Small Business Saturday

To mark the start of Small Business Saturday on 7th December, the iconic Small Business Saturday tour bus will be travelling to Walthamstow town centre on the 3rd December 2019 as part of its UK-wide tour. The bus which will be positioned outside Walthamstow library will offer free mentoring sessions to small businesses, including mentors from Xero’s network of small business accountants, speed networking, Facebook live streaming to promote their business, plus much more. Promotional events and activities will also take place across the borough on Saturday 7th December which is designed to encourage residents to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in our communities during the most economically active period in the year. This will include; business promotions and special offers, arts and craft markets; and the High Street Adventures project in Walthamstow High Street on the evening of the 7th December which is part of our Night Time Economy zone project.  Here’s what they’re up to:

10am-2pm – Free on-board mentoring by our trusted local contacts. Small businesses must pre book via our website under “My Small Business” section. There will be a selection of times to choose from between 10am-2pm depending on the availability we have left. Sessions usually take up to an hour. www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com 

10am-2pm – Facebook live interviews on our ‘Blue Sofa’. This gives small businesses the chance to promote themselves to our large social followings. The Blue Sofa is pretty relaxed, if a small business has a particular story to tell or something specific they would like to talk about (won an award, hot networking events, have a great team ect) this can be discussed beforehand and we can tailor some questions. There is no need to book an interview, however if there is a small business/local diginatory who has requested a specific time, we are happy to accommodate. 

10am-2pm – Exhibition tables are available to book so small businesses can showcase their service/product. This can be pre-booked by emailing bustour@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com with subject line EXHIBIT, there I will pick up the request and send the small businesses a confirmation email. There must be no selling. Table size 150cm x 50cm. If a small business would like to take part in the other activities throughout the day, we will have staff who can lend a hand on the exhibition table or we have lockers on-board the bus. 

11am-12pm – Networking hour this is a chance to meet other local small businesses, business experts and support services. Complimentary hot drinks and cakes will be provided. Once a location is sorted we will be able to set up an event link, for the time being this can be booked via our website under “My Small Business” section. www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com

Other exciting opportunities: 

– Dell is supporting the bus tour this year. They are running a competition for the best selfie in a range of frames that has been provided. There will be 1 winner a week who will win a Dell laptop! 
– Small Business Saturday UK is partnering the iDEA programme, this is a great opportunity for small businesses to join an international programme designed to address the digital skills gap. 
– Small Business Saturday iconic and free travel mug. 
– Last but not least exposure on all SBS social channels! 

In addition, WF Connected have recently published a map of local businesses, including those which have offers for Small Business Saturday. You can find it and add your own business here: http://maps.walthamstuff.com/

Workshop: Taming Gmail

Workshop: Taming Gmail

Workshop: Taming Gmail

Tuesday 19th March 2019, 2:00pm

Get Tickets

Waltham Forest Connected, Waltham Forest Council and Ticketlab present a free workshop to help manage the daily chore of sifting through your unread emails.

Riley Ramone will take you through a method to sort your unread emails into multiple lists by priority, so you can deal with them when you have time to do so, all using native Gmail functionality and no extra plugins.

He’ll also be able to deal with your custom email queries including:

  • setting up forwarders from your custom domain name
  • switching to Gmail from another provider whilst maintaining your existing email address
  • custom rules to label or file certain messages

Tickets are FREE and available via Ticketlab:

Get Tickets

Knowledge share

How to write great emails for your supporters

The below is a guest post from Digital Supporter Engagement Manager at Parkinson’s UK, Ticketlab.co.uk co-founder, and Waltham Forest resident Rebecca Breen. This advice is tailored more towards the charity sector, but can be applied to any kind of business.

Know your audience and make the email about them

You want the reader to feel like you’re communicating directly with them. Tailor and personalise your email and ensure your content is relevant to your audience(s).

Start by imagining a specific supporter or type of supporter. Write your email as if you’re writing personally to this person.

