Ways to Strengthen Customer Relations

Regardless of whether you run a PR agency or a fashion boutique, customer loyalty plays a key role in your company’s success. After all, the energy it takes to retain your current clientele should be substantially less than the necessary effort to recruit new buyers. What’s more, a fiercely allegiant customer base can be the best marketing tool at your disposal; no matter how much money you spend on advertising, no promotional message will ever be quite as impactful as word-of-mouth. The below tips provide insights on how to foster enduring relationships with your current customers to ensure loyalty and longevity.

1) Make Customer Relations a Priority Amongst Staff

As a business leader, you’re not able to micromanage every single interaction your workers have with clientele or the public. Therefore, instill solid values within them and, more importantly, firmly cemented plans of action for different scenarios. Make company policies on how to handle disgruntled customers, both in-person and online. Remember, contended employees will naturally bring a positive energy to communications with others, so also take steps to invest in your staff’s satisfaction.

2) Give Incentives for New Customers to Become Repeat Customers

Email and social marketing are affordable ways to further nurture customer relationships. Let people know about new inventory or sales, and perhaps reward loyalty with special, exclusive coupons. Depending on the nature of your product or service, consider whether you could start a membership program. Would signing up allow participants to accrue “points” with each purchase? Would they receive a monthly rate to use your facilities rather than pay per visit? Would there be special VIP privileges? Such bonuses seal the deal with customers to keep them coming back for more.

3) Provide Branded Mementos

By furnishing loyal customers with goods that display your company’s logo, you accomplish two goals at one. Firstly, you’re able to strengthen preexisting relationships and provide the clients with a lasting, positive impression of your organization every time they use the items. Secondly, others will see the recipients writing with your pen, opening up your umbrella, donning your t-shirt, or pulling out your mints. This will serve as a silent endorsement for your company and raise overall awareness. This is why it’s important you put great thought into the chosen gift that will display your logo. Find pieces that align with your overall brand identity. The items should ideally be used on a regular basis and in public forums where they can receive greater exposure.

For example, a customized watch that displays your logo will be seen by others, especially when the wearer shakes hands. Similarly, an attractive tote bag can be handy in a versatile range of settings. Goods that are poorly made, are easily disposable or are essentially useless will serve little purpose, so avoid paper weights, bookmarks, matches, etc.

4) Collect and Incorporate Feedback

Everyone likes having their opinions heard and respected, so why not use customers’ input to make your business better? Not only can you use the knowledge to circumvent troublesome issues, but it can help your clientele feel a sense of pride in your business. For example, if you own an ice cream shop, you can encourage customers to vote for which new flavors they want to see on the menu, the ones that select the winning ice cream will undoubtedly appreciate that their views hold substantial weight in your mind.

5) When Possible, Provide a Human Touch

Automation is quick and efficient, but also impersonal and can backfire. Go above and beyond to interact with your customers. For example, let’s say you offer businesses’ an online file storage and sharing system; you or your staff could follow up with any email-based tech questions by offering to hop on the phone to help the person figure out the situation step-by-step.

Essentially, people are more likely to share an emotional bond with a fellow person rather than a faceless corporation, so add personality and an emotional component into your customer interactions whenever possible.

In regards to all five points suggested above, always be seeking out new possibilities rather than staying with the tactics that seem to work year after year. Just like human relationships, the connections customers have with your business will naturally shift over time, and your strategy should evolve with it. Consistently seek out feedback and new ideas to figure out whether there truly are ways you can improve the bond your clientele shares with your brand.

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B2B e Commerce, the Emerging Market

B2B e Commerce: Are you looking forward to acquire established and high-paying B2B clients? Be it B2C or B2B customers, both the segments demand a few basic values- transparency, immediacy and convenience. When we are considering the B2B category, remember, business buyers are also consumers. They’re acting on behalf of their business. As they have more resources at their disposal, they look forward to sensibly invest in long-term success of their company.

So your aim should be able to build a strong B2B brand. With a well developed strategy, you can outweigh your competitors and win better B2B clients.

Understanding the B2B eCommerce

Frost& Sullivan analysed that there are several reasons for B2B eCommerce to top the list and increase pressure on businesses. The UK online sales are predicted to reach £52.25bn in 2015, which is a 16.2 percent increase from the last year. This indicates that on average UK consumers will spend £1,177 online in 2015. It has been found that 89 percent of B2B consumers indicated that their business increased annual revenue by 55 percent through eCommerce business. No wonder more and more B2B companies are making move to online sales.

The key Drivers of B2B eCommerce

Optimized Procurement Process
If you’re electronically well connected with your suppliers/vendors, you can

  • Get the best price deals
  • Lower inventories
  • Reconcile your procurement and accounts in real time.

