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ID Recruits Jake Hall

Interdirect is really pleased to announce yet another new member of their team, Jake Hall who joins our Business Development team as a New Business Development Manager.

Jake’s previous experience includes sales with varied industries including F1, Aerospace, Travel, Food and Pharmaceutical.

We took five minutes over a cup of tea to get to know Jake a little better…

Born and bred: I was born in Newport Pagnell and lived in small village near to Milton Keynes called Salford. I moved to Derby for University and then had a short stint in London before moving overseas for a few years in New York. I moved back to Milton Keynes back in 2010 and now live with my wife in Woburn Sands.

Favourite food: Sushi – I have been to Japan a couple of times, I love the culture and especially the food. It is also healthy so that makes it a bonus.

Pub-Friday beverage of choice: Dependant on how cold it is outside, but I am a lager man and especially like a Staropramen.

Name one thing on your bucket list: I have travelled extensively and it is a great passion of mine. I have always wanted to go to Antarctica. This would be top of the list.

First impressions of ID: It is a great environment to work and be able to express your ideas. The people here are a very focused bunch and seem great fun.

The thing I love most about my job: I enjoy dealing with varied industries and helping people to develop their business. The products and expertise we can offer are the perfect fit for this.

When I’m not at ID, you’ll find me: You will find me on a golf course – mainly in the trees, looking for my golf ball.

Something you might not know about me: I have travelled only by train, from Beijing Central, China to Milton Keynes Central, England.

Contact Jake at jake.hall@interdirect.co.uk 0345 121 5566.

Email and Social Media - does it have to be a battle?

If you think about how much time you spend online on an average work day, I would wager a bet that a good 25% of your time is spent on emails and social media. Scrolling through a newsfeed of engagements, baby photos and stalking your ex on Facebook doesn’t necessarily make for a productive working day, but we all do it.


In a battle to vie for consumers attentions, mail and social media have long been seen to compete with one another. Think Apple vs. Samsung, McDonalds vs. Burger King, Lannisters vs. Starks and you’ll get an idea of the rivalry.


Email has been known to outperform social media when it comes to conversions but social media is a diverse landscape, which makes for engaging content. We don’t think you should have to focus your marketing efforts to one particular channel though, why not combine your efforts for maximum impact to boost your ROI?


We love this awesome infographic from DotMailer, which gives you some great ideas on how to combine your email and social strategies.

 

Adapting in a Digital World: Is your business open to change?


When considering the effects of the digital age, what immediately comes to mind is big data, the sheer enormity of information at our fingertips, of an increase in variety, volume and speed.  Digital has undoubtedly brought growth in many ways, but it would be a mistake to think that this automatically correlates with increased revenue for those using it professionally – let’s face it, almost all of us.


There have certainly been many winners from the digital revolution, but there are equally many losers, as well as businesses that have only seen growth relative to how much they have been able to adapt. As fortune.com wrote last month, the music industry is arguably becoming one of the losers despite having adapted to trends.


In 2015 music sales increased at a modest rate of 3.2%, however this was not necessarily music to the ears of record labels or their artists. At this time, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), digital sales were greater than all physical purchases of music combined, accounting for over half of all sales. Purchase of CDs, vinyl and other hard copies amounted to just 39%.


In all honesty, with the collapse of high street music stores such as HMV, I am surprised this digital overtaking didn’t happen much sooner than it did. In addition, the IFPI’s report revealed that growth of online music streaming from legal sources such as Spotify and Apple Music grew faster than the overall rate of digital sales: streaming revenue has grown 45% since 2010 and now accounts for half of all digital revenue. In short, streaming has single-handedly caused this 3.2% growth.


There’s a problem here: streaming does not denote ownership, and so as more users turn to Spotify, fewer records are actually sold. You might think that people listening to records still means money for the artist, but with streaming this is no longer a dead cert. Spotify pays less than a penny per play to the record labels, and the artists get a tiny share of that.


