NovaLoca Blog Keeping you up to date with commercial property news Wed, 07 Apr 2021 07:56:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What are Topic Clusters? Wed, 07 Apr 2021 07:56:24 +0000 Topic clusters are a form of content marketing where you create a main piece of content for your website and then create many subtopics that link back to the main overarching topic. Why is this form of content marketing considered particularly effective? Because it allows you to have content for your customers at every stage of their journey with you. This journey begins with their initial queries about a product and ends up with the after service care you provide. You can have content for all of these points. It is more of a long term content strategy but it will gain you a long term audience.  The main topic, also known as the pillar content, should be a broad topic that directly relates to what your website/business provides. It is what you want to be known for and what you consider the subject your customers are most interested in. When deciding on what to include in this piece research what it is that people are going to be asking google. Note the keywords you discover to add to your article.  Your subtopics, or ‘cluster pages’ can then be more detailed pieces. For example if you are a commercial property agent your pillar page could be a blog piece on your local area. Your sub articles could then go on to be separate pieces about different property types you deal with: maybe there are many independent retail stores in the district or the area is famous for a particular industry. Each of these pieces will hyperlink back to the main one. These internal links tell google you have a lot of content on a subject. And because they are focused pieces chances are google will consider them to be quality pieces that a searcher will benefit from reading. It’s your chance to show yourselves as experts and gain greater authority with your audience.  If just one of these articles does well because everything is linked all other content gets a boost up. It’s not all about new content either. Why not take a look at your existing blog posts to see if they can also link through to the pillar content? 

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Poetry and the power of words in your Adverts Tue, 30 Mar 2021 08:22:29 +0000 When writing adverts and marketing for your brand you are always striving to find the best words to convey what it is you want to say in the most succinct and memorable way possible. And this is where poetry and advertising campaigns collide.  Poetry is an art form that requires choosing the most powerful words to convey an experience or emotion. Every word is carefully chosen. And we don’t forget words that move us. In uncertain times we turn to poetry for the comfort of knowing that others feel the same as us and as we move forward from the worst of the current pandemic it can express our hopes for the future.  So it makes sense that it is an art form that can be learnt from when it comes to crafting our advertisements.  Nationwide Building Society has been using poetry in its adverts for a couple of years. The poets in their videos provide an authentic voice. Watch this Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing video which aims to “change the narrative on nursing” with nurses speaking about their work in a poem. It’s very powerful. The use of rhyme particularly works well.  Images and words combined to create a strong message are the basis of digital marketing. Poets on Instagram have been producing work that is worth taking a look at even though they are not business posts. The hashtag #instapoetry has over 4 million followers. Their posts show poems in a variety of ways: sometimes they use handwritten notes, or have the text appear as if on a billboard. Aren’t people actually following and liking the lifestyle presented in these images and isn’t it a lifestyle choice you are really selling with your brand? Take some time to study these pieces from the font choice made, the short punchlines to the subject matters covered. Here’s a couple of our word and image combinations that were used during last Christmas. It’s not often that work research can be a pleasure. And I’ve no doubt you actually are a poet. You just don’t know it yet.

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NovaLoca 2021- Independent, Strong & Passionate as ever Tue, 23 Mar 2021 15:13:51 +0000 Miranda Munn, Managing Director & Founder of NovaLoca Ltd shares the story of NovaLoca’s beginnings and the exciting, busy times the company are in now. NovaLoca launched in 2008 perfectly timed for the last recession; Michael McIntyre described the mood at the next Property Awards as huddled round a KFC with attendees throwing themselves from the balcony.  I always felt that if we could successfully launch then, nothing would stop us.  Having completed a full 13 years since then we feel more confident than ever. I began planning NovaLoca in 1996; I had been tasked with finding new premises for the company I was working for and found the job a lot more difficult than I had expected. An easy to navigate website that listed all commercial availability was clearly needed. Having left the company in 2001 I started MJM Marketing; a direct mail company working exclusively with commercial agents, but NovaLoca was still being worked on in the background. MJM was quickly successful, enough so I had money to invest in NovaLoca. For reasons I sometimes find hard to fathom, I was totally & relentlessly passionate about delivering the best commercial property availability website possible (still am). Passion and determination have been essential, getting sufficient contracts to keep MJM Mailings afloat was one thing but with NovaLoca it was never going to work with just a few clients, it needed to be the go-to place for all, or as many agents as possible. The most important part of NovaLoca is the team behind it. I have been lucky enough to find a team of people better than me in each of their specific areas (so much so that they barely need me) “great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs . We compliment each other, but I hope they would all agree; also promote a supportive environment where we all feel genuinely cared for. Over the years our systems and processes have been honed; there have been no short cuts, and although at times it has felt like a thankless task, we have worked consistently hard.  It has always felt like we have been building something with a very strong foundation, it has taken time, but to quote Hanson  ‘foundations are one of the most critical elements of any project, even though they aren’t visible when the structure is complete’. The past year has been difficult for pretty much everyone, we have all been able to work fairly seamlessly from home so we know we are the lucky ones. We have also been exceptionally busy, just last week alone 5 companies agreed new subscriptions with us. It does feel like we are reaching a tipping point, the more agents are aware of their competitors listing the more they want to join for themselves so they don’t miss out.  Our traffic levels are higher and more relevant than ever and more clients are asking their agents to make sure they advertise with us. It’s... Read more

