Web-Feet.co.uk Blog

Avoid Being a ‘Not Secure’ Site

Posted on April 19, 2018 by

Google has released a statement saying “Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as ‘not secure'”.

So what can you expect if your website does not have an SSL Certificate?

Google will display a ‘Not Secure’ message marked with a red triangle next to your URL. This message will inform all the users that they shouldn’t enter any sensitive information onto this site as the information they enter will not be encrypted.

What is an SSL Certificate, who needs one and what steps does your business need to take now? Let’s take a closer look at these:

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. In other words, an SSL is the security technology that keeps the connection between the web server and browser secure.

install ssl

Who needs an SSL Certificate?

Some people might think that an SSL Certificate is only needed if you have an e-commerce store. This is not true.

ANY website with ANY kind of text input needs one. Whether it’s a contact form, search bar, login panel, etc. The SSL provides security, integrity and privacy for both your website and your user’s information.

What are the reasons your businesses should have an SSL Certificate?

Not to mention the big red ‘Not Secure’ message won’t look good on your website and will probably put your potential customers off. Let’s be honest, would you enter any of your personal details on the website if you saw a message ‘Not Secure’? The answer is probably no. Not having an SSL Certificate can cost your business a lot.

Encryption of the information

As we mentioned earlier, an SSL keeps the information (e.g. username and password) encrypted whilst it travels between the server and the browser. This way the information you enter onto the site becomes unreadable to anyone else during this journey – apart from the server you’re sending it to.

Improved SEO

A couple of years ago, Google announced that websites which have an SSL Certificate perform better in Google rankings. When it comes to SEO, we believe every little helps so it’s definitely worth having one on your site.

Building trust

When you have an SSL and customer enters your site, a little green padlock with a ‘Secure’ message shows up next to your URL. The padlock represents a secure connection to the site meaning that the information the customer enters is private. This helps to make your business look trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of your customers.

Protect your business from attackers

We hear a lot about cyber attacks. Without having an SSL Certificate, it is almost impossible to escape these attacks. If your website does not have an SSL, your visitors’ information can be easily attacked as it travels between the server and the browser. This way you put your customers as well as your business at risk.

What action does your business need to take?

There’s only a couple of months left before the release of Google Chrome version 68. You really need to take action now and get yourself an SSL certificate, otherwise, your businesses will be one of those obviously ‘Not Secure’ sites to use.

Contact us today to install your SSL Certificate


Cookies And Cookie Policy Under GDPR

Posted on April 11, 2018 by

You will have no doubt heard a lot of buzz around the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) on 25 May 2018. As a website owner, there are some specific considerations coming into effect as part of these new regulations. Under GDPR regulations, cookies are considered personal information as they are used to identify an individual. As you conduct your GDPR review and audit for your business this is how you must treat cookies.

Cookies and your cookie policy

Your website will almost certainly be using cookies to track visitors which means that you will need to make some changes to how these are used. Firstly, you will need to as a minimum have a soft opt-in for site visitors. If your website is aimed at consumers then we would recommend a specific click for consent option that allows you to provide evidence of an opt-in. In either case this means that you must as a minimum do the following;

  1. Ensure no cookies are dropped before a visitor has given express consent to accept your cookies.
  2. Tell your visitors what you use cookies for and then make it clear that if they proceed past the page they landed on, they are giving consent for you to drop a cookie(s) on their device – this is not recommended for B2C website as it will almost certainly not pass GDPR rules. Alternatively, you must give them the option to continue without accepting cookies although it should be noted that this will stop some websites from working properly or as intended. This should be made clear to your visitors at the outset if applicable.
  3. Give a link to your cookie and or privacy policy which should clearly detail what you are using cookies for and how a visitors data might be used.
  4. Finally, and this is really important, provide the ability for visitors to revisit your site and opt out of your cookie policy and be forgotten. Again this should be made clear at the point of entry to your website such that visitors are clear as to how this process works should they wish to opt out at a future date.

Privacy policy

Your privacy policy should detail everything regarding the use of cookies on your website, how they are used and what they are used for. If you use any forms on your website you should state what you do with this data, especially if you plan to share any data with third parties. If you are using data you collect to identify website visitors you must also make this clear. The privacy policy relates only to the use of the website or data collected via the website so is separate to your terms and conditions or other more general GDPR requirements.

Actions you will need to take

  1. Cookie audit – you will need to have an audit carried out to determine a list of the cookies used on your website along with what those cookies are used for. This information is needed for both your cookie policy as well as your privacy policy.
  2. Cookie policy and opt in/out modifications to website. Once the audit has been completed and the policy written you will need to implement the cookie opt in functionality on the website. No cookies are dropped on the landing page and this will ensure proper consent is received from your visitors as they proceed to use your website. Perhaps the most important part of GDPR however is the opt out functionality you will need to implement. Somewhere on your site, and we would probably recommend the privacy and or cookie policy pages, you must provide an opt out that will remove cookies from a previously opted in visitor and prevent further tracking. As previously noted, this may render your site inoperable to the visitor so you will need to cover this in your policy wording.
  3. Update privacy policy – this will be focussed on what data you are collecting, why you are collecting it and if applicable, who you are sharing it with. It will also need to give details of the person responsible for your policy such that you can be contacted.

Summary

Complying with GDPR for your website needn’t be a huge burden and is essentially an extension to the current DPA rules. As such, assuming you are already DPA compliant, you will have a good basis on which to work from. The main reason that there’s so much buzz around GDPR is that is comes with some potentially significant fines for non compliance. This might sound scary but everyone will be conscious of how important their own personal data is and should therefore be keen to extend the same sentiment towards how they manage personal information themselves.

Disclaimer

GDPR compliance is the sole responsibility of any business that falls under the jurisdiction of the regulations. The information contained within this article only covers a small part of the GDPR regulations and is our interpretation of the regulations regarding the use of cookies.


