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Website and marketing hints and tips for businesses who’s websites are under construction

Website & marketing tips for businesses with websites under construction. For over 50% of small businesses, a website and online marketing is a key element in new business generation, customer relations & reducing costs*. No matter how ΓÇÿnon-techieΓÇÖ a business might consider themselves to be, the fact that the term ΓÇÿgoogle itΓÇÖ is in the dictionary is a testiment to the pervasiveness and importance of the Internet.

All businesses need to invest to grow and for business-to-business companies, a quality website is likely to see much higher ΓÇÿtrafficΓÇÖ levels than a reception area, an advert in local paper or leaflet drop. Yet businesses are willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands, on areas that do not deliver the return on investment that the Internet does ΓÇô and that is not good business practice!

*2009 Ad-ology ΓÇÿSmall Business Marketing ForecastΓÇÖ report

For many businesses, their immediate concern is about the ΓÇÿcostΓÇÖ of setting up a website ΓÇô but an effective website is an investment that:

ΓÇó creates new business opportunities & clients
ΓÇó strengthens customer relationships
ΓÇó reduces operational costs creating more profit
ΓÇó finds the best employees

For businesses working with a limited budget, an effective business website can be created for as little as £995. E-creation can help grow your business through ‘cool’ design & functionality in stationary, websites, multimedia & presentations.

Free website & marketing checklist for businesses without a website:

  1. Have an easy-to-remember phone number visible on every page of your website. Simple yet effective!
  2. Write quality content using web-focused copywriting for websites that achieve free amazing search engine rankings.
  3. Set up a blog using a free tool such as ΓÇÿBloggerΓÇÖ. Post unique, informative content and Google will boost you to the top of results.
  4. Keep content up-to-date because if a website has out of date information, many people assume the business is no longer trading.
  5. Put web address on all marketing because it is the easy path for businesses to find our more and make contact.
  6. Embrace multimedia. Use it to communicate what makes your product or service special much more effectively than words alone.
  7. Keep the design simple yet appealing. Businesses such as Apple have built their success through effective, recognisable design.
  8. Use directories to promote your business – 86% of business searches in Yahoo local result in a phone call to the found business.
  9. Producing video content. It is inexpensive & easy when creatively treated yet has significant impact especially virally on YouTube.
  10. Setup a Twitter account and use it as a free content management tool to promote products, offers and topical information.
  11. Create a Facebook group linked to your website and let your customers do your online marketing for you by uploading photos.
  12. Use psycholinguistics in website content to really influence behaviour and deliver the desired results more cost effectively.
  13. Finally … get a website designed! If people are looking for you and can’t find you, then they can’t do business with you.

Please contact E-creation on 01202 853685 or visit our website at or to see the marketing worksheet online, click here.

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Ben New Year New Start 2010

It has been a busy start to 2010 for E-creation.
So far, I have investigated hairdressers, restaurants and takeaways in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

We created a series of free marketing fact sheets for these industries filled with useful tips to enhance their business.

I researched appropriate local businesses to send this information too and assembled the marketing packs complete with E-creationΓÇÖs funky business card.

We know that times are difficult for small businesses, so the team have been trying to come up with low cost ways to help them generate business. An example of this has been the £95 Facebook Business page. Using Facebook as a technical platform enables E-creation is very quickly create a webpage that is indexed by Google and has lots of cool functionality. For restaurants, for example, it’s possible to upload videos, link to GoogleMap page, allow customers to upload & share their photos and even incorporate a video of the restaurant. Social media is a hot topic right now and is very cost effective within specific sectors.

Where E-creation can help is setting up the content in the page to maximise the impact of social media and to make sure that all the relevant content and links are in place. It seems like a simple thing, and it is, but it takes experience to do well. However, thatΓÇÖs how for ┬ú95, the team are able to offer a unique and really effective way to market a business. Of course we have no idea at this point how many smaller businesses will actually be interested in using social media, even with such a low cost of entry – so fingers crossed.

We looked into the opportunity of redesigning the front-end of Facebook for businesses, as you can do within MySpace ΓÇô but unfortunately, this is no longer possible. So the Facebook Business pages have to keep their Facebook style, but with images around the edge to help give the right impression. Still, it keeps the development costs low, so perhaps itΓÇÖs actually a bonus in terms of opportunity.

Please check out the marketing fact sheets on our website.

