GDPR – What now?

Nearly a month has now passed since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into effect on May 25th and ensuring compliance is crucial going forward to avoid any costly fines. There are still many discussions and blurry lines between what you can and cannot do when it comes to controlling and processing data. Like most of us, you probably received a string of emails leading up to May 25th asking for your consent to opt-in to further communications or to update your preferences, but you may have also noticed that some businesses did not send you an ‘opt-in’ email, but instead something along the lines of ‘We have updated our Privacy Policy’. Here are two possible explanations why they did not send you an email requesting your ‘opt-in’:

either

1. they have already got record that you have previously and actively given your consent

or

2. they are processing your data under the basis of legitimate interest.

 

What is a legitimate interest?

The legitimate interest is a clause under the GDPR which allows for the processing of data without gaining consent, providing there is a balance of interests from both the data processor and the individual. Examples of this include working in the same or similar industry where there may be a balanced interest in the services or products, the individual is an existing client or customer, or when the processing of data is absolutely necessary for legal obligation. Providing the data is not processed in a way that is unrelated to that relationship, you may continue to send communications based on legitimate interest unless the individual opts-out.

In light of GDPR, businesses should have an updated Privacy and Cookie Policy to explain how they collect, manage and use your data, which will also explain the emails you may have received notifying you of their updated policies. A business should explain in their Privacy Policy the legal basis of processing your data, whether that be legitimate interest, consent or both.

For B2B marketers and email marketing in particular, there are some particularly crucial boundaries regarding the email addresses you can and cannot send to under the basis of legitimate interest. You can continue to send to email addresses providing they are a Limited company, a Limited Liability Partnership, or a partnership in Scotland or a Government department, and you are sending an email to a business email address. However, if the person you are emailing is a sole trader or works in a partnership, even if you are sending the email to their work email address and there is legitimate interest, you will require an initial opt-in from them to do so.

 

Completing a Legitimate Interests Assessment

The processing of data based on legitimate interest is a credible alternative where gaining consent is not an option; however, we advise that data controllers undertake a Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA). This process consists of a series of questions that help you to determine whether the processing of data under Legitimate Interests is viable and if it is, demonstrates that there is a balance of interests between the two parties. You should go through the LIA process each time you plan to newly process personal data under Legitimate Interests.

If you have any questions about regarding GDPR and how affects your marketing, contact us on 01962 600 147 or email info@tlc-business.co.uk.

How will GDPR affect Marketing?

With the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into effect on May 25th 2018, TLC Business have taken a look into how the new laws will affect the B2B Marketing industry and what precautions we can begin to take to ensure we’re not in any breach of the new regulations – as we could encounter some pretty significant and unpleasant fines.

So what is GDPR and what do we need to know about it?

The GDPR is the biggest change in data protection laws in 20 years and it will affect any organisation that collects or processes the personal information or data of any European Citizen. The intentions of the GDPR are to give back European citizens control of their personal data and to enforce stricter regulations. These new set of rules, set by the European Commission, will make major changes to all of Europe’s privacy laws and replace the current outdated Data Protection Division (1995). If businesses do not comply with the new laws when the regulations come into force on May 25th, they could face some pretty hefty fines. Depending on a series of factors, these could be up to €20 million Euros or 4% of their global annual turnover for the previous financial year, whichever is greater – alongside this, they also face huge damage to the company’s reputation.

What about Brexit?

The UK’s forthcoming exit from the EU will not exclude UK businesses from the GDPR, as the new regulations are already agreed and in place, ready for enforcement in the UK in May. Even if the UK was to repeal them post-Brexit, bear in mind that currently the UK sends around 40% of all its exports to the EU and by complying with the new principles set out in GDPR, a business will ensure it is compliant for continued trading with EU citizens and businesses going forward post-Brexit, whatever the outcome.

What are the most significant changes? And what does this mean for marketers?

The biggest change brought about by GDPR for all marketers, whether they specialise in direct marketing, email marketing, telemarketing or digital marketing, is the new ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’ permission rules. Historically, businesses and marketers have provided pre-ticked opt-in boxes, therefore, by default, their audience is opted-in to receiving an array of marketing communications. The data collected through this method is used freely by companies, how they choose, meaning that the data processors, be it the company or their partners, can send you communications about absolutely anything – regardless whether you actually want it.

