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Is Twitter dying?

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 29 October 2015 | Category: Social media

TwitterTry typing ‘is twitter dying’ into Google and you’ll find a whole bunch of articles that suggest it is. Now admittedly you can replace the word ‘twitter’ with any number of things and find numerous results – I tried it and did – but there is genuine concern that Twitter has lost its way and that it might be about to fade into obscurity.

I was quite active on Twitter a few years ago but I didn’t find that it helped my business, which was the main reason for me being on it. I know of a few people who say that Twitter does work for them but the people I have in mind have been prolific tweeters for a long time and have the skill and ability to actually post interesting tweets thereby engaging with people and starting conversations.

Despite a brand recognition of 90%, Twitter only has 30% penetration and there is evidence that ordinary people are posting less and less, leaving it to celebrities, big brands and journalists and becoming less active on it themselves.

There is also evidence that people are finding Twitter an unpleasant place to be. It’s like an unpoliced no-go area in a dystopian town where people can walk around anonymously and abuse, threaten, harass and bully other people with impunity.

I’d be interested in hearing other people’s views. Do you still use Twitter and does it work for you?

A unique form of marketing - the video letter

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 20 October 2015 | Category: Video

It’s something that I’ve been doing for a while to get in front of new customers – video letters – and it occurred to me that it might be of interest to our customers so I thought I’d pop it in a quick blog post and just test the water.

It’s a highly-focussed and targeted method of marketing – right to the person you want to talk to.

The idea is to record a quick video message and upload it and then send the link to the contact in question. In our case we’ve produced a special page just for this which also includes customisable boxes around the video into which content and links can be placed that are relevant to the person we are trying to contact. Then there’s a feedback form and contact details at the bottom so they can get back in touch with you. It also sends us an email so that we know when our contact has looked at the video and we can then follow up appropriately.

Video letter screen grab

If you’re reading this because you received our Morsels e-bulletin then we’ve produced a video letter example just for you so that you can see how it works.

Videos can be shot on a smartphone mounted on a tripod and will still look professional.

One of the advantages of the video letter is that your contact can see and hear you and get that first impression of you before even meeting you and hopefully it will be a favourable one (please say it is in the case of my video – not that I’m needy or anything!)

Another advantage for us is the novelty value. It’s not a form of marketing that many people use so when someone sees a video personally addressed to them, they are flattered and it makes a good impression.

I’d be interested to get your feedback!

(Y)Our calls to action

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 19 October 2015 | Category: Marketing

We’ve made a bit of a change to our own website recently, practising what we preach. We realised that our own calls to action were not as prominent as they might be especially on the home page.

So we add in our three main calls to action at the top of the home page:

  • A link through to my e-book ‘23½ ways to transform your website into a success generator’
  • A link through to my second e-book ‘An e-commerce primer’
  • A link through to our website appraisal service

It may be argued that there should be just ONE clear call to action on a page but in our case each of the three pages linked to above is a landing page with a call to action in its own right. So if we’re dealing with a client who wants an e-commerce site built then we’ll send them directly to www.novamedia.co.uk/ecommercebook.

But when people come across our home page they will hopefully find something of interest at the top of the page and click through.

Does your website have a call to action or landing pages? It’s something that’s worth thinking about.

A Green & Pleasant testimonial

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 18 October 2015 | Category: Marketing

I’m often banging on about the power of testimonials.

The reason that a good and credible testimonial works so well is that people who are thinking of buying from you can get honest and believable feedback from someone else who has already bought from you.

And we’ve just received a lovely testimonial from one of our newest clients, Carol Cooling at Coolings Green & Pleasant which reads:

“What a joy to work with someone who can explain the mysteries of the internet and social media to a complete technophobe in a clear, concise and meaningful way! Throughout the whole design and build process Dave, Rob and Michael were wonderfully patient and understanding, explaining everything with great clarity to ensure we were comfortable with each step. The end result is a fabulous new website that we’re really proud of, and confident we can use to its best effect going forward. I cannot recommend Novamedia highly enough for their consummate professionalism coupled with a friendly and approachable manner. Absolutely first-class!”

The key word that I used in my introduction is ‘credible’ Publishing the name and company of the person giving the testimonial ensures that people reading it believe it, and we do that with all of our testimonials which you can see here.

Related blog posts

The value of testimonials - part 2

The value of testimonials - part 1

A humorous look at our prices

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 17 October 2015 | Category: Web design

I came across this graphic recently and, of course, as with all humour it’s exaggerated, but there’s more than a grain of truth in it. The clients who get the best results are the ones that trust us to get on with the job. Just saying!

Humorous design price list

N.B. Not our actual price-list!

Increase your levels of engagement with video

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 30 September 2015 | Category: Video

It is not an over-exaggeration to say that most websites could benefit hugely with the addition of video.

A study in 2014 by Demand Metric showed that visitors watch video just because it’s video - a claim no other content type can make. That is to say, the allure of this medium means people need far less encouragement to click a Play button than to read a carefully crafted article or view an image gallery. The efficacy of video as a marketing tool is also confirmed by this report. 71% of those surveyed said it performed better for them compared with other content types.

