Posts Tagged ‘warning’

Gmail offers unsubscribe link and the world of email marketing comes to an end

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

It’s all change again, Gmail rocks the world of email by apparently making it even easier for a recipient to unsubscribe from legitimate marketing email.

This is a shock to some, especially to those who thought they were safe by hiding the unsubscribe button, deep within the very small print at the bottom of the email.

So, is this going to be a disaster for some email marketers? Or is this new process just a little different from something that first saw the light of day in 2009…..

Back in 2009, Gmail Spam Czar (remember Czars!) Brad Taylor announced that Gmail had now made unsubscribing far easier than it was before.

Up until that point, the only option you had to vent your anger at spam was to report the email as such. If you wanted to unsubscribe, the only option was to risk the unsubscribe link in the email itself, which according to Gmail, could be risky.

There were those senders who tried to make it is easy as possible for recipients to unsubscribe, by having the unsubscribe link at the top of their template. Unfortunately, there were still many email marketers that wanted you on the list whether you wanted their email or not.

Brads announcement, heralded the beginning of Gmail giving feedback to senders (following the likes of Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo etc). Gmail was now giving recipients the opportunity to mark the email as spam AND unsubscribe from the email list the email was sent from.

Although this was restricted to legitimate senders only and those who could incorporate the ‘list unsubscribe’ header in their emails, it was a major step forward in the fight to reduce unwanted emails.

 Gmail unsubscribe

Shortly after this announcement, Gmail updated the process for those users that wanted to unsubscribe, without reporting the email as spam. Thanks Gmail.

On to the present day and to the latest change in Gmail, that……hold on to your hats……makes it easier to unsubscribe!

Is this good or bad you might say? Well, not only does it make it easier to unsubscribe by adding a prominent unsubscribe button alongside the senders name, it also makes it easier to unsubscribe than it is to mark as spam.

Not only that, but Gmail is also piloting a feedback loop for certain email senders, which will be using a different process to hand back complaints.

This is quite a turnaround for Gmail, which for a long time has held back from the closer relationship with senders that the other big ISPs enjoy.

Marketers have known for quite some time that using the complaint data, IP reputation data and inbox placement data provided by some ISPs actually helps improve the user’s experience.

Being able to use this additional complaint data will undoubtedly help marketers to improve the Gmail recipient’s experience. Maybe this is what Gmail want, but whether marketers want to use it or not, is a different matter.

This could deepen the divide between marketing emails sent using segmentation and those that are just bulk spam.

It will also help Gmail differentiate between good senders or bad, as the good senders will use the extra data to fine tune the content, segmentation and frequency of their email campaigns. The bad senders wont.

So, do I think this move by Gmail is a good one? Yes I do. Anything that helps marketers to improve their email marketing program is a positive move. Anything that ensures recipients are receiving emails they want is a positive move.

The more positive moves senders and receivers make, the stronger the email marketing channel becomes.   

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Gmail offers unsubscribe link and the world of email marketing comes to an end

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A blogger’s guide to setting up a WordPress site: customising your template

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

This is the fourth in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.

In the first article I discussed the first few steps involving sign-up, the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and your social media presence.

Then I looked at writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS) and I also offered some general writing tips for new bloggers.

Last week I delved into the dashboard and the diverse world of widgets.

This week things get really interesting, as I’ll be looking at customising your existing template, either by using the free options available or with the Custom Designs upgrade.

Customisation

Here’s how my current blog homepage looks. (I can’t emphasise enough how this is just an example of a blog. This isn’t my own genuine blog… Unless of course I start getting some traffic, then I may have a serious rethink).

Such wow and many swish I think you’ll agree. 

It could be so much better though.

Free-to-use options

Head into your dashboard, scroll down the side-menu on the left and click on ‘Appearance’, then ‘Customise’.

This will take you directly to your homepage, opening up a new right-hand menu full of various options for customising your existing template.

These are the options available as a free user of WordPress.com.

Colours and images

In ‘Colours’ you can change the background colour, or upload your own image for the background which can be tiled or positioned accordingly.

