A/B Testing Your Emails

The term A/B testing is effectively marketing jargon for an experiment with two variants. In an email campaign you would typically create two of the same emails but each with a different component. 

For example, you might change the email subject line or an image within the email body but keep everything else the same. You would then send the different emails to two small segments of your recipient list and see which email gets the most interaction.

The Subject Line

By changing the subject line, you can determine which email is opened more often.

You could try changing the following:

  • Personalisation – Test whether using the recipient’s name or a generic term leads to more opens and improves your open rate
  • Promotion – Which promotional wording is more successful?
  • Punctuation – For example, the difference between using exclamation marks or not.

From Name

Does your recipient respond better to an individual, company or product name? You can change the ‘from’ name and also the email address the email is sent from.

Email Content

This could involve changing something as small as a sub-section title to a completely different design altogether. 

Other components to test could be:

  • Images within the email body
  • Call-to-actions
  • Header images
  • Article length

The results

You can monitor anything from open rates and bounce rates to the location in which your emails are opened using an email marketing platform such as Optixmail. This is key to perfecting your emails and getting the best return on investment for your campaigns.

Look out for our next blog explaining what you should be looking for when tracking an email. 

For more information on how you can optimise your testing, call us – 01392 667766.
 

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How to Write an Excellent Email Subject

Did you know that 75% of your email success is gated by your subject line?

Whilst the content of your email is key to persuading your audience to use your product or service, the subject line will be what persuades your customers to open the email in the first place. This blog post is all about avoiding the many pitfalls of email subject writing.

Top 5 things you can include in an email subject

Reasons 

By using reasons, you are convincing your user to do something based on a number of logical explanations, usually presented in a list format which people respond well to.

Example:  ‘10 reasons why you should be using email’

Benefits

Here, you are outlining the benefits of the product or service, this implies a promise which users will find hard to resist.

Example: Using the phrase ‘losing weight’ instead of ‘diet’.

Questions

The linguistic structure of a question requires the reader to pause and respond, which buys you a few more seconds of their time. The user probably already has an idea of the answer; therefore they will want to open the email to fulfil their natural desire of affirmation.

Example: ‘So you think email is useful?’

Testimonials

Whilst using testimonials in the email body is fairly common practice, it can also be used in the subject line as validation. Using testimonials also fits in with Social Proof – the theory sometimes referred to as ‘herd behaviour’. This is the theory that in a situation where the answer is unknown, humans will tend to conform to another human’s behaviour.

Example: ‘Why Director Alistair Banks, Uses Email’.

How To

This type of email promises to reveal how to achieve the benefit, appealing to a range of users from the experts to the amateurs of the chosen subject.

Example: ‘How to Get the Most Out of Email Marketing’.

So, having looked at some things you can do to improve your email open rates, let’s have a look at some of the things you should be careful of.

Spam

Even if you are not actually a spammer, sometimes your emails will get in to the wrong folder. This is mostly due to certain words or phrases being used in your subject line. Make sure you do your research and check that the words you are using are not included – especially if it is your first email campaign. 

10 spam words/phrases that may surprise you

  • Amazing
  • Buy Direct
  • Certified
  • Free Access
  • Guarantee
  • Increase Traffic
  • Laser Printer
  • Marketing Solutions
  • Urgent
  • No Fees

Email marketing can often be a case of trial and error, so using A/B Split testing for different audiences is a good way of being able to tell what works for your customers and what doesn’t. 

If you’d like more advice on email marketing contact our team on 01392 667766.

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Facebook Kills Off Organic Reach for 2015

The average post by a Brand on Facebook is only seen by 2% of that Brand's followers.

Anyone who reads about SEO will have heard the phrase "SEO is dead" numerous times despite the fact that SEO is alive and well (various methods and tactics are dead but that's a post for another day…). So I was skeptical when I heard that Facebook's organic reach was "dead" or at least greatly reduced until Facebook admitted it themselves. In this post I'll explain why Facebook Brand pages no longer achieve the reach they used to, what this means for you and how you can overcome this issue.

What's Changed?

In 2014 many marketers started to notice that posts by Brands on Facebook were starting to reach fewer people. Despite increasing the number of "likes" for their pages there was a significant drop in actual people seeing each post. In March Ogilvy analysed more than 100 Brand pages and found that their reach had dropped to the point where each post was being seen by only 2.11% of users for most Brands.

