpot, 2017), with 26-36 year olds willing to spend up to £481.15 with a business via a Chatbot interaction (ubisend, 2017).

Between 2016 and 2021 Chatbot marketing is expected to grow at a compound rate of 35.2% (Marketsandmarkets, 2017), so expect to see a lot more Chatbots popping onto your screens!

If you are interested in finding out more about Chatbot Marketing for your Website click here to get in contact with us today.

 

 

Videos 

videos

The way in which we consume video is changing. Video is quickly becoming the number one fastest growing Ad format in the world and has been doubling Year on Year. By 2020 it has been estimated video will make up 80% of all online consumer internet traffic, becoming the closest medium you get to a face to face conversation with your target audience (smartinsights.com)

As with Augmented Reality, Video Ad platforms are helping Brands stand out from the crowd, and allowing for a longer and conceivably more emotionally driven connection with their audience.

If you are looking at creating a company Video we can help you design, plan and produce one here at Local Pages.

Social Media is also a great platform, allowing businesses a quick and easy way to upload videos and reach a wider audience. We offer social media management packages to support your social media needs, and ensure you are offering up to date and relevant content to get the most out of your social media advertising.

Click here to get in contact with us today about your Video and Social Media needs.

 

 

Geofencing 

geo-fencing

Marketers have already been seeing the benefits of Geofencing technology, which allows the collection of information from consumer mobile devices. The technology allows marketers to learn a lot about their audience and in turn allows for businesses and services to target customers in ‘real time’ i.e. sending a promotional message to the customer when they are within a 1 mile radius, or have been searching their website.

This form of targeted hyper-local marketing will increasingly grow more popular and influential, especially for smaller, local businesses who want to engage with only the most relevant local shoppers who are most likely to spend.

According to plotprojects.com, the click-through rate of Geofencing notifications on Androids is 13.6%, which by far exceeds that of generic push notifications, which are only 2%. This indicates sending relevant notifications at the most opportune time encourages increased interaction.

We truly believe in the power of local marketing and have seen this first hand. As experts in the local marketing business, we have proven that our specialised local marketing generates more leads creating higher conversion rates. Click here to find out more about all our products & services.

 

 

Personalised Content 

 

personalised-content2

 

 

 

 

We are expecting to see a growth in personalised content within digital Marketing in 2018. Businesses have already begun to see the benefits of personal call to action marketing. StubHub, an online ticket exchange owned by eBay, reported a 42% improvement when users were given a personalized call to action (accountexnetwork.com).

Personalised content is also best used when different content is targeted to different types or groups of visitors based on their behaviour or other factors. Consumers have different intentions when visiting brands online, and having the ability to appeal to a wider range of people by tailoring digital content to personally appeal strengthens engagement with customers and can have a direct impact on website traffic and ongoing engagement.

As it happens, using Personalised Content doesn’t just mean customers are more likely to engage and buy your products they are also willing to pay more for them too! Consumers truly value a great personalised experience. If that means paying a little more, so be it. A survey from the content marketing institute suggests that 77% of customers will recommend, or pay more for a brand that provides a personalised experience. The better and more personal the experience, the greater the customer’s willingness to spend money on it. If the experience feels exclusive enough, customer will be willing to pay exclusive prices (digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk).

To find out how we can help you with Personalised content for your business website click here to talk to one of our team members today.

In summary, Marketing is becoming ever more complicated, strategic, personable, engaged, technologically advanced and altogether essential to businesses both large and small.

With over 200 years of industry experience we are experts in marketing, generating millions of new leads for our customers over the past 38 years. We can offer you advice on all your Marketing needs, so do not hesitate to contact us today for a friendly consultation with one of our team.

We recommend having a peek on https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics . It makes for a really interesting read, highlighting how powerful & effective Marketing tools can be!

 

 

 

 

Share Button
Leave a comment on Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2018Categories Blog, Business Tips, MarketingTags , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Leads = More Customers? Think Again.

I am often reminded of getting back to basics to build revenues and profits in business. But none more so than when I am confronted with a business owner who shows me they need more new customers. If you really want to grow your business and you really want to do it fast, then take a look at grasping these few simple ideas.

