There’s nothing new in digital marketing…

“Bananas!” I shouted. “Lovely bananas, 2 lbs. for 50p – last few!”

I looked at the faces of passers-by, engrossed in their Saturday afternoon shop, thinking about dinner, football, telly and pints in the pub later. “I’m not getting their attention,” I thought. “Got to try something else.”

It was 1985. I was standing in the busy market square of a town centre in Essex. 15 years old and working for Williams and Sons, market traders. I was the dogsbody – the youngest person in their employ. I got all the worst jobs. Picking up rubbish under the stall, stacking boxes of fruit, unloading the lorry. This particular job was to go out into the crowd with unsold surplus stock and sell it using the time-worn technique of shouting out offers, adjectives, jokes and trying to charm people – ‘don’t come back with the fruit in the scoop!’ were the boss’s orders.

I had no idea at the time but the techniques that got me through those Saturday afternoons in 1985 were the same techniques that I would use, sitting at a desk, over 30 years later. I am head of digital marketing at Sans Frontiere, a full-service marketing agency in Sussex. I mostly devise strategies to market the products and services of our clients online. It’s loosely called digital marketing but, as I think about what I do on my bike rides to and from work every day, I realise that there is nothing new in it. My boss Richard at Williams & Sons (he was one of the sons) was doing the same things 30 years ago – when Tim Berners-Lee was doing his A levels!

Reach, Impressions, Engagement, Conversions

Like me, you have probably seen these terms a lot in the last few years. They have become part of the language of digital marketing. A few years ago, some clever folk in Palo Alto, or some such place, were sitting in a room brainstorming the terms they would use to denote the metrics that would appear out of the online platforms they were developing that would change the world of marketing. These platforms all lived on the internet and were of course digital, but the terms they decided upon had to be familiar terms from the English language and connect with familiar concepts. They are not digital terms and are not new.

Richard, my boss at Williams & Sons, had a marketing budget, although he probably didn’t call it that. He spent a few quid on paid search, quite a bit on display advertising then invested heavily into engagement 5 days out of 7, every week.

Williams & Sons had a permanent ad in the local gazette, a directory of local traders. Richard spent time and money every week painstakingly building a collection of ‘shows’ on his stall. These comprised the best examples of fruit they had obtained from the wholesaler, each item placed on a little bed of coloured paper, built up into impressive walls of colour that caught the eye of passers-by.

Five days a week, Richard and the people that worked for him (myself included) would stand around the stall, selling as hard as we could, shouting out offers and other things to try to get the attention of passers-by. When it got late in the day he would fill my scoop with something that had to be sold and send me out into the crowd to run targeted keyword campaigns.

“Ripe bananas”
“Cheap bananas”

He had worked out how to boost his reach and drive up impressions in order to increase engagement and ultimately drive his conversion goals. It worked. We also used audience targeting:

“Nice bananas here, mum”

“Lovely ripe bananas, mum”

“Two pounds of bananas for 50p, mum”

Richard did not have the sophisticated tools we have today in order to setup his campaigns – he did it all in his head. He didn’t have powerful tools to measure the performance of his campaigns; he used a blend of anecdotal evidence and empirical data. Being there on the spot he could see if his campaigns had reach and the impressions they made on his audience. He could see his audience in the flesh and take the temperature of their engagement. To know his conversion rate he simply looked down into the large denim money pouch he wore around his waist. His marketing strategy was dynamic, his campaigns continually adjusting in response to their results and the changing audience.

The tech giants of Silicon Valley did not invent any of this. They encoded it into a digital format. It was as much an observational feat as a technical one. Hats off to them, but hats off also to Richard.

Joe Aliferis
Sans Frontiere Marketing
joe@sansfrontiere.co.uk

If you’d like a free copy of our simple guide to a digital marketing strategy, feel free to email me or call Sans Frontiere on 01273 487800

Sans Frontiere is delighted to partner with Plumpton Racecourse

We are thrilled to welcome Plumpton Racecourse to the Sans Frontiere family. We have been fans of Sussex Racing since our work with Brighton Racecourse, and are honoured to add Plumpton to our client roster.

We will be responsible for the paid-for social media campaign development and execution, strategy implementation and reporting. Key areas of focus will be generating awareness and increasing engagement around key race days, while growing the customer base to include families, groups and young adults. Sans Frontiere will also provide strategic guidance and execution targeted to racing enthusiasts and local communities.

“We wanted to bring Plumpton up-to-date with Google ads, remarketing and developing the already established social presence with more engaging content. Sans Frontiere showed us what we could do, and we are really looking forward to the results. Working with people that are like minded, local and passionate about what they do was key, and Sans Frontiere ticked all the boxes,” said Martyn Collins from Plumpton Racecourse.

Audrey Evans, CEO of Sans Frontiere comments; “Building our presence in Sussex has been a top priority because leading the growth of local business excites us enormously. Sans Frontiere has an excellent reputation as a provider of highly specialized campaigns for event venues so Plumpton is a perfect fit for us.”

Horseracing first took place at Plumpton Racecourse in 1884. The foundation and survival of Plumpton as a racecourse is principally due to the foresight and commitment of four men. First in 1876 Thomas Henry Case who founded the venue as the first enclosed hare coursing meeting and subsequently, in 1884, introduced horse racing.  Second to Isidore Kerman who bought the course in 1961 and brought about many of the improvements that were needed to ensure the course’s survival and finally to Peter Savill and Adrian Pratt who purchased the course in 1998 to ensure its economic survival and protect it from developers. The Racecourse now hosts a range of hospitality events, including weddings, corporate events and charity days.

Our Top 10 Social Media Fails

No-one is immune to the odd spelling mistake or grammar inaccuracy, but when you’re running huge social media accounts, these mistakes become magnified. Most large companies would be forgiven for the odd mis-tweet, but we’ve been digging and have unearthed the 10 worst mistakes made on social media.

10. Cinnabon

Carrie Fisher sadly died in December 2016. On the occasion of her death, one corporation took to Twitter and attempted to pay tribute to her life that would, of course, also sell products: Cinnabon displayed a picture of her as Princess Leia, but with a Cinnabon Classic Roll in place of her famous Star Wars hair-do. Users were quick to call out Cinnabon, saying they were piggy-backing on someone’s death and showing a complete lack of empathy to her friends, family and thousands of fans. Plus, it was a repeat: they’d already shown the image back on May 4th (Star Wars Day), saying her buns were the second best to theirs.

9. Whoever ran Susan Boyle’s Twitter when she released her first album probably wished they had re-read their promotional hashtag after missing its alternative message to Twitter users. Thus highlighting the importance of using capital letters… #Susanalbumparty.

