WE'RE A FULL SERVICE CREATIVE DESIGN AND DIGITAL AGENCY.
DESIGN. DEVELOP. DELIVER.

WE'RE A FULL SERVICE CREATIVE DESIGN AND DIGITAL AGENCY.
DESIGN. DEVELOP. DELIVER.

WE'RE A FULL SERVICE CREATIVE DESIGN AND DIGITAL AGENCY.
DESIGN. DEVELOP. DELIVER.

ARCHIVE POSTS


Good habits of digital marketers? What are they then?

I’ll come clean straight away on this post – I was reading a blog post one of my predecessors had written about 18 months ago entitled 5 Bad Habits of Digital Marketers and my first thought was – why the negative slant?

My own professional and personal take on things is far more positive. I am a realist and totally understand that things may not always go to plan. But there’s always a positive direction in my thinking and doing. Hence, why I decided to write about the 5 GOOD habits of digital marketers.

And when I thought to positively counter the original post, I actually wondered why would I list just 5 good habits of digital marketers, but here they are…

1. Always Measuring Digital Campaigns

One issue with the original blog post was about “forgetting to measure”, failing to take stock and evaluate, for a number of reasons ranging from the pace of work to fear of failure.

Well, every digital marketing campaign is under some sort of pressure, from results to timelines, so it’s a fact of life in the fast-paced digital world that time goes whizzing by and expectations are high for some campaigns. But that’s never an excuse to “forget to measure”.

It’s a given that you should be measuring your campaigns. You cannot run an effective campaign without measurement so just do it!

The sheer amounts of data are a lot to handle at times but good digital marketers filter through all the big data and only present the important stuff to clients. More signal, less noise, to use an analogy.

The numerous tools these days from Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google AdWords to Moz, Ahrefs and SEMrush all have dashboards showing historical data, some more than others. So, rely heavily on the tools that capture ALL data and just be aware of the ones that only show the last 90 days worth. Any digital marketer worth their salt knows which ones they are.

Download that data, label it clearly, have a good system and that will be the basis of your campaign measurement.

2. Being Cool About Data Capture

Customers, whether they’re businesses or consumers, are happy to divulge some data in return for information or free services. It’s acceptable these days to give some information away for free, just like we do in the Clever Marketing blog. We’re happy to give you tips and insights in the world of graphic design and web development, for nothing in return other than a smile on your face that we’ve helped you out. Better still is an acknowledgement or a social share and we’re always delighted when you share our blog posts and content on Twitter or Facebook.

(Ultimately, we’d really love you to be a customer of ours, whether you take us on for a print job, a website redesign or an SEO/PPC campaign, but let’s just get to know each other first)

However, if you want one of our free website audits, they will take a member of our digital marketing team at least half a day to complete; that’s 4 hours out of a skilled professional’s day, so it’s not much to ask for an email address to send your report to and to take a name with which to address the person who requested the website audit.

There are times when it would be useful for us to know, in return for our knowledge, which sector you’re in, how many staff you have etc. But some recipients of your email campaign, for instance, might baulk at divulging their turnover. That’s cool, we understand.

So, go easy on the data capture. The best, most experienced digital marketing agencies know where to draw the line – what to ask, when to ask it and how often. That’s a skill that comes with experience.

3. Knowing Content is Still King

I’ve been a digital marketer for nearly 20 years, being involved in SEO since 1998 and PPC since 2002. In all that time, the one thing that has always been at the heart of every website I’ve been involved in is good, solid content. Content is King, as the adage goes.

There have been some interesting situations in that journey such as traditional marketing managers saying that some of the content on their website was just “waffle” and that it either needed to go or be completely hacked down. Only when I pointed out that the content was both technically excellent and the top-performing article on the site by a country mile, did the person in question decide not to lose a quarter or more of their traffic overnight in a hasty hack.

Or how about the content curation for one client that involved a suite of articles around one fairly short-term topic that saw them dominate the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for that term for a number of months and, for a few days, saw their traffic spike something like fifteen-fold!

Or what about the client who built a brand new website and canned nearly four years of blog posts! We’re talking about not just a loss of traffic and losing a wealth of long-tail search terms but also the investment in time, effort and cost into those valuable pieces of writing.

So, good digital marketers understand that content is king still and they have a good habit of integrating content into digital strategies, both in-house and for their customers.

4. Selling the Sizzle Not the Steak

A traditional old sales and marketing adage is “sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

What this means is that even if the product is great and has the latest spec, top stats and all the bells and whistles, what differentiates the product or service from everyone else’s is that it brings certain benefits, it provides a solution to a particular problem.

We recently discussed this subject with a client who sells some very technical equipment. We aren’t experts in their field so we don’t understand all the technical specifications of their product, but we asked what the practical applications were and they were happy to give us some examples.

And this is the approach that is a good habit of a digital marketer – all the technical specs are fine but if you can provide a solution to an existing problem then you will resonate with potential customers.

So, this is where a good digital marketing agency will excel – they will mine out the benefits of your product or service and, with clever marketing, sell your sizzle and not just the steak.

5. Knowing that Specialisation is for Insects

Of course, your digital marketing agency will specialise in digital marketing. But it’s your agency having an understanding of all aspects of the digital and the marketing world that will help you shine as their client.

At Clever Marketing, Surrey, we do graphic design. That ends up in print. It can be everything from business cards, to flyers and brochures, pitch books and full-on publications, There are trade and exhibition stands, you name it, we print it.

These designs can very easily cross over to your digital assets too, we’ll rebrand and refresh your website design, revitalise your e-commerce site and then drive qualified traffic to it through digital marketing – that is, through organic SEO, Pay Per Click and social media too.

We are a full spectrum design and digital agency and we know how virtually everything interacts. So that’s the bonus you get from a Digital Marketing Agency that also understands print too.

Those are the Good Habits of Digital Marketers

At Clever Marketing we eat, sleep and breathe digital marketing so for us, it’s in our blood, it’s a daily routine and a perpetual habit. And there are many more good habits we could divulge but we’re already out of time…

If you’d like to work with this Surrey marketing agency then please do pick up the phone and call 020 3146 4341 or email info@cleverm.co.uk and we’ll be happy to be an extension of your business.

Paul Mackenzie Ross
Digital Marketing Manager



The benefits of working with a local design agency are many, but I’ll admit it – in nearly 20 years in digital, I’ve had the pleasure of working with people all over the world. Database consultants and clients in Canada, designers in The Netherlands. CMS experts in Australia, plugin developers in the U.S.A. and development teams in Brazil, China, India and some in Russia too. I ran one project that alone spanned 26 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with websites in 15 different languages including Arabic and Greek with close colleagues being Italians working in Switzerland.

But nothing beats working with a local design agency. Why?

As a client, one thing has so many benefits – and that’s simply being local.

Working in the Local Time Zone

The first benefit is that you and your local design agency are, very obviously, in the same time zone. Anywhere in the United Kingdom, you’re in the same time zone as your design team, so it goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning so that it can be really appreciated.

When I had a dev team in China I could be in the office at 9am in the morning but it would be 3pm for them. Just as I was starting my day, so they were finishing theirs. So there was an overlap of just a couple of hours. If you add into the mix your flexible working hours and daylight savings, then there can be times when there’s the possibility of not being around at the same time as your team. There might be days when you can’t see or speak with them, so it really depends on how crucial your project is.

At the other end of the scale, there have been team members in the United States and that’s a country spanning a number of time zones. For Brits, east coast USA is OK, with Boston, New York and Washington D.C. all being just 5 hours behind. However, clients in San Francisco are 8 hours behind, so planning a meeting with them, you’ll catch them as they get into the office just as you’re supposed to be leaving.

So, in the grand scheme of things, having a local web designer or graphics team is just brilliant.

How Local is Local?

So, by time zone standards, Lands End and John O’ Groats are on the same time. The only problem is that they’re at opposite ends of the country. Surely you can get more local than that?

And that is another thing – exactly how local is local?

I live in the suburbs of my town and within a mile or two are a few pubs. The nearest one I’ve not set foot in for years. It’s not my cup of tea. Then there are a few more mediocre ones, a really nice pub and then “my local”, The Prince of Wales – my pub of choice is 2 miles as the crow flies but nearly 3 miles by road. It’s less than 10 minutes drive there or a 40 min walk home. That, to me, is local.

From where I live, Clever Marketing is local. It’s about 15 miles away and a 30 min drive by car, so that’s local. I live in Farnborough, Hampshire, but work for a design agency in Surrey. And that’s fine by me. I could have stayed in Farnborough and only ever been 10 minutes away from home, but leafy Surrey isn’t hard to get to.

It’s the time that it takes to get to your design team that’s important – there’s the initial meeting to thrash out the design brief, then the additional project meetings when things need clarification in person and also the training sessions, inspecting the work, sending design proofs over, delivering finished product etc. By being local to your creative advisors, you can be at each other’s doors in no time. In Woking, we have a mainline to Waterloo, so the capital is less than 30 minutes away. What’s more, clients can save on “London prices” because we have lower overheads and no table-football in our studio.

All that said, I am visiting an SEO client in Essex on Thursday. Whilst they are on the other side of London, the trip around the M25 should only be about 90 minutes each way. So, that’s nearly half the working day spent travelling and you need to decide if that’s OK to maintain on a regular basis. If you’re taking on the services of a top digital marketing agency like Clever, then that should be well worthwhile.

Your Local Marketing Agency in Surrey

Any business in Woking is within 5-10 minutes of the Clever Marketing office/studio. Be aware that the massive Woking town centre redevelopment can add a little time to that right now, with road closures and traffic redirection, but if you can walk to our offices, that’s good.

