digital marketing

Data-driven decision-making

Ashamed of having to write ‘blogs sporadically at joannwalters.co.uk’ in a few profiles recently I am determined to blog more regularly about the thoughts floating around my head.

This is a somewhat cop-out blog post however as it is just pointing to a conference session I ran at Students’ Unions 2013 – a national conference for students’ union staff and officers.

I pitched several sessions (never shy about waffling on in front of a room of strangers who are bound by social norms to stay until the end then clap) and was asked to talk about how we can use data to help with communications decision-making. You can view slides from the presentation on SlideShare though my presentation style means they’re quite light on text and heavy on random images!

I will endeavour to write a more lengthy post including my thoughts on some of the topics I covered but for now just enjoy the colourful pictures and imagine how long it took me to find them all on Flickr…

Jo

 

July 3rd, 2013|Digital|1 Comment|

Clandon Wood – branching out into digital marketing

Clandon Wood is a 31 acre area of new native woodland, wildflower meadows, lake and wetland in Surrey due to open in May 2012. It will be planted and landscaped to attract wildlife, accommodate natural burials and provide new habitats for people to explore. They aim to appeal to nature lovers, school groups, people looking for natural burials and people who just want to enjoy the beautiful woodland.

As a relatively new project, Clandon Wood are keen to learn how they could use social media to attract and involve people. With lots of planning and action required to develop the site and their services, they are after some quick, easy and effective solutions that won’t take any more than 30 minutes per day.

These are some of my suggestions for them to consider. They’re super brief at the moment to give them some ideas about what they want to focus on…

Website

Their temporary website is online now at clandonwood.com and a new one is on the way.

It’ll need to contain relevant keywords to help people find it via search engines. These should cover all of the aspects of the project – burials, nature, woodland – as well as local keywords such as Clandon, Guildford and Surrey.

They should follow basic SEO principles such as getting links from relevant, quality sites and producing regular effective content. They might want to use a blog format to update visitors on the development of the site and day to day activities once it is up and running.

They can integrate Facebook & Twitter to their site, either through clickable icons or with embedded content featuring their latest posts.

They could make use of a free Adwords voucher which are available from time to time. This would allow them to experiment with Google’s paid search to see if they should continue to use it in the future to drive visitors to their website.

Newsletter

If they’re looking to build a community of like-minded and/or local people, Clandon Wood should consider setting up an email newsletter. This could be segmented to allow people to subscribe to different aspects of the business or follow the development of the site.

Twitter

Clandon Wood are already on Twitter – @clandonwood – and chatting to people but a quick look over some Twitter basics might be useful to get to grips with how mentions work (where you put someone else’s username first in a message mostly to them to avoid clogging up people’s feed with conversations). They could also change the name on the profile from an individual staff member to the organisation’s name.

They can search for relevant people to follow based on the different areas of what they do. This could include local organisations, nature organisations and those related to death and burials. This will also help by finding useful and interesting information to retweet from others to add variety to their Twitter output.

They could set up searches for keywords on Twitter to find people talking about relevant topics and local issues. This can be easily done using software such as Tweetdeck. There are plenty of apps for smartphones too which allow you to keep an eye on things on the go and easily respond.

Facebook

I’d suggest Clandon Wood set up a Facebook page which is the best format for businesses (rather than Facebook groups or personal profiles). This can be used to post updates and photos and gather people interested in what they’re doing.

I always recommend not auto-posting between Facebook and Twitter if possible as posting separately allows you to make the most of each format, e.g. posting photos directly to Facebook and keeping within Twitter’s character limit.

Other ideas

Clandon Wood could think about using Pinterest to share beautiful images of the woodland and collate images that are relevant to what they do. More and more brands are experimenting with Pinterest (and I personally spend faaaaar too much time looking at beautiful images there)

They can set up Google Alerts to keep an eye on people talking about them (with a [Clandon Woods] search) and other relevant search terms if they want to stay updated on other relevant topics too.

They should set up a Google Places entry to help people find them via location-based searching.

It sounds like video and photos could be used to showcase the location and services on offer.

Routine

In terms of a routine for Clandon Wood, this is what I’d suggest initially;

Daily

  • Check Facebook & Twitter for people requiring a response (and respond!)