Although many businesses have now improved these practices and include clearer and more straight-forward options to ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’, GDPR will forbid this practice. From May 25th, organisations will no longer be able to pre-opt in people to their marketing lists and will also be required to maintain records of how and when consent to receive future communications was given by the individual.

However, there are also a few exceptions to this rule:

You will still be able to call businesses with no opt-in but must state who you are calling from and give people the right to opt-out of further calls.
You will still be able to send direct mail with no opt-in but must give people the right to opt-out of further mails.

Another point to consider under the new regulations, is that businesses can only keep data and personal information for a fair amount of time before requiring the individual to re-subscribe; however, it is not yet clear what is considered ‘fair’ and we hope this will be made clearer closer to the GDPR launch.

The right to be forgotten

Businesses must also give individuals the option to remove all personal information and data from their systems at any time – as long as it doesn’t mean they are in breach of compliance or industry regulations. This ‘Right to be forgotten’ principle is much more thorough than an opt-out and no longer sending them messages. Instead, it gives individuals the right to be removed from an organisation’s database entirely. As a result of this, if they wish to receive marketing content again in the future, they must resubmit new contact information and provide consent in order to do so.

The right to request what data on you is held

A significant aspect of GDPR that directly affects marketers, is the right for individuals to request a copy of data held on them in any readable, electronic format. Alongside this, they are entitled to ask exactly what information is being used by an organisation or processed by their company and for what end purpose.

The GDPR intends for data subjects to regain control of how their information and data is handled and directly threatens ‘batch and blast’ marketing, where businesses will often use bulk purchased data from data providers in an untargeted manner and without consideration of the data subject’s interests. Small to large companies often rely upon data purchasing to populate their sales pipeline and expand their audience reach.

However, despite the stricter rules and regulations of gaining consent, the European Commission has made some compromises. Marketers may be be allowed to use data without gaining consent providing there is a degree of  ‘legitimate interest’. This ‘legitimate interest’ clause applies to both personal and business data subjects. Many marketers are claiming ‘legitimate interest’ will enable them to continue business as usual. Whilst we think this is unlikely, it remains to be seen what can be considered a ‘legitimate interest’ and only once cases are brought to court and precedents are set, will we truly know.

The ‘legitimate interests’ clause

The GDPR recognises the fact that data processors may have legitimate reasons for processing personal data and that sometimes data processing is absolutely necessary for legal obligation. In regards to the marketing industry in particular, the ‘legitimate interests’ clause is intended to allow data processing without consent, provided certain conditions and requirements are met. At present, this list is still quite vague.

It is also important to mention that individuals can in fact object to their data being processed for legitimate interest reasons and will still of course have the option to opt-out at any time. All organisations must make it clear to individuals how they intend to use their data in a statement and provide a legitimate interests opt-out option as well as the usual opt-out. It should also be clearly stated in the organisation’s privacy policy in line with the ICO’s recommendations on privacy notices.

One of the conditions of processing data under the legitimate interest clause is there must be a balance of interests from both the data processor and the person receiving the marketing. Examples of this include working in the same or similar industry or an interest in the services or products based on existing records. Another example of this is if the organisation has an existing relationship with the data subject; such as a previous client or customer. In this circumstance they must ensure they don’t process data in a way that is unrelated to that relationship.

To be on the safe side, we advise that any organisation processing data under the ‘legitimate interest’ clause, maintain a record of how they have made an assessment of legitimate interest, in the off chance that they are questioned and can therefore demonstrate that they have given the proper consideration to the data subject’s freedoms and rights.

In order to fulfil the requirements to use the legitimate interests clause for marketing purposes, marketers can conduct a ‘Legitimate Interests Assessment’; which can be used to determine that either the processing of personal data is absolutely necessary (which mostly refers to legal obligation) or to establish whether there is a balance of interests between the two parties and the interests of the organisation don’t outweigh the interests of the data subject.

While using legitimate interests is a good alternative when gaining consent from the data subject is not possible, it has been advised by many experts not to wholly rely upon this clause in the GDPR, as there are risks you could face and it is considered more difficult to fulfil the requirements, compared to gaining consent, which is considered the safer and easier option.

B2B email marketing and GDPR

An area of GDPR we are particularly interested in is around email marketing to individuals within businesses and organisations. Currently, the following rules are in place for when GDPR comes into practice:

If the person you are emailing works for a limited company, a limited liability partnership, partnership in Scotland or a Government department, and you are sending an email to their work email address, you can email them as long as there is legitimate interest. They need to be easily able to opt-out of receiving emails and you are required to provide your company information in the email.

