Business Biscotti Networking Meeting in Birmingham

Posted by Chris on November 16th, 2014

Which Business Networking Meeting is the best in Birmingham at the moment ??

I take a trip to the Grosvenor Casino on Rebecca Hyslop’s recommendation to try out this networking event and find it very interesting and professional

I have not been to a networking meeting for some time ( I think the last one was in Burton on Trent a couple of months ago ) and certainly the Business Biscotti meeting at the Grosvenor Casino on Broad Street in Birmingham was the first networking meeting that I have been to in Birmingham for a year or more.

I was introduced to Biscotti by Rebecca Hyslop of Push Media Marketing who runs a number of networking meetings in Birmingham.

I very rarely go to Casino’s so that was also a novelty to me( I think the last one was in Biarritz ).

I hoped that the meeting was going to be more fun than formal – obviously productive aswell – and knowing Rebecca I was pretty sure that it would be.

Online research prior to arriving at the Biscotti meeting indicated that although there was a website, social media activity appeared limited. The Biscotti name piqued my curiousity but I have only just found out that the name is based on the first meeting where Biscotti biscuits were made and served.

I parked in The Nautical Club just down the road and walked around to Broad Street and the entrance of the Grosvenor Casino.

The receptionist was absolutely lovely and I proffered photo id in order to get a Casino card. The receptionist phoned down for the Manager, Paul Bradford, to meet me.

I met him at the bottom of the stairs leading onto the Casino floor and he led me to the group that was assembled, chatting at the bar area.

With Rebecca, the receptionist and Paul I had definitely had a very professional and positive introduction to this networking meeting.

The first person that Paul, very kindly, introduced me to had actually seen me speaking at an event in Marco Pierre White’s recently – so that was a great start.That was Glenn Richardson of Photo Booth Hire.

A chat with someone else and then an introduction to someone who turned out to be with Mattioli Woods – where I am a client !!!! Bit of a surprise and an opportunity to praise them a bit – my account manager there has been brilliant actually.

I loved meeting next with Raphael from HNS Signs – a company that I had come across on twitter during #lichfieldlocal hour run by Sarah Morley. Raphael gave me his bosses card, Michelle Henry, and a lovely booklet promoting their work.

As I get into this post I am thinking about who I met, and what made them memorable and what contact information I came away with. Later on I will say who contacted me and how.

My primary interest is what people are doing online. Their ” Internet Presence ” as I call it. ( A combination of web/blogsite and social media accounts ).

I then met Personal Trainer John Wang ( 07795437716 ) who it turned out had seen me at a Market United Kingdom presentation. Someone at John’s gym was an Unfranchise Owner. ( Actually franchises were much in evidence in this meeting ).

Whilst sipping a glass of water Mike Bowden walked over to chat. ( I am grateful to Rebecca Hyslop for doing a tweet after the meeting that contained Mike’s contact details as well as other peoples ). As well as being a Life Coach Mike was a martial arts practitioner and I go to a Kick Boxing class at Burton Kick Boxing Academy with Chris Squirrel so we had something in common there.

On coming to chat to Rebecca ( and the lady from Best of Birmingham who kindly looked after my laptop bag and coat and another lady from Grosvenor Casino’s ) I got into a conversation with Tom West from Central Telecomms. and Richard Murphy from Bank House Corporate. My background is in Telecomms and M & A so this was an interesting conversation.

I decided to leave after that as it was Remembrance Day and I wanted to spend some time at The Nautical Club and The National Memorial Arboretum.

I should point out that I was given 6 business cards but I didn’t give out any as is my approach of late.

Tom West from Central Telecomms. was the first person to contact me ( by twitter and Linkedin ) and he didn’t have any of my details so I was most impressed with this response. Later on he sent me information on the company. Stellar responsiveness !!!!

Rebecca did a tweet after the event that included ( probably ) every person that had a twitter account that she knew who was at the meeting. This was very useful.

After connecting with people there I had a few conversations.

I also established email communications with Michelle and Raphael at HNS Signs – they just look so well sorted as a company.

All in all this was a great event with some great people at it and I would recommend to anyone ( as I am doing here ).

