Opinions on business,
marketing and related technologies.

54: Ronald Gijsel, Building a community and Yith WooCommerce plugin

Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Android or search ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Ronald shares his experience of how he got into the world of WordPress and became a brand ambassador for Yith.

Sponsors for this episode:

  • 34SP.com – A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.
  • BombBomb.com – A simple way to create and send personal video by email. Visit vid.us/somethinginventive to get 10 video examples from real users.
(more…)

53: Three Counties and Cotswolds Tourism Forum 2020 round-up

Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Android or search ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Through my Fastershire links, I get to work with many businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry. So when event organiser, Steve Gardner-Collins invited me to come along to the Three Counties and Cotswolds Tourism Forum with a press pass to cover the event, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to learn more about this sector.

Sponsors for this episode:

  • 34SP.com – A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.
  • BombBomb.com – A simple way to create and send personal video by email. Visit vid.us/somethinginventive to get 10 video examples from real users.
(more…)

Fewer people are learning the skills to repair the things they own

Set of tools on a plank

This Tweet thread from BriannaWu got me thinking about what more we can do.

The irony is that even as society has become more technologically dependent, fewer and fewer people are learning the skills to repair things we own. Addressing climate change will require us stop throwing tech away, and start treasuring and maintaining it.

A couple of years ago my father and brother – both qualified engineers – were supporting a Repair Cafe in Hereford. The idea being for people to bring in old items to be repaired rather than be thrown into landfill.

I’ve always been interested in what’s inside an object or how it works, particularly electronics, and where possible I like to at least attempt a repair using my favourite Gorilla Glue and even digging out a soldering iron. It’s also fun to do this with my kids as long as they don’t move all the screws about!

The Repair Cafés are still going strong with over 100 in the UK and 1500 worldwide. If you have a gadget or household item that’s broken, before you chuck it go along to a Repair Café near you to see if it can be fixed. Even if you still fancy shopping for a new item you can Freecycle the old one for someone else to enjoy.


Update: You may also like to watch this short from the series Me vs Climate Change about Tech which features a visit to a Repair Café.

Think harder about who you’re friends with

Euan Semple interviewed on Jonathon Pollinger’s #SocialMediaShow podcast

“When people moan at me about the rubbish on Facebook I point out that that’s your friends. And if you don’t like that then think harder about who you’re friends with”

I completely agree with Euan on this, we should all take more responsibility for the diet of news and comment that we read. And like any good food diet it should be varied.

8 Small Business Email Marketing Tips for 2020

Letters flying into US style mailbox

In the digital age we live in, small businesses are needing to pull out all the stops to generate sales and spread brand awareness. One of the best ways to get consumers on board is by running targeted email campaigns. Many businesses may opt for traditional marketing strategies, such as television and newspaper spreads; however, as a small company, you may not have the funds to promote your products and services on such platforms.

Email marketing is a popular strategy that more and more businesses are using to drum up interest for their brand. Sending regular communications to your target demographic is not only cost-effective, but easy to do too, so here are some of the best email marketing strategies to use in 2020.

Have a clear goal in mind

Before using email marketing, it’s essential that you have a clear goal in mind for your small business. Understandably, the main purpose of sending out emails is to nurture leads into sales, so figuring out who your audience is, the types of products they’re interested in, as well as how to catch their interest is key.

Don’t hide your email subscription

One of the main problems that many websites face is not having a mailing list that’s easily visible. To increase your opt-ins, consumers need to know how and where to subscribe to your content. The first thing that you need to do is have a sign-up form that’s easy to spot on your webpage, blog, or another resource page. To draw more consumers in, adding a link to the form on your social media channels, email signature, and other relevant locations is advised.

Let consumers know what to expect

Whether the purpose of your emails is to provide your audience with company updates, or you would like to promote your blog posts, it’s important that you tell consumers what to expect before signing up to your business. Providing as much information as possible will give visitors an informed choice, helping to reduce the risk of them unsubscribing in the future.

Offer incentives

If you’re having difficulty drumming up interest for your small business, why not provide an incentive? After all, we all like a freebie or something that will benefit us, so when audiences subscribe to your email newsletter, providing cost-effective incentives such as a discount voucher, a free eBook or a raffle entry can make all the difference between securing more subscribers or consumers losing interest.

