GDPR and what it means for small business: Newsletters

Both Neil and myself have had a lot of questions in regards to the new legislation being enforced soon, so we thought we should write a blog telling you everything we know, as well as how to prepare yourself. We may add more blogs and make this a series if more questions arise. Please note we are not lawyers so cannot give legal advice and this blog is simply something that you may find useful.

As you may or may not know from May 2018 the way that personal data is kept is being changed through the EU, due to an update in the European GDPR law (General Data Protection Regulation).

The new privacy law will become enforceable on May 25 2018 and businesses not conforming to it have been warned with large fines. GDPR regulates how a business treats or uses the personal date of European citizens, including businesses located outside of the EU (if they have clients, or customers who are European).

Personal data is any piece of information that’s used alone or with other information that could identify a person such as name, address, Email address, telephone number etc.

If your company hold this kind of information about your clients or customers, you will need to comply with the GDPR law.

The GDPR will replace an older directive on data privacy, Directive 95/46/EC, and it introduces a few important changes that may affect small businesses.

So how will this effect newsletters?

Well if you have a newsletter and are using MailChimp, then you are holding personal data about your clients or customers. As you are holding their First and Last Name and Email address on your MailChimp account.

This means, according to GDPR, you need to gain the full consent of these clients to hold their details. Without their consent you cannot hold their personal data and wll need to give them the chance to completely delete their personal data. Unfortunately this is not as simple as unsubscribing them, as this does not completely remove all data.

Luckily this in not as difficult as it may seem. Here is how to request consent with MailChimp.

1. Head over to MailChimp and login

2. Click on “Lists” from the main menu at the top of the screen

 

 

3. Click on the title or your Newsletter list

 

 

4. Click on manage contacts on the secondary menu on the list page and select groups

 

5. Once on the group page click create group.

6. Select radio buttons from the selection. Fill in the group category area to something like “I want to stay subscribed to this newsletter and give my consent to my personal data”.

7. Fill in two group names, one that says Yes and one that says No.

 

 

8. Click save and then “Done for Now” on the next page

 

 

9. Head over to campaigns and create a new email. Name the campaign something that lets your subscribers know that you are requesting from them.

10. Fill out the campaign details as you usually would

 

11. Choose your usual email template

12. In the body of your email let your subscribers know what is happening. I suggest you tell them if they choose “No” they will have their Personal Data and Subscription deleted in 3 days and if they don’t reply they will also have their data removed within 5 days as without consent you cannot keep the date. You don’t need to be overly technical keep it plain and simple so that they understand what they need to do and why.

13. Create a link and paste into the “Web Address” area the follow code –
*|UPDATE_PROFILE|*
This will create a link in the newsletter where people can update their profile in a web page created by MailChimp as well as deny or grant their consent.

 

 

14. Here is a mock up for your reference of how our own came out

 

 

15. Send out the campaign and wait the time you stated. Then head into MailChimp again. Anyone who responded either way will now be seen under List > Your List Name > Manage Contacts > Groups> Click “View Groups” next the name of the group you created earlier.

16. Here you will see that your subscribers have been grouped according to the their answer. Now simply delete everyone in the “No” group.

 

 

 

17. If you aren’t sure how to delete contacts – here is a helpful guide from MailChimp.

 


What about going forward?

This is easier. MailChimp had removed the double opt-in procedure as a standard, however they have announce that they will be keeping it for all European accounts. Double Opt-in is a procedure for when someone signs up to your newsletter, they are sent an email asking them to consent to giving their information. If they don’t respond then no information is processed. This means your Newsletter has already receive the consent it needs to hold the personal data. You may want to write a little disclaimer in the Opt-in email which you can change in your MailChimp account so that people are 100% aware. This means though that going forward you don’t have to do anything at all.

We hope this has helped you to comply with the new GDPR laws.

Why a ‘website coming soon’ holding page is not necessarily a good idea

Whether you are having a brand new website designed and your old one is down or you have yet to have a website put up at all you should never put out a ‘website coming soon’ page.

You might think that with your brand new all singing, all dancing site on its way it’s best to let your users know and put the old site out to pasture. But this is really not the case.

They destroy user experience

While your old site might be unattractive or simply awful to use, putting up this page is even worse. While your old site might be terrible it could still hold value, still allows your users to read a little about your or find your phone number etc.

But when users are instead dumped in front of a single page with just the words “Website coming soon!”, they grow frustrated. While those words may excite you, they certainly do not elicit the same feelings from your potential client.

Google doesn’t like it

Not only do they destroy user experience and add absolutely no value to your business whatsoever but they completely nuke your SEO.

Google will index this page of just three words and it will not be impressed. If you previously had a site full of content and now have a single page any rankings your held will not only fall through the floor but will be incredibly difficult to build back up again after the new site is finally launched.

Google wont care that the new site is much prettier than the last, it will only care that you had single empty page for so long and will penalise you for a long time after for that fact. You will have to start from zero all over again.

What about new companies?

There is the misconception that as a new company you need to put something up as soon as possible, to let people and search engines know you are now around, but this is not true at all.

A ‘Website coming soon’ page will simply not rank and would you really want to point any potential clients toward it anyway?

If you haven’t ever had a website before and the first sign of your company, Google sees is a practically empty page it will be none to pleased. You will rank at the bottom of page 5000 and even when the new site goes live you will be unlikely to move much from that place. To Google, not only are you brand new, but for months you had nothing but a single page, you are hardly going to be it’s most favourite website.

As a brand new company you may – maybe – could – might, get away with having a ‘coming soon’ page but it is hardly going to help you, your company or your rank. But if you are absolutely convinced you want on just make sure it is pointing towards your Social Media pages and that those pages are buzzing with useful content for your clients.

Latest Google Algorithm – 8th March 2017

Penguin is dead! Long live Fred!

“Fred” (Unconfirmed) — March 8, 2017

Google rolled out what appeared to be a major update on the 8th of March 201. Widespread reports were heard from across the SEO community of the impacts of this update, with many sites effected with huge crashes in their user ship and lost in website revenue.

Google Spokesman Gary Illyes jokingly refrred to the update as Fred in a Twitter exchange with SEO blogger Barry Schwartz, and from there the name stuck.

Based on the evidence and data taken taken from the most affected sites, it appears the update targets ad heavy or link heavy, low value content and affiliate sites.

Our Advice:

So keep your content relevant, useful and interesting.
Avoid having more than 5 outgoing links on each page unless absolutely necessary.
Don’t write about the same subject over and over, find new things to blog about.
Keep your site up to date,
But most importantly make sure your website is as appealing to users as possible.

All Hail Fred!

7 Reasons why Online Marketing can benefit you

Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO, it all can seem to much when you already have a business to run and yet the importance of it all is growing more every day, as more and more potential clients head online to find the services they need.

If you’re unsure of what Online Marketing really is, or have already had bad experiences with it there are plenty of factors to consider before ignoring one of the largest growing digital industry entirely. To help, we at Clockwork Moggy thought we’d share a few of the top reasons we recommend every company big or small use Online Marketing.

1. Press You Control

As a business owner you have so many channels that you already own. Be it your own website through blog posts, Facebook post or Google reviews. All these channels give you the position to showcase the benefits of your services or products better than ever before.The ‘Press’ you create is followed by the customers who already love and trust your business making your post updates, discounts codes and major announcements made through social media even more effective.

2. Customer Support

This is the biggie for any modern company. Customer service is more important than ever. Now that clients from all over the world can see you, your business and your services at a click of the button. They expect you to communicate so much more. With properly managed social media not only are your customer able to ask you question about products and services but you are also able to ask them what they think about products, pricing or updates. It is a much more efficient way to communicate with you client base, after all Social Media is public so other potential clients can see just how helpful and friendly you can be. Besides responding to a Facebook comment or sending a tweet is far easier for clients than filling out questionnaire on their experiences.

3. Tracking your Competition

Spying. Okay so it’s not quite James Bond, but Online Marketing is a great way to keep an eye on what the competition in up to. The fact is, a modern customer is likely to look you up numerous times though hundreds of different channels before ever actually making contact with you. If you don’t have the right online assets the odds of them not only finding you but making a sale with you is next to none.
The trick of course that any Online Marketer will tell you is to launch campaign and makes sure you SEO is up to scratch and lastly make sure all your clients are giving you shining reviews everywhere they can.

4. Return on Investment

The return-on-investment for a full online marketing package is incredible. Most companies will charge you a few hundred pounds a month and for that you can spread your company’s brand reach to thousands more customers through organic Google search and Social Media, talk with leaders in your industry through blogs or LinkedIn and ultimately build up a stronger market base.

Better yet, online marketing can be monitored. This allows online Marketers to quickly move with the times and leave behind anything that is not working for you or your business. Allowing you not only see how effective your assets really are but also drop any that are not working.

5. Opportunities

Most company use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, blogging and the perfect search engine for them give their marketer more to work with than traditional advertising would. Allowing for more clients to see them, more clients to interact with them and therefore more opportunities at a sale.

6. Targeting your preferred Market

If you have a strong online presence across multiple platforms and a strong direction with your online marketing, you will be able to target specific groups of customers. Facebook and Google allows you to promote your business page to certain cities and demographics. Meaning the people most likely to buy from you are the people that are seeing your brand the most. Another reason why online marketing can have a much higher return on investment for smaller, local businesses than traditional marketing would.

7. Positive Brand Awareness

Lastly but probably the most important one of all, brand awareness. Businesses that have a strong online marketing strategy can position themselves higher up in search results in places that make a difference to their business, appear more professional to customers and fully reach out to the markets that really matter to them, all the while building a stronger brand.

We hope this helped explain the importance of online marketing for any modern business for more information or a help with your own online marketing, check out our service page or feel free to contact us.

What is Google’s Core Algorithm?

There was another flurry of activity in the SEO community this week as online businesses witnessed a dramatic twist in their organic search results. Yes, seems as though Google has launched another major update to its core algorithm.

As usual, the search engine giant rolled out another snow ball and as it rolled down the hill it took out some passersby. There are always winners and losers whenever Google update their algorithms.

But given Google is so secretive about how its core algorithm affects search results, recovering a drop in organic rankings is not always straightforward. The best way to avoid being penalised is to understand how the core algorithm works and work with it.

hummingbird4Hummingbird

The bulk of the core algorithm is known as Hummingbird and uses semantic text that understands the concept of content on a page. When Google launched Hummingbird in September 2013, it was the first sign the search engine was moving away from relying on keywords and steering more towards user-intent. Earlier this year, Google announced they added Penguin and Panda to the core algorithm to support Hummingbird.penguin5

Penguin

Penguin upset a lot of web owners when it was first launched, but they only have themselves to blame for trying to manipulate search results with ill-gotten links. Penguin digs our spammy links pointing to your website from third party sites and also broken links or links to unrelated topics. When embedding internal links, do not use exact-match anchor text. Use categories, related topics and hierarchies for anchors.

pandaPanda

The Panda algorithm relates entirely to content, or more specifically high-quality content. If you are publishing content that is well-written and in-depth, you will not be harmed by Panda, but promoted up in the ranks. Pages with thin content, badly written content or content visitors are not engaging with, do not get ranked.

Panda also supports Hummingbird in trying to match user-intent with keyword relevancy. The core algorithm takes keyword searches and looks for text that matches search terms exactly. If there are no exact keyword matches, Hummingbird determines the context of a page and throws up results it thinks should satisfy user intent. To improve that function, the final piece to the algo-puzzle is RankBrain.

google-rankbrainRankBrain

RankBrain is a machine learning piece of the algorithm which considers search terms that have never been used before and tries to determine what the user actually wants. When Hummingbird and Panda can’t meet user-expectation it is hoped that RankBrain will.

But RankBrain is also designed to understand natural speech patterns of humans in order to second-guess what users actually want. Once the algorithm has matured there is a strong possibility the core algorithm will be able to cope with voice search. We are not far off search through speech being the norm.

Understanding how search engine algorithms work gives you a better insight into how your website will perform better in search engines. But as you can see from the core algorithm, visibility in search engines predominantly resolves around high-quality content.

The Psychology Of Marketing To Millennials

Millennials use the internet more than any other online generation and are subsequently changing the way brands express themselves and communicate with customers. Having grown up with mobile phones and computers in their life, the majority of millennials are much more tech savvy than most the previous generation X.

It is obvious that millennials are more inclined to shop online, stream video content and use social media networks. Yet understanding the consumer psychology of generation Y is more difficult than you imagine.

On the surface, there appears to be a conflict in terms. For example, millennials do not trust traditional advertising and prefer brands that show authenticity. Yet 82% interact with brands or retailers and 49% are happy to follow their favourite companies.

Millennial-social-media-tipsBrands with social responsibility receive a high percentage of the following, but millennials are also more inclined to discover new brands with 38% actively searching for experiences from undiscovered brands.

Generation Y are also more influenced by blogs and use brand content as a top media source before making a purchasing decision. They have little interest in TV and magazine ads and are not persuaded by marketing that feels deceptive.

What brands appeal to millennials?

Brands will find most millennials through mobile devices although consume more content across multiple devices than any other generation. The favourite hang outs are social media networks and 62% report they are more inclined to purchase from brands and become a loyal customer when there is engagement through social networks.

So what content is generation Y mostly drawn to? They prefer content that is personalised towards their own interests – both in-store and on digital platforms. This is why consumer data is vitally important to analyse and act upon. Misplaced advertising is treated with contempt as millennials do not waste their time with brands that send them offers for products they have no interest in.

The reason for that is because millennials are particularly cash conscious and can only afford to spend money on things they need; clothes, foods and services, although socialising is where a good percentage of their money goes. They have little left for luxuries.

Brands that offer economy rates and good value for money can capitalise on the psychology of young shoppers, but the most successful brands targeting this age bracket are companies that produce goods with social or environmental benefits.

One of the biggest surprises is that millennials are not persuaded by advice given by industry experts. Their purchasing decisions are mostly influenced by family, friends and strangers on peer review sites and celebrities, particularly when it comes to lifestyle choices and apparel.

The consumer buying habits of generation Y is changing the way marketers have to consider marketing strategies and the type of content you publish. Whilst millennials look inwards and prefer personalised services, they are also highly conscious of the world around them and care about social and environmental issues.

Zuckerberg Delivers Small Businesses Another Kick In The Facebook

Restricting organic reach to a measly six per cent is not good enough for Facebook. To be fair, many digital marketers tagged it ages ago, but organic reach on the world’s most popular social media network is now practically down to zero. 

Will it remain the world’s most popular network. Probably not with businesses. Unless you shell out for paid advertising, some are saying that marketing your products and service on FB is a waste of time. The best use businesses will get from this particular social network is an idea of consumer behaviour. And isn’t consumer analysis so much fun!

But there is a method to the madness that is Facebook. And you have to give credit to Zuckerberg for trying to establish the core values of the company.

As Vice President Adam Mosseri succinctly explains in his announcement of the new algorithm changes Facebook put “friends and family” first, but does want to be considered as “a platform for All Ideas.”

How Facebook plan to go about re-evaluating its original brand promise is by tweaking the News Feed algorithm and preventing accounts from becoming a mishmash of marketing videos, memes and ads. Unless you pay to advertise of course. 

Essentially Facebook want to make their service more personal to the user and deliver more posts from friends and family members. The change has been prompted by a lack of sharing, comments and likes given the amount of marketing content users are receiving.

More power to users?

facebook-likeFacebook held a referendum to ask what type of content their users prefer to see. The vote was for more “user-generated” content and less corporate news – which means family and friends get the nod over businesses. 

The key issue for FB users is essentially to remove the clutter they don’t want from their algorithm feed.

This feels a little awkward. When Facebook prevented organic reach based on user-behaviour, they restricted users from getting updates from friends they don’t engage with so often. That looks as though it may change, but we have’t noticed that in our news feeds yet. But it’s early days.

Although it appears certain content will be excluded from Facebook feeds, what happens to articles from publishers users want to read.

Mossier explained that users will be granted more power over content they receive from brands based on independent sharing – content they share directly from the publishers site rather than content that appears unceremoniously in their newsfeed. 

Will this also apply to sponsored ads? It doesn’t seem plausible that Facebook will shoot themselves in the foot, but they do already give users the option to see fewer posts based on certain topics which exclude brand content based on user preferences. 

It has to make you wonder just how well Facebook algorithm actually serves its users. On the one hand the social media wants to share “All Ideas” but does not want users to be inundated with content that is not relevant to them. Surely encouraging users to make their own choices rather than twerking algorithms is the sensible and beneficial approach.

Photoshop Tips for Lighting Effects

Effective lighting on digital images can have a massive impact on an audience. And Photoshop is a great tool that gives designers numerous options of creating stunning lighting effects that give images visual dynamics.

Lighting plays a vital role in artwork and helps the finished product look visually engaging and feel more alluring. Whether you are using lighting to enhance images, highlight features or just tie a piece together, here are a few ideas you might like to try out.

3-cosmic-lightsLight Streaks

Light streaks have a real digital, futuristic feel to them. They are also versatile and can add drama to images, or when used more subtly will draw attention to detail that you want the viewer’s eye to catch.

All you do to add light streaks is select the pen tool and draw a path for where you want the lines to go. You can find a full explanation for how to include light streaks in your image designs in this tutorial.

Eclipse effectsolar-eclipse

When you want to include a design that is out of the world, the classic eclipse effect is a great choice. Mesmerising, impressive and just downright cool, the eclipse effect is a great design skill to perfect.

The process of designing an eclipse effect may be a little more complicated than other lighting options you have in Photoshop, but for dedicated professional and curious learners, it is worth the effort. Check out this tutorial to learn how.

cool_space_lighting_effect_by_drkzin-d4b9ju8Space lighting effects

If you want to take the space theme one step further then check out these amazing ideas for inspiration. With little application, designers can create images from outer space and design any world you can imagine.

Photoshop enables designers to create planets, exploding nebulas, star systems and any other intergalactic image you like. If you really want to impress your audience, space lighting effects work a treat.

Luminescent lines

Luminescent linesAnybody that has used a computer is probably familiar with the luminescent lines on screensavers, but designers can put them to much better use by including them in ads or on web designs.

Glowing energy lines give glossy ads a powerful effect that make the image stand out and guides the eyes of the viewers to the features you want them to notice. Luminescent lines are an effective mechanism and not difficult to produce in Photoshop.

Abstract lightingAbstract lighting

An engaging background adds depth to your designs and abstract lighting effects can enhance artwork in various ways. By using Photoshop’s brush tool designers can create an illusion that inspires, excites and intrigues.

There are many ways to design abstract effects in Photoshop and you will find lots of tutorials and ideas to get you started around the internet.

The ideas above are just a few snippets of inspiration you can get for lighting up your next Photoshop design. Although many of the examples are intended to be eye-catching, it is worth noting that using lighting effects serve a function, so use lighting appropriately to enhance artwork, and not destroy it.

Google’s Mobile Speed Testing Tool

Google’s obsession with mobile-friendly websites saw yet another tool added to the website testing earlier this month, this time with the launch of a new mobile speed testing tool.

Following hot on the heels of Page Speed, Mobile Friendly Testing Tool and the so-called Mobilegeddon algorithm update, the new tool on thinkwithgoogle.com checks your website for mobile friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed. Scores are marked out of 100 and given merits of good, fair and poor.

The purpose of all these Google-tools is to ensure websites are user-friendly across multiple devices. And given usability issues are used as metrics to rank pages in search engines, the results should not be taken lightly. Google does offer more detailed information if requested.

It is therefore important, that usability is considered your top priority when designing a website; from the user-interface, to navigation and how you lay out content.

As web performance improves, consumers demand websites that are easy to use and feature the information, product or entertainment value they are searching for. So to encourage visitors to explore your online business, engage with your content and become a loyal customer, your website must tick the following boxes:

bsnl-speed-test-meterFast load speeds

It is well documented that web users will only wait up to 10 seconds before they lose patience with a website that is not loading or does not allow them to scroll when the page opens. Slow load times are the quickest way to divert customers to your competitors.

Direction, direction, direction

Let’s be honest. The convenience the web offers is making us lazy. Consumers can’t be bothered to search for what they want on your website. They expect it to be presented to them.

But online businesses that have a purchasing path also need to direct customers where to go, thus your website has to include stepping stones that make it obvious where to go and what to do next.

Ease of use

From a usability point of view, web designers should think mobile first when fashioning a website. The actions users have to take need to be simple to use on a mobile phone.

That means including large buttons that can be tapped, pages that scroll vertically and images that pinch open so it can be viewed in full screen.

Simple purchasing process

Consumers want to complete tasks in the least amount of time and the least amount of clicks. If the purchasing process is too complicated, users will ditch the transaction before confirming payment.

Screen-Shot-2013-01-03-at-10.02.27-AMWherever possible, keep the amount of information you need to a minimum and offer to save bank details so customers don’t have to type them in every time they buy something.

User-experience is clearly taken very seriously by search engines and consumers –and that means web owners and web designers should be making usability the top priority before launching a website.

If your website is not performing on mobile phones, address the issue asap; especially if the majority of your visitors are mobile users.

How A Logo Sways Consumer Decisions

When you hear the name of a leading brand like Apple, Nike, Starbucks or Mercedes, the first thing that comes to the mind’s eye is probably the logo.

This is because logos have a psychological impact on our sub-conscious mind. But not only that, the shapes and use of lines within a logo can impact on the purchasing decision of consumers in various ways.

Purchasing decisions mostly rests on trust, and logos communicate emotional values that can determine whether or not people trust your brand.

It’s a complex scenario, but several studies conducted over the last few years have determined that the shape and colour of a company logo has an overbearing affect on how consumers perceive a company.

The psychology of logos

Psychologists and marketers have discovered that the sub-conscious mind responds better to logos that include geometric shapes. Circles, ovals, ellipses, squares, triangles and hexagons.

The patterns contained within logos evoke an emotional response which creates a perception of a company – rounded shapes are associated with comfort whereas flat edges are associated with things for practical use.

These perceptions are formed by the sub-conscious mind based on our experiences and what we see around us on a daily basis. Cushions and pillows are soft and typically rounded, whereas bricks and knives are angular with hard edges and serve a specific purpose.

What do shapes in logos mean?

If you study the logos of all the major corporations, banks and institutions, they all have appropriate logos and are based on sacred geometry. That’s because the designers of these logos understood the psychological impact these shapes have.

And now, so can you:

CWM portfolio thumbnail image-positive pathways beautyRounded edges:

Circles, ovals and ellipses tend have a personal emotional responses as they are associated with feminine qualities; warmth, affection and trust.

You may have noticed web designers are rounding off corners on straight-edge shapes such as squares and rectangles – most notably on call to action buttons and buy buttons. Have you ever wondered why that is?

Property Expert PartnershipStraight edges:

Squares and rectangles are best used by companies that offer a practical service or product. Hard edges imply stability, reliability, strength and efficiency.

Triangles on the other hand are typically used by government authorities, religious groups and law makers as the triangle has an esoteric meaning of power. The triangle symbolically represents the number three which is the number of manifestation – it makes things happen.

Tech companies tend to use hard edges with the softness of rounded corners. This portrays innovation and dynamics combined with a friendly product you can trust. After all, the majority of people love technology gadgets.

CWM portfolio thumbnal image-kent detoxHorizontal/vertical lines:

The former suggest tranquillity and calmness and are often associated with community connections. Vertical lines on the other hand have associations with strength, hierarchy and aggression.

A logo defines the perception of a brand. When designing a company logo, put some thought into how people will associate your brand based on the geometric shapes.

If you are not convinced that geometry makes a difference, study the corporate logos of every major company you like and take note of the sacred geometric shapes.

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