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5 Small Business Growth Techniques, Without Spending a Penny

As a small business owner, your job is to market your company in such a way as to generate maximum exposure at the lowest cost possible. Well, luckily enough there are a number of different ways you can help market and grow your company without spending a penny! Here are five free small business development techniques to try out.

 

1. Business skills swap

It’s time to trade off the skills your business has with a different company who needs your talents. Say, for example, your company is in need of a brand new website. Well, source out a design company and offer them your services for free in exchange for them building you a new site. As long as you have what they’re looking for, it’s a win-win!

2. Create online training

Nowadays, becoming an authority business within your industry is all about creating great content. Video content is perhaps the most desirable content around as it allows you to explain complex concepts and put them into an easily digestible form. Better yet, creating videos doesn’t need to be hard or expensive – you can make video courses from any handheld recording device! Then, just post them to YouTube and share on social media for free.

3. Produce free guides to promote your name

Free how-to guides are still an incredibly powerful way to promote your skills and draw in new sales. Create a guide that is relevant to your business’s niche and then give it away for free wherever possible – for example, via your website as a free download. You can then use email marketing to try and convert as many of those leads as possible into sales.

4. Direct email-marketing

This leads on nicely from tip number three. In 2018, email marketing still offers great returns for business owners as sending emails is completely free. With GDPR coming into effect on 25th May, just ensure you have consent from all email subscribers in order for you to legally email them. Wherever possible, try and get emails from both potential and current customers. You can even diversify your email marketing to include one campaign for those we have already bought from you and one for those who haven’t yet bought.

5. Use the latest organisational software

Organisational software offers a great way to help streamline your processes, maximise efficiency and focus on business development. These programs can also help to improve how professional your company looks to the outside world. You will find that many types of organisational software offer free basic usage for small businesses and individuals. We recommend checking out either Asana or Dubsado.

Depending on the nature of your business, there are likely a number of things you can do to help grow your company for free. You just need to have the desire to hustle and the willingness to be creative. To help get you started, try these five small business marketing techniques and see where they take you!

 

7 Steps to Starting a Business in 2018

7 Steps to Starting a Business in 2018

Every year, there are literally thousands of people and groups who find themselves wanting to start a business. According to well-know statistics, at least 80% of these start-ups fail in the first two years – why?

The main reasons for this are:

  1. Lack of Business Knowledge – what to do when you set up a business, how to manage staff, financials, perform simple bookkeeping, chasing debt etc. 
  2. Overspending and Overtrading – spending too much and trying to grow too quickly, or in other words, doing too much, too soon.
  3. No Focus – overwhelmingly, very few new business have a strong sense of work ethic and the work in takes to get a business off the ground. 
  4.  No Plan – very few business start-ups begin with the simplest thing – a business plan, in fact, many start with a lack of direction before they launch their business.
  5. No Marketing Know-How – it’s ok if you’re starting with a list of in-place contracts and guaranteed income streams but for many, this is not the case; or where it is, business trading relies on one customer only. It’s not a favourable situation. Marketing is a term that is over-used but not well understood.

 

In this post, I’ll be highlighting the 7 most important steps to take in starting up a business, properly, in 2018. You may feel like adding things along the way but generally, without these 7 fundamentals, you’re likely to end up as just another failed start-up statistic:

steel city hub business build

 

There’s a fancy, little way to give an overview of the key steps.  Now for more information:

 

  1. NAME SAVE

It’s not on the list of usual advice but from being in the business game for a number of years, it’s an issue that comes up time and time again and can be a costly mistake. What does Name Save mean?

Simply that when you think of a business name that you really like, check that no one else has it and save it one everything. I’m not just talking about setting up your new company on Companies House, that our partners, Hill & Co Accountants, Sheffield can help you with: www.hillandcoaccountants.com.

Your business domain name should be saved as soon as possible because there are companies out there who will buy the domain names of new company set-ups i.e. if you set up “Clean My House UK Ltd,” you’ll want ‘www.cleanmyhouseuk.co.uk’ or .com.

The same applies for getting your social media platforms set up – something we can obviously help you with i.e. your Twitter will need to be something like @cleanmyhouseuk and Instagram too. You get the idea.

 

  2. BUSINESS PLAN

A business plan is the simplest way to get your business into focus. It’ll help you plan and look at what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. It’ll help you write an overview about your business, look at financial planning, potential revenue, your competitors, analysis of how you’ll fit your business into the current trade or sector.

We have a guide for start-up or developing businesses on how to write business plans and get started with marketing.

TO REQUEST THE FREE BUSINESS PLAN/MARKETING GUIDE, ENTER YOUR DETAILS HERE:

 

  3. MARKETING PLAN

Similar to the business plan, the marketing plan will help narrow down how your business will reach its intended audience. It’ll help you lay out how you will reach your customers and attract people or businesses that your business is aimed at.

For a more detailed look at what you need to do to create an effective marketing plan from initial research, your target audience analysis, your unique selling point and your competitor research right through to your social media, marketing and PR strategy, you can request the guide using the contact form above.

For help with writing a marketing/business plan, you can e-mail us: thegapsbetween@gmail.com or for more marketing advice, see our article: What is Marketing?

