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GDPR in a nutshell

GDPR in a nutshell

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GDPR in a nutshell
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GDPR in a nutshell

Not half as exciting as a hero in a half-shell… but extremely important. Here’s our lowdown on everything GDPR.

What is GDPR?

Back in May 2018 the data protection rules and regulations for the UK and EU changed. Essentially the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) modernised the laws around the protection of personal data.

In a nutshell, it meant that any company marketing (email, post, SMS, phone calls etc.) without proven consent could be fined up to 20 million euro or four per cent of the offending businesses turnover. Prior to this, the ICO could only fine up to £500,000… so just a bit of a step up.

Wired summarises the seven key principles laid out in article 5:

“Lawfulness, fairness and transparency; purpose limitation; data minimisation; accuracy; storage limitation; integrity and confidentiality (security); and accountability. In reality, only one of these principles – accountability – is new to data protection rules. In the UK all the other principles are similar to those that existed under the 1998 Data Protection Act.”

So if it was a law passed in 2018, why are you talking about it now?!

Great question! A lot of smaller businesses still haven’t taken the steps to ensure they are acting compliantly with this regulation. Probably a combination of thinking they won’t be pulled up on it and a lack of understanding of what needs to be done. But with fines like these, do you really want to risk it…

If we’re leaving the EU, does it really matter?

Yes. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) states that:

“The GDPR will be brought into UK law as the ‘UK GDPR’, but there may be further developments about how we deal with particular issues such as UK-EU transfers. The GDPR will be retained in domestic law at the end of the transition period, but the UK will have the independence to keep the framework under review”

You can read about it in full here on the ICO website.

Ok, how do you prove consent?

Firstly, by making sure all sign up forms are crystal clear on what you’ll be doing with that individuals data. For example, if it’s an email database, you’d need to state frequency, content and if you share your database with any third partners.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to do the following:

#1 First and foremost, you must ensure all data is kept securely and only those who need to access the data can. As a company, it is also your responsibility to ensure your staff understand GDPR to minimise any violations.

#2 Set up your sign up forms to have a double opt-in mechanism behind them. Most email service providers will now have this as a standard practice, but some don’t. What this means is once someone submits their data on your form, they’ll receive an email asking them to confirm they intended to sign up to your database.

#3 Once they have confirmed their intent, your CRM or database should store the date and time stamps the sign up.

#4 Have a clear unsubscribe link in every communication channel. This also means an inbox that is monitored so if for any reason the link doesn’t work, you can be contacted directly. This doesn’t need to be a personal inbox but one that is monitored regularly.

What data can I collect?

Basically only collect what you need, and be prepared to explain why you’re using it. For example, if you’re collecting date of birth in sign up forms be clear as to what you’re doing with it. It might be to track a child’s development, send age appropriate nutrition recommendations for a pet or simply to send birthday discount codes.

If you can’t explain why, then you shouldn’t be collecting it. End of story.

What do I need to do to make sure my website is compliant?

So we’ve summarised what you need to do with data collection, but what about the legal statements you need on your website.

#1 Your cookie policy and consent banner

Over the last few years, you’ll have gotten used to seeing banners across the top of bottom of all compliant websites. They’ll ask for you to consent for cookies to be collected on your session and sometimes beyond.

The banner will link to your cookie policy, which will outline all the cookies you’re using on your website. This includes:

  • Essential cookies: these are required for the operation of the website, such as logins and sign up forms (e.g. direct data capture)
  • Analytical cookies: you guessed it, anything that allows the web team to analyse how the website is used. It helps them make improvements based on usage.
  • Marketing cookies: these allow the web team to personalise content for you, remember your preferences and log things like pages you’ve previously visited.

#2 Privacy policy

You’ll need to outline exactly what you’re doing with data you’re collecting, how you’re handling it if you’re sharing it with any third parties, why and who they are.

Basically, you need to be absolutely transparent about what you’re doing with any data and why.

How do I make sure my database is compliant?

Stop. Storing. Data. In. Excel. There. Ok, actually there’s more to it than that. But it’s a start! And yes, we know for a fact this still happens and it shakes us to the core.

You can do it in four simple steps:

#1 Store your data in a secure, cloud based CRM.

#2 Minimise access to only those who need to handle it. For example, finance teams will need to see customer data, but not marketing information. Sales and marketing teams will need analytical data and opt-in, but won’t need access to financial records. Simple.

#3 Don’t leave yourself logged in to databases when you’re not using them!

#4 Only send marketing collateral to opted-in subscribers.

Do I need a legal team to review my documents?

Probably. It’s not for us to say, but it’s often a good idea to have someone with a recent legal background or a data protection officer review what you’ve done and make recommendations if you’re not quite there. If you don’t have one, have a look for a legal team with GDPR compliance experience.

