We are all used to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing which according to Google averages at £25.00* per lead, Digital Customer has launched a new Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) service averaging at just 15% of this cost, which also includes an automated follow up service.

Digital Customer is please to announce a new Pay-Per-Lead Marketing Service using the latest automatic lead capture and follow up technologies.

For more information go to:

Effective lead generation and follow up can be one of the biggest challenges facing any business large or small.

Digital Customer uses the latest technology to capture customer data through multiple channels (text, email, mobile) and automatically follows up with a series of text messages, benefit rich multi media emails and video brochures designed to nurture and inform the prospect of the main benefits of the product or service.

Digital Customer PPL campaigns are designed to capture and database leads so the can be automatically followed up with at least 5 contacts over a 7 to 10 day period, the 5 contact system has been shown to be the optimum number of contacts required to build trust and rapport with a prospective customer.

Digital Customer creates a powerful lead capture process which can be used at trade shows and conferences or any other venue where a large number of prospects gather. No need for Business Cards or Brochures, collect prospects and partners details instantly and have them scan or text their information onto a database.

The traditional voucher codes, ‘group-coupons’ or ‘deal of the day’ sites are a good way of growing a customer base, they normally require the business to give a 50% to 70% discount and pay a commission to the site operator, in effect the client is doing business at cost or below cost to attract new customers and hopefully impress the customer enough to keep them coming back.

With the Digital Customer system businesses can deliver coupons at a discount rate controlled by the business, building a customer base while still making a healthy profit and delivering a high-perceived value to the customers.

In addition to attracting new customers Digital Customer can supply a branded Web App’s specifically designed for the business.

For more information on Digital Customer products and services please contact:  Mike Hardcastle (Partner)

Digital Customer
7 Meadowfield Drive,
South Yorkshire.
S74 0QE

Telephone: +44 (0)845 617 0697

Mob: +44 (0) 7899 790 669


web page:

* Campaign figures based on a 2% click through rate at a average cost of 86c per click.


Internet advertising leapt by 14.4% in 2011, to reach £4.8bn – a £687m rise on the previous year, according to the report from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It was the biggest increase in internet advertising in five years.

Video advertising saw particularly strong growth and now accounts for 10% of all online display advertising.

Expenditure on online video doubled to £109m in 2011, up from £54m the previous year.

The format has grown more than eight-fold since 2008, when video spend was £12m.

It reflects increasing numbers of people watching TV online, with 27.3 million of the 38.5 million people who went online in the UK on their PC in February viewing streamed content.

The popularity of social media networks drove a 75% increase in banner ads on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, to reach £240m last year, also an eight-fold increase since records began in 2008.

Social networks accounted for 27% of all the time spent online in the UK in 2011.

Advertising on mobile devices also leapt last year, by 157% to reach a new high of £203m.

This increase was driven by the increased popularity of smartphones and tablets, such as the iPhone and iPad, new touchscreen technology and 3G.

Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the IAB, said: “Online and mobile advertising have experienced staggering growth since this study began in 1997.

“Advertisers increasingly recognise the central role that online plays in their marketing campaigns.”

By sector, finance spent the most on display advertising, ahead of fast-moving consumer goods and then retail.

This was followed by entertainment and the media, then technology.

Marketing in the Digital Age

Marketing used to be all about messages in print, newspapers, magazines, directories, mailers or company literature, it was slow, mass market, wasteful, out of date as soon as it was printed and came at a high cost.

Now marketing is on screen digital, its instant and individually targeted, up to the minute, ultra low cost delivery or in many cases free.

Over the last two decades the web has totally changed the way we find and consume information and the new smartphone, tablet and cloud technology is changing the Marketing game yet again.

One thing in marketing that will not change is the requirement for good, relevant content

Getting Found

Back in the day the Yellow Pages was the first port of call when you needed to know where to get something, now its Google or Bing or Yahoo, and let’s be honest for most of us it’s Google.

Yellow Pages, Directories and Print Advertising will not work anymore if you want to get found and delivery your marketing message you need a website.


