In April 2016, Ocean Learning will be launching a new training company as a joint venture with Software Promotions Ltd www.softwarepromotions.com .

For many years, we have had clients ask for digital marketing courses and we have always declined, not because I don’t recognise the importance of such courses but because the market was always so crowded with self-proclaimed experts. I attended several courses to help build and develop my own Inbound Marketing Strategy and usually I was somewhat disappointed, either because the person running the course was simply talking through the theory (much of which I had read) or worse, was using the course to sell consultancy services (in which case they didn’t really have an interest in teaching us enough to solve our own problems).

Then I met Dave Collins. Dave runs a business called Software Promotions and they are the people who the Software Industry (550 businesses worldwide) trust to manage their SEO.


Dave Collins

I first met Dave a few years ago when I was speaking at the Business of Software Conference in Boston. In fact, I heard about him long before I met him. Several delegates at the conference were talking to me (at different times) about sales and how to convert inbound sales leads into customers. During the course of the conversations, they mentioned Dave and his team as being the only people in the business that they wanted to manage their SEO and their Awards campaigns.

When I finally met Dave. I found that not only was he super knowledgeable about SEO, but that he was passionate about helping businesses grow. I learned more about SEO over an (admittedly long) breakfast at the conference, than I had on all previous courses.

For the last couple of years, I have been trying to persuade Dave to share his knowledge and experience with a wider audience and we finally started to work on the idea  in the summer of 2015.

It is hard to get time in Dave’s diary because his clients demand a great deal of his attention, however, the more we talked, the more we realised just how useful an SEO course could be for business owners and marketers.

  • The principles of ‘good’ SEO apply across all industries and markets. Equally, the most common mistakes can impact negatively on any business.
  • The best way to learn and understand SEO is to apply the lessons learned immediately to your own business. The theory is useful, but what really matters is making changes to your site that actively drive more traffic (customers) your way.
  • The nature of SEO, or rather the way it has been perceived as highly technical, complex means that many businesses are tempted to either ignore it and hope for the best or to farm it out to third party experts and hope that they know what they are doing.
  • Organic Search is crucial to all businesses who seek to attract customers on the web.
  • We know that people trust organic search more than paid advertising on Google. We also know that most people will not look beyond the first page of the search listings.
  • Business Owners must take SEO seriously and whether they do it internally or hire someone to do it for them, they must have an understanding of how Google rank businesses and what they can do to come higher in a search.

In April 2016, we will be launching Smart SEO Training. Our business aim is simple – we want to empower business owners to be able to make better decisions about SEO and to help them get more web traffic.

We also want anyone coming to a Smart SEO Training Event to have the very best learning experience.

Dave and I have worked together to combine his 16 years of SEO experience with my 20+ years of training and development experience to create a workshop that will engage , entertain and educate. Most importantly, it will provide you with real value by;

  • Demystifying the SEO process and explaining the most important parts in clear, simple, actionable language.
  • Running a workshop rather than a lecture. We encourage you to bring your laptops and to work on your own website strategy throughout the day.
  • Showing you the most useful SEO tools available to you and how to use them.
  • Helping you to create an SEO action plan for your business.

I want to stress that all our courses (there are a whole range in the pipeline) are aimed at the business owner and marketing professional. We do not train SEO agencies, nor will we ever pitch for your SEO business. Our business is empowering entrepreneurs to grow their own business.

Dave has published a really useful primer, “SEO for the rest of us” that you can download here www.smartseotraining.co.uk/the-seo-book 

3D book shot

You can find our more about our courses here www.smartseotraining.co.uk


customers see

For the last twenty years or so I have been lucky enough to work with a wide variety of businesses (from start-ups to multi nationals) helping them to explore and develop the way they win, keep and grow their customers.

One of the most interesting parts of the job that I do is researching the customer experience and working out how small changes to the customer experience can make a huge difference to overall profits.

There are three common themes that recur whenever and wherever we do the research regardless of the size or type of business. Companies who understand and embrace these tend to thrive those that lose sight of these tend to struggle. So whether you are a dog grooming business an IT consultant or a major bank these three principles apply.

  1. Customers don’t buy a product they buy a result. If someone goes to see a lawyer they are not buying the experience and knowledge of the Lawyer in the first instance they are buying the fact that they believe this Lawyer will resolve their problem satisfactorily (be it a dispute a divorce a property purchase etc,) like wise a customer in a clothing boutique is not buying a dress they are buying how they will feel when they wear the dress, how their friends or partner will react or what they think they can achieve when they look their best.  If you want customers to buy from you, spend time talking about the result they want before you talk about yourself.
  2. Customers buy with their heart first. People like to do business with people that they like and feel they can trust. We are always more likely to buy from businesses where we are made to feel welcome, where the staff show genuine interest in the customer (not just the sale) and where they feel they belong. This is as true of a local green grocers as it is a major department store.
  3. Finally Customers will make their own mind up about your business based on a few small experiences (we call these moments of truth). If the small experiences are good, for example a waiter in a restaurant takes time to be nice to your children, they impact on the rest of the customer experience, they can make the customer’s day. If however the small experiences are bad, a rude response to a simple question for example this negatively affects the way the customer views the whole experience.

So if you run a business ask yourself .

Do we spend enough time talking to the customer about what they need our product to do?
Do we engage with them on a personal level?
Do we pay attention to the small stuff?

Whether you are M&S or the local village shop the answer to these questions will have a big impact on your business.

Paul Kenny In action

Paul Kenny In action

So here we go, this Blog is for all the entrepreneurs, business leaders, and sales people that it has been my pleasure to work with as a colleague, client and supplier. The reason for the blog? well I meet hundreds of people each year in a professional capacity as trainer, salesman, coach and conference speaker and my job is to try and answer peoples questions in what I hope is a clear and useful way.

The problem is that often as I drive away from an assignment or settle comfortably into my seat on the train, I start to remember a whole stack of additional material that would make a useful contribution to our conversation. Or I meet someone the very next day who has a particular experience or insight that would be really useful in answering yesterdays question. My Blog therefore is a means of keeping track, catching up and following up on all the stuff that I do day to day and all the topics that fascinate me in business, sales, leadership, creativity and learning.

The catalyst for this process was the recent (September 2008) Business of Software Conference in Boston Mass. This conference is attended by around 300 software entrepreneurs. I still consider myself to be an entrepreneur and two days in the company of people so totally committed to their creative ideas was an inspiration in itself. Having forgotten to switch my Blackberry off during my presentation I was aware of the constant buzzing as delegates emailed their comments to me from the audience. Talk about instant feedback! Anyway the gist of the emails tended to be ” loving the presentation where’s your Blog?” (those who were hating the presentation had the good grace to keep their thoughts to themselves).

Ultimately I hope this blog will become the natural extension of of my other training, coaching and consulting activities. Please feel free to comment, pose questions and to explore issues further.


Welcome to the Ocean Learning blog! We at Ocean Learning aspire to give you the guidance you need to achieve results. Our methodology is flexible and taylor made to meet the requirements of your business.

With the ever changing market, what better way to improve you business than to improve upon the talent you have in your business.