You are already getting people contacting you, coming in, emailing you and so on. Your people are already messing up and not selling to anywhere near enough of these potential customers. Want to know just how bad it is, ask one of your friends to call your business and try to buy, just wait and see how they go.

Almost every business owner I meet believes that they are selling to the majority of prospects they come into contact with. Well, put bluntly, you are not. How do I know? After doing this exercise with hundreds of business owners, I have only twice been proven wrong.

For the next two weeks keep a record of every phone call, every email enquiry, every walk in every single prospective buyer that contacts your business. Ask every single one of them how they found out about your business and keep a record of it. Was it referral, direct search etc.? Then, at the end of the two weeks see how many of them have bought from you. If you think you are at about 6 or 7 out of 10, it will be about 3 or 4 out of 10. I have seen this with so many companies, even restaurants who think they get everybody, then measure the people that call versus the people that book, and the people that read the menu out front versus those who actually come in.

Your Conversion Rate is a massive opportunity. If it is lower than say 50%, then we’ve got to get to work!

First, you’ve got to start measuring it every day. That focus alone will get it up to 10% higher than it is right now.

Add to that, here’s another 11 ways to boost your conversion rate right now, this week:

  1. Get your salesperson with the best conversion rate to train everybody else for a day or two.
  2. Script your sales process. Use a lot of questions in the script (it’s NOT a sales pitch) and learn from what the best sales people are doing.
  3. Break your sales process down into each and every critical step and work on one step at a time.
  4. Measure your conversion from one step to the next and work on improving each step by just 10% more than it was.
  5. Work on the letters, brochures and other written or audio and video material you use during each step of the sales process.
  6. Use my magic question for phone selling, “Thanks for your call, just so I can help you best would it be OK if I asked you a couple of questions?
  7. Run a competition among your sales people for a week or two around the one area you need to see the most improvement in, then learn from the new ways they start doing things.
  8. Learn the critical buying step in your sale, for example in female fashion stores, it’s trying the clothes on, with it you have more than a 50% chance at making a sale, without it, less than 10%.
  9. Follow up and follow through, too many sales are lost by salespeople who can’t be bothered to follow up again and again and again at least 7 times.
  10. Make an offer that is either limited or a bonus offer or something to get customers to act now and to give sales people some ammunition
  11. Just plain ask people to buy, usually in sales training the one biggest reason sales people are not getting the sale is that they don’t ask for it.

Stay focused on your conversion rate for 3 months and watch the dramatic effect it has on your bottom line.

Once you’ve got it right, or at least much better than it is today, then and only then is it time to go to work getting more potential customers and investing more money into your marketing and fixing the marketing you are doing now.

Share Button
Leave a comment on More Leads = More Customers? Think Again.Categories Business Tips, Sales, Small businessesTags , , , , , , , , ,

How to Conduct a Job Interview

The Interview Checklist

The key to a well prepared and well structured job interview is to have a clear view of the skills, knowledge and ability demanded by the job. You then need to use the interview to gather evidence to demonstrate whether the candidates meet these requirements. Please prepare well for the job interview, using this small business checklist as a prompt.

 

  • Re-read the advert, job and person specification.
  • If you are not seeing all the candidates, ensure that your short listing decisions are based only on the requirement of the job.
  • If you are not seeing all the candidates, sift according to criteria that is tangible from a CV i.e. headcount managed previously; operational background; achievements etc. Don’t second guess what a candidate may or may not be like or may or not have done just because it’s not on their CV. 67% of candidates omit crucial.
  • Ensure that you have prepared some standard questions. If you wish to ask additional questions, ensure that they are based on the person specification requirements for the job. These questions should be asked of all candidates to enable you to determine the best match against the job requirement.
  • Re-read all the application forms, and highlight any points which you want individual candidates to clarify (e.g. further information on qualifications or experience).
  • Arrange a suitable job interview room and make sure that you have diverted any calls and interruptions.
  • Remember that the application forms are confidential documents and should only be circulated to those people involved in the recruitment process.
  • Once you have conducted the job interview, mark your decision on whether to employ. Ensure that this is based on factual information and not gut feeling.  If you have decided to reject the candidate mark your reason where indicated on the back of the form.


