Successful marketing activity rests on the collection of useful personal data. From engaging in email marketing to using Google Analytics to track visitor activity on your website, marketers must change their approach to data gathering and processing, and start implementing the changes necessary to comply with a rather important new law.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25th May 2018. This affects how businesses and organisations in the EU – or working with those inside the EU – use and manage personal data. There are few businesses out there today which do not use personal data in some capacity, whether it be client data, supplier data or employee data.
But data, and the clever use of data, is everything for marketers. Data is insight. Data allows marketing companies to drive sales and source leads. The GDPR will have an impact on a marketing company’s ability to use personal data to target specific consumers.
The ICO have created a 12 step plan, which you can find in full here.
Google Plus (or Google+) is Google’s own social network, but it’s been slow to gain popularity. Google+ continues to tweak its services and make changes in response to users’ needs, leading to a more versatile platform with better integration to some of Google’s other services, such as Google Calendar and YouTube.
Google+ displays all types of media – video, images and text – and has a simple, intuitive commenting system. It’s incredibly diverse and easy to navigate, with an organised, structured overview.
Circles are the groups you put the people you’re following into, allowing you to differentiate between friends, family, acquaintances and those you are simply following but don’t actually know. You can rename your circles and create as many new ones as you like, allowing you to group people as you see fit. It’s also possible to put one person in several different circles, and a person does not need to add you back for you to follow them. Users can see updates from people in their Circles via the ‘Stream’.
The +1 Button allows you to show your interest in specific stories both within Google+ and across the web. If you click the +1 Button on an external web page, the story will appear in your profile, whereas if you +1 something within Google+, it will add a +1 to that story. This is akin to ‘liking’ something on Facebook.
Your home page shows the news stream of all the stories posted by people in your circles, and it allows you to filter your stream to view specific circles. Likewise, you can post your own entries to Google+ here, and choose which circles you wish to be able to view each update.
Google Hangouts was a feature which allowed users to make video calls and engage in video conferencing. However, this feature was removed during the design overhaul in 2015 and can now be accessed through mobile apps and the Google Hangouts homepage.
The Explore page features a news stream of stories, based on recommendations specifically for you and chosen according to your profile and +1s.
In 2015, the Collections feature was launched, which allows users to create collections of content centred around their interests. And in 2017, Google+ launched the new Discover feature. This allows users to find the best content available on the network. In addition, users can now hide low quality comments on posts.
And the tweaking of features doesn’t stop there. Google+ has also resurrected its Events feature. This allows users to create events, invite others to an event, and join events.
How Google+ Stands Out
Google+ is largely seen as a place for people with things in common to interact, rather than a place for friends and family to keep in touch. For this reason, deep conversations and meaningful discussions are not uncommon.
Anything posted publicly to Google+ is indexed quickly by Google, meaning it will show up in relevant search results fast. The +1 feature also alters search results for Google+ users, giving pages associated with those in your circles a higher ranking, leading to a more personalised and relevant search.
Is Google+ still useful for businesses?
On January 24th this year, Google+ rolled out multiple new updates all designed to make the new Google+ ‘your Google+’. The Google+ of old was no more. But the new version is even more customisable. There’s little doubt that Google+ is still relevant and useful for businesses, not least because anything you post on it will show up in the Google search results page for your business. However, to get the most out of Google+, your page must be well-optimised. Google+ has been slow to break into social media, but we cannot ignore the fact that it’s a part of the world’s biggest search engine.
John Lewis kick starts Christmas countdown with latest video ad
The release of the annual John Lewis Christmas Advert has become something of a national event, and this year is no different. The two-minute advert, thought up by advertising agency adam&eveDDB, has divided critics, but it still manages to tug at the heart strings.
It features Joe, a young boy who is being kept awake at night by an oversized, imaginary monster named Moz, who sleeps under his bed. An unlikely friendship develops, and all manner of nocturnal mischief ensues.
