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Does Social Media Improve Business Relationships?

With more and more people joining social media sites and using them regularly, can your business afford to not be on board with the social media trend?

By giving your business brand the social media touch, you not only generate more business but also connect with your customers better and serve them on a higher level. It actually makes your online marketing easier.

As more and more businesses successfully experiment with digital advertising, they’re realising that taking the social media advertising route makes total sense.

Remember, every single step that you take to increase brand awareness with social media will impact the overall growth of your business in the long run.

By using social media, you diversify your marketing efforts in more than one way. You don’t reach out to just one type of crowd, but connect to a versatile customer base. Which is crucial for your brand to make a mark in your niche.

For instance, serious professionals may find your website via LinkedIn while the younger crowd or the millennials may find you on Instagram. Each piece of social media content that you create is a new door for new customers to enter. It’s a different opportunity for you to connect.

Ultimately, it boils down to creating enough high quality content that you can post on social media sites, and in the process attract high-converting inbound traffic.

A lot of businesses are stuck on their follower count, which is nothing but a vanity number. It doesn’t serve a real purpose if the followers aren’t loyal to your brand. There’s a difference between a random follower and loyal one, because the latter adds real value. If you want to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts, it’s crucial that you focus on increasing brand loyalty. Having a loyal following means better engagement and better conversations.

In conclusion if done right, in the long run, social media marketing can prove to be really cost effective. Even the paid social media campaigns are cheaper than other advertising options such as search engine ads. Which means there’s a higher return on investment.

Jumping on the social media bandwagon is no longer a matter of choice if you want to succeed. Your business needs it. Every business needs it.

Our BREEAM green building

We have our head offices based within the University campus of Bradford University. The offices are situated in the Bright Building which was awarded a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Outstanding rating of 95.2%, the highest rating achieved in the education sector.

The building is also aiming for a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation – an internationally recognised green building certification system, which is used extensively throughout the US and Europe and has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of ‘A’.

The Bright Building features a number of sustainable design features including:

  • Natural ventilation
  • Reclaimed, recycled or natural materials used for internal fittings and finishes
  • Water saving fittings and rainwater harvesting systems
  • Low carbon technologies and efficient services including air source heat pumps, variable volume demand controlled ventilation, passive natural ventilation, solar thermal hot water generation, photovoltaic generation, dimmable lighting linked to day-lighting, presence / absence detection, T5 fluorescent and LED luminaries
  • Roof garden and pond with insect hotels, bird and bat boxe, bee hives and a wide range of indigenous planting
  • No mains gas connection
  • No mains electrical connection (connected to the University’s self-generated private network for back-up purposes)
  • The sun space has been planted out with a variety of plants
  • The site was previously an undeveloped area consisting of surfaced car park and soft landscape and the build has introduced more biodiversity to the area than existed pre construction.

The key ambition for the Bright Building was to create a highly sustainable, low energy building, combining inventive design, innovative materials with low embodied energy and low carbon technology.

The aim from the outset was to design and construct a building with the highest possible sustainability credentials and have the lowest possible impact on the environment during construction and during operation.

The Bright Building is laid out over 4 storeys and is built into a slope to incorporate a lower ground floor. The building is of a gentle curved form running from north-east to south-west. A 3 storey high glazed elevation faces south-east with a less glazed 4 storey elevation facing north-west down the slope.

Major components include a timber frame and Lytag floors which is comprised of recycled aggregate and super insulated throughout providing a stable environment year round with minimal reliance on grid electricity only.

The buildings thermal performance has been designed so it only needs very low levels of background heat which is provided by an air source heat pump (powered by solar PVs) on the coldest days due to the thermal conductivity properties hemp provides. Every individual electrical circuit is monitored by a web metering system that affords access to building users to inform them of their usage/behaviors as well as give detailed analysis of performance.

We decided to move our office to this BREEAM Green building because as a business we strive to reduce any negative impact we have on the environment.

As a company we are completely digital and never print, everything we do is online. We also don’t ask employees to come into the office daily, reducing our carbon foot print.

Admittedly we know we can’t make a huge difference to our environment but every small step helps.

 

Lead generation – are you a little confused?

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service.

By showing an organic interest in your business, it’s those strangers and prospects that are initiating the relationship with you versus you, the business, initiating the relationship with them. This makes it easier and more natural for them to want to buy from you.

