Author Archive

Smartphone friendly websites are a must for 2012

Reports about how the smartphone market is going to continue to boom in 2012 are easy to find and it’s no surprise that 84% of smartphone users use their phones to browse the web. In 2011 the number of smartphones in the world was around the 1.08 billion mark and that has no doubt risen since. So with over 900 million phones browsing the web have you thought about how your website looks and works on a mobile device?

It is important not to rush into developing a mobile website just because of the figures mentioned above, instead some research into your website’s visitors is needed. You should be able to access mobile information in your website’s analytics and this will show you the system on which people are viewing your website on. Most analytic systems will show you a simple spilt between mobile and non-mobile visitors but if not you can gain an idea from the browser type information. The figures will give you an insight into whether a mobile website is needed. As a recommendation, we suggest that if 15-20+% of your visitors are visiting your website from mobile devices then you should seriously consider creating a mobile website.

Renold were experiencing an increase in mobile traffic and so created a website using our SiteManager CMS that would allow visitors to easily navigate their website. More about Renold mobile can be read here.

January 18th, 2012 by Daniel Ashcroft |

The “Graymail” email. It’s not spam but is still unwanted

All major email clients have junk mail folders and spam filters to help their users keep their emails categorized and clear of annoying spam emails. The spam filters in these email clients provide the users with the option to flag an email as spam, which then means future emails similar to this is put in the junk folder.

These “flags” are also logged by the spam filter in general to help out other users meaning that if your email is flagged as spam by one user it could affect other recipients inboxes.

This is good for the end user because it keeps their inbox clear of spam but research done by Windows Hotmail discovered that 75% of email reported as spam were actually legitimate emails that the user no longer wanted. These consisted of newsletters, notifications and offers that the user was no longer interested in. Hotmail now call these emails “Graymail”.

The average inbox

Hotmail’s research found that 50% of the average inbox was filled with newsletters and offers, with social updates and people to people emails representing 17% and 14% respectively. Below is a breakdown of the whole inbox.

Cause of Graymail and the solution

The main cause of legitimate emails being flagged/marked as spam is that the user is no longer interested in the content of the emails and is unable to easily unsubscribe, resulting in them clicking on the “Flag as spam” button because it is the easiest option to them. Hotmail is taking steps to help their users clear up their inbox but thanks to MessageSender there are some easy ways to stop your emails becoming spam rather than graymail. The fact is the people receiving your emails might not want to receive them anymore and so you need to make to unsubscribe process as easily as possible to avoid becoming spam.

MessageSender has two unsubscribe options available. The first is the “one-click” unsubscribe that will allow the user to remove themselves from your mailing list directly from a link in the email. This method is the easiest and quickest for the recipient but not necessarily the best option for the sender. The second option is the “Manage Subscriptions” method which allows the recipient to choose what information they receive by allow them to opt in and out of multiple mailing lists.

To discuss your email marketing and the benefits MessageSender can provide you please contact us.

November 22nd, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

The Auto-reply: Don’t dismiss the potential

If you’re managing your email campaign effectively, you should have a concise list of people who your about to send your email to that should, hopefully, be interested in the content. As you click on send you look forward to seeing the open and click-through rates to appear in your reports.

More than likely though, the first thing you receive is an auto-response announcing that someone on your list has left the company, is on maternity leave or just on holiday for a week. Depending on the size of your email list you could be getting hundreds of these auto-responses and it would be easy for you to do a mass delete and focus on those who have interacted with with your email, but there are 2 reasons why you should not do this.

1. Email verification

An increasing number of companies are using email verification, that is similar to Captcha, which requests the sender to click on a link in order to prove that they are human and not an automated system. The system blocks the sent email and instead returns an auto-response requesting verification that the sender is real before the server then passes it onto the recipient. These emails come as auto-responses so they can easily be missed if you don’t check through your returned emails. Thankfully once you have verified that you are indeed human the server should not request you to perform the process again.

Until this is done your emails will never reach the person or anyone else within the company asking for verification, so it’s worth looking out for these emails to get the most out of your contact lists.

2. Replacements/Covering employees

Although many of your out-of-office auto-responses will just be stating that the recipient is on holiday sometimes they contain information on who to contact in their absence or in the case of someone leaving the company information on who is now the main contact. Use this information to update your database because it will avoid the need of trying to discover who best to speak to at the company at a later date.

It might not be vital to sort through your auto-responses for each email send but we recommend looking through them every 3 months to be sure your getting the most out of your data base and keep it up-to-date.

November 8th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

5 Tips for creating great landing pages

Sending out an email and getting great open and click through rates are all well and good but the number you should really care about are the conversion. The email lays down the ground work but it’s then up to your landing page to complete your goal. The same goes to landing pages for adverts and other links.

