Mobile App Development

Posted on May 21, 2012 11:16 by blything
Just finished a new page on the Glow site for our mobile app development service. Got some nice case studies on there for mobile app development for some Liverpool based clients. More to follow. Also logo design liverpool.

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We just launched a website for KS2 children aimed at helping them learn Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) as part of QCDA. It’s co cute! Basically it takes kids through dual language stories to learn French (more languages coming soon!)

The website gives great resources for teachers – particularly primary teachers who need to teach languages but that are not necessarily specialists.

Here is a great article for teachers and parents trying to spark childrens interest for learning a foreign language.

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10 Tips for ecommerce

Posted on April 25, 2012 12:13 by blything

If you’re driving (or planning on driving) an ecommerce business (I regularly work with many Liverpool Ecommerce businesses), you’ll know what I mean when I say there’s little in marketing as fascinating. I think it’s because unlike most of the rest of the discipline of marketing the link to revenue is so transparent with ecommerce. You get to see the actual cash roll in (or not) based on each new idea you test.

It’s a big subject too, but here’s a few obvious tips to get you started:

You’re Amazon.com or you’re niche

And no offence but you’re probably not Amazon. That means that unless your company is worth 90 billion and you literally wrote the book on ecommerce, it might be wiser to start off in a niche you know you can rule. It might seem like a good idea to stock a huge range, but unless you have better margin than everyone else (see Tip #2) on EVERYTHING, you’ll find it hard work and your time, effort and budget will be diluted. Better to pick something you have the edge on and get it performing well. You can expand inventory later.

Price well or don’t sell

This is the internet and your prices are going to be shown, quite literally, next to those of your competitors. In “Lowest Price First” order. If they’re selling the same product at a better price with comparable delivery and they don’t look “dodgy” who do you think wins the business? That leads to some important critical strategic thinking – if you (generally) don’t have the margin, maybe you need to rethink the niche – See Tip #1. If you DO have the margin, that’s a product worth pushing!

Structure & Function – categories count

Sometimes it’s difficult to organise your products rationally. Often, I speak to ecommerce merchants and they’re bogged down in legacy categories simply because “that’s how we’ve always organised the product catalogue”, “This is the category we store it under in the warehouse” or “that’s how our supplier organises their catalogue”.

For the front of an ecommerce store though, the only person you should be prioritising is the customer. They don’t care about your warehouse, or suppliers catalogue, they just expect to find the thing they’re looking for in the category that makes most sense to them.

Look at your categories. If there’s more than about 8 (top level), if they don’t make sense to a customer, rethink them.

The (Product) Shipping Forecast

Fulfilment. Easy to say but difficult to get right. Many successful ecommerce websites make sure that they are VERY good at shipping, and offer attractive rates. Make sure that the cost you offer is reasonable, consider offering cheaper or free shipping over a certain spend threshold and build your relationship with the carrier or fulfilment partner because if they let you down, it’ll be your reputation that suffers. A good relationship with the carrier will go further than a purely “cheapest quote wins” option.

Social Proof is in the Pudding

Customers talk to each other. For a while, ecommerce websites had control of this because the customers were separated in space and didn’t know each other. Twitter, Trustpilot, and so on now mean that control has eroded. Google shopping results allow customers to rate - “trust” is now a currency, managed by third parties. The direction of travel is clear – this will increase, reputations and conversations are increasingly out in public written record. This cuts both ways but ecommerce stores which work to amplify positive reviews and recommendations thrive on this “Social Proof” of good service.

Take Stock of your Stock

If you’ve not got it in stock and you accepted the order, there’s a disappointed customer in the pipeline. Drop Shipping is fine, but make sure you set expectations reasonably, up front and if you know there are supply problems, it might be worth pulling back from promoting those items.

Content Counts

Managing a large catalogue can be a pain. The more inventory you have, the more you need to manage. From a customer perspective, there’s nothing that will have you clicking away and onto the next ecommerce site than a product page with insufficient information and content.

Ideally, every single product page will have at least:

  • A great, descriptive title, more than five words
  • A good clear primary photo and preferably some alternative photos
  • Price – clear, obvious and competitive
  • Tax & Shipping – broken down
  • Purchase button – should be the most obvious thing on the page, after the main photo
  • Several paragraphs of descriptive copy
  • Features and benefits if appropriate

That could take a while to develop for any sizable catalogue! Prioritise your most important products and keep going at it, little and often. Remember – the more good quality content, the better you’ll do in natural search.

Measure Success

Any credible ecommerce store knows where each customer came from, down to the keyword, email, referring site and so on (if you don’t, ask us about it). You should also have a pretty good if not exact number for what it cost to get each visitor to your site.

