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Creating a winning recipe for digital marketing

Seasoned is one of the UK’s leading cookery schools, with over 12 different chefs, all specialising in different cuisines, teaching over 30 cookery courses to people of all abilities.

Director and founder Clare Major says

I started Seasoned with the concept of doing pop-up cookery classes at different venues. I had my little Peugeot 206, six camping stoves and one fabulous chef. Now, in 2015, I have a beautiful purpose-built kitchen in the grounds of a privately owned stately home.


Why a placement student?

Seasoned recently took on Beth Hanson, a Sheffield Hallam marketing student, on a twelve-month placement. It was the fifth time they had taken on a student in this way.

Placement students have been central to the success of Seasoned,' says Clare. 'Education and inspiration is at the core of the Seasoned brand. Our customers come to us to be inspired by fabulous food. The experience that I hope to give our placement students is inspiration about their chosen degree course, whether it is events, marketing or business. With thorough training, support and good communication I give the students real hands-on experience, which is partnered with their hard work and enthusiasm. The combination has meant that we have been able to grow the business far quicker than myself on my own.

How it works

When I take on placement students I ensure that the role fits with their degree and interests, so that they can make the most of their experience,' says Clare. 'It ensures the employee is happy so will put their all into making the business a success.

As a marketing student Beth worked in several areas, particularly social media and blogging. Clare explains

Our business relies on strong digital marketing. Beth has been solely responsible for all of our email marketing and social media, using integrated platforms and Google analytics tracking to measure response rates and sales.

The up-to-date knowledge Beth brought from her degree has had a big impact on the business.

'We have moved away from using an expensive SEO agency, in favour of learning and doing our technical SEO ourselves,' says Clare. 'Beth has also redesigned the blog which has resulted in an improved conversion rate and increased time spent on our site. Approximately 40% of our website traffic comes via our blog, so this is a significant part of our marketing activity.'

The experience has also been positive for Beth. She says, 'For my placement year I wanted to make sure I got as much out of it as possible. I’m glad I went to a small company where I was able to see projects all the way through and get really hands-on experience interacting with other brands.'

Advice for other businesses

Clare is evangelical about the benefits that placement students bring to a business like hers.

My advice to anyone who is thinking of taking on a placement student is "Do it!" Contact universities that do relevant degrees and be willing to integrate them fully into your business.

'There has to be a degree of patience as these students more than likely would never have had any real work experience. The upside to this is that they have a completely fresh way of thinking and can bring some very valuable ideas to the business.'

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