A guest post from Randall Snare of iQContent
Good websites are great business. That doesn’t mean that offices everywhere will soon be human-less and we’ll all have to bow to the mightly computer as it tells us, “I cannot do that, Dave.”
iQ Content knows good websites
The theme of this year’s iQ Content Boot Camp is ‘make money, save money.’ Better websites do improve your bottom line, not because one computer can do the work of five people, but because a good website increases productivity, sales, services and publicity; freeing up your staff to do the work a website can’t do.
And more. We have over 20 courses from 9th – 11th June at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel. IIA members and readers can get a 20% discount if they book online. Use the code ‘IIA’ to receive this special offer.
We’re giving away one full 3 day ticket to Boot Camp. To enter, go to www.iqcontent.com/bootcamp and answer this question:
Who is presenting Information Architecture that Works?
Email your answer and contact information to Cory-Ann Joseph, at firstname.lastname@example.org by end of business day Friday 5th June.
This week’s case study has been written by Gordon Jenkinson of Jenerate.
Bacardi Ireland distributor, Edward Dillon & Co, traditionally used normal micro sites such as www.blive.ie to promote their sponsorship of music events on the Internet throughout the year including the hugely popular Oxegen and Electric Picnic festivals.
In 2008 they looked at the possibility of using social networking to get better targeting and some viral penetration to a wider audience. Given the target audience and the fact that Bebo and MySpace were not receptive to alcohol advertising, Facebook was chosen as the platform upon which to build an interest in the brand, to run competitions in association with the Blive events and generally to help spread the word on the Bacardi Blive sponsored events throughout the year.
A Facebook profile page was set up and maintained as well as a Facebook application to manage competitions and acquire information for the Bacardi eCRM database. The general idea of the competition was a chance to win VIP tickets for you and your friends through a custom built Facebook application.
To encourage the viral spread of this through Facebook in the run up to the events the winner was the Facebook user that had the most friends with the application added to their profile. This gave users control over winning the competition rather than it being a pure lottery.
User positions were updated hourly and notifications sent to entrants on a regular basis telling them how many more friends they needed to add to get to first place. This information had the desired effect and entrants realising they only needed 10 more friends to get to the winning position started sending it around to increase there position. As well as this, they could see the top 5 people and also there current position at any time throughout the competition.
Banner advertising on popular Irish sites and flyers handed out throughout the year were used to seed the initial entrants and get the competition going. Other spot prizes for fans of the page and users of the application were given out between the events to encourage participation and interaction with the Bacardi Ireland Facebook presence.
As part of the competition sign-up, entrants were asked some brand questions to gauge brand recognition and opinions. Details were collected and stored in the Bacardi eCRM database and used for future campaigns and event notifications.
The final result was an almost four fold increase in the number of competition entrants and an even bigger increase in term of brand interaction across the Bacardi Facebook profiles and the blive.ie website.
A large aid to this interaction was the use of Facebook photo galleries where people were photographed at Blive events and encouraged to tag themselves in the Facebook albums. These photos were not only available on Facebook but also pulled directly from Facebook into the blive.ie website. These photo galleries created significant post event traffic to the Blive.ie websites as well as interaction and sign-up to the Bacardi Facebook pages.
One of the main lessons learnt from this successful experiment with Facebook was to create an application that runs with or without Facebook. As part of the process visitors were asked if they had a Facebook account and were directed to the normal competition site or to the Facebook one. Almost as many entrants came through the normal site as through the Facebook application.
Also, the integration of the Facebook photo albums using the Facebook API allowed the viewing of tagged photos within Facebook or from the normal site. It’s also useful to copy or mirror interactions with Facebook pages onto your normal site this allows visitors to what would normally be a static site to see some comments, events and other banter focused around the brand.
With the introduction of Facebook Connect late last year the options for this type of website integration to Facebook is even greater, allowing completely Facebook-integrated websites.
The other more complex aspect is ensuring that the promotion of the Facebook pages and application are sufficient to seed it and the rewards for sign-up are clear and worthwhile.
Monitoring of visitors and the decisions they make is very important. This was monitored using analytics during the campaign and the sign-up pages and the navigation from the initial page through to competition sign-up were optimised for more competition entries.
The IIA supports responsible drinking and encourages readers of this post to visit www.drinkaware.ie.
blogging, irishblogs, social media, Social Media Working Group, Guest Blogger, employer branding, personal branding, IIA website, Web 2.0, new technology, Beat the recession
The IIA’s Social Media Working Group is pleased to be able to present a short selection of business bloggers in Ireland. This list was gathered together as part of our recent research into business blogging in Ireland. We asked each of the participants in that research if they would like to be featured as a case study and the following are the bloggers that graciously agreed.
As you will see the blogs stretch across many sectors of business in Ireland, including financial services, marketing, member associations, professional services, recruitment, retail, technology and a number of individual consultants. While this list is not exhaustive it will hopefully give a flavour of the types of business blogs that exist in Ireland.
We will happily add other blogs to the the complete list which will be maintained on our dedicated wiki. Simply email email@example.com if you would like your business blog to be included.
If you are interested in finding out more about the potential benefits of blogging to your business, then join us on April 22nd at our “Join the Conversation – Business Blogging” breakfast briefing in Dublin city centre.