Summary

Any website designer/developer or marketing agency worth their salt should know how to make sure your website is compliant. If you’re working on a redesign or refresh, they should make sure that your new data collection forms, privacy and cookie policies all meet the regulations set. And if you have further questions on what you need to do, just ask them!

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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

By | Blog posts, Creative
brand guides
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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

Chances are high that even if you don’t have your own brand guide for your business, you’re familiar with the concept. And while the concept of “becoming a brand” might not be something senior stakeholders are ready to buy into, let us assure you that brand identity isn’t just for consumer products.

What is a brand guide?

Exactly what it sounds like. A set of guidelines on how to apply your logo to any visual assets. What fonts and colours to use, and the tone of voice and language.

Put simply, it’s a dummies guide to creating marketing collateral. It should make your job much easier if working with a creative or digital marketing agency. Your brand guide should immerse them into your company.

What should it include:

  • An overview of your brand’s past, present and future, its personality and values
  • Your message or mission statement, plus examples of how to apply these
  • Tone of voice with examples of language and keywords to use in campaigns
  • Your logo and how to use it (e.g. on black, white, transparent backgrounds and spacing)
  • Your colour palette
  • Fonts and variations
  • Your buyer personas
  • Visual styles (photography, graphics)
  • Guidelines for social media presence (e.g. use of logo on images, any adaptations to tone of voice/language)
  • Design guides for email
  • Design guides for ads

Paradox Parlours visual tile brandingFour reasons why

#1 Build recognition, awareness and drive consideration

Recognition leads to awareness, which drives consideration. Yep. So it’s important that your brand looks consistent across all touch points, digital and print. If something looks off, it could erode the trust your leads were building and lose you future sales.

#2 Consistency: this is who you are

When a customer knows what to expect, they feel comfortable. And when they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to spend money. Imagine if a well-respected, scientific brand were to randomly use Comic Sans. Without good reason, it is jarring and something feels almost sinister.

#3 Maintain professionalism and identity

Visuals aren’t about creating a pretty picture. They build powerful campaigns. Trust. Authority. Recognition. Your customers and leads alike, will come to expect a certain standard from your business. That standard covers service as well as appearance.

#4 In-house or agency = we’re all in this together

If you work with a digital marketing agency or freelancers, time is money. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time with unclear briefs or leaving things open for interpretation. Not only will you have endless change requests, but a job that could’ve taken a couple of hours could lapse into days.

Working creatively with innocent

We work with the internal design team at innocent on their packaging. They send us their creative concepts, and we help make that into the finalised end result. Care, attention and understanding are crucial. A tight set of brand guidelines helps us achieve this without a disconnect between what’s created in-house and what’s created at our creative agency.

innocent packaging

Helping establish Mum&You

When we first starting working with Mum&You, they hadn’t yet launched in the UK. The project was about building an exciting, premium brand in the parenting category.

As a fledgling brand, it was essential to present a consistent image across all the touch points. We built their e-commerce website and a series of digital campaigns for Google Adwords and social media.

Summary

Branding is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and highlights your promise. If you’re stuck for inspiration and feel like your visuals could do with a boost, let’s have a chat. Our creative team has a wealth of experience working on a range of exciting brands, both established, spanking new and all those between.

Fill out your details below and we will be in touch

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brand design

Is it time to refresh my branding?

By | Blog posts, Creative
branding design
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Is it time to refresh my branding?

Refreshing or rebranding is not a small job. There’s finding the right creative agency who not only specialises in branding, but whose approach resonates.

Then there’s aligning and replacing all the visuals once the job is complete. And this is without even mentioning having to get buy in from senior stakeholders. Some of whom might be rather attached to the current branding…

Measuring your brands performance is similar to analysing your website. The two ultimately go hand-in-hand as the power couple of your marketing. It’s the face and personality of your business.

Before we begin, it’s a good time to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to rebrand?
  • What don’t I like about my current branding?
  • What has to stay?
  • Could a brand represent us better to our customers?

Reassessing your brand can supercharge your marketing

Ensuring your branding is consistent across all touchpoints helps build your reputation. Having a strong reputation drives consideration. Simple.

Perhaps your branding hasn’t had any attention in a long time.

A few simple updates can transform future campaigns into powerhouses that deliver quality leads. Our clients at Grayce found this to be true, after we modernised their branding. This included reviewing their personas, tone of voice, logo and colour palette. Oh, and we rebuilt their website too, helping to making the migration from old to new, painless!

Grayce brand guides images

Refresh vs. Rebrand

When you’re looking at changing things up, there are two options: refresh or rebrand. But what’s the difference?

A refresh is modernising what’s already there:

  • Changing your fonts
  • Updating your colour palettes
  • Tweaking your tone of voice and messaging

All the while maintaining your mission, position and offering.

