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The Power of People…

Well, what a month April was and we seem to be marching through May already! There were many highlights in April including;

  • Digital Lancashire Skills Launch in Preston
  • Heysham High School Winning Digital Advantage
  • Lancaster Business Property Event
  • Daughter’s 6th Birthday
  • LA1 Shorts Film Festival

Although all relatively different events, it struck me the importance of nurturing the people in our communities, working together and how valuable role models and mentors are.

The Digital Skills initiative focusses on driving digital skills throughout Lancashire, whether that’s helping people complete the online Universal Credit applications to training software developers. We looked at ways we need to pull together help the current and future workforce and I was given the chance to chat about the amazing Heysham High School pupils I worked with on the Digital Advantage programme.

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After witnessing first hand just how many talented teenagers we have locally, that was multiplied when I stepped into County Hall in Preston for the Digital Advantage Graduation Ceremony. I was surrounded by teenagers that had worked together on a digital business idea. The words their individual trainers had to say about them almost moved me to tears and I know it will be these moments that will sit with them for the rest of their lives, especially as they move into exam season. These teenagers had a wide range of academic ability, but it was their ability to work as a team that made the difference.

Heysham High Digital Advantage

I truly believe in the power of people coming together and the Lancaster Business Property Event was just that. We came together to talk about how we can address the current challenges and how we may learn from other areas of the country. I was looking forward to listening to Mark from Baltic Creative CIC in Liverpool talk and it was truly eye-opening. These are 3 things I heard that I want to share with you…

✔ Baltic Creative CIC supports the digital AND creative sector

🤓 They have created a shared vision and ensure that it’s reviewed annually

👉 72% of tenants collaborated with one another over a 12 month period

Lancaster Property Event

As we neared the end of the month it was a very special girl’s 6th birthday. As a parent, I know I put pressure on myself to ensure she feels amazing on her birthday and whilst I worry about buying too many or too few presents, I know more than anything she just wants the people that are important to her to be there on that day. We had a lovely family meal and at the weekend she celebrated with her friends with Enjoyaball Paul. This man is incredible with kids and would highly recommend their parties.

Enjoyaball Lancaster

The month drew to a close with the LA1 Shorts Film Festival at The Dukes. In its 3rd year, this is the first year I had attended but already I can’t wait for next year. It features 10 short films that were made by local and national independent filmmakers. I was blown away by each of them but True Grit and Boxes were very worthy winners.

Audience Choice – True Grit, Kriss Foster & Wes Martin

LA1Shorts Best Film – Boxes, Eben Skilleter

LA1 Shorts Film Festival Winner

What were your highlights in April? Feel free to share in the comments below.

“Why here?” They ask, “Why not?” I reply.

A few weeks ago I put up a LinkedIn post about one of the reasons I choose to live and work in this area. Amongst the positive comments, there was one comment that, being honest, got under my skin, made worse by the fact it was by someone who no longer lives here. Whilst chatting to my other half about the comment, my mind went back a good few years.

Let me set the scene…I’m a teenage girl sitting in her room watching Live and Kicking as I did every Saturday morning. One of my favourite boybands is performing and being interviewed. The band, A1 (who remembers them?!), have just performed and are going to sit on the sofa for the interview. Amongst other questions, they are asked, “Where is the most boring place you’ve been to?” Paul answered with MORECAMBE! Well, this teenage girl who was a huge A1 FAN was furious…how could he call her hometown BORING?!

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“Morecambe is NOT boring” I shouted and felt compelled to tell everyone who had just heard him say it. Over the coming days, I began to draft my [handwritten] letter over lunchtimes and after school. I remember listing the things Morecambe had to offer;

    • Frontierland
    • Morecambe Superbowl
    • Cinema
    • Amusement Arcades

and the fact we’d even welcomed royalty earlier that year. The handwritten letter and Eric Morecambe postcard were sent to the PO Box address.

Queen in Morecambe 1999

Queen Elizabeth in Morecambe 1999

To my utter amazement two weeks later I was watching Live and Kicking again and they began to read the letter I had sent in. Paul made a personal apology saying the reason he said was Morecambe was boring was because he had a stomach bug and couldn’t go out much. I also received their signed autographs and a Groovy Chick doll.

