Sunday: Our office is closed today but we are still taking calls on 01992 582 824


Your country needs you

It is 100 years since the end of the First World War, a bloody period of modern history in which over 16 million people died.

To mark the centenary of the end of the war, we’re taking a closer look at what is assumed to be one of the world’s most iconic and successful marketing tools – the image of Lord Kitchener pointing at the viewer next to the words, “Your country needs you”. It was such a successful concept, it is still familiar even today and has been repurposed by governments around the world as their own recruiting poster, famously by the US which used the image of Uncle Sam in the same pose, but also by the Russians and Germans amongst many others.

Originally a magazine cover design, the image immediately captured the zeitgeist of the time. When it first appeared in September 1914 – a month after Britain entered the war – a record number of people enlisted.

Why was it so successful?

Lord Kitchener was a famous and respected military figure at the time – so famous in fact, his image was instantly recognisable and he did not need to be named. Using a recognisable personality in this way has always been a successful tactic to encourage others to follow their lead. In the old days, the influencers tended to be royalty and the nobility, then came the cult of celebrity in the 20th century, and while celebrities – and some members of the royalty – are still very influential, more recently, the mantle has been taken up by ordinary people who have built up a massive online following through blogging and vlogging, basically by directly addressing their audience and making them feel a part of their world.

Ironically, it is the fame of this poster that has kept Lord Kitchener famous. Otherwise his name would have been consigned to the history books like those of his contemporaries, Field Marshal Sir John French and General Sir Henry Wilson. Nope, we haven’t heard of them either.

You!

It is the directness of Kitchener’s stare, the direction of the pointing finger, and the use of the second person that provides an instant connection. He really is addressing ‘you’, and at a time when going off to fight in the war was still considered a noble thing, it had young men – and boys who lied about their age – queueing up to take the King’s Shilling.

Using the second person (i.e. by saying ‘you’ instead of the first person ‘I’ or the third person ‘he/she’) in today’s content marketing is the best way of creating a personal engagement with the reader. By addressing them as you would speak to a friend, you are encouraging them to put themselves into your scenario. In the case of the Kitchener poster, the audience is encouraged to see themselves as patriotic heroes. In the case of a product or service, they are encouraged to imagine how much easier or better life will be if they owned one. As soon as you have that connection, it becomes easier to take people through your sales funnel, converting engagement into profit.

If you would like to engage more with your customers and clients in order to generate more leads, talk to us about how we can help.


Celebrating The Apprentice

The award-winning TV series The Apprentice will be back on our screens on 3rd October. [If you haven’t the theme tune earworming its way into your brain, you’re clearly not a fan!] As our own apprentice, Rory, is an award winner too – he won Apprentice of the Year at the SME Hertfordshire Business Awards by the way, although we may have mentioned it before – we thought it’d be a fun idea to make a comparison of a Lord Sugar related apprenticeship versus a Cariad apprenticeship.

Differences

No high-pressure tasks with tight time limits that are designed to make you lose all common sense. If we need you to pop out for a pint of milk, we don’t expect you to make a four hour car journey to haggle over a 2p discount – we’d be happy for you to pop to the nearest shop and follow normal buying rules! Quicker and far more cost-efficient.

No need to come up with zinger one liners that’ll haunt you for the rest of your working life, such as:

  • “I think outside the box. If I was an apple pie, the apples inside me would be oranges”;  
  • “I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a 10-trick pony. I’ve got a whole field of ponies waiting to literally run towards this job”;
  • “I’m going to throw people under the bus, I’m going to throw people over the bus, I’m going to get on the bus”.

Possibly the only phrase that Rory will ever regret saying at Cariad is: “Yes, of course I’m willing to get my armpits waxed for charity …”

There’ll be no TV crew following you around with the intention of recording every mistake you make. We appreciate that everyone makes errors at some point, but rather than turn them into entertainment for millions of TV viewers, we see them more as important learning points that will enable us all to do better next time.

