Five benefits of paid social media management for small businesses

The power of social media is becoming more apparent in today’s fierce marketplace – small businesses are turning to paid social as a means to target more customers and increase website traffic. Below are five benefits of paid social media management for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

1. Brand awareness
Brand awareness might seem like a loose goal but for many startups and entrepreneurs getting their brand seen and in front of a specific target audience is key. Social media is one of the most cost effective forms of digital marketing and provides the perfect platform to increase a business’ visibility. By utilising an effective budget and creating a targeted audience of consumers brand awareness can be increased tenfold.

2. Referral traffic
Marketing your business on social media will increase traffic to your website. Aside from your usual customers’ who will no doubt search using keywords they already associate with your brand – using social media marketing will open you up to a whole new customer base. Without using this form of marketing any business will struggle to reach new customers outside of their loyal base of followers. Every social media channel you add to your marketing strategy is another great opportunity to capture new customers and impress them with your brand – by engaging them in unique content.

3. Cost effective
Unlike other forms of advertising social media marketing is one of, if not the most cost effective forms out there. It costs nothing to create an initial profile whether that’s on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. From there it’s a case of posting regular content to your followers. The easiest way to bring in new business is to create a paid for promotion – which for a relatively small amount can provide a positive and highly successful return that can be measured and adapted for future strategies later on. You won’t need to break the bank either.

4. Strategic targeting
Once you’ve established who your ideal customer is you can then take that user profile and create a target audience. Many social media platforms allow you to target through gender, age, location as well as interests and job title. Once this audience has been created and your paid promotion is running you know that only those who see your ad or post are genuinely interested in your business. This in turn will allow them to engage with you and potentially head to your website for further information and/or make a sale.

5. Measure success
How do you measure the success of your marketing campaigns? Simple, most social media channels have great tools which allow you to see how effective your ads are. You’ll be able to analyze metrics such as how often they are being clicked on, shared – and if you’ve used video how long they watched it for. This real time data is a major advantage when it comes to making sure that your adverts or posts and delivering effectively. You even have the ability to edit them during the campaign which means you don’t have to wait to see if they have been effective or not.

If you would like to get more information please visit

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 01482 861875
Mob: 07850 009750

Twitter: @activBeverley


Are Web Designers the new Tax Inspectors?

Having been a professional software developer for around 25 years I recently struck out on my own and started a small web design company. As a fairly new start-up I have been fortunate in that the local council run some extremely good free workshops to support new business.

In the last 4 months I must have attended 7 or 8 of these workshops ranging from how to write a business plan to the most recent on website SEO, I must point out that so far every single workshop has been well worth attending and I have learned a lot, however, on 2 of the workshops I have come away feeling like I am the local tax inspector come to check the accounts.

The first was a business workshop and didn’t have anything to do with websites but during and after the workshop the presenter made a valid point that no one these days has to pay for a website there are plenty of “free” websites available in the form of templates, free sites when purchasing hosting and free websites with adverts, however, over and over he stressed that web designers simply want to charge for something that anyone with a little knowledge could well do themselves at little or no cost, and to be honest he is right to a point any fool can drag and drop a fairly reasonable site together. The second workshop presenter was teaching SEO and what could be done by the average site owner who has access to the CMS it was a worthwhile extremely informative workshop and I learned a lot then we got into the “Why pay some guy to do what you could easily do given time” discussion and once again I fully agree, there is no way I can hide it in fact I wouldn’t try. I charge for websites and SEO both of which a business could do themselves certainly cheaper and possibly at no cost other than time and effort.

Now to the reason for the rant and the reasons I charge for my time and effort:-

Why I feel I add value to a small business are as follows:-

  • Most people are capable of dragging and dropping a website together but to be honest I make a better job of it.
  • Most business owners are too busy doing what they do best to build their business and simply don’t have time to build a website or perform SEO – This is where I spend the long hours on doing what I do
  • What sort of an image does a new company trying to build a reputation and build trust give to other businesses when the site has “provided free by SkiddlyDo” at the foot of the site and adverts for hemorrhoid cream popping up over what I am trying to read
  • How many businesses will cobble a free site together, make a reasonable job of it then not touch it again for 5 years complaining all the time that it does nothing for the business and doesn’t get any visitors.