What would happen if you lined up the “acceptable cost to acquire” customers with the products that you can sell them at a profit? What would happen if you used that information to widen the gap between acquisition cost and price?

That’s why it’s worth measuring.

Physical Address

It’s an old and obvious observation but if you don’t list your physical address and phone number, I’m not going to trust you and that means I’m not going to buy from you.

Make sure it’s obvious.

Test Test Test

There’s very little about an ecommerce website (or business operation, for that matter) that can’t be tested. The ecommerce websites which are relentless in their testing are the ones which come out on top and that’s because they’re removing the guesswork with every test.

Start as you mean to go on and make a list of what you’re going to test, here’s a few examples:

  • Price
  • Checkout Form Layout
  • Checkout Form Length
  • Purchase Button Size, Colour, Position

There’s another article about Six Great Tips for Split Testing here.

Ecommerce is a big subject and constantly changing. We regularly run training events, have a look here at our Ecommerce Web Design Services to see what we offer and if you’d like to have a chat with an expert, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

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Paver Smith takes on three new starters

Posted on November 14, 2011 13:48 by blything

Good to see Liverppol PR pals doing well. Paver Smith are expanding again.

Alex McDonald and Ruth Cobban have joined the agency’s PR team as a graduate trainee and account executive respectively while Danielle Thompson has joined its creative team as a junior account executive.

Cobban is a former journalist with the Worcester Standard newspaper in the Midlands while McDonald has recently graduated from Liverpool John Moores University.

Thompson is working for the agency on a one-year industrial placement while studying for an advertising and design degree at the University of Huddersfield.

Other news included:

Paver Smith wins Greater Manchester public health campaign

Paver Smith launches localism division

Paver Smith

Paver Smith 

Paver Smith Localism

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Pest Control Training Thing

Posted on November 8, 2011 19:31 by blything

Do you need to keep up-to-date, but find it difficult to spare the time to attend training seminars and conferences? PestPractice, the new online training tool to be launched at PestTech on Wednesday 2 November, looks set to provide a convenient, cost effective solution.

PestPractice is a powerful online training tool for pest control. It delivers high quality video presentations, from recognised industry experts, on demand, via the web. This means that it can be precisely targeted to your needs, or the needs of your team. You are in control and can select which sessions to watch. In this way you only pay for what you need and you don’t have to sit through presentations on topics which simply aren’t relevant.

You also save all that travelling time and expenses as well as any associated overnight accommodation costs. All you need to participate is a laptop or PC with sound and an internet connection. Signing up takes just a few minutes and once your account is created you can access any, or all, of the webinars immediately.

Each pest control webinar last around 40 to 45 minutes and if you're collecting PROMPT CPD points, the system will keep track of those for you too. The concept has been developed by two of the country’s top technical experts, Adrian Meyer from Acheta and Clive Boase from the Pest Management Consultancy. (Both are on the PestTechncial Advisory Board). They have worked closely with new media company Glow, the people behind Pest Control Portal, and ourselves at Pest publications.

“In a competitive world, the need for technical training has never been greater,” suggests Adrian Meyer. “Whilst nothing will replace the benefits of on-site practical and group pest control training, the benefits of access to high quality, targeted technical training and refresher sessions, taken at a time and place of your choosing are clear for all to see. No travel costs, minimal time away from work and the ability to choose the combination of topics that suit your personal needs make these pest control webinars an attractive and cost effective addition to any training portfolio.” Try it for free vouchers will be handed out at PestTech, or go online and sign up to claim your free webinar.

Glow’s Phil Blything comments: "Well trained technicians mean better profit and much less risk but training can be a big overhead, particularly lost time for travel and waiting for the right event. We brought together the latest in technology including scalable video streaming, with our proprietary presentation delivery system and CPD points tracking, then we worked hard to make all of that fade into the background so that the user just has to choose what they want, then view it. PestPractice manages the rest."

The first six modules, recorded by Adrian and Clive, are now available for viewing at www.pestpractice.comEach webinar will cost £25+VAT. Try it for Free “Recognising that this is an entirely new concept for many in the industry we have a special introductory offer,” explains Pest associate editor Helen Riby. “Between now and the end of the year you can view your first webinar for free. It’s from Adrian Meyer on Understanding house mouse behaviour & its impact on effective control – a topic which is relevant to most pest controllers.

All you have to do is go online, create your account and off you go.” “As an added incentive over the same period, the five other modules can be viewed for just £5 each plus VAT,” she adds. These are on: • Keep it legal - mammal protection requirements • Rodenticide labels - a guided tour • Squeezing the best from insecticide gels • Phantom biting - causes and solutions • Insecticide labels - a guided tour More topics will be added over the coming months and not just on technical matters, but also management and business skills. In short, pest control training and development has never been easier!