Important Information About GDPR

Posted on April 6, 2018 by

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on the 25th May 2018.

You’ve probably already heard the abbreviation GDPR floating around these last few months. This is not just another piece of legislation taking place – it’s crucial that businesses take action now. But first, it’s important to know how this affects the way businesses use and track personal data, and the steps that businesses need to take now in order to be prepared for these changes.

The GDPR is completely changing the way businesses can use personal data. The aim of the new regulation is to protect the individuals’ data and privacy. What exactly is meant by this? It affects the way businesses collect, store and use the information about individuals, and applies not only to a customer data but also your past or present employees and suppliers. It gives individuals more freedom to ‘control’ what businesses do with their personal information.

Who does the GDPR affect?

You may think the new regulation only applies to large organisations, but regardless of the size of business, GDPR is affecting every business that works with European citizens’ data.

However, the good news is that the GDPR treats small businesses differently to the big ones. The businesses with over 250 employees must employ a Data Protection Officer (DPO) – a person responsible for making sure that the business collects and secures personal data in a responsible way. If the business employs less than 250 people, there’s no need to employ a DPO. However, small businesses still need to be compliant with the changes happening on the 25th May 2018.

The GDPR does not only affect businesses located in the UK. The GDPR is about protecting the data of all European citizens, which means that a business in any part of the world that sells goods to or works with European citizens has to comply with the new European regulations.

What kind of data does the GDPR apply to?

Any personal information. This could be – a name, an email address, a photo, posts on social media platforms, bank details, medical information, computer IP addresses, even sensitive information such as sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc. It also includes any piece of information that could be linked to an individual. For instance, a cookie on a website can be used to identify an individual visitor and is therefore classed as personal information.

What rights will individuals have?

Right to be informed
Under the GDPR, individuals have the right to be informed about their data being collected and used. Businesses must provide their customers with a privacy policy detailing what data is being collected, why this data is collected, how long will you keep the data for and if applicable, who will you share this data with. This privacy information must be provided to individuals at the time you collect their data. In the case of obtaining the data from other sources rather than from individuals directly, you must provide details to those being affected with the privacy information within a month.

Right of access
Individuals have the right to get confirmation of their data being used and can also request access to that data (companies have to provide this information free of charge and within a month of the request).

Right to rectification
Individuals have the right to have their data rectified if their data is not accurate. If an individual requests this, the company needs to deal with this request within a month (in some cases, if the request is more complex, the one month period may be extended to 2 months).

Right to erasure (also known as ‘right to be forgotten’)
Individuals have the right to ask for erasure of their data. This includes the right to opt out of cookies on your website if they have previously opted in.

Right to restrict processing
Individuals have the right to ask for a restriction of their data.

Right to data portability
Individuals can request that their data is moved from one service to another. If this is the case, you must provide a safe and secure transferal of their data.

Right to object
Individuals have the right to object to:
– processing based on legitimate interests in the public interest/exercise of official authority (including profiling)
– direct marketing
– processing for purposes of scientific/historical research

Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling
You must give individuals the information about the processing and introduce a simple way for them to challenge a decision.
(ico.org.uk)

What steps do businesses need to take?

Audit your business
It’s important that you know everything about the information you hold and who it’s shared with. Probably the best way to do this is to organize an audit through your organization and document what data you hold, what you use them for, where the data came from and who you share this data with. And what about your privacy policy? Also, do you give people an option to opt out? This might take a while for you to do but it will give you a better understanding of what actions your business needs to take after the enforcement of the new regulation.

Update the privacy policy
You should already provide this information, however, this should be reviewed as GDPR brings new requirements of what needs to be included in your privacy policy. You will have to explain your lawful basis for processing the data, you will also have to let people know the retention period or let them know that they have a right to complain to the ICO if they think the way you handle their data is not correct.

Cookies
Don’t forget to include information about cookies on your website – including a list of cookies and what they do. You will almost certainly also have to make changes to how cookies are used on your website, have a clear opt-in policy and also implement a way for visitors to subsequently opt out of cookies in the future.

Opt-in/-out
You must give individuals an absolute freedom to opt out. You also have to give them an option to opt in.

Be concise
State exactly what information you store, the purpose of your business gathering their data, how will you store their data, what you will do with their data, how long will you keep their data for and who else will have access to it.

Create a data policy for your business
Individuals have a total control of how companies manipulate their data. You must prepare for situations like; how will we erase the data if requested? Or who will be responsible for doing so? Also, bear in mind the period for handling requests will change from 40 days to a month!

Data breaches
Situations like this are not ideal but they do happen. You should have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate the data breaches. You have to report the data breach to ICO if it is likely to result in putting individual’s rights and freedom at risk.


The Website Development Process: A 6 Step Guide

Posted on March 21, 2018 by

Website development is a comprehensive process that consists of essential steps that need to be followed. There isn’t a specific number of steps as it may vary depending on an agency or a developer, however, the basic process is pretty much the same.

Before we go through the process of developing a site…

We like to make things as clear as possible. Somebody who’s new to working alongside a digital agency may particularly struggle to understand the language developers speak. What terms will you come across while working with the web agency? We’ve created a cheat sheet with the terms that are used the most, so go ahead and download our cheat sheet!

download here

 

The website development process

1. Identifying goals and purpose

Just like any other project, the very first step of developing a website is gathering all the necessary information. All the expectations you have from a website need to be clarified at the beginning of the project otherwise the whole project might set off in the wrong direction.

These are some of the aspects that need to be considered. The website’s purpose, goal, target audience and the information provided on a website will have a huge impact on what technologies will be implemented and what functionality the website will benefit from at the final stage. What is the goal of developing this site? Is it to drive more sales, create brand awareness or sell products directly from a website? The website whose purpose is to sell cars will have different functionality than the one specifically designed to inform. And the design of the website will reflect the type of audience.