IT, Media ( like ucexpo ) and Recruitment companies start using Twylah

Posted by Chris on February 25th, 2012

IT and Recruitment companies are not always the first to use IT ( strangely ) and Twylah’s ” Featured Twylah Page’s ” makes you think that you have either got to be a pop star, rock band or fashionista to become a ” Twyp “. However a closer look reveals some technology specialists, media and recruitment companies using Twylah.

Hot off the press !! ucexpo put’s up a Twylah page for  it’s 6-7th March Expo. at

Website at:

Robert Scoble , , is a well known U.S. tech. news commentator who also works for Rackspace ( the hosting company ). The Next Web ( TNW ) are also on Twylah at and Buffer App. ( the smarter way to share Twitter and Facebook posts ) is at

Closer to home we have CRN ( Computer Reseller News ) UK’s magazine on the IT media side.

As an example of a Recruiter using Twylah we have Ask the Recruiter at

I am talking with a number of ICT Media and Technology companies about adopting the use of Twylah pages and becoming ” Twyps “. So whilst some of the earlier Twylah customers were pop and fashion stars ( mainly from the U.S. ) and whilst pop and fashion stars globally will be adopting Twylah pages they are now being used by ” ordinary ” people and businesses like Lichfield based Coco Meli Bakery .

A pioneer of Twylah usage in the U.K. is Still Safe!/stillsafe and uses Twylah power Tweets almost exclusively now. Why ?? Well a Twylah Landing Page is produced for each Tweet and when connected to Still Safe’s domain this is acting like a blog ( one of the most powerful content generation actions you can take ) by producing page after page of Twylah pages.

In their own right the Twylah pages will come up on Google and other search engines for relevant searches. The Twylah platform will become very powerful very quickly ( consider how Google treats websites that generate lots of rich content ) and currently it’s Alexa ranking is increasing dramatically.

This is only the beginning for users of Twylah pages though.

The Twylah page is ultimately about the monetisation of Twitter Tweets. This means getting visitors to the Twylah page to sign up for something like buying GaGa’s latest download at . ( In the trade this is known as a Call to Action ).

Once you have people taking actions like this then you are generating income from your Internet Marketing efforts.

Driving Internet Leads for UK SMB FutureLine using HubSpot – Part 3

Posted by Chris on December 23rd, 2010

Following the last blog

we got the 2 landing pages done as discussed earlier.

The visit/lead tracking system is working and we can see recent visitors details. These can be transferred to a CRM system and is probably the easiest one to do this with although other are possible. We will address this shortly but for now the visit and lead records will be held within HubSpot ( they are always held in both places anyway ).

We had done some work around keywords/phrases – looking for words/phrases that were relevant but not too competitive – and we input these to the HubSpot system. We also had the HubSpot system look at the keywords/phrases being used by typical competitors. The HubSpot system identified which keywords/phrases were ” stronger ” than others.

The HubSpot system will show where the visits/leads are coming from in terms whether they are direct ( someone types in the FutureLine url ) via a Google search or from e.g. The FutureLine Blog, Social Media or Press Releases.

Typical Social Media sources would include:

– Delicious

– Digg

– LinkedIn

– Reddit

– Sphin

– Twitter

– Yahoo Answers

– Yahoo Buzz

– YouTube


We set up the FutureLine Blog and discussed the type and composition of beneficial blogs. It was noted that there should be ” Call to Action ” pieces at the end of each blog. HubSpot gets many of its leads via the HubSpot blog.

We also discussed what defined ” strong ” links and noted examples of these. They include e.g. links from high ranking blog sites; links from Press Release sites.

We also discussed the fact that we could ” buy ” traffic using Pay Per Click or Media buying ( CPM ).

We determined to get the ” Call to Actions ” set up on the website together with the landing pages that we had built.

We would also do more work on keywords and phrases and when we had arrived at the best words and phrases give consideration to including these words and phrases on the website and in blogs.

We would also do more research on the ” Top 10 questions ” asked by FutureLine’s customers and prospects.