No free accommodation in a luxury London house. Sorry. But you do get a desk and an ergonomic chair.

You won’t have a chauffeur driven car to ferry you around, although there is usually someone willing to drive you to meetings. Not in a Rolls Royce though …

Lord Sugar’s apprentices don’t receive any training. They’re just thrown in at the deep end and have to work things out for themselves, with hilarious consequences of course. We, on the other hand, are much more supportive and will not make fools of ourselves (unless it’s in a good cause); we want everyone to learn from the experts, e.g. Google. And we’re always willing to support each other (not throw everyone under or even over the boardroom bus), and hold regular team training days.

There’s no need for anyone to drink tea in that infamous café of shame while everyone else is enjoying fabulous winners’ treats. Although the treats at Cariad can’t quite reach the same heights as private helicopter rides or meals cooked by famous chefs, everyone gets the chance to join in, because – cheesy cliché alert – we’re all winners!

The only Sugar in Cariad‘s boardroom is the type that sweetens your tea.

Ominous finger pointing is not allowed!

If you think the idea of working for Cariad is better than the thought of being on The Apprentice, check our vacancies page to see if we’re recruiting. Otherwise, send us your CV and let us know the type of work you’re interested in.


5 effective online lead generation strategies

Lead generation strategies

In the last blog we talked about how online lead generation can help your business. In this blog, we’re going to look at some proven online strategies that will help you generate and quantify new leads.

Special offers –

Everyone loves a special offer, and whether you’re offering money off your products or services, BOGOFF deals or free gifts, you’re bound to get leads. Shout about your special offers on social media and also invest in boosting your social media posts, as well as using Pay Per Click advertising

Competitions –

By offering a free prize draw or a competition that involves a task or answering questions, you’ll get more brand awareness. The more impressive the prize, the more likely it is that you will get more engagement on social media, including shares. And whilst the majority of the people entering the competition will only have their eye on the prize, you are making more people aware of your brand, and will get lead generation as a result.

There are loads of online strategies that you can do to generate and quantify new #leads. #leadgen Click To Tweet

Downloads –

Many B2B companies offer free information in the form of reports, but in return ask you for your details. The advantages are that you can keep this on your website for as long as you want, meaning it’ll be ticking away in the background at all times, and because it will only appeal to people genuinely interested in the information, so the leads are more likely to be fruitful ones.

Webinars –

One way of getting new leads is to host a webinar. It’s particularly useful as you will reach a much wider audience than would normally be able to attend events physically held at your premises, or going to see you do a presentation at networking events (many of which are members-only).

eNewsletter –

Another way of engaging potential clients and customers with a view to generating leads is by encouraging people to sign up for your regular newsletter. If you make your newsletters interesting and engaging enough, your potential clients are more likely to read them, and therefore will be more likely to take up offers.

If you would like help with online lead generation or any aspect of digital marketing, contact us for more information.


What is online lead generation?

Lead generation

Lead generation is vital for business. Without new leads your company is never going to expand its client base.

A lead is someone who shows an interest in your company, whether that’s through signing up to your newsletter, or making an enquiry about your products or services.

Lead generation is a way of attracting people and encouraging them to engage with your business, with the ultimate aim in getting them to buy from you. Leads can be generated in a number of ways, although many techniques can be frustrating for your potential customers who find them annoying or invasive, i.e. telephone cold calling, junk mail, advertising etc.

Online engagement and lead generation

Social media has enabled many companies to build leads organically. By raising brand awareness on a regular basis through tweets, posts on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, the aim is to get people interested in you and see you as an expert in your field and, as they become more familiar with your brand, get to trust you more and more. Eventually, this should lead to further interaction, with the ultimate intention that they will become paying customers and brand advocates.

