Inovation

Growth Hub Advisers

Jon Exton

What was your background before becoming an adviser and what industry experience do you have?

My company is called Social Ant which I’ve been running now for 10 years. During that time I’ve also had a contract to provide digital marketing support to businesses throughout Scotland, so that’s been valuable experience for moving on to advising Cumbrian businesses in a similar way!

Areas of specialism/interest

I actually specialise in digital marketing, I help business owners to manage their own website and understand the impact of their online presence mainly through social media and Google. I can show them how to use these marketing methods to acquire new and loyal customers with topics such as social media management, online advertising and search engine optimization. That helps them to learn how to capture their target audiences and generate ideas for engaging content to help them drive results.

Why did you become a business adviser? How long have you been an adviser/self employed?

One of the reasons I became a business adviser is to grow my network of connections in Cumbria. The business has been going well over the border for the last 10 years and it’s about time I provided my services to local businesses here in Cumbria.

It’s great that I can actually say to businesses ‘let’s work together’ because it’s free and there’s funding available for them.

What do you most enjoy about the role?

I enjoy breaking down digital marketing into bitesize manageable chunks for business owners. Marketing and social media is overwhelming with so much you can do but it’s important to drill down into what strategy and what approach is best fit for their particular business. I know that many business owners in Cumbria need to spend their time on the nuts and bolts of the business and social media can be time consuming, so I enjoy showing them how to save time and achieve their goals.

Your biggest success to date as an adviser?

I successfully helped one of my clients recently to understand their website traffic in Google Analytics and setting up goals for conversions on the website, so the main thing was to boost enquiries in online sales. With the social media strategy they managed to achieve actually 250% increase to the website traffic by over a couple of months, and a 900% increase in traffic from Facebook due to their more recent advertising campaigns.

What have you learned being an adviser?

As an adviser, I’ve learnt that it’s best to start small with everyone and understand the basics and be clear on the objectives for the business before launching into a social media strategy. An important skill is to listen to pick out the main things you’re looking for and understand their learning style that can also be beneficial as well. Some people would learn best by doing things, while others want to understand the theory behind things before implementing.

What type of businesses have been able to support and what support did you offer?

I provide digital marketing support in Cumbria to arrange a different businesses including food and drink, hospitality, retail, education and private healthcare and they all have different needs. But in general I have helped them with website management, social media marketing and advertising including Google ads and helping them get found organically on Google search.

3 interesting facts about you

  • I was actually an ICT teacher in a secondary school for a short period before I decided to go full time into my business.
  • I once arranged for John Torode from Master Chef to film part of his TV series in a local Edinburgh restaurant which is obviously great for social media.
  • I always worked from home until lockdown happened and then I decided to actually get myself a small office, so just as people were starting to work from home I decided to actually work elsewhere so that I could be more productive.