Welcome 
The Job Interview Plan

  • Introduce yourself and any other interviewers
  • Put the candidate at ease
  • Explain the purpose of the interview
  • Outline the way the interview will be structured
  • Explain you will be taking notes

Ask

  • Information about the candidate that is related to the job
  • Use the criteria on the person specification
  • Identify points from the application form that need querying
  • Prepare questions in advance
  • Use open questions – move from easy to more searching ones
  • Listen and probe
  • Find out what the candidate expects from the job
  • Explore the candidate’s motivations. Are these more to do with rewards (such as money or status) or with job satisfaction?

 

Supply

  • Information related to the job. Summarise the main points of the job, department and company.
  • Remember the interviewer should only do 20-30% of the talking

 

Notes

  • Note down key points and remember that candidates are able to ask for copies of all interview notes

 

Wrapping up

  • Ensure there is enough time for the candidate’s questions and respond fully and positively
  • Inform candidates when they can expect to hear from you

 

And finally, restrict your role to

  • Asking questions
  • Clarifying queries
  • Keeping the conversation flowing
  • Providing information
  • Reassuring the candidates

 

After the job interview

  • Assess the candidates by using interview notes, personal specification, test results and candidate comparison forms
  • Inform all candidates of the outcome of their interview.
Share Button
Leave a comment on How to Conduct a Job InterviewCategories Business Tips, Small businessesTags , , , ,

Do small businesses need to get real about cyber security?

Katie Holland, Barclays Business Manager, examines the issue.

The prominence of the internet has changed the way companies of all sizes conduct their business. It has opened the doors for many SMEs to streamline their processes and generate additional opportunities in areas which previously might have appeared out of reach. However, it is not without some downsides, a major one being the growth in prominence of cyber crime.

 

Last summer a Government Security Breaches Survey found that nearly three quarters [74 per cent] of small organisations reported a security breach in the last year. This is a real concern, as is the variety and scale of the scams which are currently in the offing.

 

One example in early 2016 reports some cases of conveyancing fraud. In these instances criminals were said to have hacked into emails sent between solicitors and clients. The fraudsters, posing as the solicitor, then sent emails with instructions to transfer money from property transactions to a rogue account. The funds then disappeared.

 

As a lender it’s absolutely vital for Barclays to have a fraud prevention strategy in place. Plus a substantial, and active, fraud team alongside a raft of resources for individual and business borrowers. But, as a SME what more should you be doing?

 

The first prudent step is to ensure your business is fully protected, including the data in your possession. The lengths at which cyber criminals go to shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

SMEs could also be made aware that changes to any payment details attached to a transaction should be treated with suspicion. For example, if they are sent an encrypted email or asked for personal data by email, or anything that feels even remotely dubious, then they should pick up the phone and verify it directly with the party in question. The inclusion of cyber security and anti-malware protection will not only safeguard your business, but also provide an additional layer of protection for you, your customers and subsequently cement your long-term relationship with them.

 

Some of you may have seen Barclays latest advert which sees a seemingly trustworthy advisor asking for personal banking details whilst a voice in the background explains that his intentions are not genuine. The advert goes on to reveal a member of Barclays branch staff, who is a Premier Banking Manager, standing behind the fraudster and offering advice on how consumers can protect themselves.

 

This type of fraud is known as social engineering and it is the manipulation of situations and people that result in the targeted individuals divulging confidential information. It is one of the most prolific and effective means of gaining access to secure systems and obtaining sensitive information, yet requires minimal technical knowledge.

 

The advert is one way in which Barclays is raising awareness about these issues and we regularly host cyber crime events for SMEs locally most recently in Weston-Super-Mare.

 

From April 2016 Barclays will host a series of events specifically for businesses providing guidance on how they can protect themselves from cyber crime. For further information please speak to your Barclays Business Manager and more details about how to be cyber smart can be found here.