 

  4. BUILD A FOLLOWING

The most successful companies of late have worked on building a tribe, a community or a following. However you envisage getting people interested in your business, building a community of supporters is vital for continued success.

Your following, whether online or offline, can be your family, friends, customers, clients, followers on social media, page likers, other businesses you work with – whoever, they are there to boost your business, support it and provide free advertising for you.

One way that businesses are building a following at the moment is to run a Facebook Group. This links to your Facebook business page but provides those more interested in your services/products with a space to communicate with you and give feedback on a more intimate level. You can find out more information on building a following for your business by either dropping into one of our FREE Business Sessions (see above), in Sheffield, or by following us on social media.

 

5.  CUSTOMER LOVE

A huge reason that a lot of start-up’s fail is that they simply don’t know how to treat their key people – their customers. By creating a process (which can be formed while you produce your business plan), of how you treat your customers, you’ll not only retain current customers but you’ll also attract new ones because your word-of-mouth testimonials will be so good.

What do I mean by a process?

Firstly, the initial point of contact. How you advertise or attract your customers. Hard sell is old fashioned and a little embarrassing, unless you’re at a specific ‘talk about your business’ event. Speak to your audience like you care about THEIR needs, not your own.

Secondly, once you have them as a client. Make them feel special. A lot like a romantic relationship, keep clear lines of communication. If they e-mail you, e-mail back. If they want some advice, give it to them, unless they’re asking for your particular paid knowledge.

Particularly, DON’T SURPRISE THEM WITH UNEXPECTED FEES. I was recently on a Facebook group where someone was slating a business because she phoned this business for advice then was sent a bill for the phone call a few days later without any prior warning. She wasn’t even told during the phone call that there were fees to pay.

Always make your fees and charges clear and easy to understand. People get angry and can damage your reputation if you ignore this.

Thirdly, when you’ve finished working with them, treat them with respect. Follow up, don’t talk behind their backs to others. Encourage them to work with you again one day. Ask them for their feedback or a testimonial and leave them the same if they require one.

 

  6. CLOUD YOURSELF

It’s not on the usual start up list but this is 2018, not 2008. Everything is becoming cloud-based. What does cloud-based mean? It means keeping your information, whether that be your bookkeeping, your files, your photographs and your financials up there in the cloud.

It sounds scary, but it really isn’t. It’s safe (and will soon be safer, thanks to GDPR), and a good way to ensure maximum working efficiency. Instead of having to log onto a certain computer to raise your invoices or save your work only on your laptop hard drive, through cloud-based software, you can really be efficient, working from any computer, phone or tablet, at anytime. It’s a no-brainer and serves as extra points for customers who might want a cloud-relationship. Our favourites for small businesses are:

QuickBooks – Bookkeeping & Accounting Software

Dropbox – Files/Photo Sharing & Working Software.

 

  7. PROTECT & GROW

Ok, so we’ve squeeze two important things into one here. I’ll summarise these to save boredom. Basically, if you have a product that’s worth a patent, protect it. Insure you business by looking for good deals on business insurance comparison websites.

Make sure you know about Copyright laws. Don’t try to use anyone else’s photographs or quotes without their permission or without properly providing source evidence. If you’re writing something, get it read by a proof-reader (we offer this service) to ensure you’re not infringing anyone’s rights or doing anything wrong.

Business is a political and legal minefield and we’ve seen so many people, with the best intentions, get taken to court or fined heavily. The best way to protect your business from the off is to seek legal and proper business advice.

In terms of growth, look at your business plan and seek advice on growth opportunities. There is so much funding out there for small businesses to utilize. It’s always worth considering funding options without having to go straight for a loan.

We want to help you start and grow your business and that’s why we are proud to be partnering with Hill & Co Accountants in Sheffield to be offering this:

On Friday 23rd March 2018, 9.30am – 11.30am, we are holding a FREE Business Drop In Session with our partners, Hill & Co Accountants in Sheffield (see image above). Here’s we’ll be able to guide you through any business start-up issues you may have and advise on the costs of running a business. We are also there to help with any accountancy, bookkeeping or business planning advice you may need, as well as marketing advice and funding advice. To book, please call: 0114 2315400 or e-mail: hillandcosheffield@gmail.com.  

 

We hope you enjoyed our 7 Steps to Starting a Business in 2018 and if you’d like weekly advice, please join our Facebook group – it’s FREE!

Build With Steel Business Community!

You can also Like our Business Page @SteelCityHub on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @SteelCityHub1, follow us on Instagram @Steelcityhub or just get in touch to discuss your needs. We’re always listening.

Writing: Let the Creature Within Be Free

As humans, we all have ‘animalistic’ tendencies; to eat, to sleep, to go after a mate, and most importantly, to be a success, in any sense of the word. We are all creatures. But unlike animals, humans are emotional and irrational; we judge, we criticise and we want what gratifies ourselves.

 

Everyone’s a Writer

It’s an old saying that everyone, no matter what level of intelligence he or she holds, has a story within them. We all have something to say. A story of profound events within our lives, a regular, hilarious day at home with the kids, a dream of such magnitude and un-forgettability that it’s worth putting pen to paper; there’s plenty that each of us could say.