If the person you are emailing is a sole trader or works in a partnership, even if you are sending the email to their work email address and there is legitimate interest, you will require an initial opt-in from them to do so.

So what actions can marketers begin to take?

The number one action marketers can take now is to provide a simple and clear opt-in process for data subjects to opt in to their future communications, to ensure your data is GDPR compliant on 25th May.

We recommend that an internal audit of the current practices and systems used to collect data should be carried out to highlight any areas that need to be updated before the GDPR comes into effect.

For marketers who wish to use legitimate interests in order to continue their direct marketing without consent, the Data Protection Network has released a ‘Legitimate Interests Guide’ to give organisations an idea of the requirements and includes the assessment mentioned earlier. You can find the downloadable guide here: https://www.dpnetwork.org.uk/dpn-legitimate-interests-guidance/

If you have any questions about how GDPR is going to affect the marketing of your business or organisation, contact us on 01962 600 147 or email info@tlc-business.co.uk.

 

2017 Top Marketing Statistics To Help You Plan For 2018

As 2017 is drawing to a close, and 2018 is on the horizon, TLC Business have taken a moment to look at the digital marketing statistics of 2017 and picked a few to explore in greater detail, to help shape your marketing content strategy in the year to come. Not only will we be discussing the relative merits of the various social media platforms, but we will also take a look at the current influences and trends around video, email and content marketing.

Who won the Social Media war in 2017?

Published figures suggest there are around 2.3 billion active Social Media users in the world right now. For most marketers who have utilised social media into their marketing strategy already or for those who are planning to, their biggest concern is about successfully targeting the right audience on the correct social media platform. So, let’s take a look at which were the most popular social sites in 2017, ranked by number of active monthly users.

1. Facebook

Coming in at the number 1 spot is Facebook, with 1.9 billion active users every month and an average of 6 new profiles created every second. Facebook is the most popularly used social media platform, with 22% of the world’s total population using it. It is also an ideal platform for targeting females between 18-49 years old. Statistics indicate that 83% of women online use Facebook, compared to 75% of men online. However, it still holds a wide general appeal, with the widest demographic of users and the most active out of all the platforms; therefore, it is no wonder Facebook is the overall top choice of platform for businesses. There are already 40 million small business users who actively use Facebook and 2 million businesses pay for Facebook advertising.

2. YouTube

With 1 billion active monthly users, YouTube is the 2nd most popular of the social media sites and has a higher proportion of men using it. 55% of males online use YouTube, compared to 45% of females online. More than 500 million hours of videos are watched by its audience of predominantly 18-49 year olds every day, this equals an average of 2 million video views per minute! Video marketing is one of the hot topics for 2018 and we will explore it further in our top trends for 2018 blog.

3. Instagram

At number 3 is Instagram, with 700 million active monthly users. Owned by Facebook, statistics show that 90% of Instagram users are under 35 and the users are predominantly female. 53% of ‘Instagrammers’ follow brands on the platform, making it another popular choice of social media channels for businesses. For millennials, Instagram is considered their most important and favourite social network to use. Over 80 million photos are uploaded by users every day, and in June this year, they introduced the function to add Instagram Live videos to your Instagram Story for 24 hours, as well as the ability to save live video to your device, making it a particularly popular platform for live video functionality.

4. The Rest…

Following Instagram in fourth place is (the now not so popular) Twitter – that is unless you are a male and between 18-29. The platform has 328 million unique monthly users, most of which only use Twitter for an average of 2.7 minutes per day. A staggering 53% of Twitter users never post any updates. Snapchat is in fifth place with 300 million active monthly users, 74% of whom are under 34 years old and 70% of which are female. LinkedIn, in sixth place, has 106 million active monthly users and is the No.1 choice of platform for professionals and particularly B2B organisations. Fact: LinkedIn users are slightly less likely to use another social media network compared to users of other platforms. In seventh place is Pinterest. It has 200 million active monthly users and is the most popular network for women aged 18-64, with 42% of all women online using the platform vs only 17% of men online. Another interesting point to add is that 10% of people that click thru to an e-commerce site via Pinterest are more likely to make a purchase compared to if they were referred from any other network. Something to consider for the B2C marketers out there.

