West Cork business advice: Should I run an Adwords campaign?

Many of our digital clients ask us about the merits of running an AdWord campaign for their business, and whether or not it is a good idea. PPC, or Pay Per Click advertising is a useful tool when used as part of an overall digital marketing strategy to achieve business objectives. AdWords is one kind of PPC and refers to the ads seen on top of Google's search engine results page (and also display adverting and video ads across the Google network). 

So is Adwords right for your business? It depends on your objectives. If your strategy involves getting people to your website, Adwords could help deliver the clicks you need. Read on below for some things to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to try an Adwords campaign. 


The nice thing about a PPC campaign is if you're willing to bid enough, you can be more or less guaranteed that your ad will appear on top of Google. Reaching the top of the Google results page organically through Search Engine Optimisation is another matter altogether, and organic ratings are notoriously volatile. You could be at the top of Google one day and at the bottom of page 2 the next. That's why the stability of PPC is a plus.

Related: Read our guide to SEO for small businesses.


One of the benefits of a Google AdWords campaign is that it is incredibly localised - you can choose who the ad is shown to within a particular radius. So, for example, if you are a hairdresser in Clonakilty, you can choose to have your ad served within a 15 mile radius of Clonakilty, thus ensuring your ad is only going to people locally and that you're not wasting money on clicks outside of your immediate vicinity. 


Another nice feature of Adwords is the ability to only run your ads on the days that your business is open/ that you want to encourage leads. Say, for example, you're a plumber from Skibbereen. You can turn on your Adwords campaign on Monday morning and you might get 10 calls before the end of Monday. Soon, you've booked enough appointments to last the week - so you can turn off your campaign until you need to generate some more business. Easy! 


Many business owners decide to split their PPC budget between social advertising (eg Facebook ads or promoted Tweets) and Adwords. You will have to decide the right breakdown for your business - some people decide to go 50/50, but others tend to weight their budget more towards Adwords if they are trying to get more visitors to their website. 

Wording + Keywords

The last thing to consider when building your Adwords campaign is wording. You'll have to think carefully about which keywords to bid on and do your research on what your competitors are doing. Adword Planner has great tools to help you design your ad, so this is something you can keep an eye on as you build your ad. 

Need help? 

We can set up and manage your Adwords campaign for you. Here at Star Creative, our expert team is on hand to help take your business to the next level by providing design, print and digital services to suit you. Give us a call now or email us to get a no-obligation quote. 

Facebook is changing - here's how West Cork business need to adapt

Anyone who uses Facebook for Business regularly will have noticed a huge drop-off in reach in the past few weeks. Reach refers to the amount of people Facebook say your post has been seen by. 

These changes have significant impact on businesses that rely on Facebook to drive traffic to their website, or to get customers in their door. Below we've outlined some simple things you can do today to combat this loss of reach.

1. Find your busiest times

Do you know when most of your followers are on Facebook? Finding this out will help you reach your target audience at a time when they're on the platform. To get this information, simply visit the 'Insights' section of your Facebook business account, select 'Posts' and look at the graph under 'When Your Fans Are Online'. This will outline the most popular times of day on your page. 

2. Encourage engagement 

Facebook have said that they will prioritise content that "starts conversations", so ideally you would want to encourage engagement on your posts (ie comments, likes, shares). A simple way of doing this is to ask questions at the end of each post.

3. Be image-conscious

Remember that an image tells a powerful story, and a good image is more likely to catch someone's eye as they scroll through their newsfeed. There are some good resources online for images, including paid services like Shutterstock or free options like Negative Space

4. Diversify

Don't rely on Facebook alone as your social network of choice. Now is the time to branch out into Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or another network in order to diversify your online branding and build up your social presence. 

Have you noticed a difference with Facebook reach recently? Do you have any tips for overcoming these obstacles?

Need some help? 

Star Creative offers social media services like social media training and management. Get in touch now for more information. 

6 quick & easy marketing tips for West Cork businesses

Want to dedicate some time to growing your local business, but don't know where to start? We've gathered together some tips to help you quickly gain new leads and increase your profits. 

Here are 6 things you can do today that should will help your business in the long run. What are your best business tips? Share them in the comments. 