 

8. On Black Friday, 2017, Mcdonald’s official twitter account published a tweet that seemed, shall we say, incomplete:

 

 

7. HMV probably should have made sure the social networks were under control before it started to fire dozens of employees, including the social media manager it seems. The soon-to-be-former employees took the opportunity to live tweet the 60+ people getting sacked, seriously damaging the company’s reputation during an already testing time for the firm.

6. When you pay a company to do your Facebook ads for you, they really should have some knowledge of how much your products cost. We were surprised to learn that no-one used this opportunity to claim a Corvette for $15,000…

5. In October 2017, Dove posted a video showing a black woman removing her brown shirt and transforming into a white woman. The ad evoked the incredibly racist soap ads of the past, in which dark skin was portrayed as dirty and social media quickly spread the offensive ad around. Dove apologised for the ad and said it ‘missed the mark’. That it most certainly did.

4. The United States Air Force used the Yanny/Laurel debate to make an incredibly tasteless joke. The tweet was widely criticised online for being insensitive and diminishing the potential loss of civilian lives in the Middle East during the conflict that was ongoing at the time. The tweet was quickly deleted.

3. With a show watched by more than 6 million people, the result of The Great British Bake Off 2017 was greatly anticipated. However, the result was somewhat tarnished for many as Prue Leith, one of the show’s very own judges, mistakenly tweeted the final result 6 hours prior to the show airing. Her mistake was blamed on a difference in time zone, as Prue was holidaying in Bhutan at the time. Lesson learned: make sure your scheduling software is set to the correct time zone.

2. In 2017, McDonald’s tweeted an explicitly political post from its official account and briefly pinned it to the top of their page. It was quickly taken down, but managed to rack up over 1,500 likes and 1,400 retweets, as well as garnering reactions from angry Trump supporters rallying behind the #BoycottMcDonalds hashtag. McDonald’s issued an apology and claimed that their account had been hacked, and they were not responsible for the tweet.

1. Pepsi’s two-and-a-half minute ad “Live for Now,” featured Kendall Jenner leaving her modelling job to join a nondescript protest. In the ad, tensions are mounting between protesters and police, that is, until Jenner magically solves everything by opening a Pepsi for a cop. Both Pepsi and Kendal Jenner were accused of failing to recognise that Black Lives Matter and the ad was pulled after 24 hours. Both Kendal and Pepsi apologised, admitting they had “missed the mark”.

 

Bonus entry: Ed Balls. April 28th is the day we celebrate the anniversary of that time Ed Balls, former MP, accidentally tweeted out his own name on Twitter. After the tweet went viral, Ed explained that he had been typing in his name into the ‘compose tweet’ field instead of the search box. An easy mistake to make, but one that would have long lasting ramifications. The tweet now has over 100 thousand retweets and people still celebrate Ed Balls day over 7 years later.

 

So what can we take away from these embarrassing social media fails?

  • Invest in security. If your account is compromised, you lose all control. Be sure to take the time and invest in strong security measures, including training for your employees so they’ll rotate and maintain strong passwords.
  • Double-check everything. It’s only going to take a few minutes to check your post for typos or hidden implications before it goes out. It is a good idea to have someone in your office to proofread everything you send out, as a fresh pair of eyes could spot something you didn’t.
  • Politics is a dangerous game. If you end up on the “wrong” side, even accidentally, you’ll face heavy backlash. Even if you’re on the “right” side, if you’re seen as insensitive or inaccurate in your presentation, people will condemn you for it.

If you make a mistake, be honest and admit to it. Every business is going to make a mistake at some point, whether it be a small typo or a larger misjudgement. The ones that stand to recover easily are those that immediately and humbly admit to their mistakes, and try to make up for them in an honest and open way.

Buffer vs. Hootsuite vs. Sprout Social

Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social: Which is Best?

Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout. You might have heard of these social media softwares. If not, they are all designed to do pretty similar things: to help you schedule your content across multiple social media platforms and post them for you according to your schedule. But what’s the difference? We spent one week using each programme. Here’s what we found.

Hootsuite

Let’s start with Hootsuite. This was one of the first of this kind. But does it really help you organise your social media posts, updates and analytics as well as it promises?

Anyone can register for a free account with Hootsuite, which gives you access to its most basic features. We started by adding and verifying the social accounts that you want Hootsuite to have access to. We used Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, as we use these the most.

At first, the Hootsuite dashboard can look a little confusing. It took us a while to get our heads around it, but once we started browsing, it became pretty self-explanatory. The main two features that we used were the ‘streams’ section of the dashboard (we set ours to refresh every 10 minutes, but for busier accounts you are given the option to refresh up to every two minutes.) This gives an overview of all the social accounts you have set up, and gives you a good overview of what is happening across them. The other main use was the publisher, this is where you actually create and schedule your posts.

What’s great about the publisher is that it allows you to add media, shrink links and add locations as well as tag accounts. The only slight downside is that you aren’t able to schedule a poll. This needs to be done directly through Twitter, not ideal for us.

Overall, we found Hootsuite to be pretty user friendly, practical, and to the point. It is also one of only a few social media marketing tools that support the management of multiple YouTube accounts, along with the ability to schedule video posts to your social networking profiles – a huge advantage if you or your business utilise this platform. You can also use it to delegate tasks with other users, making it a great option for a team platform, especially if you use your accounts to manage customer queries.

The support was good, we tweeted them and got a quick and helpful reply, but we only tested their support system in a very minimal way. For your basic social management needs, (Pro plan) it is pretty reasonable. One of the main disadvantages of it is the initial appearance of the Hootsuite dashboard, as it can appear confusing and intimidating for newbies (and non newbies). The free plan also only allows the integration of three social channels, which hugely limits those for whom it will be practical.

Overall, we’ve given it  8/10.

Buffer

Buffer is a platform you might not have heard of if you don’t work in digital marketing. Buffer is a content publishing platform, letting you publish and schedule content to social networks.

Buffer is a smaller tool, it doesn’t publish as many social networks as Hootsuite, it has less features, and less analytics tools. But this doesn’t mean to say that we didn’t still find it useful.

One of the main disadvantages of Buffer is its inability to interact. Whilst you can post, cross post and schedule content, you can not engage with it. That means if someone were to respond to your tweet, you would not be able to respond through Buffer, unlike Hootsuite.

Hootsuite offers analytics of your social networks, whilst Buffer offers analytics only on the posts you’ve published via the platform. If you are solely using Buffer to post social content this is fine as all your data will be contained within the software, but this is unlikely going to be the case. Buffer analytics are pretty much content analytics, so you can see your best and worst performing posts based on engagement (which you can filter by engagement type, e.g. retweets, favourites, replies, likes, comments, clicks), reach and post type (i.e. image posts, link posts, text posts and your retweets). Buffer shows you all this data in a simple and clean layout, as well as in the mobile app too, so you can track your content performance on the go. All of this is exportable too so if you need to do any further analysis, or send it to other people, it is very easy to do so. The layout is one of our favourite parts of Buffer, especially when you compare it to the complicated, slightly boxy dashboard of Hootsuite. It is also much easier to use on mobile, which is great if you’re regularly posting on the go.