Tell them why their support is invaluable. Reference anything you know about them such as their last gift, their regular support, an event they took part in. Use their first name, And write the email in the first person (“I” rather than “we” where possible) or second person narrative (use the word “you”).

Tell good stories

You can make supporters feel emotionally involved and connected to your organisation by sharing real stories. Talk about real people you’ve helped or have benefited from your work. Make the person the hero of the story rather than your organisation.

Stories make engaging content, capture people’s interest and inspire action as well as bringing the person closer to the cause.

Keep your email short

Most people will just skim read emails so make sure it’s easy to scan. Here are some tips to keeping it short and scannable:

  1. Keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences.
  2. Sometimes you can have just one line in a paragraph.
  3. If you can say the same thing using less words then do it.
  4. Limit the the overall email to a few paragraphs.
  5. If you do have lots and lots to say in your email, add links to where the reader can read more on your website or blog rather than including all of the content in the email itself.
  6. Break up the text with headlines or bold sentences that cover the key messages.
  7. Separate links out from the body copy to make them stand out.

What’s the call to action (CTA)?

  1. Choose one CTA (or one main CTA if you absolutely can’t choose just one) for your email before you begin writing it.
  2. Everything in your email should build up to and re-enforce your ask.
  3. Get to your CTA in the email as quickly as possible and show how easy it is to do.
  4. Repeat the ask two or three times in the email, you can repeat the same wording (repetition might seem annoying but is a tried and tested tactic) or talk about the ask in different ways to keep it fresh.
  5. Create a sense of urgency to support your CTA.
  6. You can also use social proof to reinforce this. People take action when they can see that others already have e.g. “10,000 people have already signed our petition. This is brilliant – we’re so close to reaching our target – will you help us get there?”

Softer asks and linking up with social media

An ask doesn’t have to be sign-up, donate, sign this petition. Your email CTA may just be to share or engage with something on social media, watch a video or read a blog. In order for this to work you need to create really shareable and engaging content.

Emailing out your social media posts/graphics/videos in this way can really help drive the number of engagements/views you’ll get on Facebook (or other social media channels).

Saying thank you

You should always thank your supporters. Give them that warm and fuzzy feeling as well as show them the real impact they’re having on people’s lives.

Sometimes you can just say thank you. There doesn’t always have to be an ask, you can reward them with surprising and delightful content to make them feel valued.

Your email design

Be strategic with images – they should enhance rather than detract from the email. Full width images work better for mobile. Think about using gifs as you can tell more of a story/show different angles.

Make sure your email makes sense and still works without imagery as some users don’t download images and you want the message to still be conveyed.

If you’re sharing a video, add a thumbnail/still from the video to your email so it’s really clear that there is content for the reader to engage with. Adding the video so that it plays in the email doesn’t work on all device types so I would recommend not doing this.

Always think about and test how it looks on mobile. Most people read emails on their mobile devices.  


In order to improve the quality and engagement of your emails over time, you can send multiple versions to sub-sections of your mailing list and compare the results to hone mails.

There are lots of things you can test in your email so you need to prioritise and choose just one thing to test per email. You’ll also need to make sure the email is being sent to a large enough list to get a significant result. I’d suggest you need a list of greater than 1000 recipients in order to start seeing meaningful data.

Here are some example things you can A/B test in an email (there are loads more):

  1. Subject line
  2. From name
  3. Personalisation in various places
  4. Content of the email
  5. CTA (button versus naked link for example)
  6. Image versus video
  7. Layout/design of the email

Subject line tactics (you don’t always have to write the subject line first, which is why I’ve left it until last!)

Your subject line is arguably the most important part of your email – this is where you have the chance to grab the reader’s interest and make them open it.

  1. Keep it short (if it’s too long, it won’t show the whole line on all devices)
  2. Make it relevant to the audience and the content of the email
  3. Try adding personalisation e.g. their first name
  4. Make it engaging and intriguing – ambiguous subject lines often work well if you can think of something appropriate
  5. Don’t reveal too much, otherwise why would someone open the email?
  6. Test your subject lines, find out what works and keep iterating

Let’s take a look at how this works in an example email:

From/sender name: Laura – [insert organisation name]

Subject line: Are you there?

