Internet Marketing in Shropshire

Posted by Chris on March 31st, 2011

Internet and Traditional Marketing specialist, Claire Windley, has been shining her light around Shropshire and the U.K.  from a hill above Lightmoor near Ironbridge.

Claire’s Internet Marketing business is known as CSL Design after her initials

Claire , who has ridden horses from a young age, is organising the Netley Hall Shows and Events for 2011

These shows will take place in May, July and August 2011. These are BSJA events and the second two will be filmed by Sky Sports.

Claire has created an Internet presence for Netley Hall  using, for example,  a website, blog, Facebook and Twitter page.

Claire has been trained by U.S. Inbound Internet Marketing phenomenon, Hubspot, to help her customers get found on the Internet, convert website visitors into leads and analyze the results in a continuous closed loop process.

Claire has also been providing Traditional and Internet Marketing advice to Cisco FutureLine which is one of Cisco’s key partners for the provision of communications solutions to Small and Medium Sized businesses. Shropshire is home to many rapidly growing small and medium sized companies and these companies need to expand their markets beyond Shropshire to the rest of the world.

Claire has extensive experience with the hospitality industry having guided Smith & Williamson’s British Country Inns in their marketing strategy over the last year or so and working with a number of exclusive ” gastro pubs ” and restaurants around the U.K.

Internet Marketing should not be viewed in isolation but should be part of an overall integrated marketing strategy and for that you need someone like Claire who understands all aspects of sales and marketing.

3 Must watch marketing videos for #smwf

Posted by Chris on March 30th, 2011

Here are 3 must watch marketing videos for #smwf

Selling Gold,Silver,Diamond,Pearl,Watches, Jewelery and Art in the U.K.

Posted by Chris on March 30th, 2011

If you are Selling Gold,Silver,Diamond,Pearl,Watches, Jewellery and Art in the U.K. where do you go for the best prices and for people that you can trust ??

Although I am not an expert in this market I did have cause to investigate this market and sell a few items recently and what I found may be of interest.


Simplistically the price of Gold over the last 20 years has increased massively. See

In USD/oz the increase has been from 2-400 tp 1400.

Silver has followed a similar trend

from 5 to about 35 US dollars per oz.

Diamond prices have fluctuated quite a bit and only certain sizes, colours and quality of diamonds are really investments.

Small diamonds are pretty valueless.

Pearls have been a disaster !!

Prices of Watches and Jewelery

So, the value of Watches and jewelery, depending on what they are made of, have been affected by these price trends but then you have makes and designs to take account of before you can say what the trend has been.

Certain watches ( antique/classic ) are going to retain their value, generally speaking but there will be fluctuations.

Generally,Rolex’s are always popular. Breitlings are a little less consistent. There is a bit of a wheeze going around where some jewellers are putting ” diamond bezels ” of their own onto watches.
You will need original boxes and papers to get full value. Ladies watches are not as valuable as mens e.g. at the Rolex Datejust level.
In the Midlands area here are a few watch and jewelery buyers and sellers that were recommended to me

another useful source of valuations and loans is

Mike Volpe says Build your marketing assets – don’t rent them from someone else !

Posted by Chris on March 29th, 2011

This blog is based on a recent  interview with Mike Volpe

by Lewis Howes – Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur.

The full transcript and  video is here, which I recommend you look at

Why would you put your effort into Inbound Marketing ??

Inbound Marketing Budget & Results

Lewis: So, what I hear from that is that:

You spend more energy, time and resources or money on creating content, or creating free software, free downloads, free webinars.  So you’re putting that paid advertising money into the free stuff, which is converting twice as well as the paid stuff.  Correct?

Mike: That’s exactly right.

The cost is lower per lead and the conversion rate is twice.  So the cost per customer… it’s 3 or 4 times better. It’s fantastic.

And you’re right.  I think… so we spend some money on creating content and the way that you typically do that is that you end up hiring people.

So I think that in the long term we may have much more as the percentage of marketing budget going to the team and, you know, the people that are blogging and doing webinars and creating content versus buying media.

Building Versus Renting

And I think the interesting… you know, the other analogy if you think about it that way is that:

  • If you’re buying media or advertising from someone else, you’re really renting the capability of attracting an audience because you have to pay them every time you wan to do an ad.
  • If you’re building up your own blog, if you’re becoming your own media company, you’re building something.  You’re purchasing real estate and building your own real estate.  And obviously what you typically want to do is own those assets over time and things like that.

So just like you do with your blog and everything that you do, you’re building up yourself as this media agency, right?  And if you were to take a month off, you would still get a ton of web traffic because you’ve built this up over time.  If you stop paying that bill to that company you’re advertising with, you get nothing the next month, right?

