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Internet Marketing – If You Haven’t Got a Strategy You Need one!

Published by on July 23, 2014
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Whilst participating in social media marketing, blogging and email marketing is all very well and good; unless you have a clear internet marketing strategy in mind, you could end up putting effort and money into your work and generating very little in return. If you don’t have an online marketing strategy, how do you know you are achieving great results from your social media, blogging and email marketing efforts? It’s not like your company will be working towards any set goals or has anything to measure your efforts against. If you really want to make a difference with your marketing techniques, a sound internet marketing strategy is a must have.

Make sure your business is working towards a goal and moving in a single direction by implementing a bespoke online marketing strategy.

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A good internet marketing strategy will give your business direction. It will pull together all of the different marketing techniques you use and show you how you can use them cohesively to achieve the goals you set. Below we have explained some of the other reasons why every business needs an online marketing strategy.

Market to the right customers

When you are creating an internet marketing strategy, one of the first things you will need to do is identify who your intended audience is. Once you have done this, you will be able to tailor your strategy with your target customers in mind. For example, you will need to think about which social media channels your target customers are likely to use and what type of content they are most likely to engage with. Knowing your target audience and creating your online strategy around them will also ensure that you are sending out the right messages to them and using the most appropriate language to speak to them. Doing all of this will help you target people that are actually interested in your products and services and give you a better chance of converting them into paying customers.

Know what your competitors are doing

Creating an online marketing strategy will encourage you to not only think about what your business is doing but also what your competitors are doing. The more you learn about your competitors, the easier it will be for you to predict their next move so you can get one step ahead of them. Many companies base their strategies on proven successful tactics used by competitors and identify their failures, so they know what to avoid doing themselves.

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Having an internet marketing strategy will help you to see how your social media marketing efforts can fit together to achieve better results for your company.

Image source: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7122/7607705630_e73e59a2cd.jpg 

Improve consistency and focus

The more consistent your marketing messages are, the easier it will be for customers to remember and trust your brand. Developing a clever and cohesive marketing strategy that brings together all of the different marketing methods you use will help improve consistency and focus. It will ensure that you are sending the same messages out to your audience and promoting the same company values, no matter what platform or medium you are using.

Know where you are going and how to get there

As we mentioned previously, a good internet marketing strategy will give your business the direction it needs to succeed. Careful planning will help you allocate your resources and spending. It will also ensure that all of your marketing techniques are aligned and working towards achieving the same long-term goals, even if their short-term goals differ.

Conclusion

Without a bespoke internet marketing strategy in place, your business’s marketing efforts will lack focus and you may find that you are spending money without generating any meaningful results. Today an internet marketing strategy is a must-have for all businesses and if you need help creating one, our team of internet marketing experts are more than happy to help.

Image credits: Sean MacEntee & greyweed

Weird Al, Learns the Power of Internet Marketing

Published by on July 22, 2014
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Are you struggling to remain relevant in your industry or failing to keep up with your competitors? You need to take a leaf out of Weird Al’s book!

It is likely that you are sat there wondering what a singer-songwriter, known for his comedic music parodies, has to do with Internet marketing? The answer is that Weird Al has recently learned the power of Internet marketing and here we will explain how.

Over the past thirty odd years, Weird Al has become famous for his parodies of famous pop songs, but it has not all been plain sailing for the singer-songwriter. Whilst he may have entered the music industry at just the right time, benefiting from the technical shift from vinyl to CD and the rise of MTV; over the last decade or so he has experienced hardship caused by the prevalence of free online music sharing and the upsurge of illegal music downloads.

Even though many of the well-known free music sharing companies like Napster have faced court battles over their copyright infringements, today it is still easy for Internet users to access music for free by simply converting YouTube videos into Mp3 files. Not only is this an issue for musicians, who like everyone else need to make a living, but also the fact that the Internet has greatly increased their competition.

Image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3829/10004134566_75ec9ed488.jpg

Whereas in past decades Weird Al was pretty much the king of song parodies, today he faces tough competition from rising YouTube stars and amateur video makers. But instead of getting down in the dumps, what has Weird Al done about it? He’s only gone and created a successful Internet marketing strategy !