The B2B eCommerce infrastructure allows you to constantly monitor the inventory level of your own products as well as of the suppliers. In addition, the system can also trigger an order to the best suppliers automatically.

Enhanced Mobile Commerce
Research shows that the majority of the customers are using Smart devices to research products for their businesses. Mobile is an integral part of your brand and Omni-channel commerce strategy. With the rapid emergence of mobile commerce opportunities, B2B online business can offer in-the-field sales opportunities and personalised customer service.

Flexible Payment Option
Unlike B2C, B2B transactions use diverse payment processes and channels. B2B buyers usually prefer paying with e-checks, purchase orders, or physical checks instead of making credit card payments. When the payment process system is based on the convenience of the buyers, it becomes easier to run an online business.

The Choice of Open Source
B2B sellers opt for open source. The majority of the businesses are integrating open source technologies in order to gain the benefits of flexibility. The technology allows businesses to modify any open source codes according to their requirements. Every eCommerce solutions offer a host of features; some are crucial to the business while some are not. However, with open source, B2B merchants can have granular control over user experience.

Reduced Cycle Time
With the availability of real time data exchange, auto-triggered business process or well-monitored algorithms, cycle times reduce substantially. This leads to low cost, high productivity, improved quality, and faster delivery.

The Three Key Components of B2B Brand

1. High-Quality Content

Content drives commerce. A good piece of content can get your business placed well in search results. Keeping in mind that B2B eCommerce deals with large and complex organisations, combination of the right topic and the variation of keywords can invoke genuine interests.

2. Presentation of your Brand

Before you believe in your goal, consider the types of audience you’re about to interact. You can successfully brand yourself to attract more customers through

  • Proper communication
  • Establishing your company’s motto
  • Customising and personalising your message
  • Providing real value through networking
  • Maintaining your online and offline integrity
  • Following the right email etiquettes.

3. Mobile-Centric Business
Mobile commerce is the latest buzz. Consumers demand for more mobile capabilities and personalised shopping experience. Your business should have that capability to connect with live video and chat to enhance customer experiences across all the channels. With more and more web browsing happening away from the desktop computers and on Smart devices, focus should be shifted towards the use of responsive design to make your site more mobile-friendly.

B2B eCommerce is poised for resurgence. The buyers’ expectation has increased with its improved technology and powerful automation process. B2B brands are known for their customers and their ability to deliver relevant, contextual experience to the customers.

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Sterling Confounds the Sceptics!

While I wouldn’t describe myself as a Sterling (Stg) sceptic, I have to confess that back in January my forecast for the beginning of Q2 2015 was that Stg would be trading around the .8000 level, a spectacularly poor call when compared to today’s .7150.


Where did I go wrong?

Looking back at the article I wrote in January, I forecast that the economic factors were on balance likely to be slightly supportive of the pound. However this has not really transpired, the following indicators have disappointed with the exception of the unemployment rate:

  1. Q1 GDP comes in at +0.3%, expected +0.6%
  2. The construction sector has shrunk in two of the last three months
  3. Consumer price inflation has been zero for two months in a row
  4. Average weekly earnings (ex bonuses) have come in at 1.8% for the three months to February – remaining stubbornly below 2%, not to mind the Bank of England’s forecast of 3.5% for 2015.
  5. UK Retail sales fell 0.5% in March giving up most of February’s 0.6% rise.
  6. UK unemployment rate drops to 5.6% for the three months to February 2015, the lowest rate since 2008.

The economic indicators out of the UK in Q1 have been uninspiring; some might even say they were disappointing. Certainly apart from the unemployment rate, none of the indicators were supportive of the pound.

The unemployment rate is the one economic indicator that is out -performing, hurtling towards the Bank of England target of 5.3%. It is undoubtedly the star performer in the UK’s economic locker, however one suspects that the unemployment rate alone is not enough to explain the more than 10% increase in the pound against the Euro in Q1.

The chart below is the economic surprise index and measures data surprise relative to market expectations. A positive reading means that data releases have been stronger than expected and negative reading means that data releases have been worse than expected


The performance of the Euro is undoubtedly a significant factor, as the currency collapsed against the majors in January, losing 8.6% against the dollar between the 5th of February and the 12th of March and 6.94% against the Yen between the 11th of February and the 13th March.

So it’s no surprise given the weakness of the Euro that the pound has strengthened against the single currency, the surprise is that it has maintained this strength while the Usd and the Jpy have given back some of their gains. It is also a surprise to see Stg as strong as it is with less than ten says to go the British election.