1. Set Goals

Whether you want to get more people in the door, book more appointments or grow your client base, it's essential to have clear goals in mind to help keep your business growth on track. 

2. Google My Business

Make sure you've set up your business on 'Google My Business' which ensures you appear on Google Maps and that your customers can easily submit reviews online which will help your SEO. Not sure how? We wrote a blog post on this very subject: Read it here

3. Identify your online home

In this day and age, it's fair to say your customers are likely to search for you online, so it's essential to have an online presence. Whether it's your own dedicated website or a social media profile, make sure you have an online home that's kept up-to-date and relevant.

4. Get email-wise

Email as a marketing tool that is vastly underused in West Cork and if you're willing to dedicate a bit of budget and some time to creating an email database and planning campaigns, you could see a great return on investment. Make sure you're up-to-date on the incoming GDPR legislation (read our blog post about it here) and read our tips on getting started with email marketing (here).

5. Build relationships

When you're a local business targeting a local customer, building relationships is incredibly important. Social media is a wonderful tool like this. Engage with your customers and you'll benefit from the relationship that is created. 

6. Network

Join your local Chamber of Commerce, support community events and fundraisers and get involved with nearby events to build a relationship with your community and fellow business owners that will benefit you in the long run.


We know West Cork businesses, and we're available to help. Contact us now for a no-obligation quote or just to chat about how we can help your business.

What do the new data protection laws mean for West Cork businesses?

You may have already heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will be coming into effect in Ireland on May 28th this year, but what does it mean for your business? 

Here are the key points you need to be aware of before GDPR comes into effect this year, but for more information remember to visit www.gdprandyou.ie.


You need to the consent of an individual before you record their personal data, and this consent must be ‘freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous’. You must make it clear what you intend to use their data for. Consent cannot be given from pre-ticked boxes or silence.

Personal Data

You will need to make a thorough account of all the personal data you hold and be able to explain why you have it, and prove that it is being safely managed. 

Personal Privacy Rights

Individual will have the following rights:

  • subject access
  • to have inaccuracies corrected
  • to have information erased
  • to object to direct marketing
  • to restrict the processing of their information, including automated decision-making
  • data portability

Timescale for requests

If an individual makes a request under GDPR, you must comply within one month (this is being reduced from 40 days).


If you ever have a data breach, you must have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate it. All breaches will need to be reported to the DPC within 72 hours. If the breach could result in harm to the individual (like identity theft), you must also report it to the individual themselves. 

5 top retail social media trends of 2017/2018

If 2017 has taught us anything in retail, it's that social media continues to be big news and a big revenue driver. Social media has become a necessity for all retailers, especially in the run-up to key shopping periods. 

Here are our takeaways from 2017 and the trends to look out for in 2018:

1. It's all visual

Social media has continued in 2017 to be image dependant, and all posts need to be accompanied by an attractive image or video. Text only posts simply don't perform as well. When it comes to designing for social media, make sure to create images in the correct size for the platform you're using (full list here!) and keep the amount of text low. Remember, our graphic design team is on hand to prepare a full suite of social media appropriate visuals for you. 

2. Video

We've been talking a lot about video recently, but that's because we've seen almost all platforms encourage video uploads and the engagement on video is consistently higher than with text or image-only posts. Curious about how video could work for your business? Read our recent blog post on creating a social media video for your business for some tips to getting started. 

3. Retargeting

Imagine if you could pinpoint everyone who watched your promotional video, and deliver a new ad specifically to them? Well, with Facebook custom audience you can do just that. Retargeting is particularly useful for converting customers who have shown an interest in your products, services or content in the past. We can help you set up a retargeting campaign - get in touch to discuss your needs. 

4. Mobile first

With recent studies showing that 51.2% of all internet activity now comes from mobile devices, it's essential you're optimising your content and social posts for the smartphone. In practice, this means ensuring anything you're linking to is mobile-friendly and displays correctly on a smaller screen. It's always worth testing links on your own phone before sharing it on social media. 

5. Budget

As SproutSocial explains, "There’s no doubt social media algorithms make it harder for businesses to promote organic content. With the introduction of the Instagram algorithm in 2016, nearly every major social network uses some sort of content preferential treatment." In 2018, consider setting aside some of your marketing budget for social media. 

