Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Digital marketing tools, tips, sites and resources for everyday business use

Here are digital marketing tools, tips, sites and resources for everyday business use. Resources to help you with your digital marketing. Tools and ideas to help you post, find content, measure, and research digital; work effectively online, and deliver your marketing and social media. Below are simple, short descriptions with links to tools, sites, resources and guides. Digital, AI, Robots, Marketing and Social Media Resources which we use ourselves in marketing, plus sites and resources used by entrepreneurs, agencies and online practitioners. New tools and sites, updates are added regularly, and we welcome ideas and comments.  This page is about any technology that connects people and machines with each other.

Internet Websites and Activity

  • Internet live sites, it’s what it says, a real-time record of what is happening! – livestats
  • The top 500 sites on the web – guess who’s top? @Alexa- view

Digital News, Papers and Research

  • Digital Strategy Consulting – Daily digital marketing research and news – view
  • Digital News Report – Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism – view
  • Digital Technology – The Independent latest news, breaking stories and comment – view
  • Marketing Tech News – Advertising, commerce, content, customer experience, data-driven, cloud, mobile, personalised, search and social – view
  • The Drum – Marketing, advertising and design news –view
  • Digital Trends: technology news and unbiased expert product reviews of HDTVs, laptops, smartphones and more – view
  • Digital Media The Guardian – view

Automation AI Tools

AI tools are for statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, artificial neural networks, and methods based on statistics, probability and economics.

  • 7 AI tools mobile developers need to know | Packt Hub – view
  • 7 AI Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier – Business 2 Community – view
  • Best AI and machine learning tools for developers – view
  • Microsoft AI platform: Powerful tools and services – view


  • 50 Must-Have AI Software Tools For Marketers – NGDATA – view
  • 42+ Artificial Intelligence Tools for Marketers – view
  • 54 Artificial Intelligence Powered Marketing Tools – view


The Digital Garage is Google’s one-stop shop for mastering digital marketing. If you have what it takes to complete each of the 23 topics and unlock every badge, you can earn the esteemed Digital Garage Certificate of Online Proficiency.

  • Build your web presence view
  • Be noticed with search ads view
  • Get noticed with social media view
  • Build your online shop view
  • Get discovered with search view
  • Get started with analytics view
  • Discover the possibilities of mobile view


  • The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile here
  • By name, company or region Title Directory: here
  • How to set up a company page video
  • Insert video into your LinkedIn profile here
  • How to add video to LinkedIn posts here
  • How to add administrators to LinkedIn here
  • Sending a LinkedIn Invitation – how to connect with someone here

Digital & Social Media Tools

  • Google Adwords Tutorial video 2018 with links to various other videos – view
  • Google Display Advertising video – here
  • Google Analytics Tutorial for Beginners – here
  • Smart Insights 20 Toolkits guides and templates, not free but very good from Dave Chaffey – view
  • Free Digital Marketing Toolkit BLOG, POSTS, REPORTS, TOOLS & TRENDS from Target Internet @DanielRowles CIM here
  • Stephen Waddington’s PR Toolbox
  • Stickyeyes Content Guide and Toolkit
  • The Barcelona Principles – Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles here
  • Traackr – demo video
  • Buzzsumo and video tutorial on how tool lets you see popular content from sites.
  • ninjaoutreach Find Influencers. Automate Outreach.
  • Topsy shows topics since 2006 and influencers – video and shows followers
  • Followerwonk shows you Twitter bio and key profile info
  • Echosec lets you search specific geography for social media like Google Earth – video
  • YouGov Profiler insert a name or brand, it pulls all data to show profile
  • ONS Office of National Statistics

Writing for Websites and WordPress

Blog Writing

  • LinkedIn Pulse 20 Tips – here
  • Social Media Examiner 26 Tips – here
  • Seth Godin top blogger tips, how he finds time and how to blog – here
  • Best blogging sites – here

Website and Online Writing

  • F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content – Jakob Nielsen Norman Group – view
  • Wordsmith and copywriting – for bids and tenders – the best in the business in our view! John Drewry – view
  • The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites – here
  • 10 usability heuristics – and what they mean for copywriters – here
  • Jakob Nielson – Writing for the Web – here
  • Video – 10 Usability Heuristics from Jakob Nielson – here
  • W3C compliance – why this is important and what to do – here 
  • Hemingwayapp – makes your writing bold and clear – here

Internet Marketing Podcasts and Webinars

  • Internet Marketing: Insider Tips and Advice for Online Marketing
    By SiteVisibility – the UK’s most popular internet marketing podcast downloaded by over half a million people – view here
  • CIM Practical Insights Webinars here
  • The Eight Best Marketing Podcasts – view

Main Social Media Platforms

  • How to Use Social Media for Your Small Business – view
  • How to use Hootsuite –video


  • How to set up an account video guide – here
  • About Snapchat for business and how to use it video – here


  • Facebook business pages, optimising for best results – here
  • How to advertise on Facebook – Hootsuite guide
  • Add a logo to your Facebook page – in 5 steps
  • 20 Tips for Building a Professional Facebook Profile – here
  • How to delete a Facebook Page – here