UK election – sell the pound?

My central argument going back to mid 2014 is that Stg would weaken into the general election. My thinking (undoubtedly flawed) was that political uncertainty, the prospect of a hung parliament and one alternative – a Conservative victory with its promise of a vote on Europe would all serve to weaken the pound. Why have we not seen an exodus from the pound? I can think of two possible explanations – the first is that a hung parliament in all probability defers any vote on Brexit for good or at least to the distant future.

The second explanation is that I was not alone in thinking that the pound would be entering stormy waters ahead of the general election and that to short Stg was the obvious trade! I suspect this is a crowded trade and the market may well be very short of Stg, if this is the case then that may explain Stg’s strength against a recovering Euro Zone.

So what are Eur/Stg prospects for the remainder of Q2 and into Q3?

I think the following factors will come into play:

  1. The outcome of the general election – likely hung parliament and Stg neutral given the comments above
  2. Quantitative easing is likely to copper fasten the Euro Zone recovery – giving some support to the single currency
  3. The Greek situation – the markets are convinced that a solution (fudge in the best European tradition) will be found – could provide a relief Euro rally
  4. I believe the UK economy recovers from it’s Q1 slowdown and meets growth forecasts of 2.5% this year – Stg supportive
  5. The market quickly unwinds it’s short Sterling positions after the election – initially Stg supportive but longer term removes an obstacle to Stg weakness

I think a resolution of the Greek issue and continued improvement of the Euro Zone economy will the key drivers for Eur/Gbp in the months ahead. I see Eur/Gbp trading a range of .7000 to .7410 for the remainder of this quarter, moving to the top of this range as we enter Q3. The big danger to this forecast is political risk, the Greek situation and an unexpected outcome in the UK elections.

As ever if either you agree with my forecast or if you have an alternative viewpoint as to where Eur/Gbp will trade in the months ahead, I would love to hear from you.

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Think Like Your Customer to Drive More Sales

One strategy to drive sales is to think like your customer and not just like a marketer. The customer is often considered the most important person in any business venture. Without the customer, there is no business. Marketing specialists are therefore very vital people in a business organization. They are the people responsible for letting customers know about goods or services that are offered by the company. With the stiff competition in the business world, marketing specialists are always coming up with new ways for reaching more clients. One important skill that they must exhibit is the ability to think more like the customers and sometimes less like the marketing specialists that they are.

Purchasing power

A great marketing specialist must be aware of the purchasing power of their targeted client base. This is very important as it allows them to set the prices as well as know of the ways to approach their customers. A business, for example, may be targeting a teenage client base. This means that their purchasing power is quite low and hence the price will be reduced to what they can comfortably afford. Some services, on the other hand, may be targeting an elderly or an affluent client base. The price will definitely be high as they have a higher purchasing power.


The location of the business is also very important. A marketing specialist can tell a lot from the location of the business, as well as clients. If most of the clients are in rural areas, the price will be quite lower compared to those in the urban areas. This will be as a result of many factors such as purchasing power, licensing, security, production and so on.

Consumer tastes and preferences

Different consumers have different tastes and preferences and a smart marketing specialist will be aware of this. He or she will study the targeted consumer base and know the variety of tastes and preferences and capitalize on this.

How clients spend time

A great marketing specialist team has to be aware of how their clients spend their time. This is very important as they will be in a position to know when to run their adverts on TV, radio, internet and other avenues. They also need to know how long their clients spend on the internet and which social media sites they use more and approach them from there.

Promotions and special offers

All marketing specialists know that clients will always go for special offers and bonuses. Running these promotions will definitely increase the sales as it will draw more customers.

p to date with technology

With the ever advancing technology, marketing specialists have to keep up and use this to their advantage. Social platforms, Apps, tablets, smart phones are just examples of what the specialists must keep up with and use them along with their clients.

Getting to know your customers often requires you to step in their shoes for a day. With the right experience and education, you can better understand your consumers and offer them what they want, which makes your business more successful. Obtaining an online master’s degree in applied psychology can help you to grow your business and better understand your customers.

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Local SEO Guide for Small Businesses

Follow our local SEO guide below to increase engagement with your customers online.

The big marketing buzz these days is local SEO, and you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. After all, isn’t traditional marketing enough to attract customers? The answer is, no, traditional marketing is no longer enough to address the mobile shopping habits of today’s consumers. People conduct local searches on their laptops, smartphones and tablets every day to find things close by, for directions, store hours, and to see if particular product is in stock.

What Connected Consumers Want

It’s not so much what consumers are searching for, it’s how they’re searching for it. Recently, Google commissioned two separate research studies for research on local SEO, Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior.

