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Posts Tagged ‘Acorn Marketing Cumbria’

General Data Protection Regulation for Marketing

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

General Data Protection Regulation for Marketing

The law is changing in 2018.  It will affect all businesses and the way you do your marketing.  It will affect the way you do any email marketing, make sales calls or send direct mail.  I wrote a blog for a client recently about it (click here) and attended a seminar to try and understand what it means for marketers.  I have to say it’s not one of the most exciting things I’ve written about, but it is something everyone needs to be aware of in 2018 and implement changes.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation by which the EU intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU).  It is set to replace the Data Protection Act of 1998.  The GDPR will apply in all EU member states from 25 May 2018.

What do I need to do?

I would suggest you address this as soon as you can and be prepared…don’t just wait until May to sort it out!  If you want to read more in-depth, click here and read my client blog.  Alternatively here are a few things to bear in mind that might get your started…

1 – Think about what data you are collecting.  You might not think you collect any, but if you use Google Analytics, you collect data about who visits your website – even their IP address.  Quick Fix get a privacy policy on your website that indicates how you use any data you collect.

2 – You need to explicitly ask permission to send someone email marketing.  They must opt-in.  It is not OK to assume you have permission, hide it in your privacy policy, or have a box that someone must untick.  They might once have been allowed, but they’re not anymore.  get consent now…don’t wait for the deadline.  On website contact forms/registration forms etc make sure you add tick boxes so people can ‘opt-in’

3 – It is now not only their permission you have to ask for, you also need to record when they gave you permission and log when they opted in.  If you get an email notification when someone registers that may be enough, but you must keep the email secure.

4 – People have the right to tell you to stop marketing to them and you must make it easy for them to opt out of any future email marketing.  Make sure you have that unsubscribe button on your email.   If it is a printed mailer, make sure you have a phone number/address that people can contact to stop receiving things.  Make sure you keep a list of their details and stop sending them things, otherwise you could face a big fine.

5 – Is your website secure?  Does it have a little padlock symbol in the address bar, or did you get an SSL certificate?  If you store any data whatsoever on your website, you must have an SSL certificate, which encrypts the transmission of any data.  Even a contact form can be passing data, so it is safest to have one.  Ask your web designer about it.

6 – You don’t need explicit consent to send a mailer, letter or brochure, provided you make it clear how they can stop receiving them in the future and the content is relevant to them.  This comes under ‘legitimate interests of your business’

7 – there is a misconception that GDPR only applies to personal data, but it applies to business data as well, even if you only email corporate email addresses the law still applies.

As a member of the Chartered Institue of Marketing it has been important to me to try to understand GDPR for my business, but also to advise clients as well.  I don’t know everything and am still doing lots of research and learning, but I hope that I can become more knowledgeable and in turn help my clients.

Watch this space for further updates

 

Top 100 in England

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

The ‘Parent Power’ supplement from The Sunday Times has been published, citing Hunter Hall School in Penrith as one of the Top 100 Independent Preparatory Schools in England.

The paper, published on Sunday lists the Top 100 Schools based on SATs results taken in 2016 from  Preparatory schools across England. There are over 600 such schools who are members of the Independent Schools Association.  The results have been published by The Times for the last 25 years and uses a ranking system that aggregates the averaged scaled scores achieved by children in tests in reading, grammar and maths.  Hunter Hall achieved a score of 312 based on 15 pupils sitting the tests.

The way that SATs have been calculated since 2016 is via a new aggregate system, which looks at a scaled scores ranging from 240 to 360, (the old system based was based on the percentages of children reaching level 5 in tests).  The Sunday Times states that schools that get the best out of every pupil are the ones who have fared best in the list.

Hunter Hall is one of only seven schools based in the North West of England to make the Top 100 and the only school in Cumbria to make the list.

Donna Vinsome, Head Teacher at Hunter Hall School comments,

“We are absolutely thrilled to be listed as one of the top 100 schools in England.  This is another wonderful accolade for us and helps to substantiate what we as staff and governors feel; that children get an outstanding education at Hunter Hall in all areas of the curriculum both inside as well as outside of the classroom.

Hunter Hall was inspected recently by the Independent Schools Inspectorate who gave them a glowing report with 100% in all areas of compliance with no actions for improvement. They have also recently been shortlisted for two TES Education awards.