Guildford too, is close to our design studio, within just half an hour’s drive, as are Addlestone, Aldershot, Bracknell, Camberley, Chobham, Addlestone, Farnborough, Fleet, West Byfleet, Weybridge… So the counties of Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey are all really close.

The advantages of a local agency are:

  • the speed at which you can reach each other
  • the costs of travel and delivery…
  • local knowledge

It really pays to shop local and I’d encourage you to call Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341 or email info@cleverm.co.uk for a friendly discussion about your next print or digital project.

Paul Mackenzie Ross, Digital Marketing Manager



Website Audits – piece of cake, right?

All you have to do is visit Hubspot or WebsiteOptimization.com etc. or any one of the many numbers of websites offering a free website audit, press a button and you’ve got a fully-fledged, audit of your website, detailing all the things you need to do fix it. All for free. All for just clicking a button…

Nope. Not quite.

They’re all good, these free website audit tools. They look at performance, mobile-friendliness, speed, SEO and security… But when you submit the URL of your business’ website you get an automated audit… and it’s not all there, we know.

Now that’s fine, nobody’s perfect, no tool is perfect, after all, these automated audits are like Swiss Army knives – they have a lot of things to do and some obscure things too. And if it’s not 100% then that’s OK.

But when you rely purely on the results of an automated audit to give you everything a webmaster needs in order to be able to optimise a website, then you’re not getting the full picture.

Let’s look at a couple of simple things an automated audit will not pick up…

XML Sitemaps

Take XML sitemaps for instance. They are essential for any website and, just as the HTML sitemap is a page for users to glance at your site structure, so the XML sitemap is submitted to the search engines and acts as the de facto, full-fat map of your site. The search engines crawl and index your site based on what they read in the XML sitemap and so these files are crucial to digital health and performance.

One tool that we used crawled the URL we input before spitting out the response that we had no XML sitemap.

Popppycock.

Why? Well, the well respected top ten website audit tool seemed to be programmed to find the sitemap at /sitemap.xml

However, with the website being in WordPress the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress likes to use /siteamp_index.xml and then include all the other aspects of your website as child sitemaps. The website audit tool didn’t identify this and thus failed this aspect of the audit.

It’s only experienced website design agencies, like Clever Marketing in Woking, who have years of experience in web design & development and can spot this straight away and audit your website correctly.

Website Security

Another automated website audit we ran showed that security was lacking. Why? Because there was no Secure Certificate and the site was not showing up HTTPS at the start of its URL.

Now an SSL cert is really important to securing a website but it is not the be-all and end-all of website security options. We had the login details for the website and were able to see that there was security plugin that performed a number of best practices for securing a website beyond SSL.

The trouble with an automated web audit is that it cannot tell whether you have taken security measures to protect your website. Only someone with those login details, experience and insights can spot whether you’ve taken those precautions or not.

Summary

These are just a couple of very simple examples of how an automated website audit will not pick up on some very basic aspects that are vital to your website. There are plenty of other examples too such as when an automated audit suggests you minify your JavaScript and CSS when you already are, etc.

What this means is that a Clever Marketing agency like ours is best placed to conduct a proper website audit. Additionally, we have access to some tools that are more cost effective when you do your website audit through us. We check for broken links, missing meta descriptions etc so we provide a full featured audit and are in a position to fix all the things that will make your website great again.

So, if you’re worried that your site needs to be faster, more secure, requires more optimisation to be seen in the search engines, your landing pages need to be converting more, then all you have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re on 0203 146 4341 or you can email info@cleverm.co.uk



2015 has been a huge year for mobile, and we’re sure that you don’t need us to tell you that mobile is one of the most important areas in which to concentrate your efforts going into 2016. 2014 was the year that browsing on mobile devices overtook that on the desktop, and mobile continues to grow in popularity, as does its influence upon shaping our browsing habits. Those brands who still haven’t optimised their websites for mobile run a very real risk of being left behind.

But it isn’t enough to simply make your website responsive, and then leave it that (we wish it was)! Much like the rest of the digital marketing world, the mobile dimension is constantly changing and moving forward, consistently improving the user experience. It’s no secret that consumers now expect websites to keep up with the newer, slicker phone models being introduced onto the market and to keep developing to make their online browsing even simpler and easier.

To keep you at the razor-edge of mobile digital marketing developments and help you to impress your users with a forward-thinking and easy to use website, in this post we’re discussing some of the most prominent recent changes in mobile navigation. In addition, we’ll be sharing some extra tips and tricks to help you keep improving your mobile navigation. Ready to get started?

Mobile navigation in 2015

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most popular and trends that have occurred in mobile navigation last year.

Hiding navigation

It’s becoming increasingly popular for websites to hide their navigation off-screen, and to only reveal the menu when a user interacts with the website in some way – either by clicking or hovering.  There tends to be a symbol in the top hand left side of the screen to denote the navigation, which then expands.

Why is this becoming popular? Hiding the navigation is a quick and easy way to reduce the clutter on a website, meaning that it appears cleaner, simpler and more minimalistic.

Why do users like it? A symbol denoting the navigation is simple and easy to understand for a user, and being presented with a straightforward and clean-looking website also means they won’t feel confused about what they’re supposed to do – therefore they’re more likely to stick around for a while!

Hamburger menus

As part of this hidden navigation, hamburger menus are now common. We guarantee that you’ll have seen a hamburger menu on a mobile website before, even if you don’t recognise the name. A hamburger menu is a little symbol consisting of three horizontal lines, which expands when you hover over it. It’s clean and efficient and has come to be recognised as best practice in mobile navigation.

Why is this becoming popular? It’s an established way to denote a hidden menu and is relatively straightforward in terms of design. Much like hiding the navigation in the first place, it helps to make your website appear cleaner and more simplistic.

Why do users like it? A hamburger menu is almost universally recognised by users now, so it provides them with a quick and easy way to navigate around your website. And as we all know, it’s all about convenience and ease when it comes to mobile!

There has been some debate about the efficacy of the hamburger menu and its impact on the user experience; although there is no real data to back this up.

Three steps to improving your mobile navigation

As you may have gathered, simplicity and ease is the name of the game when it comes to mobile navigation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to limit the number of layers of navigation you have. This boils down to one of the golden rules of digital marketing as a whole – reduce the number of clicks it takes to give a user what they want. Three levels is probably a good guideline.

In addition, it’s not enough to have a simplistic and slick looking menu icon; copywriting has an important role to play too. Again, it’s all about making things easy – keep your copy clear, short and concise and it will work alongside your intuitive navigation to get your users where they need to be.

Where you can, consider using images in your navigation to visually demonstrate each category (supermarkets do this particularly well).

How’s your mobile navigation looking? 

Let us know if you need your local web design agency, Clever Marketing, to work on your mobile-friendly website for you. Call us on 020 3431 4346 or email info@cleverm.co.uk



As marketers in the digital world, we’re always looking forward. What new platforms do we need to consider? What new technologies should we adopt? With some much noise and buzz going on in the industry, we rarely take the time to examine existing processes and values and really evaluate these for effectiveness. However, in reality, it’s sometimes our ingrained habits that are holding us back more than lack of moving forward.

In this post, we’ll be taking you through 5 of the bad habits in digital marketing we see most often, and how you can make sure you’re not making them. Make sure you crack them now and start 2016 on a high!

Forgetting to measure

We’re always focused on what more we can be doing in our digital marketing; constantly pioneering, terrified of being left behind or being thought of as old-fashioned. We jump from one rushed campaign to the next, propelled forth by targets, sales goals and numbers.

The one thing that often gets overlooked in this constant cycle? Measurement. We forget to stop, take stock, evaluate. When really, this is one of the most important things you can do in terms of planning your next campaign.

Metrics reveal the real story of your campaigns. Take the time to review and discuss results, and this will allow you to augment your next campaign with this in mind, rather than stabbing in the dark. This makes everyone happy, as it ensures you get the most out of your budget, too.

Finally, a point on data accuracy. There’s no point reviewing and using your data if it’s filled with spam, bots and fake clicks. Make sure you indulge in a bit of data clean-up before sharing your numbers.

Being too aggressive about data collection

No one likes to feel like just another number in a database, and consumers are more aware of the dangers online now more than ever – and are paranoid at being watched. It’s a sensitive issue. Constantly inundating your customers with data requests like newsletter sign-ups, contest entry forms and seeking social followers may actually work to damage your company brand. Consider limiting the frequency of these kinds of emails or campaigns, interspersing them with content which offers real value to a customer.

In the same vein, what many marketers forget is that it’s all about the quality of leads, rather than the quantity. Better to have 50 good quality leads than 5,000 useless ones.

Underestimating content

Believe it or not, there are still companies out there who don’t believe in content. They don’t can’t easily correlate it directly to sales, so refuse to make it a part of their strategy. These are the companies who are fast becoming dinosaurs in the digital space.

Because content not only offers valuable and interesting information for your readers, building brand trust and authenticity and positioning you as a thought leader in your field, it offers multiple benefits in terms of search and SEO, too. The more high quality and varied content you have, the more likely you are to rank for your keywords.

Being “product-blind”

When you spend every day discussing, talking about and marketing your product, it’s pretty easy to forget to focus on your product’s actual benefits, rather than just the details.

What marketers should really concentrate on doing – what consumers need us to do – is tell them how our product solves one of their problems. Explain what it does, but in a way which illuminates why it’s relevant to them. Why should they care about your product?

Individual features and details should only follow these foundation stages. Remember, people won’t buy what they don’t understand.