So you understand in your line of business that receiving leads is an excellent way of gaining new customers, but the terminology can be quite confusing and may leave you unsure as to which type of leads will work for your business. Let’s see if we can help clear things up for you.

PPC leads (pay per click)

A PPC lead is an internet advertising model where advertisers pay every time their ad is clicked by a user.

PPC leads are consistently one of the highest quality of leads you can buy, as customers are going online in their own time to find information on a product they are interested in rather than being prompted to do so by an ad or email.

Hotkey leads

A hotkey lead is a qualified, high quality lead that is so ‘hot’ the prospective customer can be transferred over the phone to a sales advisor.

Leads are captured from an enquiry form on a website, but, before these are passed on, anyone who isn’t genuinely interested or has provided hoax information is weeded out. Using a series of ‘knockout’ questions agents will identify prospects that both meet your required criteria and wish to speak to a specialist.

Social media advertising

Today, it’s all about gated content, video marketing, email opt-ins and paid ad campaigns that are aimed at getting potential customers into your sales funnel. Since it’s all done online, it’s quicker, easier to track and the possibilities for the data you can collect for each lead is amazing. The most popular piece of information to gather from leads is an email address.

Here’s how social media sites come into play. Social media makes the process even easier because of all of the information that people readily share, and also because of the sheer number of users on sites like Facebook and Twitter. We’re living in a time when 40% of people spend more time socialising on social media than face to face. So needless to say, social media makes for the perfect place to find your target audience and turn them into new sales leads.

Display advertising

These are more visual than their text-based PPC counterparts, display ads are also highly effective at lead generation because of their targeting abilities. Display ads can be placed on selected websites and come in a wide variety of formats.

Remarketing advertising

Also known as retargeting, remarketing ads are much like display ads in appearance, but with a different process behind how these ads appear where they do. When someone visits your website, a cookie is dropped on that visitor and as they travel around the internet, your ads will appear to them on many different sites they visit.

Native advertising

While PPC and display ads are more obviously advertising, native ads seek to blend in with their surroundings. The content for these non-traditional, non-disruptive ads should be helpful, engaging and highly targeted to a specific audience.

 

How to increase sales in your business?

How to increase sales in your business through lead generation

Companies are always looking at different ways to increase sales in their business, but have you ever considered lead generation?

Business growth can be a difficult and long-term process, though. One of the foundation elements of growing a business is having access to a steady stream of sales leads. A lead is a person, or business if you have a company that sells to other businesses (B2B), that has an interest in the products or services you are selling.

Identify your target audience

The first step of lead generation is identifying your target audience. You can’t successfully reach and sell to your ideal customer if you don’t know exactly who that is, so it’s important to research your audience and come up with a clear picture of who they are.

Pick your promotional methods wisely

In order to generate leads, you need a promotional plan that will get your products and services in front of members of your target audience. There are a number of ways you can promote your business and you might want to use a marketing plan to identify the most effective methods for your business.

Create a sales funnel

Once you know who you are targeting and have determined how best to reach them, you need to have a plan for collecting contact information.

At this point, it is vital to have a customer relationship management (CRM) database that will help you keep track of potential customers through the process.

Use an email newsletter to build relationships

Now that you’re in contact with prospects, it’s time to cultivate those relationships so you can take them from the lead stage through a sale. One of the best ways to create consistent communication with your prospects is through an email newsletter.

Leverage social media to connect and engage

Social media provides a number of opportunities for small businesses to create conversations with prospective customers and generate new leads. You can create a Facebook page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn company page, Pinterest account or a YouTube page to attract and engage your audience, then funnel them through your process to become leads.

Lead generation should be thought of as a long-term and continuous process. If you get an efficient system in place you can streamline the lead generation process and increase your opportunities for business growth.

Lead generation companies

If you don’t have enough of the right sales leads in your CRM or database today, you will need to assign some budget to buy sales leads.

Buying leads can be very time-efficient and cost-effective. If buying leads works well for your company and produces the results you want, then it can generate very strong ROI. Like most marketing it involves an element of trial and error.

So, to conclude: there’s no guarantee that buying leads will automatically work for your products or services and it can be risky to solely rely on, but it can also be very effective.

 

Hot Keys – is your business missing out on the ‘hottest’ leads in the industry?

Genuine innovations in marketing don’t come along every day, especially ones that make a solid and immediate difference to the task in hand, without relying on a large investment in technology. Hot key leads are one such innovation that are the “hot” property within lead generation.