If you’re tired of looking at your own profile image in the header of your homepage, head to ‘Header’ and you can drag in any image you like.

I’m just getting better and better at this. 

Homepage and about page

You can also change the homepage from a scrolling page featuring your latest blog posts to a static page of your own creation. Here the default is your ‘about’ page.

If you’re not happy with your ‘about’ page, I wouldn’t recommend clicking the ‘edit’ button while in the customisation mode though, as this seems to make WordPress crash.

Instead just save your changes (save is in the bottom right corner) and head into your dashboard to edit your existing ‘about’ page.

Here it is: Dashboard>Pages>All Pages. Then you can edit the page accordingly, including its title.

Title and tagline

You can also change the site title and tagline from the customisation menu, under the ‘Site Title’ tab.

Here I’ve changed the tagline from the default ‘Smile!! You’re on the best WordPress site ever!’ to something a little less ubiquitous and lighter on the exclamation marks.

Responsive design

If you’re wondering what the tab floating in the bottom middle of the screen featuring the three monitors is for, it’s to check the ‘responsiveness’ of the site (how well it resizes to fit multiple size screens).

If you’re using the Ryu template, then this is perfectly responsive. The tab just gives you a quick way to change between desktop, tablet and mobile views.

Save

Finally (this may seem terribly obvious) don’t forget to regularly save any changes you make. There’s nothing more frustrating then clicking away from the site and losing your work. The save button is found at the bottom of the right-hand menu if you hadn’t spotted it yet.

Custom Design

WordPress.com provides you with the option to upgrade to its ‘Custom Design’ tools at a cost of $30.

If you choose to go down this route you will have access to all kinds of extra bits of customisation. 

There’s much wider choice of typefaces and fonts that can be applied to any area of your site.  

Choose from a massive selection of extra colours, palettes and background images to add a little extra flare.

These are really easy to customise too. Just click on the corresponding circle that applies to a particular area of your site (text, background, navigation etc) then click on a colour of your choice to alter it.

Most excitingly of all, you can write you own code and alter the site in an endless number of ways with access to a cascading style sheet (CSS).

If you have never used CSS before, or have never even heard of it. Don’t worry, I was exactly the same as you a couple of years ago. Don’t be afraid of it, it’s really easy to get to grips with and there are some really useful resources out there to take you through it step-by-step, in particular Code Academy.

If you’re not sure if the custom design toolkit is right for you, you can play around with it as much as you like and see the effects on your site, without actually changing anything on the live site. You just won’t be able to save the changes until you purchase the kit though.

Throughout this article, I’ve used the same template as an example for guidance on customisation. There are many other templates available to WordPress.com users, all of which can be customised in the ways described above and in the next chapter I’ll be recommending the best out-of-the-box templates available.

If you’re a bit further down the line than as described above, check out our seven useful Google tips for bloggers and 11 excellent responsive templates for those bloggers who already use WordPress.org.

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A blogger’s guide to setting up a WordPress site: customising your template

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Eight impressive social campaigns we’ve seen so far in 2014

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

In January I forgot to publish our monthly roundup of impressive social media campaigns. Please accept my apologies.

But fear not, for this post includes examples of high quality social campaigns that ran in the first two months of 2014.

So read on to see eight examples of innovative or interesting campaigns, featuring Urban Decay, Land Rover, Esurance, Renault and Juventus FC…

Land Rover’s #Hibernot

In January Land Rover launched its #Hibernot campaign which centred around an online hub for winter trails, walks and activities up and down the UK.

The site launched with more than 80 Land Rover supported activities that are set to take place in Britain this winter, allowing people to get out and enjoy this ‘grey and pleasant land’. 

Visitors to the Hibernot site (which is built using responsive design) are encouraged to add to this bank of activities, which is curated by Land Rover, by posting images of their own outdoor adventures using the hashtag #Hibernot.

The #Hibernot campaign has social at its core but is also supported by traditional media with TV and cinema ads promoting its launch. The creative idea fits perfectly with the Land Rover brand, which also has decent social communities with 102,000 Facebook fans and 77,000 Twitter followers.

