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North Lancs Expo

Preparation is Key: #NL_Expo

Last month, Cross Bay Marketing took part in the inaugural North Lancashire Expo. Our heart lies firmly in supporting the local area and the businesses within them so it made sense to exhibit at an event that was promoting the businesses in North Lancashire.

Now I (Anna), LOVE organising events and creating stands and whilst we have been busy working ‘in’ the business, we have not been putting ourselves out there as much as we should.

We saw the Expo as an opportunity to engage with potential clients, partners and employees, and catch up with current clients and partners. To achieve this engagement, I decided we should ask the visitors to our stand to vote for their favourite logo from a choice of two. This meant that there was no need to rush our branding project, which we started in August, but also meant we gained valuable insight from people I’d love to work with in the future.

I’ve spent many years visiting and exhibiting at events and have picked up a few things over the years. Budget savvy by nature it was important to create a stand that was visually appealing but at the same time didn’t cost the earth. Aside from a couple of things that were ordered from Amazon, everything else for the stand was sourced locally.

The stand cost £180 (inc. VAT) and I budgeted another £200 for furnishing and marketing materials, £380. I also planned my time to ensure I could dedicate 2 full working days to the event.

Stand at the Expo: £180
Deck Chair: £29.99
Fishing Net: £17.97
Wooden Crates: £50
Posters and Postcards: £59.28
Seaside Props: £13.10
Bunting: £10
Colouring and Candy Floss: £14

Total: £374.34

Whilst I remained within budget, as this was Cross Bay Marketing’s first event, there were purchases made that can be used again for other events so I expect any additional cost for future events to be for roll-up banners and promotional merchandise.

If you’re thinking about exhibiting an event, it worth considering the answers to these questions;

  1. What do we want to achieve?
  2. Will our target audience be there?
  3. Are there opportunities to develop partnerships with other exhibitors?
  4. Do we have the budget?

As with all events, there should be a clear strategy in place to justify your presence at the event and what you expect to achieve from the event. It’s also important to promote your attendance ahead of the event and ensure you allocate time after the event to follow up any leads. I’d also suggest completing a post-event review with all those that represented your company on the day/s.

It’s vital to consider all costs and I would advise allocating a budget. When you are thinking about a budget, be sure to include the cost of the stand itself, the cost of furnishing the space, promotional items and printed literature, travel costs, and finally your staff costs. Keeping a note of the costs and completing a post-event review will help you make a more informed decision if you’re considering exhibiting for the same or similar event again.

Don’t be afraid to stand out at events and think creatively. I went with the seaside theme as the business is based in Morecambe and asking for someone to vote for their favourite logo helped to open a conversation. Another stand I won’t easily forget was Unbugged (pest control and their game of ‘Bug Roulette’. Take a look at our Twitter page if you want to see the video of me eating a locust!!

Think about what you can do to make a visitor remember you. If you’d like some help identifying event opportunities as well as planning and creating memorable stands then please get in contact. Call me direct on 07973 663674 or drop an email to



“Collaboration is the only way….”

The 17th March – a day synonymous with St Patrick and the colour green. As there is Irish blood in my veins (I’d say about one-eighth), I put on my green shirt and got ready for a busy day ahead.

The morning began with The Bay Business Breakfast, the second of its kind for the area. Led by Alistair Eagles, Cat Smith and Susan Parsonage took to the floor to discuss the impact of Brexit and Lancaster City Council’s vision for the district, followed by a Q&A session with a panel of local business owners.


The word ‘collaboration’ was used many times, whether it was in the context of Lancaster City Council and South Lakeland District Council, business owners and educational settings or people working together, it became clear that to address current issues and to put the Bay area on the map, we NEED to work together, collaboratively.

What was unexpected was for this theme to run throughout the rest of my day….


Following the breakfast, I made my way down to the Digital Marketing Roadshow in Blackpool. I almost didn’t go due to my tight schedule, but the 45 minutes spent there were well spent. I found myself in a room listing to Jamil from Wakelet talk about the content sharing platform he has created. I’d never heard of Wakelet before but seeing it in action, I am creating my account after writing this blog! If it’s good enough for Everton FC, it’s good enough for me!


Wakelet allows you to organise content you’ve collected into stories called wakes with the choice of keeping them private or sharing with others.


Leaving Blackpool, I made my way to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund Briefing. Yes, it was as serious as it sounds with [as expected] many men in suits. The event was held to introduce the fund managers who have been appointed to manage the £400m [!!] Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. They are;

Microfinance: Business Finance Solutions & MSIF, Finance for Enterprise & Business Enterprise Finance

Business Loans: FW Capital and Enterprise Ventures

Equity Finance: Maven Capital Partners and Enterprise Ventures

The fund is ‘aimed at boosting the North of England’s economy and helping the region’s businesses realise their growth potential.’ The new fund aims to provide smaller businesses with increased choice of funding and produce greater levels of investment across the Northern Powerhouse region.




