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Why Creating A Digital Marketing Strategy Is Important

Creating a well researched digital marketing strategy is key to long term success. It is the foundation and focus of all your marketing efforts. It will help maximise ROI and provide measurable data to analyse the success of your efforts. Without a well structured marketing plan your marketing efforts are simply a stab in the dark.

 

Business Goals and Values

Define what your business has to offer and the business model. Who is your business for?

 

Create a Value Proposition using a template like this one made popular by Geoff Moore.

 

FOR Who is the target customer
WHO A statement of the need/opportunity
OUR The product or service/category
THAT The statement of benefit
UNLIKE Closest competitor
OUR OFFER The primary differentiator

 

 

Who and When are your customers?

Who are you targeting and where in the customer journey are they? Are they unaware you offer your product or are they close to making a purchase?

Why Define a target audience?

Knowing who is likely to want or need what you are offering is key to achieving your business goals. Having too broad a target audience will result in a low ROI and wasted marketing efforts. Most paid marketing efforts (SEM, SMM) allow you to focus on who sees your ads. Having defined a target audience in your digital strategy will make this part easier.

 

Ask yourself:

  • Who are your customers?
  • How and when are they likely to use your business?
  • What are their pain points? What barriers do they face?
  • Which social media channels are they likely to use?
  • What do they do for a living?

 

Most of this is guess work for a new start up but this is also why creating an avenue for customer feedback and collecting data about customers is vital. Be sure you are GDPR compliant though!

 

Creating objectives

‘SMART’ is a well established tool for defining marketing goals. Hubspot state – “HubSpot users that have the most success identify their long-term marketing goals using the SMART goal framework”. Being SMART about an objective is the difference between ‘I want to make more money’ and ‘I want to make £10,000 in the next 6 months selling our new {product/service}’.

So what are SMART marketing objectives?

 

Specific Your goal should be unambiguous and communicate what is expected, why it is important, who’s involved, where it is going to happen and which constraints are in place.
Measurable Your goal should have firm criteria for measuring progress and reaching the goal.
Attainable Your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach. Think about time and cost.
Relevant Your goal should matter to your business and address a core initiative.
Timely State the expected date that you intend to reach the goal.

 

Select your KPI’s

Make sure your KPI’s have metrics that are measurable and relate to your marketing goals and objectives. For instance, number of leads generated, website visitors or click through rate from email campaigns. Impact.com have a very useful post outlining the Top 10 KPI’s in marketing.

 

Where to market?

You will need to develop a plan as to which platforms and media you will use to market. Will you use direct marketing such as email or chat bots or pay for search and social media ads. Messaging platforms are set to see a massive rise in popularity in 2018. You could create a blog on your website or consider influencer marketing? Can you reach out to other related businesses for backlinks? Where you base your marketing efforts will ultimately depend on your target audience.

 

How to market?

What will your content look like?

 

This could be in the form of blog posts created or curated by yourself. You could hire a social media manager / marketer to do this for you. You could create ad copy and images for paid ads or even create videos to convey your message. The best strategies will use a combination of a variety of methods based on your target audience.

 

Measure and Optimise

The key to any digital marketing strategy is to regularly assess, measure and optimise throughout the process. Why continue spending money on an ad that clearly isn’t working or continue to send emails that had very low click through rate (CTR). Consider A/B testing ad copy or images but be sure only to have one variation during an A/B test, otherwise it will be unclear what made the difference.

 

We hope this helps you start to build your marketing plan. But, if you want Yellow Mango to help – get in touch.

7 steps to an effective digital marketing strategy

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Blockchain and Cryptocurrency meetup Manchester

Our team attended the first tech meet up of 2018; Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies held at Federation, Manchester last week (16/02). Given that Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are still a relatively new concept there isn’t a large community in the North West of England so we were looking forward to attending to see what projects were underway.

What is the hype about?

Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies appeared in the mainstream media throughout 2017 mainly due to the extreme price fluctuations of the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Depending on which media outlet you were using the stories ranged from how Bitcoin had made individuals millionaires through to how it was being used as a method of anonymous payments for the underground.