The video, directed by Michel Gondry, the celebrated film director behind The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is brought to life by its soundtrack, a cover of The Beatles’ song Golden Slumbers by rock band Elbow.
As you might have guessed, a cuddly toy-sized Moz The Monster is available to buy at John Lewis stores, alongside an assortment of other Moz-related products.
Beware of (imaginary) monsters under the bed… #MozTheMonster #UnderTheBed
The growth of video marketing
Do you remember John Lewis’ previous Christmas adverts?
Now for some festive (video) entertainment. Below is every Christmas campaign that John Lewis has launched between 2010 and 2016:
2016: Buster the Boxer
Buster is the star of this advert, which also features a six-year old girl, a trampoline and a great pair of pyjamas. The song is Randy Crawford’s 1980 single, One Day I’ll Fly Away, performed by the Vaults. Created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB, it has broken all previous John Lewis ad records. Within the first hour of its release, Buster the Boxer got 218,330 video shares on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
2015: The Man on the Moon
This video featured a girl trying to send a message to a man on the moon while looking through her telescope. The soundtrack is the Oasis track, Half the World Away, and is performed by Norwegian artist Aurora. To date, it has garnered over 26 million views on the John Lewis YouTube channel,
2014: Monty the Penguin
This is the first Christmas ad that John Lewis created its own hashtag for. #montythepenguin was used in 49,562 tweets in the three hours after the ad’s online release.
2013: The Bear and the Hare
To date, more than 16 million people have viewed this animated tale on the John Lewis YouTube channel, while the ad was mentioned in 49,152 tweets in the first 24 hours of its release.
2012: The Journey
This is the year online video came of age. This video has received more than 6million views and was mentioned in 21,027 tweets in the first 24 hours after its online release.
2011: The Long Wait
John Lewis launched its 2011 festive ad on its own YouTube channel and Twitter. And in the week before it made its TV debut, during The X-Factor’s ad break, the video was shared 183,000 times and mentioned in 10,000 tweets.
It would have received more than 290,141 views, however, had the online version not replaced the cover version of The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want with a track from unknown band, Being Buffalo.
2010: Rocking Horse
This video is best remembered for launching Ellie Goulding’s pop career thanks to her cover of Your Song by Elton John in the ad. But more significant is that John Lewis didn’t upload the campaign to YouTube, and this version has fewer viewings on the social media channel.
Regardless of what channel these are viewed on, the growing popularity of online videos cannot be ignored. It’s for this reason that Art Division is exploring
We tend to associate the word ‘amplification’ with supersonic speakers and oversized sound systems, but more recently it’s been used not in relation to sound, but to content.
What is content amplification?
Put simply, it is the distribution of content to a target audience across multiple platforms. These platforms include paid media (PPC and remarketing), earned media (blogger outreach and guest blogging), and owned media (your blog, social media channels and email newsletters).
Content creation, content marketing and content amplification should all go hand in hand. Don’t allow content amplification to become an afterthought; an integrated, well-executed amplification strategy can make all the difference to your conversions, leads, sales, website traffic and, ultimately, bottom line, while expanding your brand’s message and building awareness.
Why is content amplification important?
The sheer number of blog articles published every week on WordPress sites alone is staggering, though we won’t stagger you with statistics. Why, then, assume that your content will receive a lot of attention and approbation if you haven’t bothered to invest time (and sometimes money) in its promotion and distribution?
Rule One: don’t overlook or underestimate the importance of content distribution.
Rule Two: don’t overlook or underestimate the importance of effective content distribution.
Your latest blog article might be well-researched, flawlessly punctuated, syntactically fluent, incisive in its arguments, loaded with witticisms and aphorisms, crafted to appeal to your target audience, and perfectly formatted when on the page, but if no one actually reads it save your good self and a few curious work colleagues, what’s the point? Harsh words, but true.
It’s one of the many injustices of life: you have an excellent blog article now published on your website, but no one is reading it because you haven’t made the effort to promote it properly. Meanwhile, another blog article of little to no merit or substance is being read by thousands of readers simply because a marketer in the background understands the importance of content amplification.