Operating in silos

This is perhaps the most common mistake we come across here at Clever Marketing.

No one type of marketing works on its own; everything is in its own way interconnected. Social media links to your website. Emails link to customer service, your print ads link to everything. They’re all part of a larger, more cohesive strategy, so it doesn’t make sense to treat them all as individual disciplines. Ensuring all areas are operating on the same set of guidelines and augmenting each other will create an intuitive lifecycle for your customer, building your brand and encouraging engagement.

Does your in-house team or your current provider have any of these 5 bad habits of digital marketers? Do you need a Surrey digital agency, Clever Marketing, to look after your SEO and PPC for you?

Call us now on 020 3146 4341 or email info@cleverm.co.uk for a chat about how we can take you digital marketing strategy to the next level.


Wouldn’t you rather hear about the 5 Good Habits Of Digital Marketers instead?



If you’re a start-up or small business, the big bad world of SEO can see impossible to conquer. There’s so much to know, and you’re terrified when anyone mentions “algorithm” or “penalties” – because you’ve got no idea if what you’re doing is right or wrong.

It’s not that you don’t want to do a great job of your SEO and reap the rewards. Who doesn’t want high rankings and increased search traffic? But when you’ve got a new business to run, you just don’t have time to sit there and worry about long-tail keywords.

To save you some time and help you to get your head around the basics of SEO, we’ve put together 5 of the key mistakes that SMEs tend to make when it comes to optimising their sites for search. Read on to make sure you avoid them.

1. Choosing a disreputable SEO company for quick wins

When you’re busy taking care of a hundred other things at once, it may seem like the easiest way to get the SEO ball rolling is to outsource it to a third party.

And that is a great idea. Clever Marketing, as a digital agency, has helped countless customers with their SEO, boosting their rankings oaring and leaving them to get on with the reason they started their business in the first place.

But if you are going to outsource your website’s SEO, choose your company carefully. Our top tip is to immediately disregard any company which offers quick wins or tells you they’re going to get your site into the no.1 slot on the SERPs.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s probably because it is.

To provide you with quick wins, these “Black Hat SEOs” will likely be building a dodgy backlink profile and filling your site with meaningless spam words your users will never read, just to boost your rankings. This method will ensure that any uplift you see will be entirely temporary; Google’s algorithm updates have meant such sites are heavily penalised. You may even be banned from the SERPs entirely, and you don’t want to know the impact that could have on your business.

2. Designing a non-SEO friendly site

Any web designer worth his her or salt will design your site with SEO in mind, along with UX. But if you’re attempting to build your site yourself, it’s definitely worth getting to grips with what search engines can and can’t index, in order to give you the best chance of ranking well. If Google can’t index your site, it won’t display it as a relevant search result to a user’s query. In others words, no one is going to find you online.

So, what are the big no-nos when it comes to SEO-friendly web design? Firstly, overuse of images. Google can’t “read” images or the text contained within them, so while they may look nice, Google will largely ignore them (unless you add alt tags). For this reason, make sure you don’t use images for important site elements like headers or titles.

The same principle goes for flash animations and Javascript, which is a coding language offering great functionality, but which is again unreadable to search engine spiders. To combat this, set your robot.txt file to display a text version of the code to search engines.

3. Sacrificing UX at the altar of SEO

This is perhaps the most common mistake we’ve seen SMEs making. What’s the point of having a high ranking site, if people hate using it? If your site isn’t user-friendly, this will result in a high bounce rate, which will quickly see your good ranking fortunes fade.

A good website balances the requirements of SEO with great UX. In fact, a lot of the time, SEO will follow on directly from the user experience. For example, if you create a consistent, logical and clear navigation system to enable visitors to move freely and easily around your site, this will benefit your SEO too as your site will become easier to index. If you write consistently rich and useful articles to provide your users with accurate and up-to-date information, the naturally-occurring keywords will help you climb up those SERPs.

4. Not moving with the times

Digital marketing moves quickly. SEO moves even quicker. We recently published a blog post about how link building has changed in recent years to help dissect the fact that what worked in 2010 just won’t work today when it comes to SEO.

We see companies still cramming their sites full of useless text and manipulating their backlink profiles with spammy links, and then being surprised when their methods aren’t working.

These days, SEO is less about links and keywords (in an isolated sense), and more about content. Which leads us nicely onto our next point.

5. Underestimating the Power of Content

“A blog and social media channels are ‘nice-to-haves’, not essentials”.

“We’re so busy – we don’t have time to blog”.

“No one reads our blog anyway”.

These are the reasons – or excuses – we hear time and time again from SMEs failing to produce good content. Through no coincidence, these are also the businesses struggling with their SEO.

In 2015, content and SEO go hand in hand. Google’s algorithm updates have moved the search engine closer and closer to its end goal of providing users with an answer to a question or problem, taking into account complex semantics and user behaviour. If you can create content which is genuinely useful and unique, you’ll soon find that you’re rewarded for your efforts.

What do you think are the biggest SEO pitfalls? What would be your advice to SMEs navigating the SEO world? Let us know in the comments below!

 



How has Link Building Changed?

10th September 2015
How has link building changed?

As a marketer, you’ll know how quickly the world of SEO changes. What was relevant even this time last year is likely to have drastically changed by now. This is never more accurate than when considering how the act of link building for SEO purposes has changed over the years.

A lot of tactics we used to use for link building are now so severely outdated, that you’re more likely to earn yourself a penalty from Google than a boost in rankings. In short, you can’t afford not to know about these changes.

In this blogpost, we’re going to take a look at how the practice of link building started, and the changes it has undergone as an SEO tactic, bringing us up to 2015. Let’s dive in!

The beginnings of link building

In Google’s ideal world, good websites create unique and useful content which is in turn shared and discussed across other websites – creating links which lead back to that original website. These links form the backlink profile of that website. The more links a website accumulates, the higher the quality of the linking website and the more natural that link appears to be, the higher the ranking of the original website. A good backlink profile was considered an indication of an authoritative, active, useful and trustworthy website.

By “natural”, we mean a link that has been created organically – without any manufacturing or intervention. Because of course, when it became common knowledge that a backlink profile had a positive effect of rankings, so-called “Black Hat” SEOs began to manipulate the practice, creating false backlink profiles filled with spammy links to boost their rankings.

Enter the Penguin

Over time, this led to poor quality websites grabbing the top slots on Google search engine results pages (SERPs), which is the opposite of what search engines want. The idea behind a search engine is to deliver the most relevant and useful information to users as possible. Needless to say – spammy websites with nothing else to offer do not fit this bill! Something needed to be done to stop this from happening.

And this is where Google’s now infamous algorithm updates came along. In 2012, Google Penguin was rolled out. This update to the search algorithm was designed to penalise those websites with suspicious or manufactured-looking back link profiles. What counts as a spammy link? Too many links from one single source, and links from completely irrelevant or low quality websites would both be factors that raise Google’s red flag. This saw a lot of these Black Hat tactics peter out. A new solution needed to be found.

What does link building look like in 2015?

So, what can you do today without risking a penalisation from Google? The general consensus in the industry is that content marketing now ticks a lot of the boxes that link building used to – just in a more genuine way. If you spend time and effort creating useful and unique content which then gets discussed and shared, the links you acquire are deserved and are much more likely to appear natural. It’s not as easy or as quick as the spammy methods – but it does make sure that the sites which deserve high rankings get them (of course there are many more factors affecting rankings – we’re sticking strictly to link building here).

What link building tactics do you use? Let us know in the comments below!



Back in May, part 1 of this exclusive series rounded up just some of the brands we think are doing content marketing right. We talked you through the strategy of some big names like Air BnB, Carling and General Electric. (more…)



As a marketing agency, we’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the digital landscape over the years. One of the most prominent has been how the internet has become increasingly essential for people of all ages, genders and nationalities across the world. It’s accessible to everyone – from teenage digital natives to pensioners.

The only problem is, each generation has different experiences and expectations of what they want to see online. Many savvy marketers have realised that success lies in crossing this generational gap and offering content which reflects shared interests. So how can you possibly design your website and create content which appeals to multiple generations? Read on to find out!

Understand where the distinctions lie

Global demographics are shifting. Millennials are expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation this year, according to Pew Research.

A recent survey by Buzzstream and Fractl uncovered some really interesting distinctions in how various generations (Millennials – born between 1981 – 1997, Generation X – born between 1965 – 1980, and Baby Boomers – born between 1946 – 1964) consume online content. You can download the full guide here, which is really useful. Here’s a quick rundown of the most notable points.

1. Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are the group which consume the most online content. Over 25% of Baby Boomers consume 20 or more hours of content a week, and are much likely to browse in the morning than the other groups. They also use a laptop most often to use the internet.

2. Millennials

Millennials, despite being “digital natives”, actually consume much less online content – between 5 and 10 hours per week. They’re more likely to be online at night and use their mobile most often to surf the web.

3. Generation X

Like Millennials, Generation X consume between 5-10 hours per week of online content. Generation X are also the least likely to use a tablet or mobile.

If you have a specific target audience in mind when creating your content, it may be useful to keep these factors in mind when thinking about the kind of content you produce, when you publish it and also as you consider optimising it for mobile.

…but also pinpoint the similarities

The study also found a number of common themes across the generational groups. Mainly, this is in regards to the type of content we like to view and its length.

The ideal length and type of content

Blogposts, images, comments and e-books are the most popular content types across all generations, although the order does vary. Whitepapers, webinars and slide-shares feature commonly as our least favourite types of online content to consume.

All groups also pinpointed the ideal content length as 300 words. Baby Boomers prefer even shorter content, while Generation X’ers veer toward longer form.