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Image source: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8154/7589288152_e5fba5edc3.jpg

Making money online

Rather than simply making music and selling it online, Weird Al has taken a different approach to marketing his work. He is now making a living by partnering with popular web content sites like Funny or Die, Yahoo and College Humor. These companies pay to produce his music videos, as just like any business they are looking for content that will appeal to their audience and increase engagement. Weird Al then benefits from the videos as they cost him nothing to produce and also act as advertisements for his singles and albums.

Remaining relevant

If you are clued up on Internet marketing, you will know just how important it is to constantly update your content and provide your audience with something to engage with. This is exactly what Weird Al has done to remain relevant and newsworthy.

Weird Al has recently released eight new parody music videos in just eight days to promote his new album ‘Mandatory Fun.’ One of the most popular songs from the current collection is ‘Word Crimes,’ a parody of the Robin Thicke hit ‘Blurred Lines’ that any grammar enthusiasts out there are sure to love. This is just the start of his online marketing efforts. He now has new plans to release singles instead of albums, now that his record contact has finished, so he can keep up with the latest pop music trends and generate content that gets views and results in paid downloads.

Conclusion

The positive approach Weird Al has taken to Internet marketing does not just apply to the music industry, but all industries. No matter what area you work in, there will be a way for you to boost your marketing efforts and achieve greater returns by simply thinking outside of the box. The first step to remaining relevant and competitive is to keep up with the latest marketing trends e.g. email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing and use them to promote your business in a new, exciting and fun way to potential customers. 

Need help getting started? You know where we are!

Image credits: hgrimes & ericneitzel

Introducing the new Facebook Ads Manager for Mobile

Published by on July 18, 2014
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This week social media giant Facebook announced they would be launching a brand new app for advertisers, giving them an easier and more reliable way to monitor ad performance on their mobiles.

Facebook has finally launched Facebook Ads Manager for mobile – it was about time!

What does the new Facebook Ads Manager for Mobile do?

Using the new Facebook Ads Manager for Mobile, users will be able to pause and resume existing campaigns and change budgets and schedules. They will also be able to view insights to monitor the performance of their Facebook business adverts and respond to alerts.

The Ads Manager for Mobile can either be downloaded as a mobile app for iOS or Android. It can also be accessed through the mobile version of the Facebook website.

When is it launching?

Facebook has officially announced that it will begin rolling out the brand new ads management feature within the next few days, on a global scale. By the end of summer they are expecting advertisers from all over the world to be able to benefit from the new mobile-friendly ads manager.

Funnily enough, this week Google also released an app for Android and iOS users called AdWords Express. This app also allows users to manage their Adwords campaigns directly from their smartphones. A coincidence? Who knows! Facebook and Google are in competition after all.

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From now on Facebook campaign managers will be able to edit, pause and monitor their company’s ads directly from their mobile phones.

Image source: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2198/2413411467_b42355515f.jpg 

Benefits of Facebook Ads Manager for Mobile

With more and more people using their smartphones, it only seemed sensible that Facebook created a mobile-friendly version of its Ads Manager. Rather than having to log onto their PCs or laptops, advertising managers at businesses will now simply be able to make changes to their Facebook ad campaigns directly from their smartphones. If you think about it, using your smartphone to make updates and amendments is much easier and more convenient.

Another benefit of having a mobile version of the Facebook Ads Manager is that it allows for around the clock monitoring of campaigns. Advertising managers can essentially check the status and progress of their company’s Facebook ads even when they are not in the office. It also means that if they need to make updates and changes to their spending, in line with the performance of an ad, they can do so quickly, allowing them to benefit from instant results.

Just like with the desktop version of the Facebook Ads Manager, the mobile version allows users to pause and resume existing campaigns. They will also be able to respond to any alerts that pop up in associated with their campaigns much quicker using their smartphones, than they would with the desktop version. It’s also handy as if they are travelling or away from the office, they can make the changes they need to, with little inconvenience.

Whilst there are many third party apps available that claim to offer similar features benefits in terms of mobile Facebook ad management, it is thought that once the official app has been launched, most Facebook ad managers will simply use that instead.