Lead generation is vital for business. Without new leads your company is never going to expand its client base. #leadgen Click To Tweet

Content marketing, particularly blogs, is an excellent way of building up enough organic interest in your brand to begin generating leads. Not only does posting regular blogs ensure the search engines are more likely to rank your brand higher in the results, they also help people gain trust in your company – so if you want to position yourself as an expert or thought leader, write considered blogs that show you know what you’re talking about. This can be done by commenting on industry news and events, giving free advice to potential clients, talking about some of the challenges you’ve faced (and overcome of course!), or writing case studies.

If you need to create leads more quickly, online advertising, handled correctly, can be hugely effective. Whether it’s on Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other platform, choosing the right keywords and parameters can really pay off, often for a surprisingly reasonable outlay. Just make sure that your advert links to a landing page that makes it easy for customers to buy; directing them to the wrong landing page will result in a high bounce rate, fewer sales and poor ROI.

In the next blog we’ll look at specific ideas about how to increase online lead generation. But in the meantime we’d be very happy to talk to you about your online lead generation needs. Call us on 01992 582 824 or email welcome@cariadmarketing.com.


We heart this new website

East Anglia Cardiology’s new website is amazing!

We have not been working in vein – another website has just been launched from the chamber of Cariad’s website development team (they certainly have their finger on the webdev pulse)! This time on behalf of East Anglia Cardiology who provide mobile cardiopulmonary disease services for small animals.

Our client didn’t need a large website, but did want it to be bold and simple in design, fast and easy to use, as well as fully responsive. The use of black and white images, with splashes of the company’s logo red give the whole site a classic look and reassuring feel.

One of the main tasks of the website is to sell the company’s innovative ECG/EKG electrode clips, Comfy Clips, which have been designed to be easy to use for vets at the same time as reducing discomfort for their feline and canine patients. The website therefore needed an online ordering and payment facility with PayPal, which we configured to show stock levels. As a specialist product, the clips are sold around the world, which meant we also had to configure the payment facility to calculate the appropriate shipping costs at the checkout.

East Anglia Cardiology, new website

About East Anglia Cardiology

East Anglia Cardiology is run by vet Paul Smith who specialises as a small animal cardiologist. Paul travels to veterinary practices all over East Anglia to monitor and treat cats and dogs with heart and lung diseases. He carries his own specialist equipment around the region so he can undertake ECG monitoring, echocardiography, blood pressure measurement, and bronchoscopy. Being on the move like this enables him to charge pet owners less than those referred to specialist centres, and without the need to transport the pet any further than the local veterinary practice.

As a specialist in veterinary cardiology, Paul realised that an alternative to the usual alligator clips was needed for small animals, and in 2009 commissioned the development of Comfy Clips. Designed especially for use on cats and dogs, the Comfy Clips reduce discomfort to the animal, and there is no need to clip the fur. He oversees the manufacturing process himself and sells the clips direct to veterinary practices which is why it’s so important that he has a good website.

However large or small your company, we can design, build and optimise a website that is designed around your business strategy. Contact our Hertford team to find out more.


Robex new website

We’ve got it covered!

When it comes to the launch of a new client website, our website development team have got it covered. This time for Robex Contracting which specialises in the manufacture and installation of epoxy resin and anti-slip floor and wall coatings. They already had a new website, but approached us to ask us to upgrade it because it wasn’t doing the job they wanted it to do. They wanted the website to work hard in order to increase organic traffic to the website, generate leads, build relationships with clients and potential clients and raise brand awareness.

We also advised that the Robex website needed an SSL certificate which would not only give added security to the website, but also help boost the company’s Google rankings.

Far from being floored by the brief, our team excelled themselves (as usual of course). They have produced a stunning website that is a clean, fresh design, as well as being user-friendly,
fully responsive, and makes the most of the client’s high quality product photography. It was also fully optimised by our SEO team.

Robex Contracting, new website

About Robex

Based in Hitchin, Robex is an industrial floor, wall and roof coatings contractor. The company has developed and manufactured its own products for many years, then in 2003, set up Robex Contracting to answer the demand from customers who wanted an application service as well. Since then the company has worked on projects for many industries, including hotels and restaurants, car parks, manufacturing plants, leisure centres and tourist attractions.