A rebrand is starting from scratch. Logo, fonts, colours, tone of voice, personas, visuals. Even what you focus on with your services and products.

A total overhaul is undertaken if the brand identity:

  • Isn’t generating leads
  • Has confusing messages
  • No longer represents the company’s mission

Either way, a new brand guide is necessary.

A creative agency will be able to audit your existing branding. This thorough analysis will include researching your buyer personas and your competitors. This is crucial to make sure you can work together to create something with impact but is still appropriate for your business and industry.

Google's logo over the years

Take the plunge

Perhaps some of these ring true for your marketing performance:

You’re not generating enough leads but you’ve already reviewed your strategy and website

  • You’re blending in with your competitors
  • The company has changed since your branding was last updated/created
  • It’s inconsistent across various marketing channels
  • You have reassessed and it’s time to try and attract different/new customers

Temporary updates

From time to time, brands adapt their logo and visuals to embrace an event, season or a company milestone.

It’s important that when these changes are made, even though temporary, they are still consistent with your brand.

If this is something you would want to take into consideration when refreshing or rebranding, discuss this with your design agency.

For example, you might want to celebrate:

  • Charity affiliation
  • Company milestone (e.g. 25 years in business)
  • Something seasonal that is relevant to your customers
  • Celebrating your staff, for example with Pride month

Pride logos 2020

What happens next?

It’s important to introduce your new branding to your customers and leads alike. It stops confusion and helps them to recognise you in the brand landscape going forward.

You can relaunch your branding in a few stages over many different digital channels. We recommend emailing your customers so that they won’t miss the update. If you have changed what you do or your focus, this is a great time to explain what and why.

A relaunch content strategy can be deployed via social media. Before changing your profile and cover photos, consider posting about the change. A digital marketing agency with experience in design will be able to make recommendations based on your audience.

Summary

You may meet some resistance along the way, but armed with research, you can prove your theory. If you can prove how your brand isn’t performing, it’ll have a much deeper impact than “it looks dated”. Which of course can also be reason enough.

Working with a creative design agency like us will help you scope out your requirements. Consider if you want to completely rebrand, or is a refresh enough?

As always, make sure you take into consideration your personas. Keep in mind branding is so much more than a logo! It’s colours, fonts, language and tone. And above all, your brand is your promise.

If you’d like to discuss your burning branding questions, leave your details below and we will be in touch!

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How to develop a winning SEO strategy

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
SEO strategy
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How to develop a winning SEO strategy

Behind every successful website is a thoroughly planned SEO strategy. Think of it as the central nervous system of your websites body. Without it, nothing happens. Come to think of it, without it, you’re kind of screwed!

It’s all well and good creating content and pushing it using inbound marketing, but if you’re not showing up on Google, you’re missing a trick. And yet many marketers don’t truly understand (or appreciate) how SEO works and try to get around it. This quick blog aims to help you develop a basic understanding to creating a winning SEO strategy, whether you want to do it in-house or with a content creation agency.

Who’s looking at your content and who should be looking

Personas should be at the forefront of every project. After all, there’s no use creating anything if you don’t know who it is for, and your website is no different.

If you’ve not created a persona before, consider it like this: who is your ideal customer? It can be based on an existing customer that you have the best relationship with (in terms of how well you work together as much as projects and value). You can find out more about creating them here.Flexgenius mobile responsive website

Once you’ve agreed on your personas, think about what search terms you want your business to be found with.

Start by creating a list of twenty words you would use in a search engine to find your business (don’t worry if you don’t currently show on the first page of Google for these!).

Next step: what are your personas searching for to find your business. Repeat the process but this time thinking of twenty words you think they’d use. Ask colleagues from other departments as chances are they will have different ideas.

Finally, pull them together side by side. You may find two very different list. Ultimately this research should help you link the two, creating a unified approach. We used this very process when working with our client Flex Genius, merging their top level keywords with their brand messaging.

When we’re working with our clients, we refer to this as what do you want to be famous for? Or rather, how do you want to be found online.

What are you currently ranking for?

Once you’ve made your guesses, it’s time to look at the data. This step will reveal what you are actually found for. SEO tools will help you do this, in particular you’ll want to analyse:

  • Search volumes for each keyword
  • Who is currently ranking for those keywords
  • How difficult it is to rank on page one for your desired keywords

While this can seem rather dry and uninspiring, the results may surprise you. You could find some really interesting keywords you’d not previously considered using. Or even that your personas are using completely different searches to find you.

Once you’ve had a chance to review, analyse and digest this data, it’s time to make note of what you’ve learnt. Is it the direction you want to take your website or is it time to start afresh. A full service marketing agency, like us, can be a great help to steer you in the best direction.

What’s next?