Net-A-Porter’s app

Earlier this month Net-A-Porter announced the launch of its new Porter print magazine which aims to become a fashion bible to rival the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

To help promote the magazine, Net-A-Porter created an iOS app called ‘I Am Porter’ which tapped into the craze for selfies.

The app allows users to take a photo of themselves or upload an existing favourite photo, add a cover line and PORTER masthead to transform themselves into a cover star. 

Users were then encouraged to share their photo on Twitter or Instagram, and it has proven to be relatively successful. 

There were around 2,800 mentions of the #IAMPORTER around the magazine’s launch, according to Topsy. 

Juventus #LoveJu

In what was labelled the worlds ‘first social-driven choreography’ Juventus gave its global fans a chance to get involved in the pre-match rituals.

Fans of European football teams often go through extensively choreographed set pieces prior to kick off, generally involving songs and flag waving.

For the game against Inter Milan on 2 February fans could submit their own choreography ideas through a Facebook app, essentially creating a pattern that the fans in the stadium would recreate using coloured pieces of card.  

More than 3,000 choreographies were submitted with a 16-year-old boy from Paris being the eventual winner.

There were also 13,500 tweets using the hashtag #LoveJu, some of which were displayed on the stadium’s big screen prior to the game.

Overall it was an innovative and spectacular way of rewarding overseas fans and encouraging them to get involved with the team’s social media feeds.

Pedigree’s Life-O-Graph

The execution of this campaign isn’t all that impressive, but I’ve included it as an example of how even more traditional brands are trying to become more agile.

Marston’s Pedigree probably doesn’t have particularly broad appeal among younger consumers yet it has jumped on a social media trend to produce an app for sharing recreations of old photos.

The app allows users to upload images from their phone and then recreate them to compare how they changed over the years. It was inspired in part by two brothers who gained a degree of fame online by recreating a load of their old baby photos.

                      

The idea is that the images can then be shared through Facebook or Twitter, with Marston handing out prizes to the best ones.

I’m not a huge fan of the campaign as it seems to be trying a bit too hard to alter the brand’s image, but it’s still an interesting example of how companies are trying to harness the power of memes for their social marketing.

Renault’s #UndressNewTwingo

To promote the launch of the new Twingo model Renault ran a teaser campaign that slowly unveiled the new car the more people tweeted about it.

On 11 February Renault and We Are Social teased media and influencers with content announcing the pre-reveal and encouraging them to get involved.

Then at 5pm on 13 February a live video stream showing a new Twingo covered in spyshot camouflage stickers launched on undressnewtwingo.com. 

The influencers, their audience and the general public were then invited to tweet using the hashtag #UndressNewTwingo. 

For every 100 tweets, a new choreographed striptease was performed around the Twingo by a professional dance troupe, slowly unveiling the new design of the vehicle.

There were 45,000 visits in just a few hours on undressnewtwingo.com (without paid media). More than 100 blog posts were published about the campaign and during the 1.5 hour pre-reveal event, there were around 4,000 tweets. #UndressNewTwingo organically became a trending topic in France.

Urban Decay Pinterest contest

Urban Decay is currently running a Pinterest competition that offers its followers the chance to win tickets to the Coachella music festival.

In order to enter the competition people have to create a pinboard called ‘Electric Festival Style with UD’ then pin the looks they would wear at this year’s music festivals. They must also follow Urban Decay on Pinterest and submit their email address via an online entry form.

Urban Decay has almost 50,000 Pinterest followers so its an excellent forum on which to host the competition and it has already received hundreds of entries, which makes it a data capture success if nothing else.

Esurance’s Super Bowl tweet

Millions of dollars was poured into Super Bowl TV ads this year, yet Esurance managed to become one of the most talked about companies in America by choosing not to air a commercial.

Instead the insurance broker aired a commercial immediately after the game ended to announce that it was running a lottery to give away $1.5m. All users had to do to enter the competition was tweet using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30.

By airing the commercial after the Super Bowl Esurance claimed to be saving $1.5 million – 30% of the estimated cost of airing an ad during the game.

According to Topsy the hashtag has been used more than 3.8m times in the past 30 days, which is rather impressive regardless of the cost.

