April 9, 2015
Blogging is an activity that comes naturally to some people. Some are gifted writers and story-tellers, while some have oceans of engaging content that lends itself beautifully to the blogosphere. Many people are yet to conquer the blog however, and it’s no surprise as it can be a pretty daunting task. If you’re thinking about blogging (and we think you should be!) you might be asking yourself questions such as:
What’s the point of a blog?
How will it help my business?
What on Earth would I say?
Who’s going to read it?
How am I going to find enough to write about?
All normal concerns, and the answers are simple. The benefits of blogging are no secret, and they’re not just reserved for foodies and healthy lifestyle gurus! Whatever your business, there are all kinds of ways to generate interesting content that you can share on a blog, whether it be things that interest and inspire you, things you’ve been up to in your workplace, experiences you’ve had or just general musings. Your blog needn’t be read by millions to make a difference to your business, you can still benefit from blogging in a big way!
- It’s a way to boost your website’s search engine ranking – the more you blog, the higher you might climb
- Websites with blogs get 55% more visitors than those without
- Over half of businesses find blogs to be the most effective SEO technique
- Blogs are big now! Most people read 5-10 blogs, with 46% of people reading one more than once daily
- Small businesses with a blog will generate 126% more than leads than those without.
It’s a no brainer! Your posts don’t have to be miles in length, and readers are more likely to digest a shorter entry – so don’t feel you have to be a captivating word smith or have content coming out of your ears to justify a post. We are a world in a hurry, and are becoming increasingly visual by the day – blog entries with images get 94% more views than plain text ones. Make the most of this when you pick your content, and if your product or service lends itself to display, or perhaps you’re not a confident writer, use media to your advantage. Photograph what you’re selling and just be sure to include at least 10% text to amp up SEO, making sure to name every image so that they show in search engine results.
More fun still, why not include some video? It’s a great medium that allows you to speak to and interact with your consumers. Twitter has just introduced video to its app. Instagram and Snapchat have embraced video in the past couple of years and it seems that every other post on Facebook takes the form of video these days too. It may seem off the wall at first, but you can make them long or short, and as plainly informative or as wildly creative as you like. It’s just another method of mixing up your content and amplifying your business’ message to your audience.
We hope we have inspired you to give it go. Happy blogging!
April 8, 2015
If you were one of the lucky small businesses to receive a government Growth Voucher, congratulations! You’ve taken a really positive step towards growing your business. So what now?
You have three months from the day that you were awarded it to spend your voucher and to submit your claim for reimbursement from the government so let’s get cracking!
We would be glad to offer an initial free of charge consultation to talk through your business challenges and to explain how you can use your Growth Voucher against our strategic marketing planning advice to help grow your business. At Mzuri we are experienced at offering structured and tailored strategic marketing advice specific to your business, industry, objectives, budget and circumstances.
Backed by accredited membership of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) we use proven, SMART techniques to examine, in detail, the challenges your business faces as well as its strengths and USPs, target markets, audience and business objectives. This in-depth research enables us to develop sensible, effective and creative strategic advice to market your business via a range of appropriate channels to achieve your goals.
If you’re looking to take another step in the right direction towards growing your business and you’d like to talk to Mzuri about the delivery of strategic marketing advice please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. You can also email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01428 722 990.
April 7, 2015
We are delighted to welcome Senior Designer Dean Howard to our creative team. Dean brings extensive design experience across a wide range of sectors including education, blue-chip, charity and not-for-profit organisations, with his skill set expanding and complementing Mzuri’s existing creative services. Dean has a fantastic eye for layout and colour, with a keen interest in typography. He keeps up-to-date with design through blogs, his ever growing collection of design books and going to exhibitions.
Outside of work, Dean is a drummer, shares an allotment with his wife Jackie, loves embarking upon seaside adventures in his campervan and getting inky with letterpress! Dean is already making his mark with some exceptional design work and is a wonderful addition to the Mzuri team.
Dean’s appointment underlines an exciting phase for Mzuri, as we continue to celebrate our tenth year of business. In addition to client work, part of Dean’s role will be to focus on exciting in-house projects including the evolution of the Mzuri brand and the development of a new website, so watch this space!