Irish Mortgage Brokers – http://www.mortgagebrokers.ie/blog
The MortgageBrokers.ie blog mainly deals with economics and business related issues with a strong focus on mortgages and market trends. As an Internet-drive sales company, Irish Mortgage Brokers see their blog and website as central to the growth of their business.
No Nonsense Car Insurance – http://blog.nononsense.ie
The No Nonsense Car Insurance blog offers tips on buying insurance, saving money and talks about a range of other topics that No Nonsense feel their customers would be interested in. The blog has so far delivered increased visibility on search engines and has seen an increased profile for the new brand.
PaddyPower Trader – http://www.paddypowertrader.com
The Paddy Power Trader blog supports financial markets traders (many of whom trade from home, some of whom are novices) with education, views on the market and examples of ‘how the professionals do it’. Paddy Power see blogs and community as a unique selling point of their service, engendering loyalty, attracting new customers, improving stickiness and increasing average spend per client.
RaboDirect – http://www.rabodirect.ie/blog/default.aspx
The RaboDirect blog was established to give customers and potential customers the chance to comment on the kind of things being talked about everyday at RaboDirect; the changing financial climate, existing products, new products or what customers think of them in general. RaboDirect sees their blog as an important part of their strategy in helping to build trust in their brand.
FBD Insurance (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/fbd_ie
FBD Insurance launched its Twitter activity to support their mission to be a customer-focused insurance company, seeking to replicate online the familiar approach developed through their nationwide local office network. The Twitter activity has helped to manage customer feedback and generate leads to the FBD website for the car and home insurance products. Twitter has helped the company to build a positive perception of the brand as progressive, innovative and customer-focused.
Applied Signs and Display – http://applied-signs-and-display.blogspot.com/
The Applied Signs and Display blog presents news, opinion and information on all manner of topics relevant to their business and their varied customer base. The blog features an ongoing ‘Product Glossary’ series and they host guest bloggers from the fields of Design, Event Planning, Exhibiting and Sales, as well as General Business and Marketing within an Irish context.
Biz Growth News – http://www.bizgrowthnews.com
The Biz Growth News blog covers resources and tips to build buzz about your brand and your business both offline and through digital marketing communications and social media. It does so through multimedia using articles, podcasts, photographs and online video’s. The blog has enabled the company to extend it’s reach internationally and has enabled the organisation to attract clients and establish strategic joint ventures from across the globe. The blog is authored by the company founder and they also syndicate their blog posts across Twitter, Facebook, Linked in and other social networks where their customers are congregating therefore attracting more visitors and readers to the site.
CadaMedia – http://blog.cadamedia.ie
The CadaMedia blog is a news and events page for clients and a general discussion area for internet users in the Southeast. CadaMedia were the 1st in Ireland to mention the new VAT Rates and it brought them in thousands of hits. The blog has provided their customers with a less formal way of getting in touch and asking questions.
Channelship – http://www.channelship.ie/blog/
The goal of the Channelship business blog is to share useful information and opinions gathered from business networking events, seminars and people in Ireland and abroad. The team also enjoys commenting on the highlights of their daily activities. Channelship have found it to be fantastic way to interact, learn, meet new people and promote their company, enhancing their PR and Google rankings.
Interactive Return – http://www.interactivereturn.com/blog
The Interactive Return Online Marketing blog is used to provide insights and news to the Online Marketing industry, paying close attention to trends in Ireland. Blogs includes company news, industry news, advice and best practices for their areas of expertise, and opinions on current industry topics. Their website has seen an incredible increase in traffic due to blogging activities. They have added credibility to their client case studies and are being received positively in social media.
iQ Content – http://www.iqcontent.com/blog
The IQ Content blog is updated by a group of staff within the business, posting thoughts, observations and opinions on the world of usability. The blog has delivered inbound leads and sales calls, has helped to attract new staff and has supported building a positive brand perception.
Made In Hollywood – http://www.madeinhollywood.ie
The Made in Hollywood blog is supports the core business of creating objects from polystyrene foam(EPS). The aim of the blog is to show readers how versatile and manifold are the uses of EPS, as well as featuring particular projects. The business hope that the blog, which has just launched, will be able to add interest and improve SEO with added content, as well as engaging with customers to make sure they are delivering the correct product/service to them.
Red Cardinal Limited – http://www.redcardinal.ie
The Red Cardinal team blog about Internet marketing and search engine optimisation.
Newsweaver – http://www.newsweaver.co.uk/emailnewsletters
The “…Email Matters!” blog has been running for two years. It is written by denise cox, Newsletter Specialist for Newsweaver. Newsweaver is Europe’s leading email newsletter software provider. In 2007 Newsweaver won the IIA’s Best Business Blogger Net Visionary award. The aim of …Email Matters! is to help any marketer interested in best practice for best results in their email marketing. Posts always pertain to email, and generally cover examples, benchmarks and statistics, best practice, legal updates and tips. The blog has proven to be an excellent retention tool – with clients providing feedback that they find it very useful. It has also helped to attract new customers. The blog has helped with the Google ranking for the company website. Also, having embedded a discreet link at the end of each blog post to a free trial offer of Newsweaver software, they have seen many new leads come through this link. The blog has given the author, denise cox, a visibility in the international email marketing/ESP field, and has resulted in requests to speak at conferences, contribute to publications and appear on panels around the world.
