Saturday, 15 December 2012

Predictions for 2013

The great thing about this time of year (mid December) is that many people are reflecting on the year that was and looking forward to the year that will be... and I am no different. Looking back 2012 has been an amazing year, a year in which the great British public actually seemed to enjoy being British for a short while at least! (The Olympics and Paralympics were my personal highlights and certainly gave me an inner glow that has yet to be extinguished).

2013 does not have the obvious potential highlights that 2012 had but I think from a marketing perspective it will be a really interesting year...and here's why...

1) We will see people making a conscious decision to unsubscribe from e-mail marketing 'campaigns' ... in their droves. Our inboxes are simply too full - it's junk mail gone mad.
2) People will quietly remove you as a Facebook friend if you just keep selling to them.
3) Companies will begin to question the numbers game - they will realise that having 60,000 people following them on twitter is only useful if they are actually people who give a damn about what is being said.
4) Companies will start looking for ways of making themselves stand out from the crowd - and realise that some of this is about doing things better, or differently from their competitors.
5) Companies will start looking to support their online marketing with localised and niche advertising campaigns. Spending less on internet marketing and re-assigning funds to innovative and enterprising marketing and advertising campaigns.
6) Companies will start looking to 'trial' different marketing campaigns to work out which combination works best for them and their product.
7) Well considered PR activity will start to become a key part of a robust marketing strategy - not just a fluffy add-on but a real value add.
8) We will all be a lot less convinced by internet 'experts' or 'specialists' and start to really look at what is being delivered.
9) The public sector will continue to struggle with procurement - there will be a realisation that just because an agency ticks boxes, they are not necessarily the best people for the job.
10)  None of these things are bad - these predictions give all of us in communications and marketing the chance to step up to the changing needs and demands of the today's economy.

One thing is for sure - 2013 is going to be hard work - but for those of us who are flexible and motivated it will be a year filled with challenges to rise to and opportunities to relish... I for one am looking forward to it.

If you want to know more about Frank! Communication Solutions and what we can do for your business. Then visit our website or call us on 01273 670 100 or e-mail

Oh and if you want you can follow us on facebook Frank-Communications

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The delights and frustrations of SEO

One of the challenges we have set ourselves for 2013 is to get to grips with the science that calls itself Search Engine Optimisation. What it really means of course is 'How to work Google so it works for you'. But, because we never shy away from learning how to play the game, we have been working hard with one of our own sites to really get to grips with the nuances that can move you up the rankings. We have tried things, watched the results and then either done more of the same or tried another tack. It's a  fascinating and highly addictive pastime. But we have moved the site up in every one of our identified 'keywords' and are now beginning to have a bit of fun with it all.

We are learning that web words and images are fickle beasts - and need to be tamed to make them work for us. We are learning that there is not a one-size fits all solution (though some SEO experts may well disagree). We are learning that nothing beats on-going changes and updates, a bit of imagination and having the luxury of time to learn by simply doing it.

So... what can we tell you..
1) There are some amazingly generous people out there who share their knowledge. Type into Google exactly the problem you are having and find out how other people have cured it.
2) Use links and anchors to connect documents and other webpages within your site.
3) Be completely logical with the naming of directory or navigation buttons - use words or phrases that people actually type into search engines rather than a clever summary or composite word.
4) Register your site with Google and every other search engine you like the look of.
5) Make sure you are very clear about how you want to be found, and by who you, and target them exactly. People no longer put a single word into a search engine - they are more likely to include a sentence or phrase that helps narrow down the responses they get. We know, for example, that if you put 'straight talking ideas-driven creative' into Google you will get taken straight to our site ( But in real terms how many people are going to use that exact phrase?

If your business is wholly reliant on online sales you absolutely must get to grips with SEO. But as with all marketing remember that the most (cost) effective search engine optimisation can be targeted specifically at your audience - understand them, the language they use and tailor your SEO strategy accordingly.

If you'd like to learn more about our SEO journey then please do get in touch. Via or contact me direct

Jo Weatherall
Founder of Frank! Communcation Solutions,  and

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Working 4 us

A friend of mine runs a gardening maintenance company and was in the office a couple of weeks ago signing up to our (very) local listings site that raises money for the Martlets Hospice in Hove. He was showing me websites belonging to some of the people he has worked with and for and I was mightily impressed. I had always assumed he spent his days clearing gardens when they got into a bit of a state, but actually he often works with well-known and respected garden designers helping them create beautiful and often intriguing spaces.

As you do, we started talking about him having his own website and he was saying that a friend of his was having a website built but that it was very expensive. I asked him how much ‘expensive’ was. And I was actually quite shocked by his response. ‘Over £300’ he said. And this set my mind rolling. Could we build a website for someone like my garden maintenance friend for under £300? There are of course companies that do just that, and some that do it very well. If we were going to do it we would have to make sure that we did it even better, that we took the same approach to delivering a £300 website as we do to delivering a £3,000 one or even a £30,000 one. Note I use the word ‘approach’ I am not suggesting for one moment that we can deliver the same service or product at that price point but we can deliver it with the same attitude.