Segment your lists

Once your email list begins to gain traction, you should start segmenting them to help you work out what types of emails are best sent to whom. Sure, it will take time to get things right; however, it will all pay off in the long run. You need to remember that all your subscribers will come from different walks of life, so the last thing you want to do is send out a marketing email to the wrong demographic. 

Create the perfect newsletter

To increase the chances of consumers taking an interest and signing up to your brand, it’s important that you create a newsletter that is eye-catching from the get-go. These enewsletter samples can give you a better idea of what you should incorporate into your own to help you stand out from competitors. Remember, consumers will get tons of emails each day from rivals, so you will need to think outside the box and have a USP (unique selling point) to make your presence known. 

Before you send out any emails, make sure that you take the time to thoroughly proofread what you have written. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar can put people off, so if you aren’t sure it’s suitable enough, reaching out to friends and family to have a look can help.

Mobile-friendly is crucial

With technology continuing to advance, so does the popularity of mobile phones. If you want to target a younger audience in particular, the chances are the majority will own a smartphone, so it’s crucial that you optimise your marketing emails so your audience can read about your business while on the go. 

Consistency is key

As a small business owner, it can be disheartening to put your blood, sweat, and tears into email marketing and not see the results you expected. You have to remember that success rarely tends to happen overnight, so even if you’ve curated the best e-newsletter out there, consumers need time to become aware of your brand before you notice an increase in subscribers. Staying consistent with your emails and showing that you’re passionate about your business can help make your target audience take you more seriously.

Email marketing can be a great way to let your target audience know about the latest developments, trends, products, and services that your company has to offer. If you aren’t sure where to begin, using all the email marketing tips listed can you get you off to a good start and help build a loyal following. 

Beautiful city maps

Black and white map of Cirencester

Related to a previous post on Interactive Maps here’s another mapping tool but this time for some visual fun. The City Roads website uses OpenStreetMap data to produce a simple black and white map of all roads in a given town.

Via Daring Fireball

Image: Cirencester town captured from the City Roads website.

Interactive Maps and Content Personalisation

Paul Lacey presenting at WPChelt

Two great presentations at last weeks Cheltenham WordPress Meetup. Here are some of the notes I took away.

Building interactive maps in leaflet.js

  • Lucy Sloss (@lucysloss) from Studio Mothership
  • Leaflet.js – an open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps
  • Has a WordPress plugin (of course)
  • Can choose your own tile set such as Google, Map box (also higher customisable), Open Street maps or custom image tiles
  • Create own markers and pop ups content
  • Works with GEOJSON map format for importing multiple locations

Content personalisation

  • Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey) from Dickie birds
  • Content personalisation – website content that changes based on the unique things it knows about the user
  • Personalising experiences – Just like walking into a coffee shop when they know your name and how you like your coffee.
  • Can be creepy. So respect a website users personal space
  • Mutually beneficial conversion – Use personalisation where it will help you user find information or do something more quickly
  • Personalisation plug-ins – logichop.com (cheapest) and if-so.com
  • Logichop has Gutenberg integration

Also discussed in the pub after the meetup was wordsesh.com a virtual conference all about WordPress via @Just2Ronald

52: Edward White shares his journey into filmmaking

Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Android or search ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Ben talks with Edward White from ATLIVE to discuss how he got into film making and developing his own style.

The sponsor for this episode is 34SP. A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.

(more…)

Back Her Business crowdfunding from NatWest

Interesting idea from NatWest to support women in businesses.

We’re here to help you to turn your idea into a side-hustle and your side-hustle into your main-hustle. It’s time to close the gender gap in business, for good.

Not only do we have money for some of you (and we all know that helps), we also have mentoring, workshops, crowdfunding coaching and events in your community.

Apart from using the word ‘hustle’ – which I don’t think a business should ever be doing – I support this idea and it’s positive bias to support women. It’s crazy that ‘the system’ has worked any other way and a balancing of renumeration and authority is the only way forward.

Genevieve from Writability brought this scheme to my attention with her project.

I’d like to reach more of the UK’s plucky but under-resourced SMEs and help them succeed with better sales and marketing copy.

Check out the project and see if you can support Genevieve or one of the other projects in the scheme with as little as £1.

51: Jonathan Mahan, Video promotion and tips to get comfortable on camera

Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Android or search ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Ben talks with Jonathan Mahan from Bombbomb on how video improves business and gathers some tips on how to get comfortable on camera.

The sponsor for this episode is 34SP. A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.


(more…)