Database Marketing in the Social Networking age

Posted by Chris on March 28th, 2010

When I started LanSwitch ( which became Voyager ) in the early 90’s I set aside a bedroom for an office and on my desk I had a telephone, a fax machine and a laptop ( initially not connected to the Internet , later connected with a dial-up connection ) with Office and a Contact Manager application and a printer. Luxury, I thought because it was the same as I had at Fibernet and much better than I had at Memorex.

My target market was basically: Companies that had busy Local Area Networks; that were in either The Midlands ( where I lived ) or London ( where I could easily commute to and knew people ). So, I basically targeted a combination of London based Financials and other general companies in London and the Midlands. I think I bought the Computer Users Yearbook as my basic database. ( Actually a very comprehensive and detailed source of information ).

I went through the process of identifying a target market and building a database of prospects and suspects many times over during my sales and business start-up career.

Typically now I will segment by horizontal ( size of company ), vertical ( type of company ) and geographical ( location ) and then various other factors eg structure of company, people within that company eg IT Managers etc etc.

Then a database can be purchased which is targeted and therefore typically lower cost than purchasing 1000’s of contacts many of which are not within your target market.

There are many database suppliers these days so it is possible to get some great offers on targeted data.

The equipment side has obviously come on in 17 years but not incredibly so – broadband and wi-fi; scanning software and fax software; CRM versus Contact Management; softphones ( eg Skype ) and video conferencing ( Skype, Webex etc ); standalone traditional and IP phones;printers. 

Where there has been enormous progress has been in Internet search and Social Network Marketing.

If you know what vertical you want to concentrate on eg Lawyers in Staffordshire you will find much of the information that you need online via Google or some other search engine.

With great timing ( !! ) I have just been reading this article about Linkedin

that I picked up on Twitter ( posted by Jon Besag who is in sales at Linkedin 😉

This is well worth a read for many reasons. 

This article includes comments about in house and external recruiters using Linkedin to find the people that they/thier clients are looking for . There certainly are a lot of recruiters on Linkedin – in fact when I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a Linkedin trainer he told me that there were about 68,000 people on Linkedin who called themselves recruiters ( I just did a Linkedin search for ” Recruiters ” and got about 48,000 ) and that there were probably about 100,000 because a lot of recruiters did not call themselves recruiters.

I used this fact recently to help a company that I am working with, who are selling multi job board posting software, to target recruiters. From a small, personalised ” mailshot ” to selected Linkedin recruiters we got a few very positive responses and made a proposal to one within a week and got an order from it.

Recruitment is an obvious thing to do on Linkedin but  as said in the article ” The obvious one is jobs, but it’s not just jobs. It’s also clients and services.”

For me the goal is to make a ” personalised ” approach to potential clients and ” personalisation ” requires research. The difference between what you can do now and what you could do 17 years ago is that you can gather far more information on people and companies before you make any approach whatsoever.

If you combine a targeted database with internet and social media search then you have a fantastic tool to help you personalise your ” intelligent ” marketing and sales approach.





If you are a member of eg Ecademy, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed,Skype or MSN then each of these have thier own search facilities – some more sophisticated than others.

Just today I was asking someone how they prospected on the Internet and they said Linkedin, Skype and MSN.

Using a combination of Internet search and Social/Business networks you can find out an awful lot about people and companies.

Mitchell Tsai outline’s Facebook’s revenue numbers – fascinating !!

