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30 Days of Free Advice Day 8 Update!

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Advice

Free marketing advice continues in Tunbridge Wells

As we draw close to the end of day 8 of our marketing challenge the number of business’s we have been helping has sky rocketed! We are now averaging 4 free website, search engine optimisation and social media reports every day! Barely giving us time to write our blog!

Our free advice has helped local charities, bars, fashion boutiques, restaurants, hotels – the lot! If you would like some free advice too why not call us on 01892 549556, or alternatively email josh@curve-interactive.com

Thanks for reading and speak to you soon!

Josh

Email ‘subject line’ and ‘from line’

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The “Subject Line Best Practice” Article of Your Dreams

The most important part of an email is making sure it gets opened! And as they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression so you have to make sure your from line and subject line are in great shape. These are the first things subscribers will see in their inbox so you need to make sure they are compelling, and make the subscriber want to open it. A bad subject line and from line can cause your email to get caught in spam filters, make your leads unsubscribe and stop people opening it. The ëfrom lineí is very simple to make perfect; it should just be your brand name, simple as that.

The following guidelines give several ideas as to how to optimise your subject line;

  1. An email subject line should be like a call to action and should start with a verb such as learn. download, or sign up.
  2. Subject lines must relate to the content inside the email! This may sound obvious, but it is often the case that the actual content of the email ends up have nothing to do with the subject line! This is usually because the sender is trying to write such an attractive subject line that what is actually in the email is forgotten!
  3. The call to action used in the email subject line should be repeated in the email copy.
  4. Use your brand name in the subject line. A recent study from Mailchimp found that emails were more likely to be opened if they included the companyís name in it.
  5. Make sure you include the emailís offer in the subject line, so people know the value the email will provide them e.g. ìDiscover how one business doubles their revenue using social mediaî
  6. Creating a sense of urgency is a good tactic to use in conjunction with a compelling offer. One way to do this is to use brackets in the subject line. For example, you might be promoting an upcoming webinar and you want to make sure recipients realise this right away. Your subject line could be, ìLearn to Become an Efficient Blogger with Curve Interactive [Webinar in 2 Days].
  7. As mentioned earlier you cannot afford to have your emails get caught up in spam filters. To give yourself the best chance do not use spammy words like ëfreeí, act now and offer. Also do not have all your words in capital letters or over use exclamation marks!!!!!
  8. I recommend keeping your subject line under 50 characters if possible. Having anything longer you run the risk of words being cut off. Each email client shows a different number of characters varying from 30 to over 80 but most show around the 45-50 character mark. If your email system allows it then try to do a split-test on a subject line. Test 2 very different subject lines against each other on a subset of the database and then set the main bulk of emails to be sent using the better performing subject line ñ usually based on Open rate. Take on board the learnings and then test again the next time around.
  9. Make sure the first few lines of your email copy are highly related to the subject line. Most email clients have a preview function which pulls out the first couple of lines of text, if this is consistent to what the email says and reinforces its points readers will have more reason to open it.

 

30 Days of Free Advice Challenge!

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Advice

As of April 8th 2013 our account manager, Josh Hamit, will be embarking on a challenge like no other.

The aim of the challenge is simply “to get every business in Tunbridge Wells set-up with a profitable digital marketing strategy”.

For 30 days Josh will be visiting local businesses in Tunbridge Wells and explaining to business owners exactly how they can use simple techniques to drum up more business both locally and nationally. The advice will mainly relate to improving a business’ position in the search engine results pages and generating more sales and awareness via social media. However, Josh will be happy to help you with any other marketing questions you may have!

70% of people use the internet when they are looking to buy a product locally, and therefore making sure your business ranks on the first page of Google is vital for the continued success of your business. Josh will provide free on-the-spot recommendations and advice that will help your business grow.

At Curve Interactive we always seeks to over-deliver and provide real value. If you would like us to visit your business get in contact with us today via twitter: @curveinteractiv, email: graham@curve-interactive.com or phone; 01892 549556

Facebook redesign makes it easier for brands to SPAM your News Feed

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Facebook (March, 2013) has announced in that it is set to change the design of the News Feed page (again!). However, unlike other drastic changes to the Facebook layout, this redesign hasn’t caused any major upsets yet!