During the Q&A session, that word, collaboration, was referenced in relation to the appointed fund managers working together to achieve the right investment for companies seeking funding, but also the collaboration between the local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and business owners themselves.

Earlier in the morning, I’d listened to comments about how people think the North of England ends at Preston. We all know that’s not true, but together we can make our voice heard and show what there is North of Preston…We have a world class university, an area of outstanding beauty and hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses contributing to the local, national and international economy.

In the words of James Cash Penney, Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”


Written by Anna from Cross Bay Marketing. If you’re struggling to align your marketing activity with your business goals, let us help. Email or call 07973 663674. 


Mixing the old with the new…

In my blog last week I invited you back this week to discuss a real life example of blending digital and traditional marketing. So here it is…

Jen from the Yummy Cupcake Company contacted me in late November, 2016 to help her with the release of her new book, A Decade of Cake.

To give you a bit of background, the Yummy Cupcake Company is well known in Lancaster and Lancaster University, and up until March last year had been giving Lancastrians and students alike, their weekly sugar fix with her selection of cupcakes and traybakes. She had also supplied cupcakes to hundreds of brides and grooms across Lancashire and Cumbria.


Through a crowdfunding campaign, Jen was able to write, and publish a recipe book filled with her cupcake and traybake recipes. She was clear about her target audience, the people that bought from the stall and shop, and the objective was to sell the book.

The Yummy Cupcake Company had a strong following on Facebook [2950 likes to be exact] and it was clear that any post made received good engagement, despite her struggling to find the time to post regularly. People loved Jen and her sweet treats [me included!]. To sell the book, Jen chose Shopify embedded into Facebook so people could buy direct from the Facebook page.

On meeting with Jen, it was clear she needed support with her social media but I also felt it was important to share the Yummy Cupcake Company story. I discussed an interview style press release which would be circulated in Lancashire and Cumbria and contacted Danielle at Bloomin’ Creative to help.

Key Points

  • A Decade of Cake was a printed recipe book
  • Press Releases are a form of traditional marketing
  • Social Media is a form of digital marketing
  • There was an online shop to buy the printed book (in itself a blend of digital and traditional)

Jen and I agreed that Cross Bay Marketing would plan and help manage the social media for the month of December and arrange for Bloomin’ Creative to create and circulate the press release. The social media consisted of a mix of organic and paid advertising, predominantly on Facebook with Twitter and Instagram also included. Cross Bay Marketing also created branded images for each post and one giveaway. The tone of voice was in line with posts Jen had made herself.

Over the month of December, the Yummy Cupcake Company received over 1000 reactions on Facebook with 115 people clicking through to buy one or more of the books. There were 50 clicks from Twitter to the shop page.

Twitter Analytics

Many people who bought the book have also shared what they’ve made on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Fan twitter-fan

The press release was well received and featured in numerous print and digital media including the Lancaster Guardian, Westmorland Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post and Entirely North West.

Lancaster Guardian

This mix of digital (social media) and traditional (press release) has re-engaged previous Yummy Cupcake Customers and actioned over 10% of those that engaged to buy the book. Without using the two techniques together, I don’t believe the impact would have been the same.

Whilst Jen takes time to think about what she may do next, it is clear she has a strong fan base that will support her.  Simple steps such re-sharing her story and encouraging her fans to show what they’ve been making on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will keep her customers engaged and would be the ideal people to target with any new business venture she may make in the future.

The Facebook page also gives the Yummy Cupcake Company a lasting memory and the opportunity to live on through its fans.

Oh and for those of you who haven’t got a copy of the book, it’s still available to purchase through the Facebook page. It would make a great gift for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day 🙂

A Decade of Cake

Written by Anna Bell, an Associate member of the CIM and experienced marketer, working in-house as a Marketing Manager for almost 8 years. Cross Bay Marketing can support businesses looking for a flexible management solution or for one off projects such as strategy, website redesign, social media training and more.


What is Marketing?

Wow, I’ve either chosen a really easy question to answer or quite a tough one, I can’t quite decide yet.

What is Marketing?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) definition of “Marketing” is;

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

So let’s break that down;

Process – It’s a process that requires buy-in from the whole business. A marketer will need input from other departments within the business and external support. This ‘process’ is also likely to change over time.


Identify – When you had your business idea, one of the first things you were likely to do is identify your customers (and your competitors). This is such an important step. Without knowing who your customers are, how can you target and connect with them? It’s also important to continue to review who your customer is, as this may change over time.


