Cost effective E-Marketing



The biggest issue for many businesses is that they have a great product or service and they would be very successful, if only people knew they existed!  They are in a “catch 22 “ situation because due to the lack of their success they don’t have the hundreds or thousands of pounds needed to market themselves.

Appearing at the top of Web search results using SEO can be an expensive prospect and it is something that cannot be attempted without the expertise of a marketing agency. However there are a number of alternative E-Marketing methods that are free or low cost that are worth exploring.

Because Search engine rankings can be hard to achieve and Google themselves whilst improving the quality of their search results are making it (deliberately) harder for the average site to rank high, the most viable option is to pay for adverts within the search results. Google calls their product Adwords
You will notice these ads by the small ad tag on the bottom left of the listing but otherwise they look  like the other results.

The cost per click is measured by how popular that search result is. When a user clicks on the ad, you could be paying anything from a few pence to over a pound for that click but you can fix a maximum budget. These ads should  be treated the same way as a print advert with compelling wording  and a clear “call to action”

A primary E-marketing marketing method  that has proven to achieve real results, is much simpler and is totally free is Social Media..
The term social media includes Social networks, Blogs, Wikis , Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram. Simply defined, it is user generated content .

This is a different marketing method to SEO – it is not about using keywords to attract people to your website rather a direct method to interact with and update your clients much the same way as greeting them when they come into your physical store.
The style of writing is usually conversational i.e “ have you seen our latest product”?”

Social Media can be used to strengthen your brand by both connecting with your clients and listening to their needs and adapting in the process.
It is widely accepted that in 2008  Barak Obama gained most of his votes using Social Media. He used it to connect to and inform his voters every step of the way and make them feel connected to his cause and attract others.

Blogs are also defined as social media but can be an integrated into your website and help your search engine rankings. For a business blogs to be successful the subject matter should tie on as close as possible with what you are offering and follow a theme rather than just be a repository of irrelevant industry news or general things that might interest your clients.

Email marketing is another method that if used properly can achieve results.  To do  email marketing professionally you will need to use a  third party email service provider, many of who offer a basic package for free and provide the tools to automate the process and with the built-in facility for a user to opt out.

If you have an E-Commerce site, connecting to your client via email is a must. Emails should not only be used to reconnect with people who have made past purchases but the language you use in the automatic emails that you send out post purchase can be what might encourage your customer to return.

The destination you arrive at after clicking  a google ad, ( link in an) email or targeted search engine result should be a product specific “landing page” or “microsite”. This type of page helps keep the focus on the offer rather than other elements present on a home page. What this means is that instead of the clicking on an Adword and getting to the front page of the website take them to a new page or microsite that contains similar wording to the ad text and a short contact form or phone number as the “call to action”.

Brand You



You have a brand name, a logo, a well designed website and are attracting interest in your product or service.

So far so good, as long as you remember that the marketing and branding is not only about what you are
offering but also includes you and your employees.
Nothing is more important than the people your clients interact with namely you and your staff – People buy
from people and this is something that is very often overlooked.
Be selective who you take on as employees, as the staff will set the tone of your business. You can have a great
business but if people think you are difficult to deal with, for example, even with the best product in the world
they could be driven to go elsewhere.

Very often when starting a business a small business owner will wear a few hats, that of the accountant,
salesman and manager but at some point in order to grow, one has to be able to delegate tasks and that
means taking on new staff. People sometimes resist taking on more staff because they worry that they won’t
do a particular task as good as they could. If that is really the case and it is important then keep that element
in your own role and give out other jobs.

As an example – let say you need more business, so you takes steps to employ a salesman? Have you
considered that just maybe you are most suited to do the sales ? It is you who really knows the product or
service and you would be the most enthusiastic about it.
Yes, there are people who are natural salesman. They are the type of people who can “sell ice to Eskimos”,
these people just have the touch , they are what people call “born salesmen”… and maybe you feel you don’t
have it in you.

Let me tell you a secret – you can learn to be salesman. Being enthusiastic about your product is possibly the
first key to being a salesman. and if you are outgoing or at least not an introvert then you might be the person
best suited for the job.

A good salesman can be outgoing but it is not about being pushy. I once came across someone in a networking
event who wanted to sell me Aloe Vera health products. He was gushing about the product. It came across as
pushy and did not inspire me to buy. Guess what, his tactics did not seem to have got him clients as the next
time I met him he had abandoned the first company who he had claimed was so fantastic ( or they had
dropped him) and was actually trying selling me another health product range.

