Data leak or avoidable email campaign blunder?
Clearly, for those individuals affected by the recent email management mistakes made by a London sexual health centre, the result must have been devastating and those involved have our sympathy for a supposed email campaign blunder.
However, the media’s reaction in describing this as “a data leak” is headline grabbing and exaggerated. What’s more, with the correct procedures and tools in place this unfortunate situation could have been so easily avoided.
The case for online marketing tools
Whatever the size of the organisation, or business, there are now easy–to-use tools for all aspects of online activity – including sending emails. Anyone with a good understanding of sending emails will realise that this mistake was made by clicking on cc, rather than bcc, when preparing the email (this is explained well and in more detail by data security expert Graham Cluley here.). As Graham explains in his article, someone with an even better understanding of email management would know that there are tools available which eliminate the risk of this happening and these tools offer so much more too.
Depending on the size of your database there are email tools, or Email Service Providers (ESPs), with which you can co-ordinate email campaigns costing zero to a few pence per send. Tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact and Dotmailer all eliminate the risk of email addresses being shared by mistake, as in the case of this London Clinic, and they also provide really useful tracking functionality so that you can see who opened your email and which links to your website were clicked and when.
Online risk avoidance
Has this unfortunate error made you think about the email tools you use and the processes you have in place? Are you concerned that this might be an area where you don’t have sufficient team resources or expertise within your office structure? This is where an agency like Cariad Marketing can help because we can manage the whole process for you – design a template, help with the copywriting and complete the send; simply delivering you with an easy to understand report on how many emails were sent, opened and how many of your email objectives were achieved.
It’s very sad that such a dreadful experience for over 800 people this week has triggered an interest in, and awareness of, the risks for all organisations, large and small, in taking email marketing for granted. However, the unfortunate outcome has highlighted the importance of applying the correct procedures and processes and of using the correct online tools; so that, in future, a similar mailing campaign mistake is unlikely to be repeated.
Want to know more about how we can help you with your email campaigns? Find out here.
Google and Alphabetti Spaghetti, is there a connection today?
Hardly a 21st century product, Alphabetti Spaghetti was discontinued by Heinz in 1990 then re-launched to hungry and alphabet pasta craving consumers in 2005 – when Google was just seven years old and just one year into being a publicly owned company.
Ten years on from its seventh birthday, now the world’s largest search engine, Google is very much a 21st century organisation and, as such, is re-structuring to make best use of its continuing diversification into new areas of our digital lives and to work in the arena of the increasingly mentioned “internet of things” or IoT.
“So where’s the alphabetic connection?” we hear you ask! Yesterday morning, from its US base and to a worldwide audience, Google announced it has rebranded with the launch of a new holding company called Alphabet and Google will be the largest wholly owned subsidiary of that company. As far as Google search, and its other online search related tools and products, is concerned, nothing will change; but this rebranding move will enable the Google team to focus on its core search business while Alphabet, the new holding company, will provide the facility to pursue ventures like self-driving cars and work in other areas like medical research and all independently of the Google brand.
In an article in today’s Guardian we learn that the reasoning behind the new name is Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Google’s co-founders, “liked Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important inventions and the core of how we index with Google search”.
Want to find out more? Check out abc.xyz a simple and funky new domain (with no .co.uk or .com; instead it’s a “.xyz” how very relevant for a brand new company called Alphabet). At abc.xyz you’ll find a full explanation of what Alphabet is all about!
Social media has embraced the new name and the networks are buzzing with the news, although it does seem to have provoked some confusion with The Guardian’s Social and Community Manager @ElenaCresci who posed the question on Twitter “is Google still Google or what?” The answer to that must surely be “very much so” but “watch this space with Alphabet” and follow the trending hashtag #Alphabet.
If you’d like to know more about how your company can improve its visibility via the world’s largest search engine, Google, please contact the team on 01992 582 824 we’d love to help.
Do a big Google search darling
In 2011 when my mother suggested that I “do a big Google”, she didn’t actually add the word search but I knew what she meant, I remember I was sat on the sofa at home, with my new “companion screen”- an iPad 2 – and my search was drawing a blank. Sat opposite me my digitally curious, but not particularly digitally savvy, elderly mother was suggesting that I re-locate to my desktop PC upstairs to do a “big Google” where she thought I might have more success!
At that time her request prompted laughter from me but in 2015, and particularly from 21 April, her words seem more prophetic or even futuristic because Google will be changing its algorithms so that a search on a mobile device like an iPad, or even smaller smartphone screen, may indeed deliver a different search result.
From 21st April 2015 Google will be changing its algorithm on mobile-search.
Why 21 April?
This is a big date in 2015’s digital calendar, the launch date of a new algorithm change which will determine how websites are found when the search is conducted on a tablet or a smartphone, this is what’s now referred to as “mobile search”.
If you own a website should you be concerned? The simple answer is yes. However, the severity of your concern depends on the nature of your business and the current volume of traffic your website is attracting from mobile devices. If your analytics suggest that volumes are currently low you should still think of investing in a new mobile-friendly website; but the case is less urgent than for a business which can see mobile traffic is a significant and growing share of its website traffic.
Why is Google doing this?
Google advocates good “user experience” or, if you like jargon, UX in website design and build and, with large numbers of people using mobile devices for online searches (according to Nielson 87% of mobile users use their devices for shopping activities including searching for a product or service, price comparisons and addresses) Google is simply rewarding businesses for providing a good user experience via a mobile friendly website.
