Want a ‘wild life’? Become a wildlife volunteer…

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) was set up in 1962 to campaign and take action to protect the natural environment. Since then the Trust has grown to become one of the UK’s leading environmental charities, working to create a sustainable future for wildlife and people.

Over the past ten years we’ve worked with WWT on all kinds of communication projects, including a wide and varied range of large scale graphics such as interpretation boards for their growing number of nature reserves, and fundraising event materials.

We were asked to produce a set of lightweight display boards that could be easily carried and set up by WWT volunteers for fundraising street events. As it happens, whilst popping out for a bite to eat last week, we came across one of their lovely fundraising volunteers, a very fine stand sporting the boards, and an assorted cuddly crew of woodland creatures adorning the pavement at the front of Devizes M&S.

If you would like to support the invaluable work that WWT does to protect wildlife and the environment, you can sign up to be a supporter here. Better still, you can volunteer to help with one of their amazing projects. Go for it… you know you want to!

Five ways to get more customers and generate more business in 2017

How to Generate More Customers and Business in 2017

As well as setting new year resolutions in their personal lives, many business owners will be looking to set similar targets and goals for their business in an effort to improve on the previous year. In this week’s post, we’re going to outline five potential ways you can attract more customers and grow your business in 2017.

1) Make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly

As we covered in a previous post, having a mobile-friendly and responsive site is more important than ever.

Over 60% of people search the web on a mobile device – Google now automatically detects whether websites are mobile-friendly or not, and prioritises mobile-friendly sites in their search results accordingly to make sure their users have the best possible experience online.

Simply put, having a mobile-friendly site will help you get more traffic from the search engines and it will also help to convert more of the traffic you do get into active customers.

Try this online tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly or not, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss the various ways in which Lumous can help.

2) Keep in touch using e-mail marketing

One of the best ways to upsell additional products and services to your existing customers is to keep in touch by e-mail marketing.

You can also encourage people to sign-up to your marketing e-mails by adding a simple subscription form to your website.

A weekly or monthly newsletter is a great way to keep your business in the forefront of customers’ minds so they’re more likely to come back and/or recommend you to their friends.

You can also automate the delivery of e-mails to your customers (with offers, incentives, and details of other products/services you can offer them) once they have completed a certain task or action, such as filling out an online form or purchasing a product from your online store.

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Merry Christmas from all of us at Lumous!

Merry Christmas from Lumous!

2016 has been a fantastic first year for Lumous and we really appreciate all the support and encouragement we’ve had from our lovely clients – after all, we wouldn’t even be here without you!

As you can see from the above shots, we’ve been out and about across Wiltshire as winter starts to set in, enjoying the beautiful countryside on our doorsteps. From left to right we have a spider’s web on an early frost morning taken at Quakers Walk, Devizes. We then have an icy star on the side of an allotment shed, also in Devizes. Finally, we have a rose hip, taken in the churchyard at the village of Potterne.

The office is now closed for the festive break, but we will be back ready to launch into 2017 on Tuesday the 3rd January.

Finally, we would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Christmas – we very much look forward to continue working with you all next year!

Warm wishes from us all,

Steve, Julian, Annie, Kathy and Nikki

Supporting Teaching Staff this Christmas

Supporting teaching staff this Christmas

Here at Lumous we love the fact that we get to work with a diverse range of charities doing fantastic work. Their activities include improving people’s lives, protecting the environment, raising animal welfare issues and promoting diversity in society.

In the past few months we’ve started working with Education Support Partnership – a charity that, amongst other things, offers a 24/7 helpline for teachers. It aims to provide practical and emotional support to staff in the education sector and their families regardless of age, length of service, or union affiliations to improve well-being, quality of life, and career effectiveness.

Education Support Partnership services are open to trainees, newly qualified teachers, serving teachers, headteachers, and retired professionals, teaching assistants and all education staff, as well as staff in the adult, further, and higher education sectors. The charity’s areas of expertise include finance, housing, care issues, health, well-being at work, and career development.

If you would like to know more about their amazing work, or if you know somebody involved in teaching who needs help, then visit www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk to find out more.

Tips for Managing Stress and Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Managing Stress and Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

We know a lot of our clients have made efforts to reduce their stress levels by embracing flexible working and/or the opportunity to work from home. We also know that a lot of our clients have started their own business in an effort to work on something they’re passionate about and/or give themselves the flexibility to work around all the other demands of day to day life.

With this in mind, this week we’ve simply hand picked a few thought provoking videos that are well worth a watch and may well change your outlook on work and the other important areas of your life… Enjoy!

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Top 5: WordPress Tips, Tricks & Features You Probably Don’t Know

Wordpress Tips and Tricks

For those of you unfamiliar with WordPress; it is a powerful content management system that allows you to update your website without any coding knowledge. It has come a long way in the past 10 years or so, in terms of its ease of use and its improved security (especially now that you can apply the latest security patches and updates with just a few clicks).

It is also a very popular choice with our clients – over 25% of the websites and blogs we host are powered by WordPress.

For those of you who update your website using WordPress on a regular basis, we’ve put together our top 5 features, tips and tricks that will save you time and help improve your blog or website for your readers.

If, on the other hand, you currently don’t or aren’t able to update your own website, why not get in touch to talk to us about the many benefits of adding relevant and unique content to your site on a regular basis.