Donna continues,

“All these successes are down to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team of specialist teachers we have at Hunter Hall School and the dedicated children we have the privilege to work with every day. I believe we are incredible value for money, giving children the best possible start in life from 3 through to 11 right here in Cumbria”.

Lisa gets a hat-trick!

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Well, I only went and did it again…I got a hat-trick in the Enterprise Vision Awards.  I wasn’t sure whether to enter or not this year as I’d won twice before and thought I was perhaps pushing my luck.   However, my business has changed so much over the past few years I felt like I had a lot to tell!

This year, the main difference was that I was shortlisted in the Professional Services category – not Sole Trader category.  I was up against a firm of solicitors, HR company, recruitment firm etc.  Once you’re shortlisted you have to go through to a judging panel “Dragons Den” style.  You would think I wouldn’t be nervous after doing it twice before, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.   In the past, I’ve talked about me as a person and the passion I put into my business, but this time around it was all about my business, why it was different and why my service offering stood out from the crowd.

This year the event at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool was even more special as Jili Allen, who does a lot of my design work was shortlisted, as well as my cousin’s wife and another colleague, so we all sat together.  I really did not expect to win this year as it was a tough category, so you can imagine when they called out my name I really was gobsmacked.  I know I say it every year, but it always comes as such a shock.  I was so happy as it is a fantastic recognition for all my hard work and effort I put into my business being successful.

Other awards

I am always banging on to clients about the importance of entering awards.  The PR you gain from just being shortlisted is brilliant, even if you don’t go on to win!  Recently my client Hunter Hall School; a primary school in Penrith has been shortlisted for several accolades.  Firstly they were shortlisted for best Marketing Campaign in the CN Group Golden Apple Awards.  Unfortunately, on this occassion, they did not win this award, but the coverage they got in local papers and our own self-promotion on social media was great.

They have also been shortlisted for two TES education awards – again in best Marketing campaign (fingers crossed!) and State School Partnership award, for their cross-country events they run for other local primary schools.  I am heading down to a glitzy awards ceremony in London in February, so I will keep you posted.

Keep an eye out for any local awards in your area, any industry awards that you can apply for – you have nothing to lose and could get a whole lot of free publicity as a result!

Can you teach an old dog new tricks in Marketing?

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Teaching an old dog new tricks

The world of marketing changes all the time and it’s hard to keep up with everything; particularly now digital marketing plays such a vital role in marketing campaigns these days! To ensure I keep on top of my trade I became a Chartered Marketer and joined the Chartered Institute of Marketing in 2013.
Part of being a Chartered Marketer means I need to continually learn and develop my knowledge, so the marketing I do for clients is always up-to-date and I’m giving the best advice I can! Recently I’ve been learning a lot about digital marketing and it is a minefield! No wonder people don’t know where to start! I’d say if you want to learn the basics of how to use social media, websites or Google for example these can be mastered easily, but once you start digging around to try and do more advanced things it opens up a whole can of worms.
I’d say today I’ve spent 2 or 3 hours going backwards and forwards trying to learn new things and not getting very far. Its things I want to learn that sound relatively easy, but trying to master them is another story. I thought the idea of all this digital media/marketing was meant to make our lives easier, but I often seem to find stumbling blocks along the way!
As part of my job I have the time now and then to try and figure these things out and often find a little gem of information that revolutionises the way I work. Today is not one of those days! I just feel so frustrated…and I’d say I’m an active user, experienced and well versed in using all these platforms for doing marketing campaigns! God help anyone who is starting out…no wonder I get so many calls from people needing help.
Anyway, I am all for embracing new technology to develop marketing campaigns for clients – I just wish it wasn’t all so technical sometimes!

Blogging: The King of Marketing! Why we do it and Top Tips

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Everywhere we look we are inundated with content; from fashion to food, content is king in 2017. A priority in your business development strategy now, no matter how new, old, small or big your company is, is to write blogs; we are told that blogging should be a priority in our marketing plans but why is this and how can you get on top of the game?

There are a number of reasons why blogging is important.

To start with blogging drives traffic to your website. Your blog gives you the opportunity to create relevant and interesting content for your customers and you can use this as a marketing tactic to drive traffic back to your website via your social media channels.