Reiss’ Pinterest contest

Yes, here we have another fashion retailer trying its luck with a Pinterest competition.

Reiss offered entrants a £1,000 shopping spree if they created a board called ‘Reiss – Be Mine’ using Valentine’s inspired imagery and at least five items from the brand’s spring/summer range.

They then had to tweet their board @Reiss in order to be officially entered.

A quick Pinterest search reveals that there were more than 100 entries which isn’t bad going, though Reiss missed a trick by not including a data capture element.

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Eight impressive social campaigns we’ve seen so far in 2014

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How Primark achieved 1.7m Facebook Likes in just six months

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The low-cost clothing brand has entered the top five of the 100 UK retailers on social media for the first time.

According to eDigitalResearch’s Retail Social Media Benchmark, Primark now has almost 2.4m followers on Facebook alone, a steep rise from its reported 700,000 followers just six months ago.

It can be very easy for a high street brand to accrue a high number of followers on any social media platform just through brand identity alone.

However, in order to be an effective driver of traffic to online and offline commerce, brands need to use social media to directly engage with customers through conversation, quality entertaining content and through personalised, always-on customer service.

Therefore a high follower count isn’t necessarily the best metric to gauge whether a brand is ‘doing social media right’. Although the sharp rise in Primark’s social profile is indicative of Primark upping its game considerably.

Let’s take a look at Primark’s Facebook page to see if there’s anything to be learnt from its strategy. 

Primark doesn’t spend heavily on advertising or marketing campaigns. Apparently it just relies on word of mouth to spread the good word of Primark, at least according to a press release forwarded to me today.

I would possibly suggest that it’s more down to the fact it sells trousers for under £10 that keeps customers walking through the door, rather than any kind of brand loyalty accrued through word-of-mouth or social media.

Or am I completely wrong?

Since June 2013, Primark averaged 1.75 posts on Facebook a day. It also had approximately 1.75m followers talking about the brand over the same time-frame. 

This is well above fourth place rival New Look, which despite having 2.8m followers, had less than half that amount talking about its brand in the last six months.

Clearly Primark is giving its customers something to talk about.

Facebook exclusive conversations

What’s the point of following a brand on multiple channels if its going to repeat the same thing on each one. A brand can split its audience multiple times by doing this, creating more work for itself for less returns and annoying its followers.

Not Primark though…

This is also a good example of how Primark uses the functionality of Facebook to provide added value for its followers, with the promise of highlighting their work in a Facebook album.

It shows a good relationship between brand and follower and gives the follower a reward for interaction.

Agile product marketing

There’s no great science behind this, it just means keeping an eye on what’s going on in the media, popular culture or in this case the weather, taking a quick Instagram of the product a uploading it immediately with a pithy headline.

Primark’s effectiveness when it comes to product marketing is two-fold. It doesn’t do it too often throughout the day, so as not to bombard the follower with advertising and it also includes the price, which many brands don’t do.

The price obviously forms a large part of the appeal of Primark and therefore keeping it in the message is key to the post’s success.

Go off topic

Like all the best brands on Facebook, Primark isn’t afraid to stray away from the ‘core marketing message’ of its brand and just post weird and random stuff from around the internet and from within its own vaults.

Start a conversation

Ask questions, hold a ballot, gauge opinion. All these methods of conversation can improve engagement and reach throughout the whole of Facebook.

Of course achieving reach through the use of One Direction is like shooting fish in a barrel, but Primark keeps the post relevant and links to a helpful blog post on its own website that reveals how teenagers can steal One Direction’s look.

I’ll keep it bookmarked for later.

Primark’s online future

Primark has recently redesigned its website and although it isn’t an ecommerce site, it has positioned its social media links far more clearly than before.

In fact, promoting social seems to be the main focus of this site. Primark had previously used ASOS to test the ecommerce waters, however recent reports suggest that shipping costs and other expenses related to ecommerce have resulted in even slimmer margins for thr retiler.

In fact a quick visit to ASOS reveals this message.

Primark now seems to be focusing its strategy on social media in order to drive customers to it offline retail stores.