A small minority of the most successful authors out there can profess to be the best writers with the highest level of technical knowledge when it comes to the written word. What about the rest? They had an idea. They took that idea forward, focused on their goal and made a success of their lives. The idea came first, they dealt with the rest later – learning how to write for their audience, reading their own work, editing their work, re-editing their work, getting friends to edit it, finding an agent to edit it before eventually publishing. Or, in more modern times, finding a target audience, learning how to engage that target audience and self-publishing.

As many a self-help author has re-iterated, it’s not about how well you can write, it’s about how passionate you are with your idea and how you make others passionate about your idea too.

Avoid Critising Others

You may wonder what criticising others has to do with writing. In fact, many a writer both published and unpublished has let him or herself down by criticising the actions of others, whether that be in person, on paper, on social media or in interview.

As Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) would say, “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

how to win friends and influence people. Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Source: Wikipedia.org

Of course, there are writers in the world who make a living from critiquing the work of others’ and while an author’s pride may be hurt when reading a bad review, if one is a good critique writer, the author should be influenced and motivated to do better.

This Carnegie book has sold a mere 30 million copies and has been updated several times but never re-written. Carnegie, more than anyone, knew the power of words and the impact they could have on a person, both positive and negative.

Writing isn’t just about skill. It’s about how well you portray your ideas and influence the audience; giving them what they want, not just what you think they need. Success will follow.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own,” writes Carnegie.

We are all creatures, let your writing creature be free.

If you’d like to contact me, please e-mail Kate: thegapsbetween@gmail.com.

I offer business writing, creative writing, content writing, sales writing, social media content creation, blogging, PR and much more. You can view my current list of services HERE.

Business Overwhelm vs. Mindset.

This week, I was overwhelmed to have been nominated for the prestigious Business Woman of the Year Award at the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

This arrives like that ray of sunshine after a storm for me as these past few months have been a real, hard ride of emotions, failures and small successes.

 

Here’s the link if you’d be so kind as to vote for me: 

https://yorkshirechoiceawards.wufoo.co.uk/forms/the-yorkshire-choice-awards-2018-voting-form/

 

 

Business is Hard

No one says business is easy. Anyone you read about who has made a million overnight is either a very lucky lottery winner or an incredible liar. There is no shortcut to success, no drive through for business and certainly, there are no real ‘get rich, quick,’ schemes that work. Just those willing to make promises to drive their own profits. Business is hard.

For me, being nominated for this award is wonderful. It is a compliment. It is appreciated but it’s also quite overwhelming, something I have not felt for some time. Upon opening my e-mail, I followed the excited energy that comes with small successes and posted this nominated on my personal Facebook page and my business pages. I was flabbergasted by the number of supportive comments, shares and likes the announcement received, as well as the number of people who wrote, “so deserved. Well done!”

Don’t Get Disheartened

When you enter the business world as a newbie, you expect success quicker than you find it so it’s hard not to get disheartened. When I started out in business several years ago, I was one such liability. I concentrated a lot of time on things that don’t have much of an impact on business success such as getting a re-tweet from someone famous, going to meetings and making small talk, sending out hundreds of cold e-mails to people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me.

Placing a Value on Time

It’s little surprise that start-up business owners become disheartened. I know I did and that’s why, for a long time, I didn’t make a single pound from the work I spent hour after hour doing.

Now, looking back, I didn’t value my time. I had two babies in close succession and yet, was so ‘busy’ trying so hard to make something like a business work that I feel now that the time I had with them as babies flew by. I wasn’t living in the moment, nor was I appreciating all that I had. This lead to a constant sense of overwhelm. I spent hours helping others in the hope that they’d reciprocate the favour. They didn’t. I didn’t value my own time so they didn’t either. The mindset around time is so vital, especially in a service-based business.

Business and Money Mindset

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Having worked on my business and money mindset for the last year or so, I have learned many valuable lessons in dealing with overwhelming feelings when it comes to business. Being nominated for Business Woman of the Year several years ago would’ve been a complete no-go for me. I would’ve shrivelled up into my shell like a hermit crab and not dealt with the situation proactively.

 

“Mindset is as important to success as light is to life.” ~ Kate Hill (2017)

 

Now however, those feelings go as quickly as they came. This is why business mindset is so important. As I say in my Build With Steel Programme (that’s soon going to have a great re-design, along with my website), you can’t build something without first putting in strong foundations. Those foundations are your mind and if you’re not in a place to be able to handle overwhelming feelings, difficult situations and money, get those sorted first.