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Linkedin and your Google Bio

Posted on July 14, 2011 19:03 by blything

What on earth is a "Google Bio" I hear you ask

Type your name into Google. Your Google Bio is what comes back. We've all got one and most of us have looked at it, whether we admit it in public or not!

It's significant because increasingly, it's not just us looking. Employers, employees, press, people we're meeting next week, the in-laws - "Googling" someone has become commonplace since Larry and Sergei first sat Eric Schmidt in front of his Google bio for his CEO of Google interview.

Quite literally, the world is now forming judgements about us from a range of digital signals and sources but this one is the primary. Are you putting as much thought into that as you do on what tie or shoes you wear for the meeting?

LinkedIn fits into this picture particularly because the mere act of creating a profile on LinkedIn adds a (typically) top 3 hit to your Google bio with a distinctly professional slant. If you're keen on making your Google bio a little more professional or substantial, this a good place to start.

Your Digital Reputation is more important than ever and it's not enough to sit back and passively accept what Google decides to show.

Would you like to know more about how Glow can help you with Social Media?

By Phil BlythingDirector of Liverpool Digital Marketing Agency, Glow New Media.
I encourage you to republish this article, on the condition that you leave this by-line footer and links unaltered.

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Linkedin and your Google bio

Posted on July 14, 2011 19:02 by blything

What on earth is a "Google Bio" I hear you ask

Type your name into Google. Your Google Bio is what comes back. We've all got one and most of us have looked at it, whether we admit it in public or not!

It's significant because increasingly, it's not just us looking. Employers, employees, press, people we're meeting next week, the in-laws - "Googling" someone has become commonplace since Larry and Sergei first sat Eric Schmidt in front of his Google bio for his CEO of Google interview.

Quite literally, the world is now forming judgements about us from a range of digital signals and sources but this one is the primary. Are you putting as much thought into that as you do on what tie or shoes you wear for the meeting?

LinkedIn fits into this picture particularly because the mere act of creating a profile on LinkedIn adds a (typically) top 3 hit to your Google bio with a distinctly professional slant. If you're keen on making your Google bio a little more professional or substantial, this a good place to start.

Your Digital Reputation is more important than ever and it's not enough to sit back and passively accept what Google decides to show.

Would you like to know more about how Glow can help you with Social Media?

By Phil BlythingDirector of Liverpool Digital Marketing Agency, Glow New Media.
I encourage you to republish this article, on the condition that you leave this by-line footer and links unaltered.

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LinkedIn does what it says on the tin, so to speak. If you decide to use it, you’ll most likely have realised that the more meaningful connections you have, the more you will get out of it. So how on earth do you go about increasing your LinkedIn connectivity?

Here are ten tips to increase your LinkedIn connections:

1. Pay attention to who’s looking at your LinkedIn profile
Once you’re signed up and have a live profile, you will have access to the “Who’s viewed my profile” tool. You can find it on the right hand side of your profile page. What you see here depends on whether you and / or your viewer decided to remain anonymous when viewing profiles, but generally, you will see a list of visitors. If you know them, why not drop them an invite?

2. Put a call to action in your email signature
You probably send quite a few emails, every day. The great thing about them is that they mostly go to people who you know or soon will do. Perfect.
By adding a call to action – something like ”Connect with me on LinkedIn” and linking directly to your profile, you will soon see an increase in relevant requests.

3. Request to connect at a meaningful time
Rather than sending requests when you happen to be looking at LinkedIn, would it make more sense to invite people when it makes sense to THEM? Two great times would be as soon as you arrange that first meeting, or alternatively immediately after it. Do that each time and it builds up.

4. Join groups
Groups are at the heart of LinkedIn. They’re often overlooked but these groups are where most of the interaction happens. Try a few searches on your area of professional expertise, find a few which relate to your industry and join them.

5. Actually interact in groups
I know that we already mentioned groups but I see so many examples of people joining but not interacting with groups that I’ve given this one its own tip. Good advice would be to “Lurk” and watch the group until you are comfortable, then start posting. Answer a question or ask some of your own. You’ll meet interesting people and some of these will naturally want to connect.

6. Add or change your profile picture
This is an unusual one, but it works. Profiles with a picture get much more attention than those without. Adding or changing that photo is automatically injected into the newsfeeds of all of your contacts and is given a high weighting for importance. This simple act will increase your visibility with existing contacts. Some of those will interact which will then make you visible to their contacts.

7. Don’t overdo the invites
Sometimes, it can be tempting to invite large batches of people, some who you may not know well, or at all. Be careful with that... Each person you invite receives an email offering them the choice to accept (or not) your offer. They also have the option to specify that they do not know you. If you get enough of those, LinkedIn can and frequently will, block you from inviting people to connect.

