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. (more…)
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. You enter your web address, press a button and you’ve got a fully-fledged, audit of your website, detailing all the things you need to do fix it. For free.
Nope. Not quite.
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. (more…)
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…)
Is 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.
Don’t waste time, effort and budget on marketing emails that don’t work. Here are 5 easy ways to make your marketing emails more engaging. (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…)
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. The 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…)
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…)
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 media marketing. (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 study from, 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…)
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…)
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…)
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?
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
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.
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.
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 on board 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.
Building brand loyalty takes time. If you need an agency to manage your brand identity then look no further than Clever Marketing.
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.
Whilst they are 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. (more…)
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).
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.
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.
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 performed 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.
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.
If you haven’t got a responsive website by now then you are way behind on the curve. Call Surrey digital agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341 or fill in our easy contact form and we will be happy to discuss how to drive your website forward.
This 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.
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 Surrey Digital Agency Clever Marketing we have put together a few points which should help get you on the right track.
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.
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?
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?
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 cohesive marketing 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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.