Irish Internet Association – http://blog.iia.ie
The Irish Internet Associations blog An association blog that seeks to promote the products and services of member companies and promote IIA events. The blog has helped to increase credibility among members of the association.
Junior Chamber International Dublin – http://jcidublinpresident2009.blogspot.com/
This is the blog of the president of the President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Dublin and is intended to keep members up-to-date on activities and events throughout the year. This blog has just been launched an it is anticipated that it will help to raise the profile of the organization, building credibility online with their members, partners and sponsors.
Moore Group – http://mooregroup.wordpress.com/
A specialist business blog, the Moore Group blog deals with archaeological, environmental, energy and heritage issues. One of the principle goals of the blog is to disseminate the results of their work (a legal obligation) and to inform our stakeholders on archaeological and environmental issues and new knowledge, as well as to sometimes entertain.
FranchiseYourBusiness.ie – http://www.irishfranchiseblog.com
The Franchise Your Business blog provides information on franchising in Ireland. Within a short space of time the blog has helped the business achieve higher search engine rankings for their preferred search terms.
Sensei Learning and Performance – http://www.sensei-winbeforehand.co.uk
The Sensei Learning and Performance blog talks about all things business-related. Favourite topics include social media; customer services; education/brain/learning; personal and professional development; emotional intelligence; assertiveness and confidence. The blog has helped to bring in bookings, raise the company’s profile, inform people of services and provide a human face to the business. Feedback from customers is that they love it.
CV Café – http://cvcafe.com/blog
CV Café decided after reading up on blogging that there was no other way to go for their business. They started blogging recently and are planning to use it to get their name out.
Flexitimers – http://www.flexitimers.com/flexible-future
Flexitimers use their business blog to engage companies on the benefits of flexible staffing. The have a separate blog, FlexiTimes, which is to engage professionals looking for flexible work. The key benefits that the business has seen to date include improved search engine rankings and greater engagement with the online community.
RecruitIreland (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/recruitireland.
RecruitIreland began to microblog on Twitter to give the website a personality and to answer questions from candidates and companies who are recruiting with a view to differentiating themselves from the competition. The activity on Twitter has generated sales leads in addition to feedback and suggestions from candidates about how to do things differently or feedback about usability which they see as invaluable. Overall the Twitter activities make them more accessible and interactive and gives them another invaluable way to communicate with their users.
Working Nine to Five – http://officejobsireland.wordpress.com/
The Working Nine to Five blog features career tips, issues that may arise in the working environment, recommended events, books or work practices and sometimes just light observations on working in the office. The blog has provided the core business AdminJobs.ie an additional medium to create a personality to their business. It has also allowed the business to communicate on a personal level with their site visitors.
Curious Wines – http://www.curiouswines.ie/blog
The Curious Wines blog talks about anything related to wine but is presented in a light-hearted, accessible manner. Topics include everything from sector comment, to educational pieces, to recipes and food-matching, to book reviews, to their promotions. The blog has helped build a small community interested in their business and brand. For a new brand it was essential to provide a public face and personality in a cost effective manner – blogging is allowing them to achieve this.
Ice Cream Ireland – http://www.icecreamireland.com
The Ice Cream Ireland blog is the business blog of Murphy’s Ice Cream. In addition to dozens of recipes the blog provides news and updates to customers on the business’s activities and new products. The blog has brought customers to their retail shops, helped facilitate comments, complaints, and suggestions and sense of community among customers. The business has received much publicity as a result of the blog and a book deal for an ice cream cookbook “The Book of Sweet Things” came directly as a result of the blog.
Nice Day Designs – http://www.nicedaydesigns-ruth.blogspot.com/
The Nice Day Designs blog provides insights into the processes of the author’s design business. Ruth Crean is a young designer and artist based in Limerick. Because she is selling hand craft she feels it is important to give people a narrative and a face to the product they are buying. As a direct result of her blog Ruth was approached by RTE1’s Nationwide, and therefore received national advertising for free, this in turn has led to other media attention. The blogs has also helped to build up a very positive and accessible identity to her business.
PuddleDucks – http://blog.puddleducks.ie/
The purpose of the blog is to post information about the PuddleDucks business and website, along with information on running the business that might be useful to others. It is a mixture of product information, how PuddleDucks utilise online marketing tools and snippets of news about running a home business. The PuddleDucks blog has provided the business with better visibility and brand recognition. Building awareness among the blogging community has shown positive benefits through networking opportunities.
Rangoli Jewellery – http://rangolijewellery.blogspot.com/
Rangoli Jewellery is run by Aisling Nelson; a bridal jewellery and hair accessories designer. The blog is designed to share ideas and inspiration with existing and potential clients and to elaborate on special commissions that the designer has undertaken. The blog helps to provide a more of a human face to the business. The main website is a catalogue, whereas
this forum allows the owner to engage more with existing and potential clients while sharing information about current or future projects.
Rules of Golf – http://www.barryrhodes.com
This blog provides miscellaneous content for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf. The objective is to widen the market for the author’s CD and book products. Barry Rhodes is developing a worldwide following in his narrow niche market at practically no cost.