Need some help? 

Get in touch with our friendly team now to discuss your digital marketing strategy, social media advertising or any design or print work. 

Case Study: How to create a social media video for your business

In terms of internet trends, video was huge in 2016 and 2017 and will continue to be big news in 2018, particularly on social media. 

Here's one we created for our sister organisation, The Southern Star newspaper to promote Christmas magazines. Read on below for our top tips for creating your own promotional video. 

Tips for creating a video for your business

1. Keep it short

Keep your promotional video under a minute, and if possible under 30 seconds. The research shows that short, snappy videos perform better online.

2. Start off strong

Facebook now autoplays video, so the first 3 seconds of your video are essential for drawing attention. Work to make those first seconds as engaging as possible. 

3. Branding

Make sure to keep your branding visible throughout the video. You don't want the audience to finish the video and not know what your business is offering. 

4. Call-to-action

What do you want people to do at the end of the video? Visit your website? Phone your office? Visit your store? Make sure you include a clear call-to-action towards the end of your video. 

5. Upload on every platform

The days are gone that you could simply upload to YouTube and be done. You should be uploading your video on each of the platforms you use - whether it's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. 

Need some help? 

Want to make a video for your business? Get in touch with us for a quote now! 

Preparing your West Cork business for Christmas

The Christmas shopping period has started already and all West Cork businesses know that it's important to be prepared and make the most out of the festive season sales spike. 

Below we have some tips for optimising your business to get the most out of the festive period. Have any ideas of your own? Comment below to let us know! 

1. Newsletters

Whether it's a paper flyer or an email, this is a great time of year to re-introduce yourself to your past customers. Mock something up with a Christmas feel and make sure to include your Christmas promotions and opening hours. Think about inserting flyers into your local newspaper for optimal impact. Need some help designing your newsletter, or want someone to run the email campaign for you? We've got you covered

2. Decorate

It goes without saying that you should decorate your premises for Christmas, but consider giving your website and social media a festive makeover as well. It's good for SEO and reminds your customers that you're active online. 

3. Christmas ads

Join John Lewis, M&S and Lidl by creating a signature ad this Christmas. Make sure to reserve your place in The Southern Star's "Christmas in..." range of magazines which cover towns all over West Cork including Dunmanway, Clonakilty, Bandon, Inishannon, Batnry, Skibbereen, Kinsale, Rosscarbery, Leap, Glandore, Union Hall and Castletownbere. Email advertising [at] southerstar.ie for more information.

4. Get involved

Make sure to get involved in local events this Christmas. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for information on the turning on of Christmas lights, festive fairs or parades which could give you the opportunity to meet new customers. 

Need some help?

Whether you're looking for help with promoting your Christmas offers, designing or printing your Christmas flyers or running a social media or email campaign, get in touch with Star Creative today for a no-obligation quote.

Recent Project: Doing Business in Kinsale

We're thrilled to announce the launch of our latest project: Doing Business in Kinsale, available to read now at www.doingbusinessinkinsale.com.

Doing Business in Kinsale is a new 80 page guide highlighting why this famous town has built a well deserved reputation as great place to live and work.

With contributions from leading business commentators, politicians and local stakeholders this guide is a must for investors, entrepreneurs or expatriates looking for the ideal location to live, relocate or to develop a business.

Available in hard copy and digital edition, Doing Business in Kinsale has been designed to promote Kinsale to a wide yet targeted audience of key influencers within Ireland and overseas as a serious option to consider when looking at their next location

Produced by Fitzgerald & Partners and Star Creative (part of The Southern Star family).

Enquiries relating to:

- Kinsale, contact Cormac Fitzgerald, cormac.fitzgerald@fitzgeraldandpartners.com

- Star Creative, contact Sean Mahon, info@starcreative.ie

- Fitzgerald & Partners, contact Cormac Fitzgerald, cormac.fitzgerald@fitzgeraldandpartners.com

Need some help?

Need some help with your marketing? We can help with printing, graphic design, web development, social media and more. Get in touch now to find out what we can do for you. 

Is it time for a marketing shake-up? Checklist for getting back on track.

How often do you review your marketing activity? Is it monthly? Quarterly? Or more likely, unless you have a dedicated marketing resource, the answer is closer to never. 