March 23, 2015
What advice would you give to your 15 year-old self, particularly when it comes to careers and personal development? This was the question that sprung to mind when I was invited back to The Royal School recently to lead three careers workshops for girls aged 15-18. My feeling was: Be yourself. Believe in yourself.
The girls were able to choose their areas of interest and attended three preferred workshops. I was really excited (and a little nervous!) to be able to speak with, learn from and hopefully inspire the girls so was keen not to limit them to tales of my career alone. With that in mind, I canvassed opinion from my friends beforehand to ask them five questions covering what they do now, what they thought they would ‘be’ when they were at school, where they see themselves in 10 years, what impact having a family has had on their career (if applicable) and what advice they would give to their 15 – 18 year old selves.
Their fascinating and varied responses were really inspirational to read and a pleasure to compile in to a booklet for the girls to keep, which I wanted to convey my overarching message for the workshops: all young women (and men!) should be themselves and believe in themselves too. This was echoed in the booklet’s design, combined with inspiring notable quotes as well as the real opinion and advice from my peers who have since gone off in very different directions to the ones they thought they would, or that they ought to, once upon a time! The girls’ feedback was very affirming and the booklet seemed to really strike a chord with them. I hope it will be something they revisit and which will encourage them to keep the faith in those moments of stress about next steps.
It was great to connect with the girls, staff and other speakers at the event, including theatre tour manager Janice Brittain, artist Poppy Porter, childcare play specialist Zoe Parton, barrister Katy-May Balmer and M&S fashion buyer Roz Duncan. Justine Hardy from charity Healing Kashmir delivered a fascinating keynote speech. Her story is inspirational and as well as leading her charity in Kashmir, she also finds time to write and also to teach at MIT and Tufts. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope that the students found it to be equally interesting and inspiring.
March 20, 2015
As approved growth vouchers advisers under the Government funded Growth Voucher programme, Mzuri can offer advice on any area of strategic marketing including advertising, branding, communications, customer retention, marketing strategy, online marketing, PR, sales and social media.
What is the Growth Voucher programme?
The Growth Voucher programme is funded by the Government and helps companies find and pay for professional strategic advice by offering a voucher for up £2,000 to cover half the cost of the advice.
In order to be eligible, your business must:
- Have 249 employees or fewer (including any employees of companies that own a stake in your business)
- Be registered in England
- Actively sell goods or services
- Be independent (i.e. no more than 25% is owned by other businesses or organisations)
- Have a turnover of less than €50 million
The scheme closes for new applications on 31 March 2015. There is still time to apply though and the process is simple and straightforward. You can find out more about the Growth Voucher Scheme here.
Why should I spend my Growth Voucher with Mzuri?
At Mzuri we are experienced at offering structured and tailored strategic marketing advice specific to your business, industry, objectives, budget and circumstances.
Backed by accredited membership of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) we use proven, SMART techniques to examine, in detail, the challenges your business faces as well as its strengths and USPs. This in-depth research enables us to develop sensible, effective and creative strategies to market your business via a range of appropriate channels to reach your target markets and audiences.
We would be glad to offer an initial free of charge consultation to talk through your business challenges and to explain how our strategic marketing planning advice could help.
What to do next…
If you already have a Growth Voucher and you’d like to talk to Mzuri about the delivery of strategic marketing advice for your business please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us on email@example.com or call us on 01428 722 990.
If you are interested in applying for a Growth Voucher but don’t already have one click here to find out more and start your application. Applications will no longer be accepted after 31 March so don’t delay!
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
March 10, 2015
We have worked with the talented team at Summerhouse Education for several years on The Sunday Times Festival of Education, and were delighted when we were approached to assist in the content development and project management of the new festival website. The Sunday Times Festival of Education brings together the very best of education’s most forward thinking advocates, practitioners of change and policy makers over two days at Wellington College in Berkshire. This year’s festival takes place on 18 – 19 June and is a must for anyone in education. If you are passionate about Education, this inspirational event is for you. Find out more, and join the thousands of other festival-goers each year who explore, celebrate, learn, debate and connect.