It’s time to get your content in front of the right people and a wider audience.
How to distribute your content effectively
Perhaps the first question should be: how effective is your content? You won’t be able to measure how effective your content really is until you distribute it out to the world. Pull your amplification strategy together and give it a try. But in the meantime, here’s a few ways to distribute or ‘amplify’ your content:
- Connect with influencers on social media – the aim here is to encourage an influencer (an individual or organisation with authority in your field) to engage with an article or piece of content you’ve published, whether it be sharing it, liking it or commenting on it. You can also share or comment on an article an influencer has shared on social media, or write an article you know will pique their interest.
- Unlock LinkedIn’s potential – more and more businesses are promoting their content by way of LinkedIn Sponsored Posts. Sponsored content allows a business to extend the reach of its content beyond its current followers to a targeted group of LinkedIn members.
- Boost your posts on Facebook and set up promoted tweets.
- Launch remarketing – Both Facebook and Google allow you to serve banner ads to your existing website visitors. You can use these to promote your new blog post and encourage further clicks.
- Look to content recommendation sites like Outbrain – content discovery platforms like market leader Outbrain have been around for about a decade. You can become a ‘customer’ and then Outbrain will share your content on reputable websites, making it accessible to audiences via a ‘you might also like’ section.
- Email a teaser to your database – write a short introduction to your blog describing what the reader will learn from it. Don’t reveal too much, but encourage the reader to visit your blog article by visiting your website.
Buzzfeed’s former pupil Jonathan Perelman perhaps put it best: “Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”
I am absolutely delighted and honoured that my company, Art Division, won not one but two awards at the Merton Best Business Awards 2017, held at Epsom Downs Racecourse.
We scooped trophies for Best in Creative Sector and Best Business Under 50 Employees.
As I was driving back home after an amazing event, buzzing with pride, it made me realise how much we have achieved throughout the years, especially over the past 12 months, and how much those awards actually mean to me.
As the original founder of Art Division, over the past 16 years I have seen the business go through all sorts of ups and downs. Running a successful business is hard work. It takes dedication and perseverance. Being in business is hard work. But none of it would be possible without the hard work and dedication of my team.
It’s all too easy to get sucked into the day to day chores and hurdles, and forget to pause and reflect on all the wonderful achievements myself and my team have accomplished. Because really, those awards represent just that – an acknowledgement of the wonderful work we have all done together over the past 12 months.
So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU, to all the members of the Art Division team. This includes not only those who are full-time members, but also who work remotely from our office. From the part-timers to the full-timers, from the freelancers to the suppliers. You are all part of our family and a contributor to our success.
And finally, thank you to all our clients, especially those who have been with us for a long time, and have trusted their marketing and web needs to us, and continue to do so. Without you, we will not be where we are today.
Upwards and onwards,
MD of Art Division
The wait is over, it is the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the publication of the shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious property awards is now out! That is right it’s The Negotiator awards 2017, who this year are in association with Spark.
Art Division have only gone and become a finalist for the 2017 supplier of the year: services and products award. We were delighted to have scooped a silver award in 2013, and super excited this year to be in with another chance of taking home gold for the biggest awards the property industry can offer.
This glamorous gala dinner will take place on Tuesday 31st October at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane London, where the winners and runners up will be announced. This awards ceremony will be hosted by comedian and impressionist Jimmy Carr. So ladies and gents get your glad rags on, we will see you there. Best of luck to you all.
Oxford Dictionaries defines the term ‘investment’ as the following:
‘An act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.’ An alternative definition describes it as: ‘The action or process of investing money for profit.'
The word ‘money’ is important here, as a business will need to part with some amount of money to achieve what they need from a website – to get a ‘worthwhile result’.
A new website, whether that means the design and build of a new website from scratch or the redesign of an existing one, should be profitable and should be worthwhile. There’s little point in having a website to represent your business online if it only exists because you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you must have one, because ‘that’s what everyone has these days’. A website must be profitable, and it must bring new business by engaging visitors to such an extent that they become valued customers or clients.