What if your advisors could speak to people who actually wanted to hear from them? This could be a reality with hot key leads.

So, what is a hot key lead?

A hotkey lead is a qualified, high quality lead that is so ‘hot’ the prospective customer can be transferred over the phone to a sales advisor.

Leads are captured from an enquiry form on our website, but, before these are passed on we make sure we weed out everyone who isn’t genuinely interested or has provided hoax information. Using a series of ‘knockout’ questions our agents will identify prospects that both meet your required criteria and wish to speak to a specialist.

Once a suitable prospect has been identified, we will complete a hot key transfer straight through to one of your sales advisors who can do what they do best – SELL! We have saved you the hassle of trying to get in touch with the customer and establish their interest – saving you time …. And of course time is money.

Why choose hot key leads?

Hot keys are great, not only do we take away the need for you to generate leads but we also pre-qualify the customer and we bring them directly to you, providing you with high quality leads.

Each lead is jumped on swiftly, there’s no cooling down between the initial call and the follow up. As the old adage goes: strike whilst the iron is hot.  

As a company, you are not buying bogus leads or leads where the person isn’t interested in speaking to someone. With hot key leads you will receive a 100% contact rate, a better conversion rate and a better return on investment compared to a lot of other products on the market.

And, perhaps the most vital of all the benefits – a vastly improved customer experience. The contact isn’t left hanging around waiting for a call back or worse talking to your competition. Right from the initial contact, the process is smooth. It paints a strong image in the prospect’s mind of a company which knows how to deliver.

Happy customers = a profitable business

Please Register my Interest in Hot Key Leads

 

GDPR is looming. We’re compliant – are you?

What is GDPR?

GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is a new policy put in place to make sure that companies are protecting private data given by customers online. This includes any information that can be used to identify an individual, from a name and email address to bank details and IP address. It also protects sensitive personal data, which includes sexual orientation and any information on a subject’s political or religious views. This new legislation will replace the initial data act from 1995. It will come into effect on May 25th, 2018.

Will it affect me?

Companies that exist within the EU will be affected by GDPR. This also includes businesses that process data of European citizens, whether the company is based in the EU or not. Companies across the world will need to be compliant according to these new guidelines, not just businesses based in the European Union. So if your company collects personal data from users and you currently follow the Data Protection Act, GDPR will affect your business.

Why is GDPR important?

The new regulation aims to protect people in the EU from data and privacy breaches. If a business is not compliant with GDPR, they can face heavy fines. If the GDPR is seriously breached, such as  businesses not having the customer’s consent to process their data, the companies could be hit with fines of up to 20 million euros. Fines vary depending on the severity of the breach.

Not being aware of the GDPR can also put off future customers, as they won’t want to give you their private information. Being fully compliant will create an air of trust with users and customers.

What has changed since the last Data Protection Act?

The new legislation has number of important changes. This includes higher penalties for organisations not being compliant.

Customers now have more rights to access the use of their personal data. They can see where it is being stored and used and for what reason.

Data controllers are also required to provide customers a free copy of their personal data at their request. This ultimately gives the customers, users and other data subjects more rights to how their personal data is being used and why, making it more transparent overall.

Personal data belonging to children under the age of 16 will not be allowed to be used or processed unless there is parental consent.

Some larger companies will be required to hire data protection officers. These businesses include public authorities, and companies that process large amounts of sensitive personal data, or systematic monitoring on a big scale.

How to be compliant like us

We have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure our websites are secure and GDPR compliant. When we collect data from a visitor to one of our websites, these new guidelines will further protect them and keep their personal data private and safe. We are also writing procedures to ensure that we have all of the GDPR guidelines covered. Here are a few things your company can do, so you’re also fully compliant and putting the protection of your customers first.

  •  Ensure that no personal data belonging to a minor under the age of 16 is processed without parental consent.
  •  Requests for consent must be in clear, plain language. Avoid using complex language in long terms and conditions when asking for consent for processing sensitive personal data.
  • Have data protection policies in place at your company so you can prove you are aware of all the GDPR guidelines.
  • Hire a data protection officer if required. This includes public authorities, and companies that process large amounts of sensitive personal data, or systematic monitoring on a big scale.
  • If you have a company with more than 250 employees, you will need to document the reasons why a person’s data is processed and what type of personal data has been collected from them. You will also need to have notes on how long it will be held for and how your company plans on keeping it secure and protected.