Bear in mind, it’s very important that everything is agreed at the early stages of the project. Any changes that have not been agreed will require an increase in timeline and budget.

2. Planning

At the planning stage, we decide what kind of technologies will we use for developing a site, e.g. what CMS will be used and also, we give you an idea of how the website will look. We create a sitemap for the website which is then followed by creating a wireframe. The major difference between these two is:

Sitemap represents a relationship between the main areas of the website and its content. A sitemap could be referred to as a table of contents for a website, showing off the future site’s navigation. While creating a sitemap, we have to consider things like; how easy will it be for an end user to find an information he’s looking for from the main page? Or how easy will be to navigate the site? Keeping the end user in the heart of the process, we aim to plan a site that will be as user-friendly as possible.

Example of a sitemap for a simple website:

The wireframe gives you a better understanding of what the website will look like visually. Although there are no actual visual elements used (no pictures, no logos, no colours, etc.), it gives you an idea what will be the layout of the website. It will show where on a page will we display text, photos, etc. Once you are happy with the layout of the pages we have presented, we can move on to the next stage – designing the website.

Example of using pen and paper: (The wireframe doesn’t have to be done in any expensive software, the layout of the page can be simply drawn on a piece of paper)

3. Design

This stage allows designers to show off what they’re great at. The possibilities to design a fantastic looking website are endless.

What are the major elements designer has to keep in mind?

Target audience
Who will be using the site? A website aimed to target young teenagers will (and should!) look completely different from the one that’s offering financial support to businesses.

Branding
All the branding elements (logos, colour, font) have to be in place with the current branding.

Designing and developing a new website is not only about the way the website looks as there are many other important elements like functionality, speed, etc. However, it is important because the website represents your brand. It creates a perception in customers’ minds about the brand, having an impact on whether they will decide to use your products/services or not.

Keeping these important elements in mind, we start with designing the whole website (what to you might look like a ‘ready to go’ website, however, at this stage the website is not functional – it is just a proof of the design). Once you are happy with the design and ready to sing it off, we can move the proof across to our developers who will start to develop the actual site.

4. Development

And so the development process begins… The proof of the design we’ve seen in the previous stage will turn into a fully functional website which will be ready to go live very soon. The development process involves the programming work as well as loading content onto the site.

The sitemap we have created in the planning stage will help us actually build the site. We’d usually start with a home page and add all the subpages afterwards. From the technical point of view, in the development process we make all the elements of the website work properly, e.g. contact forms, payment gateways or functionality that were agreed earlier are being developed at this stage.

Once we build a site, we load all the content onto the site. Either a member of our team will do so, or you might prefer to do it yourself – whichever is more suitable.

5. Testing and Launch

Once a site has been built, there’s one more crucial step to be taken before the site goes live – testing. The reason for testing the site is to find if there are any issues, e.g. broken links that need to be fixed. Everything on a site should be tested – all the links, all the forms, all the scripts, even the content. It’s always better to fix the issue before we launch the site, rather than to launch a site that doesn’t work properly!

Once your site has been tested, we upload it to a live server and we are ready for the most exciting step of the development process – launch!

6. Maintenance

Once we launch the website, remember – it is not a product or service that once delivered, our job ends there. Websites need to be looked after and maintained the whole time they’re in use, e.g. with security updates to keep the site fully secure. If you use a CMS system, you want to do regular updates in order to prevent the site from any bugs, etc.

A great way to keep the site well maintained is a maintenance pot. We’ve been offering this service to our customers for many years and from our own experience, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep the sites we’ve built up to date. We offer our customers a maintenance pot that they can top up anytime they like (with no expiry date). So once you wish to make any changes to the website or your website needs some updates, we simply take the time off from your maintenance pot – assuring you only pay for the actual time it takes us to do the job.

Are you interested in having a new website developed for your business? Or perhaps you need to make some changes to your current one. Either way, don’t hesitate and contact Web-Feet today!


Generating Leads for B2B Companies

Posted on February 23, 2018 by

A lead is a company (or individual) that shows an interest in your products or services. In order to identify your leads, you have to generate them first. So, what are the best methods for generating leads?

There are many different ways B2B companies can generate leads. What works for some companies won’t necessarily work for others, so it’s important to do your research and speak to a marketing expert who can help guide you and your business.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing attracts prospects to your brand naturally without you having to chase them down. Connecting with prospects via search engines, content marketing, newsletters, videos or social media are just a few of the most effective ways to generate leads for your business.

Inbound marketing consists of many bits and pieces that work together to form a cohesive marketing strategy. What are the key elements of a good inbound marketing strategy?

SEO

Search engine optimisation is a crucial part of an inbound marketing strategy. Many businesses rely on SEO to bring leads straight to their website via organic search. However, with no content SEO won’t work, and SEO isn’t that simple. There are many requirements that need to be met in order to be well optimised for SEO and perform well in Google Search. The key elements include quality content, user experience, site speed, meta descriptions, etc. A lot of work needs to be done on your website before its content becomes visible on search engine result pages.

Content creation

We view loads of content every day – blogs, videos, whitepapers and infographics to name a few types. Content is not only great for interacting with customers, boosting brand awareness or sharing your best practices. It’s also a great way for generating leads and can be made a crucial part of an inbound marketing strategy.

According to HubSpot, “B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3x more traffic than those companies that blogged 0-1 times per month”. B2B buyers now use content to help them with the buying decisions and expect content that is interactive and educational (Demand Gen Report, 2016).

One of the many perks of blogging and creating digital content is that your marketing department doesn’t have to spend a fortune. All it requires is your time and creativity to create a good piece of content.

Social media

As mentioned above, a good content marketing strategy helps boost your SEO ranking and generate leads. However, it’s only the first step of creating a successful inbound marketing strategy. The content you create has to come across as many of your prospects as possible and the easiest way to do this is sharing your content across all of your social media platforms. It also gives you a great overview of what kind of content works well with your audience and what doesn’t. Social media platforms also allow you to boost your posts, so for only a small amount of money, your content can easily reach thousands of people.