  • The Big List of Twitter Tools: 93 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need – here
  • Crowdfire – follow/unfollow – here
  • Tweepi: Tidy up who you follow – here
  • Twitter advanced search – here
  • Twitter analytics and much more – here
  • 27 Twitter Tools To Help You Find And Manage Followers
  • audiense best follow and unfollow and targeting tool – here
  • Tracks the frequency that a hashtag is used on Twitter, provides details about thehashtag – here
  • Twitter – Getting Started Guide Help Center Page
  • Twitter Chat video – view
  • 5 Ways To Find The Right People To Follow On Twitter read here
  • Twitter direct messages – view


  • How to set up a YouTube Channel – here
  • How to Download a Video from Facebook – here

Websites and Analytics

  • SEO Tools: The Complete List (2019 Update) – here
  • 29 Best Free SEO Tools (Tried & Tested) – view
  • 25 Simple and Free SEO Tools to Instantly Improve Your Marketing [Updated for 2019] – view


  • The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics Resources for 2018 – here
  • Google Analytics, their own training videos and help – here
  • How to Use Google Analytics for Social Media: A Beginner’s Guide – view


Content Sources

Strategy blogs, twitter sites and good places to visit for thought leadership content

Content Marketing Institute – developing a strategy

Updates – More Digital Tools Sites

Please contact us if you have ideas for any digital marketing tools, tips, sites and resources for everyday business use. Tools and ideas to help you post, find content, measure, and research digital. New tools and sites, with updates are added regularly by us, and we welcome suggestions from anyone for us to add other tools and links.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

The Hashtag how to use it on social media to engage with customers

Mike Hawkward of Amuzo Games

“The hashtag, is the biggest tool in cocreation.” So said Mike Hawkyard (pictured above), founding partner of Amuzo Games, Strategy Director of GAMEBRAIN when he presented at this year’s prestigious 13th Mike Warne CIM Bournemouth University Annual Lecture. This got me thinking about the humble and ubiquitous hashtag. I thought I would research it. Do an article. However, I am a pragmatist. Anything I write is about utility. To help readers and customers with stuff. This article is about the hashtag and how to use it on social media to engage with customers. However in this instance, frankly the job is done…By an article already written. You could call this a cop out. But I will add some value. In fact, I suggest if you get into this properly, you develop Hashtag Thinking. This gives better marketing focus across your commercial strategy planning – more of this later. As a serial social media practitioner myself, and hashtag user, there are highlights in the article and some extra points I think worth adding. Here goes. The article:

How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network – view here by Maddy Osman of sproutsocial


A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.



Chris Messina is a former Google employee who worked in developer relations and as a designer on Google+.

When and how to use

A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.

Tools to help with Hashtags

Find and search for #
# Performance


Work out hashtags for specific target audiences: your prospects and customers. This is crucial. Examples for Dorset Business Angels where I am a founder director, would be:





Also have hashtags for your unique offers or selling propositions. So for example at Dorset Business Angels, we have


and so on…

Hashtag Thinking

In fact after a while I suggest, this approach like using keywords creates a focus in your work. I call it Hashtag Thinking for better marketing focus across your commercial strategy planning. It can be applied to business plans, marketing plans, campaigns, much of marketing and selling. It’s not restricted to the Hashtag and how to use it on social media to engage with customers. All the hashtag does is draw attention to one word, or phrase for your specific intended customer. Sounds like, 90% of what most of us our trying to do in business, most days of the week. Perhaps the hashtag isn’t so humble?

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Cocreation definition

Leading marketing speakers since 2007 showcased annually by BU and CIM at the Mike Warne Event

The Mike Warne event 2019: The power of co-creation

Nearly 200 students and business people enjoyed the CIM Bournemouth University 13th Mike Warne Event on cocreation this year. Including Mike Hawkward one of the speakers, setting a competition for the the most accurate paper plane folded in 1 minute and thrown at him from the audience. Which I won…even if I was the nearest! It was a fantastic event again, this year, presented by Will Roberts Innovation Manager RNLI, Charlotte Leaver, Brand Manager VK Official drinks and Mike Hawkward Amuzo Games.  As Chartlotte’s definition above states: “Cocreation allows the consumer to meaningfully alter of influence a brand in a way that deepens their emotional investment hist delivering results which are mutually beneficial to the brand and the consumer.”

2019 student team sue and students
Chris Daly

Images from the 13th Mike Warne Event – 2019

Each year final year BA (HONS) Marketing Communications students at Bournemouth University, (BU) deliver the Mike Warne Event. It’s a showcase for leading marketing speakers organised by BU final year marketing speakers.  The students are mentored and supported by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the CIM. This is the story of how leading marketing speakers since 2007 are showcased annually by BU and CIM at the Mike Warne Event.

Mike Warne 2019

SPEAKERS 2019 – The power of co-creation

Will Roberts Innovation Managers RNLI

Will Roberts Innovation Managers RNLI

Charlotte Leaver Brank Manager VK Official

Charlotte Leaver Brank Manager VK Official

Mike Hawkyard Amuzo Games

Mike Hawkyard Amuzo Games

“It’s about an even greater involvement with customers in creating products and services.”

