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The me:now app

The me:now app advertises your favourite local businesses and their time. Let people know what you do and when you can do it. Reach customers who want to take those appointments off your hands.

me:now is for everyone, everywhere, on every device.

Whether it’s your hairdresser, your physio or even your dog groomer, the app only shows businesses that say they’re available.

Customers can follow a favourite business and receive a phone notification when the business says it has a free slot.

Businesses list when they have a diary gap or cancellation. They can share this with anyone looking for their type of business and with their existing customers on Facebook or Twitter.

Find Out More

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StoryPartners

Need to recruit new supporters, service-users or customers? Are you trying to raise funds, or raise your profile? StoryPartners can help. In a market where film and video are the essential medium to sell your product or service, we can give you a professionally produced promo, documentary short, even a TV ad. We’ll help you find – and tell, in the most compelling way – the story that communicates your offer.

We’re a two-person team with years of experience in film-making and fundraising for non-profits and social enterprises; we’ve worked with some of the really big charities in the UK, like NSPCC, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and the National Deaf Children’s Society. We’d love to work with you too – we’re looking to expand into other non-profit areas and will offer a discount to our first client in a new sector!  

If you want to stand out with something different to the usual and sometimes brash promotional film, take a look at our films – they’re all on the website. We like to think our work is finely crafted, insightful, powerful, and beautifully shot. That it cuts to the heart of who you are.

We love to talk about this stuff, so give us a call or drop an email. We really look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.storypartners.tv or email contact@storypartners.tv

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Whitefish Marketing

10 ways to market your small business

Small businesses often have it hard in the marketing stakes. There’s less budget to play with and fewer resources to deal with the work demands. But that doesn’t mean your voice can’t be heard. There are some great, affordable ways to market your business even when you’re on a shoestring. Digital Marketing Director, Chris Surridge, from Whitefish Marketing gives a quick rundown of some low cost ideas.

Employ online video

Online video is a great way to engage consumers and generate a following, and they don’t have to be the polished, expensive kind. Video tutorials provide relevant, useful information to users that will encourage them to return to the site and purchase products or seek out your services. Setting up a YouTube channel is free, and the videos are easily embedded on your own site.

Set up a blog

In the same way that video can provide visitors with high quality rich media content, so can a company blog. The best solution is to present yourself as an expert in your field, tackling questions and problems that many of your customers face and offering advice on various subjects. For example, a legal firm specialising in employment law might blog about duties of care companies have towards staff or outline the details of reviewing and altering employment contracts. Become a voice of authority and, after a while, your name will become synonymous with your specialty.

Publish testimonials and case studies

Customer testimonials or reviews and case studies on your website are a great way to prove the efficacy of your services or the quality of your products. Peer reviews are increasingly important to consumers and can be persuasive for potential customers. Take care to publish reviews that are less than dazzling – or even negative – and ensure all feedback is genuine. Nothing is more suspicious than 30 five-star reviews.

Interact on social channels

A great way to raise brand awareness and attract new customers is to interact with consumers on forums and social media channels. Be honest about who you are and where you work, but offer helpful advice and join in discussions about various subjects that are relevant to your sector. Avoid trying to sell though – if you’re pleasant and helpful, the customers will come to you.

Get the word out

An extension of our point above; when you produce great content, don’t let it sit on your website unnoticed – share it around the web. You can do this via your own social channels, by using bookmarking sites such as Delicious or Stumble Upon, or by guest posting on others’ blogs. Building relationships with bloggers that specialise in your field can increase the reach of your content and improve your credibility as a reputable business.

Get on Google Maps/Local

A Google Maps/Local listing is vital, not least because it will help you appear higher in local search rankings. It’s free to do and enables customers to find your firm, as well as offering you the chance to display opening times and other information on the search listings. It’s also another avenue through which clients can leave reviews, which gives you a useful tool in evaluating customer care. Reviewing past statistics, phone calls direct from Google listings can count toward as much as 17% of total incoming calls. But note… it’s worth ensuring your Google listings pages are set up correctly from the start.  It can be hard to remedy or amend once they’ve gone live.

Publish stats, whitepapers and studies

Publishing stats, whitepapers and studies that your company has carried out is another way to provide useful information to your visitors. Findings from these kinds of activities also make for great PR and help establish your position in the marketplace. Do some consumer research with incentive surveys and share the data in a report.

Get in the press

Press releases needn’t be expensive. Services such as PRWeb provide an affordable way to get articles into the public domain and raise brand awareness. They often provide tiered services to suit a range of budgets, and some offer a pay-per-release option if PR is something you do infrequently.

Repurpose content

Repurposing content is a great way to communicate an idea across several channels and make the most of your audience. On a number of our blogs we’ve extolled its virtues before, but it’s worth mentioning again that it’s a good opportunity to both win SEO points by creating natural links and draw in more visitors to your website.

Offer sponsorship

This might be a little more outside the box, but sponsoring a local sports team is a good way to get your name seen. The signing of the sponsorship deal itself is good PR and companies can benefit from an advert in programmes or banners on the team’s website for the duration of the season. Think grass roots marketing.