B2B companies can use social media for generating leads not only via content. A great social platform for businesses wanting to generate leads is LinkedIn. Upgrading to LinkedIn Premium gives you an option to work with LinkedIn Sales Navigator that helps you to identify prospects, drive leads and increase your sales. You can easily search for people based on the area, qualifications or job roles, save them as a lead and contact them directly.

What other methods B2B companies utilise to generate leads?

Email Marketing

Whether you are a small business or a large company, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with customers. Businesses use email marketing to:

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Maintain relationships with new or existing customers
  • Generate leads
  • Increase sales

Whether you want to let your customers know about the new products or services you offer, or simply thank them for shopping with you, it’s important to create targeted emails aimed specifically at them. You don’t need to send out individual emails to each contact to achieve this. We encourage our customers to use a marketing automation tool to help with this process. There are many marketing automation tools available. We use Hatchbuck – small business CRM and sales automation tool.

Hatchbuck allows you to easily add or delete contacts in your database. Tailoring contacts with different tags based on their interests and preferences helps you target right people with the right emails as part of an email marketing campaign. Hatchbuck allows you to access reports to see who opened your email or clicked through to your site helping you to easily generate leads from your email marketing campaigns.

 

Networking

Before the big boom of social media and online marketing, businesses used networking events, conferences and trade shows to build their contact list. They would simply exchange business cards and email each other afterwards. You can still benefit from taking part in networking events. It’s a great way to create face to face relationships with prospects, getting to know those people who will do business with you or will introduce you to people who might do. Organising or taking part in events might be time and money consuming, however it might work for you as your biggest lead generator. Here are some tips on how to be successful at networking events:

  • Do some research on what businesses will be at the event
  • Don’t think about closing sales, think about building relationships with prospects
  • You only have the first few seconds to grab the prospects’ attention – don’t miss the opportunity!
  • Try to listen more and talk less (ask open-ended questions) – this will give you a better understanding of what their business needs are and how your services can benefit them

Use Your Website as a Lead Generator

Businesses should seek ways to generate leads from their website. Individuals or businesses may visit your website for a number of reasons. Perhaps it was your social media or email marketing that led them to your website? Or maybe they accidentally ended up there while they were googling some stuff? Perhaps you’ve got a good piece of content on your website, or they were specifically searching for products or services you offer.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s incredibly useful to know which businesses are looking at your website. You can now use your website to generate leads with lead generation software – ‘Who’s Looking At You’.

 

Who’s Looking At You

Who’s Looking At You (WLAY) is a lead generation software that shows you who has been looking at your website. By tracking the visiting company’s IP address, it gives you all the information your sales team need to follow up that lead!

Not only does it provide you with the company’s contact information – it also shows you exactly what they were searching for, what exact links they clicked on, and how long they stayed on each page, giving you a better insight on how to approach them in order to make a sale. Generating leads through your website has never been easier. WLAY does everything for you, and it’s entirely up to you how often you want to keep an eye on your potential leads.

If you’re interested in finding out who visits your website, make sure you contact us today.


How to Write a Good Subject Line

Posted on February 2, 2018 by

From car insurance companies offering their latest deals, to travel agents tempting you with your next holiday destination, or your favourite retailers offering discounts, you probably receive hundreds of marketing emails every week from companies that have your details. Perhaps you purchased something recently from their site, or signed up to their mailing list to get 15% off your latest purchase. Either way, once a company has your details, the chances are you’ll receive a lot of marketing emails from them!

But do you actually read these emails? Do you even open any of them?

Companies and marketers often test different methods and techniques that would (ideally) result in high open and click-through rates of their email campaigns. However, it’s often really hard to get the recipient’s attention due to a high volume of emails received every day.

According to CMB Consumer Pulse research, 47% people open the email based on a subject line. As the subject line is the first thing recipient sees it plays a huge role in whether your email will be opened or not; therefore, it’s important to take a moment to think of something relevant, clever or witty that will catch the recipient’s attention!

Click a button below to download our free ‘Subject Line’ guide!

The guide includes a checklist, examples of the best subject lines and subject line keywords that are proven to increase email open rates.

download here

How to write a good subject line

Personalise your subject line

Use a recipient’s name in a subject line. Not only will it make them feel special, it will also make them feel they are a valued customer – resulting in a higher open-rate of your campaign. According to Experian Marketing Services research, email subject lines that contained a recipient’s name had 29% higher unique open rate and 41% higher click-through rate than the ones with no personalisation used.

However, before you decide to use a contact’s first name in a subject line, make sure all of your contacts contain a first name, as it’s often the case that your database is missing this information. Some of your data might only contain customers’ surnames or some having only initials, and you don’t want to send an email with a subject line saying ‘Happy Birthday F’. Use a marketing automation tool to help you with segmenting this data.

💡 If you are not very keen on using your contacts’ names in the subject lines, try using ‘you’ instead. This is another great way to make your recipients feel that the email is especially for them.

Keep it relevant

If you are selling an exciting product, the chances are you want your subject line to be exciting too. But if you sell a product that is not so exciting, you still want to create an air of excitement in subject line, simply because it makes people curious about what’s inside your email.

But don’t make any fake promises just to get people to open your emails. This can be very annoying, and all it will lead to is people scrolling down your email for one reason only – to hit unsubscribe.

Use a familiar sender name

People want to communicate with real people and feel valued as customers. Sending an email from a familiar sender name makes the email appear more personal and friendly to the recipient. It can also reinforce a sense of exclusivity, as though the offer inside is personal and just for them. Generally speaking, most people would prefer to see an email from the actual person than the one from noreply@yourcompanyname.co.uk.