Again, there are no short-cuts to building a strong business mindset. There are only small steps to take each day. Here’s a short list of how I remain in the right mindset:

  1. Breathe – whether you take 5 minutes or an hour, taking the time to stop, breathe and quieten the noise in your head is so important to staying atop of your emotions and your mindset. You can do this through Yoga, meditation or just in your own way. Take time, take a break and take a breath.
  2. Create a Plan – at the start of each week, put together a plan. It doesn’t have to be on special paper or a perfectly processed word document, just get some words down on a scrappy bit of paper. Write about what you need to do, what you want to do, what you hope to achieve by the end of the week and how you will break down your time to do a little every day. Keep looking at it and focus on it.
  3. Delegate – you don’t always have to do everything yourself. Look at what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. Think about the good old SWAT analysis that you might have completed. No good at cleaning? Ask someone else to do it for a few hours a week. No good at doing your bookkeeping? Find a bookkeeper. Find the things that are taking your time away from doing what you love and delegate!
  4. Go for a Walk – I don’t always practice what I preach, granted but when I get the chance to take a break, there’s nothing I love more than to walk my dog through the park and just enjoy some fresh air, surrounded by nature. If you’ve done any self-development work, you’ll know that being outside in nature apparently has quite a positive mental, spiritual and emotional impact on the brain. I’ll say no more.
  5. Read a Book – I don’t just mean pick up a Harry Potter book and ignore your work completely, no. I mean read a book that’s going to help develop your brain and your mindset for business. My favourites at the moment are: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and Your Are a Badass: At Making Money, by the same inspirational writer. Reading self-development books are not always full of whoo-hoo theories and out-there-ideals but some, like the above, are based on a real understanding of what makes one person successful and another unsuccessful.

 

So there it is. My quick blog about business mindset vs overwhelm. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me about other posts or questions that you might have.

Other than that, I’ll be updating you soon on how I get on at the awards on 13th April 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Branding for Business in 3 Easy Steps

Branding is a term that’s largely ignored or misunderstood, especially by small businesses but it is a very powerful, passive way of attracting your target customers and raising awareness.

To us, branding means helping customers and the general public identify your business through a logo, images, wording and even sounds – think about the McDonald’s whistle we hear on the radio and TV or the slogan “I’m Lovin’ It.” Those, along with the yellow ‘M’ sign and the new green and cream coloured interiors are all examples of a brand that raises awareness of its products through a unified, consistent approach.

What we find when working with small business owners who are trying to promote what they do is a lack of brand awareness, identity and a uniformed approach to marketing. We are not saying that you have to go as far as McDonald’s with their humongous budgets for branding, marketing and advertising. However, there are powerful ways that small businesses can compete without the price tag or staff.

Uniformed and structured branding is key to successfully setting your business apart from the competition and passively making sales. Here’s a little overview of what you need to do to create great branding and let your customers come to you:

  1. Create a Brand Strategy

It’s a fancy term for a relatively simple process. All that’s involved in creating a branding strategy is:

  • Research – looking at how other companies in your trade and competitors raise awareness of their business. Do they have a logo? Do they create graphics with their branding on?
  • Analyse – look at how your competitors are using their branding I.e. Their logo, their advertising, their wording for their services. Then look at global or U.K.-wide companies whose advertising you see a lot of. Make a list of what you like and dislike about the branding of competitions and larger companies.
  • Target Audience – who is your target customer? Where do they live, work, what do they enjoy doing? What might they need from you? A lot of advertising and brand awareness needs to be focused on your target audience so it really helps to have a clear audience in mind in your planning.
  • Aims & Objectives – create a plan for the aims and objectives of your branding. What you want people (your target audience) to think about when they see your logo or read your slogan. Would you want them to think: “They’re the best plumbers in the area because they have a 24-hour helpline.” Think about how you want your company to stand apart from others. Will you offer a free-consultation service? Will you be available 24/7 for call-outs? Will your engineers always have a smile on their faces? Whatever your business ethos and aims are, write them down.
  • Design & Write – this is the part we help a lot of businesses with. Writing down words that encompass your company that you can use for branded material such as flyers, adverts, posters, Facebook pages and so much more is vital for business branding success. The right words that speak to your target audience. Think about the design and colour scheme of your business, what will your logo look like, what colours could represent your brand the best? Write down all of your branding ideas and design thoughts.
  • Getting Your Brand Out There – here’s a good place to think about how you’ll market your brand following on from your research and understanding of your aims and objectives. Will you use social media? Will you blog? Will you advertise?

     2. Get your Staff Behind your Branding

Whether your staff are young, old or in between, every one of your employees can help with promoting your brand. Following on from your strategy, give your staff clear guidelines about what you expect from them in representing your company and branding. From what they wear to how they act right through to what they post on social media, several people are better than one at raising awareness of your branding.

Let your staff, family, friends and associates know that you’re taking branding seriously and get ready to launch your brand identity.

    3. Brand Identity Launch

Whether you already have a logo and a website or not, you can re-brand or build your brand identity at any point.

You’ve planned what you’re going to do and got some support behind you so now’s the time to take action! Get your brand out there through:

  • A website
  • A regular blog
  • Advertising
  • Social media
  • Events
  • Trade shows
  • Sponsorships
  • Press releases

There are so many ways to raise your brand awareness with your customers making you a trusted name in your industry. For more help with marketing your brand and creating your brand identity, get in touch with us: thegapsbetween@gmail.com.

Check out our Branding Pack – a great way to help you get started with branding. This pack offers everything you need to get going with a logo, designs, colour-scheme, blurb writing and expert advice.

 

Business and Mindfulness



What do you think of when someone says ‘Mindfulness?’