For more advice on marketing for small businesses speak with a representative from Whitefish Marketing. Whitefish Marketing is an experienced yet friendly digital marketing agency in Folkestone, offering complete multichannel marketing services from the fundamentals such as SEO, PPC and Email Marketing, through to full campaign strategies, Public Relations, retention activities and more.

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DigitalBeans

We are DigitalBeans, a digital marketing agency based in the heart of beautiful Canterbury.

We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and devoted attitude towards the individual needs of each client, meaning that we can provide a unique and enjoyable experience for everyone.

We provide a range of digital marketing services including SEO, social media, and PPC advertising, which are all tailored specifically to meet the needs of your business in order to make your online presence a success.

We are now offering one free hour of consultation for startup businesses, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Visit: http://www.digital-beans.co.uk/

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A Guide to Social Media for SMEs and Startups

Social media is an invaluable source for small businesses; whether it be used for gaining new information, promoting your brand, or conducting market research, it really is a necessity.

However, it is also often associated with a lot of hard work, time and money; as a relatively new addition to the marketing world, it is not abnormal to see new businesses neglect social media due to a lack of belief in the possible results, regularly combined with the lack of substantial knowledge regarding what social media really involves!

This guide will attempt to approach some of the most common difficulties concerned with social media that, once overcome, can help you drastically improve the online publicity and overall effectiveness of your business.

 

Common misconceptions

‘My target audience don’t use social media.’

This is the reason why a large amount of businesses opt out of social media – they believe that Facebook is used solely by thirteen year old girls, and the only people that have time to Tweet regularly aren’t interested in what their brand has to offer. This is false! As social media rises in popularity across the marketing and advertising spectrum, so does the range of users; people of all ages are logging on and making the most out of the services offered to them, so you are missing out on huge potential by ignoring this online audience.

‘Social media doesn’t generate results.’

This can easily be countered by simply looking at the facts – according to Wishpond. (http://blog.wishpond.com/post/52642121735/infographic-the-top-benefits-achieved-in-social-media) 89% of all marketers got more exposure for their brand after introducing social media, which led to an increase in traffic for 75%, and over half of the total businesses received an improvement in sales over a three year period. Increasing your sales is a process that takes time through any marketing approach, and social media has been shown to be a highly successful method!

‘No one reads my posts.’

Often people are disappointed upon trying social media and not receiving instant results. This, unfortunately, is how everyone starts – your social media journey doesn’t end once you’ve downloaded the tools. By engaging with others and communicating online via your platforms, you can start to build invaluable social relationships – read and share posts from others to receive a similar treatment yourself!

‘Social media is too expensive.’

False – in fact, most of the platforms are very low cost, or completely free! Using social media can even lower your overall costs as it can lead to a decrease in assigned marketing funding for alternate promotional efforts.

‘There’s nothing in it for me.’

False again! As well as heightened publicity and better results for your business, social media allows you as a user to learn as you go, and connect with others in the same industry as you which will allow you in turn to create opportunities that you may not otherwise have come across.

Why do I need social media?

So, if those rectified misconceptions didn’t convince you, here are some more reasons why social media is a great addition to your business’s marketing strategy.

•  You can publicise and share the existing content on your site, and revisit old products with a new angle or motive to boost sales.
•  You can easily promote upcoming products or services; hinting about new releases is a great way to spark conversation about your brand and keep people interested.
•  Social media makes it simple for you to establish a target audience, so you share to the masses through the use of trends, and also appeal to a more specific group of consumers that you know will be interested in what you have to say.
•  Most importantly, you can learn and enjoy! There is so much advice to be found on social media platforms that will help shape your business, and by interacting and searching you can create new ideas and inspirations to boost the overall effectiveness of the business.

Which platforms are best for my business?

Once you’ve made the decision to embark on a social media mission, one of the most daunting stages of the launch is choosing which platform – or platforms, plural – would be most effective for you and your business.

The answer? In short, it really depends on the individual. Mixing and matching between platforms is a good way to target a larger variety of target audience members – by deciding early on what you would like to ideally focus on, you can then use these primary aims to aid your decision.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are great all round sites – they’re consistently effective when it comes to sharing and spreading awareness of the brand, as well as being very useful if you want to use trends to your advantage. You can also look into more specific industry related motives – for example, a clothing or beauty brand may benefit from a more visual platform such as Pinterest or Instagram.

Assessing the methods of your competitors is a great way to start your own projects with social media. Observe and learn from what they use and to what effect, and see what you like or dislike about their daily social methods. You can use this for your own inspiration, however don’t forget that each business is unique, so don’t worry if you’re not keen on the way others do it.

It is also important to remember that you don’t need to be a master of every social media platform available to you – publicity is good for business, and social media offers a personal insight into the business for customers which allows them to keep up to date with what the brand is doing, but it is always better to run one successful platform rather than five neglected attempts. If you do choose to launch multiple platforms, pay attention to each one individually and share across them all, to ensure that you have the maximum potential for communication and interactions.