Here are 5 tips to help you create an effective landing page:

1. Highlight the Call to Action

The call to action is generally the goal of an email campaign/ad campaign, if it’s a product sales email the call to action might be a purchase/order button, or the goal might be for someone to fill out a form in which case it would be the form itself and a submit button. Whatever the goal the call to action should always be the most noticeable feature and correspond with the copy/link people arrived arrived at the landing page from. If the landing page has a large amount of copy them we recommend having a Call to Action at the top and the bottom of the page so that the user is not required to scroll up or down to it, make it easily accessible.

2. Think about layout and design

Any eye-tracking study will show you that you that there are patterns in users behaviours when looking a content on web pages. Web users are first drawn to the top left of the page and follow a diagonal line to the bottom right. For this reason it is important to place your logo and the call to actions in these important locations.
The design on your landing page should match that of your website in case the user would navigate away from the landing page to somewhere else on your site, for example your contact page, it should feel like a natural progression. Emails are being viewed on mobile devices more and more, so it would be worth making your landing page compatible with the size of mobile screens.

3. Consider search when writing copy

Good copy is always important for everything and landing pages are no exception. Good copy gives the user/reader a positive experience and if the copy is keyword rich then the Google (and other search engine) algorithm will rank it highly. The copy should also match the copy used in the email or advert so that the transition between the email/ad to the landing page is as smooth as possible. For example if you make a claim or an offer in the email/ad then the landing page copy must back it up.

4. Intelligent use of media

The use of images and video should complement your call to action rather than distract from it. Be strategic with chosing imagery, don’t clutter up your landing page with unnecessary pictures. Images and videos are important for landing pages for products in order to display it to the best of your ability but if you feel that they don’t encourage users to complete your call to action then don’t use them just for the sake of it.

5 .Test to see what works

As with all your other marketing it is important to test to see what works with your audience. Use tools like Google Analytics to see how many conversions you achieved and how long users spent on the page before either completing your goal or navigating away. On page analytics can provide you with a great insight into what users clicked on once they arrived on your page.

October 25th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Ackura SiteManager used for new bcToolkit website

We’re very happy to announce that bcToolkit, made by Exonero, has just launched it’s brand new website built upon our SiteManager CMS.

bcToolkit, a Basecamp reporting tool, wanted to achieve 2 key objectives with their new website:

  • The first was to streamline the sign up process and therefore increase the number of sign-ups.
  • The second was to improve the layout of the information on the website.

Thanks to Ackura SiteManger bcToolkit now has a website to be proud of. SiteManager has allowed bcToolkit to integrate an application that identifies users Basecamp account details in order to provide them with the best bcToolkit package for them. This application integration into SiteManager will improve the user’s experience of the sign up process and reduce any potential confusion over which package to purchase.

Ackura SiteManager has allowed bcToolkit to have more flexibility with their design. Exonero realised that the previous bcToolkit website was content heavy and so required a new design that had the more important information promoted while the remainder of the content was still presented clearly. With SiteManager their solution was to build the page templates around a top feature area where high impact statements or product features could be placed in order to attract attention or promote key points.

Drew, Product Manager for bcToolkit had this to say:

“We are really pleased with our choice of SiteManager CMS. It allows us to easily edit our content while providing the depth and functionality for full control of our website”

To discuss how Ackura SiteManager can be of benefit to you them please feel free to get in touch.

September 29th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

5 Social Media monitoring tips

Ackura’s social monitoring tool, BuzzMonitor, is great at providing an insight into what your customers are talking about or identifies potential opportunities that you can use in future marketing. However taking the first steps into monitoring social media can be daunting so I thought I would provide 5 tips on how to start listening with BuzzMonitor.

1. Outline your objectives

It is vital to understand why you want to monitor social media. Some examples are:

  • I want to see what people are saying about our company in order to act accordingly
  • I want to identify the influential people in the industry
  • I want to be able to react quickly to customer service queries
  • I want to keep on top of the latest trends surrounding my company/brand

By defining your end goal first it will help in creating a clear plan of how to manage your social media monitoring activity.

2. Choose the best channels to monitor

The term Social Media covers a large number of channels such as micro-blogging, blogs, community sites, etc. For this reason it is important to discover where the conversations you want to monitor are taking place. Although Twitter is a popular social media site the conversations you are interested in might not be taking place on it, so it would be unproductive to spend time and resources monitoring it. Instead do some initial research to find out where best to invest your time.