Overall, we liked Buffer. However, if you’re looking for a social media management platform, then Buffer isn’t probably isn’t for you, not because it’s a bad tool (far from it), but because it’s just not what Buffer is meant for. It is great for helping you publish and schedule content, is very user friendly and its simplicity is definitely a winning factor.

Note: None of these platforms allow posting to Instagram if you don’t have a business profile. The only way to post on Instagram is via the official Instagram account. If you are interested in scheduling your Instagram posts then the Buffer mobile app won’t actually post your photos, but will handle them and alert you when the next one should be posted.

Despite its limitations, we’re giving Buffer a 7/10.

 

Sprout Social:

Sprout Social is designed to do just about anything regarding the management of your business’ social media channels. It even offers social listening and influencer identification features and has some social customer relationship management (CRM) functionality.

Like Hootsuite, Sprout allows you to author a message, choose which account it comes from, attach photos, shorten links and choose a target audience from the main feed dashboard. It alsol offers a draft function so you can save posts that aren’t ready for publication and return to them later. A really useful feature on Sprout Social is within the publishing department with its ‘audience discovery’ function. This highlights people or accounts it thinks you may be interested in, as well as spammy or robotic accounts you should probably unfollow. This is the only software (that we have come across) that has this function, and we found it extremely useful.

Whilst all plans include a 30 day free trial, the cheapest monthly package starts at £69 per month (Premium plan), with the most expensive costing £179 a month (Enterprise plan). It is the most expensive platform by far. However, with one of the highest levels of user satisfaction, at 93%, it seems to be worth it.

It makes social management easy and lets team members collaborate over its platform, meaning it is a brilliant tool for customer service. We tested it by assigning customer queries/questions evenly between our digital team and it worked seamlessly, meaning we were able to deliver perfect customer service, and never leave a customer’s query ignored or left for longer than an hour.

Overall, we found sprout social great for engaging with users, easy and effective to publish across multiple platforms seamlessly, and great for analytics. Essentially, it removes the need to log into your accounts altogether by combining everything you need into one place.

Although pricey, we’re rating Sprout our top pick with a 9/10 from us.

 

Of course you could just stick to using the social media platforms themselves, but then you’d be missing out on the host of benefits provided by management software, from saving your precious time to boosting the impact of your posts. For us, Sprout Social came out on top, but we thoroughly recommend testing a few out. Buffer would be great for those use starting out and Hootsuite is perfect for those on a slightly tighter budget.

Why Businesses can No Longer Afford to Ignore Social Customer Service

Businesses can no longer afford to ignore social customer service.

For years, customer service has consisted of private conversations between a customer and a customer service advisor. Although this format still exists, social media has made a huge difference to the way businesses communicate with customers.

Because of the public nature of social media, conversations between customers and companies are gaining more and more exposure. A survey of more than 1,000 people by Sprout Social found that 46% of the respondents have “called out” or complained about a business on social media. This public declaration of dissatisfaction with a product/service can have catastrophic consequences for brands if not dealt with properly. The risk associated with not responding professionally and efficiently, or even not responding at all are remarkably damaging. Shauna Adamson took to Facebook to vent her disappointment with make up brand, Urban Decay. This post has had over 2,000 views on the original post, that’s not including shared views. “It’s not that I wanted a refund or free makeup,” Shauna said. “I just wanted to warn people.” You can see how damaging this singular post can be, even to a globally renowned make up brand.

 

An example of the importance of social listening comes from this viral tweet:

Because someone was monitoring Waterstones Twitter account, they were able to act immediately and then tweet 80 minutes later to inform twitter they had freed their previously captive customer. Imagine how this could have turned out if Waterstones customer service had not been monitoring their twitter account that day. 

According to Sprout Social, 30% of people will go to a competitor when ignored on social media, and 26% will be less likely use the company’s product or service. Such consequences are great for customers because they help keep businesses accountable, this is one of the reasons why social media customers service is more important than ever.

The benefits of responding quickly, positively and effectively to customer queries/complaints online are clear to see:

70% are more likely to use your product or service

75%  are likely to share the good experience on their own social media profile

73% will share the positive interaction with their friends

To takeaway – utilise social media customer interactions in order to create strong and lasting relationships with customers, and increase the likelihood of future revenues. Here at Sans Frontiere, we work with clients to help manage and maintain their social media presence, including all aspects of social media customer service. 

Traditional Marketing – Is there still a place for it?

Current conversation around digital marketing may lead you to think that billboards and TV adverts became extinct back in 2012. Of course this is not the case, but there’s no denying that modern marketing channels seem a lot more relevant compared to their analog counter parts.

It is difficult to argue the fact that digital methods offer a number significant advantages over traditional methods like outdoor advertisements, leafleting and print. But the question does need to be asked, does traditional marketing still have relevance in a modern business’ marketing strategy?

Digital marketing’s advantages over traditional medias are compelling. Consumers are constantly becoming savvier, more informed and better equipped when it comes to their buying habits. This is making more traditional marketing methods less appealing, and are therefore losing effectiveness in many markets. People like choosing what content they are seeing, they like interacting with brands and they want to do their own research. Digital marketing appeals directly to these needs, and captivates an audience much more strongly than a billboard or a radio advert.


You don’t need to take my word for it, there are plenty of stats to back these ideas up:

89% of customers use search engines to influence their purchase decisions. 

72% of marketers at the enterprise level consider SEO a successful tactic for achieving marketing objectives like lead generation and increased web traffic. 

18% of local searches lead to a sale within 24 hours. 

89% of consumers search for local businesses on their phone at least once per week, and 58% do so daily.

61% of consumers have their purchasing decisions influenced by custom content.

• Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and creates roughly 3 times as many leads.

82% of companies with blogs see positive ROI from their inbound marketing.


Does this mean we should abandon traditional methods for good? Will we never see a billboard again? Will London’s underground escalators be free from irrelevant, jargon filled screen ads forever!? 

Despite what these stats might suggest, there is still a place for traditional marketing media…

Tactics such as TV and radio ads can also be highly effective at mass market branding. Brand recognition developed this way can be leveraged to improve the performance of an existing digital content marketing campaigns.

Outdoor campaigns, such as billboards, phone boxes and other physical adverts, when strategicly placed, can be a great way to improve brand awareness.

