Posted: Mon 22nd Nov 2021
Business owner Helen McGinley tells us how turning to a Google mentor helped push her greeting card and stationery company Mister Peebles up a gear.
Having established her business and built her online shop, Helen became keen to learn more about key things like SEO, analytics and e-commerce. To do this, she sought the support of a mentor via Google’s free 1-to-1 Mentoring scheme.
How it all began
For Helen, starting her own business wasn’t planned – it happened by accident when she moved to Tasmania and started sketching. On returning to the UK, a friend saw Helen’s drawings and encouraged her to set up a market stall selling cards and stationery.
“It started 10 years ago with a stall at Spitalfields and grew from there. I remember rocking up with a cash tin and just making it up as I went along,” Helen says.
It turns out that the market stall was a good place to build contacts and expose the products to the right audiences. Helen made strong links with other sellers, sharing business advice and trading with them. But it was the wider business contacts she made that really launched the business.
“I realised that you don’t always know who you’re talking to,” Helen explains. “Retail buyers look at the stalls and I got my first 30 stockists from being at markets – I didn’t have to do a trade show in my first six years of business.”
Business success through online sales
Mister Peebles’ stockists were shut for most of 2020 so having an online shop has been especially important for Helen.
“Search engine optimisation best practice changes all the time. It’s one of those things you must keep building your knowledge on. It’s a big part of getting found online, even if people are searching specifically for you. I want to make sure my website, rather than my social media profiles, appears first.”
Tailored advice from a Google mentor
Knowing that she needed to learn more about Google Analytics, keywords and Google Shopping, Helen arranged to talk to a mentor from Google to get personalised advice for her particular needs.
“I know a bit about these things but being able to ask questions about the areas in which I had limited knowledge was so useful,” Helen says. “I’ve used Google Analytics for a long time, for example, but I knew that it could be a lot more powerful.”
The mentor talked Helen through setting up Google Analytics goals for her business. As a result, she could see the journey from marketing a product to the revenue coming through, with specific data to help measure performance.
Helen’s mentor also offered guidance on Google Shopping, explaining that there’s a sponsored and a free version and showing Helen how to use the settings correctly to give her the best possible online presence.
The other aspect the mentor helped with was keywords, recommending useful tools to brainstorm keywords for the brand and its products.
“If you’re a small business owner, website optimisation is only a small part of your role. But it’s a huge job in its own right and it’s important to know enough to make sure your brand gets found,” says Helen.
Having a mentor is reassuring
The mentoring session gave Helen lots to put into practice, but she’s keen to follow it up with another session in future.
“The mentor was really helpful and friendly,” Helen says. “She made it clear that if there are areas in which I wanted to go into further detail, we could book another session. I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I implement the changes, and knowing that I can speak to someone again is reassuring.”
How to request your own Google mentor
Get free 1-to-1 Mentoring to help your business grow online.
Mentors from Google will share expertise and ideas on how to improve your digital marketing and social media strategies, become more discoverable on Search and more.