This year as in previous years, students source a range of leading marketing speakers. Since the event launch in 2007, the lecture addresses topical marketing issues, and honours the memory of CIM Regional Director, Mike Warne,(in the photo just below),who was a strong advocate of building relationships between aspiring marketing students and the CIM.

Mike Warne

The event now attracts 200 attendees annually. After over a decade of success, the Mike Warne Event for BU and the CIM is a showcase of leading marketing speakers every year since it started in 2007. Here is the exciting story for you, with some of the top brands featured.

The Mike Warne event last year: 2018 – the future of influencer marketing

Mike Warne Speakers 2018

Final year BA (Hons) Marketing Communications student volunteers from Bournemouth University (BU) in association with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) put together an event highlighting the importance of influencers in marketing, held in the Fusion Building on BU’s Talbot Campus.

Among the speakers was Jamie Spafford, co-founder of YouTube cooking channel, SORTEDfood. Jamie’s unique business has seen him travel across the world with friends and co-founders Ben Ebbrell, Mike Huttlestone, and Barry Taylor, in search of original and unusual cuisine. The channel, which started in 2010, has seen its audience grow to nearly 2 million subscribers. Read more on the event.

About Mike Warne

Mike was a great friend of us in the Dorset Branch and supported the idea I came up with, that Colin Merrett, at BU then supported, several years ago for this annual lecture. The idea being to set the challenge for final year marketing students to stage a compelling marketing communications event with top rate speakers, then promote it within the university and to the business community.

Mike was the original “Madman” or “Adman” really, working in an advertising agency in the early ’60s. He was in sales and marketing all his life. He ran his own business before joining the CIM as Chair of the SE and SW where I had the pleasure to work alongside him in both regions. He died prematurely because of an accident on holiday. But having helped set up these events we renamed them in his memory. Sue Warne his wife, herself having worked in the creative industries is a fan of the events and joins us along with the family each year.

How The Event Works – The History

Virtual Reality

Dean Johnson – “Mr VR” from our 2017 event

Every year a group of volunteers from the final year marketing students choose a topic and speakers to do with marketing communications. Presenters have always been of the highest calibre including Directors and senior marketing names from the likes of Virgin, Microsoft, Warner Brothers and Merlin Entertainments. Some of the most insightful and innovative words have come from fast growing creative agencies such as Holler or Metail.

The 2017 Mike Warne Event – Immersive Technology The Future of Marketing

Immersive Technology

The game-changing potential of VR – read the Bournemouth Echo article. Dean Johnson, head of innovation at Brandwidth and a pundit on the BBC, said the potential of VR was “incredible” but many of the wider public had little idea about it. Cathy White, founder of CEW Communications, is described as one of the “rising stars” of the tech industry. She said Google was “making a big push to get something like a billion people using VR within the next couple of years”. Mike Mallia, innovation and lab manager at LV= told how the Dorset-based insurer was piloting several uses for the technology.

Mike Warne Event 2016 – 10th Anniversary on Sponsorship

Speakers 2016

Pics of Sainsburys and Barclays, Gaele Lalahy, Head of Brand and Communications Panasonic, Nathan Homer Barclays.

Peter Ward, Sponsorship Manager at Sainsbury’s spoke. He managed the company’s Active Kids scheme,  and coordinated all the fundraising carried out as part of Sainsbury’s corporate partnership with Comic Relief and managed the relationship with the British Paralympic Association. more
Twitter feed 2016

Mike Warne Lecture 2015 – All about the brand

Mike Warne All About The Brand

The 9th Annual Mike Warne Lecture was ‘all about the brand’ with speakers from Organix and Urban Guild sharing their insight on the importance of branding and how it helped their company to be a success. more
2015 Twitter Event Feed

Mike Warne Lecture 2014 – The Future of Marketing

The Future of Marketing

Courtesy of The Daily Echo

Speakers in 2014 included Warner Bros Executive Vice President of European Film Marketing, Con Gornell, who headed up planning and implementation of marketing campaigns for all film releases. Mr Gornell believed marketers can learn important lessons from the film industry. He explained: “The media has historically always been in a state of change – in our business it’s about identifying and continuing practices that make you a successful marketer that’s important.”

Bournemouth University alumni Sarah Bulling, Product Communications Manager at Bournemouth based LV=, was responsible for marketing campaigns across a wide range of channels including TV, press and direct mail.

Ms Bulling described how the impact of the recession has resulted in LV= adapting its marketing strategy over previous five years and how it was now positioned to seize new marketing opportunities to strengthen its position as one of the UKs top car insurers.