Unlike other forms of advertising, billboard ads are competing against truly extreme distractors: high speeds (when placed near roads), distances that could make them illegible, general worldly distractions , to name just a few. But these challenges continue to make advertisers more creative:

 

 

 

 

 

A fantastic use of outdoor advertising, Alaska Airlines created this artwork to visually demonstrate their route to Disneyland. A compelling message amplified by an unexpected format.

“Bite” for Formula Toothcare.

This strong image reinforces their claim “builds strong teeth” in a real and tangible way.

Ads don’t need to be flat. Think laterally and involve otherwise disturbing elements like corners and cracks to enhance your message.

Use locations where viewers are not expecting to be reached. Disrupt the scenery with an ad where the audience gets, quite literally, immersed in.

Overall, the death of traditional media may not be as severe as suggested, and it does still have a place in the marketing industry. A diverse marketing strategy may yield the best results, as focusing solely on digital or traditional methods may mean foregoing the best medium for a particular message.

3 Reasons Why Maintaining a Social Media Presence is Crucial to any Business

3 Reasons Why Maintaining a Social Media Presence is Crucial to any Business

Tim Martin, Weatherspoon’s chairman, has recently announced that the company will be closing down all social media accounts effective immediately – “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion,” Mr Martin stated last week.

The reason behind this abandonment of all social channels is still under scrutiny, however it has been mentioned that Mr Martin was unhappy with the large presence of internet trolls taking aim at Weatherspoons social accounts. It is true, social media is sometimes unpleasant. People often write things they wouldn’t dream of saying were they face to face with someone, however there is a lot of relevant research that might suggest that was an ill-informed decision:

1 – Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO – search engines know which sites are actively getting hits, and which are just floating out there in the internet stratosphere. A marketing strategy that aims at increasing Search Engine Optimisation is a crucial part of any approach, and driving traffic to your page via social channels will allow them to climb much higher in the search engine results pages. By eradicating all social media in one brutal hit, you have to question the benefits Mr Martin is hoping to gain aside from a short term peak in publicity.

2 – Social Media is the most efficient tool to connect with and interact with your consumers – If you’re doing it right, social media will lead to real relationship building. Part of what makes platforms like Twitter and Instagram marketing so valuable is the interaction you get to have with your customer base – you can read their tweets, like their pictures, and reply to their direct messages. Insights are more valuable than ever, and with the ability to spot trends and recognise your audiences at the touch of a button, the question remains, why delete all forms of social media?

3 – Users are receptive – If someone is following you, chances are they want to know about you, may you be a business, and friend, or a funny looking dog. Because users are making this choice, they are likely to be receptive of your accounts activity. Because of the way social media started (purely as a platform created to socialise with friends) people widely still don’t view Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as marketing machines. As a result, they are less likely to see your posts as advertisement and be more interested in what you have to say. Tim Martin assured the press that he would be keeping up appearances via more traditional media and press outlets, however whether or not his target audience would receive this form of advertisement as well as they would a social media campaign is still to be decided.

Regarding the decision, Tim Martin said “We are going against conventional wisdom”, this may be true, but I believe that this will not have the positive impact that Mr Martin is hoping to make. In a few weeks time when this strategic move is no longer being spoken about, Weatherspoon’s will be left under represented in the social media world, the ramifications of which are soon to be discovered.

Helena Haycock

Mobile has overtaken desktop for viewing websites. Are you missing out on sales?

Mobile has overtaken desktop for viewing websites

Mobile has overtaken desktop for viewing websites. With today’s mobile workforce, many potential customers are away from desktop computers and accessing your website on their mobile devices. By not having a mobile optimised site, you will be missing out on your key customers and ultimately, missing out on sales.

Common mistakes for websites on mobile

  • The text is too small so users can’t read the website without zooming in. Desktop sites are being squashed into a mobile screens.
  • Calls to action and buttons are in the wrong place or too small, so users can’t move around your website and make purchases.
  • Your company phone number or address is not prominent enough; users on mobile usually need this information so they can get in touch quickly.

If your website is making these mistakes get in touch and we can review your website.

What are the causes of mobile user increase?

  • Social media has been a huge driver; 90% of Facebook’s daily active users access it via mobile and users are clicking links to your website.
  • Email data tell a similar story; 54% of emails are now opened on mobile so customers are clicking to your website on their mobile.
  • People are searching differently; Google announced last year that there are more searches on mobile than tablet and desktop combined

What does that mean for your existing website?

Quite simply, in a World where mobile has overtaken desktop for viewing websites, you could be missing out on sales and revenue. Some argue that customers do not always purchase via mobile, but even so, they will definitely be researching your products and services to make a purchase later. If your website does not supply this product information easily then you may be negatively impacting your sales. An update last year by Google resulted in non-mobile websites falling down search results ranking, so your company website will be harder to find by your customers and competitors will be displayed instead.

Fighting off the sharks. How we do WordPress security.

Keeping the sharks out at Sansfrontiere Marketing

At Sans Frontiere, we don’t use a single generic approach to security for all websites and web applications.

As an example, for WordPress sites, we employ a WordPress specific security policy that involves a WordPress specific firewall and a WordPress-centric approach to security hardening.

Did your eyes just glaze over reading that last sentence? If so, you might prefer a metaphor or an analogue for all this techie stuff.

Boats versus Sharks!

If your WordPress website or application is an ocean liner (or even a modest yacht or a tug boat), imagine it floating on the high seas, surrounded by sharks. The sharks want to get into the boat and wreak havoc so they circle your boat, trying to find a vulnerability.

Now your boat could be ultra modern or a nice old vessel, lovingly looked after to keep it seaworthy. In either case, seaworthiness and the ability to fend off the sharks are two different things. Anti-shark defenses are an essential addition to any boat, if you’re serious about keeping the sharks out.

At Sans Frontiere Marketing, we don’t just build websites and launch them onto the sea with a fanfare, leaving them exposed to the predators that we know wait, just out of sight. We equip each vessel we build with a host of anti-shark devices and build in real-time communications to keep us constantly in-touch with every disturbance, every ripple in the water, that your boat encounters. So we know when something changes or when something is blocked or when something needs our attention.

Exit metaphor

We use endpoint Firewalls – which basically means an Application firewall, built into your website. This cannot be bypassed like a Cloud based Firewall can and, since its hooked into your website, it knows what type of visitor each bit of traffic is. It can make better informed decisions and filter traffic more effectively. Its just a lot better.

We use WordPress specific security hardening, moving and renaming files, changing default WordPress values.

We install and manage real-time website monitoring and are notified as soon as something changes or needs updating.

We keep your WordPress core and all your plugins up to date. This means all security related patches are applied when they become available.

 

Why WordPress development can be a great option

Wordpress logo

WordPress development enables us.

Its true that WordPress development is one technique among many. So the question is: when to use WordPress.