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Tips for Making Instructional Videos Wed, 17 Mar 2021 08:55:20 +0000 On a previous blog we looked at different ways you can market for existing customers. One of these ways is providing them with training information on how to use your products. This blog is going to take a more indepth look at what this involves. What you need to consider You don’t need a large studio space or big production values for your video. If the past year has shown us anything it is how creative we can all be on a small budget in unusual working environments. As we’ve explored previously you can shoot a video on a mobile phone. People will appreciate the authenticity of your home grown production. By presenting your brand and your beliefs as they are you are creating a connection with your audience.    If you have been listening to your audience you will know what it is they want from you and you will have discovered any gaps in their knowledge. This is what you want to be including in your video.   It is best to keep to one idea per video. Remember short content video is the preferred choice these days so divide up all your ideas into ‘micro learning’ films. Two minutes is probably the maximum length you want to be.   What format can you produce?  We often use animation in our short NovaLoca videos which you can see here on our Youtube channel. Animation is good for explaining ideas that are more abstract. There are websites that will allow you to put together animation with no prior skills needed with packages in various price ranges.  An easier and effective way to go is to record your computer screen or device with screen capture software. I use the OBS or Open Broadcaster Software which is free to download and works very well. You can combine screenshots with your live action footage.  Putting it all together   Once you have your key idea its time to put together a script. You want to have short, easy sentences. A two minute video is approximately 240 words but don’t think everything needs to be explained in words. Images can tell a lot of the story for you. Next it is a good idea to create a storyboard.  A storyboard is a series of images showing each shot you want in your film. You can just draw stick figures for this process. From the storyboard create a list of props etc that need to be in shots. It’s also a good opportunity to work out your timings. And then you are ready to shoot! Post production Your video is going to need editing. You will want to take out any errors, long pauses etc. This is also the time to add text and background music. Make sure any music you use is for use in commercial projects and proper credit is given if required. 

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Data Centres in the News Tue, 09 Mar 2021 08:59:44 +0000 Data centres are in the news. According to Savills they are an emerging property trend to invest in as the market is rapidly growing as the volume of technology, such as 5G, cloud and streaming services that uses data increases and requires a larger infrastructure to support it. It has become a top function for business.  Knight Frank have also recently appointed a new partner and co-head of global data centres. and CBRE has announced a partnership with Virtual Power Systems that will aid them on a “path to …autonomous digital infrastructure”. According to a report by Arcadis the UK is emerging as one of the top locations in the world to build data centres, where they particularly note the well regarded cyber security of London. A data centre is the physical space that a business uses to keep their servers, to store data and its back ups and the routers etc that keep the company connected to the world. For many businesses this historically has been a room in their office location. But data centres can also be run by a third party in a managed data centre or a Cloud data centre such as Amazon Web Services. The need for more data centre space offers opportunities of alternative use for commercial property particularly with the emergence of Edge data Centres. These are centres that are local to their end users and tend to be smaller. So they can potentially be placed wherever there is available property offering alternative use opportunities.  If you are considering a site for a data centre search NovaLoca’s lists of thousands of commercial properties for sale or to let across the UK. You can browse by region, for a commercial property company in our extensive company directory or even available business parks & industrial estates.  