What finally added the icing to the cake was a “Networker” I bumped into at a local meeting, we were sat doing the obligatory one-to-one, I told him I was a web designer, did SEO social media and other internet related stuff to which he replied “why would anyone pay you to do that it’s all free” so I explained that I could possibly make a better job of it and at worst I could free the business owner up so that they could concentrate on their business, “what do you do?” I asked “I am a life coach, I speak to people and make them feel better as well as telling them all what they are doing wrong with their life and helping them” mmm, “and do you get paid for that?” I asked unfortunately I didn’t hear the reply he got up and wandered off not sure but I don’t see him having any future one-to-one sessions with me.

Just a few examples I could buy the parts from a local shop and replace the brakes on my car but I choose not to because the mechanic is far better at it than me, I could pull my own teeth but I prefer the dentist to do it I am a bit squeamish that way, I can advise myself on how to invest what little money I have, I could build my own house, garage or extension I might even get some wire and make myself an electric blanket for winter but I choose not to the point I am trying to make is that all things can be cheaper or sometimes free, I can’t think of a single business that with time, effort or trial and error I couldn’t do myself if I really wanted to or had the time to do so but I choose not to, why, because if its not my area of expertise there is probably someone who would make a better job of it.

And as a final footnote the “Why would you pay someone to do SEO? ” workshop presenter who I might add was extremely good and certainly knew his stuff and to top it all seemed a really nice guy he runs a large and very successful Web Design and SEO company when he isn’t teaching.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At Activ Web Design (Yorkshire) we have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more information please visit

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 01482 861875
Mob: 07850 009750

Twitter: @activBeverley

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old Chinese proverb).

Your Business Needs a Mobile App!

How many internet enabled devices do you own?, definitely a Smartphone, maybe a tablet add to that a PC or laptop now try and imagine your life without at least one of these devices. We rely heavily on these  devices to remind us of birthdays and appointments,  checking the weather, or sending and receiving messages and in the case of phones even phone calls, we would be lost without them.

In daily life how many times have you sat in a restaurant or coffee shop and seen someone tapping away on their phone at the table or on the beach in the office or the supermarket the list is endless it seems we just can’t survive without being connected. 

Now, what if you are a business owner with a mobile app, this puts you in direct contact with these potential customers 24/7 and 97% of messages will be read as opposed to 30% of emails for some reason a message delivered to one of these devices not only has to be read, it is normally read immediately.A business mobile app is a fantastic “branding tool” which is used for keeping your clients aware of your services or your products whilst increasing the level of customer loyalty.

As an example take the Starbucks coffee chain, the company launched a mobile app back in 2011, they included a rewards system called “My Starbucks Reward”, the account allowed customers to top up with money and make purchases, the user was then awarded stars that he or she could later exchange for more Starbucks products.

The program proved to be highly successful and more important profitable for Starbucks, so much so that today every 10th purchase for a Starbucks product is made via a mobile device.

The Starbucks example shows that a mobile app serves the purpose of keeping clients loyal and bringing them back time and time again to your business.

The app of course, should not only create more business for you but should also be  “user friendly”  and add value for the user, if it doesn’t add value or is difficult or time consuming to use the user simply won’t download it or if they do they will soon remove it.

As a minimum, the application should serve at least the following purposes:

  • Fulfill a need for the user
  • Make it easy for the user to access your products or services
  • Offer a reward or benefit for their loyalty in turn creating a desire to use the service again

The second point is probably the most important as users are already used to the convenience and ease of using mobile technologies. quite simply if a user has to jump through hoops to buy your products and doesn’t get a discount or reward after all that, he or she will go elsewhere and probably not return.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At Activ Web Design (Yorkshire) we have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more information please visit

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Twitter: @activmobileapps

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old Chinese proverb).