Tast.ie – http://www.tast.ie
Initially a personal food blog featuring a large catalogue of delicious recipes juxtaposed with a small amount of personal content about the author’s family. With the assistance of the Offaly County Enterprise Board, Tast.ie grew into Spicendipity.com, an artisan food business which sells homemade, 100% natural spice mixes, baking mixes and a range of sauces over the Internet.
Worldwide Cycles – http://www.worldwidecyclesblog.com
The Worldwide Cycles blog presents the view from behind the counter of a bike shop and from the saddle whilst on the road. The blog has helped the business raise its national profile, enlarge its catchments area and increased sales of high end products.
BH Consulting – http://www.bhconsulting.ie/securitywatch
BH Consulting’s blog provides expert commentary and insight into information security issues that would be of interest to the Irish Business community. The blog has delivered business leads, media coverage and helped secure a book-writing deal.
Blacknight – http://blog.blacknight.com + 17 others
The Blacknight blogs cover a variety of topics, from promotional / marketing through general news and technical topics. The blog has won numerous awards as well as generating PR and press coverage for the business.
EchoLibre – http://blog.echolibre.com
These technologists blog about things they are passionate about; PHP, MySQL, CouchDB, Linux, Apache – web development standards. They also write about building web apps and working with web technology. EchoLibre see their blog as one of the easiest ways they have of establishing a reputation and credibility. As a young company they see this as very important.
Saastek – http://saastek.com/company-blog/
The Saastek blog deals with software and technology for small to medium businesses and offers reviews of Enterprise 2.0 software. The blog has helped to increase Google ranking. It also helps the business crystallise their thinking about particular products and trends and has been useful in attracting customer to their website.
Toca Sports – http://www.tocasports.com/blog
Toca Sports, a sports technology company, blog about everything from upcoming events to posting training videos to general interest pieces in the area of video analysis. Toca Sports see their business blog as a great way to kep people up-to-date with company news and events. They see it as a way of being less ‘corporate’ and allowing them to create a more human interaction with their potential customers.
Darragh Doyle – http://thisiswhatido.org
Darragh’s blog presents its audience with a mixture of articles, interviews, photos, reviews and stories. Business specific he highlights charity campaigns, publicises, works with and reviews art and cultural events and talks to and about people. Virtually all his opportunities come via his blog as he has no need for a corporate website.
Keith Bohanna – http://keith.bohanna.com
Keith Bohanna is an internet consultant and trainer and in his blog talks about himself and his business. The positive outcomes he has seen include engagement with his peer community and his personal brand development.
Keith Shirley – http://www.keithshirley.ie
Keith Shirley’s blog is mainly about the practical uses of IT and technology for small businesses. The blog has helped Keith pass on information to customers that is helpful but does not fit directly into daily business. The blog has opened up new business opportunities and helped with networking and raising Keith’s profile.
Krishna De (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/krishnade
Through sharing links to articles, resources and events, this micro blogger has developed a network of followers in Ireland and overseas. She has also found that it has helped her connect and engage directly with some of the most influential marketers in the world, something that would have been much harder to make happen before social media communications were available. She recommends and has created a specific Twitter landing page on her blog to provide information and resources for her Twitter followers.
Mr. Yap’s Blog – http://mryap.com/blog/
This blogger uses his blog to share experiences and offer advice and opinion on usability. He uses it to find new business, network and seek employment. Blogging offer his new prospects supplementary information to his resume and interview.
Reverb Studios – http://www.reverbstudios.ie/blog
The Reverb Studios blog covers mostly IT, Technology and Internet-related topics as well as some Current Affairs. The blog has been up and running since about autumn 2007 and since then it has attracted a massive increase in traffic from only a handful to around 4,000 unique hits a month. This has lead to a much higher profile and brand for Reverb Studios and has created networking opportunities and sales leads.
At the start of 2009 we undertook a survey among Irish businesses that already have blogs. We asked them a number of questions to try and understand the objectives of their blogging activities, what results they were seeing and how much time and effort they put into managing their blogs.
We will be discussing the results in detail at the Business Blogging breakfast briefing on April 22nd, but in the meantime here are the high-level survey results:
This is written by Campbell Scott of IGOPeople.com. All comments, queries and case study suggestions welcomed via comments below. Thanks! – RS, IIA.
Our previous case study gave an excellent overview of some of the social media tools that are available to businesses, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Youtube etc. This case study is based on observations about how O2 Ireland have embraced the use of social media, to get closer to their customers (and potential customers). This summary records some of the interactions with customers that have taken place, some of these on IGOpeople.
O2 were well aware that their brand, products and services, pricing etc. were all being talked about online by their customers. These discussions were taking place on blogs, discussion forums and social networks. Many people would have posted comments which were negative in tone, complaining about specific problems or the way they had been treated by O2 as a customer. For O2, the challenge was how to engage or join in the conversations taking place. Many of the comments in discussion forums are anonymous, or take place in a tone and context where O2’s response or involvement in the discussion may not be particularly welcome.
