Prompt Connections is a small business with a big ambition: to help vulnerable and elderly people to live independently with the support of an activity monitoring system that alerts relatives and carers when there is any departure from usual routines and patterns.
As a successful small business owner, Louise has many years’ marketing experience. However, with so much riding on this new venture, she was concerned about her lack of specific digital marketing knowledge. When her business coach suggested the Superfast Business advice programme, it sounded like a timely and ideal first step towards filling the gap – and Louise was very impressed with the results of an initial meeting with the Superfast Business advisor.“When you are new to digital marketing, it’s daunting,” she says. “To begin with, you don’t know what tools are available. And even once you’ve got some idea, it is so hard to keep up with developments and maintain your online presence. With the focus firmly on website functionality and digital marketing, Louise’s Superfast Business advisor set out a plan which consisted of eight hours’ specialist support, culminating in the creation of a comprehensive brief for the website designer charged with creating Prompt Connections’ live site – ready for the business to launch formally in September 2014.
As the support plan unfolded, Louise seized the chance to take a rigorous look at her digital marketing strategy for Prompt Connections – and was delighted by the quality of specialist advice she received.“It was absolutely excellent,” she says. “Jenny arranged for me to have Al Keck from toinfinity as my specialist and, although he’s an e-commerce and digital marketing specialist, he’s also a businessman who gets it all. He questioned me a lot about the decisions I was making – how I want the business to look now and, crucially, how I want it to look in the future.”This was important. Even as Louise was establishing the company, Live!y was launching more products. Al asked her to consider the impact of a rapidly expanding range – perhaps up to 10 different products - on her business, and the transformative effect it was likely to have.“These are things that you don’t necessarily consider if you have nobody to question you from the start,” she says. “Al showed me that the site must be open-ended in development, so that it can expand and allow customers to navigate and find what they are looking for as the range grows. “As a start-up, you can’t afford to get it wrong. There’s one opportunity to launch, to invest in your website, to get the name and the brand out there. You might have the right product and the right idea but if you aren’t appearing where you need to be in the search rankings, that alone can destroy the business. And it’s a major consideration when you’re investing your own money".
Louise says the most beneficial aspect of the specialist advice has been its impact on her vision for the website, which has shifted considerably with her new knowledge of how search engines work.“If you don’t work constantly in digital marketing or you aren’t a technology person –which I’m not – you just don’t know the latest about how Google works,” she says. Initially, she intended to develop separate sites for the distribution and consumer aspects of the business. However, bearing in mind the additional cost at this stage, she sought further advice from Al and they decided that the best option would be to have a main site with a link for business partners to click through to a dedicated area. She will measure the volume of business generated by this channel and when there is enough interest, build a new distribution website.Another key benefit has been thinking about how Louise’s potential customers will interact with the site, and establishing the best way to capture their details so they can be added to the database for follow-up marketing – again, taking a long-term view that could include the integration of Customer Relationship Management tools.
With the principles and cornerstones of a digital marketing strategy for Prompt Connections in place, Louise has now compiled a comprehensive brief for her website designer, and her eyes are firmly set on launching the business in mid-September.“I’ve been doing a lot of keyword research and that’s involved some follow-up calls with Al, so it looks as if the business relationship we’ve built with toinfinity will continue to be a legacy of the Superfast Business programme,” she says. “And that’s really worth my while because it means we aren’t duplicating discussions – he gets the business and knows what my goals are. I’m very excited to have everything in place to launch Prompt Connections with the backing of an up-to-date digital marketing strategy.”