High-street expert to share top tips with Reading businesses
- Free expert advice for local businesses
- Virtual and live workshops running during March
A LEADING high-street expert is heading to Reading to share his top tips for retail success – and businesses across the town can access his help for free.
Thanks to funding from Reading Borough Council’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) – a heritage-led regeneration partnership that brings together Historic England and the Council – business expert Graham Soult is hosting two virtual retail and marketing workshops, and one in-person session for local businesses, during March.
Described on BBC Look North as “the region’s best-known retail expert”, and by ITV as “a North East Mary Portas”, Graham is often named as being among the most influential retail people on Twitter. He has appeared regularly on TV, on radio, and in the press, including BBC’s The One Show, BBC News, The Guardian, Retail Week, Wired and Forbes, and is a frequent speaker on retail and marketing issues at conferences and seminars.
Free business support available includes:
How to maximise your business’s kerb appeal: Tuesday 15 March at 5 pm on Zoom. Graham will share his tips on how businesses can grab the customer’s attention and get them into their shop, using examples from his travels.
Setting up and using your Google My Business listing: Tuesday 22 March at 5 pm, Graham’s next Zoom session focuses on showing businesses how claiming and using their Google profile can have a huge impact on how they show up in Google Maps and Search.
Online marketing basics for your business: Tuesday 29 March at 5 pm, finally, Graham will be in Reading for a workshop and networking session that is packed with advice for businesses on how to create a good website, use images and video to promote their business online, and effectively showcase what they do on social media.
All sessions are open to retail, hospitality and other interested businesses across the town.
To sign up for any of the workshops, email HSHAZ@reading.gov.uk
Full details are available on the Reading Borough Council website at https://www.reading.gov.uk/planning/reading-high-streets-heritage-action-zone/retail-and-marketing-workshops.
Graham Soult said: “Reading is a vibrant town with many fantastic independent businesses, and I’m looking forward to paying a return visit and sharing my tips and insights.
“Whether a business is already confident in its brand and marketing, or needs some help getting started, my workshops are designed to be full of practical tips that retail and hospitality businesses can start acting upon straight away.
“As high streets evolve, and businesses work ever-smarter to win over customers, it’s never been more important to make a great first impression with the frontage of your premises, your presence on Google, or the digital footprint of your website and social media.”
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “Thanks to funding from Historic England, matched by Reading Borough Council, Reading’s High Street Heritage Action Zone is working with property owners across Oxford Road, Castle Street, Gun Street, St Mary’s Butts and Market Place to improve the physical appearance of key buildings and businesses that bring the life to our streets.
“At the same time, we are engaged in a series of programmes to celebrate the history of these streets, build local pride, improve the public realm, and support local businesses.
“So, we are honoured that Graham has been able to come along virtually and in person to share some positive and practical advice that local businesses can learn from and use, whether or not they are also benefitting from physical improvements to their premises.”
Alexa Volker, Head of Operations at Reading Central and Abbey Quarter BIDs, which is helping to promote the sessions, added: “I’ve followed Graham on social media for some time, and it’s a pleasure to be able to bring one of the country’s foremost high-street champions to Reading.
“From hearing Graham speak before, I know his workshops are enjoyable, engaging and useful, and I would encourage all BID businesses to take advantage of these free sessions.”
Notes to editors
High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZs) are a heritage-led regeneration initiative led by Historic England, working with local councils and the community to create economic growth and improve the quality of life in our historic high streets.
Announced in September 2019, Reading is one of 68 areas of England to receive a share of a £95 million government fund, having secured HSHAZ status for three conservation areas in the centre of the town. As a result, Reading is receiving up to £806,500 for the implementation of a four-year programme agreed with Historic England, match funded by Reading Borough Council.
For more details, see https://www.reading.gov.uk/planning/reading-high-streets-heritage-action-zone/.
Graham Soult is a high-street champion, digital marketing expert, respected media commentator, High Streets Task Force Expert, and Fellow of the Institute of Place Management (IPM), who founded and runs the retail consultancy CannyInsights.com
Based in Gateshead but operating UK wide, CannyInsights.com works with independent and multiple retailers on the high street and online, as well as with related organisations such as landlords, local authorities, business associations and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), to help them improve their offer and marketing.
Described on BBC Look North as “the region’s best-known retail expert”, and by ITV as “a North East Mary Portas”, Graham Soult is often named as being among the most influential retail people on Twitter. He has appeared regularly on TV, on radio, and in the press, including BBC’s The One Show, BBC News, The Guardian, Retail Week, Wired and Forbes, and is a frequent speaker on retail and marketing issues at conferences and seminars.