Anticipate – Moving on nicely from above, we all know circumstances in our life can change, just as in the world. It could be your client who has bought from you for the past 10 years has just started a family, so they don’t have the same disposable income to continue or the industry your business operates in has come under tighter legislation. Your company needs to be anticipating and planning for these changes.


Satisfy – We need to be able to satisfy our customer’s needs. There is a popular statistic that says it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer, but many companies still put all their time, money and effort into acquiring new ones. Your marketing shouldn’t solely be focused on acquiring new customers but also retaining those that you already have which can be done at a lower cost. Take a look at this great infographic from Invespro.

Customer Satisfaction

Profitability – We have to ensure that we are spending money sensibly on proven methods. We need to know how much is costs us to acquire and to retain a customer and the lifespan of a customer. All marketing efforts have to work towards achieving the business goals, of which, profitability is often one. There will often be times we may identify a different tool or new technology that could improve customer satisfaction and also increase profit margins.


Have you been reading this thinking I already do a lot of this but I don’t see it as marketing? You wouldn’t be alone! The CIM have said that many small businesses are already marketing without realising it, but this ‘unconscious marketing’ is not sustainable. 

In a report they said;

“If you don’t understand that you’re ‘doing’ marketing, it’s hard to keep things consistent over time. This isn’t an obvious problem for very small organisations, but marketing on the hoof becomes less feasible as you grow.

How do you create a proper marketing strategy for the future? How can you keep up with your competitors, exploiting all the latest technological developments at a time of rapid change?

Applying a simple marketing framework is vital. It enables you to plan your activities in advance, find out what works, then use them again when and where they are most effective.”

It’s imperative that a company knows its business objectives and goals. Without this, it is almost impossible to plan, create and implement a successful marketing strategy [I’ll cover marketing strategy in another blog post] but I will leave you with this afterthought.

In a day when everything seems to be focused on digital marketing, don’t forget traditional techniques. The two, blended together, can make a big difference to your business. Come back next week where I’ll be discussing this with a real-life experience….


How would you sum up marketing?

Written by Anna Bell, an Associate member of the CIM and experienced marketer, working in-house as a Marketing Manager for almost 8 years. Cross Bay Marketing can support businesses looking for a flexible management solution or for one off projects such as strategy, website redesign, social media training and more.


13 of my favourite websites and apps #MicroBizMattersDay

You could say I found out rather late in the game but today [Friday 13th January, 2017] is #MicroBizMattersDay. A global day of recognition, action and learning which hopes to engage with millions of micro business owners with them all donating time to help each other and ensure a “rocking successful New Year.”

What is a Micro Business? A Micro Business is a business that has between 0 and 9 employees and there are MILLIONS of us out there.

As part of the day, we’re being encouraged to give 13 [#IGive13] but 13 what? 13 Hours, 13 Company Shout outs, basically 13 anything that would help a fellow micro. I thought about this and decided I would share 13 of my favourite websites and apps. This is my list and I hope you find it useful!

Anna x

  1. LinkedIn – Love or hate it, I find it an easy way to keep in contact with people I’ve met over the years and an opportunity to meet others.
  2. Canva – making design easier and accessible to those of us who are creative but not trained designers.
  3. Buffer – saves me time when it comes to posting on various social media profiles. They also have a great podcast show called ‘The Science of Social Media’.
  4. Podcasts [ios app] – I’ve listened to so many great podcasts whilst out on a walk, sat in a hospital waiting room etc. One of my favourites is a TED talk by Rachel Botsman called ‘We’ve stopped trusting institutions and started trusting strangers.
  5. WordSwag [app] – an app that lets you create images with text. Great for quotes and to watermark your own images. I do love a good quote!
  6. Toggl  – a timesaving app that was recommended by a fellow micro biz owner. Thanks Matt at The Design Attic!
  7. Asana – a project management app again recommended by Matt.
  8. Dropbox – I can access and share files from wherever I am in the world!
  9. FreeAgent – making bookkeeping and accounting simple for me and my accountant. It is so easy to use and even sends automated invoices and invoice reminders!
  10. RingGo [App] – Anyone that knows me knows I never have change to pay for car parks so this app is a life send.
  11. Classic FM – recommended by Danielle at Bloomin’ Creative, I listen to this online whilst working. It keeps me focused and doesn’t distract me.
  12. Spotify [app] – for when it’s a Friday in the office and I want to listen to an album from way back when. Today it was Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I am, That What I’m Not -awesome album that’s now 11 years old!
  13. Google My Business – anyone that has a business should have it listed on here. You can hide your address if you don’t want others to see it!

What do you think of my list? I’d love to know what your favourite 13 are so please feel free to comment below.