Make it look urgent

Subject lines such as ‘50% off TODAY only!’ create a perception in the recipient’s mind that they must act now otherwise they miss out. Email subject lines that suggest a sense of urgency can help marketers increase their open-rates – when executed properly. It’s important not to overuse this type of subject line, as if you make every email urgent, it will lose its value. Customers like to benefit from offers, but they also don’t like to be told what to do and when to do it. We would advise using these kinds of subject lines only when the content of your email is genuinely urgent or time restricted.

Make them feel special

Customers love to be made to feel special. If they receive an email saying ‘an exclusive offer for you’, it will make them want to open the email to see what’s inside for them, even though it was probably sent to another 4000 people.

Offers

Who doesn’t love discounts and offers?! Especially offers on products and services we regularly buy or use!

Whether you are a bakery shop, a fashion retailer, a digital agency or any kind of business, treat your customers from time to time and offer them a discount. Make the offer known in the subject line so your customers don’t miss out on the offer!

Use visuals

If you’re sending an email to your colleague, you’ll probably send a simple plain text email. But when you send newsletters, promotional emails, thank you emails, etc. to your customer, there’s no reason for you to be held back. Get creative – use images or gifs to make reading your emails much more entertaining.

💡 Your customers will be opening emails on different devices (e.g. mobile phones or tablets). Make sure your images are responsive so there won’t be an issue opening it on any device.
💡 Using gifs is great, but use sparingly and think carefully about your audience – a gif that’s funny in the office might not be funny to a customer!

Use A/B testing

Crafting a standard subject line is easy. But coming up with the one that recipients will click on might be a bit harder. How do you find out what will work well with your customers?

A/B test is the answer.

You might think that the subject line you came up with is great, but your audience might not agree. This could result in a low open rate of your emails. Try using an A/B test, which is easy to implement and brings effective results. Send email A to half of your customers and email B to another one. This will then show you what approach to choose so you can meet your audience’s preferences.

Whatever type of email you send out, think about the subject line carefully. It might be a major element in whether your email marketing campaign will be successful or not.


What Makes A Good Email Marketing Campaign?

Posted on January 29, 2018 by

Many businesses use email marketing to communicate with new and existing customers. When done right, it’s one of the most effective ways to tell people about the products or services you offer and to increase your sales. Email marketing also allows businesses to focus on targeting specific customers or groups of customers directly and in a more personal manner.

Businesses benefit from using automation tools that help organise their email marketing campaigns. There are many automation tools to choose from. We use Hatchbuck, which is a CRM, marketing software and email marketing system all-in-one. It’s easy to use and helps you to stay on top of your marketing and communications strategy. You can allocate various tags to contacts that will help you differentiate your customers. Filtering contacts by their preferences or location can help you target right people with the right emails. This way you don’t have to worry about accidentally sending a ‘Congratulations on your baby arrival’ email to someone who wasn’t expecting one!

Steps to a successful email marketing campaign

First things first

Gather your contacts. You probably have a list of contacts in your database if you’re thinking about starting an email marketing campaign, however, you want to make sure this list constantly grows.

  • Get people to subscribe to your newsletter, clearly place the subscription form on your website or in a blog post. Make it as visible as possible so it can’t escape their attention.
  • Offer people some free goodies. These could be free samples of your products or a free e-book they could benefit from.
  • Collect email addresses at networking events. Make sure you send a welcome email afterwards.

There are many different ways you can grow your contact list, but also, bear in mind that your contact list is mainly about quality and not the quantity. Make sure you go through the contacts after each of your campaigns as there will be hundreds of emails which were either not delivered due to a wrong email address, or people in your database simply don’t work for the company you’re trying to reach. Keep an eye on this as there’s no point in sending emails that will never be opened.

Subject line

The subject line is the first thing we see when we receive an email. Therefore it plays a big role in determining whether or not your email is worth opening and reading. Think about creating a subject line that will make your recipient curious about what’s inside your email. Use creativity and relevance.

Personalisation

People like to see they are valued customers. Using their first name in a subject line or at the beginning of the email makes them feel that you value them and they are important to you. Using email marketing software helps you with sending a high amount of personalised emails to your contacts based on their buying decisions and preferences.

E-shot design

The design of an email is very important as it represents your brand and forms an impression in the mind of the recipient. Create an email template that you will use for your email marketing campaigns. This can be tailored for each of your campaigns, however, take into account brand personality and maintain consistency. Logo, colour scheme, font, size, and style should be in line with your current brand guidelines and remain the same for each of your campaigns. While working on your design you have to make sure the design is responsive so your customers won’t have any trouble opening it on any device.

Avoid spelling mistakes

Spelling mistakes can make your business look unprofessional and put potential off reading your email. Make sure you double check your emails before you send them out and make sure you get their name spelled correctly. The last thing your customers want to pick up on is a spelling mistake!

Relevant content

When your customers open your email, they will be expecting to find information that is relevant to them. If your content is too generic and the information or offer you provide has nothing to do with them, they are likely to hit unsubscribe. Stop and think – is this email useful and relevant to this customer?

Mobile optimisation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we mentioned earlier, make sure your email is responsively designed. People spend a lot of time on their mobile phones, so it’s no surprise that emails are most likely to be opened on mobile devices. According to Litmus report from December 2017 (based on 1.23 billion opens), Apple iPhone holding 28% becomes number 1 platform for opening emails. This means it’s crucial that your emails are adapted for mobile use as well as for a desktop use.

A/B test

Running an A/B test is one of the easiest and most reliable ways of finding out which campaigns work best for your audience. Try using a different subject line, or experiment with a different format and design of your email. Send an ‘A’ email to half of the customers in your contact list, and the email ‘B’ to another half. This will then help you to find out what works best for your target audience.

Test it – again and again!

Before you launch your email campaign, be sure to test it first, and then test it again. Test your campaign across multiple platforms and devices and check that it displays correctly. Run a spam check too – this will check whether your email will pass through spam filters or not, which is pretty crucial.