Jonathan Fraser, Global Head of Strategy and Ideas at Holler. more

Mike Warne Lecture – 2013  Marketing Innovations


2013’s topic was ‘innovation’ and speakers from the three very different companies took the stand discussing what innovation meant to them and their business.  Microsoft – Commercial Director, Lush – creative Team and founder of Metail. more

Mike Warne Lecture -2012 – successful sponsorship: leading the way in 2012

Jackie Frost

2012’s speakers were Jackie Fast, managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship, and Jeff Dodds, executive marketing director of brand and marketing communications at Virgin Media – more

Mike Warne Lecture -2011 – Microsoft Digital Strategy Head, Holler and Connect Advertising

The Mike Warne Annual Marketing Communications lecture, held on Wednesday 2nd March 2011. The event included guest speakers Allister Frost, Head of Digital Marketing Strategy at Microsoft, Paulo Nieddu, Senior Planner at Holler Digital and Iryna Kepych, Digital Strategist at Connect Advertising and Marketing.  more

2011 Mike Warne CIM and Students
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) praises Bournemouth University Marketing Students. See CIM Site

Allister Frost FCIM

Allister Frost FCIM
Subsequent to the event Allister has gone from strength to strength. Allister is a Fellow of the CIM. As Microsoft’s former Head of Digital Marketing Strategy, Allister has also managed marketing teams for brands including Kleenex, Huggies and Andrex. He is a Double Winner of the Lester Wunderman Award for Outstanding Creative Work and was awarded a Cannes Direct Lion for direct marketing campaigns at Microsoft. More on Allister

CIM and BU Marketing Communications Lecture -2010

T Mobile

T-Mobile continued the tradition of high profile brand speaker presentations.

Annual CIM Marketing Communications Lecture -2009

Mike Warne Presenters 2009

– Ryan DeCruz the Brand Content Manager for MediaCom

– Rob Healey the Head of European Marketing for Panasonic System Solutions

– Andy Le Duc the Brand Manager for Thorpe Park. more

Former graduates from Bournemouth University, Ryan D’Cruz, brand content manager for Mediacom and Andy Le Duc, brand manager for Thorpe Park, thrilled the audience will video clips and shared their experiences of marketing with the audience. It was important for the students to get successful graduates to present.  Equally Ryan and Andy found it a rewarding experience to present to former tutors.

Rob Healey, European head of marketing at Panasonic System Solutions gave an insightful presentation into the challenges facing the giant corporation in 2009.  He was able to produce very clear evidence of market challenges and show how focused Panasonic is with its marketing strategies.

The audience left instructed in the art of branded content from Mediacom: very creative use of entertainment and brand in a clear marketing strategy.  Impatient for the opening of the new SAW ride at Thorpe Park!  And confident that despite the current climate, with marketing organisations like Panasonic driving business, there will be opportunities for students.


Annual CIM Marketing Communications Lecture -2008


AQA – Any Question Answered

In 2003, Paul Cockerton our speaker, co-founder and Marketing Director presented on his novel AQA e idea – what if you could answer any question by text message? Four years, 1.2 million customers, and 10 million questions later, Paul shared some of his learnings (and mistakes) in taking an idea to market, developing and managing effective advertising, and providing enchantment for customers – in less than 160 characters.

Annual CIM Marketing Communications Lecture – 2007 INAUGURAL LECTURE
February 2007 first event Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic

Paul Charles, Director of Communications Virgin Atlantic thrilled the audience with his presentation. Paul now runs the highly respected PC Agency
Experts in travel and tourism PR, and have provided  services in brand marketing and public relations over the years to numerous well-known brands.


After a decade of success this a true success story of how leading marketing speakers since 2007 are showcased annually by BU and CIM at the Mike Warne Event driven by the passion of students and marketers. It’s been an exciting story with some of the top brands featured, and we are sure will continue to be featured.


Please note: this article is produced by Peter Eales, not the CIM. However Peter is an active supporter and volunteer working with the CIM as a Fellow and Chartered Marketer in Dorset area.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Peter Eales Welcomes you to DBA

What happens at a Dorset Business Angels Investors’ Dinner Pitch Event

I’m often asked, “What happens at a Dorset Business Angels Investors’ Dinner Pitch Event” so I thought, it makes sense to describe it, simply for you here. Dorset Business Angels (DBA), hold investors’ dinners every three months, four times a year at Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton.

The evening starts with registration is at 5.30pm for networking drinks.

Don Welcomes

At 6.15pm there is a welcome from our Chairman Don McQueen.

Partner Sponsor Presentation – from an expert presenter

Our partners are Investec Wealth & Investment, Saffery Champness, Ellis JonesBournemouth Council, Bright Blue Day and UK Business Angels Association – from one of whom there is usually someone giving a brief presentation. For example on investor tips, or contract issues regarding investments – whatever may be helpful to our members. This is just a short 10 minute slot.

Presentation Pitches

Onto the main business. Five pitches are given. These are selected from submissions DBA receives, from which the directors choose what we hope are the most appealing for our members. This is based upon reviewing business plans including financials. Companies come from across the UK; it’s about what is a good deal, although we do hope to offer local business opportunities to members and support the local economy.

The Pitch Presentations 6.30 – 8.30pm

Frank Guinn, our Vice Chairman is MC. He introduces each company, giving members a brief synopsis of what they do; are looking for by way of investment and who will present. He reminds them, they have 10 minutes, and that he will give them warning when they have a minute left. Sometimes it is the owner, or it may be a couple of presenters, similar to Dragons Den. They will usually use PowerPoint, and possibly have a video and samples. Once the time is up, Frank then invites audience questions for 5-10 minutes. The presenters then leave the room, and wait in an adjoining room.