So if being pushy will not help sell, what will? The answer in short is “honesty”, if you are not pushy but
positive, confident and can fill a real need that the client has, then you can sell, but the client has to trust
you.That is a key thing to look for in an employee too: honesty and trust, namely; Is he genuine?
One just has to look at the recent fiasco with Volkswagen. The German car brands they are collectively the
strongest Brands in the automotive industry.

Well recently Volkswagen lied about emissions, or as they would like us to believe, their employee lied. The
issue was not so much about the emissions but the broken trust.
As a result not only did Volkswagen suffer large losses but the share prices of all the German car brands dropped.
Trust means more and more to customers nowadays as they are attuned to buying from companies with values
similar to their own.

Another thing to look for in an employee is, is he looking for a job or a career. Does he just want a job as means to
make money or does he have an affinity for the business market that you are in.
Last and but not least; a happy disposition can go a long way to bring you business.

I was involved in branding a new local Bakery café and as much as people love the design they are even more
encouraged to shop there because of the friendliness of proprietor, greeting his customers with a warm smile
and making them feel like a valued customer.

The new Google logo


Google by vmal

The new Google logo.


First of all just let me say this – I love it- its great!

I love the new G that has all the Google colours in it and the 4 dots that just represent the Google colours that have not changed since its inception. They have upgraded their look and at the same time not lost anything of the past Brand.

At VMAL we have used Google apps to power our business with its various apps and are familiar with the various permutation of the Google colours used in sub-brands. And now we have this – a very clean look, understated and timeless …

 The old font was a serif font and that was always a bit too traditional looking for this fast paced innovative company.

In this day and age of brand recognition and marketing, a strong logo is becoming more and more important to the success of a company. A logo is the personality of your business.

Logos are everywhere, on cars in stores on products in mailings coming to your door or emails but not all logos are good or hit the mark.

Logo design usually conjures up an image in most people’s mind of a designer doodling on a piece of paper trying to juxtapose the 2 initials of the company name and then adding a nice font to match
but it takes much more than that to create a good logo.

Recently two partners came to me with the following request: “We have launched a new business and we need a logo”
Why? I asked them. To which they replied  “to put on letterheads and business cards”
Not the answer I was expecting and they were not entirely wrong because that the function of a logo is to give a professional impression. The real purpose of a logo however, is not just a pretty way to layout the letters of your brand name but rather to make the brand memorable.

For a logo; otherwise known as corporate or brand identity, to be effective, it should portray what the company stands for in the use of typography and maybe a graphic element. Studies have shown that people recognise and relate to images faster than text and an image stays longer in peoples memory.

A logo is an element of branding, probably one of the most important element but it still remains an element of branding. Other elements are the colouring and the graphic shapes you use in your packaging or other applications.

A good example of this is British Airways.
In 1997 they decided to rebrand using a softer  blue and red ribbon symbol to replace the sharp angled red strip in use since 1982, and the new font used was similar to the old one but softer. The ribbon was emblazoned across the plane and also used to adorn the tail.
The thinking behind it was to turn it from being perceived as a stiff, British only company into a world friendly airline. The look especially on the tail fin was quite different to other airlines at the time and really helped boost its image. It has stood the test of time and still looks up to date today.

This is an example of a graphic element working in harmony with the logo and together they form the recognisable  BA brand.

Another example is Rolls Royce, The Rolls Royce Grill and The Spirit of Ecstasy  is as much part of the recognisable brand as the interlocking R’s of the logo.

These companies who have successfully used a group of elements in their Brands are now joined By Google with a 3 part Brand incorporating a G that will now be a universal Google Logo symbol, the four dots that work to compliment the logo much like the BA ribbon and Google written it its entirety.

Great work!

It is a shame they didn’t contract VMAL – who knows, maybe we would have come up with exactly the same solution and they could have saved themselves a fortune!

What a ride!




The finishing line at Cambridge to London Bikeathon!

Thanks to all my sponsors! without you I wouldn’t be riding!

What a day ! The camaraderie was amazing and raising money for such a worthy cause was worth all the aches and pains I have now!

