Frequently Asked Questions
What does the platform do?
It is: (a) a hub for the local community – it’s the “go to” place for users interested in local Clubs, Schools, Places of Worship, weather, travel information, offers, what’s-on, businesses and other organisations. As such, it plays a key role in developing and strengthening social and cultural ties within the community, as well as supporting the sustainability of the local economy and employment (b) a source of visitor/tourist information - Tourists and other visitors to the local community are provided with a central information source on places to stay, local attractions and other things that may be of interest to them (c) a powerful collective and individual marketing platform - As a window onto all that the local community has to offer, the platform facilitates local businesses and other interested groups acting collectively to promote the community as a destination of choice for shopping, leisure and business. In circumstances where better transport links generally mean that shoppers and others have a wider choice of destination than ever before, this ability to market the community as a whole can be vital for local sustainability, economic wellbeing and employment. Equally, the platform allows individual local businesses to market themselves and their goods and services directly to customers and potential customers. That can be in the form of general marketing or by way of promotion of special offers or forthcoming events (d) an essential tool in the age of mobile - The number of people glued to smartphones and tablets in any public place makes it plain that we are now firmly in the mobile age. With sales of smartphones and tablets forecast to increase markedly in coming years (in contrast to sales of desktops and traditional print media), local communities need to plan accordingly if they are to secure sustainable futures for themselves. the platform is the answer. Not only does it give the local community the functionality it needs in the age of mobile, it also makes a strong statement about the progressive, forward-looking nature of the community and, in some cases, can help to reposition the wider perception of it (e) a source of revenue – the platform comes with an in-built facility to generate significant advertising revenue that can be reinvested in the local community and local projects.
What’s included in the platform?
It is made up of (a) an Apple approved App which runs on iPhones and iPads - this version of the App is available for download from the App Store; (b) a Google approved App which runs on Android devices - this version of the App is available for download from Google Play; (c) a mobile-enabled website that can be viewed on all smartphones, tablets and desktops; and (d) a Content Manager website.
What types of Listing are available on the platform?
Each local Club, School and Place of Worship is eligible to have a free COMMUNITY Listing. Commercial businesses can choose between a free STANDARD Listing and an ENHANCED Listing. Commercial businesses with an ENHANCED Listing can choose to increase their local profile further by replicating that Listing as a PROMOTED Listing or as one or more SPONSORED Listings. If the geographical area covered by the platform is divided into sub-areas, they can also replicate that ENHANCED Listing as a LOCAL+ Listing in one or more additional sub-areas.
Does a commercial business need to pay for its ENHANCED Listing?
Yes. Generally, the cost is from around £1.50 per day (payable monthly in advance). There are no set-up costs and the ENHANCED Listing can be cancelled at any time (with effect from the last day of the calendar month of cancellation).
Why are the prices expressed as being “from”?
Firstly, (a) delivering a high quality, comprehensive, relevant and useful user experience is the most important attribute of the platform; and (b) the platform facilitates local businesses and other interested groups acting collectively to promote the community as a destination of choice for shopping, leisure and business. That being so, it is key to the effectiveness of the platform for the benefit of all businesses in an area that as many of their number as possible list on, and engage with, it. In order to help achieve that goal, the platform’s pricing structure (i) recognises that the marketing budget of a small local business is unlikely to match up to that of the local outlet of a national chain; and (ii) for the benefit of both, operates progressively (by having the national chain pay a slightly higher amount for its Listing in order to help the small local business list on the platform at a rate that it can afford). Secondly, some areas of the platform experience higher user traffic than other areas. In those circumstances, it would not be fair for (eg) a small local roofing company with a Listing in a low traffic page in the A to Z to pay the same amount as a small local jewellers with a Listing in the high traffic section of Shopping.
How can the platform be used as a communication channel?
By putting an EVENT or POST (or, in the case of a commercial business with an ENHANCED Listing, a DEAL) onto its Listing, the Lister automatically sends a push notification or email about it to every user that has that Lister in its FAVOURITES (apart, of course, from any users who have opted out of receiving push notifications/emails). How can this be used in practice? Well, here are some examples: (a) by making one POST, the local hockey club can tell all of its members about training or match day arrangements; (b) if the pipes at the local school are frozen and the building is closed, staff can make one POST to alert all of the parents; (c) the local church can publicise its fund-raising coffee morning to all members of its congregation simply by putting the EVENT onto its Listing; and (d) if the local café decides to have a 2-for-1 offer on afternoon teas, it can tell all of its customers simply by including that DEAL on its ENHANCED Listing.
How is a Listing set up and managed?
The Lister first applies to open a Customer Account via the Content Manager website (a link to that appears as “Manager” in the footer of the website). Details about the Lister and the principal point of contact (called “the Listing Administrator”) are entered and submitted. After all authentication procedures have been satisfactorily completed, the Customer Account is opened. That Customer Account can then be accessed from the Content Manager website using customary username and password functionality. The Listing Administrator can give access rights to others within the Lister’s organisation and the level of access rights given can be varied from person to person as follows: (a) ADMINISTRATORS have full editing rights on the Account and Listings. They also have full approval rights, allowing them to authorise changes that will appear on the platform (b) USERS+ have full approval rights but are only be able to edit details of Listings, not Account details (c) USERS have the same editing rights as Users+ but none of their changes go live on the platform until approved by an Administrator or a User+. Once the Customer Account is open, the Listing Administrator can compile the Listing and submit it for publication. After publication, the Lister is in complete control of all aspects of its Listing by means of 24/7 access via the Content Manager website. It can advertise as many EVENTS and, in the case of those with ENHANCED Listings, DEALS as it wishes and it can communicate using the POSTS functionality. Similarly, it can change its imagery, description, opening hours, etc, etc as often as it likes.
