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Interdirect Recruits: Online Marketing Executive

Interdirect welcomes Emily Isaac to the team

Interdirect is delighted to welcome Emily Isaac to the team as an online marketing executive. Emily joins Interdirect after working for a Cardiff-based SEO agency where she gained a thorough understanding of the ever-changing world of search-engine algorithms, as well as the importance of social media.

Emily hopes to bring a new approach towards SEO to Interdirect, and is enthusiastic about learning new processes and bringing her knowledge of working within this specific area of online marketing into a full service agency.

“Since graduating university,” says Emily, “I’ve managed to incorporate my love of the written-word, along with my love of blogging and the internet, into my everyday work life through SEO and I’m excited for this to continue at Interdirect.”

Outside of the office, Emily loves nothing more than to be just that…outside!

“Whether it’s snowboarding in the winter or running a half marathon in the summer I love challenging myself. Although don’t get me wrong, you’ll happily find me in a pub garden with my friends just as easily.”

 

Social media platforms: How are they different?

Social media sites are like fast food restaurants; to the untrained eye all fast-food places essentially offer cheap, sub-quality burgers, chips and too-large cokes, all have similar, if not the same, things on offer and are so convenient and readily available to everyone- just like social platforms. However, look a little closer and each fast food chain offers something slightly different, social platforms are exactly the same and have each their own unique selling point, a quality they offer that appeals to you, the individual user, which makes it the best option for you and your business.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are often used greedily by those that may not understand them as free tools to push content and endlessly broadcast products or sales messages. They are incorporated in an overall marketing strategy, with no real thought behind their use and immediately the business loses sight of their purpose- to be sociable. Social sites have their own individual identity and charm, they have been created to be unique and offer users an alternative to the already existing social media platforms that are available. Each time a new social site is created; it is bigger, better and often designed with a new purpose in mind.

Facebook was first created within the confines of an American university, for networking among students. Twitter was then created a few years later with a different approach; to instantly share micro blogs and connect users, mainly bloggers, from around the world. LinkedIn was created with the same thought process behind Facebook, but within the world of business networking and connecting corporate businesses, and so the list goes on.

Why should you identify them as individuals?

So why should you, as a marketing agency or small business, recognise their unique qualities in order to maximise your benefit? Just because they are free, easy to master and available to everyone, does not mean you should have a presence on all of them.

For example, if you own a shopping centre then your social engagement is going to be very visually-heavy; images and videos being the main posting content and written words will be at a minimum. Your main target audience will be female, and slot within the age bracket 18-50+ - all of these you will already know having done your market research, and these factors scream Twitter. As a shopping centre, Google+ may not be your first social site to try and gain a strong social audience, as your target audience are largely on Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest would be perfect for posting images of your stores, clothing and any competitions which are running in your centre as well as sharing your blog URL on. It is important you do not set yourself or your business up to fail on social sites. A failing or unsuccessful profile is hard to hide and your clients and customers will be looking for your social presence so hiding is not an option.

Decide where you think your personas will largely be and target that specific social site first. If you are a corporate business, LinkedIn would be ideal to start with Facebook adopted as a phase two approach. Recognising each social channel as its own individual and unique platform will ensure your campaign gets off to a good start and by realising where your target audience will socialise online, will mean you can supply them with engaging content they will actually want to read, watch or share.

Each social platform also has its own tone; Twitter is jovial, more light-hearted and often very tongue-in-cheek. This makes it more difficult for high-brow and corporate companies to interact and behave socially on. Facebook is all about large communities sharing content and opinions, longer posts allow for more in depth content and generally encouraging responses. Google+ is a harder platform to master as it is predominantly a blog-sharing platform, but it is great for localised SEO purposes so it shouldn’t be overlooked. Pinterest is all about sharing images and GIFs which encourages people to re-pin and ‘like’ your pictures. Again, this is a great way to increase your online presence, whilst remaining sociable and it’s relatively easy to gain a strong following on Pinterest without the daily upkeep.

Remember social sites are another investment into your overall marketing strategy and should be used wisely. Post regularly and try to balance your broadcasting posts with engaging content, behave socially and your profiles will reap the rewards! Treat each site individually and you will be on the way to running successful social campaigns in no time.