The word ‘mindfulness’ means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You might think it relates to Yoga enthusiasts or peace campaigners, you might think there’s no relation at all between mindfulness and business, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Without knowing it, you could be very good at mindfulness or very bad and the awareness of mindfulness can determine whether you succeed or fail. 

Mindfulness is defined as: “direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment,” as stated by Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University in this article for the Guardian. 


For someone in business, mindfulness can be a very powerful attainment. For example, a mother of three launches a business from her laptop. She spends a lot of time worry that she’ll fail because she’s never tried to run a business before. She could spend her days scrolling anxiously through Facebook worrying that no one will like her business page or she could use mindfulness to bring inner calm and deal with situations thoughtfully as they arise. A thoughtful and relaxed mind, no matter how busy she is, is always going to be more efficient, effective and deal better with what she’s got going on in her life. Her kids will also respond better to a calm mother. 

Mindfulness in business doesn’t mean you have to sit meditating all day or hitting that yoga class twice a week, but it’s about taking 5 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and reflect on what you want to achieve, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Once that’s done, try some deep breathing and let your mind relax. There are so many thoughts spinning through our mind when we run a business at any one time, that occasionally, our brains benefit hugely from being given the opportunity to not think of anything. It helps with inspiration, managing worries and alleviating stress. 


There are many ways you can find out about getting involved in mindfulness for business, here are a few: 

  • Hire a mindful business coach. This doesn’t have to be someone overbearing but just someone to share your worries with and teach you new ways of handling self-doubt, helping you find a better version of yourself. We are here too to be able to help you find the right business coach.
  • Read books on mindfulness that relate to business, some examples are ‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero or ‘Think and Grow Rich‘ by Napolian Hill. 
  • Watch mindfulness YouTube videos. There are plenty to go at that relate to business. Some of the best are by the famous Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and coach. He is based in the US but you’ll get the idea. 
  • Go to seminars on business mindfulness techniques. There are plenty of quality sessions in your local area, watch out in local forums or networking events. 

Mindfulness is not everything for business success but it helps get your mind in gear for better business motivation and focus. Other than that, the key to a successful business is hard work, motivation and offering people something that’s different and interesting. 

For more information or help finding your way into mindfulness for business, contact us.  

Introducing: Build With Steel

Build With Steel

You wouldn’t start building a structure without first putting in strong foundations.

The same goes for your business. The best way to build is with steel. It’s effective, reliable and it’s got a lot of experience…best of all, it used to be made in Sheffield. Sounds a bit like us, doesn’t it? That’s why we’re proud to launch the Build With Steel packages for small businesses and start-ups:

 

  1. The Intro £250 (One-Off Fee, No Contract)

Our popular Intro package is for all the basics when you set up your business. It offers the most affordable, one-off, no contract option for small businesses who need a little help getting started. Here’s what we offer:

  • Social Media – the set up of two social media platforms. We always recommend Facebook being the first and depending on your type of business, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest being the second.
  • Blurb – this is what people read about your business on social media. It’s the description of your business and we help you say it in a way that attracts interest from the people you’d like to notice. The blurb has to vary between social platforms so for two channels, we have to write two separate blurbs.
  • Directory Listings – listing you on all available, free websites where you can add your website, address and other important information about your business. This also includes more blurb/description writing about your business as again, it’s best if it’s written differently on all websites.
  • Access to Templates and Guides – our templates for social media posts and marketing plans are pretty simple and easy to follow. We think the best way to start out is to learn to do things yourself – with a little support from us.
  • Exclusive Made with Steel Group – you get access to our Facebook group for 1 month where you’ll find useful links, documents, templates, articles and offers. We’ll also be posting videos on there for extra assistance. (If you decide to progress onto one of our monthly payment packages, you’ll be able to stay in the group throughout the 12 month contract period).
  • Meet the Experts at Branding – we introduce you to some branding experts who can guide you through setting up your brand including your logo, design of your headers for social media, design of your e-mail campaigns, stationery and so much more. See our other packages below for more information.

 

 2. BUILD WITH STEEL PACKAGES: Gold, Silver & Bronze

(A 6 or 12- monthly contract between your business and Steel City Hub offering monthly support on 3 levels).


GOLD  £400 Per Month

Our Gold package is the best monthly support we can offer at this current time. It helps to create real momentum for your business, especially if you sign up to the 12 month contract with Steel City Hub.

Here’s what it includes:

  • Weekly Management of 3 Social Media Platforms (includes Facebook and a choice of two of the following: Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (advice will be given on which platforms best suit individual business needs). Management includes posts 2-3 times per week, per platform.
  • Weekly interactions with followers, fans and Likers i.e. re-tweets, comments and more. We will also monitor who’s following you and follow market trend leaders and influencers in order to gain natural, organic Likes and Follows.
  • Exclusive Access to the private Build With Steel Facebook Group where you’ll fine useful hints, tips, templates, videos, links and many other support features; including a community of like-minded people.
  • Monthly Personalised Meeting/Support Session via Skype, another online platform or face to face depending on where you are based, to make sure you’re on the right track, help you with other marketing ideas and promotions to increase sales, improve profitability and reach a wider audience.

 

Silver  £240 Per Month

Our Silver package is an in-between package. It still offers many of the same benefits as the Gold package but is less intense.