O2’s answer to this problem was to take the brave move of creating their own, open user discussion forum, where customers could ask questions and seek help, voice their opinion or complain. Registration was a requirement, to help O2 get in touch with members privately if required. This was a very positive move which was received well by O2 customers. As this was new territory for O2, they did demonstrate some early naivety, by correcting the content of some members posts, but their customer community was tolerant of this, as it was a new environment where everyone was learning.
Although the O2 Forum has developed from these early days and is now a popular and active community, O2 have extended the range of social media tools they use to reach customers, including Bebo, Twitter and now IGOpeople (links take you directly to the O2 profile page). We’re delighted to have O2 as part of IGOpeople, but everyone can learn from some of the specific conversations they have become involved in.
O2 have jumped straight into IGOpeople, posting regularly about items of interest to their customers – promoting shiny new phones and new product releases. This week, they offered customers the opportunity to direct any questions they may have to the Head of Customer Care – not something that is available to a consumer every day of the week!
However, the thing that is impressed me about O2, is the willingness to reach out to customers. There are a number of conversations where they acknowledge their shortcomings and state how they will fix things up, or recognise the need to make changes in the future. Their answers don’t always give you the answer you might demand, but they are there to listen and consistently discuss the issue, in a really honest and believable way – even if the answer isn’t quite what you want.
Here are some nice examples of the conversations they get involved in
A guest post from Will Roche who works with IIA Member company Bluecube Interactive with some great tips if you are looking into starting an AdWords Campaign on Google to attract targeted traffic to your site. Will previously worked with Google so he knows a thing or two!
“The noblest search is the search for excellence”
-Lyndon Baines Johnson
Advertising on search engines is one of the most effective methods for driving qualified traffic to your website. Compared to traditional forms of advertising, it is more cost-effective, you can measure performance from the very beginning of the campaign and you will be reaching out to potential customers at the precise time when they are looking for information on products and services they want to buy.
At its very heart, this form of advertising is wonderfully simple – a user sees an ad based upon their search – but there are many factors that you must consider to ensure you don’t pay more than necessary and that the clicks you receive are actually contributing to your profitability.
With this in mind, Bluecube Interactive has created this guide to help you get started in this much-misunderstood area. The advice that follows will help you to lay the foundations but remember, our search team is always available if you need to take your advertising to the next level.
The structure of an AdWords account is vital to achieving a great return on your investment. The right structure will ensure that users are served the most relevant ads at all times and it will make reporting, account navigation and optimisation much easier.
The ideal account structure is one which separates the products and services offered into their own campaigns. A good example would be a company who offers two services – web hosting and web design.
Each service should have its own campaign. This has numerous advantages. For instance, if web hosting is the more prominent service, a greater proportion of the overall marketing budget can be allocated to that campaign. It also makes comparing the cost-per-click performance of both services much easier as you can see at a glance which campaign is driving the most traffic, achieving the most conversions and is providing better value for your business.
Within each campaign, there should be numerous ad groups which group related keyword phrases together that are reflected by specific ad text variations. Examples of ad groups would be:
- web hosting
- website hosting
- UK hosting
- Linux web hosting
The goal should be to make your account as granular as possible and to think about the user who is searching for your keywords. If they are served an ad that relates directly to their search, the user is more likely to click on your ad and convert into a sign-up, lead or sale.
As mentioned previously, keywords should be as specific and targeted as possible and they should relate directly to the ad that the user sees. If a user is searching for product codes or other specific terms, they are likely to be further along the purchasing cycle than those searching for more general terms and therefore, more likely to convert on your website.
General keywords like ‘photocopiers’ or ‘printers’ can be very good for driving large volumes of traffic and can also be beneficial for branding purposes. However you should be aware that general terms are also more expensive and may not lead to the same return on investment that can be achieved with specific keywords.
Another keyword type that you should be aware of is the negative keyword. Almost as important as the keywords which trigger your ads, this type of keyword prevents your ad from showing on irrelevant or unrelated searches. For instance, if your keyword is ‘printers’, this term is liable to be expanded to show for searches like:
- inkjet printers
- laser printers
- free printers
- screen printers
- second hand printers
If your business only sold inkjet printers, you may not want your ads to be displayed for searches on laser printing terms so you could add ‘laser’ as a negative keyword and reduce the amount of irrelevant impressions on your ads. This would result in the same amount of clicks, less impressions, a higher clickthrough rate and because Google’s system rewards highly targeted advertisements, you should see a reduction in your average cost per click.
The actual ad text shown to users searching on your keywords is very important and we recommend using three variations which the AdWords system will rotate evenly until it determines that one variation is performing better than the others.
As mentioned previously, the ad must relate directly to your keywords. It is also very good practice to have the keyword in the ad text itself. If the searched keyword is part of the ad, that text will be highlighted in bold letters and makes your ad stand out to your prospective clients.
Another best practice is to give the user an idea of what you expect them to do once they reach your website and you should certainly use call-to-action phrase to do this. Phrases like ‘order online now’ or ‘contact us today’ can be very effective in driving conversions. If your goal is to have potential leads call your sales team, you may wish to try an ad variation which has your phone number. In this way, you could potentially solicit leads without the need for any chargeable click activity.
Once a user clicks on your ad, the landing page is the next important step in ensuring a strong conversion rate and ROI. More often than not, advertisers use their home page as the destination for their ads but if you have many products or offer different services, you should choose the webpage that is most relevant to the keyword searched and the ad displayed to the user.