WordPress is ostensibly a CMS (Content Management System). One among many, but also the World’s most popular CMS by quite a big margin. Not without good cause. WordPress is pretty amazing in many ways, especially given that its Open Source and free. But like any good tool, its as much about how its used as what its capable of. The capabilities only create potential. Not results by themselves.

So what can we do with WordPress and what are the advantages of using this amazing tool?

To see some finished examples of what can be done with the WordPress development approach, just take a look at our Portfolio of Work. Much of it has been achieved using WordPress development. The diversity of the websites in our portfolio, both in terms of design concepts and functionality, should convince you of the power and flexibility of WordPress in the right hands.

Our Portfolio

https://sansfrontiere.co.uk/work/

InstallersMate is a membership application that connects to the GasSafe API, allowing users to create their GasSafe notifications in a simple interface then have every other aspect of this process taken care of for them, including annual reminders, warranty certificates and more.

Cola Stoves is a searchable product database providing a simple interface for potential customers to search, filter and browse these sophisticated products in an intuitive way.

The Ecertsecure website is an attractive and effective online marketing device, showing off their products and services in a contemporary style. The same is true of its sister website, Emergesecure.

As well as a powerful marketing tool, the Ferroli website is doing high transaction ecommerce.

The SEAS website is a huge marketing tool also offering an events system and selling an array of memberships online.

What are the advantages of WordPress development?

Here are the core things:

  • WordPress is a very powerful CMS, out of the box. This means as well as getting a great website you also get great online tools for managing your site.
  • Its Open Source – this means that not only is the toolset free but there is a huge online community supporting WordPress developers. This has been one of the greatest successes of WordPress – to build such a huge online community. Its a big reason why WordPress has become ubiquitous.
  • WordPress is flexible and customisable. Unlike some CMS systems, the WordPress templating system is powerful and flexible. It means there are almost no limits imposed on the scope of what can be achieved in a creative sense. As well as this, the underlying logic of WordPress is flexible too, meaning that in the right hands, the application becomes almost a framework that facilitates development of bespoke functionality.
  • Its is continually evolving.
  • WordPress has an extensible architecture. In short, there are many thousands of very good 3rd party plugins available via the curated WordPress repository – many free and some paid, that add modules of functionality to the WordPress core, extending the scope of what can be achieved beyond almost all limits.

The bottom line however is that, in the right hands, leveraging the power of WordPress can mean huge savings getting an idea or a product off the ground. It means faster, more effective routes from concept to production. A modern marketing agency like ours would be crazy not to be taking advantage of this for our clients.

Examples of solutions that can be built using WordPress plus customisation.

  • Ecommerce
  • Events systems
  • Ticketing systems
  • Directories
  • Bespoke online applications and services
  • Multi-platform apps
  • Membership sites and community portals

If you would like to talk to us about leveraging the power of WordPress, please get in touch

Make Your Brand Accessible With User Experience

Your brand needs to be accessible. Today’s consumers have a wealth of resources at their fingertips that will influence their purchasing decision. That means you need to provide a positive user experience from the start so what’s the key to making brands accessible?

Younger consumers especially are very savvy and have high expectations for a smooth user experience when they are doing their research. User experience usually refers to the design of websites and apps, but your brand isn’t separate from the experience they have with your communications in all formats– your website, brochures, stores, social media. Their experiences with all these channels will influence their perception of you and your products.

For example, say a user lands on your website on their mobile phone and find that the text is too small for them to read and it’s slow to load. In those few seconds that they get frustrated and they navigate away from your site, you’ve lost that potential customer.

Or, they Tweet you a question about your product and you fail to answer. They feel ignored, and move on.

Let us also not forget that the first taste is always with the eyes: the presentation of your product is often just as important as the product itself. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and humans gravitate towards the aesthetically pleasing. Do not underestimate the value of a well-designed brochure, a beautiful showroom, and an attractive website.

Remember, you don’t have a second chance at a first impression.

Consider Apple – the master of marketing and branding. Sure, they make great products, but it’s the user experience as a whole that really makes them outstanding and aspirational.

Take their showrooms: sophisticated, airy, creative and modern. They create an atmosphere where their product can thrive. Imagine if Apple showrooms looked like the inside of Poundland – it wouldn’t have quite the same effect.

Plus, their showrooms have highly knowledgeable and helpful staff. Apple has an excellent reputation for customer service. Interaction with representatives of Apple contributes to a positive brand and product perception.

And finally their careful branding that from the start had clear differentiators to make them the hip choice of creative and innovators. Their price points and trendy appeal make their products aspirational.

At each touch point they ensure that their first impression is a positive one that’s on brand and provides an excellent user experience.

Evaluate your own brand from first impressions of your website and showroom through to customer service that’s offered post-purchase. How does the experience measure up?

We think there’s always room for improvement!

Social media is ONE important part of your marketing strategy

A recent article featured on MarketingWeek questions the effectiveness of social media usage in marketing campaigns in terms of ROI. Does investment in social media marketing really lead to increased profits and higher company performance? How do you measure the success of a social media campaign? Are marketers wise to invest time, money and resources into social media advertising without a guarantee of success?

This has long been up for debate.

Social media advertising alone may not be sufficient to produce lucrative results for a business, but it is a key part of an integrated marketing campaign. Here’s why.

More than a logo

The benefits of social media marketing go way beyond potential financial gains for a company – increased brand recognition, accessibility and loyalty, and better search engine rankings are just a few of the potential positive outcomes.

Social media creates opportunities for action and engagement with your existing and potential customers. Having an active social presence demonstrates to your customers that you are transparent, open to dialogue and willing to offer customer service where they find it easy to access. It humanizes your business.

Insight

Engaging with your audience also provides you with insight. Monitoring social media behaviours and responses helps businesses understand customers’ needs and interests. Do they respond better to cute cats or cute dogs? This is so valuable when you are planning campaign messaging and targeting.

Plus, if you play it right, it’s a great way to get honest feedback (good or bad!) that can help you improve your service and business as a whole.

It’s expected

Most B2C and many B2B brands have embraced, to varying degrees of enthusiasm, social media as part of their marketing and customer service strategies. You don’t want to lose out to competitors who undermine your legitimacy because they are happily active on Twitter and you are not. Give the people what they want.

Developing a social media presence is crucial to a business for relationship building and growing your audience, as well as improving the overall customer experience. The amount of time required to invest in social media marketing, set up and maintain profiles is minimal compared to the potential benefits your company is likely to gain in the long run.

In action: Deliveroo

The London based start-up and upmarket takeaway service, Deliveroo, has recently raised a huge amount of venture funding and is rapidly expanding its services to cities across the world.

Does Deliveroo have an established social media presence? An unequivocal YES, with Facebook and Twitter pages maintained and updated regularly, often multiple times a day.