If we condense the report down to a line, what we get is “licence to play is more appealing to users than owning the music”, which is a trend we have seen developing over the last 10 years: with the explosion of shared content and viral marketing, the idea of media ownership has become foggy. Exposure and engagement have become two of the key goals of marketing, and we are happy to share and interact with other people’s content to get in the spotlight ourselves.


The report from the IFPI asks the question – how can the industry retain its value when the willingness to pay for ownership is decreasing? This was precisely Taylor Swift’s reason for pulling her music from streaming giant Spotify back in November 2014. In her Wall Street Journal piece, the multi-millionaire artist said, “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”

Businesses arguably make money from the exposure they get from viral marketing, social media and shared content, however problems may occur when digital pushes down the price and squeezes profits. Don’t underestimate the actual value of your product because it’s easier for it to be produced, promoted, and purchased.


As digital continues to evolve, we urge businesses of all sizes to look not only at how you will adapt, but also at how digital may impact your target market’s willingness to pay a fair price for your products – no business wants its profit sheet music to stop playing.

Interdirect Launches New Website for Willen Hospice

Interdirect is proud to launch a lovingly designed and built website for local specialist palliative care charity, Willen Hospice.

The sophisticatedly designed website was built using Interdirect’s advanced content management system SiteMachine to be completely responsive, therefore automatically responding to the device on which it is viewed.

The website, built in close partnership with Willen Hospice, incorporates integration with its eBay shop, enabling visitors to view articles listed on eBay, including details and cost of items as well as a link to the hospice’s eBay account.

The intuitive site also enables visitors to view the latest lottery results, search for their nearest Willen Hospice shop and find details and booking information on upcoming events.

Another first for the Willen Hospice website is its integration with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to allow regular and single donations to be made directly via the website.

“We are very proud of our new website,” said Hywel Jones, marketing and campaigns manager at Willen Hospice. “Our aim was to create a website that benefited our patients, their friends & family members and those who wish to support the Hospice. The improved functionality, easy to use layout and new features will enhance the online provision of Willen Hospice and help us in our aim to always be there to care.”


Laura Wiles, account manager at Interdirect, says; “A ‘responsive site’ has fast become a buzzword for many companies as they recognise the need to keep up the evolving world of technology. At Interdirect, we are all about delivering websites that give the very best user experience, and a responsive site does just that.”

“The Willen Hospice website is an excellent example of how, working in partnership with our clients, we can produce leading websites that suit every budget. Interdirect have been working with Willen Hospice for over 10 years and we are particularly proud of this website.”

To view the website, visit www.willen-hospice.org.uk/ on your desktop, tablet, or mobile device. To find out more about responsive websites visit www.interdirect.co.uk/digital, follow @Interdirect on Twitter, Facebook or email info@interdirect.co.uk .

Looks can be deceiving – it’s what’s on the inside that counts!

 

Katie Burrows, lead account manager at Interdirect, explains why discovery and planning are by far the most important phases of the project lifecycle for any website.


"When creating a new ‘digital shop front’ for your business, it’s very easy to focus on what it’s going to look like, instead of its core purpose. We see a lot of clients do this when engaging with agencies, and although we agree that the design is often the exciting bit, your website needs to do what you need it to do – help achieve business objectives!


If you start at the design phase, you’ve bypassed the part where you examine who will be visiting the website and how that audience will actually engage with your content and/or services. Whenever we take on a new client, we insist that this exploratory phase forms step 1 before any creative comes into the picture. It might all sound a bit laborious, but believe us – this planning phase is worth it!


The first phase of a new website is a discovery workshop, where we find out your objectives and target audience(s).  We look at your ideas, client personas and plot user journeys that will help define how the website is structured. Phase two is the creation of a set of wireframes, which illustrate the website’s functionality and layout, so that you can really focus on how the site will operate.


Once the structure is agreed, a functional specification is drawn up for our  client’s approval, and it is then that we can start to think about the fun stuff; making it look pretty. It’s a classic case of “form follows function”.
Design is followed swiftly by build and then the final stage, which is quality assurance, including browser compatibility, security checks, testing, standards compliance and client training.