Communicating with your social media followers about blogs on your website gives them a reason to click through to your website and it is there where they find out more information about your business and what you can do for them! 

This brings us onto our next point, Blogs help raise brand awareness and are an avenue for you to communicate with your customer what your unique selling point is, why they should be interested in your company and also can showcase your market knowledge. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate information! 

This, in turn, builds a relationship and trust with customers and potential customers and keeps your communication with them strong.

(statistic sourced from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/business-blogging-in-2015)

Our last point, but most definitely not the least, is that creating blogs for your website has tremendous Search Engine Optimism benefits. Fresh content is key to upping your search engine game! An important factor of SEO is to have lots of content as this helps search engines recognise that your website is a resource with lots of updated information – moving it higher up the search engine! The proof is in the pudding – 70 – 80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic searches – these paid ads can be rewarding but the most valuable locations in search results have to be earned through blogging and SEO, not bought.

(statistics sourced from https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/25-little-known-blogging-statistics-to-boost-yourstrategy-in-2016

So, now we know why we blog – how can we get on top of the game? We’ve popped below a few of our top tips to help you with your blogging! 

You need to make sure your blog stands out! 43% of people admit to skimming through blogs, this means you need to use headers, videos, images and other visuals to make sure your blog catches their attention.

(Statistic sourced from https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Create blog content that is actually useful and interesting!  If it’s useful or interesting, people are more likely to share it on their own social media channels, increasing your reach further.

Google favours more in-depth content, the search engine sees this as providing more information than a short blog post – The average word count of top – ranking content (in Google) is between 1,140 – 1,285 words!

(Statistic sourced from http://www.searchmetrics.com/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/)

Your blog (and your website) need to be mobile friendly! Google, on average, gets over 100 billion searches a month, with more than half of these searches coming from mobile phones!

(statistic sourced from http://mashable.com/google-mobile-searches)

There we have it – now you know why we blog and top tips how to blog, there’s only one thing left to do – get blogging!! 

Highly Commended for Cumbrian Homes Site Manager

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Cumbrian Homes are proud to announce that Gary Fleckney, Site Manager at their development Carleton Manor Park in Penrith has been awarded Highly Commended in the LABC Northern Regional Warranty Site Manager Awards 2017.

The Site Manager Award recognises the outstanding contributions of site managers working on LABC Warranty sites for their vision for quality in construction. LABC Warranty Risk Management Surveyors are responsible for nominating site managers who go the extra mile. Presented at each of the LABC Regional Building Excellence Awards, the regional winners go forward to secure a place at the Grand Finals held later this year.

With over 3000 eligible site managers, it is a great achievement to have been selected as one of the regional finalists. Mike Swatton, LABC Warranty Business Development Director and Head Judge commented, “The standard of qualifiers across the board has been exceptional, once again raising the bar for construction standards”.

LABC Warranty works in partnership with Local Authority Building Control (LABC) to provide structural warranties. Their partnership with LABC means they can provide building control and warranty for developers throughout England and Wales using the combined technical expertise of over 3,500 surveyors.

Gary Fleckney was highly commended in the LABC Warranty Northern Regional Site Manager Award for his site at Carleton Manor Park in Penrith. Having amassed nearly 30 years managerial experience in a wide range of traditional and timber frame new build and refurbishment projects, Gary joined Cumbrian Homes in May 2015 as Construction Manager.  In addition to managing his own site at Carleton Manor Park he also oversees all current ongoing projects and has an overview in maintaining Health and Safety, Quality and Construction Standards.

Nigel Pallister, Managing Director of Cumbrian Homes commented,

“We are extremely proud of Gary gaining the recognition of Highly Commended in the LABC Warranty Site Manager Awards.  At Cumbrian Homes quality, excellent workmanship and maintaining high standards is our priority and Gary carries out these principles thoroughly.  He helps to ensure the smooth running of our Carleton Manor Park site and is a credit to our business.”

Hunter Hall pupils ditch the pitch for ballet

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Year six pupils at Hunter Hall School in Penrith have been introduced to the world of ballet this term as a way of improving and developing their fitness and core body strength.