Therefore, regardless of your current volumes of website visitors via mobile search, the need to invest in a new website is not going to go away. This is the first step Google has taken to penalise websites which are not mobile-friendly and it is likely that it won’t be the last.
It seems that today my mother would not have been far wrong with her suggestion to “do a big Google darling”; however, the solution is not in which device you use but in how responsive the website is that you are searching! And going forward the responsive website owner will have more confidence and success in online search.
If you’d like to know more about mobile search or targeted online marketing please get in touch with us at email@example.com or call 01992 582 824.
Like us on Facebook
Late November last year my partner and I chose to buy the Cinema Unlimited deal which, as the name implies, invites us to see as many films as we can fit into our spare time and, inevitably, means we see rather a lot of our local Cineworld. On every visit, since joining, I encounter their “ticker message” with the words “Like us on Facebook” and on every trip I have an internal conversation with myself asking …”why should I”?
To this day I have not “liked” Cineworld on Facebook because why should I? They have given me no good reason! Will I find competitions? Probably. Will I find film listings? Perhaps. Will I find film reviews? Now there’s a really good reason to like their page but I’m left in the dark, literally in the winter months, and almost told or instructed to “Like us on Facebook”. There are two key learnings for businesses using social media here.
Are you giving your audience a reason to ‘like’ your Facebook page?
Give people reasons to “Like” you
Firstly, remember that all social media, including Facebook, should be part of any overall communication strategy and not simply be an “add on” without any thought or planning; therefore, Cineworld, should be inviting their cinema visitors to engage via Facebook providing good reasons to “Like” them on Facebook.
Make it easy to find you
Secondly, make it easy for your audience to find your organisation on all social media at all times. Use distinct logos of the individual social networks where you have a presence and tell people where you are, with Twitter it’s easy as you have your Twitter handle like @CariadMarketing; other social media networks offer you “vanity urls”, for example, you can find us on Facebook here www.Facebook.com/CariadMarketing If you have not claimed a Facebook URL for your business you can follow the instructions here.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
When you are encouraging people to connect via social media, always remember that there’s so much more to social networks than “likes”, “follows” and “connections” and it’s simply too easy to say “we’re on Facebook” or “we do social media”. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and identify all the different touch points you have with your clients, and potential clients, as part of your overall communication strategy; then ensure that you’re providing the right messages and content in the right places at the right time.
As for film reviews – I might be the right person to ask! After 40 films in four months the Cineworld Unlimited deal has certainly paid for itself already; but they’ve not persuaded me to “like” them on Facebook yet!
If you’d like to discuss the social media needs for your business or organisation, or invest in a social media management package, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01992 582 824.
Real networking or networking in real time?
At Cariad Marketing we are true advocates of networking, local networking, industry networking – if it’s called a networking event we’re probably there! If the event is right for our business of course.
And then there’s virtual networking isn’t there? Isn’t that part of the attraction and benefit of taking part in social media? Well we think so, in fact we know so!
Social media provides networking in real time 24/7. Rather than wait for the next event to catch up with industry colleagues and clients past or present you can simply dip into LinkedIn and Twitter to get the latest news and engage with your peers! What better way to congratulate someone on a promotion or work anniversary than react to LinkedIn’s prompt and add a few words of your own.
Your online networking tools
In lieu of breakfast, lunch or evening networking events try the social media alternatives which take place at a time to suit you – 24 hours a day! Here are the three which you should consider:
Of course, virtual networking is not the same as the real thing but used together they can build stronger and more lasting business relationships. And, like networking groups, it’s often best to be selective so don’t spread you social media marketing too thinly, choose carefully.
The marketing advantages
Of course networking groups have huge sales and marketing advantages by providing you with the opportunity to represent your business and extend the reach of your company’s connections. Virtual networking via social media networks has the added advantage of helping you to drive visits to your website provided, of course, through quality copywriting and messaging you make your posts interesting and relevant for your target audience.
A picture paints a thousand words
We all know the saying “a picture paints a thousand words” it’s imprinted in all our minds and often, when we see a unique and meaningful image we realise that it probably does convey what a thousand words could express. But when do when have the time to read a thousand words?
That’s why images are so useful and helpful for digital marketers. And if you own a website or use social media for your business you’re a digital marketer and need to recognise the value of images for your messaging and communications.
Pre-dates digital marketing
Apparently, the familiar phrase started out in life during the second decade of the last century. In 1911 the phrase “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words” appeared in a newspaper article in Brisbane and two years later similar wording “One look is worth a thousand words” featured in an American newspaper advertisement.
Clearly, early 20th century communicators and advertisers had recognised the value and contribution a good graphic could make to the effectiveness of their work and that discovery and belief holds true today.
Images can be eye catching and capture attention quickly and efficiently whether it’s a familiar logo, a clever cartoon or a beautifully composed photograph. Unlike our 20th century predecessors, who did not have the advantages of having the digital world at their fingertips, in a couple of clicks we can easily include images in our social media posts, email marketing campaigns and, of course, our website pages.
The digital revolution has created opportunities for graphic artists who have embraced this change in their work. In 2012 David Hockney’s exhibition at the Royal Academy in London included digital compositions which had been created, without a traditional paint brush, on his iPad – just one example of a mature artist who now includes digital work as part of his repertoire (see image, right).
And here, at Cariad Marketing, we continue to grow our own creative team which includes James and George, recognising and responding to our clients’ needs for attention grabbing and informative creative work.
Yes, relevant copy and keywords are still important but there’s so much more to online marketing now and colourful images certainly play an increasingly important part.