Opinions on business,
marketing and related technologies.

Hobbyist photographers – Why you should invest in a professional

It is truly amazing what we can all achieve with a mobile phone camera but you need to be realistic. When it comes to producing stunning imagery for your business, it really is worth getting the professionals in.

We see so many hobbyist photographers who believe they are saving money by taking the photos themselves but in fact, it’s costing them in the long run.

 

A professional photographer provides experience, knowledge & creative flair

When you hire a professional photographer you are hiring someone who does photography for a living. They have a wealth of experience they can apply to any given situation and will strive to capture your vision. Photography is an art and it’s not at all as simple as point and shoot. They are thinking about their depth of field, lighting, angle, overall composition and scene to tailor the photography style to your industry. It takes years of practice to hone their skill and develop their creative flair to enable them to deliver breathtaking shots that enthusiasts can only dream of.

The skill is not only taking the original shot but also being able to adjust and edit the photos depending on your photo requirements. Whether the colours need to be punchier or the background needs enhancing, editing photos can take hours. To do it well takes experience, practice, and creativity usually on expensive software.

Customers can judge in an instant from the presentation of a product whether or not it is right for them. Using a professional photographer will only increase your chances of getting their attention and for the right reasons.

 

Investing in stock images could be an alternative answer

If hiring a professional photographer is currently beyond your means then consider investing in some stock images. There are many libraries online like EveryPixel, Adobe Stock and Flickr who provide a range of free and inexpensive images for all to use. Just remember if you opt for this, other people will also be using these images, maybe even your competitors so they won’t be unique to your business. If you want to stand out and have professional, unique images which represent your brand, then you have invested in a professional photographer.

 

It doesn’t have to be expensive

If you value how your business is perceived then invest. This doesn’t have to be overly expensive, many photographers will tailor a bespoke package to your needs and means. Or for ease if mind, you can always purchase an off the shelf deal so you know exactly what you can expect. On Inventive People we offer lots of options to enable us to meet our clients’ needs.

 

Image courtesy of Pexel

Interview: Dan Lewis Founder of FreeAgent247

In this interview Ben managed to catch Dan Lewis from Free Agent 247 in-between meetings to chat about their free business model and how video plays an important part in their promotional strategy.

 

Image Credit: Founder Dan Lewis, FreeAgent247. Banner Image Credit: Image of Dan Lewis sat in a chair reading.

Interview: Duane Forrester Yext’s VP Industry Insights

Voice search on Alexa and Google, is an area we don’t have a complete grasp on yet, particularly optimising for it. So, Ben was keen to talk with Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights over at Yext.

We discuss why we should be using structured data on our website. How this impacts conventional SEO and why it matters for voice and augmented reality.

 

Image Credit: Founder Duane Forrester. Banner Image Credit: Accounts icons on a mobile courtesy of Pexel

Something Inventive 31: GDPR Myths, Meet-ups and Outsourcing

Al and Ben muse over some GDPR myths. Al shares his enlightened experience on meet-ups over in Bristol and we talk about outsourcing curtesy of Seth Godin.

The sponsor for this episode is Inventive People. Get 20% off first order with the code INVENTIVEPODCAST.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pexel.

WordPress 5.0 with ‘Gutenberg’ is here, but don’t update without reading this

What is Gutenberg?

It’s the new visual editor built directly into WordPress and replaces the standard content editor used on post and pages. It’s designed to give people more flexibility on how they layout content.

We’ve used tools such as Visual Composer to layout our customers’ web page content for the last few years but it’s nice to see that WordPress is embracing its own visual layout system going forward.

However, if you update your website to version 5 without understanding the consequences it could be cause for frustration.

You can find out more about Gutenberg directly on the WordPress blog.

Update: Checkout episode 40 of our podcast Working with WordPress Gutenberg, where I talk to Kimb Jones about the Gutenberg editor along with a demo of some of the rather handy features built into it.

Screenshot of WP Gutenberg editor

Ok so what do I need to do?

We always recommend that people update to the latest version of WordPress to ensure they have the most reliable and secure version.

However, updating to version 5 will change the way you make content changes in the admin area and if you are using any page builder plugins such as Visual Composer, Elementor or Divi it may prevent these from working correctly.
If you’d like to update to the latest version of WordPress, but keep on working as you are without the Gutenberg editor, we recommend following these steps:

  1. Backup your WordPress site files and Database
  2. Download and install the Classic Editor plugin
  3. Then update your WordPress core

If you run a mission critical website then we would recommend you make the updates on a development server first before rolling out on live just to make sure any incompatibilities are identified.

If you’re a customer on our WordPress Support hosting plan then we’ll manage the transition for you, if not get in touch as we’d be happy help.