However the key thing to ‘takeaway’ (couldn’t resist, sorry) is that while they’re making great headway with new audiences on social, this is only ONE part of Deliveroo’s marketing campaign.

They’re an internet business! You order on an app! Surely all their advertising is online? Wrong.

Recently I’ve seen a huge push in Brighton, where I live, with distribution of direct mail flyers, advertising on buses and uniformed Deliveroo staff out and about across town, highly visible and engaging directly with the public. They are still embracing traditional channels and as a whole, it’s working. They’re in the real world.

Social media is a huge part of their strategy that drives those conversions after initial awareness and offers a way to interact with customers.

But you can’t stop there.

Social media alone is not enough of marketing strategy on it’s own, but even though ROI can be less tangible than cold hard cash, social activity and advertising are key ingredients to a marketing campaign heading for success – make sure you’re on board!

For information on how Sans Frontiere can assist you with implementing and managing a social media presence and advertising campaign for your company, please do get in touch for a free consultation.

What is Rankbrain and does it affect your SEO?

What is Rankbrain

Last week, Bloomberg revealed that a “very large fraction” of the countless search queries that Google receives every hour, minute and second are now being interpreted by Artificial Intelligence, reinforcing Google’s position at the very cutting edge of search.

Nicknamed Rankbrain, this AI now handles some 15% of all search queries – specifically it helps to handle those that are longer and complicated or ambiguous in wording. Reports show that Rankbrain has been more effective at ranking pages correctly than Google engineers.

AI

Now for some people, who possible binge watched too many Terminator movies over the Halloween weekend, this may conjur images of AI taking over the world. Rankbrain may not quite have the same sense of eerieness that a Skynet or HAL 2000 creates but it may still raise some questions.

However for marketers and those handling their own marketing, there’s an equally scary (and much more real) range of questions out there. Namely, What is Rankbrain and does it affect your SEO?

 

Keywords as we may understand them are becoming less and less important, kind of.

 

In SEO, the usage of keywords is always developing. It used to be that you could succeed by plugging away keywords all over your website, and odds are you would rank.

As time went on, this led to the development of long-tail keywords, and changed how we viewed on page and domain keyword optimisation.

A large piece of RankBrain’s remit appears to be in ‘gut feeling’ and interpreting search in a context specific manner. Essentially it’s about knowing what you mean, even if you aren’t saying it. This varies from location specifics such as searching for ‘best fitness trainer’ in the UK vs the US to terminology variance like supplying the right data where somebody uses a colloquialism as opposed to a ‘correct’ term.

 

So how does this affect you?

 

Oddly enough, the personal injury lawyer market is nearly always at the cutting edge of search.  Staying ahead of the competition can be utterly dependent on SEO, much more than many other industries as that number one spot on search is key.

So how will they adapt?

If your website is optimised for a few keywords like ‘liability lawyer’ you may suffer, due to a lack of broadness or nuance. People are going to be searching for terms like “I fell, can I sue?”. Adapting to Rankbrain relies on adapting your content to answer these queries with unique and quality content.

And this carries over to whatever industry you’re working in. Your SEO isn’t about gaming keywords to ‘trick’ Google. It’s about answering your customer’s questions – if Google sees you as an ‘answer’ to a query they’ll bring the customer to you. This means that focused keyword optimisation may be less important, whereas context indicators and a broader range of keywords will become more important.

 

Don’t panic

 

Google have come out and said that Rankbrain is the 3rd most important ranking factor in their query algorithms. And they’ve said that as part of its rollout it may have been here for months, and may be affecting search for your website already.

Should you be scared? Running for the hills as you try to redesign your entire SEO strategy?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is no, because this isn’t anything new.

Google isn’t trying to ‘trick’ search marketers with new updates. It’s constantly trying to create a more effective search engine. So all the same rules apply. If your website is ticking the foundational boxes of modern, ‘good’ SEO then you have nothing to worry about.

If you’re providing great content, great user experience, great web design and answering your customer’s questions in ways then Google will see you as an authority on your subject and help you rank.

As you may have realised if you’re a small or medium company handling your own marketing that it’s a fast changing world – and your ability to succeed can rely on adapting. At Sans Frontiere we’re able to bring all the skill and knowledge of a full marketing department to your company, including digital and SEO expertise.

If you’re looking for a new strategy for 2015, need to update your SEO to reflect Rankbrain, or just want to find out what a marketing agency can do for you contact us to arrange a free consultation today.

The Essential Tip For Your Blog – Evergreen Content

Evergreen Content

So you’ve set up your blog or content resource. Now what do you write about?

If you’re a small or medium sized team it’s unlikely that you’ll have somebody dedicated to managing your content output full-time.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t maximise the potential of your content though. Evergreen Content is the most efficient way for you to use your content marketing.

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen

Evergreen takes its name from evergreen trees. Trees which are full of life the whole year around. Like those trees, evergreen content is sustainable and long lasting. It doesn’t fade away.

“Of course it doesn’t disappear.” You may be thinking. Your articles or blog will be there as long as your website exists. But many articles quickly loose relevance, nobody is searching for them. Your article is resigned to the Google graveyard never to be read again.

Sometimes it’s easier to visualise these things with an example.

You notice that everyone’s talking about the Rugby World Cup, so you theme an article around this (“What the Rugby World Cup tells us about _____”). Which is fine and good. Plenty of people will be searching for the Rugby World Cup, and you may pick up some website views and some leads.

But a week later, and you’re getting no more views, and no more leads. This is because nobody is searching for anything related to the RWC. And the same goes for any other news/fad/time specific piece of content. It will inevitably become obsolete and stop generating any leads – and stop being a resource for your business.

Why does evergreen content work?

Evergreen content works because it will generate sustainable views and leads long into the future.

Let’s use the Rugby World Cup example, in its first week that article may have gained 5000 views. In its second week that drops to 2500. And then after that it never gets another view. Your evergreen content will generate those views month on month on month.

Evergreen Content

This doesn’t just make evergreen content an effective content technique, it’s an effective marketing technique. Let’s say that you decide to purchase a call list. Once you’ve exhausted that list, how do you get more leads? You have to pay for another.

With Evergreen content once you’ve paid for the set up of that article, it’s a constant resource that will generate more and more leads as time goes on – without requiring constant reinvestment.

 

Examples of evergreen content

There are a huge range of formats that fall under evergreen. Below we’ve put some of the most popular.

  • Lists
  • Top tips
  • ‘How to’ guides

These are formats that lend themselves to long-lasting content. Obviously it’s important that there is a focus on your business. That could be ’10 ways to check your boiler is working properly’ for a boiler company or ‘How to get the cheapest deals on flights’ for a money-saving website.

An easy way to come up with evergreen content ideas is to think of questions that people will be searching for. The more niche the better – as if you’re answering a question that nobody else has answered, you’ll be the first resource your customer comes to.