Most people we have talked to feel exactly as we do and have three major frustrations with web sites.

1, Cost v Effectivness

Just because you spend a lot of money having a website designed and built does not automatically make it effective, the most successful web site in the world is very simple, check it out:

2, Access to update or change the content

Web Masters are very protective of the sites in their control and even if you do own the site and pay the wages what gives you the right to mess with THEIR website and want to change things.

Also they are very important and busy people who can’t be expected to do things for you at the drop of a hat just because you run the company.

3, Results

Websites that don’t produce, most business websites do not have a well-defined Marketing objective, so how can they be expected to achieve anything.

A website without a marketing strategy to get it seen is about as effective as a billboard at the North Pole, it could be the best billboard in the world but no one is ever going to see it.

Like most business owners I have always been reliant on technical people to update my website marketing, well no more, this site and marketing blog I did myself, I can add and delete content at will, so keep reading and I will give you the roadmap, you will be surprised how easy it is to Take Control Of Your Marketing.



One of the latest innovations that offer an exciting advance in information gathering is the use of quick response codes (QR code).  The QR code provides, for anyone using a smartphone, the almost instant ability to access all available information on product marketing or even a service or event.


QR codes were originally designed for use in the automotive industry to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. Created by Denso, a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994, the system has now, due to its fast readability (decoding content at high speed) and relatively large storage capacity, been put to use in a wide range of applications which include; product marketing, in-store product labeling, commercial tracking, marketing, entertainment and transport ticketing. QR code – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Many of the QR Code applications are aimed at mobile phone users who can, via mobile tagging, receive text, add a vCard contact to their device, open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), or compose an e-mail or text message after scanning a QR code. Smartphone App stores have free apps for both generating and scanning QR codes.

This QR Code reader works great with iPhone: QR Code Reader

QR Code use is now becoming quite extensive and the level of information and services available on scanning a QR code is an invaluable addition for the Smartphone user be it for business or leisure. QR codes offer many applications for instance you can include a web link so people can find out more about a product, service or event. You can provide your contact details and even add the location of your office to within one metre.

However in tests, some QR codes can prove to be unreadable by the ‘average’ smartphone with only 75 percent of the code actually being able to be read. Newer, more expensive phones can provide a better result due to the improved zooming and focusing functions but even so much still needs to be done to improve on the system.

Whilst it is true that the newer and higher priced, so therefore more advanced Smartphone’s are able to improve the effectiveness of the reading of a QR code, one area that needs to be addressed is the length of the URL that has been converted to a graphic for the QR code.

The longer the URL used to create the graphic for a QR code, the more complicated the pattern needs to be to represent the data. Lets take a look at the following full length URL and the QR Code it creates:

qr code with long url

This then would require a higher print resolution to define the image, not normally an issue with high resolution magazine print but will cause issues with news print or printing your QR Code on promotional clothing like T-shirts etc.

To avoid this it’s worth producing your QR Code using URL shorteners, which, when converted create a simple pattern of larger sized squares; Smartphone devices have even been able to scan from computer screens without a problem.

So lets look at the same web page QR Code with a shortened URL using Google url shortener:

qr code with short url

One of the most innovative uses for the QR Code is Marketing Local Business via Smartphone

In the near future more searches will be done on mobile devices than computers, local business searches will be the majority of this online activity.

Local business marketing has changed beyond recognition since the mid 90′s, marketing was based mainly on print and post techniques or advertising using Yellow Pages or Trade and Local Press which were relatively expensive and quite slow, the onset of the world wide web and search engines like Yahoo and later Google were game changers, marketing suddenly became digital and now the smartphone will take local business marketing to a new level due to their GPS location capabilities and the fact most of us carry our smartphone everywhere.

With many of the 4 Billion mobile phone users upgrading to smartphone use the potential for using QR Code images as a method of delivering marketing messages is unlimited and a must for all local business and corporate users alike.

Trade Show Campaigns – Digital Customer creates a powerful lead capture process which can be used at trade shows and conferences or any other venue where a large number of prospects gather. No need for Business Cards or Brochures collect prospects and partners instantly and have them scan their way onto your database.