Their high profile clients include London Zoo, Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, the British Museum, Britvic and Fullers Brewery.

It doesn’t matter if the job is large or small, Robex is happy to undertake it. From repairing a swimming pool floor or installing anti-slip GRP tread covers onto fire escape steps, to replacing an entire warehouse floor or coating the roof of a manufacturing facility.

Robex Contracting, Case Studies

Timing

The quick drying properties of Robex products enable Robex Contracting to minimise and even eliminate the the disruption to staff and customers. Contractors work over weekends and often overnight to enable them to get the work completed after the close of play on one day and before work resumes the following morning, ensuring business continuity.

If you would like to talk to us about improving the SEO and user experience of your current website, call us on 01992 582 824.


How to write awesome marketing copy

Content Marketing, writing good marketing copy

Marketing is a much more subtle (and cheaper) form of advertising. When people are reading your newsletter / leaflet / email / website, they understand your ultimate aim is to get them to spend money on your brand, but they are generally still willing to go along with it… as long as you don’t have too many overt sales messages in it.

Awesome marketing copy is a subtle blend of interesting and useful information written in an engaging way in order to foster interest and help increase brand loyalty.

How do you do that?

Bear in mind who’s reading your copy –

The first thing you have to do is put yourself in your target audience’s shoes so you write copy that will be interesting and informative to them, not necessarily to you. Whilst you know every last detail about what you’re selling, don’t assume that everyone else does too. After all, you’re not interested in the minutiae of other brands, so why should they be of yours?

Assume they know nothing about you –

Forget you find your business is the most interesting thing ever and you’re fascinated by every teeny tiny detail, do you honestly think that other people are going to be that engrossed in it too? Or let’s put it another way – are you all that interested in the minutiae of theirs? Of course not! So don’t blind them with science or bore them with details. You’re trying to position yourself as the trust expert satisfying the needs of clients who are looking to you for guidance. So keep your copy short and simple (but not simplistic).

Don’t be salesy –

If every newsletter, email or social media post you write is an obvious sales message, you’re going to lose readers quicker than Road Runner outwits Wile E. Coyote. When you’re writing about things that are not even about your products and services, what you’re doing is engaging people and making them more interested in you – and if they like you, they’ll take an interest in your brand. If you’re sending out a newsletter, for instance, keep the sales message to an absolute minimum and produce something that will be of genuine interest to the reader, otherwise there’s no point in spending all that effort producing it in the first place. Write a short report on an item of industry news and comment on it, or something that’s happening locally, or write news about what your staff members are getting up to, especially if they’ve been involved in charity work or fundraising.

Awesome marketing copy is a subtle blend of interesting and useful information written in an engaging way in order to foster interest and help increase brand loyalty. #copy #copywriting Click To Tweet

Keep it credible –

Trust is a vital element in brand loyalty, so always write truthful, honest copy in order to position yourself and your brand as authoritative, responsible and principled.

Tell them what to do next –

When someone’s finished reading your copy what would you like them to do next? Do you want them to ‘click here for more information’, ‘click here to buy/book’, or ‘sign up for your newsletter’ etc? If so, instruct them what to do and make it easy for them to do it. If you hyperlink the ‘click here’ to the wrong page, people won’t bother to look for the right page.

Ask Cariad to do it for you –

OK, so yes, this is my call to action bit. So if you’re not interested in getting in touch click here to see a photo of a cute puppy instead. On the other hand, if the thought of writing website copy, newsletter copy, social media posts etc makes your head spin, ring us on 01992 582 824 to see how we can help.


Winner winner chicken dinner! *

Rory & Justine, Award Winners!

What a brilliant year we’re having – and it’s still only just half way through! Last night we celebrated not one but two wins at the SME Hertfordshire Business Awards.