There will always be beginners. There will always be people who are new to your field and need to know the basics. And if they find an answer through you, it’s likely that next time they have a question they’ll come to you again. For these new customers, you become an authority on your subject, and you’ve built up a trust and brand loyalty. And all you needed to do was answer simple questions in an effective way.

In short:- Taking the time to create high quality evergreen content will go a long way towards bringing in new leads, boosting your website’s authority and changing your overall perception as a leader within your industry.

 

Working with Sans Frontiere

If you want to leave your content in safe hands. We can set up your blog with bespoke web design, create content for your business, and then ensure through paid search and display and organic SEO – that your content gets out to your audience.

Evergreen content is only one method that Sans Frontiere can use to deliver marketing solutions to your business. We also provide a range of services including design and branding and will work with you to find the right strategy for your company.

For a free consultation regarding your business, and the benefits of working with a marketing agency, contact us today.

The Signs That You Should Be Working with a Marketing Agency

The signs that you should be working with a marketing agency

For many small or medium sized businesses, when you start out it makes sense to ‘do it yourself’ for a while across a variety of roles. It cuts costs, and maybe you find it easier to work that way. But inevitably that will change with time. You might find yourself hiring a dedicated sales person, or someone to handle admin.

This is part of the natural life of business. Changes like this can be essential to promoting growth for your organisation.

And much as you wondered about hiring a sales team or support team, you may start to wonder if doing your marketing yourself isn’t the best approach.

Below are a few of the signs that it’s time for you to start looking at getting someone else to handle your marketing needs.

You aren’t doing it yourself

shutterstock_247865356

It’s easy to understand why this happens. You’re a busy person doing the things that busy people do. So every time you’re looking at your workload it’s easy to move marketing to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list.

If this happens more than a few times, your marketing may start to become a fixture on the ‘to do’ list. And one that’s never going to end up on the ‘done’ list.

Because Marketing is often a slow process that requires a certain amount of planning and strategy, it’s never going to be top of your priority list. You’ll find yourself making an excuse to bump it down the list while you put out fires elsewhere. And longterm this is damaging.

However, for a marketing agency – it’s the only thing we do. And is always top of the priority list.

You are doing it yourself (but not well)

marketing for dummies

Let’s say that you have taken all the responsibilities of the marketing department onto your shoulders. You’ve read (or at least thumbed through) a copy of ‘Marketing for Dummies’, you think you’ve got a good grasp on this whole SEO thingy, so you give it all a go.

Cut to several months down the line. The leads aren’t coming in. That big re-brand project you thought about took too long so you rushed and now half of your materials have the old logo on and half have the new one. You log in to Twitter for the first time in weeks, take to your keyboard like the ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey and get confused when #pleasebuymy[insertproduct]pleaseamidoingthisright doesn’t immediately trend worldwide.

odtssey2001_04

This might seem a deliberately ridiculous scenario created for the purpose of blog articles. But it isn’t far from the truth. There’s a lot that can go wrong.

Marketing with poor results can be worse than not marketing at all. As well as wasting your time on fruitless campaigns, there’s a very real chance that you could be doing long-term damage to your brand.

And there’s nothing wrong with not being able to do it yourself. Nobody is expected to be an expert on everything, and knowing when you need to find outside help or delegate is a key.

In working with an agency, you have much more of a guarantee of quality. After all, if we did bad work – we wouldn’t exist anymore!

You don’t know how (or why) you’re doing well

Shooting Blind

This is somewhat related to the above points. Although it may not seem that bad – if, for example – you see a sudden boost in views to your website. In fact that might seem like a good thing. But how did they get there? Was it that eshot you sent out? Or a radio ad promotion?

If you aren’t able to monitor your own marketing efforts, it’s likely that you’re not being efficient in your output. And you might be getting the wrong idea. You might be sending out Facebook Updates at three am and when no-one sees them coming to the conclusion that Social Media doesn’t work.

An agency will look at your sector, your business and your goals. And the strategy we come up with will prevent you from squandering any potential opportunities, as well as monitoring your successes to show why they’re working.

This approach is, obviously, more effective that the shot in the dark approach to your marketing.

You wish you had a marketing department, but don’t have the budget

Marketing Budget

Perhaps you have looked into it. You realise that you need a dedicated marketing team. But then you’ve done the math. And you probably didn’t like what you found. Hiring a marketing department is expensive. Below are the average salaries for several marketing roles as based on the Hayes Salary Guide 2015 (based on a typical salary for a role in the South East).

Digital Marketing Manager – £50,000

Campaigns Manager – £32,000

Press Officer – £30,000

Marketing Executive – £28,000

Marketing Asssistant – £20,000

And that is a minimal marketing department. Adding in SEO specialists, Graphic designers, web developers and more means that a full service marketing department can be costly.

In addition to this is the upkeep of marketing tools. To increase efficiency, productivity, performance and keeping up with industry best practice – we use tools such as Hootsuite, Raven Tools and more. And all of these have monthly fees.

As you can see the benefit of working with a marketing agency isn’t just that we’ll do the job better than you can, it’s also a cost-effective measure. You can hire a complete marketing team from the cost of one employee.

If you’ve seen the signs that you should be working with a marketing agency, then Sans Frontiere are here to help. We bring 18 years of experience in marketing to your business. Offering you all the benefits of your own full-service marketing department, from design to digital, without the cost.

For a free consultation, our team can be reached at 01273 487 800 today.

Why Website Security Should Be A Priority

Website security was, for a long time, a problem for the webmasters of big corporate sites, ecommerce sites or other mission critical sites to solve. Today it affects every website from the smallest blog to the biggest retailer.

In the last few years the Internet has seen an exponential rise in malicious activity against websites. This can range from a crude attempt to brute force user accounts or FTP accounts to sophisticated exploitation of cross-domain scripting vulnerabilities or poor code. Primarily it is about the monetization of other people’s property and resources but it can also be just maverick behavior, a bit of fun or simply showing off!

Hacked websites can be often used to advertise questionable content or recruited into a cluster of zombie sites and simply used as resources. They can have malicious content posted into them or simply ‘taken down’. None of these scenarios are going to be in any way beneficial to the owner of the site and can often destroy the reputation or trust that a site has. In real terms, all SEO with Google can be lost when the search engine detects that a site has been compromised.

Because of the number of malicious attempts we see against the sites we host, we recommend as a minimum, every website now needs the following:

  • A web application firewall
  • A strong password policy
  • Strict permissions for key files

Additionally and ideally, also:

  • Failed username / password lockout
  • Regular scans for malicious code or core changes
  • Real-time alerts for logins, changes or suspicious activity
  • Weekly monitoring for upgrades
  • Daily backups
  • Disaster recovery

At Sans Frontiere we take website security very seriously and treat every site we build with the same level of protection, as standard. We also have options for additional layers of security should one of our clients wish to extend their protection even further.