So the seed was set and we decided to develop a very simple web building ‘process’ one that was  easy to talk about and easy to execute. One that meant micro businesses and individuals could have their own site – in 24 hours at a starting price of £240 (plus VAT). . In addition to the basic site you can choose extras; more pages, a gallery/portfolio, mobile and or tablet compatible and even a basic content management system. We will produce a website that is professional and hopefully speaks volumes about your company, product or service. We will market our new site on and offline and have plans to build this new ‘product’ into a sustainable and profitable business. For Frank! it is a new departure, but one we are excited about, that allows us to work with a whole new group of people and provide our current clients with alternative options when it comes to reviewing their current sites.

The model

Over the past few years I have seen massive changes in print buying and I see that over the next few years we will see massive changes in the way people buy their internet space. Low cost and well executed web build and maintenance will become the norm - as low cost and reasonable cost print has become the norm. We will see companies and individuals that no longer build huge, cumbersome sites. Instead they will build smaller sites aimed at niche audiences, sites that have one aim, one ambition and one story. As always, there are exciting digital times ahead.

Happy to chat about - just mail me, Jo Weatherall on or call 01273 670 100

Monday, 11 June 2012

Moving on from your USP

It used to be that every company had a USP. Spoken or unspoken they would have worked out their Unique Selling Proposition and would spend their marketing budget on promoting this magical and unique concept to new and existing clients. Recently I have become more and more uncomfortable with the concept - it just doesn't feel right in today's world to be banging on about what is so damn precious about you, why you are so special or why exactly people should buy from you..I think we need to turn this on it's head and give people a bit of your story so customers can connect with you on a level that is beyond a purely sales message. I like shopping in my local community run fruit and veg shop - no it doesn't have as big a range as my local supermarket and yes sometimes things are a bit more expensive but when I shop there it works for me on a number of levels. 1) All the profits from the shop go to an educational programme in West Africa 2) The staff are local volunteers who live in the community they serve 3) The staff are honest, integral and have tried most of their stock so can actually advise as the whether the strawberries have any flavour or not. I also know that to survive in our relatively small community they have to get it right and make an extra effort. I have a relationship with the shop and have become an ambassador for them They have given me a story tell.... and I tell it So rather than think about what you have to sell think about the story you want told about your company and about your products. Think about what it is that makes you What you are and develop the language so others can tell your story too!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Woodingdean in Business - C'mon you businesses

I am really pleased to annouce that is now recruiting businesses. We have over 20 listings to date and are hoping to grow this to over 60 in the next two weeks - do visit the site to find out if we have hit this number yet.

I had always realised that reccruitment would be a hard task but I am surprised how much effort it requires. But with a steady rather than hot head Suzanne, James and I are encouraging, cajoling and enthusing people about the site and hopefully we will soon have a site full of listings from local businesses, clubs and charities that we can launch to the folk of Woodingdean - can't wait but then the work really starts

For more information about contact me - happy to talk!

Un-Networking - Floating Your Own Boat

I was reading through a copy of Director magazine a few weeks ago and there was an interview with Carole Stone - ‘The best connected woman in Britain’ and in it she suggested the idea of a networking salon where you invite a small group of people for an informal networking breakfast lunch or evening.

And I just loved the idea, I think because it was simple and practical, something I could organise and run
around all my other work and family commitments. I spoke to Steve Bustin of Vada media and he instantly took to the idea too… So in February, after just one evening of scouring the city for a venue we held our first Un-Networking event in central Brighton. About 20 people came along and the people who came really seemed to enjoy it. Over half of them came along to our 2nd event in March along with 12 others who came for the first time. The evening is aimed at people in the ‘creative industries’ so we have designers, copywriters, photographers, artists, marketers, events organisers – and their friends.

We have kept it really relaxed – we have a few simple guidelines that we sent out with the initial invites …
• Only buy drinks for yourself – then no one’s under pressure to buy rounds that quickly get expensive.
• Only bring out your business cards if asked for one. No throwing them around like confetti.
• Be interesting – we don’t do dull. There’s so much more to life than business so find something else to talk about for once.
• Don’t leave anyone standing around on their own – be friendly, be approachable and be prepared to talk to anyone and everyone. Who knows, they may be the making of your business – or at least a good laugh to talk to.
• By all means bring people along (ask them to fill in the Doodle form below first) but make sure they know this is un-networking, not networking.
The evening won’t appeal to everyone; there is no structure, no elevated pitches and no presentation. We don’t have people on the door and we don’t mind if people turn up late. But we do all have a good time, chatting to people like us about …. well everything really (Andy White and his theory on memory foam mattresses was a real blinder).

If you like the idea of running an Un-Networking event then do ask – I’d be more than happy to tell you about ours. We will be launching a website soon which will tell you a little more.