There is an ever growing community surrounding cryptocurrencies as individuals try to better understand real-world applications and use cases for the underlying technology, Blockchain.

Our team are currently actively working on Ethereum based projects so we’ll provide more insights into how we believe Blockchain technologies will impact digital businesses.

What did we learn at the meet-up?

Given that Blockchain community isn’t particularly established as mentioned earlier I had admittedly formed some preconceptions of the event. If all failed at least there was pizza!

The session appeared to be attended by a mixture of groups; blockchain companies, developers, technology evangelists, investors and free pizza lovers. The diverse nature of the group made for some good conversations and debates.

The event was split into a sessions and provided the opportunity for companies to provide an insight into their ICO (initial coin offering). It was interesting to learn how these young startups had established themselves and accumulated circa £2M in one example of funding.

Two of the guest speakers had specifically flown in for the event from Germany and Cyprus so not only did we hear about local (Manchester/UK) projects but we had the opportunity to gain insights into what is happening in Europe. In Germany for example the government are embracing Blockchain technologies and are actively looking at real-world problems to solve using Ethereum. I initially thought the German view on Blockchain would be that of resistance given that Governments would not be in full control of a decentralized network but quite the opposite.

Another theme of conversation was regulation and what 2018 holds for Blockchain andCryptocurrencies. The general consensus was that regulation on ICO’s would become stricter with companies requiring to share more information and being transparent with their activities. I personally support this, in 2017 there were far too many negative stories where companies had taken ICO money and run. If ICO market is to grow we need the controls in place and investors need to be protected.

As for 2018, well that’s anyone’s guess however there was a common agreement by most who attended and that was Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are here to stay but there will be some consolidation. Most agreed that Ethereum would likely replace Bitcoin as the most favourable platform given the concept of Smart Contracts and new network improvements in speed.

Conclusions

In summary a good event and one i’ll look to return back to when it returns to Manchester. We will provide an updated more detailed post on Blockchain and specifically our progress with Ethereum in the near future. If anyone would like anymore information on the session or the subjects mentioned please drop a comment in the post.

 

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Featured in Cheshire’s Fastest Growing B2B Magazine

Its with great excitement that we can share with you that our first advertising campaign of 2018 launched in January focusing on the B2B (business to business) market. One of our strategic goals this year is to focus on local Cheshire businesses and look to help clients deliver B2B digital marketing initiatives. Throughout 2018 we will be expanding on our existing Digital Consultancy services with the launch of our Digital Marketing services which include SEO, Paid Search, Email marketing and Google Analytics consultancy.

Following our detailed market research we decided to partner with Cheshire Media to help implement the first stage of our advertising campaign. Cheshire Media distribute a publication to accurately report the major business events in the region; profile leading business people; and act as a communications platform for regional businesses.

If you like to see our new advert pick-up the January/February edition or alternative view the online version.

Open post The Importance of Digital Marketing for business

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

Digital Marketing And Your Business

With so many people searching online to research and buy products and services, it is imperative to have a digital marketing strategy for your business. Having a well researched plan will help bring your business closer to your online target audience.

A few stats:

  • 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. (Google, 2015)
  • 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. (Retailing Today, 2014)
  • Nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly. (eMarketer, 2017)
  • “Organisations that are inbound are more likely to state that their marketing strategy is effective. Indeed, the majority of respondents who are part of outbound organisations do not think their marketing strategy is effective”. (Hubspot state of inbound 2017)
  • Smartphones are more popular as a device for browsing products while desktop is preferred for making a transaction. (Monetate)
  • There were 2.32 billion smartphone users in 2017 globally. (Statista)

 

A strategic, multi level digital marketing plan encompasses many factors. Firstly It considers structuring your website to make it easier for people to find your website, it needs to be search engine friendly. Equally as important is the value of analysing and optimising the user experience on your website prior to investing large sums of money in paid advertising. 