Our apprentice, Rory Welch, was crowned Apprentice of the Year, and MD Justine Perry won the Business Person of the Year. It probably won’t surprise you to learn there are a couple of sore heads in the office this morning…

Winning apprentice!

We nominated Rory for the award in secret, so the first he knew about it was when he got a letter letting him know he was through to the final. He was surprised then, and even more surprised when his name was announced on the night. Officially his reaction is of “delighted disbelief”, but it’s probably more accurate to describe him as ‘gobsmacked’!

Apprentice of the year, Hertfordshire

Winning boss!

Justine was a little less surprised to be announced as winner of the Business Person of the Year as she was the only finalist listed. But still, she was worried about the possibility that they’d announce that no-one had won it, so didn’t fully start celebrating until the trophy was in her hand… but as you can see, she celebrated hard!

Business Person of the Year, Justine!

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, she was able to put her thoughts into words: “I’m beyond thrilled to have my own achievements recognised in this way. It’s a great validation of my ethos and business model as well as the success of my company. I have some very exciting plans for Cariad’s future and am looking forward to what happens next.”

And what’s one of the first things that’ll happen next?

What a night! Our apprentice, Rory Welch, was crowned Apprentice of the Year, and MD Justine Perry won the Business Person of the Year. On to the National Awards which will be held at Wembley Stadium! #bringiton #SMEAwards Click To Tweet

They’re in the National finals

The best thing about the win is that Rory will get another chance to wear the new suit he bought especially for the occasion. As regional winners the pair are both through to the SME National Awards which will be held at Wembley Stadium in December. We wish them the best of luck and have everything crossed for two more Cariad wins!

* Well, actually it was a beef dinner, but that doesn’t rhyme!


Why good writing is essential for visibility in search engines

Benefits of content marketing on SEO strategy
If you want to improve your company’s SEO and help it come top of the Google searches, your website’s user experience must be a good one. And that includes the quality of your copy.

Google has got quite a few ‘demands’ about your website copy if you’re writing with SEO in mind, and they make comforting reading for writers, grammarians, and those who appreciate the well-crafted word, because good writing is essential to succeed in acquiring visitors from Google search.

Web content should be original

You know that lovely cut and paste function that’s generally so useful? Don’t use it! Google only responds to original content. You can look for inspiration from other websites, provide hyperlinks to them, and use short quotes from them, as long as you make sure they’re reputable sites that’s fine. What you mustn’t do is use what is known as ‘scraped content’, i.e. taking copy from another website and posting it on your own. The all-seeing Google knows when you’ve tried to cut corners, or found a nicely written paragraph on someone else’s website and decided to appropriate it for your own (which is also an unethical practice).

There are times when you want or need to use the same information on different pages of your website, but even though you’re using your own words on your own site, by not having original content on each page, you’re harming your chances of being found. However boring it is to rewrite the same thing five or six times (and believe me, I know only too well how painful that task can be!), if you want to be noticed by Google, then there’s no way around it – you’ve got to find lots of different ways of saying the same thing!

Website content should be relevant

There’s no point in writing about penguins if finance is your core business. Whilst you’ll engage your followers on social media by tweeting about, say, #NationalPenguinDay (25 April in case you’re interested!), if you’re trying to sell your bookkeeping skills on your website, you must write about bookkeeping so Google picks it up… and to make sure your potential clients know what you’re selling!

Content should be fresh so keep posting!

Google’s Search Index is constantly evolving to reflect the new content that’s being posted all the time. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the game, you too have to constantly post new, original, readable content that people will easily understand and enjoy. No pressure then!