The new design is now much more photo-centric and on the face of things looks a lot less cluttered. The left panel has been completely redesigned and is very similar to the left panel seen on the Facebook mobile application. The right panel has also been made narrower, leaving a lot more space for the News Feed content. In short, the new design does look like an improvement.

Chris Cox of Facebook has stated that the main reason behind the redesign is to make sure user content is shown off in the best possible fashion. The Facebook team believe this is best achieved by reducing the clutter around user content. In essence, the redesign is trying to move Facebook out the way as much as possible.

New options have been added to the News Feed so users can filter content based on categories such as Music, Photos, Pages, Games and Close friends or their own custom categories.

For businessís advertising on the platform it has been confirmed that the redesign will allow ìricher and biggerî Sponsored Posts (adverts). The redesign gives marketers a larger canvas to work with and the ability to make their paid adverts appear in specific News Feed categories. For example, Nintendo may want their adverts to appear only in the Games tab. Choosing to do this Nintendo will be able to target their adverts specifically to an audience that are looking at a related subject.

A further benefit to businesses is the recent algorithmic change to what appears in a Facebook usersí News Feed. You may have noticed recently that images and videos now appear a lot more frequently in your News Feed and this is due to the change in the formula that works out what content should appear there. This coupled with a new design which looks to show off more visual content it is expected the prominence of branded visual media will increase further. This means you will be likely to see more unwanted Sponsored Messages.

However, looking at it from a brands point of view the redesign gives businessís a great opportunity to get creative with their adverts.

Interestingly, it is looking like the adverts in the right side panel will be phased out. This may be problematic for some marketers who rely on the ads as a cheap way to reach their target audience. It also may cause issues with Facebook users as it means businesses are pushed to use Sponsored Messages to reach their potential customers. Sponsored Messages are much more intrusive than the right side bar advertisements.

In the wake of Facebook going public they are looking for ways to increase revenue streams and this is their latest shot at improving the companyís valuation. My worry is with more and more unwanted adverts appearing in our News Feeds will we all get frustrated and move to other social networks that are less advertisement heavy? I always thought we use the internet to find what we want, not to be bombarded with advertisements, we have TV and radio for that.

 

Heath Farm Fostercare Case study – Integrated marketing

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Heath Farm logo

Heath Farm Fostercare

  • Web design, build and analytics
  • Content creation
  • E-campaign and adverts
  • Print design and production

In August 2012, Acorn Care and Education approached Curve Interactive to help raise awareness of fostering and acquire new foster carers at Heath Farm in Kent, which also runs a school for children with complex emotional and behavioural issues.

What we did

Research and strategic input

  • Reviewed and analysed existing online and offline marketing
  • To avoid confusion and cater for two distinct audiences, we recommended to split Heath Farmís website into two distinct sites ñ one for fostering, the other for the special school
  • To attract more fostering enquiries, we made a strategic recommendation to promote fostering as a viable career and shift peoplesí perception on whatís involved (itís often perceived as a voluntary occupation). This led to us purchasing a new domain ëmyfostercareer.orgí

Content creation

  • Researched the content for online and offline marketing by interviewing foster carers and staff ñ including motivations to foster, more information about the children, vital practical information, benefits of fostering with Heath Farm, and frequently asked questions
  • Researched and wrote foster carerís real stories to be used across all marketing
  • Established a ëtone-of-voiceí for Heath Farm Fostering ñ welcoming, friendly and reassuring

Design and build of website

  • heath farm webdesignProduced sitemap and customer journeys for the website
  • Designed a clear and concise design with strong calls to actions and signposting throughout
  • Developed the site in Word Press CMS to allow for easy editing of the content by the client
  • Optimised the website for organic seach
  • Implemented tracking to allow for clear measurement and reporting

Printed marketing materials

  • Planned, wrote and designed a 20 page brochure, folder and tri-fold leaflet ñ drawing on established branding and new copy and positioning
  • Arranged cost-effective printing (more…)

A little more about Curve

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Curve Interactive is a full service marketing agency that specialises in integrated marketing campaigns.

We believe marketing should delight and stimulate great customer experiences across all media channels. Our ability to deliver superb value to you and your customers is something we pride ourselves on and is something we seek to improve every day.

Having said that, first and foremost we believe marketing is about generating results. Using the latest marketing techniques we are able to track and measure every penny of your marketing spend. And from this we are able to learn exactly what is working for you and how we can refine and improve it further.

