Return on Internet Marketing spend using HubSpot

Posted by Chris on February 25th, 2011

The reason that I recommend that my clients use HubSpot Inbound Marketing software is because I want them to be in control of thier Internet Marketing spend and investment.

When researching for this article I quite liked this post here

which offered a ” Common Sense ROI strategy ” which basically was ” Increase the traffic to your website OR increase the conversion of traffic to leads OR both “.

Within that simple advice are hidden some basic things that some people just do not understand.

As I have said in earlier blogs the key to a website is how often it is found by the right people ( for the product or service that you are supplying ) and it is of lesser importance what it looks like as long as it converts visitors to leads well.

As very few Internet Marketing and Website Design companies understand this very few of them ask a critical question ” What ( words and phrases ) are you trying to be found for and who are your likely customers??  ”

In fairness those that do often struggle to get a response because thier clients simply do not know the answers to these questions. ( The answer to the first part of the question requires that the client put himself in the mind of thier client and think what they would type into Google in order to find the product or service that they provide . The answer to the second part of the question requires that they understand the typical profile of thier target customer. )

When you have your website being found by lots of the right people then you have TRAFFIC !! The you only need to convert that traffic to a lead. ( To be a lead you need some information about the enquirer e.g. name and email address. )

Conversion of traffic into leads is an art that I will not go into here.

The reason that I recommend HubSpot Inbound Marketing software to my clients is that I want to know ( and they need to know ) how much traffic they have; how it is increasing ( hopefully ! ) over time and where that traffic is coming from.

Is it coming from e.g.

Direct Traffic ( someone just typed in the name of your company – implying that your name is well known for that type of product or service )

Organic Traffic ( implying that you ARE being found for the words and phrases that you have optimised for )

email traffic ( implying that you are getting people signing up to your blog/website and your email camapigns are working )

Referrals ( implying that other people are spotting and highlighting and propagating your information )

Social Media ( implying that people are following your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin pages and that they are following these back to your blog/website ).

etc etc

Once we know what is happening to our traffic and where it is coming from we can fine tune to get more and then to convert that traffic into leads and then, all importantly, into sales.

Once we know how many of what product or service we sold ( at what price and profit ) we can work out what our Return on Internet Marketing spend is.

S.M.B. Products and Solutions at UC Expo 2011

Posted by Chris on February 25th, 2011

If you are going to UC Expo 2011 and looking for SMB products and solutions then I recommend that you visit the Cisco Stand ( Stand 504 ) and also visit the Small Business Communications Theatre

to hear presentations from Andy Brocklehurst

of Cisco and also Clare Jenkins of FutureLine

FutureLine is a Hosted Voice system being provided in conjunction with Cisco. Andy says:

“We are seeing an increasing demand for managed and hosted solutions in the voice space and this is especially the case for smaller businesses with less than 20 employees. FutureLine have a refreshingly new approach by addressing the key fundamentals of quality, security and ease of use and deployment. This is all underpinned by partnering with Cisco who fully understand how to manage different media provided by the various consumption models.”

Andy Brocklehurst
RSM Cisco Small Business

Cisco’s theme for the SMB products and solutions aspect of the UC Expo stand will be that Cisco SMB products can be purchased for less than the price of a cup of coffee and that Cisco’s 0% financing goes a long way toward achieving this.

There will be some exciting new Cisco product launches and appearances at UC Expo 2011 including the new UC 320 SMB telephony system.

Visitors to the Cisco stand will be offered the chance to win a fabulous coffee making machine.

Why is the combination of Digium Asterisk and Cisco Systems so powerful?

Posted by Chris on February 19th, 2011

The Cisco FutureLine Hosted Voice system is based on Digium Asterisk at the core and uses Cisco Systems networking and endpoint ( voip phones, video over ip equipment etc etc ) hardware.

Whilst some people might view Cisco and Digium as unlikely partners I believe that they represent one of the most powerful combinations in the telephony world.

I regard Digium and Asterisk respectively as a company and a solution whose time has come. I am not alone in this view. If you doubt my opinion then perhaps you may consider the involvement of David Skok of Matrix Partners

in Digium. He is one of the investors.

David is specifically focused on the areas of cloud computing, Open Source, Software as a Service (SaaS), marketing automation, virtualization, storage, and data center automation.