Facebook organic reach results from Ogilvy Facebook organic reach results from Ogilvy[/caption] In November 2014 Facebook announced that they were altering their algorithm in order to reduce the reach of "overly promotional page posts". Put simply if your post reads like an Ad then don't expect it to reach people for free.

What Does This Mean?

The days of being able to drive significant amounts of traffic to your site, engage with your audience and promote your business for free on Facebook are over. It was good while it lasted but it's time to face facts: Facebook have no obligation to help you achieve your business aims and if you're not paying your results will be limited. Officially this is about Facebook putting the interests of users over the interests of businesses (according to Mark Zuckerberg) but it's similar to what we've seen with Google in regards to unpaid traffic vs PPC Ads. Each company has made it more difficult to get good results from free services in order to encourage Brands to spend more on paid services. facebook-dollar

How Has This Affected Your Page?

The first thing to do it to look at the reach of your recent posts under "Insights". Here you'll be able to see the organic reach of your 5 most recent posts (how many people saw the post) as well as engagement metrics such as clicks and likes, comments and shares. You might find that your recent posts have had a good reach in which case there's no need to worry, just keep an eye on this figure. You might also find that very few people actually saw the post – this isn't necessarily an issue for you but you'll need to bear in mind how much time and resource you assign to Facebook and what you're looking to achieve from this.

What Can You Do About It?

If you still want to be able to get in front of Facebook users (and let's face it where else can you find 1.39 billion monthly active users?), there are two main types of advertising on Facebook: Boosted Posts and  Facebook Ads. Boosting a post is quite straight-forward even if you haven't created and Advertising Campaign before, you simply create a post as you normally would and then give it a budget and set an audience (for example those interested in Digital Marketing in Exeter) and let it do its stuff. The snapshot below shows the reach of two recent posts on the Optix Solutions Facebook page. The first was an organic post which reached 65 users and the second was boosted for about £20 and reached 12.7k users. facebook-boosted-post-stats

Digging into the engagement metrics would allow us to effectively measure the success of this Campaign but as you can see from the reach metrics it at least got in front of the right people.

Step By Step

Follow these steps to improve the effectiveness of your Facebook activity (you might have done the first few steps already):

1. Write down what you're looking to achieve e.g. increase brand awareness, drive sales, increase donations or generate enquiries.

2. Decide how you can measure this e.g. site visits, page "likes", sales, reach.

3. Measure the success of your recent posts (look in Facebook Insights).

4. Try boosting a post (you don't need much budget to give it a try) and see if this has a better result/gives you a suitable return on investment.

5. If you want to know more about Paid Advertising including Facebook Ads get in touch with us.

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Digital Marketing Work Experience at Optix

Last week we had Brad Croasdell join us for a week of work experience after he asked Al what qualities were needed from a digital marketer at our seminar in February! We asked Brad a few questions about his time with Optix Solutions. 

Who are you?

I hail from Cumbria in a little town called Appleby-in-Westmorland. I began studying Marketing Management in 2013 at De Montfort University, Leicester where I’ve been playing rugby for the university. I’m currently on my placement year and I’ll be returning to graduate in 2017. 

Why digital?

I have a deep passion for all things digital. I am enthralled by the way consumers think and interact with brands digitally. I believe I have found an industry that matches my energy, creativity and enthusiasm.

What is your specific area of interest?

Everything Search. I find search engine optimisation as well as paid search advertising to be the most fascinating part of digital marketing. 

 Any future predictions?

I believe Google will continue to put the user before businesses and as digital marketers we will have to continue ethical work to get great results. Likewise I believe advances in technology will continue the age of digital disruption in more and more industries and as digital marketers we have to always ask “what next?".

What did you learn @ Optix?

Even after a near year in the industry I’m still learning new tools and methods. I really enjoyed the client aspect working at Optix and it was an amazing experience to build relationships with a range of clients and deliver great results. I can’t thank the team at Optix enough for this opportunity. 

What next?

Well, first I’ll be returning to Leicester to finish my degree and graduate then I'll be looking for a challenging role in a digital marketing agency for 2017. 