 

The First Steps To Your Plan

 

  • The definition of business goals and marketing objectives
  • Identifying target audiences and customer journeys.
  • Ensuring your website is user friendly, search engine friendly and fit for purpose.
  • Creating content your target audience wants to read.
  • Optimising the desktop and mobile page speeds.
  • Search Engine Optimisation: Carefully researching and selecting keywords for your SEO efforts.
  • Ensuring your website is mobile responsive.

 

Once you have carefully considered all these aspects you are then ready to move on to creating, implementing and investing in paid and owned advertising efforts.

 

Marketing efforts can be time consuming. Make sure you set aside an adequate length of time to achieve the best marketing plans, there are plenty of online courses that can equip you with the skills needed. Alternatively you can hire a digital marketing agency like ours to help you. Yes, it will cost a fee but it will give you the time to do what you do best – run your business.

 

Strategic Digital Marketing Plan

Open post Automated Test Scripts with Yellow Mango

Creating automated test scripts with Selenium and Python

Introduction

This week we have been on site in Manchester working with one of our clients on their platform renewal programme. As we get ever closer to a base build ready for deployment and launch into production our focus is shifting more towards regression testing ensuring the key functionality/features continue to work as per the original acceptance criteria. Due to configuration of the teams (onshore/offshore) and single instance platform regression testing is becoming more of a necessity rather than ‘nice to have’.

As with most e-commerce platforms there are numerous test scenarios to work through as part of regressions testing ranging from user Sign-up, Adding to basket and Checkout through to viewing orders in My Account. With so many test scenarios to complete after each build it can be time consuming, expensive and prone to error for ‘someone’ to run through each of these.

Our team recommended automated test scripts to help take on some of the workload and free up resources to work on other activities. I’ve put this post together to share some of our learnings from the process to date including what worked well, what didn’t and how i’d approach it again.

Problem Context

As mentioned in the introduction there was a requirement to automate test scenarios after each release to ensure key functionality and features continue to work. This isn’t a unique problem for our client but something we’ve experienced with other clients and i’m pretty sure the reader of this post can relate to this also.

Before the client invested resources into automated testing we needed to prototype out what we were recommending to ensure it would offer some benefits, this was done very quickly by firing up a Python IDLE, Selenium and Chrome Webdriver. Within 30 minutes we had a basic test setup which could request URLs and perform basic functions.

Technology and tools

There are alternative languages, libraries and toolsets available however we used the below for our scenario.

    • Selenium – Web Driver – Allows the creation of automated test scripts, we decided to use the Web Driver version as we were writing scripts in Python.  For more information visit – http://www.seleniumhq.org
    • Python – Used Python (2.7) to query Selenium and create the scenarios. We love Python, it’s a very versatile language and something we have been spending more time using recently. For more information visit – https://www.python.org/
    • Chrome Webdriver – Open Source tool to complete automated testing. We decided on Chrome over Firefox due the visitor profiles (more visitors using Chrome). Fore more information visit – https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/chromedriver/home
    • Browserstack.com – We’ve used Browserstack for some time now with different clients however it continues to in our toolbox of useful software. It provides device emulation and also allows you to run your Selenium scripts across different devices. Fore more information visit – https://www.browserstack.com/
    • Coffee – This pretty much goes without saying… 🙂

What worked well

  • Its fast to get something up and running
  • It’s easy to debug errors
  • There is an extensive support network for all technology/tools mentioned in the above
  • It’s possible to pipe out results to CSV, txt files
  • We simulated time delays, typo’s, randomisation across all scenarios providing a more ‘real world’ test
  • Can run automated scripts in Browserstack to simulate different device behaviour

What didn’t work well

  • Watch out when setting URLs or defining environments, hard-coding environments is bad practice anyhow but use variables
  • When writing a long test you have to test each step before you can add further steps to the script, this can be time consuming
  • Updated/changed class names, buttons, hyperlinks can cause your scripts to break
  • There isn’t any reporting that comes out of the box
  • We didn’t get the opportunity to use Browserstack to its full capability in this instance which was a shame but hopefully the client will see the value it has to offer in the future

