The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Friday Guest Blog: Making your business easier to choose

Andrew Chemney, Managing Director of marketing consultancy, Ignition CBS, shares his advice on how to ensure your business stands out from the competition. 
With many markets becoming increasingly homogeneous, it’s never been more important to find a point of differentiation in your business that makes you easier to choose.

We spend a lot of time working with clients to help them uncover and develop those points of differentiation before we then help execute the idea. It’s this strategic thinking that really makes a difference when it comes to executing a marketing plan.

To get you started, try asking yourself the following questions about your business:

• Could we introduce a new technology that would disrupt the market?
• Could we change/introduce our pricing structure/ business model to gain an advantage?
• Do we have services that we could re-define as products (or vice versa)?
• Can we alter the speed to market? Can we introduce products more quickly?
• Can we provide organisation in a market that is disorganised or connect people who are presently unconnected?
• Is there something expensive (that is stopping a sale) that we can give away for less and then charge for something else?
• Could we take the lead on ethics in our market?
• Should we avoid the mass market and concentrate on the periphery where value is more highly prized?

FREE Marketing Seminars

We run regular free marketing seminars where we explore these topics and others. We have two events coming up in April:

Internet Marketing Refresher Seminar, Manchester (venue TBC) – Thursday 10th April

Essential Free Marketing Seminars, Haslingden – Thursday 30th April

For more information and to book your place on these FREE seminars, please use the Eventbrite icon on our website at, follow @IgnitionCBS on Twitter or call Pauline on 01706 222456.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Guest Blog: How to get workplace pensions-ready in just 10 minutes

By Peter Abraham, Managing Director, HR4UK

Auto enrolment is looming on the horizon for employers. But despite that, the latest research shows that many of them are still woefully underprepared. The majority of employers are also unaware of the importance of preparing early for the changes. The whole process begins with the daunting task of reading through and putting into place the guidance from the Pension Regulator and the pension provider of their choice.

It is anticipated that The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) will be the preferred option for the majority of SMEs as they are the only provider that has to accept all applicants by law. But this means that business-owners will then have to read NEST’s simple guidance booklet - which stretches to some 64 pages!

At HR4UK we’ve developed a quicker way for businesses to get up to date, transforming the lengthy guidance information into a practical step by step report, via a 10 minute survey!  We’ve taken the 64 page NEST booklet - and its 13 flow charts - and turned it into a short, simple report that outlines what they need to do and when, plus draft letters for employees. The report is designed to remove all the worry around not complying with the new regulations and being fined, or worse still, being subject to an Employment Tribunal claim.

To access the report and the draft letters, all business-owners need to do is complete a simple 10 minute survey. The report would usually cost £85 plus VAT, but is currently available for free. Click here to go to the survey now. On completion, you will receive a report and draft letters to help you prepare for auto-enrolment, at no cost to your business.

For more information, visit

Friday, 14 March 2014

Friday Guest Blog: The Return of Real Business Marketing?

By David Wright of BSA Marketing

There has recently been a good deal of talk about the death of Guest Blogging as a Search Engine Optimisation tool, and it got me thinking:

What has happened to real business marketing?

For many SMEs, over the past few years, all too often marketing has boiled down to:
1. Get a website
2. Get good search rankings
3. Customers will find you

Couple this with the constant bombardment of emails telling you that your website is missing out on vital search traffic, offering (for a fee) to help you out, and you can be forgiven for thinking that SEO is THE marketing tool available to businesses.

I have never agreed with this point of view. Let’s look at the history of SEO and the techniques used by Search Engine Optimisers:

1. First it was all about keywords; people abused this by inappropriately stuffing keywords to manipulate Google’s algorithm - so Google changed the algorithm to prevent this - RIP Keyword Stuffing as an SEO tool

2. Next came links – SEOs abused this by creating spammy, valueless links to clients’ sites to manipulate Google’s algorithm, so Google changed the algorithm to prevent this - RIP Link Building as an SEO tool

3. Next came content and guest blogging – SEOs abused this by creating spammy, valueless content to manipulate Google’s algorithm, so Google changed the algorithm to prevent this - RIP Guest Blogging as an SEO tool

Could there be a pattern forming here?

Through all of this our advice has been consistent:

Google want to see top quality information and content from topic experts at the top of their listings.
If you create a well built site that:

 Is easily accessible by the Google spiders
 Contains good quality, up to date, relevant content
 Contains appropriate keywords (yes they are still relevant)

Then Google want people to find that content, so will not be working to keep it out of their listings.

On top of this, if you are in a niche market (and many of our clients are), people want to read your content and will seek you out. Building a solid mechanism to promote your site content through tools like email, social media, and (yes) relevant guest blogging is a sound marketing strategy that works, and will not be the victim of the Google’s fight against “the Next Big Marketing Idea”.

As an SME, using real business marketing, you can build a solid, sustainable, marketing strategy that delivers real results.

We are about solid sustainable, effective web marketing. If you want a marketing strategy that does not live or die by Google’s next algorithm change, we would love to talk to you! Call me, David Wright on 01457 851111.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Guest Blog: Is Content Still King?

By Hakeem Adebiyi - Director, Hands Associates

This is a regular question posed in Internet marketing circles and with Google changing algorithms every other month is content still important?

Well it depends what you mean by content as not all content is equal. If you have good quality content then it can still make a huge difference to your results on the internet.

Bing, Google and other search engines want quality content and lots of it.

Therefore they continue to genuinely clamp down on internet sites with thin or none existent content and slide them out of the rankings

It's simple really.

They want their users, which means that anyone making use of their search function, including you, to find out the information/product or service they're looking for.

Think about when you look for something on the internet.

Would you like to visit a poor two-page internet site with practically nothing on it but affiliate marketer/sales links, OR would you prefer useful, high quality information relevant to what you were searching for?

Therefore, if there are links on the page, you do not mind because the website benefited you so the links could too, right?

So you need to be sure you've got good quality, original content on your own site. We're not just talking about a few lines, there needs to be lots of well-crafted relevant information that will benefit people in your niche or business area.

Make sure you mix up the content by using:
  • News
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Tips
  • Reports
When you spend just a little time making sure everything you post is high quality, suitable and useful, you'll get huge advantages later as the search engines will reward you with better rankings.

And don't forget, when you post great content on a regular basis, your visitors are much more likely to come back for more. If they are on your site then they aren't on your competitors'. If they like what you have to say then they are more likely to trust you and hence more likely to buy what you are selling.

In summary it's simple, Google always has and in all likelihood will continue to rank sites which has content that visitors love, so keep it simple and give Google what it wants. Content remains king!

Now I know some people don't like writing articles or just don't know where to start, if you need a helping hand feel free to contact me on