It is always worth remembering that more you make a user click, the less likely they are to convert. Generally speaking, if a user is searching for ‘accounting software’, you should bring them to the page with all the relevant information about that software to make their purchase decision. We would also recommend not bringing users directly to ‘contact us’ pages unless those pages contain an adequate amount of information on the product or service itself. Landing pages which only contain large contact forms and no information tend to have very high bounce rates (the amount of users who leave your website) and do not convert very well.
If you are mostly interested in driving phone calls to your sales teams, I would recommend having your contact details and phone number on every page of your website. Once again, this prevents the user from having to navigate your site for the information they require. As with all things related to Google advertising, the focus should always be on the user experience and how you can make their conversion as easy as possible.
About Bluecube Interactive
We are a small company with big ideas, and we have a lot of big ideas about search engine marketing. Our experienced search specialists offer a range of services to ensure the success of your campaigns.
Our Services include:
After researching your existing online environment we will create keyword lists, text ads and calculate your optimum cost-per-click settings to ensure your ads appear on the first page of results for the most relevant searches. Our expertise will ensure detailed campaign performance analysis and increased budgetary control.
One of the key success factors with a PPC campaign is the continuous refinement of keywords and ad texts based upon historic performance. Our specialists can recommend and implement changes that will noticeably improve the performance of your campaigns.
We use traffic analysis software that allows us to see how valuable each keyword really is, if your conversion goals are being met and what we can do to maximise these conversions.
We offer full-time account management services that make us solely responsible for the success of your PPC campaigns. We will discuss your marketing goals, research the online environment for your industry and create the campaigns that will deliver strong results. We also provide regular reporting on account performance and how users are interacting with your website
Our account management service ensures that all areas of your search engine marketing are in the hands of experienced professionals who will be in regular contact with your marketing team.
A guest post from Brendan Hughes of FBD.ie and chair of the IIA’s Social Media Working Group.The IIA’s social media working group has been up and running now for a few months. We each work in different organisations located in various parts of the country and the group was configured so that there would not only be social media experts, but also business professionals with relatively little knowledge or expertise to date. For many of us the group has provided a great opportunity to learn by doing since we decided from the outset that we would seek to use social media as much as possible to support our collaborative working. The following are some of the social media tools we have used to support our endeavours.
The online hub of our collaboration has been the online project management tool Basecamp from 37signals.com. I’ve seen companies use this to communicate their project timelines with clients but it comes into its own when you need to collaborate with a dispersed group. Each member of the working group can post messages for the entire group or to just a few. Members of the group can reply or comment, just like on a blog. There are whiteboards where ideas can be teased out. Everyone is kept up to date by email and all communications are tracked. It gives great transparency on everything we do.
We decided that we would initially write 4 white papers on particular aspects of social media that we felt would be of primary interest to the business community in Ireland. To support the task of up to 16 people working on a single document we set up a wiki. A wiki is essentially a tool that allows anyone to edit an online document and have their edits tracked. There is a complete audit trail of who does what and changes can be easily rolled back. Notifications, or “watchlists” can be set up so that whenever a change is made to a particular document you can receive an email. While we struggled with the first version of the wiki we used since it was not very intuitive to use, we have since moved onto a new version – SocialText – that meets our needs better.
Rather than dragging everyone into the Digital Hub in Dublin every time we needed to meet we agreed to hold Skype conference meetings when we needed to. As smaller groups this worked well but when I personally tried to organise a full group Skype meeting I managed to leave most of the group out of the conversation for 20 minutes or so. I had an older version of Skype installed than was necessary to host the full meeting. Thanks to Skype’s instant messaging facility I was alerted to the problem by the excluded members and was able to get someone else to host the meeting.
In between meetings we’ve all been keeping in touch and letting each other know about useful resources or activities via social network websites such as FriendFeed and Twitter. These have been really useful ways of providing information quickly. Many of us have our own blogs and we’ve been using these and the IIA blog to try and keep people outside the group up to date. The social networking tools have been great for us individually in creating links with interested people outside of the working group. It was great to go to the Podcamp event in Kilkenny and to meet most of the working group there, as well as many of the other people I’ve connected with online over the past while.
Our white papers are now coming close to publication. We intend to widen the circle of collaboration and with this in mind we plan to publish the documents (via the wiki) in draft format. We will then invite people to review and post comments directly to the wiki. We also intend to host a review session for each document, online of course, using the services offered by OnlineMeetingRooms.com. I’m personally very excited about this as it provides the opportunity to gather the expertise from practitioners and interested business professionals in a constructive and engaging manner.
We’re also planning to host an open meeting with social media expert Neville Hobson from the UK to discuss the business case for social media. Neville is coming to Ireland on November 5th and we’ve managed to secure a few hours out of his busy schedule. The meeting will be organised via the social media website upcoming.org, allowing anyone who’s interested in attending to register for free and see who else is attending. We’ll post more information on this later.
We certainly haven’t exhausted the range of online collaborative tools available out there, but what we have used to date has proved very useful for maintaining the momentum of activities of a diverse group of individuals. What’s more, we have done it all with minimal cost. Learning the new technologies is not without its sometimes humbling (and frustrating) moments, but thankfully there is never a shortage of knowledgeable people only too willing to help out.