Low Cost Ways To Promote Your Business

Starting a business on a shoestring? or just looking for ways to stretch a small business marketing budget?

Here are some low-cost, high-impact ideas to promote your business.

Most important
Plan your attack, define who your prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them, be as specific as possible, is the decision maker the CEO of the company or a working mom? will you find them on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest or Facebook?.

What about networking at local business meetings? will they be searching for your type of product on Google or eBay?  do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to make the purchase, write your answers down and most importantly read them before you start any new marketing campaign.

YOU MUST – Have a website, if you don’t have one get one plain and simple.

Set your business up in the free listings and local directories, be sure to include your website link  (you do have one don’t you?) and business description.

Create a business profile page on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. make sure your business profile includes a good description of what you do, why you are different, and why customers should come to you, make sure you have the right keywords and a link to your website.

Look for groups or conversations that talk about your type of products or services and participate in the conversations, but don’t spam them with constant adverts for what you sell.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have a business card and business stationary, get them as soon as possible, your business card, letterhead and envelope tell prospective customers you are a professional who takes your business seriously.

Be sure to list your website address on your business card and, letterhead and any handouts you create.

Get your business cards into the hand of anyone who can help you in your search for new clients, call your friends and relatives and tell them you have started a business, visit them and leave a small stack of business cards to hand out to their friends.

Talk to all the suppliers who you buy products or services from, give them your business card, and ask if they can use your products or services, or if they know anyone who can. If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed (printers often do, and so do some supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.), ask if yours can be added to the board.

Attend meetings of professional groups,and groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, 4 Networking, BNI, or civic associations, have your business cards ready and don’t forget to ask other people about their business, not only will they appreciate your interest, they will remember you because of it.

You may need to pay for membership in those groups but if they attract your target customers it is worth it, many of these groups have a website where members can promote their business, make sure your name and website link get added as soon as possible. Once it is added double check to be sure your contact information is correct and your website link isn’t broken.

If possible become actively involved in some of these groups, this will add to your credibility and give you more opportunity to meet possible prospects. however, opportunists are quickly spotted for what they are, and get little business.

Whilst you don’t want to become involved in many groups that require a lot of your time, you are after all running a business, you can and should make a real contribution to them by offering useful ideas and helping the groups success when possible.

Look for something unusual about what you do, and publicise it, send out press releases to local newspapers, local radio stations and magazines whose audiences are likely to be interested in buying what you sell, be sure to post the press releases on your website or blog too, being sure to include links to your website in the release.

To increase your chance of having the material published, send along a photo (not the radio stations 🙂 ) with your press release, editors of printed publications are often in need of photos to fill space and break up the gray look of the page.

Write an article that demonstrates your expertise in your field.Send it to noncompeting newspapers, magazines, and websites and blogs in your field that accept submissions from experts, be sure your name, business name, phone number, and a reference to your product or service is included at the end of the article.

If the editor can use the article you get your name in print, and possibly get your contact information printed for free which helps drive traffic to your site.

Whenever you do get publicity, get permission from the publisher to reprint the article containing the publicity.

Ask for work or leads, contact nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, and even other businesses that have customers who may need your services.

Network with others who are doing the same type of work you are, let them know you are available to handle their work overloads, but don’t try to steal their customers you will only get away with it once and it will do your reputation no good at all.

If you are confident enough, offer to be a speaker at industry conferences or local business groups they often need speakers for meetings, you will benefit from the name recognition, contacts and publicity.

If your product or service is appropriate, give demonstrations of it to any groups or individuals who might be interested.

Put videos of your product or service on YouTube and other video-sharing and slide-sharing sites, this is highly effective when it comes to SEO and your website.

Find out what local government programs are in existence to help you get started in business, most offer free counseling, and some can put you in touch with government agencies and large corporations that buy from small businesses.