Working with Minted Box, who designed and built the site, we worked through each page of the site to bring it to life, with tasks including writing and finessing content, gathering and managing information from various sources, loading image galleries and speaker photos and bios and selecting images as headline images across the site.
The site launched within budget and on time, and supported the launch of the promotional campaign leading up to the event. A host of other projects are underway for the Festival and we are so proud to be part of it again this year.
February 27, 2015
Websites naturally evolve over time and as such we always take the time with clients at the beginning of a project to scope out the current and future wish lists for their site before we start work. Invariably budget or time pressures or business administration changes stand in the way of completing a website which ticks every single box on the inevitably long list, so we work together to plan a staged completion of the project to suit the clients’ needs as their business evolves.
One such project is the website for The Furniture Helpline. We designed, built and launched their original website in March 2013 which has been working brilliantly to support the work they do, to process enquiries and to process bookings for their bulky waste collection service.
The next phase of development planned was an ecommerce function to sell their pre-loved furniture via their online shop. Integrating with their existing software and stock management system, enabling real time updates with the website’s database ensures the shop is always bang up to date. This was particularly important for Furniture Helpline as they only sell one-off pieces, so a transaction in their warehouse shop, or on the online shop, must update their stock levels instantaneously to ensure the item isn’t sold twice.
By building in this database integration, we were also able to streamline their administration, meaning product names, descriptions, photographs and dimensions only need to be entered once, not in both systems, saving them time and money.
We wish the charity continued success and look forward to supporting them in continuing to evolve their website. View the site here at www.furniturehelpline.co.uk
February 26, 2015
This new website is the first for CPMS Rail and is different in structure to traditional websites in that it employs a ‘bootstrap’ style structure in its home page. This means that it scrolls down, revealing new sections of content one after the other, however, it also has more traditional navigation for the content pages of the site to make moving around the site straightforward and simple.
As a responsive site the CPMS website has been designed to work effectively and efficiently on any device but also uses high quality photography to great effect, giving a simple design enormous visual impact whatever the screen size.
In addition to the development of the new CPMS website we were also asked to develop a new brand for the business. CPMS has experienced huge growth and change over the last two years and so felt a rebrand to represent this change and their newly developed business structure was appropriate. The design that we developed is stylised but simply presented and represents the support and partnership that CPMS offer their clients. The logo is flexible and can be used in colour as well as monochrome to suit the environment.
February 23, 2015
We were very excited to be asked to work with Apollo Event Consultants on the design of their new responsive website, particularly once we’d had a sneak peek at some of their absolutely stunning photography!
Our brief was to develop the existing website design into something sleek, modern, eye-catching and inspiring that would showcase the Apollo Events in the most visually impactful way. The photography of Apollo’s events really expresses their creativity, imagination and attention to detail and so was to be the focal point of the site.
With the brief in mind we worked with Apollo’s team of developers to create a responsive site that used Apollo’s dark brand colour to create an atmospheric setting and included large, full width areas for the photos which scrolled across each page. Each section was lead by a series of full screen images that displayed some of the best event images to greatest effect and the drop down menus employ a slight delay to ensure these key pages aren’t skipped over too quickly.
Each page has a call to action placed accessibly but unobtrusively and pages are hyperlinked via the content to ensure that the reader is only a click away from the content they want to read or look at next. Why not take a look at the website here?
February 20, 2015
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Change is good and sometimes all it takes is a little rethink to get some great results!
Take the new Mountjoy website for example, we were asked to review the existing website and come up with some ideas to refresh it without redesigning entirely. The content site itself was to remain largely untouched (apart from some small additions and removals) but the client wanted to update and reinvigorate the look of the site as, although the initial site we built for them was a great success, they wanted to build on this and refresh the look and maintain an up-to-date feel.
We reviewed the design and came up with a series of alterations in layout, colour and format that, once rolled out across all the pages, made a remarkable difference. As the new site was being developed using the existing content and the same content management system (CMS) we also devised a way to enable the client to make changes in the Content Management System without affecting the live site, prior to the new site being launched.
The revised website is now live and looking great without the need for a complete redesign or rebuild, happy days!