Bishop Yard School of Dance teacher Miss. Booth (parent of Grace Addison) has been asked to deliver ballet lessons to the year six group, who are working towards producing a contemporary dance routine of their own.

The lessons have come about after Mr Andrew Hetherington; Director of Sport at Hunter Hall was inspired by sports clubs using dance to improve their fitness.  Members of Carlisle United and the youth team at Wigan Warriors have been participating in ballet sessions to develop their flexibility and strength and to assist in injury prevention.

Mr Hetherington said,

 “I was keen for the children to develop their sporting talents to the full and was inspired after researching and reading about Wigan Warriors rugby players who were on a mission to break down ballet stereotypes – the team take weekly classes in ballet to improve posture, and reduce injury particularly to ankles and knees.”

Whilst there is much press coverage of ‘couch potato’ children and studies showing that approximately half of children are overweight by the age of 7, Hunter Hall School takes sport and fitness very seriously, believing that physical well-being goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing.  A fit and healthy body leads to a fit and healthy mind, which is ripe for learning.

The children of Hunter Hall School, both girls and boys have embraced the lessons, are up for the challenge and look forward to learning a new dimension of their games curriculum.

A first for Cumbria – virtual reality tours at Carleton Manor Park, Penrith

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Cumbrian Homes have launched the next phase of their housing development at Carleton Manor Park in Penrith, with an innovative new Virtual Reality tour of the site and 13 new apartments.

 The 360o computer generated virtual tour allows the buyer to actually see what the site is going to look like once complete and takes away the guess work for buyers.  When customers visit the site and stand in one of the several hotspots, the smart technology allows the user to view a 360o Augmented Reality (AR) virtual representation of the development on Smartphones or Tablets.  The tour gives a real sense of how the development is going to look and you can ‘virtually’ walk around.

The tour was created by James Bullimore at Jabster Ltd, who is based in Skirwith, near Penrith.  James has over 20 years of experience working in 3D design.  The Carleton Manor development has been expertly 3D modelled and textured by James to Architects drawings and specifications.  These 3D house models have then been positioned within a 3D landscape of Carleton Manor Park with accurate contouring based on Ordnance Survey Benchmark (OSBM) topographic survey maps.

Cumbrian Homes use high-quality products and features in their homes, which add to the customers buying experience.  Having a virtual tour of Carleton Manor Park is a modern sales tool that can inform customers and help them to make important decisions when buying a new home.

Scott Edwards, Commercial Manager at Cumbrian Homes said,

“Technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in all aspects of our lives, and we’re continually developing as a company to ensure we’re at the forefront of this. 

Not only do we use innovative building materials and technology in our homes, but we are now leading the way in how we sell our homes too.  Many other developers use 360o videos of houses they have already built.  However, where our tour is unique is that it is based on computer generated designs taken from architect’s drawings and site plans.  This provides a really powerful tool for our homebuyers, giving increased confidence and allowing them to visualise their new home and its environment before construction even starts – we believe we’re one of the first in the UK, and certainly  Cumbria, to offer this!”

At the launch of The Manor apartment block at Carleton Manor Park, visitors can view the tour with Virtual Reality (VR) goggles making for immersive viewing.  They can also experience firsthand what the interior of the apartment block will look like, which will also be available for VR viewing for the first time.  The Virtual Reality experience delivers a sense of realism allowing the viewer to feel like they are actually walking around Carleton Manor Park and inside the Manor building and apartments, with the aid of virtual reality goggles.

Scott added,

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience and while physical viewings will always be important to get a sense of scale, virtual reality can really bring the space to life before it exists and help our buyers make informed decisions. We actively encourage earlier buyer involvement so they can truly personalise their new home with us – so we feel the VR and AR technologies are an exciting and logical fit for us. ”

 Customers will be able to make use of the virtual reality technology on-site using smartphones and tablets, or off-site via a smartphone with a virtual reality cardboard viewer, or by visiting www.cumbrian-homes.co.uk/virtual-tours where the tour can be viewed on screen.

 The Manor apartment block and its flanking buildings contain 13 luxury apartments, including 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, from £228,000.

 

International Women’s Day

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

 

8th March is International Women’s Day.  This is a day to celebrate women in the workplace and to encourage every person – both women and men to play a part in helping drive better outcomes for women and helping to create a more gender inclusive world.