Considerations

  • Set-out your key scenarios from the outset, don’t just jump in and start testing. Set the context and plan out what you need
  • Don’t try and conquer every scenario in one test script; break the scripts down into modular independent tests. We tried to solve all testing requirements with a couple of scripts but re-worked them over time to create smaller more well defined tests
  • Make sure you have appropriate stock available if testing product purchases, its surprising how quickly you can run out of stock (we were processing around 2/3 orders a minute)
  • Ensure your payment processing can handle multiple requests and fraud detection is disabled as the payment provider may this its fraud
  • Notify your ops team that you will be processing the automated tests otherwise if hundreds if not thousands of requests start hitting the environment they may get upset

Summary

Overall, a successful piece of work this week and it was good to get back using Selenium and the associated technology. We managed to create a number of tests quickly which has given the client the foundations in which to create further scenarios and hopefully it can re-used for future releases thus saving time/effort.

I like the flexibility of using Python the fact it was easy to pipe out results of each test for reporting purposes, not only this but other libraries could easily be imported to help add additional functionality.

If i was to start the process again perhaps I’d look at Selenium IDE using the Firefox add on but for what we needed everything seemed to fit into place given resources, timescales, and technology available.

I can share our scripts and further detailed experience if needed, please contact us for more information.

Have a good weekend,

Michael

Open post January Blog Update. Business analysis in Manchester

January Blog Update – Manchester tech start-up

Its been a busy start to our 2016 hence the late posting of our first blog update of 2016. Excuses aside let me tell you what we’ve been update to since the last update in December.

We started working with a Manchester based tech start-up in the Northern Quarter back in November and we’ve continued on site in their offices throughout January. During this time we’ve had a very diverse role as you can imagine with a start-up environment, no day is ever the same which certainly makes it interesting!

Our team are providing business analysis services and we’ve continued to refine their requirements catalog (User Stories) working with the Product Owners and Directors. As well creating and managing User Stories we are also updating Confluence and Sparx Enterprise Architect so the business has a record of how/why the system has been designed as implemented.

Finding the right level of detail of requirements in an Agile software delivery environment is always a challenge and more so with our client given the tight timescales whilst also working with 4 different partner organisations (design agency, marketing agency, distributor & development house). We believe though that we have found the perfect balance;

Confluence

  • Epic overview – Additional detail of each Epic and a list of each User Story related
  • MVP- Has a version of a MVP (minimum viable product)
  • Product Roadmap – Details of the product roadmap
  • Meeting Minutes – Minutes from various meetings
  • Workshop artefacts – outputs from various workshops

Enterprise Architect

  • Solution Model – Overview of how the solution is built and their relationships
  • Process Flows – Business processes and the systems used
  • Sequence Diagrams – System interactions for each process
  • Data Model – Data model of the data stores (RMDMS)
  • Domain Model – Each domain entity mapped and their relationships

As we continue through the project lifecycle we will be switching our attention to business readiness and staring to validate all of the business requirements during the testing process.

Finally, we have been approached by another new client to assist their digital platform. We are in the process of creating high-level prototypes and define the scope at present but i hope i can share more information on this in February.

If you’d like more information on our currency projects or would like to discuss our services please contact us.

November blog update

Its been a while since i’ve written a blog post myself so i thought i’d take the opportunity to step away from the busy consultancy day-to-day life and let you know what I’ve working on. The decision to open the Mac and start writing was triggered after reading an intriguing Wired article whilst away on annual leave with my family. Perhaps that was the trigger i needed to down tools and reflect on what i’ve been working on and what i’m interested in looking ahead. I’d recommend setting 10 minutes aside and reading the article (November UK edition).

For the past 18 months we’ve been working with a client in Cheshire on a large platform project, it has been a fantastic opportunity of which i’m grateful for. I’ve had the chance to work with some new technology, business verticals i hadn’t worked with before and most importantly some great people.