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cost-effective marketing strategies free marketing fact sheet News online marketing for restaurants online marketing for takeaways restaurant opportunity takeaway marketing

Online & traditional marketing for restaurants & takeaways

Marketing for restaurants & takeaways

Each week, E-creation produces a free marketing fact sheet for local businesses with traditional & digital marketing hints & tips. Today, we focus on restaurants & takeaways.
In the UK, food and drink spending outside of the home is close to £100,000,000. This represents a massive opportunity for growth & profit. However, thriving during times of economic difficulty requires simple, cost-effective marketing strategies that are proven to work. Marketing you restaurant or takwaway can be simply divided into four key areas:

ΓÇó Passing trade
ΓÇó Word of mouth
ΓÇó Advertising & PR in the press
ΓÇó The Internet & online marketing

Below, we have provided examples of specific, effective and quick to implement marketing to help grow your business. E-creation can help implement these as part of an overall strategy or on an individual basis. We can create a professional and unique website for your restaurant or takeaway for as little as £495. We can help with signage, design, logos, advertising, search engine optimization and social networking.

10 free marketing tips for restaurants & takeaway businesses:

  1. Have an easy-to-remember phone number. Simple yet effective!
  2. A portable folding sign that people have to walk around. ItΓÇÖs more effective at catching passing trade than in window marketing.
  3. Use Twitter to promote daily / weekly specials (done simply by sending a text) to achieve greater footfall & search engine rankings.
  4. Employ 3rd party marketing tools like TopTables for guaranteed bookings in slower periods of business using special offers.
  5. Create a Facebook group (itΓÇÖs free!) for customers to upload photos, share experiences and do your marketing online for you.
  6. Include a photo gallery on website of famous clients (and keep a cheap digital camera on premises). Provides that ΓÇÿblingΓÇÖ factor.
  7. Create an e-mail marketing database by offering a discount on first order / meal ΓÇô and then communicate regularly by e-mail.
  8. Use the local press. Nurture your relationship with local press by offering ΓÇÿtastingΓÇÖ evening ΓÇô the PR can be invaluable.
  9. Most people eat out on their birthday ΓÇô capitalize by using marketing database to ΓÇÿremindΓÇÖ customers at appropriate moment.
  10. Use Royal Mail’s local leaflet drop service. It costs as little as £39 + VAT per 1,000 – that’s a lot of eyeballs for not much money.

So thatΓÇÖs 10 easy ways to increase turnover & profitability, as successfully used by 1000ΓÇÖs of UK restaurants & takeaways. There are many approaches to building business but often the simplest deliver results fastest & most effectively.

Click here for a printable PDF of our free marketing fact sheet for restaurants & takeaways.

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Digital & traditional marketing tips for hair & beauty salons

Marketing ideas and websites features for hair dressers and beauty salons looking to expand business

Each week, E-creation targets a different business sector providing website design and marketing advice, especially for smaller local businesses. This week, we are focusing on hair dressers and beauty salons.

This is a market that traditionally would appear not to benefit from online marketing, given the importance of word of mouth. However, as the general population has become more and more web literate, customers have come to expect more from businesses in terms of the information they make available online.
For hair dressers and beauty salons, E-creation as developed a set of low cost, high impact online marketing tools:
  • Facebook – creating a Facebook fan group that enables your customers to upload their own photos of events they’ve attended after their brilliant haircut, share information with Facebook friends and interact with each other (as well helping to drive traffic to your website and improve search engine rankings).
  • Online bookings – a simple online booking system allows customers to make their appointments online (and for the salon to manage appointments using a simple online system) and even pay for it online ahead of time.
  • Printable gift vouchers – online personalised, printable gift vouchers enable ‘loved ones’ to purchase a hair cut or beauty appointment as a gift or surprise. These can be marketed through different channels (such as to open up a completely new market.
  • Call back technology for instant sales – web technology enables website visitors to enter their phone number and instantly receive a call back from the salon, which is created automatically by 3rd party software and connects the salon as a received call. This instant communication means better conversion rates into new customers.
  • E-commerce facilities for products – online shops can be easily built and represent a valuable revenue stream for salons who might otherwise see the business go to chains such as Boots or large retailers like Tesco. Hair and beauty products have large margins and can often be more profitable sources of income than haircuts or treatments.
  • Twitter – instant communication of special offers sent directly to subscribing Twitter accounts lets you fill quiet periods of business rapidly, increasing overall profitability.
Of course, cost is always a key factor for smaller businesses but at E-creation we prove to our clients time and time again that a website is a business investment, the same as creating a leaflet for your reception or attractive signage for the front of the business. The only difference is that a website can be seen by a much larger audience and provides the chance to create new revenue.
Hair and beauty salon website design templates means E-creation can produce websites for as little as £300 for smaller, salons who are looking to see a low-cost avenue to test the impact of having a website on business revenue.
For more established businesses, an investment of ┬ú1,500 enables E-creation to create an online shop, Facebook account and put Twitter into a website for a revenue producing tool that can add ┬ú10,000’s to a hair or beauty salon’s bottom line.
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Cool new business cards for Future Culture