To find out more about which social media platform might be right for you, give us a call on 0845 121 5566 or email us on social@interdirect.co.uk.

Old vs. New; The Changing Trends in Online Marketing

The concept of online marketing and website optimisation is a fairly modern approach to marketing a brand or company. Yet since the introduction of search engine toolbars 14 years ago, to the development of the search engine and internet powerhouse we all know as Google, it has become an integral part of everyday internet use.

Ever changing algorithms help to determine how users access information from the internet and which sites should be ranked top in results listings. These trends, or ‘rules’ to play, by are constantly changing, and it is important to keep on top of the fast paced world of online marketing, SEO and social media.

Interdirect’s online marketing executive Emily Isaac reviews some of the changes we have experienced as marketers:

 

Use of on-page keywords

Then

This has perhaps been one of the most changeable features for websites when it comes to ensuring your website is search engine friendly and correctly optimised. In the beginning, keywords were essential - we couldn’t get enough of them! Every web developer was including additional boxes in their new websites, just to hold these precious words, filling every page with variables of their chosen words, in an attempt to see their site appear in the search results.

Now

The focus has shifted from keywords to content and whilst still holding importance, Google encourages websites to be mindful of their keyword density when optimising a website. What’s more, Google Analytics has recently limited access to keyword data on the most popular terms bringing traffic to the website, leaving users with just two words; ‘not provided’. This means that although data is restricted, the keywords that are displayed can give useful insights into bounce rates, dwell time and sessions.
 

Social Media Sites

Then

When Facebook first launched in 2007, it was mostly embraced by teenagers and ignored by marketing companies as a fad. Twitter was seen as a site to share what you were having for dinner in 140 characters or less, and Instagram was just a filtered figment of someone’s imagination.

Now

Seven years on, social media platforms play a major role in a successful online marketing strategy for any company; whether it’s B2B or B2C, social media presence is as important as your website itself. Not only benefitting your site from good referral traffic, social sites are another form of building your brand online - like the modern day flyer or poster. Use them wisely and you will prosper; don’t ignore platforms that Google themselves have also become a part of. Google+ may not have hit the ground running compared to other highly successful social platforms like Twitter, but it is of importance when the search engine giant has developed it. Utilise your social media accounts by linking each one via social buttons on your main website, install social sharing on your blog posts and take some time to nurture your audience on social sites.


Content is king
Then

Any good marketing strategy, past or present, will be content heavy, even if that content was originally offline in poster or TV advert form. Content is crucial for any marketing campaign and online marketing should not be any different. Any company or business with a website should understand that there must be a few words on each page; even e-commerce sites that tend to be image heavy need some words to explain what the user is viewing. But few are aware of the word minimum required on each page or that there are content restrictions when it comes to websites. A few years ago it didn’t matter what type of content people put on their website, some would even leave pages blank, but in modern online marketing approaches content is King.

Now

Content needs to be relevant and interesting and regularly updated to your website via a news or blog section. Valuable content is imperative, the more authority in a certain topic or the higher quality your content is, it will assist Google in trawling your site. The use of longtail keywords in content strategies are assisting in identifying articles or blog entries as their own individual page, meaning Google is emphasising just how important and valuable good quality content is as it is willing to rank it above whole websites dedicated to the same subject or topic. From an SEO point of view, Meta content is also very important and any new content added to the site must also adhere to the Meta content rules. Page titles are a must, as are short and precise Meta description- all playing their own part in strengthening the page of content to allow Google to view it easily.

As the world of online marketing continues to grow, it is more important than ever agencies and experts keep up to date with articles and industry changes, in order to keep on top of the internet and its high demands.

To find out more about SEO, online marketing and social media from Interdirect call 0845 121 5566 or email seo@interdirect.co.uk.

Interdirect Wins Casinos' PR

Award-wining PR, marketing and digital agency, Interdirect, has been chosen by The Casino MK and Aspers Northampton to handle all PR activity for the two casinos. The appointment, which commenced in May, will cover PR strategy and management, media relations, social media and marketing consultation.

Interdirect won the new business through a competitive pitch process, which included a strategic presentation of recommended PR ideas tailored for each site in order to drive footfall to the casinos and raise awareness of their complete offering to new and existing customers in Northampton and Milton Keynes, as well as Luton, Bedford and Cambridge.