Social platforms

There were also some striking similarities when it came to the social networks which the generational groups prefer and use most often.

Facebook came out strongly as the most commonly used platform for content sharing across the three groups. YouTube came in second, followed by Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.

In conclusion

As you can see, while there are a number of distinctions defining each generation when it comes to online content, there are some common themes uniting them together. It’s important to keep content concise, and make it easily shareable. The popularity of video is also growing as evidenced by YouTube’s climbing status in the most popular social networks, which is important to note for your future content strategy.

However, it’s impossible to create every piece of content with the aim of appealing to everyone. Follow these rough guidelines, but a much more worthwhile practice is to use these findings to target your content to a specific audience.

Do you create content to appeal to all generations, or do you target it to your specific audience? Let us know in the comments below!



We’ve spoken before on this blog about how to utilise Twitter and Instagram, but not really touched on Vine. It’s arguably one of the lesser-known of the big social media marketing networks, and like Snapchat, its real value is often underestimated or overlooked. (more…)



As it’s already August, we’re preparing for what autumn and winter have in store here at Clever Marketing. The summer seems to have gone by in a flash, so we thought it would be a great idea to round up our favourite social media marketing campaigns of recent months. How many would you agree with? (more…)



The story of Google and Bing is straight out of a comic book or film: it’s a classic case of one character getting overshadowed by the bigger, showier one. In the SEO world, we always talk about what Google is looking for. What Google wants. In fact, Google is so gargantuan and all-encompassing in its power and reach, that it’s easy to forget that other search engines actually exist. (more…)



When we say “SEO”, keyword research is probably one of the first things that comes to your mind. This is testament to its status as one of the cornerstones of search engine optimisation – that is, using popular search terms in your copy to allow that page to be indexed on Google. (more…)



“Native advertising” was one of the terms we heard a lot in the digital marketing sphere last year, making the rounds as the next big thing you just have to be doing. But what is native advertising, and should every brand be getting involved? (more…)



No one opening your marketing emails? It’s a common problem. 68% of content marketers say that email marketing is integral to their business, but many also find it a tricky medium. You’ve got so much interesting content, but aren’t really sure how it translates into a succinct email designed to encourage click-through. Or maybe you’re struggling to think of ideas for your emails and they’ve become repetitive and dull. Both of these scenarios only have one likely conclusion: the trashcan. (more…)



These days, the general impression is that digital rules the roost. Wherever you look, there are experts and blogposts dictating to you that online and social media are where it’s at. It can seem like there’s no alternative, and that’s where your budget should go. But as we’ve talked about before, print isn’t dead, and actually plays a pretty vital and irreplaceable role in your business marketing strategy. That role is all about building and maintaining customer trust. (more…)



We’ve talked before on this blog about how getting to know your customers is one of the most valuable things you can do when it comes to improving your conversion rate. In a fast-paced digital world in which everything revolves around marketing campaigns and sales targets, it’s all too easy to become disconnected from the customer who’s actually buying your product/using your service at the end of it all. (more…)



The internet can be thought of as an enormous playground for digital marketers. It’s teeming with useful, innovative and mostly free tools just waiting to measure, track and analyse your online presence. (more…)



Go Big or Go Home?

11th June 2015

How to know when it’s time to expand your business

Congratulations! If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that your business is now less start-up and more grown-up. That’s no mean feat – growing a business can be tough, so you’ve made a huge achievement already. (more…)



“I’m not trying to write a novel, I’m just trying to sell a product”. We hear similar arguments time and time again when talking to businesses about the importance of copywriting. Thing is: writing good sales copy, the kind that pulls a reader in, builds trust and results in conversion, is as much of a delicate craft as writing fiction. Why? (more…)



When it comes to boosting sales, a lot of companies think reducing prices or offering deals is the only way to do it. And yes, this is a powerful strategy – but it’s not the only way to achieve a higher conversion rate. Here are 12 remarkably simple and effective methods for accelerating your sales and driving your business forward.

(more…)



There’s no denying that Twitter is a fantastic social platform for brands of any size, particularly small or new businesses trying to make a name for themselves. It opens up a world of promotional and networking opportunities, and the best part? It’s free. However, it’s not enough to simply open a Twitter account and post randomly about what your business has been up to. In fact, Twitter needs strategy and patience to work well, and there are a lot of brands guilty of using it in the wrong way.  In recent years, some businesses have even risked their company’s entire reputation through the mistakes they’ve made on Twitter. (more…)



If you sell a consumer product, you’ll know how important advertising and branding are to your success. However, many brands are falling at the final (and most important hurdle) – the packaging itself. Packaging has a huge effect on the way consumers perceive your product, meaning that your design can mean the difference between its success, and its failure. (more…)



By now, you’ll know that you should be creating and distributing content as part of your promotional activity. You’ll have had it drummed in to you by every marketing blog, e-book and webinar. Content gets your name out there and in front of prospects, provides value and information to your customers and helps with branding, too. (more…)



As marketers, we like to think we’re creative thinkers. And we need to be, to an extent: innovation and thinking outside of the box are essential if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace. However, there’s more to being an effective marketer than just creativity. We also need to be highly analytical, and be able to back up our decisions with cold, hard facts. How do we do this? (more…)



If there were ever evidence needed that the social media world moves quickly, video livestreaming apps Periscope and Meerkat are it. Both have sprung up out of the blue in the last few weeks alone, and have been causing a frenetic furore online about what they mean for social. (more…)



Although content marketing is still a relatively new idea, the message that good content equals more sales is filtering down from the niche to the masses. According to a recent studyfrom the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 90% of B2C marketers said they were using content marketing in 2014, compared with 84% the previous year. (more…)



Now that the British economy shows slow signs of recovery, the small business landscape has never been so competitive. Are you doing enough to stay in the ring? (more…)



In a digital world, print advertising offers still offers beautiful, tangible and immersive marketing experiences. Due to their limited space, print ads provide a satisfying challenge for marketers, and a playground for design, strong copywriting and brand identity. (more…)



Should You Build An App?

5th March 2015

A couple of years ago, it felt like everyone was building mobile apps, leading to the birth of the saying: “there’s an app for that”! Companies developed mobile applications to make things easier for their customers; whether that was in making payment, or getting quick access to information on the move. (more…)



It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. If you’re not selling yourself and constantly striving to acquire new customers, your business will suffer sooner or later.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re not a salesperson. You’re an expert tree surgeon/dentist/writer/all of the above, so you don’t need to worry the other stuff. (more…)



How social is your business? You might be on Facebook and Twitter, but the opportunity many companies are missing out on is Instagram. Owned by Facebook, the social photo sharing network now has over 200 million active users, making it one of the 10 most popular smartphone apps. Visual content is set to drive social engagement in a big way next year, positioning Instagram as one of the most powerful platforms for businesses to be part of. (more…)



The notion of creating a marketing strategy solely for mobile is a slightly contentious one. Many argue (like this fantastic article from Moz) the point that, actually, we should no longer be distinguishing between devices.  These days, we all want to target users who are on the go, and using more than one device – therefore, every strategy going forward should be a mobile one.

Or, more accurately, one built with a range of devices in mind, reflecting the modern customer journey. Gone are the days where a shopping experience began and ended on a laptop, so it no longer makes any sense for marketing teams to work in isolated siloes.

But for the time being, value definitely still remains in optimising your strategy for mobile, particularly if you’re new to the digital marketing space and want to make sure your existing tactics are still viable for mobile users. So let’s start with the most obvious question.

Why Is Mobile So Important?

Well, last year mobile usage overtook that on desktop when it came to browsing, booking and purchasing online. Mobiles and other devices such as tablets are here to stay, and ignoring them completely will only lead to frustration from your customers, not to mention a decrease in revenue for you.

Let’s take a look at what, according to Search Engine Watch (via Online Publishers Association/Frank N. Magid Associates), consumers are doing on mobile devices:

  • 99.5% access content or information
  • 63.1% access the internet
  • 62.1% access email

Now think back to your current digital marketing strategy. Are you meeting this demand for mobile-friendly content? Are you making it easy for your customers to interact with you on their mobiles? If not, it’s time to figure out why. And fast. Here’s just a few things you might consider along the way.

Understanding Customer Mobile Habits

The extent to which – and how – you’ll need to adapt your overall marketing strategy for mobile will depend entirely on the percentage of your audience regularly using mobile to access and use your website and/or content. Not just the general figures, as we have explored above, but your specific audience.

Decipher this percentage, as well as exactly which device they use (is it mobile or tablet?), what activities they’re doing (are they buying or just perusing?) and how much time they spend on your site (what is the average bounce rate – are they finding what they’re looking for?) and use these results to adjust your strategy. For example, if your product has a fairly high price point and you find that not many mobile users are converting, work on improving the checkout process or making it more secure. You might choose to switch tactics entirely and treat mobile as more of a lead generation tool. Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture are just two tools which can help you obtain these invaluable insights.

Making Your Website Responsive

We’ve discussed responsive web design at length on this blog before, so you may well already be familiar with what it means, but just in case, check out our previous post: Are You Designing Responsively?

In 2015, having a responsive website is no longer something which is going to make you stand out from the crowd. In fact, failing to design responsively will make you the odd one out, and for all the wrong reasons. Designing your site with mobile in mind ensures your busy, on the go customers can have just as pleasant and easy experience on your site as a desktop user: resulting in less bounce, and more conversion.

A lot of companies tack mobile on to the end of their website design, like an afterthought. However, for a truly successful responsive website, it is important to design “from mobile up” – with every design decision you make, look at it from a mobile user’s point of view. This should take traditional and clunky design devices such as carousels, hovers and slow loading pages out of your website design repertoire.