E-creation’s graphic designers produce cool new cards for Future Culture

The team at E-creation are always looking for ways for businesses to really differentiate themselves from the minute they enter into a potential client’s consciousness.
Thats why we think business cards so so very incredibly important. It provides an immediate and credible overview of the professionalism and attitude of an company. E-creation’s business cards are famous! You might be thinking that we are exaggerating, yet time and time again, when networking, going into meetings or talking with journalists, when we hand over our business card, we are greeted with ‘ah, we’ve heard about you and your business cards’. That’s because they are really cool – but do not have a high unit cost or a gimmick factor – they are simply yet well designed, integrating all the brand values of E-creation.
For Future Culture, the youth oriented focus of the business is reflected in the style whilst still appealing to the cold, hard business drivers that their clients require. For their business card design, we used a spot UV (a kind of shiny ink) to highlight a hidden story on the back of the card that is initially felt before it become obvious. We examined the possibility of using UV reactive clear inks that would change from clear to a deep purple but unfortunately, this was a cost prohibitive approach.
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“Ich bin ein Berlingual” with new name, branding and website using Berlin’s Akzidenz Grotesque.

Ich bin ein Berlingual” with new name, branding and website using Berlin’s Akzidenz Grotesque.

13 January 2010

“Berlingual” is the new brand created by award-winning design agency E-creation for a growing business language school in Berlin. E-creation created the international identity as part of a complete re-branding and communications strategy revamp that plays on the difficulties of metaphors in communications across cultures and languages. The issues around language subtlety, clearly identified by John F. KennedyΓÇÖs 1963 “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, where his famous phrase is also a colloquial way of saying “I am a jelly doughnut”, were used as a foundation for the design concepts.

The one month process was part of Berlingual’s transformation into an internationally recognisable brand targetting increased market share across Europe and 75% turnover growth target. Design will play a future key role in achieving this growth, as seen in the success of design-led organisations like Apple and Bang and Olufsen. E-creation has helped Berlingual to achieve international recognition. The brand stands out internationally, our website clearly differentiates us from our competitors and the business cards are clever enough to win us businesses on their own. “They clearly characterise and identify the business problem faced by our clients – communicating effectively in a foreign language, using the visual proposition where idioms are the clearest form of language subtlety” says BerlingualΓÇÖs founder Leo Waters.

The shape of the logo was inspired by classic quote marks whilst avoiding common visual cliches found in communications organisation’s branding. The logo’s font, Akzidenz Grotesque, was created by Berlin-based H. Berthold in 1896, providing a deep and authentic feel to the overall design with genuine history. Akzidenz Grotesque is the basis for one of the most popular ‘modern’ fonts, Helvetica.

The homepage of the website features an animation using traditional English business idioms. Three phrases included ‘top dog’ and ‘bringing home the bread’ were counterpointed by uniquely German imagery (the German shepherd and Swartzbrot) to instantly highlight the issues of communicating through idioms.

E-creation used Adobe Flash to create graphic headings and navigation ‘on the fly’ and avoid a more labour intensive Photoshop route, saving the client time and money to amend it when creating other language versions of the website while maintaining graphical integrity.

“Clever design, historical authenticity and effective use of technology make Berlingual one of the best examples of how simple design is often the best approach. Creating a design ‘experience’ is essential for business success in today’s “brand rich” environments, something E-creation nailed with Berlingual!” says Jan-Erik Paul, MD at E-creation. The branding and website can be found at

Berlingual is a new addition to E-creation’s growing international roster of brand & communications clients which includes Polish, German and US based organisations.

REF New York times

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The 2009 E-creation Finnish Christmas Dinner

The 2009 E-creation Finnish Christmas Dinner
‘Possibly the best Christmas Dinner in Bournemouth’

What a gastronomic feast our Christmas dinner was on Wednesday evening. Jan Erik, MD of E-creation, took it upon himself to introduce new members of the team to the pleasures of the Finnish Christmas dinner at his home in Alum Chine. The stunning menu was wholly in accordance with the ΓÇÿjust that little bit sharperΓÇÖ philosophy – and was we believe the best Christmas dinner held in the whole of Bournemouth.
With his Finnish roots and the importance of the Christmas meal in the Finnish celebration of Christmas, it was only natural that Jan-Erik chose some of the choicest Finnish morsels. So give you a taste of what it was all about … here is a peak of the Finnish culinary delights on offer.
Hyva Joulu! – The E-creation team