Consider also the references in the book ” Asterisk: the future of telephony ” :

” In the book ” Paradigm Shift ” Tim O’Reilly talks about a paradigm shift that is occurring in the way technology ( both hardware and software ) is delivered. O’Reilly identifies three trends:

– the commoditisation of software

– network enabled collaboration

– software customisability ( software as a service – SaaS )

These three concepts provide evidence to suggest that open source technology is an idea whose time has come. ”

In this blog here

I have highlighted a number of general benefits of  a Digium Asterisk based Hosted Voice platform. ( These benefits also apply to premises based or managed solutions ).

In the same way that a Digium Asterisk based pbx like the Switchvox can be compared favourably to other premises based alternatives e.g. Avaya/Nortel or Panasonic a Digium Asterisk based Hosted Voice solution can be compared favourably to other proprietary Hosted Voice solutions e.g. Broadsoft or Mitel.

Without going through all the general benefits highlighted in my earlier blog it is reasonable to assume that the advantages are scaled up in line with the scaling of the system from one that serves a single customer to one that serves multiple customers.

If you are a reseller, distributer or small telco or cloud services company looking to provide Hosted Voice services to your customers ( and perhaps the customers of your customers ) then you are going to be looking at an investment in the order of £100’s of thousands ( albeit financed over a period of time ) in order to acquire a proprietary Hosted solution from e.g. Broadsoft or Mitel.

I highlight proprietary solution because it seems to me that the very last thing you want to do is to spend £100’s of thousands on a solution that is not “open”, standards based, easily upgradeable, customisable and flexible.

For an in depth appreciation of the problem being faced we can turn to David Skok again and a series of posts such as

David starts:

” This post provides SaaS entrepreneurs with an Excel spreadsheet model and graphs that show the cash flow trough that happens to SaaS, or other subscription/recurring revenue businesses that use a sales organization. These kinds of SaaS businesses face a cash flow problem in the early days, because they have to invest up front in sales and marketing expenses to acquire customers, and only get payments from those customers over a delayed period of time. I refer to this phenomenon as the the SaaS Cash Flow Trough. ”

The cash flow problem in the early days is only going to be worse if you have to spend £100’s of thousands on your Hosted Voice platform !!

So, for many reasons, even though there have been successful models around the world based on proprietary Hosted Voice systems – I think there are a lot of failures in the Hosted Voice world based on such platforms – I believe that an investment in a Digium Asterisk based platform is going to help a Hosted Voice business model massively ( because it is going to be far less up front cost, more scalable, upgradeable etc etc ).

Evidently, if you are going to be supplying a total voice solution to a customer, you are going to need things like networking hardware ( routers, firewalls etc ), end points ( phones, video cameras etc ), possibly storage solutions, virtualisation hardware and software, broadband, SIP trunks etc etc

Who better to partner with than Cisco ??

As I have mentioned before there are millions of Cisco endpoints and routers attached to Digium Asterisk systems – particularly systems that have been supplied to small and medium sized businesses.

A quick review of  established and experienced Digium Asterisk value added resellers proves that they typically have Cisco and Microsoft skills and accreditations aswell as Digium Asterisk. They have to have really – don’t they !

Clearly Cisco have products and services that compete with Digium Asterisk products and services.

However Cisco also partner with e.g. Broadsoft and it could easily be argued that Broadsoft based solutions are preventing sales of e.g. Cisco UC 500 systems.

In the S.M.B. space particularly ( and here I mean S.M.B. end user customers and S.M.B. resellers, distributers and telco’s ) I believe the combination of Cisco and Asterisk is unbeatable and this is the combination that FutureLine provides.

Digium Asterisk based FutureLine at UC Expo 2011

Posted by Chris on February 19th, 2011

FutureLine  is one of the few Hosted Voice Solutions available that combines the power of Digium Asterisk with Cisco Systems amazing technology. A large percentage of Cisco’s networking equipment and end points are attached to Asterisk based voip pbx systems around the world, especially in the SMB sector ( around 30% ).

Digium sponsors, maintains and owns the Asterisk platform and devotes around 50% of its resources  to supporting the Asterisk project and ecosystem.

Digium was founded by Mark Spencer  in 1999  whilst still a computer engineering student.When faced with the high cost of buying a PBX for his company, Spencer used his Linux PC and knowledge of C code to develop his own PBX. This was the beginning of the worldwide open source phenomenon known as Asterisk.

As Asterisk gained in popularity, Spencer shifted his business focus from Linux support to supporting Asterisk and opening up the telecom market.

Mark renamed the company Digium and transformed the fledgling start-up into the leading open source telecommunications provider in the world that it is today.