A few times per week

  • Post interesting, relevant information to Facebook & Twitter
  • Keep an eye on Google Alerts and saved Twitter searches for mentions of Clandon Wood/related topics

Weekly

  • Post a blog update

Final thoughts

Clandon Wood’s plan will depend on their objectives and the amount of time they have available to sustain their digital marketing activities.

Once their activities are more developed they can branch out (no woodland pun intended!) and measure the impact of their activities to test what is working best and where to focus their efforts.

January 24th, 2012|Digital|0 Comments|

Some Adwords words

I’m a trustee of the University of Brighton Students’ Union. One of the ways they generate income to spend on services for students is through advertising sales including print, online, sponsorship and on-site events.

One of the tasks on my course was to create some examples of Google Adwords ads so I decided to consider how Brighton Students’ Union could use an Adwords campaign to attract potential clients.

These are two examples which would aim to convert clicks into enquiries. They could run alongside each other and the more successful option be refined further to increase click-through rates and conversions. The ads could be targeted to people searching within East Sussex using relevant keywords about marketing, promoting, students and sales..

Advertise to students
Promote your business to students
in Brighton with targeted marketing
ubsu.net/marketing

Promote to students
Want to promote to students?
Advertise directly to students
ubsu.net/marketing

Jo

March 31st, 2011|Digital|0 Comments|

Email marketing analysis : Oxfam Unwrapped

As an email ninja I get very few email newsletters that I’m not interested in or don’t read so it was interesting to see how many people on my course have written about emails that they don’t open. I decided to write about one of the emails I pretty much always open so I could be all gushing and nice rather than shouting at some poor email marketer who dared send me an email I opted in for.

Oxfam emailI chose an email that had worked on me, the latest one from Oxfam, one of my favourite charities. I always read their emails as they contain a mix of campaigning actions, product information and updates on their progress. I receive emails from Oxfam as I’ve ordered gifts from them in the past and have clicked through from prior emails about their campaigns.

This email (pictured left, click to view the full size version) promotes their Oxfam Unwrapped range of gifts as ideal Mother’s Day presents.

The header comprises three links which relate to the three themes of the message; Mother’s Day, the special offer of free chocolates with every order and the weddings range which forms the second half of the email body. This helps people who read their emails in a preview pane (where only the start of the message is visible) as well as opening the message with key messages to encourage people to keep reading.

Email body textThe main body of the email combines several short paragraphs of text, a photo and a testimonial quote which appears to be from a prior recipient of Oxfam support. The text is full of links (six in total) to various sections of the Oxfam Unwrapped site; a special offer landing page (used three times) and three individual product links that are based around families and women. The section ends with a ‘start shopping’ call to action to emphasise the point.

The text moves from referencing your mum (not in a ‘your mum’ joke sort of way I hasten to add!) to mothers who have benefitted from Oxfam Unwrapped before tying the concepts together with ‘Thank your mum and mums all over the world with an Oxfam Unwrapped gift this Mother’s Day’ using empathy to reinforce the call to action.

The quote and photo aim to give a human touch to the story. The use of an individual quote rather than statistics about the scope of problems such as dirty water reminded me of this recent Guardian article about how people find it easier to relate to individual stories rather than broad statistics.

The email is then divided with eight colourful boxes linking to other gift categories, this is quite a good discreet way of reminding readers of the breadth of gifts available as well as potentially prompting sales unrelated to the Mother’s Day theme.

Categories

The second section of the email introduces a new range from Oxfam with three images linking to the relevant sections of Oxfam’s site. There is no call to action in this section, maybe because weddings are more of a niche market.

The email ends with a three updates from Oxfam on different topics; fundraising opportunities, gift ideas and campaigning. This is a great way of illustrating the range of Oxfam’s activities and definitely something charities and commercial organisations could use. The footer contains links to Oxfam’s website and social media channels as well as unsubscription information, contact details and legal information about the sender.

I like the layout of the message as it is simple but interesting as it features a variety of topics and colours without being overwhelming.

The special offer’s landing page reiterates the free chocolates offer then lists some of their bestsellers. This acts as an endorsement from other customers and encourages confidence in the product and organisation. The page lists as three-step process to complete the purchase which presumably helps convert potential buyers.

The email doesn’t contain any personalisation though it would be interesting to know whether this email was targeted in any way based on the demographic or interaction history Oxfam know about me. It is unclear whether the campaigning, fundraising and sales messages I receive from Oxfam are connected at all. It would be interesting to know whether targeted or personalised emails, ‘you signed our petition about X so you might want to donate Y’, would lead to more sales or donations. As Oxfam work in so many countries, across so many projects and in different ways I wonder if and how they segment their subscribers and supporters at all.

P.S. Mum, if you’re reading this, act surprised on Mother’s Day!

March 24th, 2011|Digital|0 Comments|

Reviews reviewed

I’ll say one thing about looking at reviews for the Kindle – I now really really want one. There are lots of different sorts of reviews online for the Kindle, I’ve put together a few as a starting point.

The sheer number of largely positive reviews (3795/4900 reviewers have given 5 stars on Amazon) of makes me lust after a product which I’m already predisposed to loving (I’m a geek!). I often use Amazon reviews to assess which product I should buy, particularly for tech things. The qualitative comments mean you can see what people like and don’t like about a product and whether that would apply to you. In the past I’ve bought things which have a negative review if the reviewers’ reason doesn’t apply to me (e.g. ‘it didn’t come with software’ doesn’t apply if I already have the software).

Amazon are masters of using recommendations to tailor their advertising to you and have obviously realised with the Kindle that the reviews are particularly effective as they’ve used quotes from journalists at the top of the product page. These certainly make the Kindle look good and lend some credibility in my eyes as they are from publications I’m largely aware of and trust. For me the user reviews are just as effective as they are from ‘real people’ who have used the product over a period of time rather than just techy people given one to play with for an afternoon (I want that job!). Definitely an interesting example to consider when thinking about credibility of reviews and reviewers.

I think Amazon are missing a trick by filling the page with screens and screens of product information and features which push the user reviews right down to the bottom of the page. I think they should use more of the user reviews higher up the page or at least highlight the excellent user ratings. This would make the product more widely appealing as there is credibility in the volume of reviews.


On a slightly smaller scale, users of The Student Room forum have been discussing their experiences with the Kindle. Where Amazon has volume, this has more focus as users have more in common with each other (presumably they’re all students or about to start University) and may have similar plans for their potential purchase, e.g. academic study, use while travelling, and maybe similar questions or concerns. These ties potentially make the reviews more relevant and useful.

The format of the discussion forum allows people to interact with the comments of others, asking for clarification or adding new questions. These reviews will therefore be more tailored to the audience and specific posters.

As these posts are not written deliberately as reviews however they are often quite cursory or only focus on one or two aspects, e.g. how cheap e-books are. This means the forum is not the best place to go for a comprehensive review but could be used to refine your opinion or act as a starting point.


P.S. This is one of my favourite set of reviews online, see if you can guess the product… – Worked fine with my right hand, but when I came to use my left hand my writing came out looking like the work of a complete imbecile. I can only assume Bic have created a right-handed only pen, and would caution left-handers to “try before you buy”

March 3rd, 2011|Digital|0 Comments|

Towards a map of marketing information systems

Is Daniel et al’s model actually a broadly applicable map or out-dated ?

We’ve been discussing Daniel et al’s article on a map of marketing information systems. The article proposes a ‘map’ of the marketing process and overlays information systems onto it. The basic map shows four stages in the marketing domain. One of its strengths appears to be its broad applicability to the marketing activities of a range of organisations (largely due to the simple, generic format).

The article however doesn’t discuss the likely speed of the overall process though it suggests a slow, contemplative and reflective process. As many of the organisations involved in developing this model were manufacturers or providers of goods, their R & D, decision-making processes and product development cycles may have been quite long and spend a while in each area of the map before moving to the next stage. The overlay of IS support highlights the potentially complex nature of information flows within an organisation. It may be that the emergence of internet marketing allows the process to move very rapidly and for information to flow in new ways.

Smaller, web-based organisations in particular may find that this model doesn’t reflect the way they work if they are constantly making changes to their product/service.  Alternatively it may be that a rapid iterative process that allows customers to work with and feedback on prototypes is actually just a series of very fast cycles around the marketing map proposed by Daniel et al.

Daniel et al (2003) ‘Towards a map of marketing information systems: an inductive study’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol 37, No 5/6, pp821-847

February 17th, 2011|Digital|1 Comment|