How to download the Facebook Ads Managers App for Mobile

If you want to download the Facebook Ads Managers App for Mobile, you will need to go to the Apple store or the Google Play store, depending on the make of your smartphone. There you will be able to download the app for free. Alternatively, if you prefer to, you can simply visit Facebook using your mobile browser and will be able to locate the mobile Ads Manager from your Facebook bookmarks.

Image credits: melenita2012 & tifotter

 

Categories: Social Media

What makes WooCommerce so great for online retail businesses ?

Published by on June 16, 2014
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When it comes to selling your products online, there are many different ecommerce platforms to choose from, however if you are looking for a free ecommerce tool that is easy to use, you may want to consider using WooCommerce. Here we will provide a brief explanation of WooCommerce and it’s features, whilst also explaining why it is so great for online retail businesses.

Set up your online retail business in a few simple steps using WooCommerce.

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What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a WordPress ecommerce plugin that was first launched in September 2011. Over the last few years it has grown to become one of the most popular WordPress plugins, with over 1.6 million downloads across the globe. If you are thinking of setting up an ecommerce business but do not want to spend a fortune, WooCommerce will provide everything you need to get started. Below we have outlined some of the key benefits of this ecommerce plugin for WordPress.

Free to use

Starting any sort of business can be expensive and often very difficult if you do not have a lot of capital. Luckily for you, WooCommerce is completely free to download and use. Not only is it free, but it also comes with a wide range of easy to use features, making it simple for you to sell your products online. The fact that WooCommerce is free is one of the reasons why it is used by so many ecommerce start-up businesses.

Feature rich

One of the greatest benefits of WooCommerce to online retail businesses is the fact it is feature rich. WooCommerce gives ecommerce business owners a lot of flexibility when it comes to organising their products and customising independent attributes. Although it offers a wide range of features, all of them are very easy to use, so you do not need to be a web design expert!

Something that WooCommerce does really well is analytics. Whilst other platforms make data analytics too complicated for non-technical users, WooCommerce makes it simple by using easy-to-understand pie charts and graphs. Using WooCommerce, ecommerce business owners can see how well their store is doing at a glance, without having to spend a lot of time studying figures.

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WooCommerce makes analytics easy for non-technical users.

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User friendly

WooCommerce is very user-friendly and if you have prior knowledge of WordPress, you will find it a breeze to use. The fact it has a similar layout to WordPress, means that it will be fairly familiar to most people. This will allow you to complete tasks in very little time and will not need to rope in a web developer to help.

Highly customisable

If you want to stand a chance at succeeding in the world of ecommerce, your website will need to stand out from the rest and thankfully WooCommerce has got you covered. This ecommerce plugin for WordPress is highly flexible and provides a wide range of customisation options. There are a number of ecommerce web designers and developers who specialise in working with WooCommerce and will be able to help you integrate your ecommerce platform with your existing self-hosted WordPress website and customise your shop front. 

Conclusion

With so many benefits, it is no wonder that so many new ecommerce business owners choose to sell their products online using WooCommerce. There are not many WordPress ecommerce plugins out there that can match its quality of features, especially at such little cost to customers. If you need help setting up your WooCommerce store or fancy customising it to attract your target audience, get in touch with a WooCommerce web designer today.

Image credits: ZERGE_VIOLATOR & More Than Maths

Categories: Ecommerce

UK Online Sales continue to grow faster than US

Published by on June 10, 2014
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According to a new report by global research and advisory firm Forrester, UK online sales are and will continue growing faster than the US. The European Online Retail Forecast 2013 to 2018 found that UK online retail sales would reach £57.6bn by 2018, up from £37.2bn in 2013, representing 15% of total retail sales. In comparison, Forrester forecast that total US online retail sales would reach $414 billion by 2018, accounting for just 11 per cent of all retail sales. The increase in UK online sales is a result of a compound annual growth of twelve per cent a year between 2013 and 2018.

UK ecommerce sales continue to soar ahead of the US.

Image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3760/13904995945_7612901f95.jpg

What’s selling?

Clothing is currently the largest online sales category in Europe and will remain so through to 2018, growing at a rate of 11% a year. Although clothing is the largest online sales category, online groceries are the fastest growing sales category. It is estimated that online groceries will surpass consumer electrics to become the second largest sales category by 2018, growing by 16.3% a year.

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Online groceries are the fastest growing sales category.

