Magazines to spread the word about Ealing businesses
Carlene Bender BA Hons (Mass Comm); MA (Soc/Anthr)
Walking around the Ealing town centre taking photos of broken buildings and businesses just after the Ealing Riots in August 2011 started me thinking: how would these shop-owners recover? Was there anything I could do to help Ealing get back on its feet?
Besides spending more money locally myself, what I thought I could do was try to encourage others to shop more in Ealing too. Twenty years’ experience in newspaper and magazine newsrooms came in handy as I worked out how to start up a small publication highlighting Ealing businesses. It would be a channel for businesses, events, clubs and schools to advertise in, to spread their message beyond the usual limits of online media. Each issue would focus on a different shopping parade, and be distributed to all the neighbourhood. This new idea was happily received by Ealing residents, who are always keen to ‘shop local’.
In December 2012 the first issue of ‘Contactus Ealing’ magazine was published, with a spotlight on the businesses in Pitshanger W5 (because that’s where I live). A few months later brought the launch of ‘Ealing Homebiz’, like ‘Contactus Ealing’, published twice a year, but this time geared to businesses run from home: sole traders who don’t have a counter or a shop window, but who still need to find ways of reaching customers.
What has touched me most about producing ‘Ealing Homebiz’ is the high number of mum-based businesses in Ealing, run by parents frustrated by lack of childcare, who (like me) are missing being productive at a financial level. I hope that by putting out this magazine designed to give their businesses exposure, it is helping them to realise their dreams, and opening up a successful life based on being self-employed.
To extend the reach of the magazines, I decided after a year to merge the two titles, so ‘Ealing Homebiz’ is now incorporated into ‘Contactus Ealing’, and there have been special editions outside the W5/W7/W13 borders, in Chiswick W4 and Acton W3. In 2016, the weekly online mini-Contactus, The_Ealinger, was launched, while Contactus became a Christmas annual magazine.
So when you see a copy of ‘Contactus Ealing’, have a look at it, maybe you’ll find that just what you were searching for has been right here all along – in Ealing.
More information about my background and experience on LinkedIn:
These are the main groups where I network in Ealing – see you there?:
Also check out my busy Facebook group full of discussions with local shop-owners and home-based businesses Businesses in Ealing – ‘Contactus’.
Testimonial from Glenda Shawley of The Training Pack
Reza Zolfagharifard, Bold Club (advertiser):
“Before I advertised in ‘Contactus Ealing’ for the first time, my colleagues told me ‘no, that’s a waste of time, print is outdated, it’s all online now’. Well, to their surprise, our print ad worked: we had three enquiries after our first insertion, and we’ll be advertising many more times with Carlene’s magazines from now on.”
Peter Newton, The Business Conductor (advertiser):
“I always tell my businesses to use tracking on their ads; I used a unique email address in my ad with Carlene, and I’ve had two enquiries already via that email address. So I know the ad has worked.”
Inge Woudstra, Mum and Career:
“Whenever one of these free magazines comes through my door, I think, oh no here’s another one of those magazines, with the same adverts, and the same interviews with the same actors. But when Contactus comes through the door – wow! This is something different.”
Christine Lees, life coach:
“I found out about a service I didn’t even know existed from Carlene’s magazine, ‘Ealing Homebiz’. I’ve been planning a move to France, and needed to sort out my house and get it ready to put on the market. I was looking through Carlene’s magazine and saw the advert for House In Order. This was exactly what I needed just at the right time.”
Angela Weyers, My Stylist London (advertiser):
“I’m happy to say I took an ad in the last issue of ‘Contactus Ealing’, and I was amazed I had to do nothing – Carlene designed and laid out the artwork for me, and all I had to do was pay. So now I’m looking forward to lots and lots of calls. Thanks, Carlene.”
Emily Fawell, 4Well People (advertiser) – via Twitter:
“Carlene, you truly deserve all the positive feedback that you get. You are having such an impact on Ealing businesses! Well done you.”
Narmeen, Gemstone Tech – via Twitter:
“Picked up the latest Ealing Homebiz magazine today and left it on the seat next to me on the tube. I saw three people read it during my journey.”
Alison Joshi, graphic designer, Joshi Was Janes (advertiser):
“I took an ad out in Carlene’s magazine and within days had a new client who’d seen Carlene’s article on me in ‘Ealing Homebiz’. Now she wants me to design her cards, website, brochure, leaflets… She said she called me because I looked like a nice person in my picture – credit to Carlene! This is proof that print advertising really does work.”
Alison Joshi – via Twitter:
“@ContactusEaling just had another query for design work because they saw my ad in your magazine #newbusiness #advertisingdoeswork”
Carole Ann Rice, life coach and Daily Express columnist (advertiser) – via Twitter:
“Someone who works in the lobby at Westminster said he saw my ad in your fab magazine x”
“other comments were ‘nicely put together’ and ‘a good little read'”
Simon at Electric Coffee Co – via Twitter:
“Thanks for coming in, guys Carlene is always out doing positive things for #ealing :)”
Leila Denison-Pender, Symbiosis Aromatherapy (advertiser):
“It has been a pleasure to work with Carlene on the launch of the first Contactus edition. She is very professional, reliable and fun to be around!”