Digium is also now the leading provider of commercially supported open source phone systems, as well as manufacturer of the hardware that supports Asterisk.

Digium’s Asterisk is fast becoming a major competitor to proprietary alternatives because of its compelling benefits, which include:

Asterisk Hosted Voice Benefits

There are a number of reasons why an  Asterisk-based  Hosted Voice system is a good choice.

It is  based on the world’s largest open source platform

Asterisk is the world’s leading open source telephony platform and the InfoWorld 2008 Technology of the Year.

Asterisk holds a 17% share of the global telephony market and offers a credible and proven alternative to proprietary systems.

Digium, the owner of Asterisk, is highlighted in Gartner’s prestigious visionary quadrant for the third year in a row.

It scales easily to suit your business needs

Our Asterisk based Hosted Voice systems are built on a scalable platform that can be easily modified to meet changing requirements.
Whether increasing, reducing, changing or moving your business, Asterisk Hosted Voice systems accommodate your business plans rather than your business adapting its plans. The flexibility to do what you want it to do is inbuilt.
Asterisk provides complete access and visibility to the system development. If there is something you need your system to do or something you don’t like, it can easily be incorporated.

FutureLine has the flexibility to meet any business requirement – the system can be altered at any stage to support changes in your business operation – even when you’re up and running.

It is great value for money

Our Asterisk based Hosted Voice systems provide incredible value for money compared to proprietary Hosted Voice systems. The reason for this is the reduced licensing development and marketing cost of the open source based business model.

The system comes complete. Unlike proprietary systems, there is no increment for each additional feature.

The freedom of choice of hardware and architecture

Asterisk is committed to open standards development ensuring seamless integration with a wide variety of vendor technologies and ability to expand using technologies not normally associated with most Hosted Voice platforms.

This allows you the most diverse choice of architecture and hardware options without restricting functionality.

FutureLine uses Cisco routers and telephones and video equipment but is able to connect to many other manufacturers equipment.

It is feature-rich and subject to constant innovation.

With Asterisk Hosted Voice systems, you can take advantage of the constant innovations of the open source community. The system comes fully equipped with every future requirement that you are likely to want and no “enhanced-version” add on charges.

For more information on FutureLine please go to

FutureLine Hosted Voip at UC Expo 2011 with Cisco

Posted by Chris on February 18th, 2011

FutureLine Hosted Voip will be at UC Expo 2011, Olympia, London from the 8 – 9th March on the Cisco Systems stand.

UC Expo is one of the premier U.K. events for CIOs, Business Managers, Technical Directors and associated professionals from organisations of every kind interested in Unified Communications.

As one of the leaders in Unified Communications Cisco Systems has made a major committment to UC Expo and FutureLine will be there for S.M.B.’s and other organisations interested in Hosted Voice and Unified Communications.

Andy Brocklehurst of Cisco will be one of the Cisco speakers and is quoted as saying:

“We are seeing an increasing demand for managed and hosted solutions in the voice space and this is especially the case for smaller businesses with less than 20 employees. FutureLine have a refreshingly new approach by addressing the key fundamentals of quality, security and ease of use and deployment. This is all underpinned by partnering with Cisco who fully understand how to manage different media provided by the various consumption models.”

Andy Brocklehurst
RSM Cisco Small Business

Clare Jenkins, M.D. of FutureLine, will be speaking at the event aswell. Further posts will give more details of Clare and Andy’s themes and also we will be posting about some exciting offers that FutureLine will be making to people interested in evaluating FutureLine’s Hosted Voice solutions.

For more information about FutureLine please go to:

or call Clare on

0871 594 3555 or

email her at:

Pubs on Chester to Holyhead Post Route like The Boot Northop

Posted by Chris on February 15th, 2011

The Boot Inn at Northop is one of the pubs in one of the post towns on the Chester to Holyhead stage coach route. See  this excerpt here:

” The North Wales post roads were established as a permanent feature in 1599 with a road from Chester to Holyhead passing through Rhuddlan. Northop was made a post town in 1602. After the restoration of Charles II Denbigh was made the post town instead of Rhuddlan and the route after Northop was changed. This was changed again in 1772 when a Post Office was set up in St. Asaph. John Ogilby in 1675 showed 4 roads in Flintshire, 3 of which led to Holywell; from St. Davids through Ruthin, from Shrewsbury through Caergwrle and Mold, from Chester through Flint, and the post road from Chester to Holyhead through Hawarden. At the beginning of the 18th century the system of “road trusts” was formalised. The 17th century had seen a revival of road tolls and the setting up of gates or “turnpikes” at which tolls were collected but now local gentlemen could obtain private acts of parliament to enable them to borrow money on the security of turnpike tolls and to use this to improve the roads. The system spread quickly and country people disliked the tolls enough to attack and destroy some of the toll houses in the period of the Rebecca Riots. It would appear that the Flint District Turnpike Trust which covered Holywell, Greenfield, Bagillt, Northop and Flint was formed in 1769. One of the early Trustees was Thomas Pennant. In 1782 John Jones paid £10 for the right to charge tolls at the Coleshill Tollgate at Flint Bridge for 1 year. In 1799 Richard Ingleby paid £100 and in 1803 Edward Davies paid £85 for 1 year. In 1789 the fee for each horse drawing a carriage went up from 3 pence to 4 pence. The turnpike from Flint to Walwen, Bagillt was called the Flint Causeway or Pavement.
In the later 18th and early 19th centuries, the Flintshire Turnpike trust made improvements to both the Chester-Holyhead road (the modern A548) which runs through the town, and to the Northop Road, south of the town – the Flint-Mold turnpike. Milestones were put up on the Chester-Holyhead turnpike near Pentre Farm to the east of the town, giving distances to Flint and Kings Ferry (Queensferry) and near the present-day Aber Park Industrial Estate to the west, giving distances to Flint and Holywell. There was also a milestone giving distances to Flint, Northop and Mold near Plas-y-Mynydd, just a mile from the southern edge of the town in the early 19th century. Toll houses which levied tolls to repay investors were built on each of these roads – the Flint Turnpike at Summer Hill to the east of the town centre, the Coleshill Turnpike to the west and the Bryn Coch Turnpike on the Northop Road in the Mount Pleasant area to the south.

The development of the town was probably hindered by the lack of good communications and the deplorable state of the roads in the early eighteenth century. By 1756 all the major roads were under Turnpike Trusts including the Chester-Hawarden-Northop-Holywell; Chester-Mold-Denbigh; Mold-Northop-Flint; Mold-Leeswood-Wrexham; Holywell-Caerwys-Denbigh roads. Private enterprise was still important despite the Turnpike Trusts. The coast road, Chester to Flint was widened, straightened and resurfaced under the Road Act 1788 sponsored by the local landowners, local colliery owners and the Greenfield Copper Company. Later, the Turnpike Trustees became responsible for the maintenance of the roads, improving old roads and making new ones. They frequently employed convict labour, and able-bodied prisoners sentenced to hard labour in the old Flint Gaol, were often employed on road-work. The general betterment of the roads advanced the coaching age, with the development of regular passenger and freight services, which widened communications and the distribution of goods to the important markets. The stagecoach and mail coach horses were generally changed at each stage where there was a post house on the route.  The coast road from Flint to Queensferry was shortened and improved about 1820. In the early nineteenth century ‘The Lord Mostyn’ coach, conveying passengers from Holywell to Rock Ferry for Liverpool, called daily at the Ship Inn in Market Square and later the Royal Oak in Church Street. In January 1885, responsibility for the roads was passed to the local Highway Boards ”


Aside from The Boot Inn there is The Red Lion

and the Northop Village website offers these options for eating and drinking around Northop

but probably the most famous pub on the old Chester to Holyhead coaching route is The Glan Yr Afon Inn in Milwr, Dolphin near Holywell.

The road that The Glan is on is a dead end now but it used to be part of the Chester to Holyhead coaching route.

Coaches would pass through Halkyn and Pentre Halkyn and then drop down to Holywell past The Glan.

It is reputed that Queen Victoria stopped at The Glan on her way to Ireland via Holywell.

It is certainly known that The Glan had stables and a couple of letting rooms at this time but now it has 8 letting rooms, a number of bars and a restaurant.

The Glan’s website is here:

Phone: 01352 710052

Show Jumping in Shropshire in 2011

Posted by Chris on February 10th, 2011

During 2011 Netley Hall will be holding 3 major equestrian events:

Netley Hall Estate is a rural haven in the heart of the Shropshire countryside, yet only six miles from the

famous historic mediaeval town of flowers, Shrewsbury.

The Prestigious Hall was commissioned by Mr Thomas Henry Hope-Edwards in 1855 and designed by

the famous architect Edward Haydock. The Estates grounds cover an extensive 160 acres, with 6 lakes,

22 holiday cottages and superb equestrian facilities.