Support for Landing Pages on Kiosks or Tablets allowing prospects to enquire about your business and get a response in their inbox before they leave the booth.

Grand Openings – Want to create a buzz before you open? Designed to have prospects lining up at the door before you even open.

Competitions – Everyone love something for free, take advantage of that and get an introduction to lots of new prospects with the help of our Automated Competitions and Draws.

Product Launches – Maximise the impact of your product launches by leveraging the excitement and curiosity of prospects who want to know what’s new.

Digital Customer Web Site

Beauty Salons – Hairdressing Salons – Health Clubs – Spas

Our Silver Campaigns use a combination of QR codes and Text Auto-responders to delivery multi media sales and marketing messages through multiple channels.

Coupled with traditional advertising or mailings offering free consultations or discount vouchers can quickly attract a stream of new prospects.

Hotels – Restaurants – Night Clubs – Coffee Shops

Our Gold Campaigns include the works, QR Codes, Email, Text, Video and Web Apps.

For businesses who have high value clients and want everyone of them to feel like a VIP, when an instant message or special offer can drive the business forward and fill the venue.

In addition to attracting new customers why not give them your own branded Web App designed specifically for your business. Publish your own coupons and text an alert to inform your customer, provide a video tour of your venue, let your customer check your opening times or menu, with pictures of the items, the possibilities are endless.

PPL Campaigns

ImageOur core products are based around “Pay Per Lead” Campaigns focusing on delivering quality pre-nurtured leads that have been through a multi contact auto-responder designed to inform the prospect of the main benefits of doing business with your company.

Our PPL campaigns are designed to automatically capture and database leads so the can be automatically followed up with at least 5 contacts over a 7 to 10 day period, the 5 contact system has been shown to be the optimum number of contacts required to build trust and rapport with a prospective customer.

Once on the database we can also “Broadcast” information out to the prospect/customer base for you at will, imagine you have several hundred names on the database and you are launching a new product or you are having a slow period and want to send out a special offer or discount voucher, the best way to get a positive response is to market to prospects that have already shown an interest in what you have to offer.

Have you ever checked which of your favourite restaurants were offering deals before deciding where to eat or even checked on your smartphone for a voucher while you were at the restaurant?

Voucher Codes, “group-coupons” or “deal of the day” sites are a good way of growing your customer base, they normally require you to give a 50% to 70% discount and pay a commission to the site operator, in effect you are doing business at cost or below cost to attract new customers and hopefully impress the customer enough to keep them coming back.

With our Digital Customer system you can deliver coupons at a discount rate you control allowing you to build a customer base while still making a healthy profit and delivering a high-perceived value to your customers.

Video Production – YouTube

ImageOnline Video is a great way to connect with prospective customers and not only get your message across but also build trust and rapport by putting a human face on your company and influence your prospective customers buying decision.

Our standard Video Production package includes assistance in scripting your video along with full production, editing and upload to YouTube (YouTube is owned by Google so backlinks to your website from YouTube help your ratings on the Google Search Engine)
We can also provide upload to multiple video sites if you require wide ranging global coverage with your video marketing.

Video is by far the fastest way to build a low cost/passive lead generation system.

Type of Video:

Talking Head – A live presenter (ideally the business owner)

Power Point/Keynote with Voiceover

Power Point/Keynote with Music

Slide Show (Photographs) with Music and Text

Screenshot (Computer Screen) with Voiceover (Mainly Software Demonstrations)

Web Apps

Smartphones have become an essential tool for business and personal users alike and are rarely out of reach.

From a Marketers viewpoint they have made the user a moving target and although this presents challenges it provides massive opportunities.

Mobile should be looked at as a channel in it own right not just and extension of the web, in 2012 we have reached a tipping point where smartphones outsold PC’s it won’t be long before web access through smart mobile devices will surpass web access through desktop computers.

Web Apps allow businesses to provide mobile friendly, easy to digest multi media information that puts them in their customer’s pocket.

