Lissie at Watering Hole 21/7/2016 – review

Thank you very much West Briton for the tickets to see Lissie at the Watering Hole last Thursday .

Click here to read my review

 

PR and radio in May

Here is my live radio show from Friday 6th May 2016 featuring various emerging artists from around the world and DJ and producer, Jason Fernandes

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?feed=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mixcloud.com%2Fsophiesweatman%2Fradio-show-featuring-live-phone-in-interview-with-jason-fernandes-dj-and-producer-with-his-single%2F&light=1

Some comedy press releases:

Falmouth Packet

West Briton and Cornishman

Press for artists and events in Cornwall – comedy and music

12931050_10153434047366850_7424844583345284407_nThank you to the Falmouth Packet and West Briton for publishing these releases:

Mustard and Rye Falmouth Packet

Mustard and Rye – West Briton

Mustard and Rye – Falmouth Packet

Comedy Jam at Toast – West Briton

Comedy Jam at Toast – Falmouth Packet

Wild Zellas Falmouth PacketComedy Jam at Toast – West Briton

The Wild Zellas – Falmouth Packet

West-Briton-Comedy-nights-April-

Clinch new custom from first time website visitors

No red writing and now you simply choose your ticket and it tells you where to travel from.
No red writing and now you simply choose your ticket and it tells you where to travel from.

Sweet Sound PR’s unique website service: Web mapping

Visiting a new website for the first time seems to me to be more like following a GPS or road map to a destination for the first time than anything to do with technical ability.

Sweet Sound PR will visit your website as a potential new customer and find the best, quickest and easiest way to ensure that all first time visitors find their way easily to their destinations.

Could send me this next create a listIf new customers reach a junction on your website and do not know which way to go, they could walk straight to one of your competitors and you would never know they had ever considered buying from you. Every customer counts and I identify how to clinch their custom.

Ask yourself these questions about your website:

  • Do people call your customers service asking how to use your website?Signpost 4
  • Do customers email in saying they can’t buy from your website?
  • Do you see many orders placed by new customers without calls to customer service?
  • Do you have a much higher percentage of existing customers over new customers?

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 16.19.03If you answered yes to 1, 2 and 4 than I can provide the quickest easiest solution to increase your first time customer traffic by visiting your website and identifying the problem and saying exactly what to do to solve it and allow new customers to buy from you without the need for help.

This could range from:

Signpost query 1For new websites – a quick start up guide that you can link from the landing page that signposts customers along the quickest route road map from start to finish.

For existing websites – either text to be added or removed, which will leave new customers with a clear map to their desired destination on your website.

My first visit to this website led to a few questions as a new customer.
My first visit to this website led to a few questions as a new customer.

This is done simply by having the right signposts where you would expect to find them, on the way.

Route to your house

However, companies big and small face the same issue: they know their own website too well. This is exactly like giving someone directions to your house for the first time. You know the route by heart and they have never seen it before. You may tell them to look out for a signpost that doesn’t work, not give them the easiest route or confuse them totally.

Sweet Sound PR can solve this by going to visiting your website and identifying the solution. This is all about communication, not IT.

For example:

Your First Regular Coffee - sounds like after promotionA train company covering various routes between London and Margate allowed customers to buy their tickets and asked them which station they wished to collect their tickets from.

The solution to ensure happy customers buying their tickets and getting the right train was simple, when pinpointed:

By removing red text which said they only needed to pick a train if they wanted to reserve a seat meant they could check the departure station and time of their desired train and be able to pick their ticket up from that station. I suggested removing this misleading text, which they did.

A coffee company used words which misled customers. By changing the headings, customers knew what they were getting and placed the orders they wanted.

An online farm shop asked customers to select a time slot for delivery before they could add items to a shopping basket. Like a one way street or a diversion, if you want customers to take a particular route through your website, you need to provide sign posts and direct them each step of the way.  For this customer I emailed them screen grabs and a quick start guide which they linked from a banner on their home page.

SSPR logoAn established print company changed their name and website, which was a whole lot more sophisticated then their previous one. The problem was that customers reaching checkout without knowing that they had missed options. Imagine wanting to reach France and only being directed to the longest ferry port, when planes and trains would get you there much quicker?

The company’s express printing and delivery option was only available with no lamination. Therefore, after the words ‘Lamination Options’, I suggested adding the words ‘for express printing please select ‘None’ below.

Give me an email: sophiesweatman@sweetsoundpr.co.uk or a call 07863554763 If you:

  • Get too small a percentage of orders from new customers compared to existing customers,
  • Get lots of calls or emails from first time customers asking how to use your website.
  • Think your immediate competitors are doing better.
  • Get complaints from new customers saying they didn’t get what they expected.
  • Get many hits to your website that don’t translate into sales.
  • People leave things in their shopping baskets but don’t buy them.

Even if you get one call asking for help with your website, it is worth a look. Every retail business loses customers without knowing as most people leave silently. Never say ‘you’re the only one with this problem’ or ‘no one else has called about this. Instead, call me for a quick, easy and very cheap to implement a no-brainer cost solution and watch those customers role in.