Posted by Chris on March 3rd, 2010
Facebook Revenues Up to $700 Million in 2009, On Track Towards $1.1 Billion in 2010 [Inside Facebook – 3/2/10] –…
Facebook Revenues Up to $700 Million in 2009, On Track Towards $1.1 Billion in 2010  [Inside Facebook - 3/2/10]
8 seconds ago from Bookmarklet – Comment – Share – Hide
The company has been roughly doubling its revenues every year — 2007 came in at $150 million. It ended 2008 making between $280 million and $300 million, according to many reports. The company’s revenues likely reached between $600 million and $700 million for 2009. – Mitchell Tsai from Bookmarklet
At $10 million a year, the gift shop would be bringing in $25,000 a day, which seems extremely low considering the size of the Facebook audience. But, Facebook has promoted virtual gifts pretty lightly over the past couple of years. – Mitchell Tsai
We believe performance advertising grew by roughly $150 million above the July rumors, and for a few reasons. FarmVille, Zynga’s hit farming game, saw sharp traffic growth after launching in June, partly because the company aggressively advertised on Facebook. Other social gaming companies followed suit. Social games accounted for a substantial minority of all spending on performance advertising, according to sources — between a third and half, some say. – Mitchell Tsai
Growth was especially strong growth in international markets, in part because companies like Techlightenment, TBG London, Tradimax and 77 Agency began using Facebook’s advertising API to sell ads in bulk. These companies are based in Europe, and used Facebook’s precise ad-targeting features to reach users across the fast-growing region’s diversity of nationalities and languages. – Mitchell Tsai

i-technology media

Posted by Chris on January 14th, 2010

comprehensive i-technology media site

Basic Rules of Social Media ROI

Posted by Chris on December 17th, 2009

Very useful !!

The Great Internet & Social Media Marketing Experiment – Day Zero

Posted by Chris on December 17th, 2009

ok – so a big decision was made today by some friends and I but I have some more people to talk to that I would like to participate in this with us.

We have decided to work with a couple of companies to help them develop thier Internet & Social Media Marketing presence.We will tell you more about them as and when we and they are ready.

Ultimately our objective is going to be to increase thier sales. Initially we will focus on raising thier profile on Google for selected search terms and increasing the number of visitors and traffic to thier main website. ( We will do this in many and various ways ). Then we will be looking for actual conversations, enquiries and leads and then how many of those leads we can convert into sales.

Here is an interesting presentation about social media return on investment that will be relevant:

I have had a number of conversations with the parties that we are working with at the moment and the same view was coming out from them.

” Chris, all of this is very interesting but WHERE DO WE START ?? ”

Now THAT is a very good question !!!!

Indeed where DO you start ??? Well of course where you start depends on where you are….

We have decided that the Day Zero tasks for them are as follows:

First, they must decide what terms they want to be found for. What would a customer put into Google’s search box that would result in them being found ??? We have caveated this with an understanding that some search terms are much harder to rank for than others. For example if someone is searching for ” computer systems ” Google says ( on my search this time ) that there were 141 Million results. However, if someone searches for ” computer systems in Dorset ” there were ( this time ) 162 Thousand results. Therefore this is one way of saying that the first search term is much more “competitive” than the second. i.e. it is likely to be much harder to rank high on Google for the first term than the second. This leads to the idea of being flexible ( lateral thinking ) in terms of what you want to be found for and also to being ” niche ” and ” specific “. How about ” HP computer systems in Dorset ” ? – 17,100 results i.e. more niche and specific and probably easier to rank high for.

( There are considerable numbers of other ways of finding other, related search terms or keywords including the fact that as you start to type
” HP computer….. ” Google gives you suggestions as to what you might be looking for  e.g. ” HP computers for sale ” it suggests. You can also use sophisticated keyword analysis tools like Wordtracker – ).

We have also suggested that our companies consider all the potential products and services that they offer as possible search terms eg
”  asterisk based telephone systems “.

The companies that we are talking to have websites and we have looked at these.

We have asked that the companies ensure that Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools are installed on thier websites and if they are not installed the we will install them.

This is going to give us historical ( hopefully ) and baseline information that will guide us on things like correct structure of the website, keywords being used, inbound links, number of hits, traffic etc etc etc

We will be using our keyword analysis to guide us going forward on things like content and appropriate metatags and titles.

We have already looked at the websites source code and so we know that there are things that need addressing. We have also looked briefly at competitor sites and where they appear in the searches and how they are constructed. We think that even for some of the very competitive terms we have a chance of getting a good ranking.

We will also do our own list of keywords and phrases to compare with the lists  and  ( probably ) add to  what they have.

So, that’s Day Zero !!!

It was chatting to people today because the whole subject area kept coming up. I liked a couple of the comments that were made today:

A friend ” My daughter is the Twitter and Facebook expert for ( a very big computer company ). I don’t have a clue what she does “.