Today’s consumer wants convenience. They want to find products quickly and easily. They are using mobile devices more than ever, too. If you can’t give them the information they seek, they will move on to the next business on the list. Here’s more compelling facts the Google study uncovered:

  1. Four out of five people utilize search engines for local information.
  2. Half of all consumers who did local searches on their smartphones frequented the store within 24 hours.
  3. Over 60 percent of consumers use location information in local ads for a store’s phone number, address and directions.

According to ComScore, 88 percent of smartphone users and 84 percent of tablet users conduct local searches regularly, and that number is rising. With local searches resulting in twice as many purchases than non-local, businesses must understand how to leverage local SEO using strategic search marketing methods.

Here are some time-saving local SEO strategies you can employ today that will have you thanking yourself tomorrow:

Be Mobile Friendly

Optimize your website for mobile devices, because if it isn’t mobile-friendly, any SEO marketing you conduct to drive people to your site will only make them want to leave it. Why waste your time and money on marketing if your site isn’t viewable on mobile devices?

How to Start

Use tools like Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to assess how mobile-friendly your website is for visitors. All you have to do is enter the URL of your website and it generates a checklist of what you should improve, as well as a guide showing you exactly how to make the improvements. You can use their Mobile Guide to learn much more about mobile websites, too.

Be Search Engine Friendly

Make sure that your website shows up in local searches with some simple website SEO. Remember, location, phone numbers and business hours are what people look for, so be certain to update them immediately if any information changes.

How to Start

  • Put your complete address, phone number and hours of operation on the footer of each website page.
  • Add captions to images, which are the second-most read copy element on a webpage.
  • Add an alt tag to your website logo, including company name, city, state, address, and business type.
  • Include at least 300 words of quality content on your home page to let people know what your business is all about.

Be Local Listing Friendly

When listing your business, always remember to include either your NAP, or name, address and phone number, or your WAP, website, address and phone number. Be certain your information is consistent across all the different platforms and databases.

Even a tiny mistake can create major problems, such as a misplaced period. Changing your address causes problems, too, so if you spell out “street” in some listings, don’t change it to “St.” in others.

Aside from your local Chamber of Commerce or business association, add your business to as many online local directories as possible, including:

  • Google My Business: This is the latest Google offering and it is free. Complete your profile and choose as many business categories as possible. Upload images, add business hours, phone numbers and addresses.
  • Yahoo Local Basic: The basic is free, but you can also pay to use advanced options, such as Localworks and Local Enhanced listings.
  • Bing Places for Business: Bing accounts for one third of online searches, so set up a free listing there, too.
  • Apple Maps Connect: The Apple Maps app is popular, and you can add your business for free. You’ll need an Apple ID to sign up.

Be Review Friendly

Encourage your customers to write reviews for you. You should never have to pay for reviews. Subtle reminders should do the trick. Encourage consumers to leave reviews by placing an attractive reminder near your checkouts. Offer incentives, like a small discount or free gift. Add QR codes to cards at checkouts or posters in restrooms to make it easier.

Prompt people to post reviews on the following sites:

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • Foursquare

Adding your business to various directories and review sites can bring your business to the top of most browser searches. Once you’ve done your local SEO footwork, your customers will do their footwork right to your door.

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What you Need to Know About April 2015’s State Pension Changes

The total revamp of the pension system was presented to the public in March 2014, and came into effect on the 1st of April 2015. The changes were devised in part by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne. This article will hopefully help you to wrap your head around some parts of the new system that you may not yet understand.

I’ve written the article under the assumption your state pension is what you are relying on to live, so remember to factor in any other pensions of savings you may have before deciding how much to spend!

Those among us who will see the most rewards from the new system are usually going to be individuals with big pension pots. Simple withdrawal tactics, most notably taking out small amounts at a steady rate instead of splashing out large amounts on rare occasions lead to less tax having to be paid on your pension. Taking out money little by little over several years will always leave you better off in the long run than if you had withdrawn large amounts every 6 months to a year.

If you’re unsure of how to organise your pension, companies like Nutmeg exist to help you with their personal pensions.

The alterations to pensions mean greater freedoms to choose how we spend for all of us who get pensions, which is no doubt a good thing. It must be taken into account, however, that pensions now act in a similar way to a bank account that you gain access to age 55. When the funds are low or gone, there’s little you can do to change it.

Spending your money between the ages of 55 and 70 may seem like a good idea and as long as spending is kept sensible, what you may well deserve in your old age. However, if precautions are not taken you could be left penniless aged 70+, when you actually need the money more than ever. The holiday villas and luxury cruises may seem tempting, but make sure you think ‘will I regret this at any point’ before spending the money. Repercussions might actually not be felt for a decade, so the majority of the time it is better to be safe than sorry. This article from Money Advice Service outlines options on how to use your pension.

The age that we start to receive our pension is 55, but it’s not likely to stay this way for long with the retirement age to increase to 68 in the near future. The age that pensions are opened up for use is typically a decade before the retirement age, so we should expect that to rise too. However, none of this is set in stone but it’s best to be prepared.

If there is still anything which you are having trouble understanding, the government are providing advice sessions for those who need help.

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How to Write Good Copy for your Website: A Complete Guide

Do you want to know how to write good copy for your website?

Don’t worry, it’s really not all that hard but it will improve your conversion rates, dwell time and improve your ROI from your digital marketing.

Telling tales

  1. Let’s start at the beginning: does this web development story sound familiar?
  • You agonized over the design of your website
  • You pondered over the product pages
  • You searched high and low for the perfect images
  • You discussed endlessly your digital marketing strategy to drive visitors to your site
  • You pencilled in plenty of budget for PPC

And then your developer calls. It’s time to start ditching the ‘Lorem ipsum’ and populate your site with real copy.

A moment of panicked silence is followed by you dropping the phone and frantically scrabbling around for all the marketing materials you can lay your hands on to purloin phrases and pinch paragraphs from.

Web copy converts

Copy converts. It’s a powerful tool not an afterthought.

What did we think our visitors were going to do when they got to our site: imbue our messages by osmosis and convert into customers by alchemy?

Writing great web copy is absolutely central to your web marketing strategy.

And the truth is that producing effective copy for the web will not happen by cutting and pasting catalogues, sales flyers and corporate brochures.

The good news is it’s easy

The good news is that writing great copy for the web is quite straightforward, and you can learn all you need to know in what follows.

The sad fact is that there are far too many businesses out there that simply don’t create compelling or even readable copy. And there are just as many whose copy fails simply because it has written as if the web were a book or a magazine.

Writing great copy is one thing. Writing great web copy is another thing entirely.

So, let’s show you how easy it is to do it, and you need never run round the office in a blind panic again.

First things first

The web is not a place for flowery, circuitous introductory paragraphs. If you have something to say, say it first (preferably in bold).

Think of a pyramid. It’s wide at its base until it narrows to a focussed point.

Now turn it on its head. Its point comes first and everything else builds out from this.

This inverted pyramid is how you write for the web. You don’t beat about the bush to get to your point (or key takeaway, marketing message, USP etc.). You beat all the bushes away till there is just this: and then you say it clearly. Straight away.

This tactic is not unique to the web. It’s used by journalists too who always make sure that in their first couple of paragraphs the whole story can be found.

This tactic, though, is especially true for the web. People don’t read web pages: they scan them. Study after study has proved this to be the case.

When we scan we quickly check the top and then let our eye take in what we consider the most important parts of what follows: we do not often read all of the text.

Because people are going to scan your copy you need to make sure they can get the important information and key messages upfront, or they will get lost in the mix.

When people can’t find exactly what they want straight away they vote with their clicks and your bounce rate notches up.

And first things last

Whether you are writing a blog post or a product description it’s still a great idea to wrap things up in a summary at the end of the article. (This is particularly true for longer articles/descriptions).

You could do this using bullet points, with a feature box detailing the main points or in your closing paragraphs.

The scanning eye does not take everything in. There is a good chance it may have missed what is a crucial point when it reaches the end of your page.

By summarising your key points (and maybe even including a link back to where they appeared on the page) you can ensure that people can play catch up on what they have sped past.

Heading in the right direction?

The headline you use is critical in engaging attention. It is also critical for your SEO. Get it right and you have won half the battle. Get it wrong and you have lost the war.

Here’s Brian Clark of Copyblogger on the importance of headline:

“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of the headline.”
(‘Don’t read this or the kitty gets it’ in Copywriting 101)

That’s how important it is.

There isn’t space here to give you a masterclass on crafting the perfect heading, but you can find plenty of tips and tricks in the Copywriting 101 eBook that can be downloaded free at the link above.

(Is it worth it? Is the opportunity to engage 80% of your visitors worth it?)

Here are some quick pointers:

  • Make sure your most important keywords are here:
    just think about what your audience might be searching for
  • Adjectives create interest:
    change ‘Car cleaning guide’ to ‘The modern guide to cleaning and protecting your car’
  • Get them interested: change ‘Car cleaning guide’ to ‘Are you wiping £s off your car’s value every time you clean it?’
  • If social sharing of your content is important to you try to keep your headlines under 65 characters.