So I think, again, you should want to build and not rent, and that’s another way to sort of think about it.

How would you start with Inbound Marketing ??

How To Start Inbound Marketing

OK. So let’s give them a good example.

  • Say I’m a tech startup company.
  • I’ve got 10-25 employees.
  • I’m trying to grow.
  • I’m trying to get more leads.
  • I’ve got a free software, or a free service, but there’s a paid model as well, but I’m looking to get those free leads in to use the service first.

How do you guys collate the information through your blog, your books, your webinars, etc?  Do you hire… if you’re this company, do you hire someone externally?  Do you have members of the team who are doing different things; developers, CEO, running content?  Do you get all the members of the staff involved?  Or do you use one person?  How would you go about that?

Mike: That’s a really good question.

I’m a huge fan of getting the entire company involved in the effort.  I think we’ve had a lot of success and seen the best success among our customers if there’s more than one person.

Maybe you can have a leader, or a manager for your inbound marketing program, but unless you have multiple people contributing… you know, it needs to be the whole company.  You just sort of change your company philosophy to some degree to really make these things effectively.  We’ve seen the best success with companies that have multiple people contributing to the blog.

Because you get those different perspectives: the perspective from the VP of Engineering versus the VP of Sales and the VP of Marketing or the Co-Founders.  It’s going to be a little bit different.  And that helps you attract different facets of your audience.

Lewis: So, what if a company is not willing to do that?  Do you think you’ve really got to adopt this philosophy? Or you’re going to be struggling if you don’t?

Mike: You know…

  • It will still work to some degree if you have one person sort of dedicated to it and spending some time on it.
  • You will get better results if the whole team is dedicated to it.

IQMS Success Story

I’ll tell you a story about a company called IQMS.  They sell, sort of in that range, or I think they’re around 200 employees.  They sell ear piece software to manufacturers.  They’re based in California.  And what the CEO did, is he decided to basically…

You know it was like when Cortez came to the New World he burned his ships so all the people with him would committed to staying and making a life in the New World.

  • He did that.
  • He fired their PR agency.
  • He cancelled all of their print advertising.
  • And he told his marketing staff of only 2 people, that you need to embrace inbound marketing and make it work and here are your lead goals.
  • And they said, “Holy crap! What are we going to do?” Right?  And then they said, “Well, I guess we really need to make this work.”
  • So they started blogging.
  • And the CEO was great because they did have that leadership above.
  • The CEO created some content.
  • Some other people in the company started blogging and things like that.
  • And they’ve actually seen their business, I forget if it was 10% or 20%, buttheir business increased after having decreased the past 3 years.

And you know, we’re still not in a great economic environment yet, and they were able to see an increase in 2010 after having declined in 2008 and 2009.

He really attributes all of their success to that program and being really, really committed to it.

So again, you’ll have some success if it’s one person, but I would really recommend to folks that they think about really transforming their company.

Lewis: Gotcha.

How would you get started with Inbound Marketing ??

A Simple Inbound Marketing Plan

What would be a simple marketing plan for any company trying to get more inbound leads?

Mike: Yeah.

#1: Website Grader

I think the first thing is, I honestly would recommend Website Grader. It’s totally free. I’d run my website through Website Grader. Usually for many of the smaller companies, there’s usually one or two small changes they can make to their site to improve their search engine optimization, or how they’re site is displayed in search engines.  That’d probably be the first thing.

#2: One Blog Article A Week

After you’ve made a couple of those changes, I think the next most important thing is just to start to create some content.  So I would actually say about one blog article a week is probably fine.

You know, someone like you, you’re passionate about the stuff and you create tons of content. You’re doing hundreds of webinars.  If you can do that, that’s fantastic.  But for many of these folks they’re really nervous about getting started so even one blog article a week will have an effect.

#3: Good Lead Generating Offer

And then I think the third component that you definitely need is:

  • What’s that good offer that’s going to get people to convert and become a lead?

And usually I think a webinar is a great example of something that people can do.  And then you need to take that call to action, that offer to become a lead and put that on your home page, and put it on all of your blog content.

And I think that if you use just those 3 things, the blog articles and the SEO will start to attract more people to your site and you’re going to have that good call to action and you’ll start to get more leads through that call to action.

And then, you know, there are lots of ways to make it even better and do more with it, but those 3 things will get most people started.

Paintball in Halkyn near Chester, North Wales

Posted by Chris on March 29th, 2011

If you are paintballing in the Halkyn Paintball zone just off the A55 near Chester and you are looking for somewhere to eat, drink or stay then The Glan Yr Afon Inn is just down the road in Dolphin near Holywell.