During this period after the busy summer months in West Cork, it's essential to evaluate what you've been doing, decide what's effective and what's not, and make a plan for the coming year. If you're in a business with a strong sales period around Christmas (or would like to be), it's the time to start planning your Christmas marketing strategy. 

Local businesses often find that they fall into a stasis where there marketing materials aren't changing as the seasons go by, which can mean the purpose of the marketing activity gets missed. 

Work through the below questions to re-evaluate your marketing strategy. If you answer each question, you should get a fairly good picture of where your strategy (or lack of) is currently, and how to get it back on track. 

1. Where is our marketing budget being spent?

2. Are the marketing messages for my business consistent across the board?

3. Do we know which marketing effort is generating enquires/sales?

4. Does our marketing reflect our company?

5. What are the short term and long terms goals for my business, and what changes should I make to my marketing efforts to get there?

Performing this exercise once a quarter will save you time and money, and ensure that the correct message is reaching the right market consistently. It will also help you trim the fat and stop spending money on marketing efforts that aren't yielding any results.

Need some help with your marketing? 

We're Star Creative and we provide top-notch marketing services across design, print and digital for businesses in West Cork and beyond. Call us today and we can talk to you about your marketing efforts to date and how to reach your audience more effectively.

How to do market research without spending a fortune

If you're a small business owner or are thinking of setting up a new business, you need to be thinking about market research. Market research helps you define your target audience, understand the needs of your customers and inform a marketing strategy. However, conventional market research can be very expensive and cost-prohibitive for a new or small business. 

Below we have some inexpensive ways to perform basic market research. Although not the most scientific methods, they should help you define your typical customers and decipher their buying habits. 

1. Create a customer profile

Who is your typical customer? Think about what they look like in terms of gender, age, location, spending power and likes and dislikes. For example, if you're a nail salon in Clonakilty, your typcial customer might be female, mid-teens to mid-40s with disposable income and an interest in grooming and beauty. Use this customer profile to inform your marketing strategy - whenever you're unsure about your next move, ask yourself whether your typical customer would respond to that type of engagement. 

2. Ask for feedback

Ask your existing customers for feedback on your current service. Why not host a customer appreciation event and ask your customers to fill out a short survey? You'd be surprised how much useful feedback people will leave you if you ask them at a key point in the sales process.

3. Use social

As an extension of the last point, use your social media audience to glean information. Invite customers to do an online survey and perhaps offer an incentive, like a prize or a discount off future purchases. Don't be afraid to ask these online customers about themselves - information like age and gender will be useful when building your customer profile.

4. Look to your competitors

A good strategy could be to look at what your competitors are doing and piggy back off their research. What clientele are they targeting and why? Use this intel to inform your own strategy. 

5. Try a school

Colleges and universities are often looking for small businesses to get involved in business class projects. By volunteering yourself, you will not only have market research done on your behalf, but students may also build you a marketing strategy. 

Need more help?

Want help with your marketing? We can assist on every part of your journey, from initial marketing research to designing and printing your marketing materials and even building you a website. Get in touch today for a no-obligation quote. 

The best FREE online marketing tools for small businesses

As any small business owner knows, anything that can save you time is worth its weight in gold. There are countless digital tools to help you streamline your accounts, POS, and stock-taking processes, but did you know there are also plenty of marketing tools available online? Best of all, lots of them are free, and when used properly they could save you hours. Below, we've outlined our favourite time-saving programmes suitable for small businesses. What are your favourites? Let us know on Facebook


Google Analytics tells you everything you need to know about who is visiting your website, how they're finding you and what they're looking at. Just enable analytics on your web pages, and Google will automatically record each visit and click to let you know how long your customers are spending on your website. This information is invaluable when trying to isolate your target audience and develop a marketing strategy. 


Nothing replaces can replace a talented graphic designer, but for very simple graphics we love Canva. Sign up for a free account and use it to create simple graphic for social media using their pre-designed templates. 

Image Editing

A great free tool for resizing images for social media is Landscape - and best of all, you don't even need to make an account! This tool lets you resize your images so that they're optimised for different social media. 

Social Media

If you want to save time on social media, a scheduling programme could be the answer for you - in particular if you're looking after more than one account. We love Buffer which is a tool that allows you to easily schedule content in advance. 