Groovy Chick Doll

I’ve never really reflected on this until now. For a long time this area, most notably Morecambe, has been called names such as “boring”, “rundown”, “not what it once was” and more. For someone growing up here, this is hard to hear; it’s like those statements reflect on you. Looking back that’s how I think I felt and I know there are teenagers today that believe there is nothing here for them and they don’t have a lot to offer. Steph McGovern recently shared a tweet after some of her words were taken out of context. This final sentence is absolutely spot on…

“I want the people I grew up with and everyone from a place deemed as poor to know that they should never be held back from achieving the best in life and they should be proud of where they’re from.”

I am proud to live in Morecambe with my husband and two young children. 

I am proud to run my business here and of all the other businesses that do. 

I am proud of each person and community group that work hard to support us all. 

North Lancashire and the people in it have a lot to offer and it’s time to we started telling the world! 

Heysham High

Who said teenagers were a tough crowd?!

After spending some time at Heysham High School working with Y9 – Y11 students taking part in the Digital Advantage programme late last year, I was also asked to come and give a short presentation to a group of Y9 Business Studies students. As part of their coursework, they had to research a local business.

I wanted them to be engaged and interested in what I had to say and for it to be a two-way conversation. From chatting with the Digital Advantage group and the class teacher I had an idea of the things I could mention that they could relate to and/or have an interest in. The video clips and questions weaved throughout the presentation meant that it wasn’t just me at the front of the room talking at them.

Take a look at the presentation I created using Prezi here: https://prezi.com/view/hLYdJ6coXCCV9WhVC3Tr/

You never know when you say ‘Any Questions?’ at the end if you will get any raised hands but I did – even one from a student who had said beforehand that he would be too shy to ask a question.

It was a pleasure to share the room with these teenagers for 30 minutes. The teacher mentioned that in a separate class discussion a student asked why I would set a business up here…I’ll cover that in another blog post 🙂

Video Clips 

  1. How would you describe marketing? Watch: https://youtu.be/Gqp29XSBdP4
  2. KFC Video – https://youtu.be/lZsVORnp0kI
  3. Nike Video – https://youtu.be/RqGIemVf4cY
  4. What is the difference between B2B and B2C? Human to Human – https://youtu.be/DRLX1BO65Bc
  5. Kid President – https://youtu.be/4z7gDsSKUmU
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What is Google Analytics trying to tell you…

Hands up if you’ve got Google Analytics set up on your website? 🙋‍♂️
 
Keep them up if you know how to log in to your Google Analytics account? 🙋‍♂️
 
Now…are your hands still up if I ask you if you’d looked in detail at your account in the last 6 months? 🤷‍♀️
 
🔍 I’ve spent the morning reviewing two different client’s websites who are in completely different industries to see how many people are visiting their websites, where they are coming from and if there are any ways in which we could improve the experience for the user.
 
Since working with Client 1 to build and optimise their website 12 months ago, keep the website updated and manage their social media, they have had almost 8000 visitors in total with a 25% increase in visitors to the website in the last 6 months (an extra 888 visitors). It also has one of the lowest bounce rates I have seen at 34.58%. 😍
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Since supporting Client 2 with their digital marketing for the past 6 months, they are averaging 500 visits to their website each month via Organic Search (Google/Bing) alone. In April last year, they had just 53 (!) visits from Organic Search – an increase of 845.55% 👌
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Google Analytics is a fantastic tool which I would recommend you regularly review especially if you are thinking about getting a new website. If you need a hand looking over all the data within it, want to discuss building a website with the user in mind or marketing strategies to help get more visitors [that are likely to buy from you] to your website, please get in touch. 📢

We’re Award Winning!

🎉This evening we won the North Lancashire Expo “Best Social Media Engagement” Award …🏆 THANK YOU to the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce and everyone involved. Here’s to 2018.

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p.s Want to see me eating a locust at the North Lancashire Expo? Click here – https://twitter.com/CrossBayMktg/status/912033178164088832