Keep It Short, Sweet And Relevant

So, you’ve got a responsive website and a fairly clear idea of how your customers are behaving on mobile. What next? Well, you need to start marketing.

Most consumers now have their mobile device within reach 24/7, which presents you with an incredible, always-on marketing opportunity. According to The Guardian, “one of the greatest opportunities for marketers today lies in managing personalisation for mobile devices”.

You may already be personalising your website and advertising, so how does marketing on mobile differ from desktop? Well for starters, you’re working with a more limited amount of space. When it comes to content, deliver a truncated version with only the most relevant information, and keep targeted ads short and to the point. Streamlining your marketing efforts means your customer is less likely to lose interest quickly.

Secondly, when surfing on their mobile your customer is likely to be on the go; whether they’re commuting or just trying to find a destination.  This opens up a number of opportunities for geo-targeting – the delivery of a specific ad based on a browser’s location. Take Starbucks’ lead: they showed ads offering discounted coffees whenever a mobile user passed a branch. Which, considering the ubiquity of Starbucks chains, proved very successful indeed.

In essence, the key to making mobile an integral part of your marketing plan is to embrace the changes it demands, rather than feeling limited by them. Understanding browsing habits, designing responsively and personalising ads based on location are just three ways to ensure you make the most of the “always –on” phenomenon.



When I say social media, what do you think of? Instagram, Twitter, Facebook? Maybe even Vine and YouTube? You probably don’t think about LinkedIn. Traditionally a platform for Silicon Valley professionals, in the past it has been used for recruitment and self-promotion rather than any kind of brand marketing. (more…)



According to E-consultancy, while 94% of companies can see the value of personalised marketing, less than half of companies are putting it into practice. Which half do you fall into – those reaping the rewards of personalised marketing, such as loyal customers and improved brand image, or those late to the party, wondering why their customers are dropping off before even purchasing anything?

It sounds like a generalisation, but in a world where virtually every brand has an online presence, getting personal with your customers and making a human connection is more essential than ever.

So Why Is Personalisation So Important, Anyway?

Well to start with, every customer is unique. We all have different buying habits, different interests, different hobbies.  When you think of it in this way, grouping everyone together and talking to them in the same, generic manner just doesn’t make much sense. When content or products are more relevant or useful to us, or marketed to us in a voice we can relate to rather than robotic marketing speak, we’re much more inclined to make an investment. Or, at least, remember that brand and what they had to say for longer than five seconds.

Considering how important personalised and localised marketing is in today’s crowded online marketplace, no business can really carry on ignoring it for much longer. So how can you start incorporating it into your marketing strategy? Read on to find out.

Improving Your Customer’s Experience

Let’s start with fleshing out why marketing personalisation is so important today. Personalising content and website experience without being creepy or intrusive is a fine art, but as long as you remember that your main aim is to improve the online experience for your customer, making it easier and simpler for them to buy from you, your efforts will be in the right place. No one wants to feel they’re being watched or that their privacy has been invaded, so to begin with, confine your personalisation to places a customer might expect to see it; such as the checkout or login box. You can save more advanced methods and techniques for this later.

Essentially, a lot of personalisation comes down to common sense. Would you market babysitting services in Glasgow to people in London? Would you want to target middle-aged females with men’s sunglasses? Start with the basics, such as localisation, meaning you only serve up geographically relevant content to your customers. This is more relevant to search engines and directories, or indeed your PPC campaigns, but small businesses can also adopt the principles of localisation on websites themselves. For example, select click and collect depots based on the customer’s location or postcode, or provide accurate translations of site content or currencies for different countries.

Increasing Conversion

When a customer has had a positive shopping experience on your site – for example, they were personally welcomed back and shown products they looked at last time they visited – they’re much more likely to follow through and make a purchase.

Moving away from websites, you might have heard the term ‘remarketing’ being bandied around the digital marketing world. At its heart, remarketing does what it says on the tin; it markets, again.

Let’s look at an example.

Wendy came to your site, shopped around, and placed some items in her basket. Then, for one reason or another, she abandoned her basket and didn’t make a purchase. In the old days, you’d think: “Oh well. Maybe Wendy will be back”. These days, that’s not good enough. Remarketing allows you to contact Wendy by email, provide her with a quick, accessible link to her shopping basket, and ask her if there’s anything you could do to improve her experience on your site. This is quick and effective marketing automation, but it’s also personal. Best of all, it helps Wendy to get back on your website with one click, whereas she might have forgotten to do so otherwise.

Personalisation also helps you to differentiate yourself from competitors: when faced with a choice between trawling through a website looking for what you need, and it being offered to you on a plate, you’re much more likely to choose the latter option. It’s worth considering that sometime soon, virtually all websites and brands will employ some form of personalisation. Don’t get left behind.

Improve Retention

In the same way that a pleasant shopping experience is likely to make a customer convert, it also means they’re far more likely to return to your site time and time again. Customer loyalty is a slippery beast and arguably more important and profitable than customer acquisition, so think carefully about how you are building an experience for returning customers.

Personalisation in your e-commerce process can prove particularly useful to ensuring you retain your customers. Simple things like remembering card details or login credentials will remove unnecessary steps and clicks, meaning they’re much more likely to choose you for future purchases.

Although personalisation might seem like a cheap trick at first, nothing more in the way of ingenuity than seeing your name on a bottle of Coca Cola, you’ll soon see results which will change your mind. Because Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign was actually pretty clever, and one of the first examples of a brand using personalisation to break through the marketing barriers and talk to every single one of their customers. Back in the digital world, customers will value the intuitive and proactive experience you provide. In an over-crowded marketplace, all consumers really need is the personal touch.



The beginning of a new year is the perfect time both to reflect on the previous 12 months and to think about what can be improved upon in those to come. While 2014 was the year that responsive design continued to dominate and social media ads became increasingly important, 2015 looks set to be even more of a game-changer for marketers, and companies need to continually evolve and adapt in order to keep up. (more…)



With 2015 knocking, it’s time to reflect on 2014 as a whole and what we marketers can learn from it. This year was significant for start-ups and entrepreneurs, so we’ve singled out the ten that have impressed us the most; be it due to their creativity, innovation or tenacity. (more…)



Ten years ago, all of the big brands were using high budget celebrities to market and promote their products. These days, you’re much more likely to see a completely different type of brand ambassador at the helm; and you’ve probably never heard of them. (more…)



Marketing can be expensive. If you’re a small or medium business, you need to know that your limited budget and resources are being directed into a practice that will deliver the best ROI. (more…)



If you want to play ball with the top dogs of marketing, you need to look at their tactics. One method which has become increasingly popular in recent years with companies of all sizes is marketing automation. (more…)



Do you find your customers always drop off during the checkout process? Have you got no problem getting leads, but are struggling to make them convert? (more…)



From humble beginnings in 2005, YouTube now sees over 1 billion unique visits each month. Content is uploaded, viewed and shared through YouTube at unprecedented rates, providing significant opportunities for brands.

Much has been made of how companies have got it wrong on this platform by failing to create content that is useful or informative for audiences, but YouTube is being successfully utilised by brands like yours to diversify their content marketing and reach new audiences. Evian, EA games and GoPro are all examples of brands maximising the potential offered by YouTube and reaping the rewards. (more…)



Autumn’s here already, which means it’s probably time to decide how next year’s budget is going to be spent.

How much you attribute to your online marketing will likely affect the growth and success of your digital channel in 2015. But having a powerful website is not only about reflecting your brand, but about positioning yourself as an innovative player in the digital space. When you combine intuitive user experience with this innovation, you become the one to beat.

So how can you make sure your website is up to the task? Here we outline the top ten trends we predict will make you sit up and take notice in 2015.

Responsive Design

Responsive design (link to responsive design blog post) will not be so much a surfacing trend in 2015, but a proliferating one. Designing websites responsively – that is, designing a site that automatically resizes to an aesthetically pleasing interface regardless of the device being used – has cemented itself as the new standard in web design.

The rapid increase of internet usage on mobiles and tablets, particularly in the B2C market, has rendered this trend essential. Those who don’t step up to the plate will start to look dated next year, and quickly. We predict that responsive design will continue to change and adapt as new technology comes to the fore.

 Ghost Buttons

The enigmatically named ‘ghost buttons’ – also described as ‘naked’ or ‘hollow’ – are transparent buttons displaying calls to action. They commonly feature a very fine outline, and their transparency allows the background image to show through. Effective examples of ghost buttons belong to digital agency Union Room and retailer 20 Jeans among many others.

The release of iOS7 last year contributed to the growth of this minimalistic trend, and they have many advantages when used correctly. Ghost buttons blend seamlessly into the composition of a page, resulting in a finish that is both elegant and subtle. Best suited to simple designs with large photo backgrounds, they also contribute to your page’s overall structure. And they are certainly less intrusive than a big red button saying “BOOK NOW”.

A small word of warning on ghost buttons: use them wisely. These spectres are slippery and will easily get lost in your background if you don’t take care over positioning.

Flat Design

Flat design, originally inspired by Windows 8, has proved its staying power this year.

In 2015, flat design will most likely begin to morph into material design; a development recently unveiled by Google. Material design features delicate layering and use of gradients to produce a subtle 3D effect, whilst still retaining the sleek benefits of flat design.

As Google’s own product, you can be sure material design will be around for some time, but it remains to be seen what direction this will take in 2015.

 Typography

Picking the right font can split the hair between a sleek site and an outdated one. For this reason, typography will continue to dominate in 2015.