Everyone at Optix was really impressed with Brad’s work ethic and hope to get in touch with him once he’s completed his degree. Good work Brad!

If you’re looking to gain more experience in an established, digital marketing environment get in touch by emailing hanna@optixsolutions.co.uk or call us on 01392 667766 and we’ll see what we can do.

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E-Commerce survival guide: 10 mistakes to avoid

With e-commerce sites increasing over tenfold in the past few years, competition is rapidly on the rise and to stay ahead of the game is becoming increasingly difficult. With 80% of startups failing and the internet boom now a thing of the past, it is essential to adhere to certain rules, or risk losing customers.

With technology accelerating at a record rate and the marketing always expanding to offer a larger selection ever before, established business run as much risk as startups so whether you are a new business or an established one, it is worth taking these points on board and making sure you don’t fail with any of the following common mistakes.

Mistake 1: Confuse your customer with complicated delivery

A method of shopping that has become a lot more common in e-commerce is tab-comparison. This is where the customer will open a variety of sites for the product they are looking for in new tabs and assess the pro’s and con’s for each one. Things the customer will factor in includes customer support reputation, obviously price, environmental responsibility to a degree but most importantly, delivery cost. If a customer can’t figure out how much it will cost them straight away, they are likely to just close the tab and make their shop elsewhere. Free delivery is a growing trend many successful sites are adopting to take the headache away from the customer.

Action point: If you can, offer free delivery across all products and make up the ground elsewhere. If you can’t, make delivery costs clear and visible.

Mistake 2: Require registration before checkout

This goes without saying really, but many sites still enforce registration before a customer can make a purchase. Let them into the cart, let them see their total price and don’t force them to make an account before making their purchase. It is great for your demographics and marketing to existing customers, but the amount of customers you will lose from the frustration of having to register is just not worth it.

Action point: Remove any barriers in your checkout process such as compulsory registration. Give users the option to register later, perhaps with a simple “enter a password here if you would like to register an account” as part of the final checkout process. Keep it simple, with the customer’s e-mail address as the username.

Mistake 3: Keep quiet about stock levels

If you don’t show your stock levels, or claim to stock items that are in fact unavailable (leading to a bad customer service reputation) then you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Action Point: Ensure that your site displays stock levels. This can either be detailed or more commonly, just a few simple indicators such as “In Stock”, “Expected 2-3 weeks” or “Out of stock” – if out of stock, remember to try and leave an indication for when it will be back in stock and display an enquiry button so users can get in contact if they need to. Additionally, you may want to allow users to leave their e-mail address so you can notify them when it is back in stock.

Mistake 4: Hiding a way for customers to get in contact

Occasionally customers just want to pick up the phone to ask about a product or if they are an existing customer, receive support and guidance. Sometimes phone or contact details can be hidden away and this can lead to a very frustrated customer.

Action Point: Place your primary method of contact (usually phone) clearly visible on every page of the site, ideally in the header. Additionally, you could setup a knowledge base to reduce the number of support enquiries you receive.

Mistake 5: Category, followed by sub-category, followed by sub-category

Yes, the traditional way e-commerce sites were developed is now a thing of the past. No long does a user have to sieve through hundreds of categories to find what they want! Filtered navigation is an essential and established way for finding what you want. If you don’t use a filter based navigation system, then you are severely falling behind the competition.

Action Point: Switch to a filter based system immediately. This isn’t an easy task, but essential for surviving the competition.

Mistake 6: Don’t keep the user informed

Users like to know what is going on with their order. Ensure correspondance throughout the order/delivery process and you will maintain good customer loyalty. Let them know their order has successfully been received, when it has been dispatched and then follow up after the estimated delivery date to verify that everything went smoothly (you could use this opportunity to obtain reviews, feedback and upsell).

Action Point: Build a system that allows the user to view their order status online, as well as receive e-mail notifications throughout the process.

Mistake 7: Litter your site with banners

A good e-commerce site should be usable, simple and not draw attention away from the primary methods of navigation. Use a couple of banners or hero images by all means, but don’t over-power the user with more than they can see at a glance. When you walk into a shop, you may see the featured products in display cases near the front – but you wouldn’t be surrounded by several products encapsulated in powerful colours all in one go!