Your improvements can be split into two areas: content and technical SEO.

Content SEO

This is all about making sure all your web content is optimised for search. So this isn’t just blogs but literally every single page of your website.

Technical SEO

The clue is in the title here, as this area is the technical set up of your website. It covers page speed, mobile responsiveness, the way your website has been built, and much more. But all will affect your technical score for SEO.

The basics of your strategy

You’ll need to:

#1 Define your focus keywords for every single page on your website. Once you’ve done this, optimise the content on that page to include those keywords.

#2 Make sure all your pages have a word count of at least 500 words.

#3 Improve meta data for your pages and make sure all images have alt tags.

Next:

#1 If your keyword research shows users are looking for answers to questions, use this in your content plan. Write articles, create infographics and videos. Generally creating a good mix of content that helps answer the common questions.

#2 Similarly, if there are other keywords you want your site to rank for but they don’t fit into your core pages, content like this is an excellent way to start attracting users to your site.

Keep in mind that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world after Google. So video content which is optimised on YouTube can be a lucrative part of your SEO strategy!

Summary

In essence, good SEO work is continuous. You have to nurture your website, which means regular (read: monthly) reporting, health checks and of course, feeding it new content.

If you’re not sure where you stand with your SEO strategy, or perhaps it’s not your niche, drop us a line, we’d be more than happy to help.

Get in touch

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Expand your marketing team with a digital agency

Expand your marketing team with a digital agency

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
Expand your marketing team with a digital agency
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Expand your marketing team with a digital agency

From time to time, we can all do with a helping hand. Whether you need more resource or specific experience to complete a project, there’s no shame in reaching out. Now more than ever, in-house marketing teams are under a lot of pressure.

Let’s talk about those pressures a moment. Small or even one person teams, are expected to be all round experts. We see a lot of job specifications mentioning that a marketing executive should have experience in all these areas:

  • SEO
  • Email marketing automation
  • Social media
  • Content managers: copywriters, designers
  • PPC
  • Sales support
  • Project managers
  • Website managers
  • eCommerce specialists

And given there are only eight working hours a day, and five days a week, expecting all those areas to be fulfilled by 2 or 3 people will lead to burnout.

Each member of your team will have their own areas of marketing expertise. Plus their industry background will also shape the angle of their approach to a project. While they may attempt learning and delivering a project out of their remit, it may take longer or not provide enough insight. And you can’t blame them, as you know that’s not their niche.

Sometimes it’s not lack of skill but outdated websites or legacy software that holds the team back. It can hinder results if the bigger picture can’t be seen… And sometimes that can come across as a “nice to have” rather than essential. Which can mean there’s not enough of a business case to upgrade all the hardware and software required.

This is where a digital marketing agency, such as DPC, can help. We can work with you on ongoing projects like PPC campaigns and social media advertising. Or larger projects, like a website redesign or e-commerce deployment, we’ve got an expert in our team for that.

Helping Grayce prove ROI and generate quality leads

One of our clients, Grayce, found themselves in an almost identical situation not so long ago. Their marketing team was struggling to deliver leads, prove ROI to senior stakeholders. And on top of this, they were busy elsewhere.

Their branding had become dated and difficult to manage, with a lack of clear guidelines. Their website had similar problems. A culmination of a lack of flexibility with their CMS, low performing SEO and a tone of voice that didn’t resonate with their target audience. It was time for a total refresh.

Grayce

Working alongside the marketing team, we approached their problem from three angles:

  • We refreshed their branding
  • Designed and deployed a new website
  • Curated a SEO strategy that gave them a much clearer proposition

Establishing Eyelash Emporium’s eCommerce store

One of our oldest clients is Eyelash Emporium. Back in 2012 we built their first online store using Shopify. In just shy of a decade, we have supported their marketing team on their journey. From small online shop, to becoming part of the Grafton International stable of brands today.

We continue to manage development and design of the eCommerce Shopify store, as it suits them.

Mum&You’s eCommerce site and digital advertisingMum&You social media advertising

Back when Mum&You were a fledgling brand in the baby category, they reached out for help to launch their brand in the UK. We worked with them on a series of Google adwords, remarketing and social media campaigns. Alongside that, we also designed and built their eCommerce site on Magento.

While these days the Mum&You manage their advertising themselves, it’s a great example of how to lean on agencies as and when needed.

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Branding graphic designer

Why brand identity isn’t just for consumer goods

By | Blog posts, Creative
Branding graphic designer
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Why brand identity isn’t just for consumer goods

In the simplest possible terms, the American Marketing Association describes a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol or feature that identifies one seller from another”. But really it’s so much more than that. A brand exists in the consumer’s mind. It’s an idea, expectation, reputation, experience and a promise all rolled into one.

So, how do we tangibly represent brand identity?

The identity of your brand comes down to this:Paradox Parlours visual tile branding

  • Logo
  • Colour palette
  • Typography
  • Tone of voice
  • Language
  • Visuals: photography or graphic stylings
  • Your unique selling point
  • Use of technology (for example, are you a leader in your industry for using a revolutionary tool)
  • Your company values
  • Your customer promise

And, not forgetting, a brand isn’t only for your customers, but your employees too. It’s no good to be a company with outstanding customer services but one that doesn’t look after and spark joy into its team. So you need to think how you’re looking after them too, what’s the benefit to them? Is it outstanding benefits, uncapped holiday or finishing early on a Friday.

Does that mean branding only exists in the consumer product world?

No. Look at that list again. Any company can become a brand if you can breathe life into it.

B2B or B2C should be B2P: business to people. Regardless if we’re targeted at work or home, we’re still people.

When you’re selling to people, you need to be able to explain your USP (unique selling proposition). It’s what makes you special and sets you apart from your competitors. As a digital marketing agency, we will help you define your USP. We do this by encouraging you to brainstorm:

  • What your customers want
  • What you do well
  • What your competitors do well

That way we can find your sweet spot. Ultimately, your brand is your sales pitch. It plays an important role in creating awareness, education and conversion in your pipelines.

Your brand identity should then be rolled out consistently. In fact, at every point your customers AND your employees interact with your brand.

Consider these questions:

  • Does your website reflect your business accurately?
  • Do all your touchpoints align visually? (e.g. all email signatures, HTML email templates, social media imagery)
  • Do you treat your team the same as your customers?

If you’re not consistent with your brand identity, the trust that you’ve built will fall to the floor. As with individual relationships, that of a brand to people, should also be consistent.

How we worked with Grayce to update their branding

Grayce brand guidelines

Grayce approached us to work on a large digital project which included a brand refresh. Their logo, visuals and tone of voice had become dated. The lack of brand guidelines didn’t translate for attractive campaigns. And worse still, they weren’t appealing to their target audience.

Our brilliant, talented designers developed new concepts and refreshed the branding. The task wasn’t to erase what existed, but modernise it.

An updated logo, colour palette and clarity on how to apply it all for multiple uses were delivered. The Grayce marketing team are now able to create powerful campaigns that get results. And with a consistent brand, they now appeal to the right people with appropriate language.

With a revitalised brand and clear guidelines to boot, the team said they feel empowered and confident to compete with the top players in their industry.

Summary

Any company can become a brand if time and effort goes into the process. A digital marketing agency with brand strategy experience is the ideal starting point if you are not sure where to begin. If you’d like to discuss transformation from a company with a logo, to become a living, breathing brand, leave your details below and we will be in touch.

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website wireframes

Is it time to update your website?

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
Website wireframes
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Is it time to update your website?

It used to be that websites were the shop window to your business. It has developed a lot over the past few years. Now we often explain to our clients that your website can be your best performing salesperson who is there for your customers 24/7, year round.

As with all team members, regular assessment and setting targets set you up for success. For example, most website goals are for leads to buy something, book a consultation or read an article. So you need to make sure you’re reporting is geared up to help you analyse this activity and your conversion rates.

Here’s how, as a website build agency, we recommend measuring your websites performance

#1 Web traffic

There are two ways of driving web traffic: paid ads and organic. A successful strategy includes both, and a digital marketing agency can help you achieve the right balance. 

The foundation of this is SEO. Are the keywords you’re using the ones your customers are searching for? The best way to work on this is remove yourself from your brand and think “if I wasn’t in my industry, what would I search for to find us?”.

You don’t need to be an SEO expert or web design agency to analyse this. There are fantastic tools available that can help assess this, such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, Mangools and Silktide to name a few.

#2 User journey

All websites should have a clear user journey, perhaps something like this:

  • A visitor starts session (from inbound or an ad) with a landing page, blog or service page
  • From there, they fill out a form to sign up for emails, download higher value content or make an enquiry
  • Session ends

Is this happening? What are your visitors doing, or not doing? There are two components here: content and user experience.

Again, when it comes to content there are two core considerations:

  • Is your content relevant?
  • Is it easy to read?

You may want to check your SEO strategy as well as review your customer personas. Chances are, one or the other will help build confidence and help nurture visitors to become leads, and leads convert to customers.

#3 User Experience

This is all about how easy it is for your visitors to digest the content, use your site and take action.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: are your visitors doing what you want them to do?

A web design agency will be able to help review this but you can look at it yourself. Here’s how we recommend testing your user experience:

  • Have you looked at your site on mobile?
  • Have you tested your site on a tablet?
  • Have you tested every page, button and form?
  • Can your users do what you want them to?
  • How many clicks does it take for them to do it?