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Using Neuromarketing for Web Design Tue, 02 Mar 2021 09:29:46 +0000 Neuromarketing is the study of consumer behaviour and how brains respond to certain marketing and design elements. These studies have led to some discoveries that people are more influenced by emotion when deciding on brand purchases than rational decisions. Therefore neuromarketing becomes a powerful tool for understanding what influences your customers in their decision making. It is often used to aid website design and what should go into social media posts.  Social Proof. One of the most common forms of neuromarketing is Social Proof. This is the idea that people will choose to do what they see others doing; that if a lot of people are doing something it must be correct. Research shows we like to look to others for clues as to how to make decisions.  What form can social proof take on your web pages? It is all your client testimonials, positive reviews and likes and comments on social media. Have them in a prominent position on your website to show visitors what they will gain if they have your services or product. What other website design ideas can be taken from neuromarketing to help convert visitors into leads? Use lots of positive words because that will encourage positive emotions that will become linked to your brand.   What colour you use is important. We’ve taken a look at this in our previous blog here. Users don’t want an interrupted experience as they navigate around your website. They prefer things to be easy to understand so use a layout that is what a user has come to expect from similar sites, and keep it simple. We can not deal with information overload. Just display the most important information.  Try and have a CTA (call-to-action) on each web page. This will encourage users to take instantaneous actions. Ensure these buttons are in a prominent position. Neuromarketing uses eye-tracking hardware to ascertain where people’s eye gaze travels to and it will focus on the stand out visual of a page.  Most of all ensure what you are saying is accurate and lives up to what you are promising or you will not gain your customers’ trust.  NovaLoca creates some of the best fully mobile responsive agency websites for Commercial Property Professionals. If you would like more information visit the ZipBox website

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Scottish office market – Outlook and opportunities for 2021 – Savills Tue, 23 Feb 2021 08:53:37 +0000 Scottish office market – Outlook and opportunities for 2021  Presented by Savills. 18th February 2021. NovaLoca attended the Scottish office market webinar hosted by Nick Penny whose panelists included David Cobban of Savills Glasgow and Mike Irvine of Savills Edinburgh, who both have current subscriptions with NovaLoca, as well as Caroline Pontifax Director of Workplace Experience  and Dan Smith of Savills Aberdeen.  The webinar discussion included emerging themes in the Scottish office market where flexibility and sustainability came to the forefront.  Occupiers are currently reviewing the amount of space they need. They are considering right sizing which was already beginning to happen in Scotland and has been accelerated by the pandemic. This review could take the form of relocation to less expensive space or consolidation with other companies as staff may no longer be in the office on a full time basis. The panel pointed out having staff attend the office on a part time basis doesn’t necessarily mean less space is needed.  Employers are acknowledging that they need to give staff a reason to want to come into the office, especially younger staff. They are facing the challenge of making long term decisions about short term problems. Quality and flexibility is a major consideration. There is therefore an increase in demand for Grade A space for which employers do seem to be prepared to pay for. Grade A availability in Scotland is currently lower than in the rest of the UK and rent increases could follow as demand grows.  Caroline Pontifax gave a presentation on changes in workplace design that are occurring as occupiers are beginning to only take space they need. The Pandemic has accelerated requirements for better flexible design. She reiterated the fact that employee experience is important. Workplaces will become a place to exchange ideas rather than the 9 to 5 of old and need to offer quality services including lounges, fitness centres, showers, terraces and cycle facilities, as wellness is another key trend. The panel discussed how difficult it is to design for short term leases and keep sustainability at forefront. A question was asked if the panel thought that business parks would see companies relocating to these. The overall thought was that it is too early to say if they will see an increase in demand. They would need to be offering all of the facilities already discussed and it was pointed out that they are not sustainable as staff need to drive to them. Overall the office market saw higher demand in Scotland for 2020 than the rest of the UK with an economic bounce back expected by the middle of next year.  Take a look at the commercial properties listed on NovaLoca by Savills in Scotland here.