Member Investor Discussions on the Pitches

Frank Guinn will ask, “is there investor interest?” Not to actually invest, but to progress further with the company. And also he encourages questions regarding which Don McQueen often takes the lead. Members often share points such as, “Does anyone have experience in this market?” “Does anyone know of competitors in this market?” “Is what the presenter says re x,y and z fact or figure, true or correct?”. If there is interest, hopefully a group of investors, this is recorded with a lead investor chosen, to manage the next stage of the discussions with the company. If not then DBA will share the information with members not at the evening to see if others may be interested. Peter Eales, leaves the room to share this information with the company, whether the information is good or bad. Meanwhile Steve Royffe his fellow director gets the next presenters in to present.

Dinner 8.30pm

At the end of the presentations there are announcements, given by Peter and Don. After which we enjoy discussions over dinner. About the pitches, deals and all manner of business ideas! This is a great opportunity to share issues, and seek out thoughts from other members and investors. The evening finishes with coffee 9.30-10.00pm. What happens at a Dorset Business Angels Investors’ Dinner Pitch Event does not change, but it is still the most exciting couple of hours in the Dorset business calendar. Because futures are decided and opportunities created every three months, four times a year at Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

angel investor entrepreneur journey

The angel investor investment process, the journey, from due diligence to success

What does an angel investor do? Here is the angel investor investment process, the journey, from due diligence to success. Beginning with doing the deal with entrepreneurs to ideally giving a good return on the investment on exit.  But you probably realise there can be many outcomes: company failure, further funding injections and radical changes to the original plan – to mention just three possible situations the entrepreneur and investor can face. To learn about the angel investor experience, a great way to do this is watching and listening to people who have done this, angels and businesses. Videos here are taken from our Dorset Business Angels Investors’ Conference. Plus case studies from Dorset Business Angels investors.

Beginning of the Journey

Peter Cowley – ‘Best Angel Investor in the World 2017’ ‘What I wished I’d known a decade ago!’ Enjoy his video here. Some key points in the video include, invest in people first not the plan. People with “high growth ambitions”. Peter invests in at least 2 people, 3 works not 4. A UK Company. Local enough for you to travel to. Have your own board or a trusted Non Exec Director.

Processes for the Journey

Learn How Successful Angel Investing Can Be Rewarding & Stimulating

The Processes – Don McQueen. Don explains how to look for opportunities, audit them before investing, documentation, working with businesses and the ongoing relationships – video

Case Study on a Failed Investment – Don McQueen

In September 2016, the Dorset Business Angels attention was grabbed by one of the pitch evening event presentations. The company, The MacGuffin Project, was an ‘Escape Room’ entertainment venue in central Bournemouth, Dorset. Due to open in early 2017, five DBA members thought this to be a good investment opportunity. An experienced investor, this was Don’s second investment through DBA. Following the pitch, 5 DBA members were interested in investing £30K each. Delays in opening the venue occurred and significant extra costs were needed – most of which should have been predicted with a more experienced management team. In December 2017 the company was put into liquidation. More on this, and lessons learnt – see here.

Case Study on a Successful Investment

Wizzle is a web service and smartphone application enabling consumers to easily create accurate and transparent vehicle appraisals with a view to selling their cars direct to interested dealers, at the best price possible. Don McQueen led a DBA investment team. In all the total investment from the DBA team was £550k. By Autumn 2018 the business has just reached a profit level.  The company is well behind its original revenue plan, but it has learnt a lot about what works and what does not. More on this case study here.

How to Avoid Getting it Wrong as an Investor – Justin Levine

Avoid seeing your cash vaporize. Minimise the downside. Invest, do not speculate. How do we find the right investment? Justin shares data on what % of angel investments end up in what situation for example 50% go out of business, 20% sale to a larger company. Are there ways of minimising risk, or getting money out before a liquidation event? Enjoy his video.

Exit Lessons for Investors Case Study from RocketRoute co-founder – Kurt Lyall

A co-founder, seven years invested in my company. An aviation company finding the fastest way to fly through the air with his company. He started with small aircraft we moved up to business jets. As a founder you don’t have luxury of 25 investments, you have a portfolio of one investment, one your company. Watch and listen to his story here.


So, what does an angel investor do? The angel investor investment process, the journey, from due diligence to success varies in almost every case. As is shown above beginning with doing the deal with entrepreneurs to ideally giving a good return on the investment on exit. Exit, meaning the investor, hopefully makes a profitable, sometimes very good return. It should be noted, that the term “patient capital” is a very appropriate term, recently coined. Because angel investors, seldom make a “quick buck” and recognise they are involved for usually a number of years. With investments, there can be many outcomes: company failure, further funding injections – “funding rounds” – and radical changes to the original plan – to mention just three possible situations. If you want to find out more, about the angel investor experience, there are more articles on business funding and finance on our articles page, or just visit the Dorset Business Angels website, you can book to attend a pitch event.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

marketing plan

How to do a Marketing Plan

Here is how to do a Marketing Plan. It might be part of the Business Plan, of which I see many. It could be as a stand-alone plan for your whole business. It can be a marketing plan for one of your services, a brand or a product. And the beginning of the year, start of a budget period, or when your launch a company is a time when you need a marketing plan. Marketing plans are used for all types of businesses and organisations. The challenge is the same. The shape of the marketing plan is the same. You start with a vision, you assess the wider challenges on a global or regional context. You look at opportunities and threats more locally. And you have your marketing objective to achieve. Your do a SWOT and audit, develop a strategy and produce a marketing mix plan, with and a more detailed implementation schedule, with budgets and KPIs. This is how to do a marketing plan, with templates, guides and how to implement your strategy with useful links. We include in particular a mind map and CIM step by step guide.