Action Point: Reduce the banners you have on your site, ensuring you only focus on the products that you really want to push. Use Search Engine Optimisation to optimise other products, as well as other methods such as upselling, related products and featured products (not using banners, but in a list!)

Mistake 8: Store, transmit or process card details yourself (PCI-DSS Compliancy)

Unless you use a third party payment provider (such as Sage Pay) or one of the very very few off the shelf packages that are fully (PA-DSS) PCI compliant accompanied by PCI compliant hosting, or outsource development that goes through the rigourous PA-DSS audits (which can cost tens of thousands) then I doubt your e-commerce site is PCI compliant. This didn’t affect smaller businesses so much this time last year, but as of 1st July 2010 PCI compliancy is now mandatory and anyone not compliant can undergo a PCI audit which can cost enough to put you out of business, or have your full card processing capabilities revoked.

Action Point: Do not store, transmit or process ANY card details yourself unless you are 100% sure you are PCI compliant. If you aren’t too sure if you are or aren’t PCI compliant and don’t use a third party payment provider, then it is more than likely you are not. Do this immediately.

Mistake 9: Ignoring social media

In today’s modern world, social media is the king of marketing. It’s struggling to catch up a bit with e-commerce sites, so now is the time to get on board and ahead of the game. Monitor Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites for feedback. Particularly, setup search terms for your company or some of your top products and listen out for particularly bad feedback. Set the record straight and you may turn an angry customer (usually from a simple misunderstanding) to a happy one!

Action Point: Setup a listening post for social media sites and monitor search terms for your company name and it’s top selling products. Try to be as helpful as possible and never react with strong defense if the feedback is negative.

Mistake 10: Don’t invest in Online Marketing

Whether it is basic search engine optimisation such as making sure the product title is in the title and H1 tags, or full pay-per-click advertising, it is worth investing in online marketing to even survive being recognised among your competitors. With so many e-commerce businesses out there, you need to make sure your company comes out consistantly top of the rankings.

Action Point: Invest in Online Marketing. Do the research, take some tips from our Online Marketing Team posted on this blog and you will succeed. If you are still a bit confused, outsource the Online Marketing work to someone that really knows what they are talking about for the best results!

In conclusion, I still see many e-commerce sites out there failing because they aren’t meeting the obvious criteria for a successful e-commerce site.What mistakes have you come across in the real world? What top tips would you have to ensure a successful e-commerce site?

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Local Charity and The Web – DAAT Interview

Optix Solutions are starting a series of interviews with our most respected clients for our blog. It’s great to have Devon Air Ambulance Trust on board as a leading local charity. We believe people will be interested in what they have to say about the internet.

In particular Optix are interested in how the Charity Sector considers the internet relates to their business. We asked Sarah Burden, PR Manager for DAAT, if she would be so kind as to answer a few questions about the web and DAAT’s charity website.

What is the name of your business and what do you do?

We are the Devon Air Ambulance Trust charity. We are a charity that raises funds to keep both of Devon’s two emergency Air Ambulances airborne.

When did you first have a website and what have been the most important developments in websites for you?

We’ve had a charity website for over 10 years. First of all it was very basic, but over the past 5+ years we have realised how essential it is, with the increase of supporters and potential supporters interacting and engaging online.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge in using the Internet?

It’s knowing what our visitors want to know and what they don’t. It’s enabling them to find this information quickly and easily. It’s also trying to keep visitors on your site once they are there.

Of course there’s also a challenge with regard to time constraint because you could quite easily put all your eggs in one basket, and communicate just via the internet. Unless you are very careful you could spend a lot of time on social media and the internet, and then you are ignoring everyone else. It’s a very fine line.

What has been your greatest success through using the Internet?

I think this relates not only to the website but also social media. We are working with a website company who are extremely pro active and keep up to date with the latest trends which is really important. It’s essential to communicate with our supporters and potential supporters in the way that they want us to. Contact via social media ie twitter is immediate, meaning that we can build a relationship and engage/talk to as wide an audience as possible.

One of the biggest benefits of this is an increase in people we have treated or airlifted getting in touch with us as patient confidentiality means we don’t know who they are unless they come forward.

How relevant is the Internet to your charity? Are there any synergies between your Charity and the Online Industry?