Beautiful fonts and typefaces will become a staple for all brands looking to give their website serious standout. Whereas emphasis on typography used to require a large budget, type kits have become more and more affordable and accessible over recent years.

How can you capitalise on the typography trend in 2015? As desktop screens get larger, designers have more real estate to play with than ever before. Therefore, text is larger to get bigger, bolder and have more breathing room on the page. Variation of font weight should also be used to break the mold and produce a layered effect.

Parallax Scrolling

Long-form, or parallax, scrolling is a user-friendly and attractive form of structuring a webpage. By allowing a user to scroll instead of hiding content behind clicks, it mirrors the way we navigate on mobile and works well across a range of different platforms.

Parallax scrolling also makes use of dynamic transitions which appear to make the different elements of your content move and interact with each other, as seen on the Royal British Legion site. This presentation of content is much more striking and involving for a user than a static page.

Large Images and Videos

Large, attention-grabbing images and videos have also become the mainstay of the modern, well-designed website. Like typography, they benefit from the fact that desktops are getting larger, and are also fairly simple to apply and execute. By offering a lot of ‘wow factor’, the trend for large images and videos as backgrounds is set to remain popular throughout 2015.

The success of platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram has meant that we consume visual images more regularly than ever before, and are also becoming accustomed to digesting information and consuming content in this way.

Just be careful not to get too carried away with your imagery. One big, beautiful image will definitely make an impression; but after five or six, your reader is likely to start searching for meaning on your site and if they don’t find some useful copy there, you risk losing them.

Tile/Card Design

We predict that the ‘content card’ approach to dynamically pulling content to display on various pages will continue into 2015 and beyond.

Card design aids designers building responsive sites, as it allows modular components to stack attractively on top of each other without requiring too much extra coding. Again, Pinterest has had a part to play in the rapid uptake of this trend, which allows us to view a lot of different pieces and types of content all at once. Card design also allows for organisation and tagging of content, in a way that’s intuitive and easy for a user to understand.

Micro-interactions

“Designing with details” is a new way of thinking about website design, and is characterised by micro-interactions. This term refers to small, self-contained instances occurring within a website. They tend to revolve around a single call to action – prompting you to download an e-book, for example, or sign up for email alerts. These interactions are designed to increase user engagement and add a new experience to their visit. For you, they’re pretty handy for lead capture.

These tiny scraps of copy, imagery and branding should be carefully crafted to maximise their potential. They can be fairly intrusive, taking them a step away from most other new web design trends, however micro-interactions also provide a playful and dynamic movement to a static website.

Personalisation

Personalisation is the holy grail of digital marketing, and marketing in general. Delivering a targeted, optimised experience for each individual visiting your site can lead to higher engagement rates, return visits and ultimately, sales. Providing content that is genuinely useful for a particular customer makes your site feel more human, increasing their positive feelings around your company in general.

Using cookies to display content based on a user’s past browsing history or preferences is not a new concept. However next year, things are set to get even more interesting with content cards, which, as we’ve already discussed, can be used to show only the most relevant content to a user through tagging and geo-targeting.

Storytelling

The principle of storytelling takes the focus on both imagery and typography one step further, and concentrates on immersive storytelling to really bring a reader on board with your brand.

The term ‘content marketing’ has been buzzing around the digital marketing sphere for a while now, and although its meaning has been diluted over time, its core principle remains: people want stories, not a sales pitch. They want valuable content that is interesting and engaging, so it’s time to get innovative about the way you talk about your brand. Companies are achieving this by combining engaging narrative copy with image galleries, standout quotes and video, producing an altogether more tangible, immersive and magazine-style experience online.

What are your top digital predictions for 2015? Share them with us in the comments below.



As businesses continue to move online for the majority of their processes, it seems print is no exception. Web2print is a service born out of a need for streamlined, cost-effective and flexible online print ordering solutions.

How many times have a lack of communication and disparate working documents caused delays and unnecessary spend in your organisation? This is where bespoke web2print services aim to make marketers’ lives easier by providing a flexible remedy to internal pain points.

How does Web2print work?

Web2print pioneers the idea of publishing on demand. Whether you need help managing your marketing collateral across channels, agencies and departments, or are looking for a system that allows you to make last minute changes to website landing pages and emails, Web2print services offer simple yet powerful hosted solutions. Fundamentally, by centralising product communications, web2print enables supply chain collaboration on the creation of media assets.

Using web2print you can create a safe, functional and accessible online portal of assets such as brochures, stationery, images and advertising campaigns. Also offering flexible access within your organisation, partner and reseller or distributor network, web2print systems are quickly becoming the key way for printers and businesses to communicate. Here’s the top 5 ways web2print can help you increase efficiency within your business:

Control Your Marketing Budget

If you’re a multi-national organisation with numerous suppliers or buyers, it can become all too easy to lose track of a dwindling marketing budget, especially when it comes to the essential creation of printed assets.

Web2print solutions not only give you complete visibility over your outgoings, but also allow you to ensure marketing departments don’t overspend. You can set channel partner expectations by delegating a monthly or quarterly budget, aiding successful collaboration. By presenting your budget in an intuitive and easy to understand way, web2print allows you to take one step back and see a more holistic view, helping you to better plan strategies and expenditure. Ultimately, web2print places the creation of media firmly back in the hands of marketers.

 Reduce Waste

When all parties are clear on expectations and what is to be produced, incorrect or redundant versions are kept to a minimum. For areas such as artwork and administration, web2print provides a slick and seamless interface for all marketing users regardless of where they are, so geographical location is no longer an issue when selecting your suppliers. Web2print also saves man hours in your organisation, meaning talented individuals are freed from tedious admin and can utilise their skills elsewhere.

The nature of this interface gives you immediate distribution to all involved parties and print is only triggered by demand, so you enjoy improved stock control and excess reduction.

Protect Your Brand

Have you struggled with the distribution, communication and most importantly the safeguarding of your brand guidelines and corporate identity? Web2print keeps everything immediately accessible and in one place, therefore eliminating the possibility of your brand guidelines being misunderstood or diluted as marketing materials change hands during development.

You can set pre-defined templates to minimise deviation so that everyone has access to the same resources, ensuring consistency. Your custom templates also allow repeat orders with no need to start from scratch, reducing training for your new hires and minimising any potential mistakes.

Save Time

Creating and executing a new campaign can be time-consuming as well as expensive. When you have a business to run, you don’t always have the time to meet with printers and discuss requirements at length. Web2print streamlines the printing process, meaning you can transition from creation to delivery in just one click.

Collaboration online makes constant face to face visits obsolete. Best of all, repeat deliveries can be automated, reducing your time to market and meaning you can focus your responsibilities elsewhere.

Web2print also has benefits for simplifying workflow. Changes and amendments can all be dealt with online by simply changing a template or reordering. Easy approval functionality and intuitive editing features serve to further improve and streamline the ordering process. Elapsed time from delivery to receipt of assets is greatly reduced with web2print, meaning you can create new media assets in seconds.

Gain Flexibility

Gone are the days when errors were inevitable when your job went to the printer. Web2print solutions now offer you more flexibility than ever before, as your online portal is accessible by all in the supply chain 24/7.

If last minute changes do need to be made, web2print can facilitate this, minimising any last minute panics. Many web2print systems offer flexible payment plans and options and can also be integrated with existing or legacy systems, so your data and insights can be shared throughout your organisation.

To find out more about the web2print solutions we offer here at Clever Marketing, contact us on 0845 6431637 or info@cleverm.co.uk



Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to invest half of your budget in ‘flashy ad campaigns’ or a new sales team in order to build your customer base. The real secret to longevity and expansion for your business may just be customer retention, rather than attraction.
Customer turnover, or “churn”, can be more costly than it first appears.

According to the American Marketing Agency, the average business loses 10% of customers on a yearly basis by failing to nurture existing relationships. When a business focuses purely on acquisition, it limits its growth and therefore may experience financial difficulties further down the line, by having to continually invest in new sales strategies.

But how do you ensure a customer keeps coming back to you, time after time? How do you maintain their interest in a crowded marketplace of competitors with catchy sales pitches and low prices? Here are our tried and tested ways to build your customer loyalty.

Know Their Brand

Taking the time to understand your client’s business demonstrates your commitment to them as a brand. Only by really knowing the company’s history, its challenges as well as its goals, can you provide the most comprehensive and tailored service. Such personalisation makes consistent results more likely, helping to ensure your customer renews their contract with you.

By dedicating time and effort to immersing yourself in your client’s business long after the initial sale, you get the opportunity to become an integral part of their vision and business strategy. Keep providing invaluable support, and you become indispensable.

Part of building this vital relationship with any business is to set realistic expectations from the beginning of your agreement. Customers will remember negative experiences, so always make it your aim to under-promise and over-deliver rather than the other way around. Similarly, small to medium businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on outsourcing and external services, so make yourself an expert in their field. By truly understanding both your customer and their industry, you can cultivate shared values, such as their direction and success, aligning your mutual interests.

Reward Loyalty

Loyal and repeat customers deserve better deals and discounts than new prospects, but this is not how the majority of businesses actually operate. Many companies spend the majority of their budgets on value add-ons and incentives designed to entice new customers, who have not yet shown any loyalty to them, only to abandon them if they cross that first hurdle. If your CPA (cost per acquisition) is at an unsustainable level it’s time to consider your cost per retention, which as you have already converted these customers, can be potentially much less expensive than your CPA.

Reward loyal customers with superior service, rates and quality. Measure your opt-out or customer lapse rates and provide unmissable deals or rewards at these essential touch points to avoid or minimise drop-off. Make your customer feel important and exclusive by offering one, two, or three-year incentives. Consider rewards schemes or a system built on points accumulated over time— such strategies will help you to stand out from your competitors and will also build and maintain customer trust.