It is a 9 minute drive, according to Google maps

from the paintball fields in Halkyn to The Glan Yr Afon Inn.

At The Glan you can sit down, looking over The River Dee, and reflect on how your battle went !

The Glan’s website is here:

and you can call on 01352 710052.

Mothers Day near Holywell in Flintshire, North Wales

Posted by Chris on March 28th, 2011

If you are looking for a place to eat for Mothers Day near Holywell in Flintshire, North Wales then The Glan yr Afon Inn near Holywell has a few tables left.

Recently reviewed in the The Leader

The Glan is offering a FREE bottle of wine for each Mum and a Mother’s Day menu at £12.95.

There’s a video of The Glan here

and other recommendations e.g. here

Please call on 01325 710052 to discuss your booking.

Website at

The Glan yr Afon Inn Reviews

Posted by Chris on March 27th, 2011

In common with many hospitality establishments around the world The Glan yr Afon Inn suffers from enemies of the business posting rude and defamatory reviews.

The main places that reviews on The Glan yr Afon Inn are published is on TripAdvisor and

Reviews posted on TripAdvisor are completely anonymous and anyone can post bad reviews. The sorts of people that do post reviews are typically ex staff members – chef’s and managers particularly. They disguise themselves as proper customers.

Although TripAdvisor says that it regulates reviews it does not. It is completely biased towards the public. Even though it gives the management of hospitality establishments the opportunity to respond to reviews it does not necessarily post those reviews citing that they do not conform to it’s guidelines.

Other articles have been written about TripAdvisor on this blogsite.

Reviews written about The Glan yr Afon Inn and other establishments would be fairer if the people that posted them were required to identify themselves instead of hiding behind aliases like the cowards that they are.

For another example of the damage that ex-staff can attempt to inflict on their previous employers look here

Most of the reviews that have been posted here are also completely untrue.

There are thousands and thousands of businesses who are being defamed by enemies.

TripAdvisor is going to be facing legal action soon over the defamatory remarks made on it’s website. See here

As they say ” On the Internet nobody knows that you are a dog “. On TripAdvisor nobody knows if you are a real customer or a friend of an ex-staff member doing their best to cause trouble.

Going to Convergence Summit North to discuss Hosted Voice ?

Posted by Chris on March 23rd, 2011

If you are visiting Convergence Summit North and want to discuss Hosted Voice solutions then please call onto the Azlan stand where you will find Clare Jenkins of Cisco FutureLine.

Not sure if George Clooney is going to be there but I am reliably informed that there is a Nespresso machine and coffee mugs and Clare will be happy to go for a coffee with you and discuss how Cisco Hosted Voice might be the right Hosted Voice solution for you.

Andy Brocklehurst, Cisco’s RSM for Small Business will be presenting and participating in a round table discussion and wondering around the show.

Cisco have a new Small Business website at

Going to do The Real Ale Trail in Flintshire – April 16th 2011 ??

Posted by Chris on March 22nd, 2011

If you are going to take part in the Flintshire Real Ale Trail which takes place on Saturday April 16th 2011 then you could base yourself at The Glan yr Afon Inn on Halkyn Mountain which is between The Blue Bell Inn and The Crown Inn ( roughly !! ) just below Halkyn Mountain.

The Glan is in the Real Ale Good Beer Guide ( ) and is also highly recommended for it’s food.

( See review below )

The Glan has 8 lovely rooms overlooking the River Dee.

There are lots of things to see and do in Flintshire so why not make it a weekend away ???

Give us a call and we can discuss a package to suit you for rooms, food and taxi’s to join the bus route.

We have put a few useful links below that may help you in your research into The Flintshire Real Ale Trail 2011.

The Glan 01352 710052

Visit Flintshire and Discover Flintshire


N.B. The Real Ale Trail, which takes place on April 16, has been organised by Flintshire Tourism Association (FTA), to help boost trade at Flintshire’s rural pubs.

Breakfast near Holywell in Flintshire just off the A55

Posted by Chris on March 11th, 2011

You are looking for breakfast in Flintshire……..

Maybe you are driving down the A55, from Manchester to Holyhead, or you are working on one of the windfarms just off the coast ( one of the main growth industries in the Holywell area ) or you are visiting the area to see St Winefride’s Well or one of the other local attractions.

You could have breakfast in McDonalds or The Little Chef or one of the many hotels and restaurants along the A55 or you could just ” drop out ” for a while and divert just off the A55 to The Glan yr Afon Inn.

Call 01352 710052 for directions if you need them.

The Glan does an all day breakfast – in a bun or on a plate.

Give them a call !!

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