8. Use the import and invite tool
This tool is very powerful, so don’t abuse it! On the main navigation, find Contacts and then Add Connections. You can either add a list of email addresses OR grant access to LinkedIn to grab email addresses from your email software.
Don’t worry; LinkedIn will ever email these contacts without your permission.
Once you’ve imported the list, LinkedIn will allow you to tick or untick everyone in the list. When you’re ready, LinkedIn will batch invite everyone you selected.

9. Use the people you may know tool
You can find this on the home page (once logged in of course), over on the right. Click on the “See More” link and you will find a list of people who you’re not yet connected with but who you probably know. This tool is fiendishly clever and providing you have enough contacts for LinkedIn to work with, you might find the suggestions uncanny. Don’t panic too much when you notice connections there which LinkedIn couldn’t possibly have guessed – most likely your email address was uploaded by them so linkedIn knows they might know you.

10. Make it a habit
Little and often, the advice goes! Many of these activities would seem onerous unless you take it 5 or 10 minutes a day. Develop the right habits and you’ll clock up the connections with ease.

Would you like to know more about how Glow can help you with Social Media?

By Phil Blything – Director of Liverpool Digital Marketing Agency, Glow New Media.
I encourage you to republish this article, on the condition that you leave this by-line footer and links unaltered.

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LinkedIn for Leaders

Posted on July 14, 2011 18:48 by blything

I often get asked to help people make sense of LinkedIn so that they can make the most of it. It’s often a subtle approach, simply because there are so many people, attitudes, industry types and so on.

Some people are gregarious, some are shy.

Interestingly, it’s senior management and leadership who seem to struggle the most. If that’s you, read on...

Firstly, don’t worry. You are not alone.

Secondly, don’t assume this article is evangelising LinkedIn or Social Media in general – it’s not.

If though, you’re starting to wonder whether you may be losing more than you protect by staying out of this space, then it’s worth clearing some of those question marks away.

Have you asked yourself the following questions:

• Are people looking for me on LinkedIn?
• If so, what are they finding? What conclusion does that make them draw?
• Is LinkedIn a fad, or is now standard professional reference material?
• Are my team using LinkedIn? What are they doing?
• What do my stakeholders expect? What do journalists expect?

There are more but that will give you a feel for where LinkedIn sits and how it might affect you.
This next bit might sting a little, so apologies in advance, but stay with me – nobody knows you’re reading this, so it’s just between us!

It’s important to understand that one of the reasons for slow uptake of Social Media amongst leadership (apologies again for the generalisation but the data do support this) is the generational split in the demographics. If you’re Senior Management or Leadership, chances are that you’re 45 plus. Typically, it will be younger, less senior people doing the networking.
 

Here’s the rub:

Seniority and social hierarchy often dictates how leaders interact.
Are you allowing your position as a leader to prevent you from understanding what’s happening in this medium because you perceive it to be “Low value” or “Low status”?

Whatever the answer, make it an informed one and remember there are a few leaders who maybe wished they had answered themselves more honestly about the importance of social media to them – Muammar Gaddaffi, Bashar al-Assad and Hosni Mubarak to name a few.
 

Would you like to know more about how Glow can help you with Social Media?

By Phil Blything – Director of Liverpool Digital Marketing Agency, Glow New Media.
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LinkedIn Went Public!

Posted on July 14, 2011 18:42 by blything

For those in the know, it was little surprise that LinkedIn chose to go public last month with its much publicised IPO. LinkedIn has been around now for nearly 10 years and unlike twitter, has been profitable for much of that. Early revenue streams came from the obvious recruitment services that arise when you’re sitting on a database of professional contacts and millions of profiles which effectively constitute their CVs.

It's recent timing that’s interesting however – any LinkedIn users will likely agree with me that the number of requests for connections has increased considerably in the last 6 months, particularly since November. There are three main reasons:

LinkedIn iPhone app now allows people to add each other when they’re out networking
Many businesses familiarised themselves with social networking on Facebook and yearned for a better, more business credible platform. Then found it.
Mainly though, the economy broke, people got worried about their job and all of a sudden, realised that their network was their most valuable asset.
Does LinkedIn suddenly start to look like its time has come?

Now ask the question why the IPO. Why now?

There are two answers which leap out to me. It could be as mundane as looking for a high spot to go public to maximise return from the share issue, OR it could be that they need capital because they have big plans.
I’m inclined to think it’s a little of both.

You can follow LinkedIn progress here.

Would you like to know more about how Glow can help you with Social Media?

By Phil Blything – Director of Liverpool Digital Marketing Agency, Glow New Media.
I encourage you to republish this article, on the condition that you leave this by-line footer and links unaltered.

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