Body copy:

Hi %firstname%

On the first line of copy, set the scene very briefly and hook the reader in with something short and snappy.

Use your second paragraph to state the case of the email – make it clear to the reader why we’re emailing them and why it’s relevant for them.

If you’ve provided enough information at this stage, now is the time to add in your first call-to-action. This may be in the form of a button, vanity link or naked url. If you use links, remember to separate them out from the body copy to make them stand out. And you might want to bold the ask and/or link.

If you don’t have a link to push people to as the CTA, put your video, social media graphic, or image in here instead.

After your CTA or video/image, add in your additional information to reinforce your case for support/ask. This might come in the form of a real life story,  facts, stats, background info, etc.

Once you’ve covered off all the information, repeat your CTA button or link to reinforce the ask.

Signing off – the person who sent the email should personally sign it off, sign it off as you would an email to your colleague.  

An external example of a great email from Charity: Water

Now, go out there and send some great emails!

Google Digital Garage comes to Walthamstow Town Square

Google Digital Garage comes to Walthamstow Town Square

Waltham Forest Council is very excited to be partnering up with The Google Digital Garage bus tour – The Digital Garage is a place where anyone can come and learn how to harness the power of the internet to grow their business, learn more about the internet, or develop new vocational skills. The Google Garage Bus will be in Walthamstow Town Square, E17 7JN,  outside the Library on Friday 22nd February from 10.30am.    

Advisers from Google will be on hand to answer all your digital related questions and there will also be a number of workshops you can attend and it’s all FREE see details  below:

Drop in Advice Sessions

11:00AM – 16:00PM 1:1 Coaching


In the Google Garage:

  • Get Your Business Visible on Google 11:00am
  • Build Your Personal Brand Online 12:30pm
  • Social Media Strategy 2:00pm
  • Introduction to digital marketing 3:00pm

In Walthamstow Library:

  • Financing your start-up by Lloyds TSB – 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Business health check seminar for existing small businesses – Wendy Jackson – 11:00am-1:00pm
  • Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service course information and digital skills tutor 1:00pm-3:00pm

The Google Digital Garage launched in 2015, and they have trained over 300,000 people, and visited over 250 locations across the UK. 

For the first time ever, the Google Digital Garage bus will tour boroughs across the London, delivering free training to local communities and its coming to Walthamstow on 22nd February.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to become more digital savvy! Please visit the Digital Garage website to find out more https://events.withgoogle.com/free-in-person-training-from-google-1/

Business spotlight

Radio for help

At Waltham Forest Connected, we’re keen to get local businesses old and new to show off what they’re up to and ask the business community for help if they need it. Featured below is our first business spotlight on the upcoming Waltham Forest Community Radio. If you’ve got some news or are looking for support from our network, please drop an email to riley@ticketlab.co.uk.

With encouragement from the Council, a group of local volunteers is setting up Waltham Forest Community Radio to broadcast across the Borough – not just on line but on DAB as well.  The station will very much support the council’s new programmes – Connecting Communities and Life Chances (for younger residents) – and will be located in Higham Hill.

The station will reflect the diversity of our cultures and communities, both in management and content, with a focus on youth training, engagement and opportunities.  Target for go-live is August 2019.

The station will be recruiting a broad range of volunteers (including presenters) early in 2019, but for now, if you have the interest, energy, time and commitment to help to make this work, why not join their project working group?  Just email them at walthamforestcommunityradio@gmail.com.

Initially, the station is expecting to be largely funded through grants, but once they are broadcasting they will be looking to sell advertising and sponsorship (programme or station).  For local businesses this could be extremely attractive – local advertising at very reasonable rates.  Again, for further details, contact them at walthamforestcommunityradio@gmail.com.