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SpatialBlue
This is the Google+ page for SpatialBlue, digital data and web design company based in Cirencester.
This is the Google+ page for SpatialBlue, digital data and web design company based in Cirencester.
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10 things you didn't know last week
I get a weekly newsletter by email from an outfit called TEN based in Bristol. I forget when it started or how it started but I obviously signed up at some point. They send an email once a week, listing 10 items I might not have seen in the Press. There's other sections in the newsletter - 10 things from last week in the City, for example.

I always read it, I know TEN, I know they are a consultancy specialising in leadership; that they offer training, mentoring etc. So their newsletter works. It's fun, it's interesting, it keeps their name to mind.

I noticed this morning, and hence the reason for this post, that the newsletter arrived at 10 am. I can't work out if that is just excellent marketing, or just a tiny bit geeky.

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This is the life! A strategy review meeting, held every couple of months or so, to review where the business is going. It makes sense, to view the business from above or outside, however you phrase it. Get out of the day to day problems and take a good, hard look at the past and the future.

So much nicer over lunch, with a glass of Prosecco. The waitress suggested the strawberry!
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We talk a lot about digital data at SpatialBlue. Mostly about the digital data you have in your system. We're not really talking about the data in your customer database; that's your data. We're interested in the data generated by your customers.

An email today set me thinking about marketing. It was one of those emails trying to sell me a huge database of email addresses allowing me to market to a huge bunch of strangers. That's push marketing. Your customer database will be used as part of your marketing. That's pushing your information, in whatever form, blindly out and hoping that some of the recipients will find it interesting.

The days of push marketing are over (and they are not coming back). Today, customers visit your company via search, research your web-page on their personal networks and they do so on their terms. And they do so without you knowing, without any involvement with you. They judge you, and the quality of your business, through what you present on your website.

I do it myself. I stay in B&Bs (bed & breakfast) both for business and for holiday and I judge whether I want to stay on the quality of their website, on the quality of the images, and on the text. I recently had a sailing holiday, sailing on a beautiful wooden boat in the Western Isles, off the coast of Scotland. And I picked the boat (from a small set admittedly) purely on the strength of the website.

Spelling mistakes turn me off. Unnecessary flashing or movement turns me off. The wrong use of colour turns me off, especially in the text. When I say "turns me off", I mean "I click away". I like clean, uncomplicated websites. Videos help. Good strong images help. A sample breakfast menu helps. I'm judging these people purely on their website. It may be the nicest B&B ever, but I won't visit it, if their website isn't good enough. Because my logic is simple and quite ruthless - if they have taken care of the small details of their website, then the chances are good, they will have taken care of the small details in their business. Their website reflects the way they run their business.

I don't believe I'm alone in this behaviour. I may look at a website in a professional way, but I'm convinced that the majority of people react in the same way, even perhaps unconsciously.

As marketers, we need to think about “pull” or Inbound Marketing and ensure that our websites work. Getting visitors to the website is a separate topic; once they are there we need to ensure they won't leave too quickly. A great website will entice them to linger; they will explore purely from interest or delight. It is hard to achieve and needs care.

Once you have their attention, make sure to capture some data from your visitors. A form, a questionnaire, a Google +, a Facebook like - these all signal the presence of a visitor and the involvement of a visitor. Get feedback from your visitors in any way you can think of. And then use that information. Those Marketers who analyse and use these customer insights to reach and serve clients not only as categories, but as individuals, will win by creating massive opportunities for their companies.

Video
I had a visit from the Account Manager at Hibu. Now, there's a daft name. It was previously known as Yellow Pages, they have rebranded as Hibu. They have one of the strongest brands around and they are discarding it. How many people say "look up the number in Hibu" as opposed to "look up the number in Yellow Pages". Yes, they have a problem, moving to the digital, online age, when their main product is paper based. But there has to be a better solution than changing the name to something faintly odd.

Anyway, she was very keen to promote the idea that Google are encouraging web sites to have a video on the home page. She suggested that sites would be rewarded with higher placement on Google Search. Now, that's not the only reason to add a video to your website, but it's a strong one. If Google like it, then it's worth consideration.

Consider a video describing your product. Or a compelling demonstration of the product or service in action. Or perhaps testimonials from your customers. Or a technical manual using video to guide users. All of these are powerful ideas, they enhance the overall image of your business.

You could consider the use of video in ways similar to TV advertising. Video enables those without the large enough marketing budgets for TV advertising to convey a message in a compelling way. Video really levels the playing field. In addition, we don’t have to be held to the 30-second format of TV advertising. The content can be as long as it is interesting. And that has to be a big deal to marketers.

Interesting article in the Sunday Telegraph by Matt Warman. The headline claim is that websites load much slower - down on last year by 13%. The average load time for a page is 4.9 seconds.

My explanation is that a possible reason is the preponderance of advertising on most websites. Those adverts take time to load, they are loaded through a central server and their load time will be influenced by the load on the advertising server.

I liked the concluding remarks :

"And in related good news, the look and feel of a modern website is simple, clean and uncluttered. It’s obviously different from the previous generation, so it offers a clear chance to sell your business as a modern company embracing the age of our time"

Heartily agree!

http://bit.ly/19Fi9tx

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On 19th July 2013, we launched a new website, at www.apbio.co.uk.  Aeolus Power are an existing client of ours; we look after their wind turbine web site, at apwe.co.uk. They have expanded their portfolio of renewable energy products, introducing a range of biomass boilers. They opted to have a new website to handle this product.
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Handles images in a really funny way
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Trying to set an interesting image in the circle
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