Measure your results

Each email marketing campaign will provide results. It’s important to measure your open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribes and complaints. Email marketing software gives you full reports on these results, helping you to analyse which campaigns work well and which don’t.

Follow up

Once the contact shows interest, it’s important to follow up. For example, if your email contains a link to your website which your contacts clicked on, follow up with another email based on the interest showed. This will help you to build new relationships with prospects and maintain good relationships with your existing customers. Keep the process of following up those who show an interest steady, however, remember not to make it overwhelming. You don’t want to put potential customers off by annoying them!

Web-Feet can help you with E-shot generation, email template design and planning your email marketing campaigns so don’t hesitate to contact us today.


Customising search terms in Magento 2

Posted on November 15, 2017 by

Introduction to Magento 2 Search

Magento 2 search can sometimes be suboptimal when more than one search term is used. Your initial reaction might be that the search engine isn’t very good. However, using data collected from the Magento 2 admin and using some experience, the platform offers some great flexibility to customise and therefore optimise search results. The end result can be a much better user experience for your site visitors and hopefully a better conversion rate. To find out more, read on.

Considerations

Before we dive in, there are some key considerations before you start trying to customise your search within M2.

Understanding user behaviour

Offsite search

First, we need to take a step back from the M2 website under consideration and look at how the visitors arrive at your website in the first place. If you are using Paid Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation for organic search, then the ‘searching’ has most likely been done BEFORE the visitor arrives at your website. Hopefully, they’ve landed on the right page to meet their needs. In other words, these users are arriving at the website on the product page they are looking for. As such, Magento search is less critical to this type of user. What is critical is ensuring you have a good Digital Marketing strategy to ensure these potential buyers are finding your products through search and landing right where they need to in order to purchase.

Onsite search

Everyone else that lands on your site, through more generic search terms or through your efforts to promote your business and products/services, may be better considered a ‘browser’. They land on your site because they are interested in what you have to offer but might not have a specific product or service in mind. This is the main target audience for optimising your on-site Magento search terms.

We’ll get into a specific example shortly. For now, I’ll show you how to find where you customise search terms in the site admin. So, when you are logged into your M2 admin, click on the Marketing tab and then under SEO & Search you will see ‘Search Terms’ – as highlighted in the image below. Select this option and it will take you through to the Search Terms page.

Menu path to select search customisation

 

The Search Terms page in the Magento 2 admin

When you select the option above it will open the Search Terms page, as shown below.

Magento 2 search screen

The purpose of this page is two-fold. First of all, it’s where all your user intelligence is to be found in terms of what people have searched for on your website. This is actual, real-world data and therefore a potential gold mine in terms of understanding users search behaviour. This page will show you the most recent search queries, how many results that query received and how many times it’s been used. You can filter the data by Uses so that the most frequently used search terms are shown at the top. Not only can you see popular search terms you can also see mis-spellings and other such data which you can use to provide a better visitor experience. There are two key opportunities here;

Mis-spellings

Within the search queries used, you may find things like common mis-spellings or people searching using singular (eg. fridge) when your products are only listed in their plural form (e.g. fridges), and vice versa. This is your opportunity to catch these and redirect them to the actual search results (products) they were looking for rather than no results which can be frustrating and result in visitors leaving your website.

Products or Brands you don’t stock

If visitors are searching for products or brands you don’t carry, rather than give them zero results in the search, redirect them to a Magento landing page that can offer them alternatives. This would be like going the extra mile if you were face to face with the customer. It shows understanding, great customer service and may result in a sale when otherwise the visitor would have just moved on.

Creating Your Custom Search

Here’s an example below of how the search term ‘black fridge’ returns unexpected results. Because we have two words in the search, Magento treats these as mutually exclusive. So, in this case, ‘black’ is being weighted higher than ‘fridge’. So items in the database that are ‘black’ are being listed above those that are ‘fridges’, the search terms are not being used collectively because that’s not how the search works in Magento. This makes sense if you think about it but also, Magento has provided loads of customisation options, which is the purpose of this blog post of course. It should also be noted that you can also ‘weight’ product attributes in Magento in order to optimise search too – that however is outside of the scope of this article.

To deliver better results for this search term we can set up a custom search term within the M2 admin. More on this below.

Search results for black fridge before

Having determined that this search terms doesn’t work as we’d like it to, we can add this as a search term in the admin as described. In order to do this, we need to determine a destination URL so that we can effectively override the search and direct that specific term to a specific page. Below I’ve selected the ‘Fridges’ category from the main site navigation. Then I’ve used the search filter on the left to select just the black fridges. This sends me to the page URL as shown below. Copy this URL to your clipboard and then we will use it to set up our custom search.

 

Filtered search for black fridges

 

If you now go back to the site admin you can create a New Search, this will display the following information. All we need to do is add the search query (in this case black fridge), select the Store View we want this search to apply to, and then add the redirect URL which we copied above. Click save. Please note that if the search query already exists in the database you will need to search for this on this page and then edit it – this only applies if you get a message to say that your search term already exists. As mentioned above, you can also set up a custom search for products or brands that you don’t carry. So if there’s a brand you don’t carry but you have some great alternatives – redirect that search term to a Magento landing page suggesting alternatives. You may make a sale when otherwise the visitor is just going to leave and go somewhere else. It’s also a great opportunity to share your knowledge with your visitors because you may have a much better alternative, this is your opportunity to say why.

add new custom search term

If you now go back to the main website and carry out the same search as before, you will get the results as shown below. Perfect!

customised search for black fridge search term

Search Synonyms

Search synonyms in Magento 2 is another way to customise search. This is a way to link related search terms but only applies to single words. If you have a single word search term that is commonly misspelt, you can link these by creating a Synonym. You do this by creating a list of words, separated by commas. When anyone searches for any of these words, they will all be linked to the same search results. These are especially useful for single search terms that can be misspelt. For anything else, there are the custom search options above.