The Rise of Video Marketing

2017 saw another increase in the use of video marketing in campaigns and the statistics continue to grow as we get closer to 2018. If you’re unsure of which platform to use, the answer is don’t worry about it. They all have their merits. Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day according to Social Media Today and YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year (Hubspot), so it’s no wonder that video has become increasingly popular as a marketing method and marketers are investing more and more in paid or sponsored social video. According to Hubspot, a staggering 80% of users recall a video ad they have viewed in the past 30 days and after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online. Live streaming videos have also been in the limelight in 2017, with people spending 3 times longer watching a live social video compared to one that is pre-recorded. By 2020, 80% of global internet traffic will be attributed to video consumption and 48% of marketers plan to add video to their content strategy in the next year if they haven’t already done so. But not only is video being uploaded and shared on social platforms, it has proven to be successful within web and email marketing content too. According to Unbounce, including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. In terms of email marketing, Syndacast said using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line boost the open rates by 19% and Hubspot suggests a video in an email leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rates. So, if you haven’t already incorporated video into your marketing plan, now is the time to do so.

Increasing Content for Mobile

The number of users web browsing on mobile devices increases +25% year-on-year and mobile is the number 1 choice of device for accessing the web and social media. By 2018, mobile content will account for 72% of digital ad spend according to eMarketer and the growth in businesses creating mobile-ready content is rapid. Businesses are creating more content for the smaller screen, including mobile-optimised websites, social media pages, videos, imagery and mobile-optimised emails. Tubular Insights recently stated that 84% of viewers are watching social video via mobile; therefore, creating video that seamlessly adapts to the size of screen it is being watched on is important for creating an effective user experience. According to Forbes, square videos take up 78% more space in the Facebook News Feed and get more engagement than horizontal videos. Mobile-only social network platforms, such as Snapchat, also continue to grow in popularity and are encouraging more time to be spent on mobiles. However, despite the favourable use of mobile devices, statistics show that mobile conversion rates are still much lower than desktop conversion rates, as people simply aren’t as ready to buy on the small screen. There are plenty of understandable reasons for this: people find it hard to navigate websites and make purchases on a smaller screen; people may not feel payments are as secure on mobile as they are on desktop; people might see phones as a device for browsing and entertainment, whilst desktops are the devices for making purchases. These are all issues which can be overcome with relatively simple strategies, such as: adapting your online content to fit mobile screens, introducing better access and ease of navigation across your website, providing a clear message that the online security measures are the same as desktop devices etc. Measures like these will improve mobile conversation rates and overall user satisfaction. Ultimately, you are playing into your competitors’ hands if you are not able to reach and engage with your audience through mobile and you are missing a trick.

Creating consistent content across multiple platforms is also important for delivering a smoother user experience online. Users rarely stick to one device and will often be multi-screening across several devices. Whilst mobile is the number one choice, many users still express preferences for visiting certain websites on desktop over mobile; therefore, although it’s important that organisations should offer mobile-optimised sites, in the meantime the desktop experience should not be sacrificed. This is why the majority of businesses are using adaptive designs in their content strategy, where layout and content are tailored for both desktop, tablet and various mobile screen dimensions. Another point to consider as part of a mobile content strategy is the creation of mobile apps vs mobile sites. Particularly for B2C businesses, the consumer preference for apps over websites or vice versa should be considered. Make sure you do your home work over which option your customers prefer.

E-mail Marketing

Did you know that 50% of smartphone users grab their smart phone immediately after waking up to check their social media networks and emails? This probably comes as no surprise as there’s a 50/50 chance that you do too. Integrating a mobile responsive email template into a businesses’ content plan is the bare minimum you should be doing, considering mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years according to Email Monday. By next year, 8 in 10 email users will likely access their email accounts exclusively from their mobile devices and 79% of people already use their smartphone for reading emails; which is a higher percentage than those who use it for making calls. However, not only is mobile-optimised email content a necessity for successful email marketing. So too is utilising a rich variety of content and employing segmented email campaigns. Firstly ‘rich content’ can facilitate user interaction, for example videos, polls and infographics encourage user interaction, whilst simultaneously collecting consumer insights. Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented email campaigns according to Mailchimp; therefore, it is important to ‘clean-up’ and order your data regularly. GDPR will make this even more relevant in 2018.

A simple tip, if you are embracing email marketing in 2018. Before you start smothering your emails in graphics, videos, polls and fancy templates, first test your campaign and check that it displays effectively on different email platforms, such as outlook, gmail, yahoo, etc. – it is very common to encounter compatibility issues across different email clients and operating systems, which may affect your audience experience. Most e-marketing software platforms will allow you to do this simple and painlessly.