A new customer only has one first visit

As well as the layout and functionality of a website, the words used can make all the world of difference to first time visitors to your website.

I’ve just started using a coffee website and found myself stumped by the word ‘regular’ as to me this means once I have started ordering, not my promotion one off and the word ‘next’ as to me that means to follow the current event, not to replace it. I emailed them to express my views.

After hours on the phone with a train company, because I tried to buy a ticket to Margate and got stumped when about to buy and was asked which station I would pick my ticket up from, I identified the offending communication. In RED letters, customers were told they did NOT need to select a train unless they wanted to book a seat.

Misleading statement in red type
Therefore, you get to the end of the transaction and find that trains leave London from Margate from 7 (seven) different stations in London (each an hour apart on the tube) and therefore you cannot possibly visit each one to find out if you are catching the right train and still make your departure with your ticket. Impossible! So the misleading statement (in red) could be simply taken out and all would be well, with customers booking a seat, seeing what time and where their train leaves from, so they can collect their ticket from the right station. I just found now that it has been changed. A very simple (and uncostly) difference for the website to make to your journey.

No red writing and now you simply choose your ticket and it tells you where to travel from.
No red writing and now you simply choose your ticket and it tells you where to travel from.

Here is an email I sent to a company after trying to make my first purchase on their website and getting lost.

Here is the post showing a gallery of the website process as I first found it.

Dear Alex,

I wanted to relay some ideas/suggestions going from my experience as a new customer, wanting to purchase on your website.

I work in PR and communications and do websites for artists, so am looking at this from the point of view of both a regular shopper online and in terms of communication solutions that would have made my purchase as easy as possible.

I have attached the various stages of the process and put suggested text to be added to each one.

Signpost 1: (instead of saying how easy it is, this would actually make it easy)

“To get started:

* Select an item you want from the menus.

* Select quantity and click Add

* At prompt select delivery timeslot

* Confirm delivery timeslot.

* Then you are ready to keep shopping.”

Signpost 2:
“In order to create your shopping basket please select delivery time slot.”

Signpost 3:
“Once you have confirmed your delivery time, your shopping basket will appear.”

Signpost 4:
“Now you can continue shopping and your items will appear below in your order”.

Signpost query 1:
(Instead of people needing to navigate via “What we do” and to find “Food Boxes” there could be a link from More Information under each food box to this page and back again).

Signpost query 2:
(Links from the lists of items could link straight back to the Shopping page (Signpost 1) or to the item). Or use text “Click Back in your browser to continue”

Signpost query 3:
Something like:
“To complete your transaction, please continue from Payment Summary (or Click Here to Add a Card)”.

This was from my experience, once I had called up or found my way, what text that may have helped me find my way easily as a new user/visitor to the website.
Best regards…..

Here is the resulting website landing page, with a quick start guide.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 12.03.54

Man who Claims Unfair Discrimination Damages Disability Awareness

This article was triggered by the report in the Western Morning News as of today (16 July 2015) as I believed the statements made in it are inaccurate.

Breaking: I just received a reply from the WMN’s senior reporter to say:

“Sorry for the late response. We are going to look again at the story anyway and in the meantime have removed it from the website. I’ll let you know if we’re going to take it forward, although do get in touch if anything else happens.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 18.37.02I went yesterday to the Cutty Sark to interview witnesses, bar staff and the landlady to find out what happened on the night in question. Up until Tuesday night, the sequence of events were on Alex’s Facebook page and they do not reflect what he says happened. For instance, two separate press accounts say he went home or back to his hotel after the incident feeling humiliated, whereas his Facebook post confirmed he went to Five Degrees West next door for a pint.

After asking around and a visit from the Falmouth Packet, the landlady sent her statement to the BBC, who were due to interview Alex on TV at 9.15am on 16 July.  After acknowledging receipt of my email, Sarah then replied:

“Thank you so much for the below.

Just to let you know we are now not doing the interview tomorrow morning but thank you for your help anyway.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 18.31.30I have just received this information:

However, Steve Taylor, PR and communications manager of Changing Faces, who are launching a nationwide awareness campaign, says Alex was on a boat ride on Friday 11 July and doesn’t like Stella. Further investigation underway amongst boat trip providers and retailers.

The landlady made the decision to tell the bar staff not to serve Alex when she saw someone stumble into the pub, without seeing who it was. Jess and Al

He was told by bar staff he wouldn’t be served and said nothing and left.

This is where I am coming from

Because I am hard of hearing, before I had hearing aids, I would frequently be turned away from places because they considered me to be too drunk, and I explained qhy I had slurred speech. This didn’t change anything due to licensing laws (they couldn’t give me the benefit of the doubt) and it stopped happening when I got hearing aids. One night in a pub in Falmouth, I used the ‘hard of hearing’ card after a few drinks, when I was refused service and called the next day to apologise, as I was pissed.

Landlord's have liability for all their patrons under Section 141 of the annually updated Licensing Act.
Landlord’s have liability for all their patrons under Section 141 of the annually updated Licensing Act.

