Your Roving Report from Wales

Your roving reporter, braving the wilds of Wales to bring you updates of my trip 🙂

I’m trying to find some amazing story to tell you about how my experience with 32 young people in the Welsh countryside, has a bearing on how we think about our businesses.

Well I can’t come up with some great fancy analogy, but I can tell you a little bit about our first day and how much I have enjoyed it. I am in Wales on a leadership program with 32 people from around Berkshire, who have been chosen by various Rotary clubs, to attend a week of adventure that will hone their leadership skills.

First there was really packed, so it feels like I’ve already been here a week, and I think that’s the exciting thing about taking yourself out of your normal routine, is that is when your mind really switches off, and of course being out in this area of Wales near Snowdonia, can only make you feel fantastic.

Yesterday we were divided into teams, I was the Rotary volunteer in the cow team, and like any good program we started with what we were hoping we would get out of it by the end of the week. The day started with us having to build a Coracle (a Welsh fishing boat shaped like an oyster shell) we had to build it with plastic tubes and a massive black sheet of plastic. The object of this was to build a vessel that would allow us to paddle out to a buoy and back, without the boat sinking. The team got double points if they persuaded a Rotarian (me) to paddle in the boat, needless to say I’m all up for a challenge, and can report the boat and I survived.

wales carocle

It’s amazing when you have limitted resources, some willing participants, and a bit of competition, that we have the ability to create solutions that will really work, and of course have fun while doing it.

I know with marketing are always ask my clients to think a little differently, to be creative with the resources they have, and there will always be amazed at the results they can achieve if they are prepared to be brave and take a chance.

So today is a walk into a gorge, the weather looks a little cloudy but warm, so look forward to the challenge speak soon, Helen your intrepid adventurer.


Tracking your efforts on Twitter

Yesterday I met somebody, who again said “what on earth is twitter all about, I can’t believe that a business could use twitter is a way to market themselves effectively.”

I think Twitter is an amazing tool, for so many reasons, from the ability to do very up-to-date research, follow trends and gets great insights into my target market. But for those of you that are more traditional about marketing, I thought it would be quite interesting to share with you a simple way to track and monitor conversations on twitter, especially conversations with hashtags # are being used.

While the other reason I decided to write the articles because I am training client tomorrow that is very keen to understand the R0 I on twitter and other social media tools, so in fact I’m killing two birds with one stone.

Here are two very cool and very inexpensive tools that can help you monitor hashtags in general, and monitor your own specific hashtags attached to a campaign that you develop.

The first one is a tool called Tagboard, you can try it for free and it allows you to monitor hashtags across various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. simply type in a #and watch the results. You can either view it across all the channels or of course filter out the channels you don’t want to see.

Below is one I created on digital marketing.


With Tagboard you can even reply directly to twitter, or use the comment option to join the discussions across the other platforms. It’s a great quickly easy view to see who is talking about a subject you are interested in. Unfortunately at this stage it doesn’t look like the very in-depth analytic s attached to it.

So the tip the second tool I’ve seen and haven’t used it yet… Is Keyhole, according to an article I read this morning by Danny Brown  he said he likes it because “What I like about Keyhole is it goes a little bit deeper than standard impressions and reach (although they’re still catered for here). Instead, you can find out more about your demographics and where they’re sharing the conversation.”

Here he is showing a screenshot of a search for the term “Audi”


Danny said that other useful data provided includes:

“The Top Sites section allows you to see what domains were mentioned using that hashtag, and what tweets sent traffic there;

Share of Voice shows which vehicle is being spoken about the most;

Most Influential informs who gets the most retweets, who has the biggest Klout score, and who talks about the brand the most.”

Add in Location, Demographics, Topics based on Hashtags or Keywords, and Top Sources for tweets, and Keyhole offers a fairly sturdy platform for solo users and brands alike.

So I’m going to give it a try, it’s very inexpensive and certainly looks like it’s worth a punt.

The final thing I want to discuss, is using Google analytics to analyse your specific twitter campaigns using a tool to monitor traffic that clicks on a link you add in a tweet, that goes to a specific page on your website. For this to really be effective of course you want this page to be a sales/ campaign page.


You will need a tracking URL,  that can be built on Google, then of course you have to use this tracking URL in all the links you send out, and all those links will be pointed to a fantastic landing page, where you can capture people’s information and start corresponding with them. Then you can simply use Google analytics and “Traffic Sources” >> “Campaigns” to find out where the traffic is coming from.

So get tweeting !

How to explain marketing to a 6 year old!

So today saw me talking to hall full of children, ranging in ages from 5 -12, about marketing.  Why you ask, well I was invited to do it at a school that is running a business enterprise week.