For more on brands achieving success on social media, check out GoPro’s dazzling YouTube strategy and how Converse uses Facebook, Pinterest and Google+

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How Primark achieved 1.7m Facebook Likes in just six months

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What user tests tell us about Morrisons’ grocery site

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

David Moth recently reviewed the new Morrisons grocery shopping site, and found a few UX flaws. 

The checkout process contained a number of issues, while the lack of mobile optimisation seems a massive oversight these days. 

Since the review, Whatusersdo has conducted remote user tests of the site and found a number of issues, of varying priorities. 

So let’s see what they are, and how they could be fixed…

The test

The five testers were set the following task(s): 

  1. You’ve just heard that Morrisons now offer online grocery shopping. Open the website to test and give your first impressions as the page loads.
  2. Pretending that your postcode is B74 3EJ (Morrisons only delivers in certain areas) use the site for up to 10 minutes to shop for your weekly groceries as if you were doing this for real.
  3. Proceed as far as you can remembering that you need to book delivery but stop at the point of payment.
  4. Say which supermarket you currently shop with online and how Morrisons compares.
  5. Assuming they delivered to you, is there anything that might entice you to switch to purchasing groceries online from Morrisons in the future?

The user tests identified a number of problems. High priority issues, of which there was just one, are defined as very likely to cause abandonment.

There were 10 medium priority issues, which users may well overcome, but should be addressed in a competitive market. 

Customers unsure of where to start shopping

All five testers were unsure where to click to begin shopping, and this was labelled a high priority issue, once which may cause abandonment. 

Many ended up in different sections of the site, and the page is confusing, especially as the product offers given prominence on the homepage don’t lead to a product page where customers can actually buy them.

There are two links to begin shopping, but neither stand out against the business of the rest of the page.  

Compare this to the clear calls to action on the Waitrose homepage: 

Morrisons needs to use its homepage to promote its ecommerce offer more effectively. 

Customers need to register first

Some testers said they wanted to check whether there was a suitable delivery slot available, or check products and prices, but they needed to register first

Minimum order value not clear enough

Some users were puzzled as to why they couldn’t checkout, or find the checkout button. 

There are two issues here. One is that the checkout button isn’t as clear or prominent as perhaps it should be. The other is that the minimum order value of £40 isn’t communicated clearly enough, which can lead to frustration from customers. 

The ‘min order’ text is about the least visible element on the page, so why not make this a little easier to spot? 

Where are the #%&@ing biscuits??

The location of the biscuits troubled one tester, and product categorisation in general was a problem.

One, not unreasonably, thought that biscuits would be in ‘bakery’ but no, they’re under ‘food cupboard’. 

I can sympathise with online grocery sites here, as designing a taxonomy that appeals to all users clearly isn’t an easy task. 

The answer is perhaps an effective and prominent search option, as well as the clear display of popular product categories. 

Allowing users to add unavailable items

This is my observation, but it is something that is likely to annoy users.

Having selected my shopping and headed to checkout, only now do I find out that my item is out of stock. Alternatives are selected here, but it would have been better not to allow me to add the item in the first place. 

Cross-selling during checkout

This is a ‘low-priority’ issue, but some testers objected to being sold to in checkout. This page occurs after selecting a delivery slot: 

It’s not quite GoDaddy for cross-selling, but this does add another step to the process. I wouldn’t personally object, but there is a balance to be struck when cross-selling at checkout

In summary

This is the summary of the user tests: 

Users really liked viewing thumbnails of their product when adding to basket and easily viewed the running basket total. Users found it very easy to select a delivery slot and in general reported that the experience of shopping online with Morrisons was positive.

In addition, this experience was comparable to their existing online grocer, usually Asda or Tesco. However there were a number of issues in the real world that may have led to abandonment. 

We have presented some of the possible user experience issues here, and it’s not intended to be an overly negative review. There was just one high priority issue (where to start shopping) and some of the other problems are common to other sites. 

I would recommend that Morrisons make the start shopping links and the minimum order much clearer to users, as these will cause frustration and are relatively easy to fix. 

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What user tests tell us about Morrisons’ grocery site

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