Communication via the internet and social media is a natural fit with the charity sector, its a great way to engage with new and existing audiences, its cost effective and the ideal tool for being accountable to the public who fund us.

What future Internet developments would you like to see?

As more and more people get online we could streamline more of our administration and save more money. eg, by enabling volunteers to do their monthly returns online, access documents, share information and advice.

What advice can you give about the Internet and working the charitable sector?

Research research research – but also give it a go. If you want to try social media set up your own account, before getting started with your business/charity, that way you will have already made the usual mistakes. Talk to others on the net, ask questions. With regard to websites, employing and engaging with a good website company is essential, and one that is up to date with all that is happening now, and the new initiatives in the future.

What do you like/dislike most about the Internet currently?

Fast access to information is a boon but this in turn creates further problems in terms of potential information overload and inaccurate or misleading information. You have to watch out for this.

Many thanks Sarah for taking part in the interview on behalf of DAAT

…and for being so complimentary. It’s always good to hear positive feedback and everyone at Optix very much appreciates your comments. Your answers were really useful and informative. We wish you the best of luck for with your website and social media strategy, and we’re sure many people will join us in thanking you for all the great work DAAT do.

Visit the Devon Air Ambulance Trust Website

www.daat.org

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Do you understand your brand?

Creating and establishing your own unique brand is a very particular and complex challenge for business.

A brand is much more than a logo. A brand is made up of multiple strands and layers, from products and packaging to customer service, and it is sometimes difficult to work out if your own understanding of your own brand bears any resemblance to that of your audience.

As your brand is all about an external perception of who you are, what you do and how you do it, you yourself are often too close to it, too embroiled in its detail, and it can help to bring someone in from outside to examine and work on it, offering a perspective that you, as the brand creator, can’t see.

At Optix Solutions we are great believers in creating industry networks and sourcing expertise from the most innovative local companies, working in areas that compliment our own.

Alder and Alder founder Jonathan Alder says: “With a new brand you start with a blank piece of paper, but with an existing brand it is often a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle; all the pieces may be there but some help is needed to put them together in the right order.

“We have four basic touch points that form the basis of brand; communications, products and services, the people who shape the organisation and the location and environment you work in.

“For an online business the website is not only about how it communicates but it is also the location. The website has to reflect the personality of the business, be easy for the visitor to find their way around, find what they want and get the help they need.

“Social media now allows even the biggest businesses not to be faceless, but to engage in a more personal way with their customers and build loyalty and brand awareness.”

Once a brand is established Optix Solutions specialise in tailoring websites for its clients that reflect the brand, particularly in the case of a new company or product, make the website itself an integral part of the brand.

“It takes a lot of experience to successfully translate a brand into a website, the first essential being to get a feel for and understanding of the business and its customers by talking to and meeting them,” says Optix Solutions director James Dawkins.

“When you design a site there are conventions and usability considerations that have to be adhered to make it work properly. You wouldn’t put the steering wheel of a car on the roof, but beyond that everything stems from the brand, so we have to develop a really thorough understanding of what that is.”

“It’s a creative process incorporating basic elements such as matching imagery, colours and fonts, making the site as easy as possible to use and including lots of trigger and contact points.”

“But it is also about building relationships, presenting information and knowledge and selling the positive benefits of the company or the product to people genuinely interested in what they do.”

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Blog or brochure site?

Such is the rapid and relentless advance of online technology, it is worth recalling that it was only a matter of a decade ago that business finally acknowledged the necessity of having a decent website at all.

Brochure sites as they are known – sites that basically give the visitor a bit of information about the organisation, details of its products and services, how to buy them and who to contact – were once the standard and are still very much with us.

But for how much longer? The advent of the easily bought set up and managed blog site has redrawn the online landscape for good, fundamentally changing the services that Optix Solutions now offer clients as a result.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), or the art of getting your site noticed and ranked highly with search engines, is the catalyst behind the now firmly mainstream blogging revolution.

Combined with proactive and well thought out social media and online marketing strategies, the engagement with key audiences that a blog produces is one of the keys to SEO success.

Search engines, with Google at their head, are far more sophisticated when it comes to the types of signals and search references they pick up nowadays. They are increasingly configured to reward relevance and consistent activity.

Off the shelf blog site templates, such as those produced by Wordpress, are simple to manage and allow even the smallest concerns to produce a steady stream of fresh, up to the minute content which can be targeted at key audiences.