A beginner’s guide to keyword research

Keywords form the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. So whether you’re writing a blog post, or putting together your homepage text, identifying the right keyword to optimise a page is an essential part of attracting the right types of visitors to your website. Get it wrong and you risk driving visitors to your website that don’t represent your target audience or languishing in the depths of the search engine results, failing to be found. But get it right, and you create a channel for attracting and engaging with your ideal audience and generating a steady stream of new business opportunities. If this sounds good, the next step is choosing the keywords you are going to optimise your site for. But how do you know which ones are right for you, your business or organisation? With this beginners guide, we’ve outlined a very simple 4 step process for identifying the best keywords for your website.

Step 1: Brainstorming

The first thing to do before you start your research is to brainstorm some ideas.  What are your customers looking for? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think of the first words that come to mind when you think of your product/ service. You could ask friends and family for their input. Don’t forget your clients and customers. Once you have some key themes, you can then come up with keywords associated with each category.

Now that you’ve got a few keywords in mind, try and think of some similar terms or possible longer phrases, otherwise known as ‘long tail keywords’ (niche terms that are more specific and have less traffic), which people may also use to search for your product/ service; these will give you even more variety. Even misspellings can make great keywords!

Step 2: Check out your competitors

It’s also a good idea to find out what terms your competitors are optimising their sites for. Visit their website and right click view source to discover how a particular page has been optimised. This will give you a clear idea of what keywords they think are important. Bear in mind that they might not be the best or right terms for you; however, it will give you some ideas.

You can also type your keyword ideas into a search engine and take note of the websites that are ranking highly for them. Again, take a look at how they have optimised their sites via right clicking on a page on their site and viewing source. If you’d like to invest some money in SEO, you can also use a paid for tool, such as SEMrush, to see what keywords your competitors are using. It costs money but can save time.

Step 3: Search for trends on oogle Trends

It’s also a good idea to see what’s currently trending in and around your industry. This could give you further ideas for keywords, or possibly help you narrow down your choices. Google Trends allows you to break your analysis down by region and also shows you related terms rising in popularity. Bear these in mind for potential keywords.

Step 4: Use Google AdWords Keywords Planner

This step is the most crucial, as this tool will help you understand how the keywords you’ve come up with are performing, how competitive they are and how much they’ll cost you if you were to undertake a PPC campaign.  Be sure to refine your search so that it includes the relevant search terms for your location. As well as showing you how the keywords you’ve chosen perform, it will also give you recommendations and help you come to a final decision about the most relevant keywords for your website.

And you’re done!

Now that you’ve got your initial keywords, you’ll need to implement the optimisation of your website for them. Be sure to review how your site is performing for your chosen keywords on a regular basis. Also, remember to keep researching those keywords; searching habits are constantly changing so don’t rest on your laurels!

Social Media Marketing in the General Election

A week on from the June General Election and Britain’s political future is facing fresh uncertainty. What was meant to be a clear win for the Conservatives, turned into one of the most surprising and memorable elections to date, with the Conservatives losing the majority and seeing Labour soar up the polls with their “for the many, not the few” manifesto. However, it wasn’t just the political parties’ manifestos which were catching peoples’ eyes; social media arguably took the front seat in this election, so with this in mind we’re taking a look at how the parties managed to do this.

Twitter

Corbyn and May both saw a big increase in their followings and engagement on Twitter.

Corbyn’s personal following grew by 45% from 850,000 to 1.2 million on Twitter, while May’s grew by 20% from 350,000 to 420,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retweets: 18K
Likes: 27K

Scrolling through Corbyn’s Twitter, you’ll find several tweets branded with Labour’s key message during the election: ‘for the many, not the few’. Labour’s tweets focused mostly on social issues, such as healthcare and housing, and were shared almost three times more than posts by the Tories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retweets: 1.7K
Likes: 3.3K

In contrast, May focused on a “strong and stable leadership” and reinforced her policies on terrorism with her 4 actions to tackle Islamist extremism.

Both parties relied heavily on video marketing to get across their message on Twitter and often these were the tweets that received the most engagement.

Facebook

In terms of social media, Facebook arguably took the main stage in this election.

Once again, Labour saw a 75% increase in the number of page likes over the general election period, while the Conservatives saw a rise of just 10%.

