21st December 2015 - No Comments!

10 Tips for ‘Making It’ in Digital Marketing

So, according to Wikipedia (the go-to 'settler of arguments' and universal knowledge fountain) content marketing is, to paraphrase...

...the creation and sharing of content to a) find new customers to spend money and b) keep existing customers spending money.

So far, so simple.

However, why has content marketing suddenly become the hot topic at every marketing meeting across the globe? And what has caused its relatively-sudden rise in popularity?

To answer these questions, we only need to understand one thing: customers are no longer the simple folk of yesteryear, who saw an advert like the one below and actually thought it would work (in fact I'm not sure anyone ever believed this would work but it demonstrates the point pretty well...)

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In fact, customers are generally so disenfranchised with traditional marketing methods that they have the cheek to fast-forward through adverts on their TV and will even pay good money for premium services so they don't have to see/hear the ads that come with the free version.

The growth of social media and better technology have had a huge part to play in this aversion to traditional sales methods. Why listen to what a brand says when you can listen to 'real people' who have tried the product / service? Why force yourself to sit through all the advertising noise, when you can skip right past it?

What this has meant for marketeers, can be broken down into two things:

1. we had to get smarter
2. we had to get our heads round the fact that you only get back what you put in

Content marketing, when done properly, offers customers real value. It gives them information that is relevant to them, it allows for two-way conversation and it makes a brand or business less faceless and more human.

By giving a business/brand an interesting and unique voice, it allows the right customers to find them and communicate with them on a personal level not achievable before.

However (and here's the point about getting back what you put in) it takes time, effort, patience and thought to create an effective voice for your business and then to produce regular, engaging content. It certainly isn't something you can rush and hope for a quick return on.

In my next post I will talk about what makes good content marketing but if you feel your business needs support setting up a content strategy, or even help with rolling out, please do get in touch.

 

What is Content Marketing anyway?, #

3rd March 2015 - No Comments!

Why would a SME use Social Media?

Why would a SME use Social Media?

I still meet businesses who question the value of social media and ask whether they really need to be present on Facebook / Twitter / Pintrest... (and so on). Ten years ago, I still met people who questioned whether they actually needed a website. Well the answer was 'yes' then and is 'yes' now.

Social media is here to stay. Facebook may fade and someone will eventually broadcast the last tweet but the Internet will forever be filled with a myriad of social platforms - each speaking to a unique audience and with a specific purpose - and you'll ignore them at your company's peril.

I recently watched a great TED talk which I will steal a few apt lines from:

"Social media is only here to stay if you believe the internet is here to stay" and "There is no such thing as social media. Social media is just the internet"

Sir Tim Berners-Lee himself has said: "I designed it (the Internet) for a social effect - to help people work together - not as a technical toy"

Bearing all these comments in mind, social media can simply be seen as the natural evolution of the Internet.

Some stats from last year to put things into perspective.

Your average internet user:

• Spends 3x more time on social media than they do on email

• Researches products first on the internet and then on social media before purchasing

• Is more likely to buy a product if a friend likes it on Facebook

• Will become a customer of at least one business after following them on social media

For these reasons 94% of big brands are already on social media and 76% of small-medium businesses are estimated to be too. However huge numbers of them just set up pages or accounts but don’t do anything with them... or they inundate them with sales messages and little else.

The main issue is that social media management requires three primary elements:

TIME - for someone to monitor and manage the accounts on a daily basis.

UNDERSTANDING - of your business, your sector and what your audience will be interested in hearing about.

EXPERIENCE - of the different social platforms, how they work and which is best for the content you have.

Most businesses may have one or two of these ingredients 'in-house' but will lack the vital third element which will make social media a success for them.

This is where Thursday3 can help. We can train, advise and offer strategic content recommendations to help businesses achieve their goals. With some this is a day's training with others it's a 3-6 month management process but all can get there with the right commitment.

The question shouldn't be why would a SME use social media, it's what good reason would they have for not using it?

5th January 2015 - No Comments!

Is e-marketing still relevant?

e-marketing

In the world of digital marketing time moves fast and the communication tools that survive are the ones that can quickly adapt. The way customers read and respond to their email has massively changed in the last few years, with the emergence of ever-improving smart phones meaning a person's whole online life can be taken with them wherever they go. In addition the global adoption of social media has shortened attention spans and increased the desire for relevancy and personalisation.

However, email can be highly targeted, it can provide quick and easily accessible information and it can be sent to a mobile device. For these reasons e-marketing still has its place, as part of the overall digital mix, but it needs to be designed and delivered in the right way.