Our dedicated team of marketing experts thrive on creating marketing campaigns that go above and beyond all expectations.

We create marketing results that measure up ñ and thatís why we exist.

A selection of our services include;
  • Marketing strategy
  • Website development
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Print
  • Film and video
  • Display ads

Since our humble beginnings in 2007, we have worked our with some of the best business’s around, including 3M, BSkyB, RAC, PruHealth, the BBC and Oxford University to name but a few. We also work closely with a number of local start-ups and smaller businesses and since we’ve opened a new office in Tunbridge Wells we have seen local business grow. (more…)

Launch of Eastwaybikes com

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Last month saw the launch of the Eastway Bikes website. This is the second website we have designed and built for Fisher Leisure – and with a third site to be completed in the next week we hope this is that start of a great relationship between Curve Interactive and Fisher.

The 2 finished sites have been built to coincide with the launch of Fisherís new in-house cycling brands; U34 and Eastway bikes. Both websites have bespoke designs reflecting the unique look and feel each brand is looking to represent.

Search engine optimisation best practices have been implemented throughout the build of each site, with keyword research and mapping being researched and planned months in advance. Furthermore, because the site is built in WordPress the client is able to uphold theses on-page SEO best practices as we move forward by following our simple advice.

Due to the increase in the amounts of people surfing the web via mobile devices, responsive design features were taken into consideration in the initial build. The sites render differently when viewed on a smartphone or tablet compared to a PC and this is done to make sure the user is presented with the website in a fashion that is easy to read and navigate.

Currently the websites do not have E-commerce capabilities, but with the future in mind enabling this in the coming months will not be a problem. We expect to turn this functionality on within the next 6 months.

Overall we are extremely happy with the design of both the U34 and Eastway Bikes websites.

 

What is SEO and why is it important

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Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of improving the position of a website within search engines results pages. Its ultimate aim is to get a website or webpage placed in position #1 for the keywords and keyword phrases being targeted. For example, Cadbury will want to appear in the #1 position for the search query ëchocolate barí. (more…)

A very quick explanation as to how SEO works

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In its simplest terms there are two main factors that contribute to your websites position in the search engine results page (SERPs).

  1. On page SEO this relates to all the code on your website and the way that it is structured. This includes, amongst several other factors; HTML heading tags, alt text, file names, URL structure, keyword density, internal link structure and use of bold and italic text. On page SEO amounts to around 30% of where you website ranks, the other 70% is dependent on the second factor; Off Page SEO.
  2. Off Page SEO/ Link Building this is all about how many links your website has from other websites. Every inbound link to your website can be classed as a ìvoteî in the giant popularity contest that is the internet. In short, the more links to your website from other websites the higher your site will rank in search results pages (SERPs).

However, not all links are equal. Having links from websites that are authoritative and related to your industry will help drive your website up the SERPs much more effectively than getting links from a non-related websites.

A SEO job requires in-depth keyword research and mapping before anything else in the process is started. After this is complete, all pages within the website need to be optimised in terms of copy, meta descriptions, rich snippets, file names, alt text, URL structure, schema tags, etc. for the selected keywords.

SEO is an on-going process that usually takes several months of continuous effort building links before any change in the search engine result pages is seen. Link building, as mentioned earlier, accounts for around 70% of a websites position in the SERPs.

When starting an SEO campaign with Curve a six month link building plan will be drawn up and includes;

  • Off-site content creation (which link back to your site). These could be blog articles, press releases, or social media updates – all are original and researched by our copy writers.
  • Link reinforcement – Placing published content in media outlets on the web is great, but these pieces need viral growth of their own. Link reinforcement means sending social signals to each content piece. As a result, it is more credible and Google’s algorithm places more value in the content piece.
  • Content publication – Our team partners with the top web publication sites and distributes your content for publishing. We carefully select sites that give you maximum visibility and draw in relevant traffic, improving the authority of your website in its space online.
  • Social bookmarking – we create and promote social bookmarks for each individual bit of your content on sites such as Reddit and Digg. Each social bookmark building another link to your link profile. (more…)

How to increase my facebook pages number of likes

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Often business owners ask me ìHow can I increase the number of ëLikesí on my Facbook page?î My standard response to this question is always amongst the following lines: ìThe key to creating a page with a large number of ëLikesí is to create a page that encourages user interaction.î And it is as simple as that, you need not focus on anything else. Creating a page that has fans interacting and engaging with content regularly will drive a pageís messages to the top of your fans ëNewsfeedsí.

As you know, the reason you want a Facebook user to ëLikeí your page is so that in the future your branded communications via Facebook will reach their Newsfeed, hopefully creating brand resonance and future custom for your business. Facebook employs a complex algorithm that works out which content should appear on a usersí Newsfeed. If a user engages with a page regularly (looks at, comments, shares a post, high frequency of visit, etc.) the algorithm will distinguish that page as important to that user and will in return make future posts from this page feature more prominently in their Newsfeed.

Contrastingly, if someone was to Like your page today, but never return or interacted with it, within a few weeks its ability to appear in that users Newsfeed is next to 0. Therefore, engagement is the key to Facebook page success! You must make sure every individual who Likes your page has a reason to interact with your content. Doing so will push your Page further through the social network and into the Newsfeeds of ëFriends of Fansí allowing huge growth in terms of numbers of Likes, in turn leading to increased web traffic and brand awareness.

So I’ll say that again in a different way; to get more Likes on your Facebook Page you must first make your current fans engage with your page. When you have accomplished this Friends of Fans will start noticing posts by you in their Newsfeeds via their friend, and being the inquisitive species that we are, we know these friends will be taking a look at what their friend is doing. This is all tracked through Facebook’s built in page analytics.

There are numerous ways to increase page engagement and interactivity;

  1. Post newsworthy and interesting content on a regular basis. If you do not have any unique content of your own to publish, share something related from another page (or rewrite and repost it yourself 😉 ) (more…)

Email client usage trend analysis

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As a specialist digital marketing agency we send out emails every month for our clients. Along with measuring the standard statistics such as open rates and click through we pay particular attention to what email client (e.g Hotmail, Gmail) our emails are being opened in. Each email client renders a HTML email in a different fashion and therefore it is important for us to understand where emails are being opened so we can make sure the design renders correctly in each one. However, there is one more important reason we pay attention to this stat. We want to see how the open rate on mobile devices increases over time. And it has come as no surprise that the number of opens on iOS devices (iPhones, iPad and iTouch) have more than doubled since the beginning of 2012.

Percentage of emails opened in each email client

The % of emails opened in iOS on the other hand has more than doubled in the same time period. In January 2012 the average number of emails opened in iOS was 10.1%. 8.3% of these opens can be attributed to iPhone opens, 1.7% to iPad opens and 0.1% to iPod Touch opens. As of this August, the total number of opens on iOS devices had risen to 20.9%.

iOS Device January 2012 May 2012 August 2012
iPhone 8.3% 12.1% 12.9%
iPad 1.7% 5.7% 7.9%
iTouch 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Total 10.1% 17.9% 20.9%

Predicted trend for 2013

We expect as we go further into 2013 the number of emails opened on mobile to increase further, but not as much as the trend above suggests. We expect the rate at which Outlook opens are falling and iOS devices open rates are rising to slow and reach a plateau at 54% and 28% respectively.

What we are seeing is that more and more of our clients are adopting mobile strategies in terms of their email and websites. We can only recommend this behavior as the late majority of the population pick up their smart phones and start browsing the web and opening emails on their mobile devices. Emails and websites opened on mobiles without a responsive design are seeing very poor click-through rates so if this is something your business has not addressed yet, now looks the perfect time to take action!

 

New Research Shows SEO is the #1 Medium for Creating Leads

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New Research Shows SEO is the #1 Channel for Driving Leads

The latest research from the ëState of Digital Marketingí survey shows that SEO continues to be the leading channel for driving new leads online. The survey concluded that digital marketers cite SEO as their top lead generating tool. In todayís blog, we will go over the key findings from the research report.

SEO Holds Top Spot

59% of B2B digital marketing companies surveyed said that search engine optimisation makes the biggest impact on their lead generation efforts. This is a 2% increase from last yearís 57% – showing that recent changes to Googleís search algorithm have not made an impact on SEOís ability to bring in traffic and leads to businessís websites. In fact, perhaps the 2% increase could be attributed to the algorithm update increasing the likelihood of targeted users finding the content they need and thus making SEO more effective in its ability to generate leads. SEO continues to hold the majority vote, being voted more effective than the combined totals of social media and pay per click (PPC) advertising.
 (more…)