These two facts show that if you’re not using video, you probably should be. If nothing else, it can add interest, interactivity and personality to your website. For example, Novamedia produced a website for a financial planning advisor earlier this year - www.ashleylawwesterham.co.uk.The client commissioned a series of short videos each answering a particular question, which we then embedded on his website. The videos show him in his office, with clients, with his dog in the garden, shots of the location of his office, and crucially he provides the voiceovers. These videos are effective for two reasons - firstly, they add more interest to the site and keep visitors browsing for longer, and secondly they show the person behind the business. For small businesses which need an edge, this personal touch is important and it’s something which video does very well.

But what about the cost?

Like anything, video can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want ‘Spielbergian’ levels of production, layers of special effects, or if you decide to hire professional script-writers and a number of cameramen then of course your costs will soar. At the other extreme, it is possible to create a passable marketing video using only a smartphone and an external microphone. In other words, how much you spend depends on what you want to do but crucially, video is now a medium which is open to everybody.

For example, we shot and edited the video shown below for Provender Nurseries using a smart phone, flip-camera and external microphone. Adding in some neat titles at the start and end and overlaying a stock music track helped to bring the video to life.

But we’ve also produced videos that have required higher-end equipment such as interviews where it’s essential to use a good quality microphone and we are becoming more and more involved in video work bot shooting and editing as people realise the value of moving images on their levels of customer engagement.

I don’t care about your website

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 30 September 2015 | Category: Web design

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a customer of ours I care about your website but let’s be honest, people visiting your site don’t give a hoot about it.

They don’t care that you’ve got 587 people following you on Facebook. They don’t care that your website had 1,312 visits yesterday, with 48.2% coming from mobiles or tablets. And they don’t care that your titles are 24 point text using Frutiger Medium typeface.

All they care about is that it solves their problem whatever that might be and that it is easy to use so that they can get in, sort out what they want to do and get back to chatting with their friends, drinking a nice glass of red and getting on with their lives.

So your job and ours is simply to make it as easy for them to do what they want: to buy a product, to sign up for an event, to download a brochure, to watch an instructional video.

You and we always need to put ourselves in the shoes or your website’s visitors.

How would you feel using your website if you were your customer?

It’s your job and our job to care about your website, not your customer’s.

Related blog posts

23½ ways to transform your website into a success generator

My very, very first computer is back!

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 29 September 2015 | Category: The old days

It was back in 2011 that I wrote a blog about my first computer. You can still read it here.

However, that wasn’t actually my first computer. It was my first business computer but the first one I had was a birthday present from Mrs H back in 1983 and it was the famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

It was my first introduction to programming and as well as using BASIC I also got into the high-end machine code with the help of the brick-sized Z80 programming manual and the Complete Spectrum ROM Disassembly. Looking back I was a bit of a geek!

The Spectrum is still up in the loft somewhere but it was brought to mind again this week when I saw that a company had brought out a new version complete with wireless keyboard, Bluetooth technology and the ability to be used with any device.

You can see some gents waxing lyrical about the device in the video.

So if the 80s geek in you craves a bit of nostalgia, grab yourself the new ZX Spectrum for just £84.99. (Mine cost £180 in 1983, equivalent to £570 today!).



Related blog posts

My first PC and some interesting and silly numbers

In Numbers: Novamedia's Email Marketing Service

Blog post written by Rob Henson | 29 May 2015 | Category: Email marketing

Novamedia email campaign stats infographic

Email marketing - beware silent unsubscribes

Blog post written by Rob Henson | 13 May 2015 | Category: Email marketing

When running email campaigns it is important to give recipients a way to unsubscribe should they not want to hear from you again. This is normally done with a simple unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email e.g.

“To unsubscribe from this mailing list please click here”

One problem with this is that it’s possible to accidentally lose your most engaged readers because of a phenomenon called “silent unsubscribing”.

Gran on a motorbikeThe best way of explaining what this means is to give an example:

You run a company which sells motorbikes and decide to send out a marketing email. John McDonald receives your email, enthuses about it, loves what you have to say and forwards it on to all of his colleagues, friends and family including his Auntie Mary. Mary – who is in her eighties isn’t particularly interested in motorbikes and wonders why she’s got the email. She clicks the unsubscribe link, removing John from your mailing list.

Disaster! You’ve just lost one of your most engaged readers, someone who was happy not only to receive and read your email, but to share it too. John won’t receive any of your future emails and worse, he won’t even know he’s unsubscribed.

This is a rare phenomenon as it relies on a particular chain of events, but it is worth militating against. At Novamedia we simply include the recipient’s email address in the unsubscribe link. So the example above might read:

“To remove johnmcdonald@gmail.com from this mailing list please click here”

This shows who the email originally ‘belongs’ to and will in most instances protect against accidental silent unsubscribes. A simple solution to a thorny little problem!

Related blog posts

The email marketing process part 1 - Producing the email piece

The email marketing process part 2 - Setting up the campaign

The email marketing process part 3 - The distribution list

The email marketing process part 4 - Testing, sending and reporting