What is Project Beacon – The ultimate guide

Have any of you received a mysterious package from Google courtesy of Project Beacon?

A small device which self activates as soon as you open the box, feels slightly disconcerting as the simple instructions indicate it is already broadcasting to local phone traffic in your area. It’s enough to make your head spiral: To what means and to whose benefit? Does it comply with the new GDPR regulations, where is this information stored or analysed? Can I opt out of it? How do I switch if off? So many questions and so little information, so we decided it was time to dig a little deeper.

Overview shot of what you receive in the package from Google's Project Beacon

What is Project Beacon?

Our technology has become so ingrained within our daily lives our mobile phones are more like appendages and Google knows it. You can’t deny it, throughout the day we will all find ourselves on it at some point, whether it is to search for something, read a review, get directions and so on.

Google have developed a seemingly innocuous battery powered device, Project Beacon that makes location-based searching and interaction a little easier and more accurate.

The small, thumb sized column emits one way signals that are readable by nearby Bluetooth low energy devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Allowing your phone to better identify its location and to send or receive information which currently takes the form of targeted advertising, confirming arrival at a particular location and engagement.

Image of stats being captured on a laptop and mobile phone

How will using Project Beacon benefit your business?

This device could enable businesses to track how many handsets visited their store. This will help your business show up on individual personal maps, help filter out inaccurate reviews for people who have not even visited your business, help identify popular times and typical visit durations for the business.

A simpler way to say it is that with a beacon, your phone will now know exactly where you are, as opposed to guessing where you are.

However, this is not the first or last beacon device out there, there is already the Amazon Beacon, the Apple iBeacon,  among others which are all doing similar things among varying levels. There are also companies like Estimote who develop apps to help you interpret the data you are gathering. Here are some case studies of how some organisations have been getting on with them such as the Guggenheim in New York and FC Barcelona.

Image of stats being captured on a tablet and mobile phone

How to avoid a beacon

If you would rather not be party to a big brother state of having your personal technology track your every move then you must look at your own device settings and opt out of the Location Services.

Technically the Beacon device cannot be switched off without being taken part. However, if you would like to opt out you can send it back to Google free of charge.

 

Banner image courtesy of Pexel, Computer images courtesy of Estimote.

Something Inventive 30: Happiness is a lemonade

In this episode Al and Ben review their time at Bath Digital festival, Ben shares his experience of London Podcast festival including how to make dollars. Rounding off with a look at .UK domains.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pexel.

Interview: Dean Murphy Founder of Crystal Adblocker App

Dean is an app developer who Ben met when he was invited on to the delightful Mac & Forth podcast.

Ben was particularly interested in Dean’s app Crystal, an iOS ad blocker that in many ways it actively works against the companies in an industry adjacent to ours, advertising. Although we see ourselves as the good guys when it comes to promotion.

Ben finds out how Dean started in app development, identified his very specific niche and got his app out to market.

 

 

Image Credit: Founder Dean Murphy. Banner Image Credit: Girl Holding Crystal Ball courtesy of Pexel

Something Inventive 29: Bath Digital Festival Special – Part two

In this episode as well as giving you a round op of the days events we also feature an interview with Jim Morrison the festival director and ask him pointed questions such as ‘why are the workshops so far apart’.

Part one available here

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

 

 