Posts on the Labour Facebook page were shared more than one million times and received more than 1.7 million likes between the election being called and the polls closing on June 8, whilst posts, pictures and videos by the Conservative party were shared 360,000 times in total during the same period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Likes: 1.5K
Shares: 734

On Facebook, Labour tried to appeal to the younger voters with their key manifesto promises, such as scrapping tuition fees and bringing back student grants. Labour also managed to win over young voters with its variety of celebrity endorsements, including the likes of Lily Allen and Billy Bragg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Likes: 9.7K
Shares: 3.7K

Meanwhile, the Conservatives focused on the issue of Brexit, a strong economy and once again providing “stable and secure leadership” for Britain.

Both parties also took full advantage of Facebook ads to target particular constituencies. In the last two days of campaigning, Labour adverts were reportedly displayed to voters in 464 constituencies, compared to Tory adverts in just 205. It’s also been reported that the Tories spent more than £1 million on negative ads targeted at Corbyn, in an attempt to win the majority.

Snapchat

Until recently, Facebook and Twitter were the main places for politicians; however, Snapchat most definitely saw a rise in its status in this General Election.

The app; which has more than 10 million daily UK users, worked closely with Electoral Commission to design geofilters; which would encourage young voters to register and share their vote.

 

 

 

 

 

A record 250,000 young people signed up to vote in the 24 hours before the election deadline.

YouTube

The parties were also quick to utilise the power of video marketing with YouTube.
Labour provided its 22,000 subscribers with several videos a week, featuring interviews with celebrities, as well as Corbyn himself and on key issues such as Brexit and the NHS.

In contrast, the Conservatives took a slightly different approach for its 21,000 subscribers, with videos highlighting the weaknesses of the Labour party. Their most popular video, entitled ‘On June 9th, this man could be Prime Minister’ received over 1.3 million views in the space of 3 weeks.

It’s clear that social media is becoming ever more present in politics and appears to be getting more people involved. However, will Corbyn and May be able to keep up this momentum across their social media channels once the furore surround the General Election dies down and the politicians have to knuckle down and start running the country? Only time will tell.

Facebook takes its fight against fake news to UK newspapers

If you’re partial to acquiring your news in a print format, you may have noticed something a little different about your newspaper this morning. That’s because from yesterday (Monday 8th May) Facebook will be rolling out ads in several of the UK’s top newspapers, including The Times, The Guardian and Daily Telegraph, to give readers tips on spotting fake news.

Facebook has already removed thousands of fake news stories from its site and plans to hire 3000 more employees to review content going forward.

However, this campaign marks Facebook’s first big move towards combating the rapid growth of fake news, after experiencing growing pressure from high profile individuals and organisations, including MPs, to deal with the ever increasing issue.

While fake news certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, propaganda has been a tool used throughout the ages to influence and control, fresh fears have been raised of late about its growing visibility and impact on key geo-political events. After speculation that fake news on Facebook may have interfered with the EU Referendum and likely influenced the US Presidential Election result, there has been an overwhelming outcry for social networking sites to do more. And with the UK General Election only a month away and France’s Presidential race just concluded, Facebook’s latest campaign seems timely.

Some of the tips you might see published in your newspaper include:

  1. Be sceptical of headlines
  2. Look closely at the web address
  3. Investigate the source
  4. Watch for unusual formatting
  5. Consider the images used
  6. Inspect the date the story was published
  7. Check the evidence
  8. Look at other reports
  9. Is the story a joke?
  10. Blatant lies

This latest move by Facebook in the UK follows on from similar campaigns in German and French newspapers and will no doubt extend to other countries across the globe in due course. Will Facebook be able to eradicate propaganda as a result of its endeavours? Certainly not. Will it be able to pacify the powers that be that it is taking reasonable measures to help combat it? Facebook will be hoping so!

How to Make Your Website Responsive on Mobile

No matter how big or small your business is, it’s important that your website is responsive across all devices, especially mobile. A recent survey found that 88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours, and 57% won’t recommend a business if the website isn’t responsive on mobile. Thankfully, with just a few simple steps you can improve your website’s ‘viewability’ considerably and give your customers the seamless experience they’ve come to expect.