Here’s what it includes:medal-2163349_960_720 silver.png

  • Weekly Management of 2 Social Media Platforms including Facebook. Other platforms will be chosen either by you or through our initial consultation process. Management includes us posting 2-3 times per week from both accounts as a mixture of relevant articles, news from your company and portfolio images (if images are provided regularly).
  • Weekly Interactions with followers, fans and Likers i.e. re-tweets, comments and more. We will also monitor who’s following you and follow market trend leaders and influencers in order to gain natural, organic Likes and Follows.
  • Exclusive Access to the private Build With Steel Facebook Group where you’ll fine useful hints, tips, templates, videos, links and many other support features; including a community of like-minded people.
  • Quarterly Progress reports and suggestions for improvements in marketing.

 

Bronze  £120 Per Month

The Bronze package has been a very popular package for many of our clients who have then progressed onto our Silver or Gold packages. Much of the time, businesses opt to get set up initially with the Intro then move onto the Bronze for a few months to see how it all works. The main aim of this package is to get you noticed as a business and help you make your mark on the social media world.

Here’s what it includes:

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  • Weekly Management of 2 Social Media Platforms including Facebook. The difference with this package is that we will post once per week, sometimes two if you have an event or something prominent happening.
  • Weekly Interactions with followers, fans and likers i.e. re-tweets, comments and more. We will also monitor who’s following you and follow market trend leaders and influencers in order to gain natural, organic Likes and Follows.

 

For more information on these packages, contact Kate: thegapsbetween@gmail.com.

 

3. The Branding Pack  £675

This is a great offer for those who are in the process of developing a brand for their business or don’t have a clue about branding so want some professional help. Working with our top, professional design partners, we can offer you:

  • A 1-hour consultation session and creation of a brief (a plan for what you want from your branding, who you want to target and what kind of image you want to present).
  • Creation of final wording including a strapline (the line of text beneath your logo).
  • 4 x Logo design concepts from a supplied brief with one developed in to the final logo.
  • Artwork for the logo supplied in CMYK, RGB, and Black and white colour options.
  • All file formats will be supplied.
  • Strap line/position statement if required.
  • Brand guidance manual with all logo positioning, typography, brand colour palette.
  • Short blurb creation of between 20-100 words for your use on directories, other websites, social media etc.

 

5. Professional Sales Folder/Letter Pack £849

This bespoke, professional sales pack gives you that professional edge, whatever your business. If you regularly need to visit clients, customers and other businesses in order to raise your profile and deliver your services, this pack would benefit your business. The pack incorporates your branding and business ethos and is well worth the investment. This is one of our clients with their professional sales packs:

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Here’s what’s included:

  • An initial 1-hour consultation with a marketing expert to help you understand what aspects of a professional sales pack you require for your business type to present that professional, important image.
  • Folder and Inserts – from a brief of what you want, we’ll work with our professional designers, who have worked with some huge names, to create a folder with inserts that reflects your business and what you want to achieve i.e. more sales.
  • Written copy and content – with design underway, it’ll be time to put together some content including images, writing and a good dose of copywriting expertise. Our copywriting experts will work with you to get the tone and style of your content just right. Professional copywriters can charge thousands for a few hundred words so we are really pleased to be able to offer writing that is high quality and affordable. Copy in sales documents should always encourage your customers to buy from you.
  • Print costs advice – After the final draft has been produced, we will advise of print costs and find you the best prices for printing your sales folders. We can also advise and deliver other stationery items, if required (at an extra cost), such as business cards, pens, pencils and much more.
  • How-to-guide – finally, we will provide you with a how-to guide on delivering your sales folders and advise on how to approach businesses or customers with your services.

 

6. The Website + Hosting + Content Pack  £2499

This pack includes everything you’ll need to create a professional website with no hidden fees or extra charges. We all know websites can be created for pittance on template-based systems. The costs usually don’t account for extras needed such as hosting, domain names and content. They’re also rarely as effective in terms of SEO unlike websites that are built by professional designers.

That’s why we’ve put together a pack that includes everything you’ll need to get you started. If there are items that you don’t need, i.e. you’ve done the writing for your website yourself, we can offer you a reduced rate.

Here’s what this amazing price includes:

  • An initial consultation with our marketing expert to work with you on how you want your website to look, what style and what kind of content and functionality you’ll need on there.
  • A Theme-based WordPress website that is specifically tailored to suit your business style, tone and colour scheme.
  • A professional copywriter to work with you on creating content that is focused on SEO (getting you noticed by the search engines such as Google), for up to 4 x pages on your website. Any extra content for pages is charged at an hourly rate.
  • Sourcing images for your website or working with a professional photographer to create images that can be used to boost the appearance of your website and present your business much more professionally (additional fees may apply according to how much photography you require).
  • Website hosting for 1 year including up to 5 e-mail accounts that will be aligned to your website address.
  • Domain name registration for 1 year is included in this price!
  • Training and Support – Finally, it includes a meeting/wordpress training session with the developers so you can add content yourself when needed and you’ll know the basics of using your own website. Otherwise, you can view our Blog Package below. 