A Web App can be ether a mobile version of your web site or a stand-alone product for delivering information and special offers (Vouchers) from your business.

Our standard Web App service includes a production of custom Web App with bespoke URL and hosting package.

Free Recorded Messages


A Free Recorded Message can be less intimidating than talking to a salesperson, used extensively in the home/carpet cleaning marketplace they can be adapted for many different market sectors and provide a 24/7 sales message and sales funnel to attract prospects to your campaign.

Although this system provides limited flexibility it does fill a market niche very well. It is geared towards small business owners or entrepreneurs in the development or building stages of their business. It provides pre-recorded messages to advertise and promote their business without having to deal with simple inquiries or the additional cost of staff to answer phones.

You generally have a limited amount of time with a prospect in an ad – or a limited amount of space – so the Free Recorded Message gives a secondary reason for response and allows you more time to share more information. And this robotic marketing system can often cover the most common questions before they even contact you, which saves you from having the same Q&A sessions over and over again.

Social Bundle – Facebook, Twitter, Google+


Our Social Bundle includes the set up of your company’s information on the three most popular social network sites.

Social networking is an important tool in your lead generation arsenal but it is still only one of the low cost methods available and should be viewed as a long-term strategy where consistency and relevance are the best way to achieve results.

Local Bundle – Google Maps, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps

If you have a “bricks and mortar” business where prospective customers visit your store it is essential you are easy to find, our local bundle will make sure you are easy to find and have a position on the most popular online mapping sites.

Blog Setup

ImageBlogs are one of the best ways to communicate with like minded parties and people interested in your product or service, typically companies that blog consistently get 3 to 5 times more traffic to their web sites than companies that don’t have a blog presence.

Our Blog set up includes an initial 500 word blog post with photograph and set up on ether a WordPress hosted site or a WordPress site with a bespoke URL web address.

Press Releases

A Press Release used to be produced by an organisation to inform journalists in the mainstream or local media of a product launch or company message.

With the growth of web based media the press release has shifted its target to not just the media it is now a tool that can target anyone with your company message.

Our Press Release package includes a 300 word PR piece and photograph which is submitted to one paid PR site.

One or several Press Releases can also be adapted for Broadcast distribution to produce a Newsletter another great way of communicating with your customers.

Printing and Mailing Services

Whether you are promoting a local business with mailings or producing flyers for a Trade Show an A5 size leaflet or post card is an extremely useful marketing tool.

We are big believers in A5 flyers they can be designed to give just enough information to peak a prospects interest to “Take Action” and contact your business, they are also a great way to let a client take away your QR code so they can download your Web App or get to your landing page.

We can offer design assistance and printing of A5 Full Colour Flyers and Postcards along with local area leaflet distribution services throughout the UK.

Hi I’m Mike Hardcastle; I have been involved with setting up companies, developing and marketing products and services for over 20 years.


In 2008 I sold up on a printer sales company and took over a company called Light Tape UK Limited supplying a revolutionary new high-end lighting product using radical technology that very few people were aware of. The product had uses in multiple market sectors so the outlook seemed bright; then the economy fell apart.

So I took a step back and thought what do I need? After much research and trial and error I found a way of achieving my goal of promotion and business capture. What follows is a potted version of the story of how I found out exactly how to achieve public awareness and get leads and more without it costing me a fortune. The story also follows the path that led me to starting the company “Digital Customer.”

My previous company sold mainstream printers and associated products and had a marketing budget in the hundreds of thousands working with Hewlett Packard, Epson and Canon. We sold into a specific sector and as such the business proved relatively easy to promote using traditional marketing.

However with the lighting company we had no real marketing budget and were working with a manufacturer who no one had ever heard of. We were selling into diverse sectors such as Architectural, Marine, Automotive, Movies, Exhibitions, Interior Design, Nightclubs, Events, Safety, Entertainment, Clothing, and many more. The potential was there but I needed to get the company and product known.