I have never personally felt that my gender has stopped me from doing what I wanted in life or in my career.  I guess I grew up in a changing world where there were more opportunities.  For my grandmother, this would have been so much different.  At that time they would traditionally have done domestic jobs or stayed at home with the children; not having the opportunities in education as I did.  I think we’ve moved on even more since I was at school and see lots of gender inclusive opportunities for children; including my step daughter playing football or the opportunities (or acceptance) she has to pursue careers that may have traditionally been associated with males.

Being a business owner I understand the challenges faced by those who run a business regardless of being a man or a woman.  And being a Mum now too, the additional challenges I face trying to juggle both.  I’m not sure there are as many Dad’s who stay at home to raise the children and run a business?

Running a business never really occurred to me as being an option when I was at school.  However, I recently read that women account for under a third of those in self-employment, but over half the increase in self-employment since the recession started in 2008. Between 2008 and 2011 women accounted for an unprecedented 80% of the newly self-employed.

There are now almost 1.5 million women self-employed which represent an increase of around 300,000 since before the economic downturn

Women account for 17% of business owners, ie. owners/ managers/ employers.  However, there is still a long way to go.

I feel passionate about being a woman in business, inspiring young girls and encouraging them to think about running a business as a future career.  I feel proud of what I have achieved and keep achieving (despite often sending emails with a baby on my knee or catching up on work at 10 pm).

I have always been inspired by other women in business and looked up to them.  People such as Jacqueline Gold and Karen Brady are my icons.  Closer to home my old boss, Liz Pugh at Walk the Plank was such an inspiration to me.

For the past 2 years, I have won the award for Sole Trader of the year at the North West Enterprise Vision awards.  These awards celebrate women and all we do in business.  I feel this award really recognises what I have achieved and the battles I face running my own business.  There are so many fantastic women in business that ought to be recognised and by having events like International Women’s Day and the EVA awards really highlights the power and influence women can have.

I hope that when my daughter enters the working world things have moved on even further – with more opportunities, equal pay and support for women’s advancement.

Top Tips to kick start your Marketing in 2017

Monday, February 6th, 2017

2017 is here and the ideal time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy – now is the time to make sure you achieve all your marketing goals for the coming year. Every business is unique but we’ve shared with you below a few marketing top tips that everyone will find useful!

  1. Optimise your website for mobile

On average, a person checks their mobile up to 150 times a day! Each time they do, they want to be able to identify and consume information at a glance. If your mobile site is slow or confusing, then you’ve lost a possible customer immediately.


  1. Create a Marketing Calendar

The key to a successful marketing strategy is to be organised and a marketing calendar is essential to being on top of your game. A calendar will help you keep track of all your marketing tactics, provide structure to your email, social, event, print marketing etc.

There are plenty of templates online to get you kick started, google calendar and google docs are just two examples of great basic templates you can work from.


  1. Invest in Video

Audiences are ten times more likely to engage with video content than they are with text-only blogs or social posts and using video in email marketing can have double the click-through rates!

This video content doesn’t have to be expensive – sharing social videos is a great way to create fun content and engage with your followers and customers.


  1. Invest time into content for my website and social media outlets

By publishing new content regularly, search engine optimism is boosted, increasing traffic to your site. Likewise, with social media; by staying consistent and current with posts, followers will be engaged and you will connect with a larger audience.

All you need is a little bit of willpower and some planning – make time to research blog topics, social posts and even social competitions!


  1. Review and adapt your marketing strategy regularly

How do you know if your marketing strategy is achieving your goals? By reviewing it regularly! Every month take some time review what’s working and what’s not been as successful as you’d hoped by analysing the data on the platforms you’re using. Identify where improvements can be made and adapt your strategy.

  1. Keep up-to-date and aware

By allocating an hour or two a week to do a little research on what’s going on in your industry you will stay up to date, relevant, can handle any changes in your industry and ultimately, keep your business ahead of your competitors! All you need to do is bookmark useful websites, follow relevant social media channels and subscribe to informative newsletters.

Sourced from http://blog.marginmedia.com.au/our-blog/6-marketing-new-years-resolutions-to-make-for-2017