 

7. The Blog Package  £149

Our final package is the blog package. It’s best suited to WordPress websites but not exclusively. If you know what you want to write about but don’t have the means, we can offer a one-off or monthly website blog package to suit your business needs.

the blog package

Here’s what’s included:

  • Research into your business area and a list of topics created that would best suite your own website. We will also work with you to source relevant images and videos to populate your blog.
  • Creation of blog content – this can be images and word-based or it could include videos. Whatever your business, we create your first blog based on our research and your ideas about what you want your customers to know. Our writing for blogs is SEO optimised and helps populate your website with relevant, timely information.
  • Blog template for you to use thereafter or a pay-monthly contract option where we can create a monthly blog to go on your website, keeping it updated and informative for your customers/audience.
  • Advice and information session for an hour where we discuss your needs for the first blog and for future blogging, including information on how to share it across your social media and other websites.
  • Monthly blogging and support – this is an additional cost and is based on our time to create a blog per month. Usually, with research and structure, a normal blog would take us around 1.5 hours. Our hourly rate is £60. This means that any normal blog would cost you a regular £80 per month with the applied £10 discount for being a monthly blog member.

 

These are our full Build With Steel services but it is by no means a comprehensive list of what we offer as a fully-functional marketing agency. We like to think that we offer much more than a typical marketing agency and always strive to offer the best services for your business needs.

If you’d like more information, use our Contact Us Page or e-mail: thegapsbetween@gmail.com.

We are happy to provide fully online service and support as well as face-to-face consultations. Please read our Disclaimer for our service terms and conditions.

 

 Disclaimer:

We won’t share your details with anyone else. Your details and information about your company will be used solely to help us gain an understanding of how you work, who’s involved and what your goals are. Those details that you are happy to share or information that you would like to express should be shared directly with Steel City Hub in order for us to promote and deliver your campaigns.

Steel City Hub Ltd has the right to cancel any contract at any time without reason but we agree that 1 month’s notice will be given to those on a 12-month contract and 2 weeks notice will be given to those on a 6 month contract. Sometimes due to ethical/legal issues, we might not be able to act on your behalf as your marketing/social media consultants but we will express this in the first instance of communication between ourselves and you.

We will always inform you first if your additional requirements mean extra costs and we will endeavour to work with you to meet the costs above, if you require additional services that are not covered in the above, we reserve the right to refuse or provide additional charges for extra work.

 

3 Important Changes Affecting Your Use Of Facebook & Instagram For Business

It’s no surprise that along with rapid advances in technology and apps, social media giant Facebook (who also owns Instagram) is making big changes too. These changes directly affect how you use social media to promote your business.

There are around 1.28 billion daily active users on Facebook (source: Facebook 31/3/17). That’s a lot of people to keep happy every day. It’s also huge potential for any-sized business around the world and while many businesses pay Facebook on monthly basis to boost posts in order to maximize reach, create targeted advertisements and sell products or services directly, many of us simply rely on Facebook to get our messages out there.

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These changes affect how your messages reach your target market, if they reach anyone at all, so it’s vital that you take note and read on. The changes, some that have already been made, are a direct result of Facebook polling its users to see what we want, how we want it and what we definitely don’t want to see.

Here’s what these changes mean for your business:

 

  1. Overly promotional posts are now a BIG No No…

We’ve all done it, at some point: “Click Like and Share this post if you want to win a brand new…” You may have seen a massive drop in these kind of posts recently? That’s because Facebook has decided enough is enough. It’s users don’t like it. Your post reach and your future post reaches will be hugely reduced if you keep up these overly promotional tricks.

That’s not the only type of post that Facebook is clamping down on either. Calls to action are also a bad now i.e. asking people to do other things: “Call us today,” “Comment below if you want…” etc. Our list of attempts to entice our potential customers goes on. Well, no more. If you regularly post call’s to action such as this, you’ll gradually see your posts reaches reduce to zero. That means no one, among the 1.28 billion people around the world, will read anything from you. That’s a pretty massive thing to miss out on!

Overly promotional posts relate to Instagram too – as Facebook owns Instagram, you can assume that all changes are being rolled out across the board.

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2. Links to your website and other sites…

While it looks good when Facebook pulls up and image from your website or blog with a short excerpt, saving you doing too much post writing, Facebook has started down-grading any posts that divert away from the platform itself. It makes sense really, why would Facebook want it’s users being taken away to another website when they’re happily totting up some massive active user scores?

The best way to provide a relevant link to your website i.e. if you’re talking about a new blog post that you’ve written or your latest portfolio images is to directly upload (without copying the wording from your website) any images onto your Facebook page as a secondary portfolio. It’ll make sure that customers can see your work quickly and without the inconvenience of opening up another tab or being diverted unexpectedly. The same applies to content on other websites such as YouTube, Flickr and Twitter.

TOP TIP: If you want to provide a link, add it to your comments as Facebook won’t downgrade your post.

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3. Relevance scores

If you’ve heard of the term, it’s something that Facebook has focused on for a while but only recently has become more strict with. Basically, your posts on your business page are far more likely to see higher reach values if you post topics that are organic, relevant to your target audience and provide useful, non-sales information.