Need some help? 

Want some help with your help with your marketing? We can offer advice and practical help on design, print, digital and advertising. Get in touch for a no-obligation quote now. 

How to build a customer email database (and why!)

Email is an amazing marketing tool that is vastly under-used in West Cork. Imagine the direct contact of a mailshot, but with only a fraction of the cost? That's why almost every local business could benefit from an emailing marketing strategy, and why you should consider starting one, if you haven't already. 

If you already have a list of customers emails, did you know that your database degrades by about 22% each year? That's from people unsubscribing, changing emails or opting out. So it's important to keep on top of your gathering methods to keep it alive!

Below we've outlined how to build a customer email database. Need some help sending emails? We can do it for you! Get in touch today about costing.

1. Ask 

The first step to building your email database is by asking people to sign up. Put a link to an online form (we love mailchimp!) on your website or social media and simply ask people to input their email to stay on top of the latest products and services you offer. You'd be surprised by how many will say yes! 

2. Give an incentive

After the initial burst of sign-ups, you may find you have to offer incentives to keep people subscribed. Whether it's special discounts or free gifts, you may find you can justify this cost with your return on investment. 

3. Use it

Don't let your email list languish in a spreadsheet somewhere - use it. Even if it's just once a quarter, a simple email to update your customers will keep your business on their mind and they will be less likely to unsubscribe.

4. Make forwarding easy

Encourage your subscribers to forward the email to their friends by making it easy and attractive to do so. You may get some new sign ups with this method.

5. Give back

Your email subscribers deserve a little love in return. Experiment with email exclusive discounts or event invitations to keep your loyal customers happy. 

Need help with marketing? 

Let us advise you. Get in touch today for a no-obligation quote on graphic design, printing, digital or marketing services and see what we can do for your business. 

5 simple marketing opportunities West Cork businesses can't afford to miss

Every small business owner in West Cork knows that it's easy to get lost in an endless list of big marketing tasks - from website design to updating brochures and point of sale materials. While all of these are important, below are some relatively simple jobs that can slip between the cracks. 

Need some help with your marketing? Get in touch today to see how Star Creative can help you. 

1. Email Signature

You may forget about your email signature - after all, you're seeing it day-in, day-out - but for new and potential customers it can make a big impression. Make sure you keep your signature up to date with your social media and website information, and it's also an opportunity to add a marketing message in the form of a graphic or video. 

2. Voicemail Message

What does your voicemail message say? Is it professional? Do you give the caller all the relevant information they need? Take some time to think about what effect your voicemail message is having on people who try to get in touch with you. 

3. LinkedIn

You already know the importance of social media for your business, but if you're a small business owner you should really be present on LinkedIn as well. Not only does it allow you to network with other businesspeople, it can also help you promote your business and get your name out there. While you're on there, make sure to follow our page for the latest West Cork news! 

4. Business Cards

Always have some business cards on you, even if you don't think you'll have any networking opportunities that day. You never know you might meet! Make sure your card reflects you and your business. Need up to date business cards for you or your team? We can design and print them for you - just get in touch for a quote! 

5. Local media

Don't forget about local media like newspapers, magazines and radio stations. There's a reason why regional media is thriving, and it's because people old and young engage with their local papers. Consider booking an ad during key periods throughout the year to keep your company name on people's minds. 

Need some help? 

Need help with any of the above? Star Creative, based in Skibbereen, is the creative services division of The Southern Star newspaper and we're happy to help with any design, print or digital marketing questions you have. From posters to website and everything in between, get in touch to find out how we can help your business. Call us on 028-21200 for a no-obligation quote. 

Can Guerilla Marketing work for small, local businesses in West Cork?

When we talk about marketing strategies for local businesses, we often refer to SEO, social media, email marketing and newspaper advertising. However, it's good to broaden your potential marketing streams and think about new ways of getting your message in front of potential customers. Many businesses find a mixture of traditional marketing like newspaper adverts, in conjunction with more experimental strategies can work well. 

That's the idea behind guerrilla marketing - it's taking an unorthodox approach to translating your brand message to customers. 

Below we've outlined some ideas for local businesses to incorporate guerrilla marketing into their arsenal for the coming months. 

1. Do Something Unexpected

Recently, Cleary's Pharmacy in Skibbereen came to us with an interesting idea - they were moving their premises across the street and were looking for a way to alert customers of this fact. Their ability to think outside the box and do something unexpected led to a fun photoshoot and window display for their old premises that literally pointed people in the right direction.


This playfulness and unexpected humour paid off for them, and the feedback for the campaign was excellent. As the people behind The Southern Star newspaper, we were also able to promote the campaign in the paper and to our large social media audience. 

2. Free Samples

It's the oldest trick in the book, but that's because it really works. Free samples are the best way of getting your product into the hands of your potential customers. Find a high-traffic way to give away free samples - whether it's by setting up a stall outside your business, getting involved in a local event or contributing to a goodie bag, take the opportunity to spread the word about your business. Below is a clip of Huckleberry Doughnuts in Cork City who used National Doughnut Day as an opportunity to increase their brand awareness. 

3. Have a laugh

A key component of guerrilla marketing is playing on humour and being able to have a laugh at yourself. Remember, you're trying to attract attention to your business, so slipping in a joke or two can be highly effective! 


Need some help? 

We're here to help you implement your next marketing campaign, whether it's big or small. We offer graphic design, printing and digital services for businesses all over West Cork (and beyond!), so get in touch today to make your idea a reality.

Does Facebook Live work for West Cork businesses? 5 reasons why you should try it.

Facebook Live is a video streaming feature that is available to all Facebook users worldwide. It allows you to stream live video directly from your smartphone on to your personal or business page. This feature was rolled out in April 2016 and since then we've seen massive results from Facebook Live, with many local businesses finding it to be a great promotional tool.

Below are 5 reasons why you should consider using Facebook Live on your business page:

1. Reach more customers

The moment you begin streaming, Facebook sends a notification to all of your fans. Because it is a relatively new feature, it appears Facebook rewards you for using Facebook Live by giving you a great organic reach. In fact, our sister company The Southern Star has seen great results from using Facebook Live compared to uploading a video normally - with up to 70% more views and engagement. 

2. Branding tool

Giving your customers a peek behind-the-scenes with Facebook Live is a great way of boosting your business and humanising your brand. Some ways you could use Facebook Live include coverage of a live event, breaking news, a daily message or on the spot interviews with customers.

3. Promote your event or sale

Facebook Live is a great way of connecting with as many of your followers as possible, which is perfect for event or sale promotion. Have someone on your team dedicated to filming for even 10 or 15 minutes should prove highly beneficial. 

4. Ease of use

In terms of ease of use, Facebook make it incredibly easy to use the Facebook Live feature. All you have to do is select the 'Live Video' option, type in a short description and click 'Go Live'. Need help? Don't hesitate to get in touch

5. Best of all...

...it's free! Facebook Live is completely free and it gives you real-time information about how many people are watching and engaging.

Need some help?

Need a hand with your marketing? Star Creative is like a marketing department you can hire as needed - we can help with your graphic design, printing, branding, digital services, advertising and more. We want to help you find new customers and grow your West Cork business. Get in touch for a no-obligation quote.

How to make your West Cork business stand out at conferences and events

With lots of agricultural shows and conferences going on during the summer months, your local business may get the opportunity to set up a stand at a local event. This is a great way to showcase your brand to potential customers, and you'd be well advised to do some preparation to ensure you're getting the most possible out of the opportunity. Below we'll outline 6 key areas to consider before your next event.

1. Be prepared

Have a think in advance about your goal for this event. Do you want to show people a new product? Or get more people into your shop? Or simply let the public know about a sale or event you have coming up? Having a clear goal in your mind will make it easier for you to decide how to proceed. For example, if you're a bakery launching a new recipe, you might bring along some samples to give away to the crowd. 

2. Stand out from the crowd

Having an eye-catching backdrop to your stand instantly makes your section more interactive and noticeable.

Consider investing in pop-up exhibition stands (left) which are re-usable and easy to set up. Speak to us about designing branded exhibition stands that ensure your business gets noticed.

Case-study: Drinagh Co-op

3. Be engaging

Ensure the right people are manning your stand all day - you want friendly, engaging people who are happy to talk to potential customers and are enthusiastic about the brand. 

4. Information to take away

Give potential customers something to take away and process later, like a flyer or brochure. It's also worth having a stack of business cards on hand for anyone who you want to share your personal contact information with.

5. Data Capture

Why not take the event as an opportunity to build a marketing list for SMS or email? Ask customers to sign up for your newsletter or to receive text alerts. Once you have a substantial list, Star Creative can help you use them to their fullest potential. Get in touch for more information about our SMS and email marketing services. 

6. Get social

Post a picture of your stand on social media and ask people to come and say hi. You'd be surprised how many people will notice and take the opportunity to come and find out more about your businesses.

Need help? 

Get in touch with Star Creative and let us help you make a splash at your next event or conference. We can help you prepare by designing and printing exhibition stands, flyers, brochure, business cards and other marketing materials. We can also help with your digital marketing (eg social media, website, email and SMS marketing). Call us now on 028-21200 for a no-obligation quote. 

5 ways to handle the rise and fall of seasonal business in West Cork

Any business owner in West Cork will be familiar with the seasonal upswing of commerce in the area. As the weather gets fine and tourists start to flood in, we see an increase in business from visitors to the area. 

What follows is not so great - the dip in sales as the trickle of tourists slows down. Below we've collated some tips for you to consider during this summer period to develop a season-proof business and stop your sales from falling flat come autumn. 

1. Understand the cycles

Understanding the ebb and flow of business year-round is essential. Base your sales projections around on data from at least the past two or three years, taking into account the seasonal fluctuations. If the business hasn't been around that long, check with peers and industry sources. 

2. Fortify planning skills.

Planning is essential. Look ahead at least six months to plan appropriately. To carry the business through slower periods (the shoulder season) and complete lulls (the off-season), consider stockpiling some cash during the busier months. And don’t forget to take advantage of slow stretches to prepare for the peak season.  

3. Build alternative income streams

Although it might seem like a diversion from the core business, set up additional revenue sources to counteract the off-season. Just don't let attention to the alternative stream overtake a focus on the primary business.  

4. Stay in touch

Set your business apart by making a point of maintaining visibility throughout the year. Even if regular clients aren't much in contact during the off-season, they might still be around. Think about implementing an email marketing campaign or sending a simple text message. It’s a great way to turn one-time customers into repeat clients. Star Creative offers excellent email and SMS services if you want an easy way to contact your customers - get in touch. 

5. Manage the impact of seasonality on staff

In some cases, there’s simply no getting around the seasonality factor and short-term contracts are unavoidable. Just be sure to manage expectations of seasonal workers. Be clear about the length of the job from the offset. 

Need advice?

We can help you steamline your sales and marketing strategy. Get in touch today for a no-obligation quote. 

How to register your local business with Google

In last week's blog post we wrote about the top easy SEO tips for West Cork businesses, and after some people contacted us for more information about Google's 'My Business' feature, we're going to go into more detail in today's post. 

To recap, here's what we said regarding the 'My Business' feature:

Google My Business is a tool provided by Google where any company can input all the information relevant to their business (opening hours, contact information etc) in one place, and also include images and videos - essentially creating a virtual tour of your shop. Setting this up should immediately increase your ranking in Google. The My Business tool also helps customers find you online. Best of all - it's free. 

We love this service because it's optimised for local businesses - it helps customers find local businesses based on their location rather than only showing big companies with big online advertising budgets. For example, if someone used Google to search for a fast food restaurant in Bantry or Clonakilty, they'll see local businesses first instead of a McDonald's in Cork City. 

In order to access Google My Business you must have an active verified Google My Business profile. If your business does not have a verified Google My Business profile you will simply not appear on most devices. This means you are practically invisible to mobile users, who account for the largest percentage of searches online today.

Setting up your profile is easy - just visit https://www.google.com/business/ and click "Start Now". From there you can search for your company's name and claim your business. They may ask you to verify that you're the owner by sending your phone a verification number. They may also ask you to verify the location of your business by sending you a postcard with a code. Once you receive this postcard, you'll just have to enter the code online. 

Next, it's time to fill in your desired information, for example opening hours, telephone number, email address and photos. We recommend filling out as much of this information as possible for better results. 

A nice added benefit of getting up your My Business account is that it allows your customers to leave you reviews. Positive reviews are very good for your SEO, so you should encourage your customers to leave you a review. 

Need some help?

Do you need help with your Google account or any other marketing for your business? We're a local design, print & digital services business that can help with your marketing. Give us a call on 028-21200 or email info@starcreative.ie for a no-obligation quote.

5 easy SEO tips for small local businesses

What is SEO, and why is it important for West Cork business? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it refers to how easy it is for potential customers to find your website through search engines like Google. The better your SEO, the higher your page will appear in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) when someone searches for relevant keywords. 

For example, if you're a barber in Clonakilty, you'll want your business to appear when someone searches "barbers in Clonakilty" or "haircuts in Clonakilty" - so those are the keywords you should be focusing on when you're working on your SEO. Below we've pulled together some useful tips to help you get on track with your SEO. Need one-on-one help? Get in touch with us today.

1. Google My Business

Google My Business is a tool provided by Google where any company can input all the information relevant to their business (opening hours, contact information etc) in one place, and also include images and videos - essentially creating a virtual tour of your shop. Setting this up should immediately increase your ranking in Google. The My Business tool also helps customers find you online. Best of all - it's free. 

2. Image first

Add a variety of images across your website. This increases engagement with current and potential customers. People are more likely to scroll through photographs or pictures which should increase your ranking. Ensure that all images have a description added for the 'Alt text'. 

3. Mobile Friendly

For best return on investment, make sure your website is mobile friendly. About 80% of mobile searches have a local intent so making your site easy to use on mobile is essential. You could miss out on those potential clients if you site isn't accessible by smartphones. 

4. Google Keyword Tool

Keywords are important for SEO, and the Google Keyword Tool is a great free tool anyone can use. It is a useful tool to help you plan your marketing strategy. For example, if you are a plumber based in Bantry, the Google Keyword Tool will determine the words that people are searching for related to your business or area such as “Plumber in Bantry”.

5. Review

Encourage your customers to leave you reviews online, whether it's through Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google or other review sites. 90% of online users trust reviews so it's a great way to tap into new customers. 

Need help with digital?

Get in touch with our dedicated team for help with your website, social media or digital marketing. 

Latest tips for marketing your local business on Facebook (July 2017)

The digital world is always changing, and a huge part of successfully marketing your business online is keeping up-to-date with the latest online trends and social media strategies. 

Below we've outlined some of the key updated Facebook tips and tricks that will help you use the social network to the benefit of your business in the coming months.

Pssst - need more help? Book a social media consultation with us today and we'll help you devise a winning social strategy to gain new customers and take the hassle out of marketing!

1. Watch your response times

Facebook now lets visitors to Business Pages know how responsive your page is to private messages. Try to answer all messages within 2 hours to make sure your response rate stays up. Enabling text or email alerts may make it easier to keep on top of your messages. 

2. Video first

Here's a crazy statistic: Video on Facebook accounts for just 0.9% of all posts, but that content amounts to 7.15% of all reach on the network. Many Facebook for Business users have noticed that Facebook is currently weighting video content over text-only or image content, meaning your videos should see a significant boost in reach when uploaded directly. 

3. Facebook live

Facebook recently launched a streaming feature which allows you to live-stream video directly to your Facebook page. This feature seems to be weighted heavily by the Facebook algorithm and many pages see massive views from live-streaming their events or even day-to-day life. Why not try it?

4. Collaborations

Check if your local newspaper offers any collaboration opportunities which could result in a huge boost of followers for you. A small amount of investment by sponsoring a prize or getting involved in a community project could benefit your page in the long run. 

5. Targeting

Get comfortable with target audiences, especially if you're boosting posts. By targeting, you can narrow the audience for your posts to people who fit your typical customer. Selecting age range, location and interests can help you reach people who may be interested in your product or service.

6. Call to Action

Facebook added a new feature which allows you to add a Call to Action to your page, and you should enable this button to add a call to action that sits in the bottom right-hand corner of your cover photo. These buttons make it easy for your fans to get in touch with your business - don't miss out on some extra site traffic.

Need help? 

We love social media, and we're happy to help you improve yours. Get in touch to find out how we can help you by calling 028-21200 or emailing info@starcreative.ie.