One of the many routes I tried was the usual tried and tested avenue of sending press releases to appropriate magazines in the hope that they would publish the article without it costing me vast amounts of money. The product was new, innovative, and worthy of editorial coverage. But, although I had some success, I knew that in today’s market place to get an article published you are almost always expected to buy advertising space too and with no budget that was not an option. With other methods of low cost advertising techniques tried to varying degrees of success I realised that I was not achieving the level of leads and more importantly, actual business that I was hoping for.

It seemed to me that I could not achieve my objective of generating quality leads carrying on in the way that I was. I felt then and still feel that, you can forget the general rubbish that comes out of the overpaid marketing and advertising executives about branding and product placement, I’ve been in too many meetings with these guys who want lots of money but will never commit to providing any measurable results.

What I needed were sales leads, pre qualified leads from potential customers who have a genuine requirement for my product and are aware of the benefits. In fact as a business owner that’s all I have ever wanted from my marketing spend.

Normally for a major product launch I would produce a series of Press Releases to get some editorial in the trade press, designed and placed direct response mailers in the relevant magazines or purchased mailing lists to promote road shows, using trained sales reps or agents to actually sell the product.

We would obviously have a website promoting the product but, a pretty website on its own is about as effective as a billboard at the North Pole it’s never going to get enough traffic.

I set up my first ecommerce web site in 2001selling software and printer consumables it cost over £10K to set up and another £10K to promote, it made over £40K profit in its first year which was great but my new product was not suited to ecommerce sales and as I’ve already said I had no budget for promotion.

I have never been a fan of page advertising because it’s expensive and almost impossible to measure the results and the effectiveness of, that’s why the marketing and advertising guys love spending your money on advertising it can’t be measured so consequently their effectiveness can’t be measured either and if the product doesn’t sell it’s the economy or the product or the salespersons fault never theirs. Sound familiar?

I also had to consider that in my case, because of the diverse nature of my product I would have to have stands at several major trade shows to cover just a few of the market sectors and as the attendance at trade shows has been steadily dropping off for some years because of the Internet I still wouldn’t catch all the potential customers from this form of exposure.

Then it struck me; there had to be a way of launching and marketing products and services using the latest web based technology without leaving my desk and without spending a fortune.

I started my working life as a design engineer and moved into sales then into running my own businesses. My job has been to take complicated systems and processes and simplify them to make them more productive and cost effective.

After quite a bit of research I came to realise that Internet marketing is like the Wild West: lots of products making big claims most of which are too good to be true but after you go past the get rich quick schemes and cut through all the hype, and if you‘re prepared to put in the hours there are some effective strategies that can be implemented inexpensively to achieve your goals.

I looked at using Google AdWords and spent several hundreds of pounds on PPC (Pay Per Click) to direct prospects to my web site, the problem was although I was directing paid traffic to my web site it was only one step better than paid advertising because unless I converted my web site home page into a “landing page” which encouraged the visitor to fill in a web form I still could not measure the quality or effectiveness of the paid visitors.

Average click-through rate in 2011 for PPC paid search worldwide was 2%, that equates to a 50/1 ratio, in other words on average you pay for 50 visitors to come to your site for every one that makes an enquiry.

Most Internet marketing is based around information products that can be delivered digitally and is aimed at home based business; I needed to attract a sophisticated Business2Business audience for a technology product.

So, after six months and thousands of hour’s research with less than a £1,000 investment in hardware and software and putting into practice some of the ideas I’d found, I started getting results.

Initially I was spending 25 to 30 hours a week outside of office hours in the evenings and at weekends and about 25% of my time during the working day putting together a lead generation system by trial and a lot of error.

Very quickly I went from 3 of 4 leads a week to 5 or 6 a day and found I was spending the majority of my working day on the phone with the prospects explaining my product leaving little time to do anything else.

I needed a rethink. Quickly I tailored my system to focus on educating and pre qualifying my suspects and answering most of the Frequently Asked Questions before they contacted me, this removed many of the enquirers who for whatever reason were not suited to the product.