Listen To Your Customers

Customer retention is really another term for customer satisfaction. Keep your customers happy and then they will keep coming back to you; it’s as simple as that. The best way to make people happy is to listen to what they want, and respond accordingly.

Using customer surveys allows you to pinpoint pain points and target them, ensuring your customers feel you’re listening to them and their needs as a business. Surveys also allow you to identify potential areas of dissatisfaction in high-risk customers before they leave, so you can constantly evolve and improve your product or service. However, as your company grows, it’s important to know how to manage your scalability. Most customers appreciate a large company that delivers a “small company” service that is personal and genuine, even when you are experiencing high growth.

You can incorporate any customer insights you gain into your relationship marketing strategy. Don’t just include existing customers into your general marketing communications – they need specifically targeted information and calls to action. For instance, instead of introducing them to your business again and again on a mass marketing email, serve up relevant information such as expanded services or developments which would be of specific interest to them.

In reality it is not enough to implement a customer retention strategy; to really ensure results it must become a culture, an essential pillar of how you conduct your business. Take all criticism onboard and use it as a learning – in this way, even if you do end up losing a customer from time to time, you learn from the experience. And, you are much less likely to lose the next one.



Infographics first became mainstream in content marketing a couple of years ago, and have been increasing in popularity ever since. Countless brands have used infographics to communicate data to their audiences, with successful examples belonging to LinkedIn and Samsung. But if you’re yet to hop on the bandwagon, you may wonder what infographics are, and how they can benefit your marketing plans.

Also known as data visualisation and information design, infographics offer a way of presenting data using compelling imagery, illustration and iconography alongside text. They’re used widely to communicate statistics and relationships between ideas, and are more common than you might think- consider the tube map, for example.

While definitely nice to look at, there has been an influx of infographics over the years which have arguably prioritised style over substance. They can also be time-consuming, and are an added expense to your budget. So why should you make the effort to incorporate infographics into your content? Read on for our top 5 reasons to make them an integral component of your marketing strategy.

1. They can boost your traffic

If your infographic is genuinely useful and compelling, it naturally becomes shareable. When other bloggers, social media users or websites share your infographic, you reap the benefits of associated traffic and back links. Just make sure that whoever is using it always includes a link back to your site and credits you. As search engines are cracking down on guest posting and irresponsible link building activity, infographics are the perfect way to earn a genuine and reputable link.

In the same way, such shareable assets have the potential to go viral, and the more eyes on your infographic, the more recognition for your brand. Organic spread like this can potentially afford you more quality coverage than paid ads or print media could ever do.

Google favours popular and relevant content, so your infographic can help to draw in new visitors through organic search. The best part about this is that your infographic will provide you with some straightforward metrics, such as citations, social shares and backlinks, allowing you to build a comprehensive idea of your ROI.

2. They’re portable and reusable across your communications

When you build an infographic, you not only get a standalone or one-off piece of content, you get a versatile asset to use across your communications, from your website and social media to email and brochures. Infographics can be recycled and repurposed in whichever way you wish, and once your editors or writers have invested a certain amount of time in researching the data required for an infographic, it only makes sense to maximise this resource to ensure added inbound marketing opportunities.

Unlike a news story, infographics also retain their relevancy over time, proving an “evergreen” marketable asset, in a sense.

3. They make information beautiful

According to blogger Jeff Bullas, 40% of us respond better to information when it is presented visually, and a staggering 90% of information entering our heads is visual. In short, infographics are much more fun and engaging to look at than a page of plain text.

You can make an infographic of almost anything, even the dullest of subjects, and present it in an aesthetically pleasing way that is many times more likely to make a reader stop and look than copy alone. Using illustration and design in unison with your copy allows you to convey nebulous concepts and large numbers simply, as well as visually depict relationships and comparisons between data and information.

So whether you need to demonstrate the ins and outs of commercial property law or detail the evolution of the “geek” (this one really exists), infographics allow you to do so in a concise, eye-catching and unique way.

4. They are easily scannable and digestible

We’re now exposed to more online media than ever before. According to Bullas, we generate 1.5 billion pieces of content a day, so the key to the success of your content is making it stand out from the rest in the eternal quest for attention.

If your audience is time poor, they want to find the information they need immediately, especially if they’re on the go and using mobile devices. Infographics provide a tool to cater to this need, by taking complex ideas and making them quick and easy to understand. When you display your content in this form, your audience is able to scan the image and pick out the key facts to take away, and are more likely to remember the information you tell them.

5. They increase brand awareness

If done well, infographics should have a dual benefit; they entertain, they engage and they educate in a way that’s informative and memorable. However, what’s the use in all that if no one knows the infographic belongs to you?

It is so important to brand your infographic to truly maximise its benefit as a marketing tool. When you do so, you get eyes on your brand every time it’s shared, demonstrating your knowledge on a certain subject and carving out an identity for yourself as an expert in that field.

This is why infographics should never be created simply for link-bait – if they reflect well on your brand, educate a user and just happen to be shareable, your content marketing strategy will soon see the benefit.

Image source



Future-proof your Website with a Responsive Design

Internet usage on mobile devices has now reached 52%, overtaking desktop, according to the latest report from IMRG released in September.

As more and more people turn to their phones and tablets to not only use specially designed apps and games, but to find out information and shop online, it’s becoming increasingly essential for businesses to make sure their website is optimised across all devices. But how can you ensure your website delivers a positive and useful experience across desktop, tablet and mobile without designing three separate websites?

The development hailed as the solution to this challenge is responsive design. Responsive design refers to sites which have been built to automatically scale and fit the screen resolution of the device they’re being used on, and work in a way that’s equally intuitive and aesthetically pleasing for both desktop and mobile.

While it might sound simple, delivering the same content effectively across devices makes a huge difference to user experience. To put this in to practice, simply visit Bostonglobe.com or apple.com on your mobile, and compare it to the website of your local takeaway. Chances are, you experience a cleaner and more satisfying visit on the responsive sites (unless your local takeaway just happens to employ some serious digital marketing specialists).

How it works

Before the days of responsive design – skills now pretty much essential in every self-respecting web designer’s portfolio – websites were created in what’s known as tables. These were easy to set up and pleasing enough to the eye at the time, but were designed exclusively for desktop and laptop and in the dynamic and ever-changing world of web design, they have quickly become outdated.

The unprecedented growth in mobile called for a more flexible approach. Responsive design works by responding to customer preference through use of elastic grids and layouts, effectively eliminating the need for multiple designs for different devices by intuitively adapting to each screen size. It uses fluid layouts in addition to CSS media queries, applying various style sheets according to the device being used.

However, responsive design is not just a framework but also a philosophy, built on the idea of designing from the mobile up, and delivering a fluid, dynamic and above all, uniform experience.

Why it works

It makes your customers happy

Whether you need to find information quickly or just want to browse products on a long journey, the last thing you want to do is pull and pinch at an uncooperative, unresponsive site that hasn’t been optimised for mobile. Frustration, inconvenience and dissatisfaction inevitably lead to unhappy customers and ultimately reduced online conversion rates. We live in an increasingly impatient world, and according to Google’s Think Insights, if a user doesn’t immediately find what they’re looking for on a site 61% will bounce straightaway.

Responsive design delivers a superior browsing experience by ensuring navigation, layout and payment processes are simplified and streamlined, no matter what device your customer is using, meaning they can get the information they want quickly and easily. A responsive design gives your brand a confident and forward-thinking identity and above all, provides a useful tool for your customer.

It boosts your SEO

As the world’s largest and most influential search engine, Google only wants to deliver the results that its users will find most useful and return to again and again. And Google loves responsive design.

Google will serve mobile-optimised results for a search query done on a smartphone, and as designing your site responsively means you only have one URL, it makes it easier for search engines to index you. Additionally, if a user searches one of your key words and visits your website only to find it awkward and returns straight back to their search, Google will take note. This could potentially lead to loss in rankings.

Responsive design also ensures you aren’t penalised for duplicate content across devices; all of your content exists just once, cleverly redesigned.

It helps you keep up with competition

If you’re considering going responsive, chances are, your competitors are too. If you don’t provide a convenient and positive experience on mobile and tablet, you push your valuable customers into the waiting arms of the competitor who did.

Some business owners might feel that a responsive design is out of their budget, or too much hassle. This may have been the case a few years ago but today, depending on where and how you design your responsive site, it is so integral that many developers will simply build it into the cost of a redesign. One site also means one CMS, making it easier for you to manage and keep your site up-to-date.

Responsive design is one of those digital marketing trends that is most likely here to stay. We only need to apply it to our own lives; how many times do you check live train departures on your phone? Check in at the airport, or browse the news and sport on your morning commute? Responsive design answers a consumer preference, of information accessibility and browsing on the move, and it delivers a seamless browsing experience to keep that customer coming back.



Atlas by FacebookThis week Facebook announced its acquisition of Atlas – a network designed to track ads across third party websites and all devices. Purchased from Microsoft for a rumoured $100 million, Atlas is Facebook’s latest move in a bid to increase cross-platform activity and shrink Google’s lead in the paid ad sphere.