Style Loft E-marketing campaign

Fashion business Style Loft came to us for help. They were a fairly new brand but had a small but loyal group of followers and wanted to communicate with them about the latest offers, trends and fashion tips.

Thursday3 created an easy to update e-newsletter template, which would allow the business to manage their own e-comms whilst still keeping a consistent and professional look and feel. It was designed to sit comfortably against the leading online fashion brands, like Net-A-Porter, whilst still feeling unique and fresh.

The initial email had open rates over well 50%, substantially above industry standard, with click through rates to the e-commerce site of over 25%, leading to a number of sales for the client within an hour of it going out.

Forward to a friend features promoted the recipients sending on to their peers, in return for discount codes, with the long-term of aim of creating 'brand ambassadors'.

Creating targeted, engaging and relevant content is one part of the equation, with effective data management and striking design making up the rest. So if you need support setting up your e-marketing plan for the year; help designing email templates for continued use or advise on managing your data and broadcasting, Thursday3 can help.

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4th January 2015 - No Comments!

Our Latest Web Development

Web DevelopmentInternational Architect firm, Darnton EGS, had been using their old website for a number a years and the sheer volume of content they had built up over that time made the idea of creating a new site a slightly daunting one. However they all agreed the website needed modernising, including having a design that was responsive to device.

Thursday3 met with the client on a number of occasions, prior to beginning the design process, to evaluate exactly what they wanted to achieve, what their priorities were and what sites they had seen which had inspired them. Because of this considered approach Darnton EGS were happy to move forward with one of the first designs presented and the web development could commence quickly.

In our experience it's often the early part of the web development process that takes the longest - as pleasing multiple stakeholders with a single design vision is never easy. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to aesthetics, so taking the time to understand the business objectives pays huge dividends to the overall project timescale.

Some of the site's features include:

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[icon_list_item type="check"]Fully responsive, modern design[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Full Content Management System (CMS)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Blog[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Extensive portfolio area with category filtering[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Interactive maps[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Contact / enquiry forms[/icon_list_item]

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[prompt type="left" title="Darnton EGS" message="Take a look at what we did..." button_text="Check it out" href="/portfolio-item/darnton-egs/"]

Working with an international SEO partner, Web Certain, the site's content was optimised for the search engines in multiple, global regions.

The main bulk of the project really began when the optimised content was uploaded to the newly built site as there were nearly 100 case studies, with associated image galleries, and a number of blog posts. This was uploaded by Thursday3 as part of the project, minimising the amount of work involved for the client.

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28th December 2014 - No Comments!

How to use a microsite

Agency Nurses

A microsite can be a useful way of containing information for a specific audience or of running a campaign separately from your main website. Already popular with brands across the globe, they can also be utilised by businesses who want to focus their online communications.

Agency Nurses was set up for Local Care Force to speak to the hundreds of nurses who work for them. Their main website had been built before this part of the business had grown and they wanted to set something up which was just for nurses, without having to recreate their entire website.

We spoke to the client about what nurses would need. A key message that emerged was that nurses needed to feel protected and feel assured that their agency would support them through any issues. With this in mind we made the site as personal as possible by showing the Clinical Lead for the business straight away - no stock shot of a random person but the real voice at the end of phone if they had a problem or friendly face they would meet in person.

In addition we made sure that the key differences between Local Care Force and the other agencies were highlighted quickly and included an attractive blog to keep users updated on any news - including industry-wide, topical stories.

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The design style emulates a magazine look - to promote a quick scroll-through the content. Ultimately they wanted nurses to get in touch, so the microsite was more about giving them a taster than telling them everything at once.

The site was incredibly well received and has helped cement Local Care Force as a leading provider in the nursing sector.

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27th December 2014 - No Comments!

10 Social Media Management Tips

Social MediaGood social media management is more than just knowing what to say to your followers but knowing how to find the right audience and then keep them engaged. Anyone who is familiar with social platforms knows that there is an almost unlimited amount of content available: cutting through the noise can be a battle.

Many well-intentioned businesses and brands are present on social platforms but then ignore their pages or else do little more than push sales messages, putting little or no consideration into what they are saying, let alone when they are saying it.

Here are a few social media management tips for those who have the time to manage their own social media but aren't sure where to start.