Send out sales letters to everyone you think might be able to use what you sell, be sure to describe your business in terms of how it can help the prospect. Learn to drop a business card in every letter you send out, follow up periodically with mailings (email or post).

If you use a car or van for your business have your business name, contact and website information professionally painted on the sides or back of the vehicle that way your means of transportation becomes a vehicle for advertising your business, if you don’t want the business name painted on the vehicle, consider using magnetic signs or stickers.

Get on the telephone and make “cold calls.” these are calls to people who you would like to do business with, briefly describe what you do and ask for an appointment to talk to them about ways you can help them meet a need or solve a problem, but don’t forget when you make these calls that they are also trying to run a business.

Get samples of your product or your work into as many hands as possible.

Offer a free, no obligation consultation to people you think could use your services, during these consultations offer some practical suggestions or ideas.

Learn to ask for referrals ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances, when you do get them follow them up.

Use other people to sell your product or service in addition to selling your products yourself, look for affiliates, re sellers or people who will generate leads for you in return for a commission on sales, be sure your pricing structure allows for the fees or commissions you will have to pay on any sales that are made.

Get together with businesses who serve the same market, but sell different products and services to you, arrange to exchange leads.

Have sales letters, flyers and other information printed and ready to go.

Trial Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on the search engines. some offer a voucher or code worth £50 to £75 in free advertising to start, however, know how they work before you start and plan very carefully watch what you spend on a daily or more frequently until you are comfortable using PPC ads and make sure you monitor the return on your investment.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

What is a squeeze page?

A “squeeze page” is a single page and its sole purpose is to either capture the visitors email address (in return for your free giveaway) or in some cases, to make a sale, but by far the main reason is to capture the visitors email address.

When building a business, a highly-effective squeeze page is essential for daily lead capture because without those leads network marketers don’t have a business!

Design an effective squeeze page.

“Who do you want” – One of the more important steps, yet time and again people charge straight in without a clear understanding of exactly the type of person they want on their email list yet without this vital step how are you going to develop a campaign good enough to create interest and gain trust.

Take the time to work out exactly who you are trying to attract on to your list in terms of your ultimate goals. Then and only then will you know how best to write the copy.

Your squeeze page has one goal to get people to sign up to your email list; every word on the page should support that single action. If it doesn’t, lose it.

Things to Avoid

Remove anything distracting the user from signing up that includes things like the sidebar, links, navigation menu, non essential text, links and images this page should have one purpose only “sign them up”

Your primary goal with a squeeze page is to get people to opt-in.

You must have:

  1. A headline: You’ve got to instantly catch attention with your headline.
  2. Benefits: You’ve got to tell by teasing, usually with fascinating bullet points.
  3. Call to Action: You’ve got to expressly tell people to sign-up.
  4. Opt-in form: You’ve got to have a way for them to sign-up.
  5. Build Trust: Add a photo or signature, privacy disclaimer, testimonials anything to show that you are trustworthy.

The Gift.

This could be a free report, eBook, or piece of software, news feed or any other freebie.

You will always get subscribers who take your incentive with an alternate “specially for spam” email address, or simply unsubscribe immediately, it is your job to keep them subscribed, you could for instance offer to drip feed them reports over time, break the eBook into parts or give early news on what’s coming next.

The key is to make people aware that you’re giving more than you’re taking.

Keep the page focused and concise, obviously the essentials have to be there, the headline, benefits, call to action and obviously the opt-in-form but also reassure the user that you will respect their privacy there is nothing worse than signing up for something useful then finding your details have been passed on to all and sundry.

How much information do you really need?

The less you ask for the more likely they are to sign up, you only need the email address, if you want more trial more but in our tests the email only option performed far better, however, if your business needs a mailing address, or other personal details consider getting them on board first then build up your contact details. The more trust you build; the more people open up to you.

Don’t Forget to Monitor and Test!

Every business is different the only way to find exactly what works for you and your potential audiences to do your own testing. Even changing a single sentence or word can make a difference good or bad so monitor.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence contact us.

At CodeSpinner we have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).