For example, if you sell pet products, a clever way to use your Facebook page would be to take photos of a ‘happy customer’ i.e. a puppy with a new harness. Images or video content directly uploaded to Facebook are really good for audience reach and especially ones that customers can empathise or relate to. For this example, your potential customers may think, “aww, that’s so cute. My little puppy would look amazing in one of those.” There you have it. A sale. However, had you written, “new puppy harness for £9.99,” with a link to the product on your own website, the effect would’ve been less dramatic and your post would’ve been downgraded, despite it being relevant. Anything completely irrelevant, despite good intentions, will reach virtually no-one.

 

There you have it. Three ways to avoid catastrophe with your Facebook business page. There are also changes that have affected the Facebook advertising rules but we can’t sit here writing all day. There’s work to be done! If you’d like more information or want to speak to us about social media for your business, GET IN TOUCH.

4 Important Lessons That We Can All Learn From Goths

It might seem completely off tangent for me to talk about Goths in a blog post. Don’t worry, I’ve not gone mad. Do read on.

There are actually 4 points about the gothic subculture in the U.K. (I have to specify my own country as I don’t know if the same applies beyond our rhelm), that I’m finding myself increasingly interested in as a way of aiding self-development and understanding social relations in general.

This blog follows 24 hours I spent in Whitby (on our beautiful east coast) over the last weekend of the school Easter holidays. Having just gotten back to sunny Sheffield after a 100+ miles drive, I was struck with a sense of satisfaction having been surrounded by some of the most grounded, integrity-riddled and interesting people I’ve ever met.

A hundred or so Goths and non-Goths had descended on the small seaside town of Whitby for the bi-annual Whitby Goth Weekend, held in April and October. I normally wouldn’t travel to Whitby just for the Goth weekend but I’ve been before and been wowed by some of the wonderful costume creations and absolute dedication of the Goths to make the weekends successfully attract thousands of sight-seers and supporters. I’d never really stuck around to chat to the Goths or see how they achieved this embracing subculture.

We attended on this occasion however, for a football match…yes, I’m not making this up. Twice a year, the Whitby Gothic FC play a local bunch of blokes, Stokomotive FC at Whitby Town Football Club’s ground, all for a charitable cause.


Stokomotive FC. Picture by: Ceri Oakes, Whitby Gazette photographer.

Neither team are professional (despite having some surprising good players), nor do either team play together more than twice a year for the Whitby Goth Weekends. The Goths play in black, obviously. Stokomotive FC play in white and red. All funds raised for the game and in the auction and raffle go towards the chosen charity. I thought it was a pretty good reason to travel up t’north.

Now you’ve got a bit of a background about the event and Whitby, here’s the 4 lessons that we can all learn from this non-conformist group of individuals who wow us all with their costumes, their stories and their attitudes to life:

1. Embrace your creative side

It’s easier said than done. Allowing your creativeness to be expressed through what you wear is something that the Goths have been well-known for. Only at WGW could you see a man in a predator mask and full predator dreadlocks called John with a day job in insurance.

The dullness of the daily routine can have a detrimental impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing. Getting creative can spark inspirational thoughts, feelings and can develop motivation for new ventures in even the most conformed mind. Creativeness is great for business. If you’re a creative business owner with lots of new ideas for marketing and development, it keeps customers interested and your staff inspired.

2. Don’t take life too seriously

Slightly linked to the first point but an important one nevertheless. All too often in business, we meet serious professionals who perhaps are successful but are not so relaxing to be around. It appeared to me that despite their efforts in dressing for the occasion, the Goths could laugh at themselves and enjoy the smiles and friendly remarks of other visitors to Whitby. The important factor here is humility – not taking yourself too seriously and thus, creating an atmosphere that is welcoming and encouraging to be involved in.

3. Don’t judge people based on how they look

It’s a flaw for many of us. Some of the wealthiest, most successful people across the U.K. and beyond have their chill days. For some, those chill days or those days of pure enjoyment come when they can dress differently, no one knows who they are and they are enjoying a very different attention. Some of the Goths I met had well-paid, highly respectable jobs or were business owners with possibly success beyond what many of us could dream of. Would we walk down the street and assume that if we saw a Goth? No.

Some of the most interesting people in business and outside of it are the slightly alternative ones. Richard Branson never got anywhere by following the norm.

4. There is more than one side to everyone you meet

We take people, generally, as mentioned above, at face value. If our first impression is to dislike someone because of the way they dress, the way they behave, the way they sound, what are we missing? That Goth with the black eyeliner and the tattoos could be the answer to your business worries; the great artist that you’ve been looking for, the outstanding social worker, the scientist who’s developing a cure for cancer. We just never know. Everyone has more than one side, unless they try so hard to conform to what they think others want that they’re scared to allow any individualism.

Business is best practiced when we look for strengths in our employees, colleagues or associates, not weaknesses. Everyone has another side, other abilities, other skills and knowledge that they may be afraid to share or develop because of the pressure to conform.

Life would be boring if we didn’t have people who were willing to push boundaries, to take chances, to not conform. The same goes for business and for marketing. Differences, creativeness and enjoying life should be embraced by anyone entering into business.

The least successful people are those who fail to open their eyes to the possibilities and creativeness around them. 

In Goths we trust and are United. 

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