No longer does adding a new piece of copy or an extra page require the time (and expense) of asking your web designer to take something down, put something up, and write some extra code. It can be done from any computer in a matter of minutes.

Some still think of blogging simply as writing personal thoughts or providing information on particular subjects online.

However, blog sites have become far more versatile, providing ample capacity for companies to not only write on the latest developments in their industries or business, but also include easily updatable pages containing products and services, portfolios, images and videos, case studies etc…

The combination of fresh content and the interest this can produce by prompting comments and creating dialogue with visitors, means there is a lot more noise generating from a well managed blog site than its static equivalent, and with it a much better chance of featuring prominently in search engine rankings.

So is the brochure site dead? Optix Solutions director and co-founder Alastair Banks certainly believes they are about to be consigned to the annuls of online history.

“Although brochure sites are still used by smaller businesses who simply want to advertise their services, credentials and contact details, blog sites are a more effective and dynamic means to manage a smaller, say five to ten page site.

“The advantages are enormous. You can now buy a template online for less than £50 and it isn’t hard to learn how to use the technology and content management.

“You can add pages and content and tweak bits and pieces daily rather than waiting for the designer to do it. You can also combine more conventional news with blogs or link the blog to a main website or online shop.

“Blog sites are definitely the way to go for smaller businesses, which is why at Optix Solutions we have concentrated our energies into developing carefully tailored consultancy packages which enable our customers to make the most of the potential of their blog site, instead of producing static websites.”

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Rising to the Dakar Challenge

Dakar Challenge is all about theScreenshot of Dakar Challenges Website spirit of adventure and the opportunity to do something truly different for a few weeks of your life, and the website Optix has designed for the challenge organisers is all about reflecting that.

Organiser and self-styled ‘Crap Car Svengali’ Julian Nowill first got together a group of 55 ‘bangers’ in various states of disrepair, their drivers and passengers to share the experience of driving from Plymouth to Dakar in Senegal in 2003. The publicity this generated not only attracted 88 cars the following year, but also spawned a variety of copycat expeditions of varying repute.

Despite its success, Julian has always been determined to stick to the original ethos of the Challenge. It remains a part-time hobby run by himself and his wife Annette, simply offering people the chance to do something completely different and eye-opening, hopefully with a lot of laughs and a few tests of character along the way.

Participants are welcome to make charity drops on the journey, or auction their vehicles for local good causes once they reach their destinations, but the Challenge is not a charity event in itself.

Optix has designed a site that reflects the essence of what the Challenge is all about.

You will find stacks of information on the various challenges on offer this year and next – including off-roading in Morocco, and destinations such as Banjul (Gambia), Timbuktu (actually Bamako in Mali, but it sounds better!), The Silk Road and Murmansk in Northern Russia on pages that look like old parchment maps.

The comprehensive booking form features a question and answer section, ensuring entrants are left in no doubt as to what it is they are committing themselves to.

Nothing better illustrates the experience and the camaraderie of taking part in the challenges than the photographs and videos taken by participants over the years. Optix have not only built in a slide-show facility for still photographic memories, we also embedded YouTube on the site to show inspiring videos of previous trips.

At Optix Solutions we understand how important it is that a website is not only great to look at and simple to use, but that it consistently reflects the unique identity of the business or organisation.

With the constant flow of new technical and design innovations available to website designers, it is all too easy to get bogged down in the minutiae and lose sight of what it is your trying to convey.

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Gaining insight into how organisations are using Social Media

Onwards & Upwards for OptixFROM huge multinationals to small start ups, confusion still reigns in business as to how to join the social media revolution and tap into its vast marketing potential.

Just as social media is transforming the way individuals communicate with each other, the business community is increasingly asking itself just how to it can best harnessed social networking in order to drive everything from brand promotional and increased sales to improved customer services.

The potential for Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin etc… – to open up previously untapped markets, promote products, keep in touch with existing customers and build partnerships with other businesses and organisations is the subject of constant debate.

However, evidence on exactly how businesses are using social media and which sectors are embracing it and which are not is still sketchy.

Devon-based Online marketing specialists Optix Solutions recently launched a comprehensive survey aimed at gathering an accurate, up-to-the-minute picture of business’s experiences of social media, both good and bad.