  1. Re-evaluate the template you’re using
    If you’re using a DIY website building site, like Squarespace or Wix, and your current template isn’t responsive, it’s time to re-evaluate! There will be a plethora of responsive templates you can choose from to replace your current unresponsive one. Take a look at them and choose one that is best fit for your business. Even if it means you have to spend some time altering the layout and content on your website, it’ll be worth it in the long run. If you have a bespoke site, created by a developer, get in touch with them to discuss making your site responsive. It might cost you a bit of money but it will certainly help your site perform better in the search engines and improve your visitors’ user experience.
  1. Make navigation simple
    Avoid long navigation bars which require consumers to zoom or make it harder for them to click the right link, as this easily puts people off. Less is more when it comes to navigation bars, so keep your options in the 4-5 range and make sure each one has a strong title with  clear calls to action. The text size is also important as consumers need to be able to easily click the link.
  1. Keep the text short and sweet
    Mobiles can’t display as much information as desktops and tablets, so it’s a good idea to review your website’s text with this in mind. Can you be more concise and reduce the volume of text? This will almost certainly have benefits outside of improving the mobile experience of your visitors. Once again, you need to make sure your calls to action are clear and customers understand what your business does, and why they need your services. Typography is also important; make sure the text isn’t too small and the spacing is even as this will allow for easier reading.
  1. Make sure your images are optimised
    Images which aren’t optimised can slow down your website a lot and could potentially lose you customers if your site is taking too long to load. JPG, PNG, and GIF files are usually fine and there are many tools you can use, such as Optimizilla; which will optimise your images for you. Images which are too big can also reduce your websites responsiveness, so make sure you check the size of your images too.
  1. Use mobile specific features
    Adding interactive maps and providing icons for your contact details are great for customers using your website on their mobile. This way they can get in contact with you much more easily than having to re-type your details into a search engine.
  1. Avoid using pop ups
    Pop ups can be a serious buzz kill, especially on mobiles as often browsers don’t support them, so avoid using them as they can easily put customers off.

To conclude, a responsive website is a necessity. By making your website responsive, mobile visitors are more likely to have a positive experience, which means they’re more likely to turn into loyal customers. Your websites ‘viewability’ will also affect where you rank on search engines, so make sure you check your website is providing the best mobile and desktop experiences frequently. Once your website is responsive you’re well on your way to success!

 

Spring Budget 2017: What Marketers Need to Know

Phillip Hammond delivered his first Budget as Chancellor last week. Whilst it was perceived as being a fairly lacklustre affair by many, there were elements that had a relevance to marketers. From education to technology, here are some of the key proposals and facts marketers need to be aware of:

  1. The economy is growing faster than expected
    Growth in the UK economy picked up more than expected in 2016, despite the turbulence of the Brexit vote. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had initially predicted the economy would grow by 1.4% in 2017, however the Chancellor announced a new forecasted figure of 2%.
  2. .Large investments to be made in 5G technology
    In a bid to make the UK one of the leaders for 5G, Phillip Hammond announced that £16 million would be invested into trialling the technology with a view to making it available nationwide. The Chancellor also announced that a further £200 million would be invested in local projects to provide more reliable broadband networks. Consumers are becoming ever more demanding when it comes to their mobiles, and staying connected it fast becoming a perceived necessity. It’s important marketers remain in touch with these evolving expectations and stay alive to the opportunities they afford.
  3. T-Levels to be introduced by autumn 2019
    The Government announced the introduction of T-levels. T-levels will provide 16-19 year olds with technical skills across a variety of industries and disciplines; which many argue are desperately needed to boost UK productivity. With a huge demand for digital, creative and design skills in marketing, these qualifications are sure to be welcomed by many in the industry.
  4. New ways to protect consumers
    In an effort to protect consumers and make them better aware of their legal rights, the Chancellor also announced that the Government will be introducing new ways to protect us. This includes making online terms and condition simpler and fining companies that mislead or mistreat customers. Marketers need to be careful, therefore, to be clear and fair when it comes to promoting their products, services and content.
  5. Sugar tax confirmed
    Phillip Hammond also confirmed that the controversial sugar tax will go ahead in 2018. The tax; which will affect soft drinks with more than 5 grams of sugar per 100ml, will be a blow for many marketers in the UK soft drinks market. Companies will have to seriously rethink their marketing strategy if they want to persuade customers to pay more for their products.

If you spotted anything else in last week’s budget that stood out to you from a marketing perspective, please let us know. In the meantime, enjoy and good luck with your marketing!