3. Prioritize your monitoring

It is best practise to monitor a variety of keywords or terms in order to gain a greater understanding of the conversations going on across multiple channels. It is important to prioritize or focus your monitoring so that attention isn’t distracted from the more important topics. For example, listening out for developing trends should not distract from unhappy customers.

4. Listen – Don’t jump in

Sitting back and listening to a conversation rather than jumping straight in is vital. It will allow you time to understand the culture and language of the conversation or community your listening to, meaning that once you are ready to engage the people involved are more likely to then listen to what you have to say.

5. Build Relationships

Social media will allow you to foster relationships with your customers and industry influencers. Be prepared to embrace them because the people who will listen to what you have to say might become brand ambassadors and be influential about you to their peers

I hope these quick 5 points help you on your way to Social Media Monitoring. If you would like to discuss anything above in more depth then please get in touch.

September 13th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

New Social Media sharing buttons for PressRoom

We are happy to announce some new updates to how people can share news through PressRoom with news Social Media share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

The popularity of Facebook and Twitter is well know but the astronomical rise of Google+ meant we had to look into incorporating Google’s Social Network into our PressRoom. We have just release 5 new buttons that feature in the top left of the new standard template we rolled out back in March.

PressRoom’s new share buttons:

  • Google+
  • Google now features a “+1″ feature on their search results that is a visual display of what your friends believe to be worthwhile and recommend. These +1′s are also published on the users Google+ profile in a section where they list all their recommended websites and articles.

  • Facebook
  • The Facebook “Like” feature publishes a recommendation link on the user’s profile that all their friends can see and will feature on the Facebook news feed.

  • Twitter
  • The twitter button will allow the user to send a pre populated tweet featuring the title of the press release and a link to it, making it easy for them to share with their followers.

  • LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn is the professional Social Network and is built around “connections” you have with people through business. The LinkedIn share button publishes the title and a link to the press release on the user’s update feed making it visable to all their business connections.

  • Email
  • Email is still one of the most popular forms of communication and so the email button allows users to quickly and easily share the press release through an email.

These button are just part of our continuing update of Ackura PressRoom, so be sure to check back here for future features.

The new social media sharing buttons can be seen on the PressRoom Charities. If your interested in find out how PressRoom can help increase the exposure of your news then please get in touch.

August 30th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

PressRoom’s Charity publishers

PressRoom has recieved a number of updates to further improve the service with a few more on the way. Throughout the process updating PressRoom we’ve always remained committed to the idea that the service should be available free of charge to charities to aid them in the amazing work they do.

We have some new additions to the ever growing list of Charities using PressRoom to publish their news

PressRoom is a free to use service for charities but is also being used by companies like Pentagon and Gorvins to increase their news exposure. If you’re interested in finding out how PressRoom can benefit your company then please get in touch.

August 3rd, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Renold goes mobile with SiteManager

We are very happy to announce that Renold Plc. have just launched a new mobile website built upon our SiteManager CMS. The Renold Mobile site is the first website built using SiteManager that is optimised for mobile devices.

renold-L5242

Renold is an international engineering group, that produces a wide range of precision engineering products, operating in nineteen countries worldwide. The principal activities of the Group are the manufacture and sale of industrial chains and related power transmission products.

Thanks to SiteManager‘s flexibility Renold have been able to create a clear and easy to use site that contains a lot of information in a simple and effective manor. Thanks to the improvement  of mobile devices today means that users can launch different features directly from the Renold mobile site. From the Renold Mobile site users are able to download, save and view stat sheet PDFs on their mobiles. Renold have also been able to create a more engaging “Find Us” page with links that open up map and navigation options within the device and in doing so help users not only find out where the offices are but also be navigated to them (dependant on software on the device).

View the Renold Mobile site here. If you’re interesting in creating a mobile optimised website and how SiteManager can help you do this, then please feel free to contact us.

July 20th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

PressRoom is now used within the Pentagon website

Along with the announcement of Gorvins integrating PressRoom into their website we are happy to announce that Pentagon is the latest company to utilize the service as part of their website.

Pentagon realised that their previous news section of their website lack certain functions to allow them to broadcast their latest news to the best of their ability. With a custom template the Pentagon PressRoom sits perfectly within their main website.

A feature that is used by Pentagon is the ability to put each of their press releases into a category, in this case Vauxhall, Peugeot, and other car brands they deal with. This feature allows them to have a central PressRoom featuring all their press release, then multiple sub-PressRooms, which only show the releases related to a single car brand and these are integrated into each of Pentagon websites for that individual car brand. Examples are:

Although it appears Pentagon have 15 different PressRooms across all their sites they are all managed from one place and PressRoom’s features allow users to distribute their content easily across them all.

Pentagon PressRoom

July 6th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |