Email Marketing: Why You Should Avoid Using Image Only Emails

April 12th, 2022 by

If you know anything about email marketing best practice, you can imagine our shock when receiving a Pantone newsletter that was images only. What were they thinking?!

Laptop screen with Pantone email newsletter and showing image-only email rather than text, with white Ballyhoo text above saying why to avoid image-only emails

Email marketing is an integral part of any businesses marketing strategy, as it allows you to build relationships with leads, customers and past customers.

However, image only emails are a big No-No for many reasons, and we were shocked to see such a big brand like Pantone use this tactic.

Continue reading to learn more.

Why Avoid Using Image Only Emails

Don’t just take our word for it – here are a few reasons why you should avoid using image-only emails. 

Spam Filters 

Spam filters often judge emails using statistical analysis algorithms – these algorithms work only on text and are unable to read images. Therefore, this often results in image only emails being marked as spam. However, although they are now better at this, they also take into consideration the links in your message and user behaviour – if the image-heavy email took too long to load in the past, and the user deleted this email straight away, this will likely send a sign to spam filters that the user is not interested in your future emails. Which could result in them landing in their spam folder – never to be seen again.

What’s more, many larger organisations will have corporate filters as standard on their emails – blocking images by default and thus showing empty spaces in your email.

This can result in emails failing to make an impact – resulting in lower open rates.


With over 2.2 billion people living with a visual impairment, your emails should be accessible and readable to your whole audience. Screen readers – that are often used by visually impaired individuals – are not able to read images. This means that those users are not able to digest everything that your email has to offer.

What’s more, text in an image is not easily translated – due to it requiring users to manually re-type the content from an image to a translation program. Including written text in your emails makes this easier, as users can use a browser extension to translate the content.

Personalisation Options are Limited

As humans, we love to connect with others and feel valued – and personalisation allows businesses to do this with their audience.

Using text in your email allows you to add fields that will automatically pull in customers’ information (such as name or even location of their previous purchases), whereas this cannot be done with images.

Slow Load Times

If your subscribers have a slow internet connection, their emails will be slower to load. Combine this with slow-loading images (even on the best of internet connections), and users are more likely to swipe off and delete your email – or worse, unsubscribe. This can then impact future engagement with your brand, as they are less likely to open future emails.

Not Mobile Responsive

Designing email for all devices can be hard – especially when mixing between desktop and mobile devices. However, it is vital that your email is readable on any device or browser.

Text can be made to be easily responsive – most email campaign tools do this as standard – whereas images will likely either be blown up and become pixelated, or will be too small to read.

Emails Aren’t Searchable

Users tend to use their inbox as storage – and may leave your email for a later time when they have more time to read and engage with it. Therefore, they may later search their inbox for your email.

With image only emails, users will not be able to find your content as easily as they would with live text included in an email. This is because keywords in your image are not searchable in an email client and make it harder for clients to find your email when they have time to fully engage with it.

Email Best Practice Tips

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use images at all in your emails. Instead, stick to a 60/40 rule or 80/20 rule – more text and less images. Try using both of the ratios and then split them using an A/B test to see what works best for your audience. 

We’ve talked about what not to do, so here’s a summary of what you should do for an effective email campaign:

  • Ensure your email gets its point across even if images are disabled
  • Use images with a smaller file size to help with speedy load times
  • Ensure all images serve a purpose
  • Add Alt Tags to every image, to help with accessibility
  • Use unique images and try not to use too many stock images

Email Marketing is an essential part of digital marketing, so ensure that you are optimising this. We can help set up an email template for you, and run your email campaigns with content creation. Contact us now to see how we can help.

Google Partners Now Get £400 Free Ads Credit

February 22nd, 2022 by

Google is now offering Google Partners up to £400 Ads credit for new customers.

Google announced earlier this month that they are now offering a £400 credit matched spend to new customers that sign up to Google Ads through a Google Partner – a huge increase from the previous £75 offered. Therefore, when you spend up to £400, Google will match this by 100%, giving you a whopping £800 to invest in your initial Ads budget

The credit has to be used within 60 days – meaning that you could spread this out to £200 extra per month on campaigns.

This credit is only available through signing up with a Google Partner – such as Ballyhoo!

Benefits of Working With a Google Partner

In addition to getting free credit, we can also manage and set up your campaigns for you.

Google Partners is a marketing programme for advertising agencies, that allows them to manage Google Ads accounts on behalf of other businesses.

Google Partners must pass Google Ads product certification exams to show that they have the knowledge required to provide clients with this service, and also ensure that they are up to date with the latest Google product information.

Benefits of working with a Google Partner include:

  • You can work with knowledgeable experts
  • They can setup and support you quickly
  • They have access to Beta features (which helps to keep you competitive)
  • They work directly with Google to get support and suggestions

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, which allows you to display paid ads to web users on Google search and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos. There are a variety of ad types available – including service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users.

Google Ads allows you to reach new customers by targeting your ads, controlling your marketing costs, and easily measuring your success.

Work With Us

Interested in working with us to set up Google Ads for your business? Contact our friendly team today for more information.

The Best Black Friday Campaigns

November 19th, 2021 by

As Black Friday approaches, we’ve put together a list of the best Black Friday campaigns out there, along with their deals and offers. Keep reading to get some Black Friday inspo…

Currys – Get That Black Friday Feeling

Playing on the common saying ‘that Friday feeling’, Curry’s has launched their deals early – meaning that you could get the Friday Feeling way before Black Friday itself.

See offers here

IKEA – Buying Back Furniture

In a bid to be more eco-friendly, this Black Friday IKEA is giving family members an additional 20% off when they bring their old furniture to the store to be recycled through their buy-back scheme. This is a great way to offer a discount, whilst working towards a bigger cause – which also helps the brand’s reputation, as they can be seen as more environmentally friendly.

More details here – Making Memories are offering upto 30% off stays worldwide, with the slogan ‘where will you make memories?’. This is a great way to offer discounts whilst tapping into consumers’ feelings – rather than saving money on products, they’re saving money on experiences with loved ones.

See offers here

ByBi – Better Friday 

ByBi, a sustainable beauty brand, are running their ‘Better Friday’ campaign – offering 25% off site wide for a longer period of time to encourage customers to make a considered purchase, and to help cut down on waste. This year they will also capture carbon from every purchase, in their bid to be the first carbon negative beauty brand, setting the standard for other brands.

More details here

Deciem – Slowvember – Ignore the Chaos. Shop Slowly 

Similar to ByBi, beauty brand Deciem (owned by popular brand The Ordinary) are focusing on shopping slowly and sustainably this Black Friday. Deciem’s campaign focuses on bringing soothing experiences and allowing space for the appreciation of small things, to encourage consumers to make considered purchases to help the environment – doing so by offering 23% off for the whole of November. 

More details here 

Hobbii – More Offers Added 

Most brands select a range of products to add offers to – but not Hobbii. Instead, Hobbii are continually adding new deals everyday to their Black Friday sale. This encourages consumers to keep checking the website, and even making multiple orders each day. 

See offers here

Kotn – Donating to Fund Education 

Clothes brand Kotn cares about more than profit – and this Black Friday they are encouraging consumers to support small, local and BIPOC-owned businesses, and to shop with sustainable and eco-friendly brands. They are also donating 100% of order proceeds over Black Friday weekend to fund education in Egypt communities that grow cotton. 

More details here

What Role Does a Website Play in Digital Marketing?

October 12th, 2021 by

Websites are a vital component in every marketing strategy and plan, for both B2C and B2B. 

Your website is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy, as your marketing activities direct users to your website, with the aim to convert users into customers. 

If your website landing page doesn’t convert, you may end up spending lots of money on marketing activities that won’t work. 

Why You Need a Good Website 

A website is a representation of your business, and it is an opportunity to communicate your business offerings to your target audience and potential customers. 

Websites play an important role in: 

  • Supporting your brand 
  • Generating leads 
  • Nurturing existing customers 
  • Delivering content and value 
  • Communicating to customers 
  • Assisting sales 

It is important that your website is designed well and is easy for users to navigate. A study from Adobe found that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if they find the content and layout unattractive.  

A Website’s Role in Digital Marketing

Websites play an important role in Digital Marketing. All marketing activities are techniques to bring potential customers to your website – to get information about products and services, make a booking or purchase, or to get contact details and contact your business. People visualise your business based on the website –  poor or outdated websites can affect your business badly. 

Social Media & Reviews 

Consumers will often look at reviews before buying, searching for competition in all areas. These reviews should also be shared on your social media platforms. 

Email Marketing 

A website is also key for email marketing. When you send out email newsletters to customers, you can include important information and blog posts that users may find important – and then direct this traffic to your website. 

You can also send special discount codes and offers, which customers can use against products or services on your website. 

Interacting with Customers 

If you are sending marketing users to your website, you will want to ensure that they take action on your website. If they become lost or don’t take action, it may result in them going elsewhere. This is why it is a good idea to have options on your website for users to interact with you – such as a live chat functionality or help article section.  This allows potential customers to get a quick response, helping to build a relationship. 

Location Visible  

Whether you want your business to be found from all over the world or just in the local area, digital marketing is a vital tool in achieving this. Using location specific keywords in your content and website can help increase your discoverability, and help users to find you. What’s more, if you have more than one branch or shop, you can host them all on your website for users to find easily, and send location specific marketing campaigns to these pages. 


When looking at and reviewing your website, you need to keep in mind your marketing goals. Are they to convert people on the product page? Or to educate and give value to users? This will help you to ensure your website is designed for what you need. 

Not sure if your website is performing as it should? Contact us now for a free consultation and we can review your website with you. 

Stay Ahead of the Competition

December 3rd, 2020 by

Ballyhoo are still here to support you

First things first, we hope you are managing to stay safe and healthy.

We want to let you know that Ballyhoo are still here to support you in your online journey. Fortunately, we are in a position that allows us to continue operating as normal (more or less), which means we are able to continue to deliver the high-level of service and support that you have come to expect from us.

We’ve all had to adapt to these new times, but many businesses have had to completely rethink their models in order to continue operating. At the very least, they’ve had to accelerate their online growth.

How can you ride this wave too?

Prepare for an increase in online transactions

Many of your websites perform critical business functions and, now more than ever, are likely to be your customers’ primary point of contact.

The ongoing pandemic has forced more and more people to turn to the Internet for services that they would normally do in person: shopping; online fitness classes; medical appointments; booking tables in restaurants (when they are allowed to open); ordering takeaways; and everything in between.

The world has been transitioning online at a steady pace over the last decade or so with more and more services becoming available online. However, the recent situation has rapidly accelerated the evolution of online services and many organisations are scrambling to adopt new practices.

Your competitors are marching forward, don’t get lost in their shadow.

We can’t see this changing any time soon. Even when things go back to normal (whatever that may be), we believe that many of the services that have moved online will stay there and become the new preferred method of interaction.

It’s important that businesses don’t just ride it out and wait for things to go back to normal. Now is the time to update your online practices and ensure that your website caters to your customers so that you can continue to thrive for years to come and tackle anything that is thrown at you head on.

We can help

This might sound daunting, but don’t worry, we are here to support you. If you have any issues at all, want to discuss bringing your website up to speed or just want some help to review your online practices, please send an email to or complete the form below.

Contact us

Send us a quick message and we’ll get right back to you.

    We aim to respond to all messages within 1 working day.

    Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for Your Social Media and Editorial Calendars

    January 10th, 2019 by

    It seems like there is a day for everything these days. Some promote awareness for some very serious and worthy causes, while some just provide an excuse to eat cake or drink beer. Either way, these observational dates provide marketers with the opportunity to support a deserving movement or get involved with some fun and frivolity.

    But with the ever-growing list of observational days and events how can we keep track of what’s happening when? Well, from now on, the 1st of January every year will be known as “Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for your Social Media and PR Calendars” day.

    Here we will provide a growing list of observational dates and events to help you plan your content for the coming year. Although we like to think we are, we are not perfect, so if we’ve missed any important dates, or you think we have got something wrong, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. So, without further ado, here is Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for your Social Media and PR Calendars…

    January 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 JanuaryNew Year’s DayYes
    12 JanuaryKiss a Ginger DayYes
    17 JanuaryBig Energy Saving Week beginsVariable
    19 JanuaryNational Popcorn Day (US)Yes
    21 JanuaryMartin Luther King Jr Day (US)
    National Hugging Day
    25 JanuaryBurns NightYes

    February 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 February Chinese New YearNo
    4 FebruaryWorld Cancer DayYes
    9 FebruaryNational Pizza Day (US)Yes
    13 FebruaryThe Super BowlNo
    14 FebruaryValentine’s DayYes
    15 FebruarySingles Awareness DayYes
    17 FebruaryRandom Acts of Kindness DayYes

    March 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 MarchShrove Tuesday/Pancake DayNo
    1 MarchSt David’s Day Yes
    3 MarchWorld Hearing Day Yes
    3 MarchWorld Book Day First Thursday in March
    8 MarchInternational Women’s Day Yes
    9 MarchNational No Smoking Day No
    10 MarchWorld Kidney DayNo
    16 MarchYoung Carers Action DayTBC
    17 MarchSt Patrick’s Day Yes
    18 MarchGlobal Recycling Day Yes
    18 MarchRed Nose Day/Comic ReliefNo
    20 MarchFirst Day of Spring/Spring Equinox Yes
    21 MarchWorld Poetry Day Yes
    22 MarchWorld Water Day Yes
    26 MarchPurple Day (Epilepsy Awareness)Yes
    27 MarchMother’s Day (UK)No
    27 MarchClocks Go ForwardNo

    April 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 AprilApril Fools Day Yes
    2 AprilWorld Autism Awareness Day
    International Children’s Book Day
    7 AprilWorld Health DayNo
    15 AprilGood FridayNo
    17 AprilEaster SundayNo
    18 AprilEaster MondayNo
    23 AprilSt George’s Day Yes
    26 AprilWorld Intellectual Property Day Yes

    May 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 MayBig Asthma Bake Sale MonthYes
    2 MayBank HolidayNo
    4 MayStar Wars DayYes
    12 MayInternational Nurses’ DayYes
    14 MayWorld Fair Trade Day2nd Saturday in May
    15 MayChildren’s Day (UK)No
    15 MayInternational Day of Families
    FA Cup Final
    May or June
    23 MaySam’s BirthdayYes
    26 MayBallyhoo’s BirthdayYes
    30 MayCricket World CupNext in 2023

    June 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 JuneInternational Children’s Day (observed by ~50 countries) Yes
    3 JunePlatinum Jubilee Bank HolidayNo
    5 JuneWorld Environment Day Yes
    14 JuneDiabetes Awareness Week Begins (TBC) No
    15 JuneNational Beer Day Yes
    19 JuneFather’s Day No
    21 JuneWorld Music Day
    Summer Solstice
    Between June 20-22
    24 JuneTake Your Dog to Work Day No
    27 JuneWimbledon BeginsNo

    July 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    7 JulyWorld Chocolate DayYes
    14 JulyBritish Open BeginsNo
    17 JulyWorld Emoji DayYes
    29 JulyInternational Tiger DayYes
    30 JulyWorld Friendship DayYes

    August 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 AugustYorkshire DayYes 
    6 AugustEdinburgh International Festival Begins No
    8 AugustInternational Cat Day Yes
    13 AugustNational Prosecco Day
    International Left-Handers Day
    19 AugustWorld Photo Day Yes
    27 AugustNotting Hill Carnival Begins No
    29 AugustAugust Bank Holiday No

    September 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    4 SeptemberInternational Bacon Day1st Saturday in September
    5 SeptemberInternational Day of CharityYes
    10 SeptemberWorld Suicide Prevention DayYes
    13 SeptemberRoald Dahl DayYes
    14 SeptemberInternational Coding Week BeginsNo
    18 SeptemberLondon Fashion Week beginsNo
    19 SeptemberInternational Talk Like A Pirate DayYes
    17 SeptemberGreat British Beach Clean Week beginsNo
    17 SeptemberOktoberfest beginsNo
    20 SeptemberRecycle Week begins
    International Week of Happiness at Work begins
    23 SeptemberAutumnal equinoxNo
    25 SeptemberWorlds Biggest Coffee Morning Yes

    October 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 OctoberWorld Vegetarian DayYes
    3 OctoberLondon Marathonusually held in April
    5 OctoberWorld Teachers’ DayYes
    7 October World Dyslexia Day No
    9 OctoberWorld Post DayYes
    10 OctoberWorld Mental Health DayYes
    11 OctoberNational Coming Out DayYes
    13 OctoberNational No Bra DayYes
    15 OctoberGlobal Hand Washing DayYes
    16 OctoberWorld Food DayYes
    20 OctoberConflict Resolution DayNo
    30 OctoberClocks go backNo
    31 OctoberHalloweenYes

    November 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 NovemberWorld Vegan DayYes
    3 NovemberNational Stress Awareness DayYes
    5 NovemberGuy Fawkes/Bonfire NightNo
    13 NovemberWorld Kindness Day Yes
    14 NovemberWorld Diabetes DayYes
    20 NovemberWorld Children’s Day (observed by ~28 countries)Yes
    25 NovemberBlack FridayNo
    28 NovemberCyber MondayNo
    30 NovemberSt Andrew’s DayYes

    December 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    3 DecemberInternational Day of Persons with DisabilitiesYes
    9 DecemberChristmas Jumper DayNo
    21 DecemberWinter solsticeNo
    25 DecemberChristmas DayYes
    26 DecemberBoxing DayYes
    31 DecemberNew Years EveYes

    And that’s a wrap. Hopefully, Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for your Social Media and PR Calendars 2022 will give you some good ideas for your social media channels and blogs. As I said, we are not perfect, so if we have missed any, or there are any that you think we should add, then please let us know in the comments below.