Image source: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1358/1406709019_8a5b0eec80.jpg

Why is the UK doing so well?

The UK currently has the highest proportion of total retail sales coming from online channels. It is thought that this is down to the fact that more European consumers shop online for convenience and to purchase the products they cannot find elsewhere. The soaring figures are also driven by a combination of the increasing number of customers shopping online and retailers providing excellent ecommerce experiences. 

Something that UK ecommerce businesses appear to be mastering well is optimising their websites for mobile devices. Many UK websites now have mobile versions of their ecommerce websites or have invested in responsive web designs to ensure that the needs and requirements of smartphone and tablet shoppers are being met. This is something that ecommerce businesses around the globe need to do if they want to stand a chance at increasing their sales year on year.

What does this mean for UK ecommerce businesses?

With online sales growing at a significant rate in the UK, now is the ideal time to start an ecommerce business. Whilst setting up an ecommerce business is considerably cheaper than setting up a traditional brick and mortar store, as you do not have the same rent and utility bills to account for, it is still worth investing in your online presence if you want to stand the best chance at beating competitors.

One thing we would highly recommend investing in is a responsive web design to provide a more consistent user experience between different devices. This will prevent you from alienating a potentially large proportion of your customer base made up of smartphone and tablet users. Investing in a responsive web design can also help you save money in the long run and boost your site’s SEO, driving more traffic through to your ecommerce website.

It is also worth putting effort into providing fast and cost-effective delivery to customers. This will go a long way in making your UK ecommerce business stand out from the rest. 

Conclusion

With Forrester estimating that the percentage of European internet users who buy online will grow from 65% in 2013 to 75% in 2018, now is the optimal time to set up and invest in your ecommerce business. Whilst you will need to put time, effort and money into your ecommerce website, in order to increase your online presence and make it a success, with online sales in the UK growing at such a rapid rate it only seems sensible that business owners take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

Image credits: FotoDB.de & WordShore

Categories: UK Company News

Tablet Internet use increase while watching TV in the UK

Published by on June 10, 2014
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Over the last few years, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have had a huge impact on the way we carry out a wide range of tasks, from online shopping to watching television. With expectations of soaring ecommerce sales over the next couple of months as a result of the Brazil World Cup 2014, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to examine how people use mobile devices like tablets when watching TV.

Today many people watch TV programmes on their tablets and also use them for a wide range of television-related activity such as searching for information about shows and participating in TV-related social media chats.

Image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3701/9032483125_9b07f48f7c.jpg 

Tablet TV

Although TVs are still the dominant viewing device in most households’ living rooms, a survey conducted by Motorola last year showed that more people now watch TV and movies on tablets in their bedrooms than they watch them on TVs. This should set alarm bells off in advertisers’ heads as it may be worth them investing in advertising slots on some of the top tablet TV providers such as 4OD and Netflix. 

Second screen adoption

Whilst the number of people watching TV programmes on tablets has not yet overtaken the number of people watching them on televisions, a survey conducted by Nielsen found that forty three per cent of tablet users use their devices as second screens, whilst watching TV on a daily basis. By second screen, we do not mean that they watch the television programme on both their television and tablet. Second screening is all about using a tablet to multi-task whilst you are watching television. Below are some examples of what people are using their tablets for whilst watching TV:

Researching background information about the TV show they are watching. Popular websites include IMDB and Wikipedia.

Purchasing products seen on TV programme / during adverts.

Chatting on social media with friends about the programme they are watching and participating in Twitter hash tag chats.

Using second screen apps like Beamly TV, Blinkbox and IntoNow that are designed to extend TV watching by enabling you to check into the shows you are watching and access exclusive content.

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Today many tablet use their devices as second screens whilst watching TV programmes.

Image source: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8043/8414735791_e74f9c4a26.jpg 

Social media and TV

There has always been a social element to watching television, as traditionally families would watch it together in their living rooms. Whilst that may no longer be the case (with many households owning multiple television sets) the introduction of social media has sustained the social element of watching television. Not only does it allow individuals to interact with their friends and chat about the programmes they are watching, but they can also participate in group chats on Facebook and hash tag chats on Twitter, interacting with people watching the same programme all over the world. According to the report by Nielsen, thirteen per cent of people use their tablets as second screens to post about the show they are watching and interact with other viewers.