Share Button
1 Comment on Do small businesses need to get real about cyber security?Categories Business Tips, Small businessesTags , , ,

5 Ways Business Continuity Plans Improve Profitability

As the manager of a business, no one understands or cares more about the success of your company. That’s why having business continuity in place should be a priority, not just because it’s best practice but because it’s good for your bottom line as well.

Last week was Business Continuity Awareness Week (16th and 20th May) and aimed to help businesses identify the potential returns on investment achievable from business continuity planning. As Information Technology (IT) is a key resource for many businesses this is a good time to review the IT Continuity element of your plans. The benefits of such a review is related to disaster recovery planning and future survival of the business; however it also includes potential increases in profitability through the identification of cost savings, efficiency gains and increased sales opportunities.

What is Business Continuity?

“..loosely defined as the capability of the organisation to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident.”

(Source: ISO 22301:2012)


What are Disruptive Incidents?

  • Loss of Buildings or Utilities
  • Loss of access to Facilities, Equipment & Consumables
  • Loss of access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) Systems (Voice & Data)
  • Loss of access to Information and Data
  • Inability to source or access Emergency Finance
  • Loss of Partners, Suppliers and Supplies

This year alone, businesses have experienced disruption due to flooding, storms, fires, power cuts and cyber crime. Would your business be able to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident? If you don’t yet have a plan to cover all eventualities your business is at risk and could benefit from a Business Continuity Plan.

Business Continuity

 

 

 

 

Here are 5 ways that Business Continuity Plans Reduce Risk and Improve Profitability

1.Improve efficiency, develop systems for growth and use resources to increase revenue

Considering the effects of all potentially disruptive incidents relevant to your business and the risk they present involves reviewing business processes. This often reveals opportunities for cost savings and greater efficiencies.

A key area is in the use of new IT platforms and applications. Greater IT efficiencies means lower labour costs and better time management. Wouldn’t you prefer to spend more time with your clients and less time managing IT?

2. Become a more competitive supplier

Prepared businesses are more competitive to win contract awards and grow revenues.

If your business is part of a supply chain, or customers can choose between you and your competitors, you need to have a plan; one that will help you even if you don’t experience a disaster.

Government regulations or contractual obligations mean that to trade with certain time-critical Government functions, as well as supply chain driven industries such as the oil and gas sector and the manufacturing industry, having a tried and tested BCP is a must if you do not want to risk losing your customers and/or your license to operate.

Many organisations now require critical suppliers down the supply chain to have a BCP. So even if you’re a catering supplier, a construction company, a transport supplier or a cleaning company, you can be critical to your customers.

And BCPs are not just valuable to businesses whose customers are other businesses (B2B). Even consumers can be interested in your ability to continue providing products and services no matter what happens. Why not use the existence of your BCP to convince your customers that they are in good hands? This strategy can be applied to numerous sectors, in particular those where health and well-being are at stake, such as hospitality and catering, food suppliers, security providers and utilities.

3. Enhance your reputation and increase resilience

Having detailed plans in place for “the big bang” can also make a business stronger against the far more regular, minor mishaps of everyday life. Responsiveness to small incidents will improve exponentially, considering staff will have a stronger “what if” mind-set, making themselves and the company more resilient and enhancing your reputation.

4. Secure Investment or Funding

Those with a financial interest in a business such as investors and banks are also concerned about a business being sustainable and its ability to continue to operate should adverse events occur. A business continuity plan can help prove the resilience of your company.

5. Lower Your Insurance Premiums

In a recent survey amongst brokers and insurers by the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), 83.3% of the respondents said they would either offer a discount or improvement of the terms of business interruption policies, if companies had a plan.

Share Button
Leave a comment on 5 Ways Business Continuity Plans Improve ProfitabilityCategories Business Tips, Small businessesTags , , , ,

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!

Share Button
Leave a comment on The Do’s and Don’ts of Email MarketingCategories MarketingTags , ,

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?

Share Button
Leave a comment on How To Keep Your Employees HappyCategories Small businessesTags , , ,