If it’s not simple, or users aren’t taking any actions, it’s probably time to update your website.

Looking for a total overhaul?

Look no further. As a web design company, this is our bread and butter. Whether you’re looking for UX design, eCommerce, CMS and development or SEO strategy, our tried and tested approach gets results every time.

How we helped Grayce modernise their brand and digital presence

Grayce

How we designed and built a Magento store for Mum&You

Mum and You

How we optimised the customer journey on Zone 3’s eCommerce site

Zone 3

Summary

Your best bet is to regularly monitor your websites performance. If it’s not achieving your goals, it’s time to make some updates.

Where to start improving web performance:

  • Decide what you want to be found for online and make sure people are genuinely searching for that
  • Make sure your visitors can do what you want them to do
  • Review the data from measurement tools to see where the improvements need to be made

Is it time to upgrade your website?

If you’re ready to implement changes, a web design company like ourselves can help. Get in touch with us for a no obligation call to discuss your needs and see how we can help supercharge your website into a lead generation machine!

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Digital advertising

Digital Advertising 101

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
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Digital Advertising 101

What is digital advertising?

Those adverts you see on Facebook, sponsored search results on Google (or Bing, if you’re that way inclined). A cheeky sidebar banner featuring those shoes you were thinking of buying last night but didn’t. And of course, those infamous moments where you swear Facebook is reading your mind. It’s all digital advertising.

The more sophisticated, modern sibling of traditional ads. If done well, they are targeted, trackable and a wealth of information to marketing teams.

With so many tools to set up digital ads, there is scope for a full range of real-time reports. You can learn what motivates them to convert, and use this information to help build your buyer personas.

And, if you can’t decide on the creative or copy, you can even split test a multi-variant ad.

WebFX reports that 80% of shoppers research online. It’s fair to say a higher percentage of B2B decision makers will research suppliers this way too.

Inbound vs Paid Advertising

Digital strategy: social media ads

What about inbound marketing vs. paid advertising? Both have their pros and cons, and a successful digital marketing strategy will use a balance of the two. For instance, inbound or organic content is a great foundation to building consideration.

Whereas paid (or ads) are great for driving awareness and boosting conversion. They do this by reaching targeted leads who are further down the sales funnel, ready to make a decision.

Inbound marketing takes time and effort to get results. You’re stretching your net far and wide, inviting as many users as possible to visit your site. And they might not always be the best quality leads.

Budgets for digital ads are a lot more flexible than traditional, making it is less of a gamble to experiment.

Find out how we helped Mum&You with their digital ad strategy.

How to choose the right channel for your ads

How DPC+UP plan digital marketing projectsSo you’re ready to allocate some of your budget to digital ads, but how do you know which channels are right for you? As always, refer to your customer personas.

If you choose to work with a digital marketing agency like us, we do the “hard work” identifying the best channels. To achieve this, we look at the following factors of your target audience:

  • The sites they use
  • What media they consume
  • What motivates them to convert

It’s also a good idea to audit your key competitors. We also carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

What channels are available?

You are spoilt for choice. That said, different channels work better for different audiences and ad types.

Paid search is great for capturing active leads. These users are already seeking information based on the keywords from your campaign. PPC get an average conversion rate of 3.17%.

Display ads tend to perform best for driving brand awareness and consideration. They work best for retargeting rather than prospecting. So for example those ‘hey, remember those shoes you were looking at yesterday?’ banners.

Social media advertising is the MVP here. Not only is it ideal for building awareness, it’s also great for driving traffic and conversions. Plus you have a wide selection of channels at your disposal, each with their own merits depending on your target audience.

Before you can start planning the where and how, you need to start out with what you want to achieve.

Create clear goals

Ask yourself: what do you want the user to do when they see your ad?

It’s not enough to just want new business to come in. You need to consider:

  • What’s your proposition?
  • What problems are you looking to solve?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • Are you linking to content, a product/service, or an event?
  • Are you looking to build your database?

To convert the user into a lead, the goal is to ‘pixel/tag’ them or capture their contact details. From there, you can trigger a lead nurture workflow to warm them. This is where inbound marketing goes hand in hand with paid.

Summary

Digital advertising is an ideal way to generate leads. With a flexible budget, you can create targeted campaigns across a range of channels, such as PPC, display retargeting and social media.

You’re likely to convert more leads and faster than your organic, inbound marketing activities. That said, the two work in partnership to help raise awareness, drive consideration.

Having clear goals will help you create a campaign that not only performs, but helps you learn more about your ideal customers.

Thinking about your digital advertising strategy?

Leave your details below and we’ll get in touch!

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digital inbound marketing

Inbound marketing: the basics

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
Digital marketing inbound
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Inbound marketing: the basics

Inbound marketing refers to the methodology that ‘invites’ visitors to your website. So, a combination of content (such as blogs, videos etc.) and channels (e.g. social media, email and marketing automation, and conversation bots).