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

  • Bath Digital Festival 2018
  • Secrets Of Successful Calls-To-Action and Landing Pages
    • It’s about motivation – Convert action and urgency
    • Test. Test. Test.
    • Exit pop ups can bring in more clicks for email signup
    • (In their tests) video less effective on landing page when the offer is simple
      Gertie Goddard, Noisy Little Monkey
  • Revealing The Mysterious World Of Marketing Automation
    • Lead nurturing campaign: Early research -> CTA -> landing page -> Follow up emails
    • Lucid chart for high level flowcharting of user experience
      James Mulvaney, Noisy Little Monkey
  • The Psychology Of Sales Emails
    • Nurture people towards a close: Attract -> Convert -> Close
    • It’s all about them. Use the word you more than we/me and yse their name in the email subject line
    • Use video as part of proposal process
    • Use a PS, often people skip straight to this
      John Payne, Noisy Little Monkey
  • Evershare.io – Where Fans Can Buy A Share in a Song
  • Why Your Business Needs a Blog
    • Share the why (your story) in your blog. To help with this describe what you do to a friend or colleague then ask them to summarise it back to you. This is your story.
    • Give stories to customers so they can share them and convert others
    • People use Instagram because they are looking for images they can step into or a person they can be.
      Sal Godfrey, Sal’s Kitchen
  • The Tech is Not Enough
    • Bring the audience to you. Find out how to help them
    • Understand: who will face this challenge? Who do they trust for recommendations? How can I reach them?
    • Maximise content: what do you have already? What can you easily create? Video has 130% additional engagement. What else does your audience need? Create stock image library of product images or shareable content
    • Maximise engagement: look for a slow burn acceleration. Ask questions? Polls! What are there anxieties/fears/hopes? Pick the right tone of voice. Listening to customers and adding features that add value.
    • Make your tech shine. Move from spec (what is it made from) -> Features (what does it do) -> Benefits  (how does that help me) -> Value/Impact (why customer busy).
      Emily Perkins, OggaDoon
  • Bristol and Bath Cyber meet up
    • Company of the lovely chap Ben met at the bar www.showup.global
    • Shout out to these guys for an interesting event with free beer!
  • Successful CTA and Landing Pages
    • Simple, clear, targetted, bold
    • Dont be afraid to lose your site nav on landing pages
    • On exit popups were more effective than bottom-right panels
  • Designing for a better World
    • Draw up your own goals and aims, as an agency or freelancer
    • It’s ok to say no to a project but keep it professional
    • Its ok to work for an ‘evil’ company if you are trying to change them for the better
    • Check your pension and what it is funding!
  • Digital Brands__ready
    • 50% of purchases are on phones
    • Traditional shopping model totally altered by peer reviews and trust
    • 81% read reviews before buying a product. 1 in 3 comment or interact with brand in some way. 79% wont buy from again if mobile experience was bad
  • Lean Content – Jo Duncan
    • Simple, Single Channel, Straightforward content
    • Really, really put yourself in your customers shoes. Feel what they feel.
    • 80% planning / 20% doing
  • Why you need a blog
    • Write new posts once a week or 2 weeks ideally
    • Give people a story to talk about and to share
    • 300 – 1000 words perhaps
  • Bring a product to market
    • People want problems solved, but not get sold to
    • Who does your audience trust?
    • How-to’s, guides and manuals really important.
  • Equality in workplace discussion
    • Returnships – for people returning to work after career break – new concept
    • Offer fair paternity/maternity policies, dont get stuck in traditional policy
    • Home or flexi working opens up new potential workforce
  • Really interesting anecdote; when a successful male recruiter used his colleagues’ computer while she was on holiday it mistakenly added her email signature to his emails. He found that he got loads more negative responses from recruiters in particular.

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Bath Digital Festival

Hey, looking for constructive feedback? Then SayHola

Happy people holding speech bubbles

How do you ask for feedback from your customers?

I don’t mean to sound negative but, these days, in this saturated business environment, only those businesses who listen to and act upon the feedback received from customers have any chance of succeeding. It is this feedback that gives one company the edge over another.

But how do you ask for feedback?

Look someone in the eye and ask them what they think of your service or product, and they are likely to say something along the lines of ‘wonderful, fabulous, best bacon roll I’ve ever tasted’ or something similar.

But are they being truthful?

No one likes to give negative or ‘constructive’ feedback directly. Many people are just too polite or too busy to criticise openly. Saying everything is ‘fine’ is easy, even if it’s untrue. I do it myself, all too often, and then kick myself for not giving that business the opportunity to grow and improve. If customers answer the same way – that everything is ‘great’ or ‘lovely’ every time, there’s nothing you can do with that. There’s no room for improvement.

You need to know that your coffee tastes weak or your web design is not up to scratch, otherwise you’ll start to lose business and you won’t know why. But more importantly, you need this feedback to convince new customers to buy from you. They don’t know you, your product or your reputation – why should they buy from you? A good review can explain why your product is the best and remove all doubt from a potential customer’s mind.

So, what can you do, as a business, to ensure that you get the feedback that really matters? You improve by asking the right questions, of the right people, at the right time.

Let me introduce SayHola, an independent review site that allows your customers to feed back to you. A SayHola review can tell you why customers decided to buy from you, how they use your product and most importantly, why they love it. By adding this to your website, you can improve conversion by showing you understand your customer’s needs.

Simply sign up with SayHola, send your customer a request to review with the link, which they click on to leave feedback about your business. Really, it couldn’t be simpler. It gets straight to their inbox, and they leave an honest review, and you can receive the feedback that really matters.

Here’s the process:

  1. You send your customer to SayHola and they click on the thumbs up or down to say if they are happy with your service.
  2. If they pick thumbs up, they are then presented with the opportunity to write a testimonial for you. If they select thumbs down, then we change the question slightly to ask how to improve the experience.
  3. After they submit their feedback an email will then be sent to you with the details of and rating of the review which you can choose to share publicly.
  4. If you also use Google My Business, Facebook or Twitter then your customer will be taken to another page to provide additional reviews on these services.

If you want the opportunity to ask for your customers’ views on your service or product, then sign up for a free trial of Sayhola.