Google only responds to original #content. You can look for inspiration from other websites, provide hyperlinks to them, and use short quotes. #SEO Click To Tweet

Don’t stuff your website content with keywords

Google’s webmaster guidelines state that searchable content should be written for the user, not for the search engine. Therefore, what they term ‘keyword stuffing’ (i.e. filling the page with too many keywords whether or not they fit in with the copy) is not acceptable. In my experience, not all keyword search terms are a natural fit when you’re writing an article. So your keywords may well be “digital marketing Hertford”, but try putting that into a sentence and make it sound seamless! Thankfully the latest Google rules have been kind to copywriters by lessening the reliance on keywords and phrases – the quality of the writing is now more important than repeating the keywords.

Hyperlinks can also be used less than they used to. It they’re a natural extension of the copy then fine, but writers no longer need to to invent reasons to include hyperlinks in the text just so they have the right number of them. This, again, is good news for copywriters who, with more opportunities to craft great copy can now make it readable as well as informative and relevant.

The main thing to remember about the rules of SEO is that they’re fluid and Google will change them all the time. So if you want to stay ahead of the game, you’ve always got to be aware of what Google is up to by checking the webmaster guidelines on a regular basis, or using a specialist digital marketing agency with content marketing specialists plus Google Partner status, like, ahem, Cariad!


Why you’ll fall in love with Cariad

Love CariadWhy you’ll fall in love with Cariad

“Cariad” is the Welsh word for love and is a great representation of our company ethos. We love what we do and our clients love what we do too! You can see it in our logo which has merged the infinity sign with a love heart to show that once you’re smitten with Cariad, you’re going to stay smitten! Furthermore, if you look closely, you’ll spot the Cariad Marketing initials in the logo too!

As February is the month of love and we are celebrating our 9th anniversary (pottery and willow apparently), we’ve been looking at scientific studies about love in order to check that we’re on the right path.

'Cariad' is the Welsh word for love and is a great representation of our company ethos. We love what we do and our clients love what we do too! #LOVE Click To Tweet

Cariad definition

Reciprocal liking

Reciprocal liking is a psychological way of saying that when you know someone likes you, you’re more likely to like them back, and this mutual liking can blossom into love. Aw!

In the words of Cariad’s MD and founder Justine Perry, when it comes to staffing: “We recruit people who love what they do and do what they love. By taking on the right people with the right attitude and making sure they’re motivated and happy, they’ll keep our clients happy too!”

And we’re happy to report that Justine’s cunning plan has paid off! As a company, Cariad has formed long-term relationships with the majority of clients, and they have demonstrated their love for us in the form of referrals and testimonials. In the 9 years that Cariad has been trading, there has been steady growth in the number of new clients coming on board every year, with a parallel growth in the number of team members working at Cariad Towers. In fact, we have welcomed so many new clients into the fold recently, we’re currently on the lookout for new staff, so there’s lots more love to go round!

Authenticity

Scientists and existentialist philosophers alike tell us that authenticity is a key element in love because it makes for a better connection. These are qualities we like to foster with our clients as we firmly believe that openness and honesty create trust. If a client wants us to do something we don’t think will work, we’ll be upfront about telling them and explain why. Apart from being the right thing to do, this kind of authenticity fosters respect, which makes for a much better working relationship.

You want each other to do well

When it comes to a successful relationship, the boffins talk about compassionate love: “concern for another’s welfare and taking actions to promote it, regardless of whether those actions are perceived to result in future benefits to the self”. In other words, people in love do nice things for each other simply because they’re in love!

We like to embrace this spirit of altruism with our clients for the simple reason that we care about them. It makes us happy when clients do well, so if we come across ways we can help them succeed beyond our contracted work, at the very least we’ll make sure they know about it. Whether it’s a referral, a PR opportunity, helping out with charity fundraising, or voting for them in business awards, our aim is to help them to do better.

This year, to celebrate our 9th birthday, we’ve launched a competition to offer free LinkedIn social media training to 9 Hertfordshire businesspeople. By sharing our skills and expertise, we hope it’ll help other companies do well. And, nope, we don’t expect anything in return, we’re just passing the love forward! The closing date is 23rd February and the workshop will take place on 28th February: find out how to enter.

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