Write for the scan

There are a number of other things you can do to cater for the scanning eye, but first let’s see it in action.

Typically we scan in an F-pattern:

  • We focus on a couple of sentences at the top of the page
  • Our eye trails down the left side
  • We also quickly glance at a few lines near the middle

Examples of the F pattern found on a corporate About Us page, a product page and a search engine results page (source: Nielsen Norman Group)

Look at how the product page (centre) and the search engine results page (right) are structured with broken up text that aids the scan.

Now look at the corporate About Us page (left), where the large chunks of unbroken text, simply leaves large sections left unread.

So what tricks can you use to encourage the scan?

  • Short paragraphs
  • Clear subheadings
  • Using formatting (like bold, font size or bullet points)
  • Careful use of images

These all, however, allow you to do the same thing: break your text up and divide it into short, clear sections.


Paragraphs in books and those on web pages are very different beasts.

This is not a paragraph for the web:

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

But this is:

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

It has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

This dummy text has even survived the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged, and even desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker now includes versions of Lorem Ipsum.

See the difference?

On the web a sentence can be a paragraph.

Huge chunks of text are like a brick wall to the scanning eye. Text that is broken up helps it do its thing (and forces you to use concise language and simpler sentences).


Subheadings are simply another way to help the scanning eye find what it wants.

Just as a book is divided into chapters you should divide your web pages into subsections that signpost the different points you are making.

And, of course, if you are using heading tags (



) you will be doing both the scanning eye and your SEO a favour too.

Bullet points and numbered lists

Another way to break up your text is with lists.

Why do bullet points and numbered lists help?

The bullet point or numbered list creates natural breaks in your copy, tends to be short and punchy – which is perfect for inviting a quick scan and they add variety to your layout.

Let me try that again:

Why do bullet points and numbered lists help?

  • They create natural breaks in your copy
  • They tend to be short and punchy – perfect for inviting a quick scan
  • They add variety to your layout

See what I mean?

Keep it simple

It’s important you know your audience. This will affect the sort of content you provide and the language that you use.

Accessibility is the cornerstone of the web. For most businesses it is advisable that they keep their language simple. If you are writing above your audience you will quickly lose them.

Writing simply is not easy. You have to learn to do it.

  • Keep your sentences short: it keeps them simple
  • Strip out technical language and jargon
  • Avoid complicated explanations or break them down into steps
  • If you are writing for a niche: use their language
  • If you are writing for a broad audience: avoid niche terms like the plague

To write simply you are going to need to forget everything they taught you in school. If you find it hard, write how you usually write, and then rewrite for the web.

Be careful where you add personality

Adding personality can bring blogs to life but it can also alienate a customer nearing a buying decision on a money page.

This comes down to brand identity. If your marketing copy has a tone of voice and personality you need to reflect this in your web copy. If it doesn’t: don’t add it.

A bit of personality on your blog posts and other content can really help to bring it to life and gain shares.

Be liberal with your links

Links to other web pages on your site are critical to its success. They are important for your visitors and your SEO.

The eye scans because it is looking quickly for important and relevant information. A link helps the eye realise there may be more relevant information on another page and it helps your visitor to get straight to it.

Links also help you keep things concise. If you go into something in more detail elsewhere there is no need to do so again every time it is mentioned.

Links also let you include a summary at the top of every page with ‘anchors’ to places on the page where this section can be found. How handy is that?

Finally links encourage the search engine spiders to crawl your entire site, leaving no page unturned.

It’s time to put it all into practice

So there you have it: a simple guide to writing great web copy.

There really are no more excuses for taking that corporate brochure and plonking it on the web.

Here are the main things you should make sure you do with your web copy:

  1. Whenever you write say the important things first
  2. If it’s been a long page summarise it at the bottom
  3. Your heading must work for SEO and draw your readers in
  4. Break your text up using short paragraphs, subheadings and formatting
  5. Write simply and avoid jargon
  6. A bit of personality can win the day or lose the visitor – use it carefully
  7. Keep everything clearly linked in

Easy, huh?

Of course, the truth is that this is how the best copy is structured.

Writing copy that persuades and inspires action is another story altogether. And it’s a tale that ends in conversion.

You can find some helpful pointers in this web copywriting guide. But for now you should be happy: you are well on the way to crafting copy that is designed for the web.

And you’ll see immediate results.

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Handling your Payroll – Save Time and Money

As payroll Taxes account for more Revenue to the Exchequer than VAT and Corporation Tax combined we understand why an accurate P35 submission is imperative. Fear not Tailored Payroll can help you simplify the year end process. As well as processing payroll for numerous companies we also offer a one to one consultation service, where we will go onsite and guide you through 2014 Year End. Even if Tailored Payroll did not process your payroll all year this service is still available to you.

