Martin Forshaw

“My business, Search Convert, helps businesses attract more visitors from search engines and helps to ensure that all of these extra visitors are completing the desired actions on the website, such as buying the products, filling out the enquiry forms or picking up the phone.

“If you went to Google to search for a portable heater because your student flat is freezing in the winter months, it would be my job to make sure my client (who sells portable heaters) appears in the top positions for that, and other related, search terms. Then when you visit the website, I have to make sure it’s doing everything it possibly can to encourage you to buy. This is particularly interesting as the smallest changes to design, such as changing the colour of the checkout button or adding better quality product images, can have a big impact on sales. It’s all about paying very careful attention to how people are using a website and testing different ideas.”

“Setting the business up wasn’t as hard as you might think. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking you need a logo, website, business cards and all kinds of branded merchandise to get started but you really don’t. You just need to get out there and meet people, that’s what I did. I use services like PeoplePerHour and 99designs for logos and I had a WordPress website built so I can add content and make small changes without having to pay a developer.”

“It took time to gain traction and win clients, but the key is to stay focused and stick to the plan. A client once told me that he’d probably have gone out of business if it wasn’t for the work we’d done on finding him new customers online and it’s that kind of feedback that gives me motivation and makes it all worthwhile.”

“I love the challenge of coming up with the strategies and ideas that will help my clients be successful and, importantly, seeing the results they bring and the difference it makes to my clients business.”

“One of the most important things I took from my time at Edge Hill is that you have to work hard to give yourself the best possible chance of success, whatever it is you’re doing. My personal tutor made me realise this and told me if I was going to achieve the grade I badly wanted, it was up to me to work hard. No one was going to give it to me.”

“It’s fair to say that his words have stuck with me to this day. In my current position I know that I’m free to be as successful as I want as long as I’m willing to put the required amount of work in.”

“I was very lucky to study somewhere where the tutors are able to take a real interest into the development and success of the students. Nearly all of my lecturers knew me by name and were always available to offer advice and support. The lectures and seminars were also extremely well put together and suited my learning style perfectly. The facilities look amazing now as well, I’d love to be a student at Edge Hill right now.”

“For students hoping to set up their own business I’d say that the first thing to realise is that competition is fierce which means you will most likely experience some knock backs. Don’t take them personally, understand that it’s actually an important part of the process and use it as a chance to try and improve yourself.”

“If you’re trying to find work in a graduate role, make sure you know the company and the role you’re going for inside out. Absorb the website, find an organisational chart, read company updates, analyse competitors, come up with ideas, go above and beyond. How many other people will go to so much effort? Not many and you’ll stand out for it. If you’ve missed out on a particular role, find out as much as you can about why you didn’t get the position so you know which areas you need to work on. And then make sure you work on them. I’d also encourage you to start a blog in the field you’re interested in getting into – they’re really easy to set up and a great way of demonstrating your knowledge and passion.”

“Again just as my personal tutor said, if you put the work in you will achieve your goals.”

Find out more about studying at Edge Hill’s Business School here.