Businesses from across south Cumbria came together for help and guidance on how to navigate the minefield of digital marketing.

Around 60 businesses attended two LOCALiQ seminars in Barrow designed to help them cut out the jargon and bring focus to their digital marketing strategies – with the ultimate aim of generating leads and sales.

LOCALiQ, part of Newsquest Media Group, the publishers of in-Cumbria and newspapers The Cumberland News, News & Star, Times & Star, Whitehaven News, The Mail, Westmorland Gazette and Hexham Courant, gives you access to a network of 200-plus news brands and publications in print and online, an award-winning events division, recruitment platforms and a wide range of multimedia marketing solutions.

The seminars at the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens in Barrow marked the culmination of a week-long tour of Cumbria by experts from LOCALiQ.

Businesses were given valuable hints and tips on their websites, social media and display advertising. They were also offered a free digital health check to see how their digital activity is currently performing – and what can be done to improve it.

Kathryn Farrow, marketing and communications manager at Furness College, was one of the delegates who attended the seminar.

“Digital marketing is really important to us,” she said.

“A lot of our audience is online; they check our website and go on to our Facebook, Twitter and new Instagram accounts, to keep up to speed on what we’re doing at the college and the courses we’re offering.

“There are always things you can learn. Even if you’ve got a really strong social media marketing strategy, there’s always things you can share, and I’ve picked up a few things to take back that we can look at.”

Mrs Farrow said that digital marketing was a challenge for the college, particularly given the younger demographic they try to engage with.

“When you look at the fact presented today that young people spend one second looking at each piece of information put in front of them, then you have to have something that’s really stand out,” she added.

Newsquest sales director Lee Taylor-Craddock said he sympathised with businesses trying to navigate digital marketing.

“Marketing choices are abundant and complex – the landscape has changed a lot on the last four years,” he said.

“It is a minefield and a struggle to know where best to put your marketing budget.”

He added that The Mail – which covers Barrow, Furness and large parts of south Cumbria – had more than 256,000 unique visitors a month and more than two million page impressions. On social media it boasts 27,000 followers on Facebook and 12,400 followers on Twitter.

“Social media drives audience to our website content, and our unique selling point in the marketplace is the quality of our content,” he said.

“In surveys, our local news brands come out top for content being relevant and trusted, and you want to know that because it has an impact on your business.”

LOCALiQ boasts an 82 per cent reach across Cumbria and Hexham through its locally based newspaper brands. Nationally, it reaches 30 million unique users a month as well as 6.2 million readers of Newsquest’s print titles.

Rachael Dunn, business development manager for LOCALiQ said expert help was on hand for businesses to help them focus their digital campaigns.

“Digital marketing isn't an overnight instant reaction,” she said.

“It takes time and need building and you have to manage your expectations. We can offer expert guidance and a pair of eyes constantly looking over your campaigns to ensure they are delivering leads and sales.”

The Barrow event brought an end to a busy week for the LOCALiQ team, who had delivered seminars in Workington, Carlisle and Hexham.