All the Best ,



Cambridge to London 100km bikeathon





I have committed to participating in the Bike4Kef bikeathon on 4th May 2015, riding 100km from Cambridge back to London to raise much-needed funds for Kef, and I would really appreciate your support!

Kef is a London-based non-profit, voluntary organisation dedicated to offering friendship and fun to children, teens, and young adults with special needs and disabilities throughout the UK.  Kef was founded in 2006 and has grown from four children to over 50!   Kef offers after-school and Sunday activities, residential weekends and summer and winter camps.

As Kef grows and develops, so does its budget!  Last year, the Bike4Kef bikeathon was launched, with 72 riders who raised just under £150,000.00, which enabled Kef to secure a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, disabled-accessible campus for its summer camp.  It has also been able to further develop the programmes it runs during the year, with major development of its Sunday programme, and the launch of a weekly swimming club, all heavily subsidised.  All monies raised through this exciting, essential venture will help enormously towards covering the rising costs that Kef is facing.

To find out more about Kef, please visit its website at, and for more information about the bikeathon, please visit our newly launched, dedicated website at

Please visit my personal fundraising page at  and help me to reach my personal fundraising target of £1000.00.

Thank you!



Mobilegeddon!! in a nutshell.


Google s Mobilegeddon


Today – 21st April 2015 the date that can make all the difference to your Google rankings – but will it?

As announced by Google and reported on the news channels today – if your website is not responsive your rankings will be drastically affected.

First of all you can check your site here to see if it complies

Secondly it is not as bad as it seems because only mobile searches are affected not tablet or desktop searches.

But do bear in mind that mobile searches make up half of all Googles searches and are increasing -

Thirdly thankfully you don’t have to make the changes today – if your rankings are effected, unlike previous Google updates you can update your site whenever you like to upgrade your Google Friendliness.

Design for growth


I recently attended a talk for the DBA ( Design Business Association) by Michael Thomson an eminent design strategy specialist and an expert on national design policy.

His talk was to a group of design agencies, VMAL included, and the focus was a deeper understanding of design-led strategic thinking that will enable business growth.

I found his talk quite eye opening and practical and realised that it has a strong relevance to a lot of small to medium companies and that is why I am writing this post

Michael has worked in Austria, Iceland, Ireland, Italy and Qatar and with the European Commission in Brussels. and has also advised large public sector clients in the UK and well known brands such as Ecco, Tupperware and Dyson.

I will present some of his facts and add some of my own:

Lets start with an example:

Schreyer, the designer of the Audi TT Coupe, was hired to overhaul Kia’s lineup and allow the Seoul-based automaker to charge more for its models.

Here is a little quote from Kia’s website

DESIGN MEANS EVERYTHING.It could only be a Kia. Our commitment to design is such that we hope when you look at Kia, you’ll recognize it instantly. Clean, contemporary lines. Bold, aggressive touches. The distinct tiger nose grille. An aesthetic that’s both playful and considered—that’s Kia.

Governments and the public sector and many companies big or small do not necessarily view design as an important part of their marketing strategy. They see it as a nice thing to have . The thinking is “If things are clean and look good then it will project a nice image”

… but the facts on the ground show that companies with design as a strategy actually increase their bottom line.

Here are are some interesting studiers:

The design council says “For every £100 a design alert business
spends on design, turnover increases
by £225.”

Another study on the impact of design innovation service on technology companies show the following:

— 80% changed strategic direction– accelerating
them towards a customer rather than
a technology focus
— 80% reported a changed mindset, culture
and vision
— 75% invested significantly in design and
are confident of a return on investment
— 50% saw better management or a reduction in
commercial risks
— 35% changed product or service

Some companies that have used design very effectively as an integral part of their brand include Apple, Fisher & Paykel, Dyson, Joseph and Joseph, IKEA to name a few.

Here is a quote from an article by Adam Swann on Forbes website:

To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design-led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft’s, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design (just compare Microsoft Windows with Apple’s Lion operating system).

I rest my case!


40 Hidden messages in Brand Logos


Great logos can look really good without being overly clever and surprisingly some of the best known brands have incorporated clever hidden messages within the logo that many of us haven’t even noticed! British plastic business card printer Oomph! has compiled a nice list of these logos, see below:


VMAL 3D Animation Showreel


3D Animation

As well as static CGI’s for building developers we also excel in 3D animation.
View our new 3D animation show-reel . Give us a call to find out what we are capable of.