It requires a tight strategy that is informed by personas (based on your best or ideal customers), which should identify:

  • What your ideal customer wants to know
  • The problems they are looking to solve
  • How they are most likely to engage with a business in that industry

Here are some of the tools you could use in your inbound marketing process:

inbound marketing cycle: attract, engage and delight

What you say is important!

As is always the case, your messaging is crucial to the success of your inbound marketing efforts. Think about what you expect to learn about a business when you’re first introduced. And then think about how much (or how little) time you want to invest in the initial contact points. Chances are, your attention span and patience isn’t at its maximum.

The initial touch points should be clear and concise, positioning your business as trustworthy and a credible leader who will solve problems.

Identify your key service or product pillars and how they solve your best customer’s pain points. Next step is to consider how you can replicate that. The best way to do this is through creating user personas (this is a standard part of our research and analysis for any digital marketing project).

What’s a user persona and why does my business need to do them?

The cornerstone for a successful marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer. You need to know how to effectively communicate with them: what you should be saying and the tone of voice.

If you haven’t created any, have a think about your best customer:

  • What is their job title?
  • How did they find you? (e.g. recommendation, google, social media, trade show)
  • How do they engage with you? Do they prefer phone calls, emails or are they avid social media users?
  • What are their main pain points, and how did your business solve them?
  • What motivates them to make a decision?
  • What kind of relationship do you have? Can you have a joke with them or is it more professional?

Through answering these questions, it’ll help you identify not only tone of voice, but the channels your best leads are most likely to engage with.

Your personas inform your content

In turn, this will help you form an idea of what your leads want to read. Rather than assuming knowledge gaps, you’ll have an educated guess as to what they know, what’s interesting and what turns them off.

It’s crucial to do your research each time you create content! If you’re going to position yourself as an industry leader, you can’t just bluff your way through. Whether it’s you, a member of your team, a digital marketing agency or a freelancer creating your content, a solid brief is essential.

Your personas will also help you decide which marketing channels to use.

The pool of marketing channels is so much larger than simply Facebook, LinkedIn, email and Google. It covers all means of communications:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Commerce
  • Apps
  • Blogs
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Press releases
  • Webinars
  • SMS marketing
  • SEO
  • PPC

And that’s just what’s available in the digital realm!

We often recommend digital content marketing over print and direct, as it’s trackable. It’s much easier to measure your ROI (return on investment) with the plethora of tools available these days than print consumption.

Drilling down on social media marketing, for example, there are many channels, all differing in approach and audience. If you’re in B2B, you’ll no doubt find LinkedIn and Twitter best for conversion than Instagram and TikTok.

For example, when we worked with Flexgenius on their new business acquisition, we approached it in the following way:

  • A series of social media campaigns on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram
  • Google PPC
  • Retargeting
  • An email strategy to nurture the new leads, converting them to enquiries

Content structure for lead generation

In addition to getting the tone of voice and the channels right for your leads, the type of content you share with them is of equal importance. Using a lead scoring tool on your website is one simple way of segmenting your leads. You can then create a marketing automation workflow based on engagement. You can create a content structure that looks something like this:

Intrigue

Lead score: 0 – 10 points

Content: blogs, videos, hints & tips.

Light content that doesn’t require too much time or attention. That said, it provides a good insight into who you are, what you do and how you can help them.

Discover

Lead score: 11 – 30 points

Content: whitepapers, guides, resources.

Slightly heavier content that introduces your leads to your ways of working and inspires them.

Consider

Lead score: 31 – 49 points

Content: product features, case studies

This content should showcase your success stories. Talk about how you have helped relatable customers achieve their goals.

Decide

Lead score: 50+ points

Content: pricing, demos, sales interactions, book a meeting

In theory, by this point, these leads have done a lot of research and may be ready to make a decision soon. Now is a good time to schedule a call, demo, meeting or an event where they can engage directly with your sales leads.

What about using inbound marketing in combination with paid advertising?

Digital strategy: social media ads

Both have their own merits. Having the foundations set and ready to go will serve organic and paid leads well. It means there will be plenty of content available to educate them on your offering.

Organic inbound marketing tends to be lower cost but more time intensive.

Paid advertising, as suggested in the title, will cost money. You can scale your campaigns to suit your budget, and if executed well, reaps rewards much quicker than organic marketing.

Find out how we helped Mum&You with their digital ad strategy.

Summary

Inbound marketing is a highly effective way to raise awareness of your business and generate leads, if planned and executed well. It’s essential to create customer personas first, so you know not only who to target but where and how.

Interested in taking your inbound marketing up a level?

Leave your details below and we’ll get in touch!