To find out more about our in-house security policy, please get in touch.

It’s OK To Be Emotional: Why You Can’t Ignore Brand Strategy

It’s ok to be emotional.

In fact, it’s completely necessary.

That brands play on the emotions of potential customers is nothing new (hello, John Lewis Christmas adverts!).

Ever since advertising went from purely functional to emotional rationales, consumer choices are increasingly influenced by brand perception.

After all, a pair of shoes isn’t just a pair of shoes. Our choices communicate to the world who we are.

But sometimes we forget why emotional values are so important. For example, we can lose sight when we want to run a sale, or we just want to ‘get something out there’ in a rush to try and grab people’s attention. We think the discount will be enough to do the trick or that putting up enough billboards up will solve a problem.

But over the long term, investing money in marketing without a clear brand strategy can be like chucking cash into the wind. You won’t find the loyalty from customers that keeps businesses thriving and overall adds value to your efforts. You might as well just do coupons.

Of course, we can’t all be Apple (who doesn’t actually do sales, because they don’t have to) who has meticulously built incredible value into their brand; they have a $1billion advertising budget. One can only dream!

But even small retailers should understand the importance of brand value and how it can have a significant impact on their sales.

There’s a difference between ‘cheap and cheerful’ and just plain cheap; vintage and outdated; luxurious and ostentatious. It can often be a fine line.

So how do you create a brand that reflects you in away that’s positive and meaningful?

Determine what defines your business: your core values and unique selling points. Those definitions, or brand values, need to be consistent across all your communications; visually, in your copywriting, your customer service, etc. They will help you build your mission statement, which should drive all your activity.

Why? Your brand strategy will help you justify the right marketing investments and provide a path for your overall marketing and business strategy, helping you define your target audience and establishing a clear consistent voice.

Do you want to learn more about how a strong brand can improve your business? Get in touch and we would be happy to provide a free of charge, no obligations consultation.

Collaboration is Key for Campaign Success

We have recently been hard at work promoting the upcoming South of England Show with the South of England Agricultural Society (SEAS). So far, online ticket sales are up 350% from last year, so we must be doing something right.

As the campaign has taken shape we have really noticed how the key to success has been close collaboration with the SEAS in-house team.

Relationships between in-house marketing teams (even if it’s a one-person team!) can sometimes get hectic when everyone is busy, but it’s so important to retain open and clear communication channels so that both client and agency can deliver to the highest standard in their respective roles.

Agencies should invite their clients to offer their insight and ideas; their input is invaluable as, after all, they know their business best. This can often really help clarify expectations and when they feel more comfortable sharing with you, can provide much more detailed briefs.

Having previously been on the client, I know it doesn’t feel nice when you’re not sure what’s happening, as it’s happening, and feeling like you have no control or your opinions aren’t valued.

Our recent experience with SEAS has resulted in great work, a happy client and a happy agency. Collaborating with them closely has truly made it feel like everyone’s success when the numbers come in.

Client insight and agency expertise is a potent combination – it has often resulted in the most innovative and successful projects that we have done with our clients.

 

Chantal Yeung Dresner is the Digital Marketing Manager at Sans Frontiere. You can contact her at chantal@sansfrontiere.co.uk or call 01273 487800.

New videos for the South of England Show

Summer time is fast upon us and that means… we’re getting ready for the South of England Show! We’ve just put up these fab new videos that highlight how wonderful the show is.

We were also thrilled to get the news today that online ticket sales are up 350% from last year! We’ve been working with the South of England Agricultural Society on an Earlybird tickets campaign and getting the word out online through social media and digital advertising – and it seems to be working!

Google Update: Now It’s REALLY Important Your Website Is Mobile-friendly

Starting April 21st, mobile-friendliness will become an increasingly significant Google ranking factor with the roll out of a new Google Update to search algorithms. Search is the most common starting point for mobile research – we know how important search and mobile are, and have for some time. Why are there still some people out there dragging their feet?

Mobile is close to surpassing desktop usage. Marketers need to address that consumers are “multiscreening”, accessing retail sites on mobile or desktop.

Back to Google. They release a lot of updates. Is this one a big deal? Yes. “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results” – straight from the horses’ mouth.

What should you do? Check if your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, you’ll need to make improvements. Or you may even need to completely re-think your website, if it hasn’t been updated for a while. For example, is it responsive? Would you benefit from having an app?

These are things that need to be seriously considered, and merit investment.

Here’s some food for thought…

Mobile websites turn visitors into customers

Whilst nearly 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly site, 96% of consumers say they’ve encountered site that were clearly not designed for mobile devices. This is big opportunity for companies seeking to engage with mobile users.

  • When they visited a mobile-friendly site, 74% of people say they’re more likely to return to that site in the future.
  • 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a product or service from that site.

About responsive design

Responsive design is a “write once, run everywhere” style of designing websites. Rather than building separate sites for each web and mobile device, responsive design creates a single website that intelligently adjusts its layout and features based on how it’s being viewed.

Chantal Yeung Dresner is the Digital Marketing Manager at Sans Frontiere. You can contact her at chantal@sansfrontiere.co.uk or call 01273 487800. 

UK Brands Need To Up Their Customer Experience Game

Today I read in Marketing Week that US brands are outperforming their UK counterparts on customer experience in nearly every industry.

Yikes.

You may not be in immediate danger of losing customers to US brands – it would be hard to eat in a restaurant in New York instead – but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to sit up and take notice.

Brand loyalty is incredible important in a highly competitive marketplace. We all know that it’s a lot easier to sell something to one of your existing customers than it is to sell to a brand-new one. Customer experience is an integral part to building loyalty and trust, and of course, for repeat business.

Apparently, UK customers don’t seem to expect as much in terms of customer experience, but when times are tough and disposable income is harder to come by, it becomes increasingly important that brands treat their customers well and reinforce that they made the right purchase decision.

Middle ground brands are the brands struggling the most to make improvements. How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

The first thing that comes to mind is increasing your level of interaction in a way that’s beneficial and appropriate to your customer – often, through digital channels. Marketers can make a huge difference to how your brand is perceived by existing customers through messaging, optimising each interaction. This also means that your strategy needs to be integrated in a way that appears seamless and offers clarity for your customer.

It’s worrying that UK brands scored lower in areas like Integrity, Empathy and Problem Resolution – this is well within our control to improve by examining how, what, where and why brands are expressing themselves.

 

Chantal Yeung Dresner is the Digital Marketing Manager at Sans Frontiere. You can contact her at chantal@sansfrontiere.co.uk or call 01273 487800.