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Interdirect targets SME’s with new, cost-effective web design brand

Interdirect are delighted to announce the launch of SiteLite, an innovative ‘off-the-shelf’ web design brand in a bid to help small businesses in Bedford, Luton and surrounding areas.  Plugging the gap between websites you can build on your own and bespoke sites, SiteLite is a low investment solution designed by professional web designers.

To manage and develop this exciting new concept Interdirect have appointed Jake Hall to the newly created position of Business Development Manager, in order to manage and cultivate the SiteLite brand.

Two out of three SME’s in the UK have no online presence* with many citing lack of time, investment and technical knowledge as reasons.  While many measure success by their ability to build offline relationships, from hairdressers and plumbers, to solicitors and charities, harnessing the web is a vital business tool with 85% of consumers searching the web to find local businesses.**

“Every business needs a website,” Jake comments, “but until now, if you wanted to be seen online you had two choices: Leave it all to a web agency to create a bespoke site, or buy a cheap online template and struggle with the rest yourself. While combining synergies from both options SiteLite provides customers with a professional looking site on a low budget and an account manager to help with the technical side.”

With a choice of six template designs SiteLite comes in a choice of two packages, standard and premium, with prices starting from just £2,100 plus VAT – a fraction of the cost of a customised site – and can be up and running in just two weeks. Packed with features and functionality every site is Google friendly, ‘gremlin’ free with a dedicated account manager to offer training and support during the build process. Customers can have as many content pages as desired which they personally populate with content. Developed through Interdirect’s purpose built content management system (CMS) each SiteLite is hosted on a dependable Interdirect server for added security.

The premium option offers the same as standard but with additional benefits such as social media inclusion and a blog. 


With a wealth of digital media experience, Interdirect recognises the potential for local business to grow via a web presence and, with SiteLite, is channeling its 21 years of experience of creating eye-catching and effective websites for 100’s of global clients into a smart, easy, new way to getting businesses online.

Jake joins the Interdirect team with sales experience from a variety of industries including F1, Aerospace, Travel, Food and Pharmaceutical. Since taking up the role in May Jake has already managed the launch of several SiteLite websites for small local businesses and charities.

* http://kinex.co.uk/main-services-menu/news/latest-news/94-percent-of-uk-smes-dont-sell-online-and-have-no-plans-to-do-so
** https://biz.yelp.com/blog/survey-85-of-consumers-use-the-internet-to-find-local-businesses



For more information on SiteLite visit www.sitelite.direct email SiteLite@interdirect.co.uk or call 0345 121 5566.

To find out more about Interdirect follow us on Twitter @interdirect, find us on Facebook or visit www.interdirect.co.uk.

The process of developing a Brand and Corporate Identity


Creating or recreating a brand’s image is one of the most important and influential marketing moves a business can make. It’s not rocket science, but does require a great deal of time, clarity of thinking and an understanding of the history, values and future aspirations of the business, in order to accurately and instinctively represent it.


A brand cannot be created overnight; it takes months, often years of evolution before it truly conveys the vision and missions of the business. Take a brand such as Apple for example; founded in 1976, the business was established on one individually hand-built product, Apple I.


It has seen 40 years of evolution, including a decline in sales during the mid-90s. At this point its image was reconstructed, taking its instantly recognisable coloured logo to a more sizable, adaptable and sophisticated monochrome design. The launch of its iMac in 1998 was when the Apple ‘i’ was born, which continues to be a leading line of products in the technology world today.


Steve Jobs, through the rebranding of Apple, gave computers and technology a human face, which in turn saw the look and feel of the brand come to be incorporated within the design of the products the company sells. Everything the brand represents is mirrored in the product design, meaning that the brand has come to represent everything that the company does.


The key to Apple’s success goes much further, of course, than just its brand, but this has been a crucial step in the engagement and connection between its culture and its customers.


When defining or redefining the identity of a brand, there are five key phases to consider:


1.    Research - As part of defining your brand, you need thorough research and analysis; talking to your employees, customers, friends of the business and suppliers to get an understanding of what your current brand says and means to them at the moment. This helps identify what will need refining in order to connect with your customers in the right way.