Honey & Balsamic Glazed Ham
Marmalade Encrusted Road Duck
Lanttulaatikko (Swede & Nutmeg bake)
Rosolli (Finnish Beetroot & Pear Salad)
Leek Gratin with St. Agur Blue Cheese

Served with a selection of:


Cauliflower & Cheese
Goose Fat Roasted potatoes
Cornbread & Caramelised Chestnut stuffing
Giblet gravy with Redcurrant & Mustard

Glog (Finnish Mulled Wine with Cardammon & Honey)
Iranian Sour cherry juice
Vodka Creme & Cranberry cocktails

Cheese board
St. Agur blue cheese
Kidderton Ash GoatΓÇÖs cheese
Blue Stilton
French Brie

It was a small and intimate affair with the designers and coders. An enjoyable evening was had by all and many a full belly was to be found!

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Ben ΓÇ£Odds and JobsΓÇ¥ ΓÇô Thursday 10th December.

Ben ΓÇ£Odds and JobsΓÇ¥ ΓÇô Thursday 10th December.

Spent the first thing this morning in a design meeting with Chris, discussing another project E-creation is running.

I have been working on a press release and learnt about focusing on the 5 WΓÇÖs of journalism when writing an article: The ΓÇ£Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?ΓÇ¥ in no particular order.
This is to get a readerΓÇÖs attention. To do this you have to write the article in a concise and interesting manner. In the hope that the journalist will choose to publish yours over the hundreds of others they receive everyday from companies.
It is imperative you make the first paragraph really count and provide a summary of the article. For some useful advice on writing a press release check out:

Being printed in a newspaper is beneficial for a company as it gets the message out about their products to people besides using direct advertising. Once I was happy with my draught I sent it to Laura-Jayne a journalist, so that she could provide me with some feedback on what I had written.

I heard back from Universal Music with regards to obtaining the rights for galvanize for the online marketing presentation. The cost for doing so was £1750. This is prohibitively expensive considering the site is unlikely to have more than a 100 hits a month. I think this time round E-creation will be leaving that one.

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JP – Tired, annoyed about not being shortlisted, Flash 3D challenges and super cool ‘bling’ Facebook goes live – XTM International, Slough Council

Tired, annoyed about not being shortlisted, Flash 3D challenges and super cool ‘bling’ Facebook goes live …

All businesses have to run multiple projects to grow but when you have to juggle chickens, tired, milk bottles and scarves it becomes a bit of a pain. Okay, that’s a fairly confusing way of saying that there is just too much going on right now, so I am having to prioritise pre-Christmas delivery projects (meaning E-creation might miss the Christmas market with some of it’s own projects).

XTM International
The team made the final breakthrough (see left image) on the website designs last week after E-creation presented three design concepts. The website design is now looking awesome – hitting all the key objectives in the correct tone – ‘professional, friendly, international, fresh, technical & easy to code!’ Really key here is ‘easy to code’ as we will not be doing the coding ourselves but rather leading the internal development team at XTM International, so the visual assets and guides need to be absolutely spot on.
Leon has been working on the Flash animations that will be applied in the top corner and doing some experiment using realtime 3D to help reduce file sizes. On previous projects, we have had to face the challenge of truly amazing animations created as loops in After Effects which ended being integrated as film loops in the background of the Flash file. This can be seriously inefficient, so now, we try to make things as 3D objects where perspective effects are required. This has helped us to reduce the original file sizes of 3,000k for XTM International (impossibly large!) down to 28k (improbably small!) for effectively the same effect.

Slough Children’s and Young Person’s Directory
This project is finally coming towards closure after we had agreement on the image selection for the website. It always surprises me that no matter how ‘rigorous’ we are about explaining to clients that the written and image assets for projects is likely to be the bottle neck in any project, it’s the last thing we end up doing, often months after a design process is complete. The risk is dilution of the ‘creative essence’ that is very dense during the design process, when the design team is totally immersed in the project and mind space, as other design projects with different design objectives and guidelines float around – keeping project specific mood boards on the wall seems to help …

Bid for Shepway Find Your Talent Website

I found out this morning that we haven’t been short listed for this project, which is a pity, as I really thought we were very ideally placed to deliver the creative and technical requirements of the project. That said, I only had 48 hrs to put together a very complex proposal with elements such as our equal employment statements, 3 years of financial data, creative treatments and more!
Have a peak at the visual idea to the left that we cobbled together in 4 hrs for the proposal. It’s pretty amazing what you can come up with when under pressure.
Incidentally, is now up and running, our ‘super bling’ version of Facebook, so check it out and feel free to give us feedback – it’s still early days, so any ideas are readily welcomed!