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The ‘new’ office 2021 Mon, 22 Feb 2021 14:19:07 +0000 Aasia Mohammad, Director at Lambert Smith Hampton (Scotland) recently chatted to NovaLoca about regional office take up, Grade A supply and the new office of the future. “What a year 2020 was; one that most in the office circle will be pleased to see the back of. But while talk of the ‘death of the office’ has made for dramatic headlines, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Innovation, socialising and collaboration are high on the agenda for 2021 and the ‘new’ office will play a significant part in all of these.  Significant improvements in regional office take-up after Q2, and evidence of how well rents were paid throughout the pandemic are testimony to the high importance occupiers attach to the workplace. With vaccines on the horizon, attention is turning to when and how people will return to the office. There is no doubt the world has changed significantly. The greater acceptance of remote-working will fast-track the evolution of the office, emphasising quality over quantity in occupiers’ space needs. The pendulum has swung to the tenant’s favour, and landlords simply must adapt. The challenges for occupiers, small or large, will be restrained capital budget. Those landlords that can be flexible and go beyond the conventional will attract the very best occupiers. With availability of grade A space muted in most markets and renewed caution around speculative development, the regional markets are in much better shape than previous recessions. Yes, we will see grey space enter the fold, and some occupiers will benefit from some fantastic sub-let opportunities as others look to reduce liabilities.  Regarding the specific Glasgow Market, despite a recent weakening of occupier activity, availability continues to diminish and stands at a record low of 1.4m sq ft.  The choice of immediately available grade A options remains stubbornly low, with only the refurbished Ink Building (35,000 sq ft), 55 Douglas Street (55,000 sq ft) and 100,000 sq ft of tenant released space at various buildings across the city ready for immediate occupation.  Further tenant released space is expected to come forward as some occupiers make moves to consolidate where they have multiple floors of a building. However, grade A supply has improved tangibly during 2020, to stand at 384,000 sq ft, fuelled by the forthcoming completion of several new developments. Despite delays due to COVID-19 and tighter construction restrictions in Scotland, works on all sites are ongoing. Currently there is just under 500,000 sq ft of much needed new grade A stock due to complete in the next 12 months, of which 55% is available. Corporate occupier requirements remain active from companies private and public sector bodies but many are reviewing their needs, and requirements could decrease in quantum.  Active plug and play requirements are leading to an increase in landlords adapting and an increasing plug and play offering to attract new occupiers”. Take a look at the commercial property listings from Lambert Smith Hampton (Scotland) on NovaLoca here.

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Creating a Customer Journey Map (or how your customers got to you and bringing them back again) Wed, 17 Feb 2021 09:16:17 +0000 You know how important it is to create memorable experiences for customers and to solve any problems that arise. However the customer is more likely to have a complex customer journey with your brand than in the past. The ways in which they can discover you and make a purchase expands across multiple platforms, or omni channels, making it more difficult for you to keep track of their experiences.  What you can do to get an understanding of how your customers are encountering your brand in such places as your website, social media channels, email campaigns and in communications with your staff is to visualise their journey as a map, identifying all the points they encounter your business. It doesn’t have to be an epic tale of hobbits, dragons and lonely mountains but it does have to be a story that will help your customers to reach a happy ending and hopefully return for a sequel.  In your story you are breaking down the plot points to show the problems your customers experience along their route. You will be able to identify any gaps in communication. Are your social media users able to easily switch over to your website? Is there a delay in the passing on of information between departments in the business?  Is your after sales customer care as good as it can be?  How do you create this story map? First of all decide whether you want to map a broad overview of the journey and customer experience  or to focus on one specific area you feel needs investigation. Then you need to put yourself into the characters/customers shoes to understand their expectations as they progress and predict where they are likely to go next. Where are the best places to gather data to help with plotting your map? Social media channels are useful. You can make the most of  social listening to see what the audience is saying about your area of expertise. Customer surveys can also be conducted, staff can provide information on the most asked questions and Google Analytics will give you many insights into the users route around your website.  Once you have gathered your data you need to convert this information into a visual format, whether that’s an excel sheet or an infographic it needs to be in a form everyone in the company can share and use. As Bilbo Baggins himself said: “Only Thing To Do! On We Go.” 

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Considering Social Value for your Small Business Tue, 09 Feb 2021 09:19:43 +0000 Social value is about being aware of how your business or organization impacts your community. It usually refers to positive ways you can take action to improve and sustain the local economy, employment and environment. Many customers are now aware of social value and want to deal with businesses who provide help in these areas. It is expected that companies who support social values will be ahead in market positions. What social value actions can a small business take? It’s best to set up measurable objectives within a fixed time scale. You can start small, for example, introducing recycle bins at the office and then work up to wider recycling projects in the community.  Employing local people and supporting local independent businesses are good ways to generate local economic value. You could urge any partner organisations to also prioritise social value. By considering employing people who have previously been unemployed you can address issues of inequality and just by having staff who don’t need to commute you are reducing your carbon footprint. We are proud to say NovaLoca’s staff are all live within 4 miles of the workplace. Many businesses support charities but how about asking your staff which local causes they would like to support? Perhaps you could also sponsor a local team. It’s not just about the people. It’s about the building your company occupies too. Property Week has reported on the Social Value Toolkit for Architecture which not only explores how social value can be incorporated in the building design process but also on property occupancy and how it can contribute towards health, connecting people to their environment and benefit the community. If you have found this article useful you may also want to look at our other blog posts: The Healthy Building of the Future and Property Trends 2021

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