TV and mobile shopping

The same report also found that twenty per cent of tablet owners use their devices to shop for what is being advertised on TV. This provides advertisers with the opportunity to connect with consumers whilst they watch television and use their tablets as second screens. It is thought that more and more brands will be doing this in the run-up to and throughout the World Cup, as sporting events have history of driving ecommerce sales.

Conclusion

With more and more people using their tablets to watch TV programmes or as second screens whilst watching television, it only seems sensible that brands take advantage of the advertising opportunities this provides for them. Not only should they consider advertising through tablet TV providers, but also participating in social media chats related to TV shows and even building second screen apps for users to engage and interact with.

Image credits: redtouchmedia & Robert S. Donovan

 

 

Categories: UK Company News

Pinterest Launches Paid Ads Through Promoted Pins

Published by on May 20, 2014
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In September 2013, Pinterest first announced its plans for promoted pins and a month later began testing with an undisclosed group of advertisers. This week the platform took it’s testing to the next level, with the help of a group of leading brands who would be trying out promoted pins placed in the search and category feeds.

This week Pinterest took its promoted pins into the second stage of testing.

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The brands currently testing Pinterest’s promoted pins include: ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia.com, Gap, General Mills, Kraft, Lululemon Atheltica, Nestle, Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Ziploc. It is believed that Pinterest carefully selected these leading brands based on their predominantly female audience, which they share with the platform. Pinterest stated it was keeping the test group small so that it could collect feedback prior to opening up paid advertising to more businesses throughout 2014.

What are promoted pins?

Over the last few months, Pinterest has been trialing its promoted pins across its web and mobile platforms. The platform is looking to find a way to display the ads without upsetting its users or damaging their experience. As it currently stands, promoted pins will only appear in Pinterest’s search and category pages, they will not appear in a users’ main feeds.

The promoted pins look like any other pin however they are labeled with text indicating that they are in fact an advertisement. If you were to simply glance at them, you would find it difficult to spot them amongst the other hundreds of pins appearing on the page.

Concerns about Pinterest’s adverts

Although promoted pins will provide companies with yet another way to market their products and services to customers online, there have been some concerns regarding the transparency of the Pinterest ads. Back in October, Search Engine Watch first raised concerns about Pinterest’s promoted pins, stating that the advertisements may not be transparent enough and that they could be walking a fine line with the FTC. However Pinterest continued to state that their promoted pins will be ‘tasteful, transparent, relevant and improved based on Pinner feedback.’

Since then it does not look like the platform has done anything to change the look and feel of its promoted pins since the first test run. The only real difference is that the advertisements have been highlighted on the mobile version of the platform. It is wondered whether Pinterest will get away with their somewhat discreet advertisements or whether they will be required to make them more obvious to users at some point during the testing stage.

Is Pinterest the advertising platform of the future?

With the launch of its paid advertisements, Pinterest is quickly sneaking up on the big social networks like Facebook and Twitter and is starting to be taken much more seriously as a competitor. According to the platform it now has over thirty billion pins, half of which were added in the last six months and drives more internet traffic to publishers than Twitter and Reddit combined. Pinterest is currently valued at five billion dollars and for a company that has only just started generating revenue; we would say that is pretty good going!

pinterest competing

Pinterest is becoming a serious competitor for the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

Image source: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8447/7880943138_30f68cfa24.jpg

According to earlier reports Pinterest has been asking its advertising partners to commit to spending between one million and two million dollars. AdAge also reports that the platform is looking to price CPMs between thirty and forty dollars. Whilst these prices may seem high, you have to consider the benefits of advertising on Pinterest. Unlike other platforms, Pinterest is all about planning for the future.

People use it to plan everything from their weddings to their dream homes, making it the perfect place for brands to advertise their products. The fact that the platform is image based and can take users from a pin to the publisher’s page within just a click of the mouse also facilitates easy purchasing, making it an advertiser’s dream. With so many benefits, we expect to see all of the major brands, as well as many smaller brands integrate promoted pins into their marketing strategies once the paid advertising platform becomes available to a greater number of users in the coming months.

Image credits: net_efekt & clasesdeperiodismo

 

Categories: Social Media