1. Define your audience

From a marketing perspective, if you don't know who your customers are then you need to find out. As well as looking at some of the obvious criteria such as what demographics they fall into, where they live and how they behave, you may consider creating a couple of personas that reflect their characters so you can start to think from their perspective.

2. Choose your platforms

Different people use different social platforms depending on their mood, needs and interests. LinkedIn is most popular with professionals but specifically appeals to men with a high-level income. Facebook is still the most popular network for adults with 7 in 10 UK residents having an account. However with literally hundreds of platforms out there, doing the research to see which ties in with your key audience will pay dividends in the long-run.

3. Get set up

Now you know where you need to be, set your profiles up and think about how you want to present yourself. Spend time considering how you summarise your business as this initial description will affect first impressions. Where relevant use the #hashtag device for any business-critical keywords (such as #healthcare if that's your industry) as this will allow you to appear in any hashtag searches.

4. Make yourself stand out

Even if you are happy to manage your own social presence it is worthwhile getting a designer to consider your cover photo. There are some amazing examples out there of brands that have made themselves stand out by getting creative. However at the very least use a good resolution image, make sure you include your logo or branding (if identifiable) and try not to use too obvious a stock shot (e.g. two businessmen shaking hands - you have been warned!)

5. Utilise social advertising

Social is not just about organic content anymore. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all have established advertising models (amongst others) that genuinely help put your business / message in front of a much wider audience. You can be very targeted with who you aim your message at, down to specific interests and it is currently low cost, starting at approx. £2.50 a day.

6. Create considered, regular content

It depends on your business type but, on average, you want to be updating Twitter at least 3 times a day (although if the content is good you can increase this 10 fold and still not annoy people), Facebook a few times a day to a few times a week and Instagram daily at most - as too many images might turn users off. Every platform is different but keeping it regular is important. A flurry of activity followed by a month's drought will not do your business any favours. In terms of what content is relevant, keep a nice mix of business messages with interesting, topical stories linked to your industry and funny / moving / interesting content that may intrigue your audience. DO NOT JUST TALK ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS ALL THE TIME. It is not what people are on social to hear.

7. Be social!

Being social is a two-way street so don't just send messages out... respond to people, make connections, comment on other people's comms, share other people's thoughts / work (if complimentary) and make sure you don't leave genuine enquiries awaiting a response. Social media is actually quite a lot of fun - so if you find yourself dreading the daily check in, you might be doing it wrong.

8. Try new things

Social media is great for experimentation (within reason) so you can take risks you might not risk with your corporate website or company brochure (if you still have one!) Your audience will be forgiving if you try something once and it doesn't work but don't keep flogging an idea if it's not getting any love / results!

9. Utilise analytics

There are various tools available that allow you to see how you're doing across your social platforms. Facebook has its own analytics, as do some of the others, and the Google Analytics on your site (which if you don't have set up you need to) will tell you how many people are coming from the various places. If you're investing time and/or money in social you have to keep an eye on what is working and what's not.

10. Adapt!

It's easy, if you're getting steady results, to think "it aint broke, don't fix it". However audiences can be turned off as quickly as they have switched on, especially if content is becoming repetitive. Mix things up occasionally and see what happens - you might find a slight tweak increases follower engagement substantially. Also watch what the big brands are doing too and take inspiration, adapting their ideas to work for your business.

If you don't have the time or experience to manage your own social profiles, we can help! Get in touch with Thursday3 for a completely free consultation.

[line]

Essential Healthcare case study

Thursday3 were brought in to manage the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Essential Healthcare* - a leading provider of healthcare essentials across the UK. Having previously set up accounts/groups they weren't getting much traction and had no substantial traffic visiting their e-commerce website via their social presences. They therefore made the choice to bring in Thursday3 to manage their accounts.

We keep their Twitter and Facebook pages up-to-date and make sure over 15 messages a week are updated, at the right times to achieve optimum exposure. This content is a combination of industry-specific news, topical comments, sales promotions and expert advice.

Since we were brought on they have achieved fantastic success including:

[icon_list]

[icon_list_item type="check"]500% increase in likes on Facebook[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]60% increased in followers on Twitter[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]800% increase in site traffic from social sources[/icon_list_item]

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*This project involved working as a partner with PURE in Leeds who manage the client relationship and work on all other marketing.

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25th December 2014 - No Comments!

Content Strategy Case Study

lcf-chirstmas-imac1

Thursday3 work with Local Care Force across a number of digital platforms including email, data management, social media and digital campaign micro-sites.