Can I do it myself?

One of the main doubts that small businesses and startups have when it comes to launching social media is the element of time. However, with the right planning and marketing strategy, it is manageable for any company to take care of their own social media in-house, without the help of external agencies.

By making sure you have decided on which platforms you wish to focus on, and also a rough idea of short- and long-term goals for your social media – for example, will you launch campaigns or just use them to promote products or content, and so on – you will be able to run your own sites!

Running your own social media allows you to have complete control over what is posted and when, which will lead to more effective and organised social media results. There are thousands of resources online that can be used as guides, so it is always best to attempt to start it on your own.

Programs such as Hootsuite are great starting points for beginners, in terms of saving time and managing several applications at once, and getting more out of your social media overall.

What should I post?

This really depends on what you want to say – a promotion, a page of content, an existing product, or just a daily update – and where you are going to say it – a Tweet, a Facebook status, a photo, and so on.

Don’t sacrifice writing something well for a longer piece – focus on keeping everything concise and informative, and most importantly, relevant to what you are trying to say.

For information and inspiration on what to post, have a look at our recent blog ‘8 Engaging Ideas for Social Media Content’ (http://www.digital-beans.co.uk/8-engaging-ideas-social-media-content/), or alternatively simply search online! There is a lot of help available with regards to social media that is highly beneficial to all small businesses and startups looking to expand their knowledge of the subject.

This post has been provided by DigitalBeans, a Canterbury based digital marketing agency, formerly known as uTargeting (you can read more about the rebrand here http://www.digital-beans.co.uk/utargeting-name-change/). Following a recent digital marketing session hosted by StartMyBiz and delivered by Piperis Filippaios of DigitalBeans, we felt that a followup post was much needed as many startups and small businesses face such issues when venturing into the world of social media and digital marketing as a whole.

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Boom Solutions

We are based in Sittingbourne in Kent. We are a small, dynamic team of people who work together to create great looking websites and successful media solutions. Rather than simply building websites that look good we also focus on developing websites that are coded correctly and Google can understand so that your new website can compete for you in the busy internet market place for new business. We believe that a website should earn its place within the company and justify its cost. All the websites we design are created to achieve a particular purpose – never just for the sake of it.

As a relatively small, personable company, we pride ourselves on the strong bonds and working relationships we build with our clients, all of whom we meet personally.

Our process begins with a design questionnaire which acts as an anchor during a process of “discovery” where we research, sketch, discuss and put together colours, shapes and inspiration. We then sit down with yourselves to go through the findings before creating a initial Homepage design in layered photoshop. During this process, the design can be tweaked and changed as much as is necessary to get something that is perfect. We would like to meet face to face as when necessary, but at least once a month, we feel it leads to a better end product and is also a quicker and more pleasant way to work. Once a Homepage design is agree on, internal page designs are created, following the design lead from the homepage to create a coherent and fluid design across the whole site. At the point that you are happy with all design work, we ask you to sign it off and we beginning the coding process to bring your design to life. We use cloud based communication software to keep all participants in each of our projects engaged and informed. You can include as many members of your team as you wish in this process and our system can be accessed via email, desktop and laptop, mobile and tablet.

For more information visit: http://boomsolutions.co.uk/

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MyTownMyCity

MyTownMyCity is MyCanterbury, MyWhitstable and MyHerneBay in East Kent. The scheme offers an eye catching App and simple to use website helping businesses link with residents, visitors and students with deals and offers (including daily special deals), a rich guide to what’s on, what to do and where to stay; plus there will be a plastic card alternative for those who need one.

For more information visit: http://canterbury.mytownmycity.co.uk/business/

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Catriona Campbell – Creative Marketing Tourism Specialist

Catriona is offering 60 minute marketing makeover sessions in Whitstable in return for £40 donation to Tourism for All, a charity that aims to make holidays accessible to all – see www.tourismforall.org.uk.

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Angle Studios Limited

A strategic marketing, digital, branding and graphic design studio with an eclectic portfolio of clients from small local businesses, to blue chip, local authorities and national organisations. We’ll talk to anyone.

We offer the all round marketing package to get your business off the ground. Client’s references available upon request.

Get spotted.

Offers for members and new businesses include:

Free consultation

Brand/logo design £55.00 + VAT

1 page start up introductory website page including hosting £50.00 + VAT

20% off 4 – 10 page websites

Monthly installment plans available. Please ask for more details

Terms and conditions apply to offers.

 

For more information visit: http://www.anglestudios.co.uk/

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Hutton Design Associates

They are a leading design consultancy dedicated to delivering strategic and creative solutions that help you stand out from the crowd without costing the earth!

As an introductory offer to new businesses they are offering a special deal to give you the best start possible.

After an initial consultation, they will give you help in choosing the right name for your business, through creating a brand that will be memorable to your new customers, stationary items, website (including registering your new domain name and a years free hosting), email and Twitter set up, as well as helping you with any marketing issues and ideas you may have.

Prices start from £985.

For more information visit: http://huttondesign.com/