As an footnote, I came across a interesting video-cast from BT on their BiggerThinking website talking about how companies can collaborate with customers, using social media technologies, to build better products. Well worth a few minutes of your time.
A guest post from Chris Byrne in Sensorpro about a new way to serve feedback surveys at conferences.
For the Irish Internet Association (IIA) Word of Mouse conference, we needed a slick way to get attendee feedback. As a survey vendor, it’s a simple task to deploy a survey with all the bells and whistles you would expect, like via email, popup, link, twitter post or embedded in a blog – but on this occasion we wanted something a little different. We wanted audience reaction in real-time without the expense and hassle of gizmos. So how about Bluetooth then? After all, many in the audience had a gizmo already – a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone (or cell phone, if you prefer!) Thanks to a snappy response from Shane at Mobanode we had our survey deployed on his Bluetooth box in minutes. As soon as we hit the “fire” button, the survey was deployed to 23 phones with just 1 rejection – not a shabby response rate! Roseanne from IIA was live twittering – so she had the twitter world peeking over her shoulder. Not only did this method garner dynamic feedback from the immediate audience – but also picked up twitter eavesdroppers with the browser link. If you want to try event feedback that is different, is relevant and a gizmo that actually works – then try this.
A little tardy posting this (and more about the reasons for that later!) but very appropriately I am posting a review by Derek McGarry, a board member of the Institute of Designers in Ireland and a lecturer in the National College of Art and Design who attended the recent IIA event on Blogging, microblogging and podcasting. Appropriate because Krishna De, who presented that event, is presenting today at our event in Limerick “Word of Mouse Marketing: Building Brand and Attracting More Profits To Your Business”. (Also appropriate because the IDI are holding their coveted Design Awards tomorrow night.)
On Thursday 18th September I attended my first workshop on blogging, microblogging and podcasting run by Krishna De for the Irish Internet Association. It was my intention to fast track my way into an information world that I knew very little about but was eager to explore.
Krishna De was an excellent speaker who illustrated her expertise on the subject of blogs, microblogs and podcasts in an informal manner that helped everyone relax and enjoy the half day workshop. Having the class participate from the word go is always a smart way to ensure that you get everyone involved. More than that, it also ensures that there was little chance of going home unhappy that the class was meaningless because you can help direct the content. Our audience consisted of a good mix of complete novices, intermediates, and professionals. Everyone approached the workshop with a clear objective to use blogs, microblogs and podcasts as an essential part of their lives. Most had a good grasp of how it might help them build their business or that of the company in which they worked.
Krishna De provided lots of real examples or case studies that showed how others were using this technology to share information within a variety of social and business networks. Although I would not like to be tested on the full extent of my workshop comprehension, the great outcome for me was to leave the workshop with a conceptual toolbox and a new confidence to give it a go. I quickly purchased the software and equipment I needed to start a series of design podcasts. Within days I had recorded the first part of my new podcast series. With some more work I will soon be ready to launch myself as an official podcaster. From this first endeavour, I plan to gradually develop my skills through practice using tips and advice provided in the class. My first efforts may well prove real amateur hour but I don’t mind because I know that this time next year I’ll be much better.
While the workshop was just what I wanted, I was initially put off by the high cost of the training. In my opinion, I think the classes could be less expensive through clever marketing and sponsorship. The Irish Internet Association (IIA) should be able to attract such help through their impressive corporate connections. Certainly, if the workshops became more affordable I would definitely recommend them to all my students, colleagues and friends.
Finally, Krishna De orchestrated a really great workshop. Well done IIA!
Derek Mc Garry
Deputy to Head of Design Faculty
National College of Art and Design, Dublin
A big thank you to Derek for taking the time to write this review. A quick note in relation to Derek’s comment about cost is that the cost of IIA events or membership hasn’t been increased for three years. If that isn’t inflation busting, I don’t know what is! Krishna also writes on her blog about assessing the value of training. Another of our members Clickstream (who recently revamped their own website) also attended this event and wrote about it on their Blog.
I asked Elizabeth Greehy, Editor of www.stylebible.ie, and IIA member, for a few tips for those of us racking our brains about what to wear at the upcoming IIA & Enterprise Ireland NetVisionary Awards 2008. I look forward to seeing you all looking fabulous on the big night!
The countdown has begun for the IIA & Enterprise Ireland NetVisionary Awards 2008, (30th Oct) with next week (the 29th of Sept to be precise) seeing the announcement of the short-listed nominees. If you are one of the ‘Chosen Ones’ then you might be in need of a few style tips to ensure that you are, most definitely, ‘Dressed to Win’ on the big night!
Well, winning is a state of mind (so a seasoned winner once told me) and as we all know, style is also a state of mind with ‘subtle confidence’ being the ultimate common denominator in both. So it goes without saying really, that a winner will not only be confident in his or her approach to their career but also in their approach to dressing… but be careful, this doesn’t give you free reign to be over-confident!. You want to stand out, of course, but for all the right reasons.