How Atlas works, and how you can use it

Atlas means that Facebook can now use the data it amasses from its 1.3 billion users to serve targeted ads on other websites around the web, and track their success. Facebook already uses its vaults of data to serve what are, most of the time, relevant ads on your newsfeed. But what is really interesting about Atlas is that it also tracks ads on mobile devices – allowing it to effectively build up a comprehensive virtual profile of its users, and therefore covering the pitfalls of traditional cookies which fell down on mobile apps. Facebook is also able to gather data about customers who bought an item after seeing a targeted ad, and feed this back to third parties. In this way, Atlas is particularly attractive if you’ve set up marketing campaigns in isolated silos across platforms, by helping to connect the dots and reveal the bigger picture.

In an additional step that is putting tech-savvy users on high alert, Facebook is moving towards tracking where customers have been shopping offline – a stat previously believed to be un-trackable. How does it work? If a consumer gives their email address when purchasing an item instore, Facebook can share whether or not that person was targeted with an ad. Let’s say Reebok shares with Facebook a list of people who recently bought their new range of gym kit. Facebook can then provide the number of people who saw a targeted ad for the same items, and tell Reebok how many targeted users converted, both on and offline.

Advertising giant Omnicom is the first to sign an agency-wide ad serving and measurement partnership with Atlas, and no doubt it won’t be long before others follow in their footsteps, lured in by better tracking and conversion rates. Facebook’s photo sharing app Instagram is also set up with Atlas to track ad impressions.

Facebook arguably has more relevant information about its users than any other platform, even Google, so it’s likely that following roll-out of Atlas, ads will start getting more personal and more prevalent pretty quickly. Facebook insists the latest move is a step towards more “people-based marketing”, helping marketers to reach out to users across devices. But already there are rumblings on the web that the rapid development and intrusive nature of paid ads is turning customers off.

Have customers had enough of advertising on social media?

Microsoft originally sold Atlas to Facebook because of a shift in strategy – they believe time is up for ads and that now more than ever, customers want quality and valuable content. They want to share digital experiences with brands and peers alike, rather than having a product forced on them and feeling concerned about their digital privacy. The idea that consumers are becoming frightened by the sharing of data is not new – the usage of email content on services like Gmail to render targeted ads has been hotly debated. Is Atlas a step too far for worried users, and should you be steering clear of potentially intrusive new developments despite obvious marketing benefits?

Yes, and no.

Consumer frustration with ad-based marketing is more apparent now than ever before following the launch and instant success of new platform Ello. Pitching itself as the “anti-Facebook”, Ello is invite-only and is achieving viral success due to the passion of users worried about the usage of their personal data. Typically, then, Ello does not release user numbers to share, but we do know that they receive around 40,000 requests an hour to sign up. That’s a lot of disgruntled people, frustrated at how platforms exploit their data to make money. You might ask; “An ad-free utopia is all well and good, but how is it funded?”

Ello plans to sustain itself by making certain products and services paid-for, believing customers will pay for features they find genuine value in.  The fact that users will pay to protect their privacy suggests a new way of thinking, and a definite turn away from traditional paid online advertising on social media.

On the flip side, Facebook is keen to stress that although Atlas allows it to track data better than ever before and share invaluable information about online purchasing habits with third parties, the identity of users remains anonymous at all times. In other words, the profiling of users in databases is done on a “blind” basis and Facebook never discloses the identity of individuals. Whether this will stay the case in the future when Facebook needs to ensure company expansion, is hard to say, but for now there is nothing new or particularly frightening about Atlas. At least, nothing new or frightening that hasn’t already been existing in the industry for years in the form of Google Adwords and other forms of targeted marketing.

It remains to be seen whether Atlas will help marketers and businesses keep delivering relevant and useful ads to customers while simultaneously improving their own bottom lines, or whether it will simply further increase the chasm between brand and customer.



Taking time out to write a compelling design brief can seem like a pretty daunting task; especially if you have little or no experience of ever completing one. How do you get all your ideas across in a clear and concise way, and make sure the designer is on your wavelength? Well, here at Clever Marketing we have put together a few points which should help get you on the right track.

  1. Introduce yourself

It’s important to remember the designers who take on your brief will more than likely have little or no knowledge of your company and what you do. You need to introduce yourself and give them insights into your company’s background. Who is your business and what you do? What is your history and how did you get here? Do you have an existing website or comprehensive brand guidelines?  These are key factors which will help them get to know you better.

2) How did you get here?

The key to a successful project begins with your brief to the designer, so try to give them as much information as possible about the background and history of your new project. Why are you doing it and what do you expect to achieve? How does it fit in with all your other marketing activities? What is your budget?

 3)      Your target audience

This information is vital when creating a design brief. Are you targeting a specific age group or demographic? Are the audience going to be newcomers to the subject matter, or already ‘in the know’? Give the designer any insights into your business marketplace, and what you want to achieve within it. Have you completed any market research that would be relevant to the project? Who are your competitors, and what do they do better than you?

4)      What do you want

Whether you’re designing a whole brand, a website, or a brochure, be sure to let your designer know your goals and expectations; including any deliverables; for the project at the beginning. Are there any specifications or sizes the designer needs to adhere to? Think about everything you want before the project commences. Successful concepts usually span different media, which will result in a more cohesivemarketing campaign that will return better results for your company. Designers need to know this from the beginning of the project so they can ensure their ideas work on all levels.

5)      Likes or dislikes

Discussing examples of similar projects you like or dislike will ensure your designer has an understanding of your personal tastes and preferences, and avoid any nasty surprises when it comes to seeing the first proofs! Don’t have any examples? No problem! Perhaps there are particular colours or typefaces you favour? Even an emotion you wish to convey can be helpful with the design process. Remember, the more information you give to your designer, the more likely it is that you’ll get back something you love, so be generous!

 6)      Chat about it

Getting a second opinion can be really beneficial for any project, so be sure to talk through the brief with your colleagues before you engage a designer. This may seem like a simple task, but it can often be overlooked. Making sure you all have the right goals in mind before you send the brief off will ensure that the result will be one you can all agree on, and should avoid any unnecessary and costly amends!

7)      Need it quick?

Do you have a specific deadline in mind for the delivery of your project? It’s important to discuss a timeframe with your designer at the very beginning so you can determine whether your deadline is achievable, or discuss a quicker alternative if needed.

 

Ready to get that project underway? Get in touch with us and see how we can help!

 

 



It is getting harder for marketing messages to get through to people as busy lives and a fog of noise from multiple communication channels often gets in the way.

Increasingly it is making real commercial sense to focus on small groups of customers at a time – ones who share some kind of similarity in their interests, needs, job or stage of life and who you can present a more relevant or tailored offering to.

The more you can align your products, services and their related marketing to the preferences of these customers, the more appealing your brand or business will become. So here are 3 areas which can really help to get your marketing heard and acted on:

1. Determine how ‘digitally-savvy’ they are

Consider if their life, work and purchasing relies on utilising digital media as this will guide you on the channels you’re more likely to reach them through. Find out which channels they favour and don’t waste time on those they avoid. Are our customers responsive to direct mail or email newsletters? Do they respond to Facebook advertising or are they more about LinkedIn? Is Twitter the place where your clients hang out or do they prefer to be on Google+? Or how about online forums or Pinterest? If your clients aren’t so digital savvy then maybe print is your focus – magazines, brochures, flyers, even a quality prospectus could be the key to engaging your clients.

2. Find out how time poor or rich they are

This will guide you on how short or detailed your marketing messages need to be. The more time your target customers have on their side, the more they’ll allocate to reading and evaluating marketing messages before making a purchasing decision.

The less time people have, the more you will need to build your marketing messages around images, short videos, simple statements and easy calls to action. Also, consider when may be the best time of day and day of the week to gain their attention. Testing different campaign timings will give you the answers here.

3. Find out how much importance they allocate to this purchase

The more valuable a purchase is to someone the more time they’ll spend weighing up the options. Value may take the form of price or it can also, especially in Business-to-business (B2B) environment, factor in aspects such as risk reduction, reputation enhancement or hassle elimination. Knowing how much value your customers allocate to the purchase of your product or service will guide you on the volume, detail, look, feel and messaging of its marketing and sales collateral. For example, with some impulse buys it may just be a case of getting the price right, or ensuring the buying process is as quick and efficient as it can possibly be.


If you’d like more ideas on aligning your offering to different customer preferences please contact Clever Marketing.



Most businesses would like to think they’re easy to buy from. However, if left unchecked, evolving business processes or communications can risk confusing or putting the customer off altogether.

It is worth taking time out to double-check that your business continues to offer an easy purchasing process for its customers. On an annual basis you must re-evaluate whether the following points remain clear, concise and user-friendly, from your customers’ perspectives:

  1. Marketing and sales communications – both printed and digital. Do they perform well on smartphones and tablets if your customer base is a heavy user of this technology? Are they easy to understand with clear calls to action?
  2. Sales enquiry points – whether it’s a phone line, web contact/booking/order form or email address, find out how easy and pleasant it is to use. How quickly does it respond to customers and how good it is at keeping them informed of the next steps?
  3. Sales team – how friendly, understanding and efficient are your sales team. Are they able to quickly understand the customer’s requirements and propose the right solution for this?
  4. Product/service delivery – is this professional, efficient and positively add to the process of buying from you?
  5. AfterSales support and billing – if your product/service lends itself to billing after delivery, check that your invoices are clear in the presentation of your fees. How often is the fee above what the customer is expecting? Few will want to experience unexpected and unwelcome surprises and so you should consider how you communicate any potential budget overruns earlier on in the sales process.

Also, consider whether the after sales support you offer encourages the customer to be pleased and reassured by their purchase? The more special they feel; the more likely they are to recommend you. Think of ways to use the goodwill after the purchase to subtly position add-ons or further products or services which complement their current purchase.


If you’d like more ideas on how to make it easy for customers to buy from you, please contact the Clever Marketing team.





































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