Our team is IPASS qualified to Diploma level. We pride ourselves on our good relationship with our clients, our attention to detail and great teamwork. Tailored Payroll are big enough to guarantee you peace of mind but we are small enough to care, giving you that personal touch service and support from the whole team that our clients really appreciate and rely on. We pride ourselves on delivering a quality product and service, on time and at a complete price.

Tailored payroll service

We offer a tailored payroll service for our clients to meet their specific needs while ensuring compliance with Revenue, Department Of Social Protection and NERA.

As your payroll bureau we become an integral part of your business by molding your payroll to suit you and dedicating our efforts on your payroll so you can dedicate your time to your core business.

Our flexible service includes:

  • PAYE, PRSI and USC Calculations
  • Registration of Employer with Revenue
  • All employer Revenue submissions to include: P30’s, P45’s, P35, P60’s and registration of new employees
  • We provide email Payslips and P60s to employees
  • Creation of Bank file for payment to employees
  • No hidden costs

For more information about this business visit their website or email to payroll@tailoredpayroll.ie. Tailored Payroll is part of Use SBC as a channel initiative. If you want your business to be featured, click here.

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Workplace Safety: 7 Things to Do for a Safer and Healthier Workplace

Every business owner, whether big or small, has one common concern in mind with respect to the workplace – no one should get hurt on the job.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to create and maintain a safe and a healthy workplace. Having management systems, plans or programs that are dedicated to this cause can help you develop a healthy and safe work environment. This system/program should essentially spell out what your employees should and should not do to prevent injuries and illnesses at the workplace.

It is totally understandable that even the thought of having extravagant health and safety systems can be quite overwhelming for a small business owner as he grapples with the day-to-day pressures of running his business. This does not mean that looking after the health and the safety of the employees should lose precedence.

Every organization has its own systems and processes which are based on its culture, business practices, type of industry and associated hazards. These systems go a long way in managing the safety and the health of your employees.

If you run a small business in a low-risk industry, your safety process may simply entail listening to the concerns of your employees and responding to them.

To run a larger business, however, you may need to have systemic procedures and all-encompassing policies in place along with a team that specializes in ensuring workplace safety.

Here are a few ways in which you can create and maintain a healthy and a safe workplace environment

1. Make It Everyone’s Concern

You cannot make your entire organization a safe place by working towards this endeavor on your own. You need to make sure everyone on your team does their part. Encourage them to follow a culture of safety, make sure everyone does their bit and hold them accountable.

  • Create an active workplace safety committee or have a separate team committed to this cause in place.
  • Assign every employee a meaningful activity that backs this cause.
  • Pick a few responsible employees and make safety inspections a part of their daily job.
  • Keep employees informed about injuries, illnesses, and all other safety-related issues.
  • Encourage employees to give you their recommendations and feedback for improving safety measures.
  • Hold employees accountable by including safety-related responsibilities in their job description and making it one of the parameters of performance evaluation.
  • Set safety goals at the organizational level. Establish a clear system for reporting accidents, injuries, and close calls. Rectify the behavior of employees who put themselves or others at risk. Recognize and reward employees who contribute to making the workplace healthy and safe.

2. Manage Your Space Well

Make sure you use your workplace space well. Don’t confuse or misuse the areas for working, resting and storing office supplies. Keep the hallways and passages free of clutter and debris and make sure they’re well-lit. Ensure that clean and hygienic drinking water and restroom facilities are always available to your employees,

3. Sit Right

Make sure you and your employees know how to maintain appropriate postures at work to prevent injuries. For those who sit behind a desk most of the time, it is advised to work at elbow height in a posture that minimizes bending or arm-raising. And, of course, items that are used frequently should be kept within easy reach.

For those who have a physically demanding field job, for example, at an oil field, it is suggested to avoid doing dangerous tasks and stooping or twisting beyond their physical limits. Provide them with ergonomically-designed furniture and equipment to ensure their safety.

Should something go wrong with your employee’s health due to your negligence, they can easily contact an oil field injury lawyer and demand an exorbitant compensation from you.

4. Be Mindful of Dangerous Objects

Make sure all machinery and equipment with dangerous and/or moving parts have guards and that electrical connection and wiring are safe. Sharp and heavy equipment can injure and even prove to be fatal.

It is crucial that you take proper and timely steps to service and maintain your equipment regularly. You can hire an engineer to do this, as well as have him frequently check for and replace/repair broken or unstable parts.