 

How to Provide Great Customer Service through Social Media

Social media is changing the way we interact with customers, and it’s no longer just about whose posts get the most retweets or who has the most followers. An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media for customer service, and this online social support is becoming increasingly important for businesses wishing to maintain or develop a reputation for good customer service. If you want to improve your customer service through social media, read our top 5 tips below and take a look at a few industry examples we’ve found:

1. Respond quickly
Customers expect quick responses on social media; in fact 42% expect a reply within 60 minutes! Social media is all about immediacy and it’s therefore important to keep on top of all your social media accounts; look out for possible new messages, mentions or reviews and reply as quickly as possible.

2. Don’t just acknowledge the positive reviews
Of course no one likes a bad review, but if you can acknowledge it and show that you’re willing to resolve the issue, it shows that you’re dedicated to providing good customer service. It’s your chance to turn a negative review into a more positive one in the future. For example, if a customer is unhappy with a product they’ve received, you may offer to send them a new one free of charge and offer them an exclusive discount for their next purchase.

3. Engage with your customers
Customers spend 20-40% more when brands engage with them on social media, so don’t just wait for your customers to come to you. Reposting images or initiating conversations shows you have a genuine interest, and gives your customers a more personalised brand experience, which never goes unnoticed.

4. Be creative with your responses
Customers value professionalism, but they also like brands that show a bit of personality too. Customers don’t just want to talk to a generic robot, they want human interaction. So whether it’s adding a bit of humour or responding in a chattier manner; if you think it’s appropriate, give it a go.

5. Don’t forget to follow up
Just like with any customer feedback you’d receive offline, don’t forget to follow up customer responses you’ve received on social media. Once again, it shows that your business genuinely cares about its customers, which means they’re more likely to stay loyal to your business.

Here are a few examples:

1. Starbucks

 

 

 

 

 


2. Pizza Express

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Tesco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Domino’s

How to Increase your Email Open Rate

Millions of emails are sent out and read every day, and it’s estimated that over a third of the world’s population will be using email by 2019. However, with UK businesses only achieving an average open rate of 24.7% last year, it just goes to prove no matter how great your email is, if you can’t get them to open it in the first place, you’ll never be able to convert them into loyal customers. With this in mind, we’ve summarised some of our top tips to increase your emails’ open rates.

1. Create an engaging subject line
The subject line is the first thing your subscribers will read, so it’s vital you start off strong. There are several ways to improve your subject line. Personalisation is a great way to engage the reader, and don’t forget to keep it short and sweet. Avoid words and phrases such as “free” or “save cash”, as these aren’t only uninspiring, but they’re more likely to send your email to the spam folder.

2. Make sure your email is responsive
Ever opened an email and found yourself frustrated by having to alter the text or images because they don’t fit the screen? Your subscribers probably feel exactly the same, so it’s important that your email is responsive on all devices, and not just desktops. Nowadays there are many sites you can use that have responsive templates you can use to design your emails. Other tips include not using too many images and avoiding menu bars.

3. Send your email at the right time
Yes; even timings can affect your open rate. If you want to know what time is best to send emails, carry out a few tests before sending your final version to see when you have the highest open rate. For example, if you’re sending your emails to people’s work email addresses, you’re not going to want to send it on the weekend, when checking work emails is the last thing on their minds. You’ll not only want to consider which day of the week, but also what time of day you want to send it. On average, emails in the UK had a higher open rate between 10am and 11am in 2016, but it’s important to find what works for your business and audience.

4. Quality not quantity
Don’t forget that your email needs to be well written, as well as visually appealing. Make sure you proof read your email several times before you send it; looking for grammar mistakes or ways to improve your wording. Sloppy mistakes never look great and are likely to decrease your open rate.

5. Segment your subscribers list
It’s important that you’re sending your emails to the right people. By segmenting your subscribers into lists based on factors such as location, buying habits or gender, you’re more likely to send your customers relevant emails, which are therefore more likely to be opened. For example, if you’ve noticed that a selection of customers are buying the same products from your website regularly, make a subscribers list for them, which you can use to send them emails when their favourite products are on sale.

6. Revise your subscribers lists regularly
If you’ve done all of the above, but still aren’t getting a good open rate, it may be wise to review your subscribers list. Remove inactive email addresses or email addresses with misspellings, and don’t forget to check that the lists your subscribers are in are still relevant. You don’t want to be making avoidable mistakes, like sending existing customers’ exclusive offers only available to new customers! Not only will this improve your open rate, it’ll also save you money.