1) WordPress keyboard shortcuts

When writing for the web, it’s good practise to break up your content with plenty of sub-headings. This makes your posts much easier to read and also helps them to rank better in the search engines.

I just created the above heading by typing the following and hitting the enter key:

## 1) Quick keyboard shortcut for sub-headings

The number of hashes that precedes the text corresponds to the heading number, so if you need a Heading 3, you should use 3 hashes (###) and so on…

Similarly, if you need to start a bulleted list, simply type an asterisk (*) followed by a space and WordPress will automatically turn it into a bulleted list.

Finally, when creating a link to another website or page on your site, try Ctrl+K (or Cmd+K on Mac) to quickly open the ‘insert link’ dialogue box.

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Update: Plantlife’s 2016 Road Verge Campaign

Plantlife's Road Verge Campaign 2016

Back in July, we posted details about Plantlife’s Road Verge Campaign – an appeal to local councils to adopt their guidelines for better management of road verges. By doing so, they will protect and preserve the wild flowers and wildlife that flourish alongside thousands of miles of roads all over the UK.

We have been working with Plantlife on this campaign for over 4 years to help promote their message online through a dedicated mini-site. The campaign has been featured numerous times in the national press, and once again last month in The Guardian newspaper.

Last week, their petition hit another new milestone – 18,000 signatures, and Plantlife also announced in a recent newsletter that they “now have commitments from 9 councils to protect nearly 15,600km of grassy flower-rich road verges; an area equivalent to a quarter of the remaining lowland meadows in the UK”.

If you would like to support this fantastic cause, please visit the campaign site for further information or go ahead and donate to the campaign via their online shop.

How to Manage and Protect your Brand’s Online Reputation

Online Reputation Management

With the huge surge in popularity of social media and online reviews, it’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on your brand’s online reputation. If you are quickly alerted to anything negative about you that gets posted online, you stand a much better chance of minimising the damage and dealing with the situation effectively…

So the worst happens and something fake or libellous is posted about you online and it has the potential to spread virally via social media. It is crucial that you don’t ignore it and take steps to have it removed or at least respond as quickly as possible. Take the example of where two employees of Domino’s Pizza posted a video on YouTube that was filmed in a branch’s kitchen. Rather than report the video immediately, Domino’s chose to ignore it and hope that the online backlash would blow over and simply go away.

The above is an extreme example, but even the very best companies are likely to face some kind of negative criticism posted about them online at some point. If, for example, you receive a negative review online, here’s an example of how not to respond. In this case, the business owner decided to post an angry and unprofessional response, full of personal insults, and even accused the customer of working for one of their competitors!

To avoid unfortunate situations like this, here’s our step-by-step guide to help manage your brand’s online reputation effectively…

1) Setup accounts for your business on all popular social media networks and review websites

If a customer then chooses to ‘tag’ you in any feedback they post, you will then be alerted immediately via the social network’s built in notification system. It also means you can respond quickly to anything you find publicly posted on any given social media platform.

Claim your business listing on Trip Adviser and similar review websites so that you get notified as soon as a new review is posted online.

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New Business Startup Case Study: Free to Lead Consulting Ltd

Business Startup Case Study - Free to Lead

After working as an HR professional for more than 15 years, Helen Franklin studied for a Masters in Coaching & Mentoring Practice at Oxford Brookes University between 2012 and 2014 and went on to setup her own company, Free to Lead Consulting Ltd in 2015.

Free to Lead Consulting Ltd aims to make lives easier for leaders either through 1-1 coaching or through supporting their teams or organisations to be better performing. Helen’s services include leadership coaching, team coaching, learning design and meeting design and facilitation, and organisational development consultancy. At the start of 2015, she approached Lumous to help her achieve a consistent approach to her branding and on-line presence. Helen says: “I wanted a one-stop shop for my branding and website from an organisation that was easy to work with, ethical, and produced high quality work. From my first conversation with Steve from Lumous I knew I had found a great partner”.

After setting up her domain and e-mail services, we sat down to discuss her marketing strategy. We then designed her logo and branding to meet the feel and values of her organisation as described by Helen as well as a modern, fully responsive, mobile-friendly website which has been a fantastic success. We have since carried out search engine optimisation (SEO) on the website and designed business cards and a pull-up banner to help promote the company at various networking events.

Just 18 months in, the company is going from strength to strength and Helen is already enjoying the benefits of being her own boss. She says herself, “I am delighted with my company logo, website and the support Lumous have given me to brand my Twitter account and provide marketing materials such as business cards and pull up banners. If you want to work with a friendly yet professional organisation who put the customer in the centre of what they do then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for your design and web needs.”

To find out more about the services Free to Lead offer, please visit the website.

Using Social Media to Promote and Market Your Business

Social Media Marketing Guide

This week we’ve scoured the web for the very best articles and advice that will help you to promote your business for free using social media – one of the most important tools available for online marketing, establishing your brand and nurturing your business’s reputation.

Choosing the right social media network for your business

The following article from AddThis provides a useful summary of the type of users you will find on all the major social networks, and how you can use each platform to engage with consumers and other businesses in order to promote awareness of your brand.

How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Marketing tips for your chosen social media networks

So you’ve decided which social media networks are right for your business and brand… now what? The following articles provide some detailed advice on the best way to use each specific social network and reap the benefits for your business:

If you feel you need additional help with developing your social media strategy, managing and monitoring your various social media accounts or creating content to share on your blog and social media, please do get in touch to find out how we can help.