5. Say No to a Hazardous Environment

Working in factories and even offices can expose your employees to hazards such as fire, heat, chemicals, dust and noise. Hence, ensure maximum natural ventilation to prevent safety disasters from occurring.

All chemicals should be properly labeled prior to being stored in a safe place. If heat or cold conditions are a regular feature, consider insulation.

Make ample provision for fire-fighting equipment, adequate clothing and protective gear such as helmets, goggles, gloves, shoes, and earplugs. You should have first aid kits placed everywhere, especially in high-risk areas.

6. Train Your Employees

It is important that you organize safety workshops regularly in order to train your staff about the hazards they may be exposed to at work and how they should protect themselves.

These workshops should include a general safety orientation on company safety regulations, emergency procedures, and first aid usage for all employees, especially the new joiners.

Mock drills and tests should be performed to determine whether or not the employees have understood the safety guidelines. They should be retained as required.

7. Provide Regular Breaks

Overworked employees tend to demonstrate lowered levels of productivity and alertness, thereby increasing the scope for accidents and mishaps. Regular breaks and adequate rest can help prevent such situations by keeping fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout at bay.


As a small business owner, it is your duty to provide all your employees, whether with desk jobs or field jobs, with a safe working environment. For this, you will have to ensure that your workplace is compliant with the basic health and safety legislations. Remember, you’re legally responsible for the health and safety of not only your employees, but anyone else who may be directly or indirectly affected by your business and its activities. The above tips should help you figure out what steps you need to take in your organization to make it a safer and healthier place to work at.

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5 Inspiring Business Success Stories

Generation Y finally decided to take matters into their own hands after the 2008 Economic Crash and that’s how the new startup era begun. A positive point about the new generation’s approach to business is that they took into consideration the mistakes their parents made which led to the big recession. They took the harsh experiences from the past, added their enthusiasm and energy, and converted all that into hundreds of successful startup companies. Listening to more experienced businessmen and constantly searching for positive influences made the Millennials one of the most successful generations in American history when it comes to business. Here are some of the most influential business people from last few decades. Business success stories can serve as inspiration for those looking to follow in these guys footsteps.

Steve Jobs

Although Steve Jobs usually advised his followers to “…find what you love…” and that “…great work is to love what you do…” he didn’t actually follow his own advice and spent his entire life trapped in a business he hated, and of course, we all would like to know what it’s like to be in that “golden cage”. New age hipsters who live in self-sufficient agricultural communes, walk barefoot and preach Eastern Mysticism are definitely not the right material for a geeky business person with a briefcase in one hand and an iPod in the other… Or are they? It is important to focus all your skills and talent on a project you feel right about and after the first million you are definitely going to love what you do.

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer was one of the first Google engineers and isconsidered by many to be the most influential woman in the tech world. Marissa later became the CEO of Yahoo and during this time, this 37-year-old businesswoman learned that when there is no bad feeling telling you that you are not ready for something it means you have chosen the wrong path. It’s there to make you work harder and push through, because for every opportunity there’s a happy ending, and if you work hard enough, something great is just around the corner.

Sergey Brin

Sergey is one of the founders of Google, and currently one of the richest entrepreneurs on the planet. But a few decades ago he was just an average Joe…or was he? He was sending a gif photo together with his CV back in the mid 90’s when there were no online .gif makers. When he takes a break from building conscious machines he likes to share his experiences with younger entrepreneurs. This renaissance man believes that knowledge has been the key to his success, and that it is always good to know more, which is why Google’s mission statement is: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Mo Ibrahim

Mo Ibrahim is one of the most successful businessmen in Africa and a subscriber to The Giving Pledge, which means he has pledged to give at least half of his wealth to charity after his death. He also has a foundation that awards The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to leaders who have provided healthcare, education and economic development to their people. But how did Mo Ibrahim become so financially successful? After completing his education, he worked for British Telecom, and served as the technical director for Cellnet, BT’s subsidiary. He then founded MSI, a successful company that dealt in consulting and software and was which was later bought by Marconi. MSI’s spin-off, Celtel, later became the biggest mobile operator in Africa. For Ibrahim, the most important characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is a belief in oneself and a can-do-spirit, which drives one to try something nobody has tried before. With this perspective, thousands of people all around the world have made millions and achieved the best results in their industries.

Arianna Huffington

Huffington Post is one of the most popular blog and news aggregators. It was purchased by AOL for $315 million and Huffington is still its President and Editor-In-Chief. Before founding this successful media channel with Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbat and Jonah Peretti, she was a prize-winning writer, columnist and political commentator. Huffington thinks that failure is just another step towards success, and that only those willing to fail, learn and adapt are the ones who will succeed.

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