The multiple choice questions look at areas such as why your business does or does not use social media, how many employees are engaged in it and what problems your organisation has experienced in implementing a social media strategy.

Optix’s comprehensive online survey will provide the basis of a White Paper report on how effectively businesses are harnessing social networks as part of their online marketing strategies and internal communications, to be published later this year.

“Using Social Media effectively requires businesses to engage with potential customers in an entirely new way,” explains Optix director Alastair Banks.

“Social networking is very different from conventional marketing. It’s not about hard sell, it’s about opening up a dialogue with people, not just to let them know about your products, brand or what you do, but also to let them tell you what they want and learning and adapting accordingly.

“When properly employed, Social Media provides a vast opportunity to business to reach new audiences, nationally and globally, and with it increase profits.

 

“But it has to be done right. It is no good adding social media technology to your website if you don’t really understand how to engage with it. We want to find out exactly how businesses are rising, or otherwise, to this latest technological challenge.”

All businesses are invited to take part, even if they are not currently using Social Media at all. Reasons for not getting involved in social networking are of just as much interest as the experiences of businesses that have made Social Media part and parcel of everyday operations.

The idea for the report came from the Like Minds conference held earlier this year, of which Optix were proud sponsors, which brought together some of the country’s leading Social Media and Online Marketing experts.

Optix have received responses from the likes of Microsoft, Hospiscare, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, South West Water and the Big Lottery Fund, but would like to hear from as many businesses and organisations as possible nationwide, regardless of size, industry or location.

To participate in the Optix Social Media Survey, please visit www.likemindssocialmediasurvey.co.uk

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The Benefits of Digital Marketing – The Basics

Digital marketing entices people to take favourable action

With digital marketing you can encourage your prospects, clients and followers to take action; whether that is to visit your website, download and rate resources or buy your product. You can also create a space for your audience to provide feedback which is visible to your market thus enhancing the prospects of your business.

Openness

Interaction between you and your consumer enables you to understand what they want, like and don’t like. You can then turn this data into building customer loyalty and create a reputation for being easy to engage with.

Caters to the mobile consumer

Mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets now account for 56% of all consumer traffic. Digital marketing enables you to reach that growing audience of mobile consumers.

Helps you to prove your ROI

Measuring your online marketing with web analytics makes it easier to establish how effective your campaigns are by measuring specific goals. You can see in real time what is or is not working for your business online.

More cost effective than traditional marketing

A properly planned and effectively targeted digital marketing campaign can reach the right customers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing methods.

Provides a level playing field

Small-medium companies can now perform sales and marketing processes which were previously only available to larger companies.

Ensures business survival

Having a good website simply isn’t enough to ensure your online business’ survival, even if your site gets a lot of traffic. Digital marketing helps to convert that traffic into sales to help your business survive and grow.

Want to know more? Come to one of our workshops on the 30th June.

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Will you get a buzz out of Google caffeine?

The online industry has been waiting for the latest developments to Google’s search engine, Google Caffeine, to go public in the UK for some months now.

However, Google have a habit of rolling out new innovations slowly and gradually, testing the water and making adjustments rather than going in for Big Bang launches.

It is believed that Project Caffeine will soon be driving the Google search engine we will be using in the UK. So what is it all about and what differences are we likely to notice?

Well, for starters there is a clue in the name as to one of its essential improvements, namely Caffeine, a stimulant that gets things moving faster.

According to those who tested the new search engine last year, Caffeine is almost twice as quick as Google’s current search infrastructure, in one example taking 0.12 seconds to deliver results on a search that took 0.25 seconds on conventional Google.

Relevance: Testers reported that they not only found a much larger number of results for specific searches but also that Caffeine produced better results for longer ‘strings’. In other words longer search terms or searches for specific phrases or titles produced more productive results.

It also appears to be more reactive to current and breaking events. With Twitter and Facebook both launching real-time search engines, Google would naturally want to stay up with the game.

On the downside, it was reported that images and videos seemed to appear further down in searches than currently, although that may well change or have been changed already.

Due to Google’s gradual test, review and adjust way of doing things, we can’t say for sure exactly when you’ll be able to see Caffeine in action at home or at work, but it’s coming!

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