The Awards Ceremony is a Black Tie event. So what exactly is Black Tie? Well, simply put, it’s formal! So guys, you have it relatively easy – basically, a black tux (although I will go into more detail later for the boys) and ladies, well, you are now faced with the predicament of ‘finding the perfect dress’. This, as all ladies will know, is no mean feat. There are so many choices and decisions to be made.
Here are a few things to take into consideration before embarking on your shopping trip.
- Be aware of what you like. By this I mean, flick through magazines and try to determine which style of dress really appeals to you as it helps bring your mind in a certain direction.
- Be aware of what suits you. Do you know what styles best suit your body shape? For instance, if you are very top heavy, a dress with a sweetheart neckline or a V neck is very flattering on a full bust and so on. Knowing what does, or more importantly, what doesn’t, suit your body shape, will eliminate certain styles and help you to focus on the style you need.
- Being Black-Tie, the occasion is strictly formal. For ladies this generally means a floor length gown. It was definitely the case that dresses which come to the knee, were once seen as ‘semi-formal’ however, over the years, cocktail dresses have become much more prevalent and acceptable now at Black Tie affairs. But this can still sometimes depend on the occasion in question and indeed where it is being held.
- Shopping for the dress. Although most ladies will enjoy the experience of trawling the shops and trying on dresses and granted, it’s the best way of determining look and feel, it’s also worth considering the other options available i.e. getting a dress tailor made for the evening… yes, sounds pricy but there are lots of accessible Irish designers and the feeling of having something tailor made that fits you like a glove is priceless. Marion Murphy Cooney, (www.marionmurphycooney.com) is a hip young designer, renowned for making Irish celebs such as Lorraine Keane and Karen Koster etc, look fabulous on the red carpet. She is well known and reasonably priced.
- Considering you are all involved in the online world, then we certainly can’t over look all the excellent online shopping websites at our fingertips (literally).
- www.netaporter.com for all you label obsessed girls – pricy yes, but definitely a little slice of luxury.
- www.click-2-couture.com for more amazing labels (Gucci, Miu Miu, Prada etc), but at much more accessible prices (and it’s an Irish website)
- www.estyleme.ie for unique dresses and exciting American and European labels; this website will certainly help you find the perfect evening gown. (inset: long satin fishtail dress, with sweetheart beaded neckline and chiffon bodice €399 from www.estyleme.ie )
- www.asos.com everything from high street to high glamour
- Or if you fancy the exclusivity of one of Ireland’s many boutiques, check out www.irishboutiques.com or indeed www.mybeautifulboutique.com for online listings of our amazing boutiques countrywide.
- Have your hair done. Treat yourself to a sexy up do or some gorgeous GHD curls for the big night.
- Get your nails done. If you normally have manicures and or acrylic / gel nails, treat yourself and get some delicate nail art done – perhaps a diamante or two?
- Find the perfect pair of shoes. The shoes, especially if you are wearing a knee-length dress, are vital. Getting a pair that co-ordinates with your look but has that extra special ‘stand out’ feature, will certainly help you look and feel like a ‘winner’.
- Jewellery. Well, ladies, the old adage ‘less is more’ really rings true in such an occasion. Whatever jewellery you decide to wear, don’t over do it. You definitely DON’T want to be upstaged by fussy jewellery. If you do have an extra special piece that you want to wear, just make sure it compliments the neckline and colour of your dress – the same goes for your bag – a small and delicate clutch purse that compliments your look is ideal.
- At all times, think style over high fashion. Fashionable quirks won’t always translate into flawless elegance.
- Although confidence is, as I mentioned, important in all winners, over-confidence is not an attractive trait. Remember to watch your decorum on the night. Demureness and modesty will go a long way towards winning the hearts of those around you. Style and elegance has a lot to do with how you conduct yourself.
THINGS TO AVOID:
Over tanning: This is very important; the streaky orange look is NOT good.
Too much make up: If you don’t trust your own skills, get your make up done professionally for the night – go for a nice smoky eye, perfect for night time looks.
Showing too much flesh: There is a fine line between subtle sexiness and just ‘too much’. Avoid any dress that might facilitate body parts popping out at inopportune moments!
Getting Drunk: This is acceptable at the ‘after party’ in an awards ceremony, especially if you are celebrating, but no matter how nervous you are over dinner, avoid using ‘Dutch Courage’ as a means of preparing yourself. There is nothing worse than a winner who is slurring over their acceptance speech.
And for the gentlemen!
So you might not have as much to think about as the ladies do, but sometimes ‘dressing to win’ can take a bit more than lashings of Brut and a self boosting ‘Go Get ‘Em’ wink in the mirror before you leave the house. Flawless sophistication doesn’t come easy you know!
- Perhaps you already own a Tuxedo, but if you don’t, remember that you can simply rent one from any good tailors for the night.
- It is important to get fitted properly before either renting or purchasing your Tux so make sure all the relevant measurements are taken including sleeve lengths and inside leg.
- Chose your style of shirt carefully as there are many different types – plain, ruffled, ivory buttoned etc. and remember to consider your partners outfit when doing so.
- Choose a cummerbund that compliments either your suit (black satin) or your dates outfit.
- Don’t forget the all important black bow tie.
- Accessorise with a nicely chosen pair of cufflinks.
- …..then do your self boosting ‘Go Get ‘Em’ wink in the mirror and you’re good to go!