We all know the importance of maintaining an online presence, and it’s unwise to think of your website as little more than a digital business card. Your website needs to provide a faithful representation of your brand’s ethos, function effectively as a marketing tool, be analytics-friendly, be continually optimised to keep pace with the increasing sophistication of the search engines, be responsive and user-friendly when viewed from all devices, and through all of that, your website should have the power to convert visitors into customers, which in turn will increase revenue.
In short, if your website is not profitable, then it becomes a cost. If your website boosts conversions, revenue, and works wonders for your bottom line (as it should), then it is an investment. When taking the decision to restructure, redesign or build a website from scratch, you need to consider how the project should be managed to ensure that, once live, the website performs well and delivers a strong return on investment.
Your website is the engine that drives any brand’s customer acquisition, conversion and retention strategy.
It is more than a shop window or a digital sales brochure. Your website is a living, breathing marketing ally and should drive your digital strategy. But it can only do this if you take control of its power.
But for your website to deliver the acquisition, conversion and retention targets you have set it in a cost-effective manner it needs regular care, attention and updating.
And how do you measure the return on investment of a new website?
The main factors which can be looked at to measure the return on investment of a new website include:
1. The adaptability and longevity of the website
Technology changes in the blink of an eye. If your website is poorly designed and coded, it will not be so adaptable. It won’t be able to adapt to the changing digital landscape easily, and will need replacing more quickly than a bespoke-build website. This will generally cost your business more money, so it’s a false economy to cut corners on a new website build or redesign.
2. The general cost of maintenance
A website should be updated regularly, be that by uploading new pages, adding new blog posts or changing images. It’s important to invest in a site which allows you to do all that in-house, which will keep the cost of maintenance down. It is also important to invest in sites which allows regular upgrades (content management systems like WordPress have regular upgrade releases which improve the security of the site).
3. The increase in website traffic
An optimised site will help you to rank higher in the search engines, and this will have an impact on the amount of website traffic you receive. However, your marketing activities will also have an impact on the amount of website traffic you receive, and your website should be built with online marketing in mind.
4. The number of conversions generated
A well-designed, user focused website with clear call to actions should help to increase the number of conversions. A website should not just be a glorified business card – it should work hard to convert as many visitors into prospects as possible. The more conversions, the healthier your bottom line.
Consider your new website a true investment if….
A high-functioning website which achieves your business and marketing goals is crucial to seeing a return on investment. If you want to build a new website for your business, make sure you see it as an investment and plan for bigger returns.
Whether your business offers a service or sells a product, visitors to your website are unlikely to get in touch with you immediately – especially if you specialise in big-ticket items, such as kitchens, construction or property.
When it comes to property, homebuyers and tenants can spend days and weeks researching locations, prices, and the types of property available before making contact with an estate agent to book a viewing. The same goes for landlords and vendors – they often visit several agent websites before booking a valuation.
But how do you bring the visitors who failed to fill out an enquiry form back to your website?
Study after study has shown that the more familiar a brand or product, the more likely consumers are to make a purchase or send an enquiry.
If someone visits your website, you have already made the initial leap into their awareness. In the unlikely event of them converting immediately, your objective should be to stay in front of them in order to earn their business.
Remarketing is a simple and effective way of achieving this, and allows a business to direct its marketing budget at an audience that is likely to convert.
What is remarketing?
Remember when you searched online for a special Valentine’s Day gift or a mobile phone case on Amazon, and ads for that product seemed to follow you around the web? That’s remarketing.
Traditionally, remarketing is used by big ecommerce sites, enticing you to complete an order. Often they would chase you with banners containing the exact product you looked at on their site.
But we are now successfully using this approach in the property market as well. If a tenant has looked at a few of your properties to rent but hasn’t booked a viewing, that particular tenant can be chased around the web with dynamically-generated banners containing the exact properties they looked at, encouraging them to book a viewing. Likewise, if a vendor visits your site but doesn’t book a valuation, that vendor can be chased with a banner encouraging them to take action.