As a hugely successful recruitment business, Local Care Force has a range of clients and a number of candidate types to communicate with (healthcare staff spanning from Social Workers to specialist Nurses). Their aim is to keep them informed about the latest roles, company updates, sector-specific news and training information. Helping identify not only how to speak to these diverse groups, but also when to, is where Thursday3 steps in.

Content Strategy

In simple terms content strategy is the planning, development, and management of content. We work with the client to assess what content is important to communicate, based on their vast industry knowledge, as well as what we know will work from a marketing perspective and send:

[icon_list]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Daily social media updates (across Twitter and multiple Facebook groups)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Weekly blog posts[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Monthly e-newsletters (to clients and candidates)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Seasonal campaign messages (Christmas campaigns in 2013 and 2014)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Topical e-shots (e.g. 'Tour de Yorkshire' awareness campaign)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Research papers[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Targeted online advertising[/icon_list_item]

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Over an 18 month period we have had huge success working together this way and have achieved:

  1. An average email open rate of 40% (20% over the industry standard for their sector)
  2. A 630% percentage increase in likes on Facebook
  3. A 250% overall increase in traffic to their main website

But don't take our word for it...

[blockquote cite="Leanne Silverwood, Managing Director, Local Care Force" type="left, center, right"]"Their impact has been phenomenal, they have changed the way we work, saved us money & raised our profile ten fold.”[/blockquote]

Due to our continued success and our strong relationship, Thursday3 is relaunching the new Local Care Force website in 2015.

If you are interested in seeing how Thursday can support your business with your content strategy, just get in touch for a free evaluation.

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24th December 2014 - No Comments!

When to get agency support?

manor-hall-law

Some SMEs do little or no marketing and have still managed to build up a business successfully through word of mouth and traditional sales methods. Others are fully behind the concept of marketing online and may have in-house staff who manage their social profiles, send emails and update their website. Others have toyed with the idea of getting an agency on board to support them but think the cost would be prohibitive. So, for those small to medium businesses, when is the time to bring in agency support?

In short, now. Chiefly because online marketing, in particular, needn't be costly or difficult to start and, with the support of Thursday3, any business could improve their sales, increase their brand's visibility and make their business well and truly digital.

Thursday3 is based upon a simple principle: every business, large or small, should be able to tap into the vast potential the internet and mobile technology can provide them. However too few are aware of what’s readily available to them, or how cost effectively it can be utilised.

Founded by Jude Turner, who spent over 10 years working at a senior level for large agencies before setting up Thursday3, the company openly makes the most of an extensive array of the UK’s best freelance designers, developers and UX experts to deliver digital projects at a much-reduced rate.

In short, you get all the same experience with none of the financial baggage.

Get in touch today and we can show you how we can get your business noticed.

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23rd December 2014 - No Comments!

Small Business, Big Presence

Monster Kidz

Contrary to popular belief, getting your business set up with a bespoke, fully functional, responsive and content-managed website doesn't have to be costly.  For any SME wanting something that offers stand-out in their marketplace but doesn't have the budget to work with a traditional marketing agency, Thursday3 can help.

Monster Kidz Case Study

Monster Kidz came to us 4 weeks prior to their opening and wanted a web presence ASAP which let customers know how to find them, what they had to offer as well as allow users to make all-important party bookings, the lifeblood of any soft play centre.

Having initially looked around they had found most soft play websites to be creatively-lacking, especially when one of their target audiences, children up to 10 years old, are ever-more digitally savvy. They therefore wanted us to create a visually engaging, colourful, child-friendly site which sold the premises but also gave parents the information they needed... and they needed it before they opened their doors in a month's time!

Utilising a Word Press theme, which makes the development time much quicker and therefore cheaper, we created a completely bespoke design for the Monster Kidz website which included:

[icon_list]

[icon_list_item type="check"]An animated scrolling homepage [/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Venue gallery[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Party information[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Activities timetable[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Booking / contact forms[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Interactive map[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Full Content Management System (CMS) allowing client to update every area of the site themselves[/icon_list_item]

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In addition these features the site was fully responsive to device meaning it adapted depending on whether it was being viewed on a computer, tablet or mobile device.

[prompt type="left" title="Monster Kidz" message="Take a look at what we did..." button_text="Check it out" href="/portfolio-item/monster-kidz/"]

The client was very happy with the result and when held against the competition it offered the all-important stand-out they had been looking for.

And it was delivered in 3 weeks, meaning it was launched in plenty of time for their opening party.

Let us help your small business website make a big impact.

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