2019 Marketing and Sales Plan
(Click to enlarge)

Mind Map

A brief note on Mind-Maps. I am late convert to these. We use XMind which is one of the most popular. Why do I recommend it? Simple, because:

  • You can start with a free version
  • Upgrade to different levels
  • Export to pdf, Word, Images and various documents
  • It produces in colour, black and white
  • It is quick to use

I have not looked up their sales blurb….these are just my reasons.
And reasons why I think Mind-Maps work pretty generically for creative, lifestyle or business planning are:

  • Ideas are not usually sequential
  • Ideas are linked
  • Ideas come at random
  • It helps to picture and place thoughts and see a “Map”
  • Life and Business are fast paced and we all want a quick and easy way to put things down
  • Mind-Maps help us easily share ideas
  • You can subsequently share Mind-Maps in different formats indeed XMind prints out a written plan in a more traditional sequential format should you want it.

Here is a review of some other mind-mapping tools.

Marketing Plan Templates

We are not precious about this, and are constantly on the lookout for good practice. So you will not be surprised that in 2017 we find the Australian Government offering an excellent template here.

You need to be a member of the CIM to access the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) templates here

CoSchedule has a wide choice of plans here

Write a Business Plan

Frankly a business plan shares a similar format to a marketing plan, but the key differences are the inclusion of more content on finance, personnel, suppliers, and infrastructure. It is after all a view of the whole business rather than how you intend to go to market.

Government UK website Business Plan templates
BPlans for your sector here

On the Mind Map template above, is a reference to “budget”. Some companies wouldn’t know how to do a marketing plan but in actual fact are forensic, indeed superb planners. This was because of very thorough budget processes. I worked in corporate companies with excellent global budgeting combined with first rate strategy and marketing planning, and this completely closed the loop: it means that ideas, products and services get costed, paid for or thrown out at the budget phase. More recently a client I know was very rigorous in his budgeting. Always adding a percentage on for inflation, and demanding his managers sort their budgets out. I think a good budget process combined with knowing how to do a marketing plan, and good strategy planning makes for success.

We’ll be sharing more links soon. Good luck!

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited


What does your company do?

What does your company do? Yes, there is the Government’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code system. Typical groupings include Manufacturing, Engineering, Finance, then sub-groups and niches within them. However the very idea and spirit of innovation is to create new solutions. So even if a new solution is within an existing category, this may not be the same as another business or it would hope to be different. That doesn’t mean it should be impossible to understand! You probably spend money and time trying to advertise, market, sell and appeal to customers, but do they understand what you do? Are you jumping a few steps ahead before you highlight the problem. Explain your solution – why is it better, different or cheaper. And who uses and needs this – perhaps help people understand by adding case studies. This is a problem with new companies but also with all companies. First with companies when trying to get money to fund the business, they can fail to get investor interest quite often because investors simply are confused. At Dorset Business Angels (DBA) I have the job, very often, of telling presenters how many people want to invest, after they have presented . When it is nobody of very few, the reason is sometimes due to people not knowing or “getting”, what the company does. Or not being convinced there really is a problem the entrepreneur claims that needs solving. I’ve seen investors proved wrong, but I would blame entrepreneurs for not getting their story over. What can you do? Not just as a new business but what can we all do to tell our business stories better?

The Product or Service

I have conversations most days with people calling me about their new business ideas, products and services they need to fund. Are you sure you have a product or service that someone out there really needs? Needs more than another business can satisfy? Or is cheaper or better than is out there on the market already? Great! How do you know? Well, as long as you have tested this, somehow…because you have sales, or very solid research. You know your customer(s), problems and what you can do that they will pay for. I wrote about this in: So What? Is there a Problem?

The Company

Can you delivery this solution profitably? Your vehicle to do this is a company. A team. Investors love ideas and IP (intellectual property), but what they really invest in is people. And the organisation the people create to deliver the service. A service to make a profit, and a return on investment over a specific period of time. I’m no longer surprised at pitch events for funding how, an engaging entrepreneur on the phone, can completely fail in front of an audience. You never know. A relatively dull but knowledgeable engaging, trustworthy guy (I use the term gender neutrally here), can easily win an audience with their ease at handling challenging questions on competition, finances, market issues and so on.

Communications across all media

Pitches, that is presentations at angel investor, private investor groups, require entrepreneurs to look at most of the communications elements and one specifically: audience presentation. But I’m not really overly concerned with the latter here. I think that can be over-emphasised. It’s far more important to focus on a sound business plan and marketing plan which demands using a raft of media and  integrated marketing communications. In other words in the 21st century, people buy in all kinds of ways. So you need to use communicate with customers in their buying journey, from initial interest to the final purchase, all the touch points – I wrote about this recently.