Ironically, in March 2013, I was banned, because I fell down the stairs on my way out of Five Degrees Below (owned by establishment where Alex went for pint after being refused at the Cutty) and over a year later in 2014, I was denied entry upstairs although I had been into the main bar on occasions since the ‘ban’. I went in after the originating incident to show staff my Dyspraxia report which confirms that I had bad motor skills and could fall over easily.  We all need to be aware of our limitations, whatever they are and however they effect us.

Back to the Cutty

The landlady saw someone stumble and told the bar staff not to serve them. The bar staff said that Alex’s breath smelt strongly of beer when he leaned over the bar to make his order, which is when he was told he had had enough. He left without saying much more than ‘OK’. I would question if his reaction at this point is consistent with how he said he felt to the press.

Bar staff gain experience in knowing if someone has already had too much before arriving. Who is to know what Alex had on a day out on his own in Falmouth before 9.30pm.
Bar staff gain experience in knowing if someone has already had too much before arriving. Who is to know what Alex had on a day out on his own in Falmouth before 9.30pm.

On the next day he went back and caused a scene, raised his voice to the landlady who had not ignored him to watch the tennis (as first reported) but went to speak to him although it was her day off. Two patrons who witnessed this scene have given interviews. Not getting an outright apology that he wanted, he stomped off, slamming the door behind him.

This is all on CCTV which can only be released if something illegal happened.

In media law this could be ‘Defamation’ as the facts given in the press have not been checked and this is detrimental to business income and professional reputation. There has been no fact checking by the press and Alex’s version of events has only been reported, even after the landlady gave her version of events, and Alex has covered his tracks and changed his story.  An article just removed for further investigation had added: ‘who walks with an uneven gait due a foot condition’ to perhaps explain him stumbling into the pub.

There is also a contradiction between these two statements.

– Alex claims he was “mortified to be ordered to leave by the landlady who said he had already had too much to drink.”- Then he says: “I was so shocked and I just decided to beat an exit.”
Patrons from all social groups, including those with hidden disabilities, show their support for the bar and its staff.
Patrons from all social groups, including those with hidden disabilities, show their support for the bar and its staff

Therefore, he was not ordered to leave. He was told he had had enough and said OK and left, without challenging the decision. As his breath smelt of beer, it appears he had had more than ‘less than a pint’ to drink.

Had this not happened to him before? Is this because he is well known for using his disability so no one dares not serve him a drink?  On his Twitter feed today, he publishes a lunchtime tipple. On a full day out on his own in Falmouth, revisiting where he did his degree, did Alex only have a 500ml bottle of beer before 9.30pm when he went to the Cutty?

I myself wrote for a careers magazine for disabled graduates called the Arberry Profile, guided blind people on holidays for Vitalise, work as an access steward for Attitude Is Everything at major festivals and worked as a guide for Deafblind UK for two years. I have not met many people who would want to be such victims of their disabilities, especially when something has nothing to do with a disability.

Here are some articles on disability issues I have written, linked from my website, plus a link to the page with articles on hearing loss and Deafness issues.

I do not believe this story is doing any good to raise disability awareness or helping to create a more inclusive society. It could be reinforcing ingrained views that disabled people are victims of their disabilities, rather than able to adapt and create awareness around them and ask for reasonable adjustments, as other patrons at the Cutty do, including Simon Carr who, yesterday, said this on his Facebook page :

As an old building, going in there is a sign for people to mind the step.
On the way in there is a sign for people to mind the step.

“So, today we have learn’t about the power of social media, or more exactly, how people get all irate without checking ANY facts, knowing the situation, OR being reasonable, eh, Jess, I have been fighting hard!!!!!”  – Simon Carr.

In his BBC interview Alex said ‘I had less than five…less than a pint’. The decision not to serve him was based on the belief he had already had drinks, making it illegal to serve him under section 141 of the Licensing Act and at the time, he did not say anything and left to go to another pub.

Peter from the Falmouth Packet went to the Cutty to do his own investigation and this is their more balanced article of 15 July.

I will be broadcasting interviews with the landlady, two witnesses who saw Alex come back on the Sunday and the bar person on my radio show tomorrow on www.thesourcefm.co.uk/listen from 2-3.30pm (Friday 17 July).

Then on Friday 24 July, I will be speaking to Steve Taylor or James Partridge of Changing Faces, about their awareness campaign which they have confirmed will not mention the Cutty and feedback on how to handle the situation better has been handed back to Alex.

Gumtree ad Time Travel Screening

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 11.46.24Here is the press coverage for a story to announce a screening of the film of an Exminster woman who claimed to have invented a time machine and put an ad on Gumtree for a travel companion.

Exeter Daily.

Express and Echo

Western Morning News

Herald Express

First Scrumpstock Reviews

Thank you very much to the Exmouth Journal’s Paul Strange for his review of this year’s Scrumpstock:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 17.24.21

Also, Meredith Collins posted a review on her blog Along Came a Cider, as she was luckily visiting the UK from America at the right time.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 17.39.50

Publicity for comedy: Glen Maney comes to Falmouth

glen new 7Thanks to the Falmouth Packet for including this piece on Glen Maney’s Edinburgh preview of The Prostate Years. Here is a wider selection of press I have done to promote comedy Also thanks to What’s On Cornwall

Plus the West Briton.