This discovery and planning stage is, however, not for everyone: you may not have the scope or budget, or perhaps your business model is straight forward and so a simpler website is all you need. If this is the case, we have the solution: a SiteLite. Over eight years we’ve honed our templates, so that it’s easy for you to get started on your website straight away.


The primary benefit of this type of website is the ease of use and flexibility it provides, meaning that you can take control of your website whilst retaining a sleek and professional looking website.


As a full service marketing agency, we also look to educate our clients on their new website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) requirements and discuss an ongoing strategy for ensuring the website we produce works as hard as it possibly can for your business."


If you would like to find out more about Interdirect’s website solutions and for details of online demonstrations of SiteMachine and SiteLite email info@interdirect.co.uk or call 0345 121 5566.

Top 10 Tips: Bidding for Public & Private Sector Contracts

 

Last month, our Operations Director, Carole and Account Manager, Laura, attended Biztech’s latest networking seminar, in association with UCMK. The “Ask The Expert” event focused on the topic of E-services and how businesses can benefit from bidding for both public and private sector contracts.

Katy Berrill from MK based, Bid and Tender Support, and Rachael MacIntyre of MacIntyre Law were the main speakers, with Katy talking about the services they provide ranging from basic bid and tender administration through to bid writing, strategy and management. Rachael, as the legal whizz, spoke about the law and what public sector organisations has to do in order for their contracts to be legal. 

Biztech’s Chairman, Fredi Nonyelu, highlighted how: “Sourcing and winning business in the internet era is one of the key issues faced by companies now and going forward”.  After attending, Carole and Laura sat down to consider the key takeaways from the seminar, and to mould them into the following top 10 tips for tender bids:

Laura and Carole’s Top 10 Tips:

1.    Use tender portals to find opportunities

  • Find the ones that major in your industry or sector
  • OJEU is for major contracts
  • Skill fair (annual cost)
  • Tenders direct (annual cost)


2.    Define your search criteria

  • Create a ‘yes’ check list – value, location, size, longevity and capacity
  • What value of project are you capable of delivering
  • Be selective
  • Target those who already know you


3.    Setup Portal notifications to avoid missing opportunities

  • Use your ‘yes’ check list to be specific in your notification criteria


4.    Document your progress

  • Keep a bid library of all your submissions
  • Use a planner to timeline when submissions are due
  • Don’t take on too much, focus on the important ones.

 
5.    It’s a tender process but it’s really who you know!

  • Do the ground work to get your name in front of them beforehand
  • Build the relationship so your tender responses are warmer
  • Look for signs that a supplier has already been chosen and weed out ones where you’re just making up the numbers.


6.    Before you start

  • Check the mandatory requirements of the tender first
  • If you aren’t able to answer to any one of the mandatory requests, move onto the next tender!
  • Make ‘checking mandatory requirements’ part of your ‘yes’ check list.


7.    Understanding and questions

  • Check that you fully understand the requirements
  • Portals usually offer the opportunity to ask questions and view what others have asked.
  • Ensure you do this in good time as there are closing dates for questions.


8.    Submit efficiently and effectively

  • Create an armoury of answers that you can tailor quickly
  • Avoid boiler plate response, always personalise
  • Add that ‘zing’ that gets you noticed – you need to make it work harder within your text based response because you don’t have the luxury of creating impact face to face.


9.    Demonstrate your skills

  • Remember than you are selling yourself, so leave room for this whilst you are answering the questions
  • You don’t have the option to present yet so display as much as you can visually with graphs, infographics, timing plans, technical drawings and much more.
  • Avoid pictures for aesthetics sake, you’ll waste space

  

10.    Leave yourself enough time

  •  Plan a schedule and timescale for responding
  • Delegate answers to those with skills and knowledge
  • Ensure those involved understand the requirement
  • Allow time for coordination, checking and proofing
  • Leave enough time before the submission deadline to upload – file sizes and internet speeds can make the difference between meeting the deadline or missing it.