How does remarketing work?
Every individual visit to your website is recorded by a piece of code known as a cookie. These pieces of code, which are available from both Google and Facebook, are the foundation stones of any remarketing campaign. They allow website owners to compile lists of the type of visitors you receive. In the case of estate agents, this could be landlords, tenants, vendors, or those interested in purchasing a specific type of property.
To run remarketing on Facebook, you need to have a minimum list size of 100; to run a campaign on Google, the pot needs to contain at least 200 prospects.
When setting up a remarketing campaign, it’s advisable to create a series of banner adverts with a specific sales message aimed at the audience you have defined. For a banner ad to deliver a return on investment, it should link to a custom-made landing page on your website that is designed to encourage your audience to take a specific action, such as ‘Book a Viewing’, ‘Book A Valuation’ or ‘Register Your Details’.
Like property, remarketing comes in many forms. But the most cost-effective way to use remarketing is in the space your sales targets are already in.
Remarketing and Facebook
On any given day more than 1 billion users log in at least once to Facebook, making it the most popular social platform in the world.
Facebook’s remarketing efforts have come a long way since it introduced its Website Custom Audiences (WCA) tool at the start of 2014. The WCA tool allows advertisers to capture onsite user behaviour data and target those people with relevant ads on Facebook.
But the real breakthrough came with Facebook’s dynamic product ads. Used alongside the WPA tool, these ads help any business to promote relevant products to people who have visited its website or mobile app. For estate agents, we can now remarket to buyers or tenants with the exact properties they looked at on your website.
The advantages of DPAs include the ability to:
- Set up your campaigns once and continually reach people with the properties they looked at on your website, if they haven’t booked a viewing yet.
- Reach targets with adverts on any device they use, regardless of their original touch-point for your business.
While DPAs are favoured by ecommerce advertisers, they can greatly benefit businesses that do not rely on online sales, such as estate agents.
Here at Art Division, in one of our campaigns, we used Facebook remarketing to attract landlords who were looking for a property valuation. We managed to generate 20 enquiries for a £460 investment, which amounts to only £23 per enquiry.
We run several dynamic remarketing campaigns for clients, which not only increase the chance of conversion from a website visitor to a viewing request but also provide a point of difference when talking to potential vendors and landlords. So a remarketing campaign can help you increase your viewings AND attract more stock.
Remarketing and Google
Google AdWords remarketing enables sites to show targeted ads to users who have already visited their site. Past visitors will see these ads while they are browsing the web, watching YouTube videos or reading news sites, ensuring your brand remains familiar to them. This will entice visitors to come back for more.
Similar to Facebook, you can use this approach to encourage buyers, tenants, vendors or landlords to return to your website and take action, be it filling in a form or calling your office.
You can create different Google remarketing lists. For example, you can choose to go after people who have searched your properties for sale with ads, showing them the exact properties they have looked at and inviting them to book a viewing. Or you can go after vendors who have visited your sales-related pages with a banner inviting them to book a valuation.
Google remarketing also gives the impression that your business is bigger than it is and is proactive. This, in turn, helps to build trust and increases the chance of conversion. The beauty here is that your visitors will see your ads on sites they visit, even if those sites have nothing to do with property. The idea is to increase your touch points with each and every prospect, increasing your return visits and enquiries.
Let Art Division help you
UK businesses have until 25th May 2018 to make sure they are compliant with the requirements laid down by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The law will give EU citizens greater control over what happens to their personal data when businesses get hold of it. In effect, the law aims to strengthen consumer’s rights while setting standards for best practice.
When the new regulations come into force, businesses must get consent before they use the personal data of any private EU citizen. Come the deadline, businesses must be able to demonstrate compliance. Fines for non-compliance will be hefty to say the least. So, as of 25th May 2018, laxity will be out.