Business Toolbox

BID Leamington’s Business Toolbox provides quick reference tips on a variety of subjects and many of these are contributed by local businesses themselves. The Toolbox will be added to on a regular basis, so please keep an eye on this section for new tips:


Writing a Press Release

We have put together some helpful tips on writing a press release. If you have something to SHOUT about to the media, take a look at the tips below.

  • Press releases must be typed, dated and well presented. Use double line spacing and large margins and try to fit it on one A4 page.
  • Your headline must grab attention; it should describe the news story, be short and to the point and it must sell the story!
  • Your news story should be explained in the first sentence, more detail can be given in following paragraphs.
  • The first paragraph should answer the questions: who? what? why? where? and when? It must also contain the most important information at the top and ALWAYS highlight the positive angles.
  • Use simple language and include: a quote, dates, prices, locations, telephone numbers and your website.
  • Send your release on printed letterhead with ‘PRESS RELEASE’ at the top.
  • Do not underline anything and don’t forget to Proof it!
  • Finish by putting ‘Ends’ and add your contact details under a ‘Notes for Editors’ or ‘For further details contact:’ section underneath.

Distributing your Press Release

  • Traditionally, press releases were printed on hard copy and distributed via the post – some still prefer that. However e-mail distribution is now widely accepted.
  • When sending releases by e-mail, use the blind copy function.
  • Paste your release into the main body of an e-mail instead of adding as an attachment.
  • Do not attach hi-resolution images – instead state their availability.

Top PR Tips

  • Research your media and build relationships with journalists.
  • Try to meet a visiting journalist in person and ask if there’s anything they need.
  • Deliver material, on time and to deadline – try to have everything at your finger tips for interviews.
  • Make sure your news is “newsworthy”.
  • Pictures speak a thousand words.
  • Don’t forget online publications – most magazines have an online presence.
  • Don’t complain unless you feel you have a genuine grievance.
  • Don’t panic – journalists are keen to write accurate, positive thing

Zone4Biz

BID Leamington has recently been testing the services of Zone4Biz who have a number of products that can be offered to businesses to save costs – particularly on energy, waste and insurance. As seen in the following examples, cost savings can be significant and even cover the BID Levy.BID Leamington Ltd – Electric Saving: £123.55 (approx 20% saving)Neals Yard Remedies – Gas & Electric Saving: £384.71 (approx 30% saving)Sarah Horne Flowers – Electric Saving: £170.58 (approx 8% saving)Send an Enquiry

Internet Retailing –
Website Development Tips

The following information was put together by Graham Davidson from Plus One LLP. He was recently the guest speaker at the Chamber of Trade Business Breakfast and kindly summarized his key points for this newsletter.

  • Make sure you have TOTAL ownership of your own domain name e.g. do not let an agency or web developer register it in their name on your behalf.
  • Define your objectives for your website so you have something to check its performance against and always have Google Analytics included so you can measure its success.
  • When picking a Web Developer to work with ask for examples of their work and references and consider not only the initial cost but the ongoing cost of hosting and updating.
  • Don’t let your Web Developers fool you with “smoke and mirrors”. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask – you are the customer at the end of the day!
  • Check how your website looks on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. You should provide mobile visitors to your website with an enjoyable viewing experience.
  • Get friends, family and business colleagues to try your website and give you their feedback on it. Just because you are comfortable using it, your audience might have vital advice they can provide.
  • If you are choosing your own Internet hosting company, try to establish whether you can contact them quickly by phone or email.
  • There are many ways to draw traffic to your website – are you making the most of Twitter, Facebook and blogs?
  • Include an email newsletter sign-up facility on your website to develop customer loyalty and keep people up-to-date with your business.
  • Make the personality of your business shine through the internet. It should be about the WOW factor and how you are different from anyone else out there.

Barclays – Business Planning

For some useful tips on how to write a business plan please see Barclays Bank A Guide to Writing A Business Plan

Social Media Top Tips
(Cross-platform)

The following information was put together by Elizabeth Short. Elizabeth is a Digital Executive at Leader Communications and kindly summarized her key points for this newsletter.

Useful Social Media Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest

  • Choose a good username and/or page-name. Don’t use symbols or underscores where possible. The simpler the text the better so people can remember it and find you.
  • Set clear goals. Decide what you want to achieve by being on social media sites? Brand recognition, increased sales, event attendance or fans…
  • Link to your social media pages on your website via a button or widget and vice versa.
  • Quality and not quantity. There are 100’s of different social media sites. It is better to spend quality time on a few sites, than try to be on all of them.
  • Gaining good quality fans takes time and effort. Incentives like competitions, vouchers and exclusive offers can be used. Also, encourage your fans to share your posts!
  • Let your personality shine. Be fresh, interesting, helpful and engaging – talk about what you do and why, and share stories and information using your brand’s own unique voice.
  • Make your fans feel valued and special by announcing special offers, events and discounts on your social media pages first and use it to build anticipation.
  • Just changed your phone number? Stay up to date and post it on your profiles.
  • Check, recheck and double-check your privacy settings. Rules and regulations often change and these can affect you and your business.
  • Be on your best behaviour – word travels fast and it can come back to you at a later date.

Elizabeth presented a great session on using social media – with a particular focus on Facebook and Twitter. Based on this we have produced a summery called ‘Twitter Skills’ which you can download here.

Please also contact us if you would like any help or advice on this.


 

A Little Bit of TED

For 10 minutes of inspiration, TED is filled with “Ideas worth spreading”, from creating cutting-edge advertising to education:www.TED.com

Retail 2020 – Change is coming, are you ready?

Every 10 years, Jones Lang LaSalle makes predictions for the next 10 years in retail. Their ‘5 Key Lessons from the Future’ highlights many practical consequences of the trends outlined in Retail 2020.
Here is a glimpse of the new Retail Rulebook:

  • Approach technology as a mindset, not merely a tool – Technology will be the gamechanger while consumer ‘relevancy’ and ‘experience’ will define competition. In 2020 more than half of all non-food retail transactions will be digitally influenced.
  • Sustainability is a big risk, but also an opportunity, for retail investors – There is a danger that the green agenda will catch retail on the hop over the coming decade. The business case proves that green is simply good practice. There are implications for developers, investors, landlords and retailers alike.
  • Upskill, partner and diversify to survive – With a new breed of workers capable of taking risks, innovating, making connections and working across silos, the key to survival and growth is employees and their attitudes.
  • Get them and keep them – marketing comes of age – With unprecedented choice, achieving customer magnetism is the challenge. Silent no more, retail will reach out to consumers, sharing information, planning their shopping and being a part of their communities.
  • Quality (or true convenience) will out – We are seeing the rise of ‘concentrated success’. At one end we see big centres and super dominant offers. At the other is an old model in centres and high streets which have to look at ways to fight back.

Retail 2020: Key learning and links from the Jones Lang LaSalle 2020 Report:


Mary Portas – 3 Key Survival Questions

Having illuminated the plight of the UK’s high streets, and with a passion for vision-led retail, her recommendation is to ask some serious questions of your business:

  • Experience: What is your retail experience and are you connecting that to the consumer?
  • Specialism: Be a specialist – are you best practice at what you sell? And do you have a real in-depth knowledge about what you sell?
  • Service: Are you connecting with your customer? Are you speaking to your customer? Are you making them feel terrific every time they walk into your shop?

For more detailed advice visit her website:www.maryportas.com/learn