Segmentation – target your customers

One of my colleagues at Dorset Business Angels suggested it was dangerous for another colleague to promote his accountancy business as being “one hundred years in business” because it would not appeal to young people. My view? Segmentation is the issue here. A more senior audience would probably value this, a younger audience probably not. Equally, The BBC is promoting it’s BBC SOUNDS service to replace the online radio service, without the care to target older audiences and budget to promote to them. All the money is biased to attract younger audiences. It is a one message fits all approach and little clumsy. Branding products such as Mars bars and other retail products enabled the retail market for decades to target specific audiences. Segmentation and good branding separate and target audiences for products and services.

Making Words Work

John Drewry, a top copywriter writes: “The writer sees it fine, but has failed to understand that the reader is a completely different animal.” I would go further, many businesses give us the same challenge when presenting themselves to the market place. And not just new ones, pitching for funds. Think for a minute. Or just take a random look on Google. How many companies sell stuff, that your read about, that just does not make sense? You may think, you do not understand that sector. I used to keep quiet and think, “I must be stupid. It’s technical or something for a niche market.” Well, I know there are always cleverer people out there! Now I have learnt, by asking others, that I am not the only one who doesn’t understand. It’s like the old fairy-tale of The King’s New Clothes – if you don’t believe or understand what you are being told, just say so. Just ask “What does your company do?”

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Peter Eales presents at Dorset Business Angels

What investors want to hear

What investors want to hear is simply explained on an excellent 10 minute video, on Dorset Business Angels Entrepreneurs website page. On the same page there are some helpful resources for businesses seeking funding and preparing their business cases. I watched this video again recently. I thoroughly recommend it for anybody who wants help or advice on how to pitch to investors. Having watched many videos, and read a lot of blogs and articles, this video guide stands out, as succinct, clear and certainly covers what Dorset Business Angels investors want to hear. Below, I have written a summary of this Formal Pitch video which features Tom O’Flaherty entrepreneur and investor, listing topics investors want to hear from entrepreneurs for the perfect investor pitch, and importantly the sequence you should present. I have kept this article in a list format to make it as clear and helpful as possible, for presenters working in real-time. I base this on personal experience having pitched successfully, and seen hundreds of pitches, and invested too.

The Assumptions

For an angel network, the typical investment sought will be £10s to £100s of thousands. Note, the video speaks of dollars, but it is the same in the UK, ie pounds, where we typically look at £100k to probably £1-£2m. Above that you are moving into Venture Capital and debt funding.

Typical Topics

The typical topics a presentation pitch should cover will be as follows.

  • Market
  • Size of market
  • Management advisors
  • Your solution
  • How you will make money – model, customers
  • Getting to market
  • Financial projections
  • Liquidity – ROI ie the Return on investment, how much, what multiple and when, for example in 2, 5 or 10 years? And what is the exit i.e. A business exit strategy is an entrepreneur’s strategic plan to sell his or her ownership in a company to investors or another company.

The “Secret Sauce” – how to do it better

  • Cover the market first i.e. convince people there is a need. There is a danger, inventors and entrepreneurs come up with a prized idea. It excites them. But does it really solve a problem? Will people pay for it?
  • Convince people you are not a solo act. What happens if you are sick? What happens, when the company grows? What happens if one of the team runs off with your ideas, or takes customers away? Have answers for this. You need a team, an infrastructure.
  • Market: who is the target? Customer Persona – more here on this
  • Be convincing there is a customer problem. Is it a big problem or just a nuisance how big?
  • What is the customer doing now?
  • Is yours the only solution now?
  • How big is the market? How do you know? How do you determine this? What is behind the number? In the old days you’d go to a library to look up the numbers. Now define how you have sized the market; how many prospects, don’t assume there is anything magical in the process – be clear, investor can do numbers too!
  • Investors invest in people. So who else is in your team, and what are their credentials?
  • Product: what, how it relates to competition? Avoid technical detail unless asked.
  • Liquidity or ROI – how the investor gets it back ideally in a reasonable time? You may not know exactly but as much as you know.

Do your presentation in the right order – you’ll have the best opportunity!

Good Luck – Contact Dorset Business Angels if you have a deal for our Investors

Dorset Business Angels investors are always interested in good deals. Contact us, send us your deck, plan and 1 page summary. Call me if you need any help or have a question. I hope it has helped to produce a summary of the Formal Pitch video featuring Tom O’Flaherty entrepreneur and investor, listing topics investors want to hear from entrepreneurs for the perfect investor pitch, and importantly the sequence you should present. I have kept this article in a list format to make it as clear and helpful as possible, for presenters working in real-time.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

customer marketing

The Purpose of Business and The Purpose of Marketing

Peter Drucker wrote: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation.” He also wrote, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself… The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” The purpose of business and the purpose of marketing is therefore a focused complete understanding of the customer, producing something different for them to solve their problem, that has a measurable impact (i.e. innovation). Thanks to Nick Hixson for clarity on the definition of innovation – see his excellent video.