So looking ahead whats next. Im continuing to work with one of our clients in Crewe on their new platform, the programme of work is continuing to make progress with one of the major releases due for launch soon. As well as this i’m excited to announce that i’ve been working on two other projects, a betting comparison service and a data mining project.

I started work on the betting comparison service back in September and so far progress has been steady. Due to my personal time constraints i decided to engage with a 3rd party development team to assist with the core build. Functional specifications are defined and we are pretty much 80% of the way through now. Its a unique offering and one i hope our users will enjoy. More information on the brand, website and launch dates soon…

Of recent weeks i’ve become more interested in all things data and specifically the trend related data thats available for consumption. I started to play with Google Trends and quickly was amazed on what was available and the number of use cases for this. Within one hour i could mine the latest trending topics, retrieve a count of search terms and could apply context to each item. Very cool. I decided to mine the results to a MySQL database and now i have a CRON job set-up so each hour i have new data.

I’m going to start exploring other data sets in the coming weeks including other social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and include an economic perspective with Bloomberg data. The expanded data set will help us and users of the data to create some unique use cases.

Looking a little further ahead as we close in on the end of 2015 my focus will be on completing existing projects and engaging with new/existing clients and understanding their project requirements for 2016.

I hope my update was a useful insight into what we are doing at Yellow Mango and i will share further updates in the next few weeks on the current projects.

Lab project update – TheLadHut

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Overview

A couple of weeks we let loose our first lab project into the wild, a news aggregator service which we called TheLadHut.com – This was intended to allow our team to test a number of ideas; automated content consumption, creation and publication.

So what have we learned?

Well, quite a lot actually. Since the site was made live we have been tracking it through Google Analytics and Google Webmaster allowing us to capture rich visitor data.
Over 80% of visitors have been through organic search via Google with the remaining numbers being made up by referrals on social media (Facebook/Twitter).theladhut

In terms visitor behaviour we noticed that the bounce rate was lower than we had expected and visitors were likely to view other pages that offered related content before leaving the site.

Sharing of content wasnt as expected, the level of shares was considerably lower than we thought. Perhaps a lesson learned could be to focus specific attention around the social sharing integration and introduce an improved user experience.

Whats next?

As with all our lab experiences we will leave the site running however we wont be focusing our time and attention on it unless we receive specific requests. Its been an interesting experiment for us and we’ve certainly taken away a lot in a short amount of time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Lad Hut News Aggregator

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The Lad Project

One of our aims of 2015 for was to publish new ideas and initiatives within ‘Labs’. The intention is that we will publish our pet projects into the wild so that these can be used by other entrepreneurs or hopefully trigger new ideas.

Our first Labs project is a news aggregation service which our team developed and launched during a lunch break (over a prawn sandwich!). We decided to build a standard framework which could be applied to any news type or genre. For the purpose of the experience we completed some market research to see which vertical we’d like to explore. We decided on aiming at the 18-30 male segment given the wide acceptance of similar sites.

The Technology

Based on a MySQL and PHP framework we already had our environment up and running so we decided to use this as the foundation technology.
We configured a couple of cron jobs to poll each news source on a periodic basis then stored the results in our database. For the purpose of the project we decided to use publicly available RSS feeds.
Once we had consumed the data and stored the objects locally we then made the posts available on the front-end. As each post is published we then push out to Facebook automatically.

Voila! The Lad Hut was and running within an hour and after a couple of days we’re already seen a few hundred visits.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3351″ img_size=”full” img_link=”http://www.theladhut.com”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Apple Watch prototypes and designs

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With the launch of the Apple Watch planned this year we decided to let our creative side loose with some prototypes and designs which we hope you enjoy.

We’ve included a wide range of designs from a flat UI inspired interface ideal for a hotel booking app through to a Apple Pay inspired payment design.

We’ll be publishing our designs soon, make sure you visit our site in the next few weeks for more information or contact us if you have any Apple Watch ideas.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3275″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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