One of the companies ” xyz says we should have a YouTube channel. What ??? ”

It’s a very fast changing area that we are in and as I also discussed with someone today the one thing to realise is that it is never totally finished. There is always something else to do to ensure that you are found before someone else. It’s sort of scary but also sort of comforting as is the fact that you are not the only one to have a website that you don’t totally like and certainly has not been optimised. There are loads of people in the same boat !!

The New Media Marketing Whirlpool

Posted by Chris on December 9th, 2009

I am always searching for ways to describe how new media marketing works to the business people that I talk to.

My latest thought was that you could describe it’s implementation as a sort of whirlpool effect where your potential customers are out on the calm sea and you want to catch thier attention at  the outer influence of the whirlpool and then draw them gently in and then steadily down towards you – the supplier of products, services or information.

One of the main features of this type of marketing is that it is about ” Pull Marketing ” and not ” Push Marketing “. You are drawing potential clients very gently into the whirlpool and not pushing them in !!

We live in an increasingly self service world: We like to be in charge of who we buy from and deal with and we don’t much like things being pushed at us or people being pushy.

The numbers of people using the Internet to find what they want are increasing all the time. The types of things that they search for are growing all the time.

The old ways of marketing are not necessarily dead but they are suffering from a terminal disease.

Traditional ( Push ) marketing is still happening – advertising, PR, mailshots, telemarketing – it’s all still going on and it’s all still effective to some extent but more and more and every day Internet and Word of Mouth Marketing ( accelerated by the Internet ) are rising to the ascendancy.

I also think that in catching peoples attention at the periphery of the new media whirlpool you think more about people’s problems, needs, desires, objectives and questions and you lead them gently to solutions, fulfillment, destinations and answers. There is tremendous subtlety, patience, intelligence, kindness and humour in this new media whirlpool approach. Generally speaking the ladies are good at it because they often have these traits in spades. It is natural for them to deal with people in that way.

Thinking about the old Features, Advantages, Benefits sales approach you are again thinking about the potential benefits and advantages to people rather than hitting them with almost meaningless features.

You certainly need to have thought through what your core offerings are and who your target markets are. However then, you need to think laterally about what people might be thinking about or searching the Internet for and what might strike a chord with your target market. Definately you need to put yourself in the mind of the person who might be your client.

So, the way that you might attract people at the very edges of your whirlpool might be by posting a video on YouTube. Maybe something funny or shocking or maybe something informative. You might also post thoughts and useful information in  your blog. You might post a Press Release on an Internet Press Release site. ( By the way all the time that you are doing these things you have at the back of your mind the key words and phrases that your target market will be using to find someone like you ). You post things on Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter and again some are funny, some light hearted, some are informative and some are serious. Of course you still try to get into various publications and press ( many of these have online variants now ).  You list on relevant directories. You publish white papers ( as you did before ). You make your products and services clear ( as you did before ). You maintain a clear and consistent brand ( as you did before ).

Floating out at the edges of the whirlpool each of things are having thier own effect in terms of attracting peoples attention and drawing them closer to you. The YouTube video gets it’s own YouTube audience but also signposts the way back to you or your company. The blogs, PR’s, Social Networks etc all do the same.

Each of these things link back to your main website and to your email, phone number, fax number and ultimately to you.

Literally as people come within the sphere of your whirlpool the current gets steadier and stronger. Not in an unpleasant or imposing way but in a friendly and helpful way.

By the time they meet you they know quite a bit about you. They know what you believe, what you stand for and what you believe. They have, to some extent, a relationship with you.  They may even have exchanged Facebook messages with you briefly before they have spoken to you.

Then we consider that when there was only Traditional Sales and Marketing we always did our best to empathise with our potential clients – to make our advertising relevant; to make our telemarketing about creating a relationship; to tailor our mailshots and letters to our target audience; to have our salespeople ask questions and listen.

It always was and is about walking in thier shoes and understanding how they they think and feel and what they are likely to want and need. It is just that now we have this amazing thing called the Internet to communicate with our potential customers in words, pictures and videos.

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