After about twelve months my system was producing 6 to 10 leads every day through a combination of web enquiries and direct phone calls from potential customers who have been on my web site. To keep the system working at this level I maintained it about 2 to 3 hours a week, knowing if I need more customers I could always increase my activity.

At this time I became aware that this was something that I could package and teach others. The only downside to this system was the colossal amount of time and effort required in the initial stages to make it work effectively was virtually a full time job, so I shelved the idea of marketing my system and went back to using it internally.

During the last couple of years while I have been successfully generating leads from my web based system a massive shift has been happening almost without us noticing at first.

I changed to an iPhone as soon as it was released, this small device has changed the way we communicate, browse the web, get information and shop.  It’s a miniature computer in our pocket and is rarely out of arms reach.

Smartphones have made us a moving target as far as marketing is concerned no longer are we tied to the desktop or laptop and with the rise of the tablet, mobile wireless computing is changing the way we live.

In 2010 I spent a week at a trade show in Frankfurt sharing a stand with several other distributors and the manufacturer of the product I supply in the UK.

We did the normal thing and collected a shoebox full of business cards that the manufacturer wanted to take back to the states and distribute when they had entered them onto their database. Knowing how long this would take I insisted on capturing the leads for the UK on my iPhone by using an app that photographed the business cards so I could at least send out a quick email thanking the UK attendees for coming along to the show and onto our stand.

I managed to get the email out within a week of getting back to the UK and I remember thinking, at the time, how cool it would be to be able to scan someone’s card and have an auto-responder automatically send out an email while he was on the stand. I use auto-responders when someone makes an enquiry on my web site to thank them and send out more information, I am also conscious of the fact that over 75% of enquirers buy from the first person that responds to their enquiry.

Another technology that caught my eye was the QR Code. The Quick Response Code is a 2D barcode and I had been using a Barcode Scanner for comparison shopping in stores and supermarkets for a couple of years and QR Codes were just coming into the public consciousness.

I was also at this time looking at how we could produce a Smartphone App for our products. We wanted something that could be altered quickly and updated with special offers and blog links, the App Store was too restrictive so we looked at Web Apps but did not have a well formed idea on how to distribute it and use it to create leads.

In 2011 all the elements came together that allow a new way for any company to market their business automatically, we had the hardware with Smartphones and Tablets, the communication methods with SMS Texts, QR Codes, Email, Audio and Video, and the software with Web Apps, Landing Pages and Auto-responder software.

The question I asked was, what if a prospective customer could scan a QR Code with a Smartphone and enter their name and email onto a Landing Page, their data could be automatically saved onto a Database and an Auto-Responder could send out a series of Emails. Emails that include embedded Video’s showing the benefits of the product or service the prospect had enquired about. It could even feature a Voucher Code special offer. And, we could even send out a link to a Smartphone Web App at the same time.

The technology I found could also achieve the same results using SMS Text Messages to enter the prospects data which would allow me to use a Text Auto-Responder for instant contact, as over 96% of Texts are opened within minutes of receipt.

This was basically a PPL (Pay Per Lead) System, as opposed to a PPC System (Pay Per Click). We could produce a campaign where after the initial campaign set-up cost the client only paid when someone responded to the campaign and unlike PPC campaigns the client has captured the enquirers details and knows his prospect would be automatically receiving a series of benefit rich Multi-Media Emails and Text messages designed to nurture the prospect and give him/her enough information to make a considered buying decision, a job normally done by expensive sales people. This method not only costs less it is more acceptable from the prospects point of view because it is less intimidating than talking to a salesperson.

From this basic premise the company Digital Customer was born. Offering Campaigns that combine traditional marketing methods with the latest Web based and Mobile technology, they can be tailored to promote hardware, software or services on a local, national or global scale and can work just as well for the home based business as they can for the multinational.

Now I want to share with you in detail, how the Digital Customer System works so for a complete overview of how you too can take control of your marketing follow this link:

Go to our web site for more information:



“Wouldn’t Advertising be great if you only paid for pre qualified leads from potential customers who have a genuine requirement for your product or service and have been made aware of the benefits.”

For more information go to:


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