Talking to children really makes you think, what is marketing in its simplest form? I picked the Lemonade stand example, explaining :

  1. The right product:  choosing the right recipe (keeping an eye on costs)
  2. taking a standFind  your market is and what they need : finding a great location, I suggested sports day ,a busy place with thirsty people… one little boy suggested Pakistan as a great location, explaining it was hot with lots of people
  3. Tell people about your stand, make colorful posters, hand out flyers, add balloons and have a big and clear sign telling people what you are doing.
  4. Create a great message: Buy our lemonade to help you get energy and run faster…
  5. Make it special so you charge more, turn the recipe into ice creams, serve them in pretty cups or have tables for people to sit down, we always pay more for perceived luxury.
  6. Create a tempting and special offer, we spoke about the ideas of a voucher, like buy one get one free, then charge a little more, people will still think that they are getting a deal.
  7. Service : make sure customers love you by being enthusiastic and always smiling.

I had some great questions and they really understood the impact on cost.

How would you explain what you do to a six year old?

7 Ideas for anyone that wants to create great content.

Yesterday at our OpenDoorz network meeting, I spoke about self -educating people, so they can make choices, then share that content on your blog and the various social channels. Our very talented, resident photographer Dale challenged us when I said we all need to create content that is useful and engaging, content people will search for.

Content can come in many guises .. an article, a blog post, a PowerPoint presentation  or a video

So I decided to write an article about it, not just for Dale but to show everyone can see how to create content.

Start with questions

  • Create a list of FAQ’s and answer them. (Think about what clients always ask you)
  • Answer the customers buying objections.
  • Have a look on Twitter for questions around keywords in your industry, answer them.
  • Set up a few Google alerts around questions and keywords.

Become a journalist

  • There is loads of content out there already so use it, it’s called curation, write an intro that introduces each topic.
  • Top ten lists, could be about equipment or lighting in this instance.

What’s in the news, or Who?

  • Comment on photos that are published, why they are good or bad, people follow the latest events and love celebrities, so use them.

Do interviews

  • Interview industry experts about related topics to yours
  • Create polls or surveys, these are a fantastic way to develop an article (e.g over 80% of executives have a think that they need a new head-shot)

Talk your story

  • Spend time telling people your story, who you are and why you love what you do.
  • Tell them about a year in the life of a photographer, writing an article a week about things that happen to you, and shoots that you do.

How to’s

  • How do I … teach your audience how to light a room, take a good head-shot, take a picture at a conference etc, let them see you s an expert, and they will buy from you.


  • The most obvious for a photographer, but essential, show of images and explain what they are and why you like them, yours and other peoples.
  • Ask your readers to share their favorite photograph and ask them to pick a winner.

How to share a conversation or a question on LinkedIn with one of your contacts.

Do you often come across a conversation taking place on LinkedIn, and think, I should get so and so (a contact) to contribute to this, or do you recommend someone, and want them to see that you have  sung their praises, and in what context… (if you don’t you really should)

Here is how you go about doing just that…. And for you LinkedIn Fundies (that’s a good South African word for you) you can skip this or of course add a valuable tip for all of us.

When you are in a group, in a discussion it says add a comment, or on the right it has the share buttons… use the share buttons (of course you can add this to twitter too) and share on LinkedIn.


It will ask if you want to share as an update, in a group or with an individual … select the individual option …. Select the name of the contact…


Add a personal message so they know why you are sharing it with them, then viola!


How to make introductions through LinkedIn

I love to introduce people to each other, and LinkedIn has made that super easy!

I have noticed that a few people wanted to introduce me to one of their contacts, and more often than not we were both on Linked In, but the person introducing us didn’t use LinkedIn to introduce us to each other (sharing profiles), and I thought that I would show you how easy this is in a few steps.

Start by going into your contacts:

li 1

Choose the contact you want to introduce to someone, open their profile, select the drop down menu on the right side of send a message, then select … Share Profile.

LI 2

Then send their profile to the contact you have selected (start typing their name in the box) and remember to include a message to the contact on why you are making the introduction.


Sharing profiles really works, as you get a chance to read a bit about the contact before you call them to meet up.

What’s been the best introduction you made? Or was made to you?

Do you have any LinkedIn tips to share or question I can help with?

Why people won’t buy what you are offering.

When someone asks what you do, please do not ask them to do the work, don’t send them to your website, or simply send them a bit of marketing material.

Why the rant, well this past few weeks I was on the search to find someone to outsource some work too. I put up discussions on LinkedIn, a few forums and asked a few people who they could recommend. I have learnt a valuable lesson doing this exercise.

With perhaps one or two exceptions at most, the companies that have made contact with me have not tried to find out what I wanted, they have told me to look at the website, or send me a long email explaining what they do.

The first stage of any marketing (or sales) exercise, or as I like to put it, relationship building, is to first asked “whats the problem?” Then gear anything you send to that person around solving the problem.

I know someone important quoted something along these lines, ……solve the problem and you’ll never have to sell again. The worst thing you can do when you are trying to engage a new potential customer or partner, is to send them to generic page on your website, or send them some marketing material that was developed as a one fits all!

Clients want to be seen as individuals, clients want to know that you can solve their problems and add value to the business. They are not interested in what you do.

Building relationships is hard work and just because you’ve written material once it really doesn’t mean you can use it over and over and over again. That does not mean you shouldn’t have systems that can help you gather information, but please if somebody asks what you do, why don’t you ask them what they need and then tell them how you can help them.

“Customers buy for their reasons … not yours”

I know I have made this mistake, have you?

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