How to Video

Here’s a video with a step by step guide that shows you how to do everything I’ve talked about above.

In summary

Successful websites are as much about the experience as they are your products and services. You want to get your visitors to what they want quickly and with as little friction as possible. This is why Magento 2 has these really useful features that allow you to fine-tune your visitors’ search experience. Now you know how this works it’s well worth spending time regularly, fine-tuning this part of your website.


How to Overcome Black Friday Chaos

Posted on November 8, 2017 by

 

The 24th November is right around the corner, so if you haven’t started to plan your Black Friday marketing campaign yet, you’d better start now. The biggest event in retail is here in a couple of weeks, so now’s the time to make sure you really satisfy your customers on Black Friday, even if you are a small commerce business.

If you are not quite sure how to start creating a successful Black Friday marketing campaign, we’ve got some tips which can guide you through the process.

Revise the data from previous year

Revise what you did last year. Check which promotions worked well, which products made the biggest profit and which keywords were the most searched for. Were your customers mostly women? Or teens? Avid golfers? Whoever your target market is, make sure you specifically target them in your Black Friday marketing campaign.

Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring your website’s performance, and the standard version is free for businesses to use. Speak to one of our digital marketing specialists to find out more about how Google Analytics can help your business.

Email Marketing Campaigns

Get your Black Friday email marketing campaigns ready. People will receive hundreds of emails during the build-up to and on Black Friday so you have to make sure your email stands out. Make it clear and catchy.

Subject lines – try to think of a subject line that will capture the recipient’s attention. This has to reflect the content of your email. If you are sending out an email about the new HP printers being half priced you don’t want to say ‘Win the brand new iPhone 8’ just to encourage people to click on it. Information like this is spam, and will encourage people to unsubscribe. Make sure the information you are sharing is relevant and beneficial to the recipient and add some creativity.

Use personalisation – people like to see they are valued customers. If John keeps buying protein shakes every month, let him know when they are on offer.

Email doesn’t have to be just plain text – the era of plain text emails is over. You can now get creative and make your emails engaging. For example, use GIFs – they are a great way to engage with customers.

Social Media

Companies use social media to boost brand awareness and communicate with customers. Make sure your social media content is rich. Whatever promotion you send out in an email campaign, don’t forget to share it on social media too. All of these different avenues come together to form a cohesive marketing campaign, which delivers a clear and consistent message.

Many companies have now connected their e-commerce stores to their social media accounts, encouraging customers to share your products and services, helping to boost brand awareness and advertise your business.

Invest more in ads

Many purchases on your website will come from a search on Google, so it’s important to make yourself more visible around Black Friday.

If you’re not using it yourself, you’ve probably at least heard of PPC, paid search or Google AdWords. They’re the results at the top of Google with the little green ‘ad’ next to them. PPC is a great way to get your business in front of your potential customers. Make your ads pop up after people search for products similar to yours and enable your ads to reach out to more people. You can target people in certain cities or regions, or even up to a certain distance from your store. What’s more, you only pay once they actually click on your ad.

You can also advertise on social media. For example, if you’ve got a number of customers following you on Facebook and Twitter, make sure you boost your posts to reach more people. You don’t have to spend a fortune, even a small amount like £50 can get you thousands of impressions! You can be in total control of your advertising by choosing how much you want to spend and how long you want the campaign to last for.

Make sure your website is ready for Black Friday

According to IMRG, the UK’s industry association for e-retail, online spend on Black Friday 2016 was £1.23bn which was 12.2% more than in 2015. More people shopped online than in stores which means that your website has to be ready to handle a lot of traffic. Some tips on how to prepare for high traffic:

Cache your website content
The content on your website can be either static or dynamic. Static content is cacheable and dynamic content is uncacheable. Make sure you cache everything you can. Images, CSS, JavaScript or large objects like downloads have an impact on the speed of your website if they are not cached.

No more error messaging
If your customers are in the middle of purchasing products and the page is taking a while to load, they certainly don’t want to see ‘an error message’ popping up! This will convey a negative site experience, and potentially put them off making the purchase altogether. Instead, think about how could you make the waiting time a bit less painful. For example, you could use a gif that appears while the page loads – if it’s something funny they might not even realise they are waiting slightly longer than usual.

Magento 1.x updates stopping

Mobile responsiveness is key

More people are switching laptops for phones or tables. Shopping on a smartphone is very convenient and quick. However, there are some companies that still haven’t optimised their websites for mobiles. Make sure your customers have a chance to shop faster, make your website fully responsive this holiday season!

Make it longer than a day

Although Black Friday is a one-day event, the past few years showed that companies were offering discounted products longer than that. Customers now expect to see sales from the beginning of the week. Last year data from the UK’s industry association for e-retail IMRG shows that £6.45bn was spent over the Black Friday peak period (Monday 21 – Monday 28 November 2016). This doesn’t mean you should put your whole store on sale for a week, but do think about it strategically – maybe start the week off with 10% off Monday, 20% off Tuesday leading to a big sale on Friday.

Smooth returns

It’s happened to all of us. You really want to buy something but as soon as you do, you are not that sure anymore and simply want to return it. Especially during Black Friday, people will often purchase items based on their price and then regret their decision. Make sure the process of returning items is as smooth as the buying process.

Also, don’t forget that your return policy has to be in a visible place on your site. Consider placing it not only in your terms and conditions, but also under the product description or in the shopping cart.

Last but not least – don’t forget about your employees

Events like Black Friday and the Christmas period can be very stressful for employees. Showing them appreciation doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Bring some snacks and drinks at the end of the day and let them know you wouldn’t be able to do this without them – it’s the little things that count!

 

If you need some help with creating your Black Friday marketing campaign, make sure you Contact Us today.