Launched in September 2013, The Casino MK is the UK’s second largest Super Casino, and the largest outside of London. With over 100 slot machines, 30 tables, a large poker room, a restaurant and two bars the Casino operates 24/7 to bring a variety of entertainment and gaming to Milton Keynes, and to date has attracted over 300,000 visitors. Aspers Northampton opened in 2008 and also operates 24/7 to offer 20 slot machines, 16 tables, a restaurant and a bar to a loyal customer base built through regular and engaging communication and excellent customer service.

Speaking of the account win, Nicholas Mann, owner and managing director of Interdirect said; “We are delighted to have been selected by the Aspers group to manage the PR activity for the two casinos. This is a fantastic win for Interdirect; it adds to our robust portfolio of local clients and helps cement our reputation as the region’s leading full service agency. We are excited to be working with both the Casino MK and Aspers Northampton and are looking forward to meeting each of their individual objectives.”

“In addition to this account win, we will be working with all four Aspers Casinos to support the PR and marketing activity for an exciting new launch, all of which will be revealed later this year.”

One Year Celebrations for Whittlebury Hall Website

Whittlebury Hall is celebrating one year since its new website, designed and developed by Interdirect, went live.

The hotel, spa and conference and training centre asked Interdirect to review, restructure and redesign the old website which had designated micro-site for each business area in early 2013. The objective was to develop one single umbrella site that showcases the diverse leisure and business offering and drive revenue online.

The new website which launched on 1 May 2013 is positioned as an informative and interactive website for all audiences building loyalty with existing customers and attracting prospective customers.

Testament to this, the website has achieved fantastic results from go-live to its first anniversary:

- 17% year on year increase in visits to the website
- 35% year on year increase in page views: users can find content more easily
- 20% increase in time spent on site: increased user engagement
- 84% year on year increase in online shop sales for December
- Search traffic has increased form 45% to 63%

Interdirect has also implemented a comprehensive email campaign with an average of six emails per month sent using MailMachine, the agency’s fully functional email marketing system. This activity, which was introduced as part of the on-going digital strategy has again achieved some outstanding results:

- Delivery rates have increased to 99.77% from 43%
- 24% of visits to the website are as a result of email campaigns
- Direct correlation between email sends and peaks in traffic to the site
- Increased open rates to a 24% monthly average

“We are delighted with the look, feel and performance of our website and email campaigns that Interdirect has created since we began working with them one year ago” says Cathy Harrison, Marketing & PR manager at Whittlebury Hall. “The website’s accessibility, usability and its great results to date have also been recognised by the UK Digital Experience Awards and we’re pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted in the Best Digital Experience – Leisure, Events & Travel category in partnership with Interdirect.”

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on 9th July 2014.

Moving Towards Mobile Payments

Could PAYM Change the Retail Industry?

So far, mobile payments have had limited appeal despite consumers become smarter than ever when it comes to digital that can enhance the retail experience. However, a new system for making payments using a mobile phone number could change all that as PAYM goes into operation.

More than 30 million people registered to use the service before its launch last Tuesday (29th May 2014) and the scheme is backed by major backs including Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC.

So how does it work? Users will be able to make payment simply by selecting a person’s number from the contacts in their phone, or entering their mobile number. The Payments Council, who coordinates the launch, is so confident in the scheme that they expect 1billion PAYM payments to be made by 2018 as users make payments to family and friends as well as small businesses.

What does it mean for the retail industry? The change from cash and cards to mobile payments could reportedly have saved retailers £463 in 2013 (Centre for Economics and Business Research) whilst also reducing checkout times.

Digital innovations have been changing the way we shop for years from mobile applications, to touchscreen and wayfinding. However this latest development makes the ultimate purpose of the shopping experience incredibly easier and puts control of the transaction in the customer’s hands.

What’s more, an increase in mobile payments will go a long way to ensuring that incentive programs and customer loyalty schemes are front of mind for consumers, and allow retails to track customer trends with ease.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the popularity of PAYM and other schemes to see what effect they have on the retail sector, and how they can integrate with other digital developments in the industry.