The Events

In conjunction with The British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) and Sky Sports Netley Hall’s aim is to raise the

profile of British Show Jumping to the general public with the help of the country’s top riders.

Netley Hall wants to encourage people to support and follow one of the only sports in the world where men

and women compete on a level playing field.

They have developed three events this year that will include an equestrian aspect attracting the very

best riders in Pony show jumping with top prizes as well as fantastic general public attractions that

even those not interested in the sport can enjoy. They are expecting in excess of 3000 members of the

general public and equestrian competitors per event.

Below you will find an overview of what’s planned for each show so far:

May 20th – 22nd

Equestrian Show

Country Fair

Falconry Displays

Craft Fair

Laser Clay Pigeon

Course Fishing Competition


Rodio display and bull

Jousting Competition

VIP tent with catering

July 1st – 3rd

Inclusion in Canter Banter

on Sky Sports

Equestrian Show

Saturday & Sunday Family

Fun Weekend

Fairground Rides


Fire eaters/Clowns

Punch & Judy


Crazy Golf

Trade Stands

Evening Event on Saturday

Country Western Barn

Dance with Hog Roast

August 4th – 7th

One hour special on

Sky Sports

Horse of The Year Qualifier

Grand Prix with country’s top

riders & fantastic prizes

Trade Stands

Jazz Picnic by the lake

Contact: Claire Windley | Email: | Mobile: 07891 285514

What’s on in Shropshire at the weekend

Posted by Chris on February 9th, 2011

I hear that Netley Hall in Shropshire are going to be taking weekend events to new levels for 2011. A quick overview of three weekend events that are planned for this year follow:

Netley Hall Events – Line Up Overview

May 20th – 22nd

Equestrian Show

Country Fair

Falconry Displays

Craft Fair

Laser Clay Pigeon

Course Fishing Competition


Rodio display and bull riding

Jousting Competition

VIP tent with catering

Promotion of July Show

July 1st – 3rd

Inclusion in Canter Banter

on Sky Sports

Equestrian Show

Saturday & Sunday Family Fun Weekend

Fairground Rides


Fire Eaters/Clowns

Punch & Judy


Crazy Golf

Trade Stands

Evening Event on Saturday –

Country Western Barn Dance with Hog Roast

August 4th – 7th

One hour special on

Sky Sports

Horse of The Year Qualifier

Grand Prix with country’s top

riders & fantastic prizes

Trade Stands

Jazz Picnic by the lake

Contact: Claire Windley | Email: | Mobile: 07891 285514

Valentines Dinner near Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales

Posted by Chris on February 6th, 2011

If you are looking for an unusual Valentines Dinner over the Valentines Day Weekend ( 11th -14th February 2011 ) then try The Glan Yr Afon Inn, near Holywell, Flintshire in North Wales…………..

Fly your lover around the world for 5 courses !

First to Spain for Tapas. Hola !


Then to Italy to try their delicious minestrone soup


The choice of starter is yours as you land in the lovely Greek Islands


A Greek style beef and aubergine lasagne

Greek Salad

Feta cheese, basil oil, tomato, onion and cucumber

Lemon Garlic fried Sea Food with Toasted Bread

Stop at India, The Far East or South America

Chicken Tandoori with Onions, Peppers, Corriander, Yoghourt & Rice

Thai style green King Prawn or Chicken Curry with pad thai noodles

Thai style green mushroom pepper curry with vegetable noodles

Caribbean Pineapple salsa chicken with rice

Sweet Chilli sliced Mexican style beef with rice

Roast duck and Hoi Sin sauce Chow Mien or stir fried

Mixed vegetable Chow Mien or stir fried

Back home for pudding !

Irish Bread & Butter Pudding with Whisky Cream

English Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake

Welsh Cheese Board to share with Chutney

£25.00 per head

If you would like to stay over at The Glan then a special room rate of £50.00 per night for a double room including breakfast will apply for bookings of Valentines Dinner and room.

Go here

to watch a video of The Glan and here

to Look at the website or simply call 01352 710052 or complete the contact form here

Thank you and have a great Valentines Weekend from all at The Glan.

How To Know Your Side Project Is Ready To Be A Startup??

Posted by Chris on February 5th, 2011

This is a great little blog on

have a read !!

Copyright © 2007 M & A Rainmaker. All rights reserved.