Top Tips for Content Creation

Posted on October 23, 2017 by

content creation blogging

“On average, people consume 285 pieces of content or 54,000 words every single day” – Hubspot

Content marketing is more competitive than ever.

In 2017, many businesses are putting out original pieces in a bid to entice, delight and satisfy customers. According to Hubspot, each person consumes 285 pieces of content per day, or 54,000 words on average. With more pieces of content appearing every day, it’s increasingly difficult for brands to get noticed online.

What is Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience” – The Content Marketing Institute

The keyword here is valuable. Content marketing isn’t just about throwing any piece of content out there. The content creator’s job is to give the readers or viewers content they want to consume, providing information that’s highly relevant and of value to them, whether it’s presented in the form of a blog post, an article, an infographic or video.

content creation video

What is content?

In web marketing, ‘content’ simply means a piece of information that’s available electronically.

As a rule of thumb, good content should be interesting, shareable and valuable to your target audience. It also has to be digestible information that’s presented in a useful and accessible way.

It can be written or visual, and there are hundreds of different types of content available online. The most common types of content we see online usually fit into one of the following categories:

  • Infographics
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • Guides
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars

Don’t worry – content creation doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Infographics, blog posts and short videos can be created by businesses of all sizes on both big and small budgets, and are relatively simple and straightforward to produce. Guides, whitepapers and webinars are often more time consuming and will require more research, effort and expertise. The type of content you choose to produce will depend on your target audience, type of business and time available.

You may wish to include a range of types of content within your content marketing strategy, or just stick to one or two – there are no rules and you should do whatever works best for your business and your target audience.

Below we’ve included some of our top tips for content creation, based on our own content marketing strategy at Web-Feet!

1. Utilise content creation tools

For the graphic designers and videographers among us, producing an infrographic or short video is a breeze. For the rest of us, it can be hard to know where to start and what tools to use. Thankfully, there are some fantastic content creation tools available online that are completely free, accessible and easy to use.

Canva (below) is a graphic design tool we use for internal marketing at Web-Feet. It’s fantastic for creating high quality infographics and images for social media or blog posts. You can use it to create high-quality and visually engaging templates using your own branding. These can be saved, so you can use them again for future posts or campaigns without starting again from scratch. It’s pretty straightforward and user-friendly, and you can connect multiple social media accounts, making content distribution easy.

content creation buffer

For creating videos to be shared on our YouTube channel, we use the cloud-based online video editing tool WeVideo. WeVideo enables even the least skilled video editor to get to grips with creating high-quality videos, which can be embedded within a blog post (like below) or shared via social media.

2. Brush up on your written English

Writing skills are important when it comes to producing great content. It’s all about effective communication – you need to get your point across to your readers clearly and concisely to keep them engaged.

Your tone, style and the quality of your written work also reflects your brand: a sloppy piece with poor grammar and spelling that hasn’t been proofread doesn’t send across a good message to your readers. In fact, it can be very irritating so read and put people off your company altogether!

Keep your tone clear, consistent and representative of your brand.

If writing skills aren’t a strength in your team, there are some great online tools out there to help. Download the Grammarly Google Chrome extension to eliminate grammar errors and polish your written work.

It’s also a good idea to ask somebody to proofread your work, as even those with the strongest writing abilities can be blind to their own mistakes!

3. Take advantage of data

Content driven by hard facts and data is often the most successful. Many companies will spend lots of money doing research and gathering their own data, which is fantastic if doing so is within your means.

However, you don’t need to spend loads on research in order to produce great content, as there is a world of data out there ready to be taken and turned into a great marketing campaign. Government data is a fantastic source of free, trustworthy data that encompasses a variety of sectors, from business and the economy to health and the environment.

When you use an authoritative data source, your business takes on some of that authority, giving your brand a unique voice it doesn’t normally have. This can enable you to use that data to create something unique, valuable and interesting.

4. Use a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a great tool for planning ahead, making content creation much easier. Use it to plan around seasonal events and dates that are relevant to your business, and let it guide your overall content strategy. Come up with some content ideas and use your content calendar to create a backlog for future marketing campaigns.

You can find out more about planning content and download a free content calendar in our blog post Marketing Planning: Do you know your key dates?

content creation calendar

5. Think carefully about content distribution

Before clicking post or send, think carefully about who you want to target. Knowing your target audience will help you to decide not only the type of content you’re creating, but also where you will place it and how you will spread the word.

Content marketing is about more than just creating your content: it’s also about utilising the best tools out there to promote your valuable content in order to attract and retain customers. Below are three marketing tools that we use at Web-Feet, either for our own marketing or on behalf of our clients.

Buffer

For posting infographics and sharing blog posts on social media, we recommend using Buffer. Buffer is a free social media management platform which enables you to manage multiple social media accounts from one page. You can add content to a ‘queue’, selecting the time, date and place you’d like your content to be published. This means you can plan in advance, setting time aside to create and upload content Buffer which will then trickle your content to your followers.

You can also download the Buffer app to a smartphone or tablet, enabling you to add content to your queue away from your desk and on the go.

Hatchbuck

We also distribute content, such as blog posts, via email. For this we use Hatchbuck, which is a fantastic all-in-one sales and marketing automation software. We love Hatchbuck because of its wide range of features: not only is it a great CRM system for storing contact details, but you can also track leads and prospects, helping you reach out to the right people and stay on top of your marketing strategy. It’s essentially a tool which streamlines your marketing and sales strategy into one place, which makes it a great fit for many businesses.

MailChimp

MailChimp is another marketing automation service that’s popular with businesses of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have the added bonus of a built in CRM system and functionality that Hatchbuck offers, but it’s a great and affordable alternative if you’re looking for a straightforward email platform. MailChimp is responsive on mobile devices and tablets via an app, so you can use it whilst on the go.

To find out more about the Content Marketing services we offer at Web-Feet, including content creation, then Contact Us today.


Some of our happy customers