2.    A Clear Brief – Once you’ve completed and compiled the results of your research, you have the knowledge and insight to create a clear brief for the design and positioning of your brand. A well-structured and transparent brief will ensure that the look and feel of your brand concepts, accurately meet your expectations. Buy-in from a business’s senior management team is absolutely vital at this stage, and key to the success of the project.

3.    Design – Given your clear brief, the concepts and ideas for your new brand should be an accurate representation of your business and its aspirations.  The creative design stage is where the brand really comes to life and sees the idea turned into a reality. A good concept really can make or break a new brand, so it is vital to invest in good creative and get this stage right. 

4.    Rationale – It is important that as the brand continues to develop and ideas progress, you are also keeping a close eye on the all-important research, conducted at the beginning of the whole process. As initial concepts are moved forward, they must stay true to the original brief. Focus research groups with your employees, customers, friends and suppliers should help ensure that the new concepts are in-line with their perception of the business. Competitor analysis can be carried out to make sure that your brand is unique and creative enough to stand out, for all of the right reasons, within your industry.

5.    Evolution – Even when the final branding is chosen the business will continue to evolve and it is vital that, as the business moves forward, the brand positioning and culture continues to be evaluated and where necessary developed.


Once your new/re-launched brand is defined, you’re ready to take it to market through your various marketing channels (website, direct mail, social media, PR and email marketing). But whatever you do, remember that branding is the packaging of your products and services, and everything you do, whether it’s as formal as a letter on headed paper or as informal as a staff night out, it is a representation of your business. 

Predatory Payday Loan Ads have Bad Credit with Google


Google certainly isn’t an SEO’s best friend, but complaints about the search engine giant are far from being reserved for marketers. As its dominance has grown, so has concern for the tool’s ability to shape society, influence decisions and alter our awareness of the world around us: consider the subconscious, long term impact of Google displaying more pro Brexit news articles than articles campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU. Once you start really thinking about it, you realise that Google isn’t just a search engine any more, and hasn’t been for a while.


Patrick Collinson at The Guardian recently argued that some of the recent changes Google has made show that they have cottoned on to the fact that they aren’t flooded with fans: “Google must know its brand is no longer loved, and needs to be more consumer friendly.” He was speaking partly of their decision to ban ads for payday loans, a move which some are heralding as a sign of Google’s previously money-grabbing attitude and lacking conscience.


As of July 13th any ads promoting loans which require payment within 60 days, or those with an APR of 36% or higher (this is the rate for google.com), will no longer be displayed. The loss of revenue for Google might look shocking at $34.5m, but when you consider this is just 0.05% of their 2015 revenue, the cost of their conscience suddenly looks rather less noble.


This is not to say that this decision is not in keeping with Google’s long-standing principles. Google’s strict policies on YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages – those with the potential to give poor advice on critical issues such as health, finance, education – have amplified as the internet has grown. Google has always maintained that it cares about the wellbeing of users, and refuses to actively promote content that can do harm.


Whilst removing eye-catching ads for payday loans is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t do much to support the above statement. You can still buy things in finance direct from many retailers, or from lenders associated with them. Within a few minutes of searching for “PlayStation 4 on finance” I was directed from a retailer website to Bright House which has an APR of 99.9%. Had I purchased this item, I would pay a total of £1,495 over 130 weeks when the original product costs just £280 at John Lewis – that’s over five times the value of the item.


Many of the main businesses advertising quick, short term loans are so established that they rank highly organically for the terms they were bidding for in Adwords. Money Mutual in the USA spent over $2.6m in 608 keywords in 2015, but will continue to rank highly for terms like “instant loan” even after July 13th.


As always, Google’s tweaks are difficult to analyse – some have a major impact while others are more subtle, some show results immediately and others are more of a slow burn. With over 4,211 businesses advertising payday loans, Wade Henderson (CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights) hopes that July 13th marks a pushback on “predatory payday lending”.

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.