Effective Marketing is NOT

  • Advertising
  • PR
  • Promotion

Effective Marketing IS

In fact, it is not stuff produced to sell things. In fairness, it can be some of these things. But effective marketing requires:

  • A strategy – what do you want to achieve, where do you want to go from where are you starting
  • Establish a crystal clear brief
  • An absolute understanding of your customer, prospect or what is often called these days the persona
  • A problem to be solved
  • A Marketing Plan

So, in summary, “…the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” The purpose of business and the purpose of marketing is therefore a focused complete understanding of the customer, producing something different for them to solve their problem, that has a measurable impact (i.e. innovation).

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Marketing Strategy

How to “do” Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps

Does your Boardroom know how to do anything apart from add up, make things and sell? You might think that is enough? Peter Drucker said: “…the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation…Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” I was in an organisation recently focused on its sales and numbers. This got my thinking about my prescription to shift it and any outfit in a series of steps to be more marketing focused which I describe below. This of course says nothing about the personnel…. In summary 1. What is the problem you’re solving? 2. Who is/are the customer(s) 3. What are the solutions 4. What is/are your customer journey(s)? 5. Your marketing communications match this/these journeys, to try and gain, keep and grow customers. NB you monitor activity at all stages against strategy and plans. This is a super simplified approach to what is required. There is a lot more to strategy in terms of innovation, problem-solving, marketing etc. However, I write this short blog in the context of a when you might be working with marketing “non-believers”, very sales or financially driven colleagues. I guess this means most people…! How to do marketing strategy in five steps means focus on your customer, their buying journey, and as Peter Drucker says focus on marketing and innovation. Your marketing and indeed your selling match the customer journey to the point of purchase and beyond.

What is the Problem?

Be certain there is a problem to be solved with your product, service or solution. And that there is a business for you in providing your solution. Simply: research why your idea will work, will be used, make money, compete, and you can deliver it profitably. Entrepreneurs and inventors come up with ideas and ask for support or funding. Or employees and managers ask their bosses about a problem, or to support a solution they highlight a problem. Investor colleagues and Boards, I sit on will first ask the person, are you sure this is the real problem, the real issue and your solution therefore the right route to take? Too often work starts or is commissioned based upon a poor diagnosis. Peter Bregman in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article says, “Are You Trying to Solve the Wrong Problem?” More on problem solving in my article here.

Who is the Customer?

Have you ever heard people ask, “who buys this stuff?!” Who buys your stuff, precisely, is what a Customer Persona is concerned with. A Customer Personal is a fictional customer profile, a representation of your ideal customer. Personas help us all – in marketing, sales, product management, and customer services – picture the ideal customer we’re trying to attract and relate to our customers as real people. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention. More on this plus a template for you to use from our article on Customer Personas.

Your Solutions

What do you have to offer, to sell, to solve your customer’s problem? You may start with one product or service and then diversify. The whole challenge of how to evaluate the specific opportunity, research, get feedback, design, test, prototype and launch the product is written about in our article here. A whole industry and approach to business has developed in recent years with agile and lean. This is in the advent of software development, with quicker introduction of products to market. The old “waterfall”, step-by-step approach, has been replaced in many markets, by quicker cultures and processes, “trying out” product earlier that in the past, then making changes based on market feedback. And using flexible teams, modern technology and communications to help speed solutions to market. More here.

What is your Customer Journey – or Journeys?

When your typical customer, considers you then purchases, what is the pattern of their purchase behaviour? There may be some more typical journeys which you can identify. Once you have done this you can respond to them. It’s important not to confuse a similar but different “journeys here” which I would describe for the sake of forensic accuracy:

  • the potential customer, or prospect journey
  • your existing customer experience purchase e.g. a customer buying an airline ticket

The customer journey is the path and all the points of contact between a consumer and a brand, a product or a service and includes, all moments of interaction between customer and company. These can be directing such as face to face, phone, in-store and alike. Or they can be online: social, blog, email and reviews to mention just a few. Here is a useful video on how to create a Customer Journey Map.  Here is another example.

Marketing to fit the Customer Journey

What are the contact points or touchpoints, your prospects and customers have on their journeys with you? From first thinking about you to purchase, and after sales? You can list all of these on a chart and then list on a table all the people who interact at each stage. For instance, online, you call these touchpoints are all the places on your website that your customers can interact with you. Based on your research, you should list out all the touchpoints your customers and prospects are currently using, as well as the ones you believe they should be using if there is no overlap. HubSpot have long been experts in these field and here is an excellent article by them.

Growth – the Commercial Realities

A critical issue from a commercial point of view is managing the growth of your business, any product or campaign. Every year, indeed any budget period is a challenge for a business. We all have targets and objectives to achieve. Customers can never be taken for granted, they may leave, buy less, and new customers need to be found. Nick Hixson who runs Hixsons Business Enablers, wrote a fantastic blog recently: “Save Your New Business – Avoid The Chasm“, he writes, “The first people to buy your new product or service will be innovators and early adopters – people who like new things. But then you have to start selling to the rest of the market…And that’s when you hit a problem. It’s described by the chasm. A place where suddenly sales dry up. And losses mount. To avoid this double dip the new business needs to retain enough resources to fund the double marketing effort so that the chasm is reduced or eliminated.” So how to do marketing strategy in five steps means focus on your customer, their buying journey, and as Peter Drucker says focus on marketing and innovation. Your marketing and indeed your selling match the customer journey to the point of purchase and beyond.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited