Web browser update: the march of mobile searching continues

Tuesday 20th December 2016   by Stuart Bickerton

which browsers people use in 2016
As the year draws to a close, we thought we’d revisit our regular web browser stats infographic and see how the battle of the browsers is doing.

Once again, the figures, for the end of November 2016, show the march of Chrome here in the UK, at the expense of both  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.

However, as before, Windows maintains a grip on computer operating systems – Over 75% of people use Windows (that’s an awful lot of blue screens of death!).

We’ve highlighted the importance of mobile and mobile search in recent years. This insistence that mobile cannot be ignored is once again reflected in the web statistics.

The share of market for mobile operating systems has risen over 17% in 12 months, as more people find smart phones and tablets indespendible for an increasing number of activities, including shopping, ordering meals, getting about, and gaming.

 

mobile-browsing-statistics-nov-2016
Don’t forget you can check if Google thinks your website is mobile friendly here https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ . Simply paste your web address in the link box provided.

Google creates a separate mobile index – what does it mean for you?

Thursday 8th December 2016   by Jake Tilsley Curtis

Google webmaster and trends analyst Gary Illyes has said Google is going to split its search index in two. In future, it will have a rapidly updated mobile index and a less frequently updated desktop one.

This could have potentially big implications for your website, if it isn’t optimised for mobile searches.

Mobile web traffic is on the rise. More and more people are switching from searching using a desktop computer to using mobile devices. It’s a leap made a lot easier with the widespread adoption of smartphones.

According to Statista, there are 4.61 billion mobile phone users across the globe. In a blog post, Google has said that the number of searches on mobile devices has now overtaken those from desktops.

A clear shift is happening in how people are using the internet, and how Google wants to optimise the experience of browsing the content they see.

 

What does this mean for you?

It means that you could potentially lose a lot of traffic to your website if it’s not optimised for mobile viewers. Your ranking in the Google search results for people searching with a desktop shouldn’t be affected. But, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile visitors, you’re positions in the mobile index will slip.

With more than half Google searches now carried out on mobile devices, that adds up to a lot of potential visitors you would be missing out on. There are two ways to optimise your site for mobile visitors.

 

A separate mobile site

You can have a separate mobile website, with the same content, but optimised for mobile searches. There are a number of ways this can be done. One way is to reduce the number of images and videos on the page, so it loads quicker and doesn’t take up as much data.

A responsive website

Or, you can make your website responsive. This is the more popular option. You create one site, which changes according to the screen size, so the content looks good at any size.

With a responsive website, you don’t have to maintain two websites. Also, you don’t have to worry about duplicate content.

A responsive website on a mobile

However, this change doesn’t mean you should shift your focus solely to mobile and forget about desktop. Mobile traffic has only just started to overtake desktop traffic. There is still a very large user base searching Google on their desktops.

A healthy balance of search engine optimisation (SEO) is needed to keep both mobile and desktop users visiting your website.

 

Don’t worry, there’s still time

Google hasn’t given a solid timeframe on this split. It says it will be rolled out in ‘a matter of months’.

But you should change the way your website is indexed as soon as possible, to reap the full benefits of Google’s plans. Also, when it comes to SEO, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive.

If you want to check your site’s mobile compatibility, or want to know what needs to be done to improve it, talk the team at MATM today or view our SEO Price List.

6 marketing communications lessons from Rio

Tuesday 23rd August 2016   by Andy Comber

Olympic return

The GB Olympics 2016 team returned from Rio to the UK today – welcomed with the enthusiasm of Caeser entering Rome in triumph. Whole libraries of articles and books will be published about the signficance of their success, for them and for us, as adoring citizens.

So here’s a few of my undeveloped thoughts about communication and the Olympics. They are just the undeveloped inklings of what have popped into my head while negotiating the chaos that is the A5 through the West Midlands.

I would have to embark on a four-year programme of arduous mental exercise and scientifically-proven brain nutrician to flesh them out into lycra-ripping medal-winning brilliance. So I won’t try.

 1. The story makes the difference

Most of us love a winner. But a winner who has a back-story, that’s something even better. Story telling was at the heart of Olympic media coverage. So British cyclist Becky James who was badly injured and ill before riding to Olympic glory (well, silver medal) sticks in the mind. Laura Trott and Jason Kenny being engaged is big news. Nick Skelton breaking his neck and climbing back on to his horse: the personal, physical and emotional journey that athletes have been on really capture the imagination. It is what moves us that counts. It’s what myth is made of.

 2. People need heroes

Sports men and women are outsiders. They are not normal. They achieve the superhuman feats for us. In the past they would be warriors, even political leaders. Now, it’s sports stars. Communications from them affect us more powerfully. Businesses sponsor sports stars to share their glory. Business people can do this more directly. Think of Richard Branson the risk-taking adventurer. Bill Gates the philanthropist. Steve Jobs the innovator. John Timpson the decent employer. Being a hero, in even the smallest way, can win new fans.

 3.  The search for meaning is relentless

Driven by the media, once an event has occured, or a story has been told, we all start asking: what does it mean? And if we don’t, the media will. The obsession with the medal table and Great Britain coming second, above the Chinese, is part of this. The Olympics was once conceived as an event where people can take part together. Not much more. Now, it’s an expession of national psche and success that can propel a whole nation forward to glory. Or not, depending on your point of view.

 4. Great achievements can be easily undermined

The US swimming team achieved great Olympic deeds. Then four of them conspired in a moment of foolishness to undo much of the positive effect by clumsily trying to cover up the fact that they broke a toilet. From podium-topping victory is snatched defeat. Secondly, the Brazilian nation should be celebrating the games’ success. But when asked what comes to mind when they think of Brazilians and the Olympics, many people could well say booing. That’s not a good impression.

5. The winners take it all

The Olympics suggested we’re becoming ever more obsessed with winners. The opportunities presented to the successful few who won medals will be significant, but will come with risks. Their share of market and share of voice in the sports marketing world will be disproportionately large. While those who did their very best, probably sacrified just as much, but did not get medals will struggle on pretty much unseen. It will remain tough out there for the 84% of UK athletes who came home with no medal.

6. It’s the start of a journey

Many of the medal winners will have to learn quickly the significance of what’s happened to them. They have a right to reap the longer term rewards. It would be a good idea to think seriously about how to do this. A moment of magic in Rio could be the start of a very positive journey if they optimise their personal marketing strategy, with PR and social media at the forefront. That might be to get as much exposure as possible, or as much privacy, while achieving post-Olympic goals.

Coldplay @ Glastonbury – the content marketing concert

Monday 27th June 2016   by Andy Comber

In the world of music and performance, Coldplay appearing at Glastonbury is a big deal. But with clever use of digital marketing, it can become a global phenomenon.

Last night’s performance by the band was a case in point, and can be defined as a content marketing concert. The whole show was clearly carefully choreographed to create the biggest possible impact at the event, in front of 80,000 fans, on TV screens – BBC for one was broadcasting the show live – and online.

 

Content marketing, digital marketing, Coldplay, Glastonbury

Coldplay take their bow in front of their loyal global fans, and many new ones, on Instagram after their Content Marketing Concert at Glastonbury

View twitter comments, and music fans of all persuasions – and not just traditional Coldplay ones – were universally positive about what they were witnessing. Anyone who has been following the Twitter storm about BBC’s Top Gear will know what it looks like when things go wrong.

But Coldplay, who have in the past been a Marmite experience, loved and hated, had got it right. Boy, did they get it right!

Coldplay content

In doing so, they will reap global rewards for putting on a good show that is loved, appreciated and respected by most. The media plaudits soon afterwards, with claims that social media had them as the best band in the world, proved that point.

It may well have looks effortless, but clearly a lot of thought had gone into planning all the elements of the show. And a lot of deft skill, mostly shown by Chris Martin, was used to pull all the strings on stage to make it work.

In effect, apart from putting on a stunning musical and stage performance, there were many other key elements designed to create magical moments, stories, blogging comment, reviewing and social media opportunities – content marketing – that will give the event strong and positive life long after it had ended.

These concert content moments spanned generations, they demonstrated positive and attractive values, made use of the latest technology, and left an indelible emotional impact on literally millions of global viewers. Here are just a few of them:

1. A tribute to Viola Beach – the UK band whose careers were cut short in a terrible road accident while touring – was greeted rapturously and helped to connect Coldplay to a whole new generation of younger audiences.

2. Guest apperance by Barry Gibb – seamlessly moving on to having pop legend Gibb from the Bee Gees on stage for a sing-along, to tackle, this time, the grey market, and position Coldplay closely with a musical legend.

3. Karaoke performance of My Way by Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis – Coldplay have probably sealed their reputation as one of the Glasto legends themselves.

4. Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin’s ex-wife, and kids – acting as backing singers on stage for one song, giving the celebrity gossip and lifestyle writers plenty to write about for weeks.

5. Flashing wristbands – not new technology, but well received, and gives each fan something to talk about among friends and on social media for years to come.

6. Audience chat – Chris Martin followed Adele from Saturday night in spending a lot of time chatting with the audience, as much as you can chat with 80,000 people at once, talking with band members, stopping songs and starting again. An approach that reminds all that they are human, normal and fallable. It also gives music bloggers lots go chew over.

It was a bravura performance. It will help define Coldplay for the next 5 years. The band will draw marketing benefit, not least financially, from this one night for years and years to come.

Well done them. They have embraced fully the digital generation. Their own – probably vast – backroom team are pulling all their own digital marketing levers through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and many more channels. It’s not all spontaneous and effortless. But then success and longevity in the music industry never has been.

Leicester City – the power of storytelling

Monday 11th April 2016   by Andy Comber

The strong possibility that Leicester City will win the English Premier League title is one of the biggest stories in world sport.

Around the globe, journalists and sports fans are marvelling at the team’s achievements.

The furore around their success is also a lesson in the power of storytelling – and how people and organisations can gain much more recognition if they can tell stories about their achievments.

This hit home for me reading an article about the interest the club has generated around the world in the Sunday Times sports pages yesterday.

Power of storytelling Leicester City

As the Sunday Times reported, people respond positively to good stories!

Dan Masonson, vice president for communications at NBC Sports in USA, was quoted saying: “Having compelling games and great stories is what draws people in. That’s what Leicester provides.”

Okay, Leicester City’s rise is so extraordinary, that there is no real problem finding a story.

From last year’s near relegation failures to this year’s near champions successes.  The lower league also-ran running rings around his opponents, James Vardy. The reject becoming a giant rock, Robert Huth. The goalkeeping son, emulating his more famous father. The rebirth of the ‘Tinkerman’ Claudio Ranieri. The previous manager who built the team, sacked in the summer, and watching them beat all-comers. The Thai club owner buying lunch for all travellling fans. The team of minnows thrashing Europe’s greats. It goes on and on.

Everyday business life is much more mundane. But there are still business storytelling lessons to learn. Here are just three of them:

1. People process information in stories. When you pitch at a sales meeting you tell a story. When you want to influence people you try to convince them with the story. So, how can you talk about your business activity in stories?

2. People are impressed by other people. Who in your team goes above and beyond, with Premier League winning service? Who are the people in your organisation who would make great subjects for stories about your service?

3. People are moved by stories they can relate to. So, how can you define what you do in a way that, as Dan Masonson says, is compelling? The key, I believe, is to start to define your activities and acheivements from your customers’ point of view.

For Leicester City, the fairy tale that might come true – and the stories it is generating – could have a positive impact on the club for decades to come. More fans world-wide, more revenue, more success. It’s by no means certain. The club could be relegated next season. But it could happen.

In business, the good thing is that effective storytelling can have more predictable results. More engaged customers. A better defined brand. A more motivated workforce. A more clearly-defined marketing strategy.

In my view, that’s well worth the price of the season ticket.

4 reasons why some CEOs communicate like 16-year-olds

Friday 18th March 2016   by Andy Comber

My son has put himself forward to be a senior school prefect. It impressed me greatly. When I was his age, I had no chance even of being a prefect, let alone a senior one. Despite my adolescent bravado, I would have been just too frightened to chuck my hat into the ring.

To pass the first hurdle, he had to prepare a two minute speech, explaining to his peers why he deserved to be selected. They would then vote. The most popular candidates would then be interviewed to decide who’d be selected as senior prefects.

Speech writing - 4 mistakes by CEOs

So, here’s my point. I did my bit to help my son prepare his speech, and it got me thinking that when 16-year-olds decide they want to impress their peers with a presentation, they start to behave a bit like some company CEOs I’ve known. Here’s why:

They use long words and complicated language. My son prepared a speech that used quite a lot of long words and intricate sentences. He might have been doing it to try to impress. But I think there is also a natural tendency to feel you must up your game when presenting to others. Without really thinking, language becomes more dense. Sentences get longer. Real meaning, simply put, gets lost.

This is a real risk for business leaders too. If it’s not long, clever words, it’s jargon. You start to say what you think is expected of you, not what you really think and feel. A little bit of show-off might creep in as well. Why use a one syllable word, when a four syllable one is available?

They feel they need to be profound. My son had clearly thought a lot about why he wanted to be a senior prefect. It felt like he was stretching past the obvious and simple to find something to say that was truly profound. In my view, it’s better to do the opposite. When you have two minutes to impress, what you say must be compelling, for sure, but it must be quick and easy to digest as well. CEOs can make the same mistake. If you don’t put yourself in the minds of your audience, you can very easily talk right over their heads.

They don’t involve the audience. Want people to vote for you, you have to justify yourself, right? Well, wrong. You have to be confident enough to talk about your achievements. But to impress others, you have to show more how you understand them, and care about their interests. The best business leaders draw in their audiences, involve them in the story, and get them on side, not play the big I am.

They don’t listen to advice. Grumpy old man time here. My son didn’t think straight away to ask me for advice about his speech, even though I’ve spent pretty much my whole working life as a communication professional of one sort or another. There are plently of company directors who think they know best, too.

Anyway, I did get to give my son some advice. The night before he was due to give his speech. And, I’m sure he took a bit of it. As I write, he has yet to find out if he’s been selected to be a senior prefect, but I hope he will be. Then again, there can be nothing worse than an overly proud dad.

PDF newsletters hit the mark

Monday 22nd February 2016   by Andy Comber

Building relationships with customers is essential in business, and devices for doing that include eshots, or PDF newsletters.

Winning a new customer can take a good deal of energy, so it stands to reason that you’d want the customer to like you, understand fully what services you can offer, and to recommend you to their contacts.

One way to do that is to keep them up to date with your latest news. It’s not about the hard sell, but being noticed at the right times, using the right communication channels.

We’ve developed eshots and newsletters for many clients. One of the most recent is a PDF newsletter for Lanes Group, the UK’s leading independent specialist drainage, utilities and asset maintenance company.

They wanted to share what they do in an informative and engaging way that reflects the value and quality of their services and the teams that deliver them.

We created a quarterly PDF newsletter which has clickable links to take readers through to longer news items, if they want to read them, and to service pages.

PDF newsletters

It’s designed to be scrolled through, dipped in and out of, read in minutes. Using clickable tags, each story reflects the geographical and sector reach of the Lanes operation.

In its current format, the PDF newsletter is four pages, but more could be added. If need be, a digitally printed version could be created quickly and cheaply.

Lanes Group’s key USPs are highlighted – including innovation, health and safety and comprehensive service mix.

The newsletter has a templated design so it can be created quickly and with minimum cost, though can be easily adapted to different needs.

The same content could also be presented in an html e-shot. Some customers prefer that option. We have our own e-shot system called Coffeemail that allows us to create templated or bespoke e-shots for customers.

If you want to know more about the positive impact of customer PDF newsletters or eshots, get in touch. We’re here to help. Email: ideas@matm.co.uk. Phone: 01952 883526.

Posters that are out of this world

Friday 19th February 2016   by Neil Dicken

We’re loving these great posters. As a British astronaut hurtles around the Earth at a speed of 17,150 miles per hour (that’s about 5 miles every second!), our interest has been Tim Peake-d by all things celestial.

This week, we’ve been wowed by NASA’s beautifully-designed series of travel posters entitled “Imagination is our window into the future”.

They were produced by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and hark back to travel posters of a bygone age when seaside resorts, airlines, cruise liners and trains vied for attention with stunning renderings of landmarks and vistas.

This set of travel posters, which managed to be both retro and futuristic, feature the planets Mars, Venus and Jupiter, and the moons Enceladus (described by JPL as Saturn’s vapour-spewing moon) and Titan (another of Saturn’s moons, and about 50% larger than our Moon).

Europa, one of Jupiter’s staggering 62 known moons, is one of the more interesting destinations. Discovered by Galileo in 1610, its thick icy surface is thought to hide a subsurface ocean that bears similar characteristics with geological features on our own planet. This has led to NASA considering Europa as a potential target for setting up a space colony, and could be a target of a deep space mission, rather than the closer, red planet, Mars.

The posters certainly proved hit here at our offices – they are a great example of NASA understanding and communicating  its place in history, whilst giving us a gentle push into accepting that travel within our solar system may well be science fact rather than science fiction in the future.

The full set of posters can be seen at the Jet Propulsion Labaratory site here.

Travel Posters from NASA. We’re loving that!

Ps we were going to do a post explaining the discovery of Einstein’s Gravitational Waves but we found poster design a little easier to explain.

More information about JPL is at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

 

How to remove IMAP emails from an email server and save them in a local folder

Tuesday 22nd December 2015   by Jake Tilsley Curtis

Managing storage space is one of the biggest bugbears for people with Outlook email accounts. If you do not remove unwanted emails regularly, storage space can run out, and your emails can grind to a halt.

What many people don’t realise is that when using IMAP, your emails aren’t stored on your PC. Instead they are stored on your email server, and every time you want to look at them, the computer gets them from the server and shows you them.

This means, that all the emails that show in your inbox, are all on the email server, taking up space until you delete them.

Removing IMAP emails

We have created this step-by-step guide about how to remove the emails stored on the server, while keeping them on your computer.

This guide is only for an IMAP account. If you have a POP3 account, see our guide for removing POP3 account emails from an email server.

Managing emails is easier than you may think. It can be done quickly with a few clicks. Try our step-by-step guide to see how.


Step 1: Creating a folder

First, you need to create a folder in outlook to save your emails in. To do this, you need to right click on your mailbox. This is usually your email address.

first 

Now, click on ‘New Folder’. You can name the folder whatever you like, “Local folder” is fine for now, though.

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Step 2: Select the Emails you want to keep

Once you’ve created the folder, you need to move your emails from the server into it. To do this, select all the emails you want to keep, if you want to keep all of them, you can select them all by holding ‘ctrl’ and press the ‘a’ key, or select them in bulk by selecting the first one, holding shift and clicking the last one.

third

Once you have them selected, all you need to do is drag them into the ‘local folder’ and they will be moved across to there.

Step 3: Deleting remaining emails

Finally, to free up space on the emails server, you need to delete the remaining emails from your inbox.

It is important that you are careful when doing this, make sure you only delete them form your inbox folder, not the local folder. But don’t worry; as long as you have copied them into the local folder correctly, this won’t delete them completely, just take them off the server. Always do this with caution to make sure you don’t delete something you wanted to keep. Only the inbox and folders inside the inbox are kept on the server, and so the emails in here are the ones you need to delete, not the ones in the new local folder you just created.

 

To make sure your emails aren’t taking up too much space and to keep them clean, you should do this exercise regularly. This is because if you use up more space than you are allowed, you could end up being cut off until you reduce the size, this would mean you may not receive new emails to your account, So it is essential that you keep your mailbox under control

 

How to remove POP3 account emails from a server

Tuesday 22nd December 2015   by Jake Tilsley Curtis

 

Managing storage space is one of the biggest bugbears for people with Outlook email accounts. If you do not remove unwanted emails regularly, storage space can run out, and your emails can grind to a halt.

What many people do not realise is that when you receive an email, your email server creates and stores a copy of it before sending it on to your PC.

The good thing about this is that you can retrieve an email if it is accidently deleted. The bad thing is that it adds to the problem of your email account getting clogged up more quickly.

This blog post aims to show you that managing emails, and making sure you do not run out of server space, is easier than you may think. It can be done quickly with a few clicks.

Removing POP3 emails

We have created this step-by-step guide about how to remove the copies stored on the email server while keeping them on your computer.

This guide is only for a POP3 account – for an IMAP account, see our other guide.

A bit of email background

Before we get to the nitty gritty, a bit of background.

It is normal practice for the mail server to keep copies of all the emails for a few days. This is the basic flow of emails on the server:

  1. An email is sent to your account and picked up by the server.
  2. The server creates a copy and stores it, then sends the email to your devices.
  3. You delete the email from your computer, but that doesn’t remove the copy from the server.

You can think of it like a paper tray in an office. Important documents come in. You make a photocopy of the document so you can look at it later. Then you deliver the original to where it needs to go. If you don’t get rid of the photocopies every now and then, the tray will start to get full and overflow.

The same thing happens with your email server.

If you do not clean it up regularly, the emails can start to mount up and may stop your email account from working properly.

But don’t panic, if you follow these steps you won’t lose any emails and you can tidy up the mail server.

Step 1: Account Settings
Navigate to File Tab on the tool bar, and open up the account settings window by clicking on the ‘account settings’ drop down box, then account settings again.

first

This will open a window with a list of your email accounts.

second
Step 2: Select Account

Double-click on the email account you want to configure.

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Then, click on the “More Settings” button.

 

Step 3: Configuration

Click on the “Advanced” tab.

fourth
To set up the account so the emails are regularly removed from the server after a certain number of days, make sure that ‘Leave a copy of messages on the server’ is ticked as well as ‘Remove from the server after X days’.

 

Select the number of days in the box. One week should be plenty of time.

Note, this process deletes the copy of the email from the email server but NOT from your computer.

Click “OK” to save the settings, and you’re done.

How to drive customer interest with infographic design

Friday 11th December 2015   by Neil Dicken

Would you believe it? Owners of Audis are most likely to wash their cars, while owners of Mercedes are least likely.

Men are more than twice as likely as women to wash their cars. And 1 in 4 men wash their cars, just to get out of the house.

Admit it, you are intrigued, even if just a little. It is true, if you present an engaging series of facts, people just can’t help but ponder what they mean. Which is where infographic design come in.

Carwash Infographic

Infographics are an ideal and increasingly popular way to present information bite-sized and attractive chunks. They are good for catching the eye, engaging brain, and getting people talking.

To prove the point, one of our graphic designers, Neil – a bit of a car buff – took his inspiration from research undertaken by OSV limited to find a few interesting figures about car washing.

There is growing demand for engaging factual content on websites and apps, often in list form. Simple facts about what interests people the most are easy to remember, and quickest to be shared.

That is why infographic design is in demand. Infographics are a great way to grab the attention of a target audience. They make key facts about your service easier to understand, more persuasive and more readily shared with business colleagues and friends.

So, it appears keeping up appearances on the driveway is largely a male obsession. Unless you are a Peugeot owner in Oxford, that is. Take a quick look at the infographic to see why.

Click on the image, or download it here to view the graphic in full. If you wanted to talk about infographic design with matm, get in touch. If you want to chat about car shampoos, polishing pads and detailing, talk to Neil.

 

Great minds – creative photography from Shropshire to Paris

Wednesday 13th May 2015   by Andy Comber

So the saying goes, great minds think alike: the Daily Mail has published images created by the French artist Julien Knez, formed by holding up photographs taken during the liberation of Paris in 1944 against the same location today.

We used the same creative photography technique – we called it creating a window into history – to  superimpose Ironbridge 100 years ago, with Ironbridge of today. We called it ‘Creating Windows into Shropshire’s History’.

Knez originally created 50 images, published in 2014, which can can seen here.

Creative photography Telford Julien Knez

Creating windows into Shropshire's history

8 reasons why election strategies have been dominated by fear

Wednesday 6th May 2015   by Andy Comber

The 2015 British election campaign, which is about to come to a end, has seen politicians facing a complex political landscape.

Voter scepticism is rampant. The battle to gain trust has been arduous. And there’s no sign that any of the parties have won it. Up to 40% of voters were said to be undecided 48 hours before polls opened. So what have been key themes of election communication strategies? Here are eight to be going on with:

Social media – what social media?

There was a lot of talk about this being the first general election where creative use of social media would play a leading role. That doesn’t appear to have happened. Perhaps because all the main parties have been desperate to avoid making mistakes that could be magnified by social media. The Guardian points out that a lot of the messaging on Twitter and on Facebook has been relatively mundane. Of course, under the radar, many supporters from all the parties have been happily using social media to support their relevant causes. But it seems fair to say that this campaign has been less radical in its use of new media than was predicted.

Fear marketing is alive and well

Fear tactics are still alive and well. Pollsters have been telling politicians that the voting public has become highly sceptical of scare tactics. But they’re still at it: Labour warning the NHS will be privatised; Conservatives that Labour will join forces with the SNP and throw nuclear weapons overboard; Lib Dems that both parties are potential extremists; and UKIP that every migrant who doesn’t tragically drown in the Med is probably an ISIS terrorist.

Don’t make a mistake!

Then there is fear of marketing. It’s clear that another key element of all election strategies is not to make a mistake. It’s one reason why leading politicians have not done many real walkabouts. With every word and action potentially recorded – and even streamed live online through apps like Periscope – the lack of control terrifies campaign managers. Remember Gordon Brown calling an old lady racist? Every step into a crowd increases the risk of “an election defining gaff”, as the media calls them. Maybe only Ed Milliband has bucked the trend and taken a chance this year, with his TV interview with Russell Brand.

In the post-election debrief, I expect many pundits will be saying if only one of the main candidates had taken a chance or two, spoken to voters on their own terms, they may have broken through.

Mainstream media still in running the show

This cautious approach plays into the hands of mainstream media – like national and regional daily newspapers, radio and TV. These outlets now have their own online and social media channels, so messaging goes further, but there is less risk of it being subverted or confused before it reaches voters. And at least traditional media have some rules to play by.

Keep it simple – and keep repeating it

It’s not just three parties any more. There are now up to seven being given serious media air time. So there is an even greater imperative to keep messaging simple:

Labour – fairness.
Conservatives – the economy.
Lib Dems – balance.
UKIP – immigration.
Greens – ending austerity.
SNP and Plaid Cymru – more power.

Can you think of any hard and fast policy promises? I’d bet not many. The focus on a few key issues, most relating to budget control, or lack of it, has been noticeable. Most people will be thinking, if I hear David Cameron say “strong and stable” one or time I will scream. But in a crowded market, repeating simple messages that might influence a wavering hand in the polling booth is seen as the best tactic.

Image is still vital

Perhaps the biggest winner in the campaigning stakes has been Nicola Sturgeon. She’s buffed up her image, sharpened her look. Gone up a few notches on the authority stakes, while also seeming, for many voters across the UK as sensible and charming. Then again, it’s easy for English voters to like someone they don’t have to vote for – and in Scotland, she’s riding the crest of a wave that has been rolling for a long time.

 

Communication strategies in 2015 general election

Her success shows image – what the social scientists call likeability – is still vital. Milliband is a geek. Cameron is a toff. Clegg is a turncoat. Farage is a loud-mouth. They have all been fighting the stereotypes, not least in the TV debates. And the harder they try, the more the fickle voters look for the tell-tale signs. It’s telling that the leaders the ‘performance’ of the leaders in TV debates is the measure of success, not the substance of what they say.

You can’t turn a political tanker quickly

It’s interesting to me how the communication strategies in the election have stayed broadly the same. Thinking on feet, grasping opportunities, making bold changes to create a breakthrough have not been noticeable traits. Perhaps Labour’s tablet of pledges is one exception. But the mixed reaction that got points probably to why others didn’t try similar stunts. Because there are so many undecided voters, and so many new choices for them to make, the campaign managers have decided it’s safety first, sticking to core messages and conventional methods to get them across.

Also, perhaps the sophistication of modern election campaign machines cramps spontaneity. When you’re analysing and worrying about everything in our multi-channel world – with a big team this requires – there is less room to make bold and, arguably irrational choices that might actually wrong-foot your political opponents, and gain an edge.

Boots on ground may count

In war, the infantry has to capture the ground. In business, you have to go out to sell. And in politics, you have to get your voters to the polling booth. Here, Labour may have a little advantage. Most pundits agree, they have the best campaigning machine, which is about to go into action to get out their vote. We will see if it actually does make a difference. In an election dogged by fear, scepticism and voter mistrust, they will have their work cut out.

Mobile Friendly – What Google’s new Algorithm means for you?

Wednesday 1st April 2015   by Stuart Bickerton

It’s coming … 21 April 2015 to be precise. Google’s highly-anticipated new algorithm will begin rolling out on that date.

Over recent years, website owners and web developers have learnt to take notice when Google makes algorithm changes. Panda (2011) reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search rankings whilst Penguin (2012)  affected around 3%, according to Google’s own figures.

With previous changes sending some into a tailspin of excitement and frustration in equal measure, it’s not surprising that this latest roll out (Google’s media release about it is at the bottom of this post) has been eagerly, and nervously, awaited.

Putting to one side the fact that, by failing to name this update after a cuddly animal beginning with the letter P, Google has ruined one of the matm office sweepstakes (clearly pilchard failed to make it through the focus groups), let’s turn our attention to what this means for you?

pilchard

Firstly. Rankings will still largely be based on relevance and authority. Mobile friendly will not be the be all and end all, just an important contributing factor.

 

Secondly. Searches that include your own individual brand name or company name are unlikely to be penalised. It is the more generic search terms that will most likely be affected.

However, if you hire or sell branded goods – be they adidas trainers or JCB telehandlers, it will affect you. If your e commerce site does not pass the “mobile friendly” test, it WILL be penalised, and most likely in favour of those sites that ARE mobile friendly.

 

Thirdly. There are no stages or degrees of mobile friendliness. Your site will either be mobile friendly or not mobile friendly.

 

 

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?

Ok, fortunately Google hasn’t left us hanging here, providing a nice simple page where we can check.

1 Click the big red button button below and it will launch Google’s own Mobile friendly test page

2 Type your URL (web address) of your site

3 Press <ANALYZE> and within a minute you’ll have your answer.

 

button

 

What you see if your website IS mobile friendly

 

Awesome

Google says Yes!

“Awesome! This page is mobile friendly”

That, indeed is great news. However, previous algorithm changes have had a big impact on rankings and you need to remain vigilant. Keep checking over the forthcoming months.

Now may be a good opportunity to review your keywords, identify where you rank within search and see what you can do to improve your position. If you’re happy with your ranking, be prepared to defend your position, because other people will be out there, seeking to improve their position at your expense.

 

…And if your website is NOT mobile friendly

 

not_mobile_friendly

Google says No!

“Not mobile-friendly” 

Let’s start with the positives, or more accurately the less negatives. We don’t yet know the full impact and extent of these changes. They will affect some searches more than others. So the impact may not be as dramatic as some enthusiastic commentators are predicting.

Second positive – at least you know. If your ranking and traffic does begin to slide, post April 21, at least you know the contributing factor. You’ll still need to rectify it, but it’s much better being armed with the knowledge, right?

Helpfully, Google’s test will return with more than a “computer says no” response and will provide a few pointers as to why your site is not deemed mobile friendly. Typically, they will be things like ‘Text too small to read’, ‘Links too close together’ or ‘Mobile viewport not set’.

If you are able, you should aim to fix these sooner rather than later.

If, however, the cost of rectifying these faults with your existing site is prohibitive, now may be time to consider a new site – just make sure you put “Must pass Google mobile friendly test” in the must-have column of your website brief.

 

All our websites are mobile friendly

We’ve been developing mobile friendly websites as standard for years now. So, if you have further concerns or questions, just give us a call. We’re here to help. If you’d like to discuss making your website mobile friendly, contact matm today on 01952 883526 or email ideas@matm.co.uk.

 

 

mobile_tablet_friendly

 

—————————————–

 

That Google Developer release in full  

Link to original post here 

When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:

1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

• If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.

• If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

2. More relevant app content in search results

Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.

If you have questions about either mobile-friendly websites or app indexing, we’re always happy to chat in ourWebmaster Help Forum.

Browser popularity – Chrome just keeps on coming

Thursday 26th March 2015   by Stuart Bickerton

which-browsers-do-people-use
Here’s our UK browser popularity (February 2015) infographic all shiny and updated.

It shows Chrome continues to advance, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to drift.

So the burning question in this office is, “How long till Chrome hits the two thirds market share figure?”

Okay, it’s not a burning question. We’re not that pointy-headed geekie.

But, our prediction is that it could be as early as August 2015.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Microsoft.

Its Windows maintains its stronghold over market share for operating systems. Over 70% of people use Windows.

With Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm about to hit on April 21st, the market shares of the different mobile operating systems is particularly relevant at the moment.

mobile-browsing-statistics
The algorithm is expected to result in websites that are not mobile friendly being penalised more heavily in search rankings.

More on that from us soon.

In the meantime, you can check to see if Google thinks your website is mobile friendly.

Go to this link https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and paste your web address in the link box provided.

If you get an answer that worries you, get in touch. We’d be happy to give you advice.

 

 

P.S. If you want to compare previous browser use stats why not visit the following posts:

The matm web browser infographic – Septmeber 2014

The matm web browser infographic – and why the future is about mobile search – April 2014

T’is the season for promo items

Friday 13th February 2015   by Stuart Bickerton

When national hire company Hird needed promo and giveaway items for their forthcoming exhibition they asked matm to design and supply a number of items.

 

printed_rulers_coasters

Items chosen included a high quality white 30cm flat oval scale ruler with wide print area, printed circular coasters and, an old favourite – printed frosty Espace pens.

clear_printed_pens

Design followed their strong online presence for the three brands. All items selected were easy to carry, low cost giveaway promotional gifts that could be distributed at events as well as handing out to existing customers and prospects.

 

Whatever your promo items or business gift needs – drop matm a line and see what we can do for you.

Quality_scale_rule_printed

we’re hiring – web developer

Monday 9th February 2015   by Stuart Bickerton

We are seeking an experienced Web Developer to join matm in our Telford office.

The successful applicant will be working with our team of in house designers and developers to create amazing websites based on client briefs, as well as building upon existing development work.

Essential skills, a thorough knowledge of:

  • PHP (5+)
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript (including jQuery)

Additional skills an advantage:

  • Working knowledge of WordPress
  • HTML5/CSS3
  • Responsive design
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • SEO

Package and remuneration based on experience and skills.

Our office is based in the centre of Telford close to junction 5 of the M54. We’re close to Telford Central train station and Telford Bus Station.

Interested in working for matm?
Please send your CV, examples of your work and salary expectations to Stuart Bickerton, sb@matm.co.uk.

No agency calls please.

7 things you should expect from good business copywriters

Monday 15th December 2014   by Andy Comber

copywriting

Successful businesses employ professional copywriters, as in-house staff, as consultants, or as a service provided by marketing agencies.

They know that, in this highly competitive, fast-moving, digital world, it is vital that they get their message across quickly, clearly and in a compelling way.

So, if you are looking to commission a copywriter for a marketing project, what should you look for?

Here’s seven clues that will lead you to a good business copywriter.

1. They should have a head for business. You want a copywriter who quickly understands your business objectives and what your marketing campaign is seeking to achieve. Creativity is important, but so is producing copy that serves a purpose.

2. They can explain complicated things simply. Getting down to the essence of what’s important is a neat trick, which good business copywriters can pull off. You only have seconds to engage and win over potential new customers. Confusing them is not an option.

3. They can tell your story. Almost all copywriting uses story telling techniques to convince the reader, listener or viewer that this product or service is for them. Stories help you build an emotional bond with your customer. So they care, and come back for more.

4. They will give you good ideas. You may have a firm idea about how your marketing campaign should work for you. Good business copywriters should be creative and experienced enough to add suggestions of their own, to make it even better.

5. They should get it right first time. Well, nearly. You should be impressed with a professional copywriter’s first draft. You should be saying: yep, they understand what we need. If a bit of polish is required, it shouldn’t take too long to apply.

6. They should be able to write fast and accurately. If you need copy quickly, good business copywriters should be able to write it quickly. Months spent in a lonely garret pondering the meaning of a word won’t cut it, unfortunately.

7. They should be able to write in different styles. Need something businesslike and sombre? Here’s what you need. Want something chatty and upbeat? You’ve got it. What about a Sun-style quick-fire media release? It’s done – and what a corker!!!

So, if you care about your brand, use a professional  business copywriter. And test their mettle against the points above. You shouldn’t go wrong.

We’re loving that! Smart use of augmented reality by Word Lens translates into success

Friday 25th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

It can take time for cutting edge technology to find a useful purpose.

As the saying goes, inventions can come along before their time, says matm designer Neil Dicken at matm, the marketing, design, web development and public relations agency near Telford, Shropshire.

Well, here’s an exception. A clever idea, packaged with clever technology.

Word Lens, from Quest Visual, uses augmented reality to capture text that is placed in front of your smart phone camera and translates it in real time to make the text appear in your chosen language.

Just think, travelling abroad, you can tell instantly what’s on the menu, what the map directions say and which loo to use. Such a simple idea. Such a useful application!

Welcome to the Juice

Thursday 29th July 2010   by Eliza Kaniewska

Hello and welcome to The Juice. It’s an insight into our work here at matm.

We will show you what we are doing and, when it’s right to do so, who we work for.

We’ll explain our thinking, how we go about our work, what expertise, knowledge, creativity and values we bring to bear for our clients.

We’ll also share ideas we glean from other experts and thought leaders about marketing, design and PR.

We also aim to tell you about us, as people, as professionals and as a team. How we might work together with you to help your business grow and prosper.

The Juice will also be a place to have some fun. We want it to be refreshing, bright, sharp and to the point and pleasurable all at the same time.

Finally, we want it to be a place to share ideas. So please join in the discussion. We’d love to hear from you.