Is any content subject to pre-publication approval?
Responsibility for all content is with the Listing Administrator and any person given access/editing rights by him/her. The only items that are subject to pre-publication approval are EVENTS that the Lister wishes to include in the local WHAT’S ON.
What information can be included in a free COMMUNITY Listing?
Each local Club, School and Place of Worship is eligible to have a free COMMUNITY Listing featuring (a) an image (which can be a photograph or a logo); (b) one touch phone dialling; (c) one touch emailing; (d) one touch access to the Lister’s website; (e) a long description (of up to 2,000 characters); (f) the ability to advertise EVENTS (including associated imagery); (g) the ability to make POSTS (including associated imagery) to communicate with members, etc; (h) a full postal address details; (i) relevant times information; (j) a link to Google Maps showing the Lister’s location; (k) links to the Lister’s own social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube; and (l) sharing functionality (enabling users to share details of the Lister’s offering).
What information can be included in a free STANDARD Listing?
A STANDARD Listing is the free, entry-level Listing for commercial businesses on the platform. It includes (a) one touch phone dialling; (b) one touch emailing; (c) full postal address details; (d) a link to Google Maps showing the Lister’s location; and (e) sharing functionality (enabling users to share details of the Lister’s offering).
What information can be included in an ENHANCED Listing?
An ENHANCED Listing is the premium-level Listing for commercial businesses on the platform. It features (a) an image (which can be a photograph or a logo); (b) one touch phone dialling; (c) one touch emailing; (d) one touch access to the Lister’s website; (e) a long description (of up to 2,000 characters); (f) 3 key feature bullet points; (g) the ability to advertise DEALS (including associated imagery); (h) the ability to advertise EVENTS (including associated imagery); (i) the ability to make POSTS (including associated imagery) to communicate with customers/potential customers; (j) a full postal address details; (k) opening hours information; (l) a link to Google Maps showing the Lister’s location; (m) links to the Lister’s own social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube; and (n) sharing functionality (enabling users to share details of the Lister’s offering).
What is a PROMOTED Listing?
A PROMOTED Listing has the same content as an ENHANCED Listing but (a) it has a “top of page” position (immediately underneath the SPONSORED Listing if there is one) on a Listings page; and (b) it is given added prominence by being coloured yellow. There is only one position for a PROMOTED Listing on each page of search returns and that position can only be occupied by a business whose ENHANCED Listing appears further down the same page (ie only a local plumber can occupy the PROMOTED Listing position on the “Plumbers” page).
What is a SPONSORED Listing?
A SPONSORED Listing also has the same content as an ENHANCED Listing but it is (a) positioned at the very top of a page (immediately above any PROMOTED Listing); and (b) given added prominence by being coloured green. A SPONSORED Listing can appear at the top of a search returns page but, unlike a PROMOTED Listing, it can also appear on a page that (i) has a menu, not Listings, on it (and given that many of these menu pages rank amongst the highest traffic pages on the platform, this offers a great opportunity to commercial businesses to raise their profile in the local community); and (ii) relates to a business sector different to that in which the Lister operates – that being so, a local plumber can place his SPONSORED Listing on the high traffic “Cafes & Coffee Shops” page.
What is a LOCAL+ Listing?
A LOCAL+ Listing also has the same content as an ENHANCED Listing but, whereas the ENHANCED listing appears in the Lister’s “home” sub-area, a LOCAL+ Listing can appear in one or more other sub-areas. That being so, a shoe shop in one part of the County can raise its profile by taking a LOCAL+ Listing on the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories page for another part of the County.
What is a BANNER AD?
A BANNER AD is a form of display advertising that can be placed in any of the headline “Explore” categories (such as “Attractions”, Food & Drink”, “Places to Stay”, etc), It appears at the foot of each page within the chosen category that has a menu or Listings on it. A BANNER AD can be set-up with a “click-through” to the advertiser’s own website or splash page. The cost of a BANNER AD varies depending upon the “Explore” category chosen. It is not necessary to have a Listing to be able to set up a BANNER AD.
How do I set up my PROMOTED listing?
Log in to the Content Manager website, select your ENHANCED listing, click on the “Promote” button and follow the onscreen instructions.
How do I set up my SPONSORED listing(s)?
Log in to the Content Manager website, select your ENHANCED listing, click on the “Sponsor” button and follow the onscreen instructions.
How do I set up my LOCAL+ listing(s)?
Log in to the Content Manager website, select your ENHANCED listing, click on the “Local+” button and follow the onscreen instructions.
How do I set up my BANNER AD?
Open a Customer Account (via the Content Manager website). Once that is done, log in to the Content Manager website, click on the “+ Banner Ad” button and follow the onscreen instructions.
Do I need to have an Account or a Listing if I just want to publicise a one-off Community Event in the WHAT’S ON section?
No. Navigate to the WHAT’S ON section of the website, click on the “Add Event” button and follow the onscreen instructions.
Do I have to pay to advertise a Community Event?
No. Community Events are listed free of charge.