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nopcommerce v magento

nopCommerce vs Magento: Weighing up the best eCommerce platform

By | Blog posts, eCommerce
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Which is the king of the mid-sized – enterprise level eCommerce platforms?

nopcommerce v magento

Since 2008, Magento has been leading the charge regarding eCommerce platforms.

With the release of Adobe Magento Commerce, the competition in the market place has been rising. The dark horse competitor, nopCommerce, has become a remarkable challenger to Magento, and with good reason.  Here’s the competition broken down.

Price

nopCommerce is open source and free. It doesn’t demand any subscription fees however it will require some expenditures, such as hosting and potentially some extensions for features that are not available straight out of the box. However, it’s very unlikely that the cost of these extras and plugins will have a higher total that the cost of the Magento Commerce edition.

Magento has a free plan – Magento Open Source 1 and two paid plans under Magento Commerce. Magento Commerce has plans ranging from £14,500 to £17,500 but can rise to £60,000 + a year for their cloud based solution.

In our opinion, nopCommerce offers the best value for money.

Features (out of the box)

nopCommerce comes packed full of features straight out of the box. These include SEO features, product management, a complex discount engine, inbuilt analytics, multi-lingual capabilities, multi-store, multi-vendor features, payment and shipping customisations. It doesn’t stop there, it has tier pricing (great for wholesale vs consumer pricing), recurring payment/subscription engine, and probably the most surprising, it also has an inbuilt loyalty scheme.  These integrations notably come at no extra cost and are all out of the box.

Magento does not come with this range of features straight out of the box. However, all can be added by using third-part extensions (plugins). One potential pitfall is that with Magento, adding these extensions can lead to conflicts within your site, such as adding a feature can cause another not to work.

However, the features differ greatly between Magento Open Source and Commerce. With Magento Commerce, you ARE provided with extras such as tier pricing, customer loyalty tools, inventory management tools, flexible pricing tools, coupons, up-selling and cross-selling tools. But these do come with the additional price tag.

Due to the fact that with nopCommerce you’re provided a wide range of features straight out of the  box, we believe nopCommerce edges Magento regarding standard features.

Customisation

Both are open source (Magento still offer an open source version), they are able to be customised to meet the requirements you need. Both have open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to interact with databases, other software, Google merchant and product feeds, and more. Also, inbuilt functionality can be enhanced with plugins and integrations provided on the marketplaces. Both of the solutions have large marketplaces. Some of those extensions are free while some might cost you. Besides plugins, you can install new themes for your store.

nopCommerce has rather a good reputation for how smoothly plug-ins can be personalised. With Magento on the other hand, developing and customising modules require highly experienced developers.

However, both platforms are rather advanced for users who only have basic technical knowledge. Therefore, this would require a professional developer to deliver a complex customisation.

Both platforms provide a great starting point for customisation.

Security

This is one of the major dividers between nopCommerce and Magento. nopCommerce is written on ASP.NET, this means it is hosted on a Microsoft server. Magento is written on PHP, which is community driven and usually hosted on a linux server.

Arguably, ASP.NET is considered one of the most productive environments and it is faster, this means you’ll spend less time and money on resources and cheaper hosting. nopCommerce also has a malleable architecture that allows developers to override most of the functions from plugins without touching the core. It is easier and faster to customise.

Magento (the open source version) has a checkered history from a security perspective. Some users have experienced repeat issues with the security of their Magento store. Magento releases security patches in each version upgrade and sometimes even in between. This is valid only for the Commerce version. Open Source doesn’t even get regular security updates, the patches are only introduced when they become commercially viable. 

In our opinion, from a security perspective nopCommerce wins hands down. 

Support

Both nopCommerce and Magento offer product documentation that will give you basic knowledge on how to use each platform. Both also have forums where members can try and help each other. Both communities have more than 200,000 users however nopCommerce’s seems more active with 190k+ post over Magento’s 73k+.

Fear not, you wouldn’t have to rely on forum posts and documentation to fix your problems, paid support is available. nopCommerce’s premium support costs £77 per month. However you can only pay for 3 months (£231) or a whole year (£617).

Magento Open Source only offers support with community forums whereas Magento Commerce includes a 24/7 professional technical support system through a ticketing system or by phone.

This will really depend on your agency and what support they can provide based on their support levels.

Conclusion

Both platforms are powerhouses in the eCommerce industry, allowing businesses to create wonderful eCommerce sites for their customers. Magento has been around a lot longer and with over 140,000 sites running on Magento compared to nopCommerce’s 50,000, it is clear that Magento is still the most popular.

However, nopCommerce is more secure, provides more at less cost, faster running and an ever-growing solution. It is ultimately the individuals choice but nopCommerce seems fit for the future of eCommerce.

If you’re interested in getting to know nopCommerce, find out more here.