    Using Twitter Effectively for Your Business

    February 8th, 2018 by

    With millions of account holders actively using Twitter each month, it is essential that you are aware of how you can use this platform to your advantage in order to achieve more recognition for your business. There are many different rules and practices you could use to do this, so we thought it’d be a good idea to show you some of our favourite, easy to implement techniques that can help you boost your Twitter following.

    First Things First

    First things first, you must create a plan and determine your goals. To do this, you should ask yourself (or your client); “what do I want to achieve from my twitter campaign?”. A clear objective must be determined before you can carry out your plan otherwise you will be working towards nothing. Do you want to improve interaction? Gain recognition for your brand? Generate sales? Or perhaps you just want to promote your service. Whatever it is, set your goals and daily or weekly objectives to ensure your engagement is consistent.

    Need help creating a plan? Contact Ballyhoo today

    The Basics


    Twitter is the perfect place to get in touch with professionals, journalists and potential clients, as well as family and friends. Therefore, it is important that what you tweet is short and informative. Not only will this prompt users to click on your link or get in touch, they can comment or mention you on their own Twitter profiles, helping you gain recognition from their followers. So, always make sure you reply politely!


    In terms of retweeting, it is important that you only retweet relevant, on-trend tweets from third party Twitter profiles. However, be careful with what you retweet; only retweet tweets that fit in with your strategy.

    How to Use it for Business

    Twitter is one of the best social media platforms all businesses should be regularly updating. If used correctly as a team, you will be able to:

    Using it as a Team

    By involving everyone, you will be able to show that your team holds a wide range of expertise, interest and personalities. This will humanise your brand which will, in turn, make more people feel like they already know and trust you, meaning they will more likely want to work with you.

    At the end of each tweet your company posts, each individual member should sign it off at the end with their name so people know who it’s from. Different searchers will relate to different members of your team, so it is important that everyone is involved to get that relationship started.

    If you are concerned about all of your team members having access to one account, it is important that you research social platforms that allow you to see previous tweets and scheduled tweets or contact experienced marketers to do it for you. That way, you will be able to see if someone else has already posted during that particular day. If they have, you could perhaps schedule yours for the next (unless it is time sensitive, then we suggest you just go for it).

    Follow Us on Twitter Today!


    While hashtags may sound cliché, they can be used to promote your tweets and help people discover your content. If you include #webdesign, for example, anyone searching or subscribing to that term will see your post. Therefore, we suggest adding at least three hashtags, definitely no more than five, to each post to strengthen your chances.

    Please also keep in mind that you cannot use spaces in your hashtags so don’t put too many words together otherwise people won’t be able to read it. Stick to about two or three.

    Twitter Analytics

    Twitter has its own tracking software that allows users to monitor their data and see how many interactions, impressions, profile visits, tweets, mentions and followers they’ve gained or lost. This helps you identify whether your strategy is working or needs a rethink.

    Monitoring your statistics is very important if you want to grow your brand and gain recognition through Twitter. We suggest that you look into this or contact us for advice on how to use this effectively, we’re more than happy to help and will create strategies that will enhance your performance.

    Other Business Tips

    How Can We Help?

    We understand that you and your business are unique so we’ll tailor an online marketing package just for you based on a number of tried and tested methods. We take a flexible approach that allows us to explore which marketing activities work best to achieve our ultimate goal of increasing the number of visits to your website, raise your Twitter following and improve your bounce and conversion rates.

    We will be more than happy to help you with social media and can offer services that will best suit your needs.

    Get in Touch with Ballyhoo Today

    What is Link Building?

    June 11th, 2017 by

    Link building is a very popular marketing strategy many sites use in order to boost their rankings in search engines. Link building is the process of gaining direct links from third party sites back to your landing pages, whether that’s from writing a guest post, producing infographics or high quality visuals that people want to share or gaining links to your resources or product pages.

    How Does Link Building Work?

    The link building process consists of four main steps:

    1. Select your targeted keyword.
    2. Find relevant link opportunities based around that keyword.
    3. Offer other sites a service, for example, to write a guest post which then provides you with a link.
    4. Move up in the search rankings.

    Gaining Effective, Reliable Links

    When trying to gain a link from other sites, it is essential that you do not target any and every website as this can be seen as spam, unnatural or unreliable and search engines will penalise you for it. Therefore, it is important to gain links from reliable and relevant resources in order for those links to be seen as valid and worth clicking on.

    External links should, therefore, come from:

    • Popular, high quality websites
    • Direct competitors
    • Industry resources and publications
    • Pages that rank for the same keyword you are trying to rank for
    • Relevant blog posts and news articles
    • Events and trade shows
    • Sites owned by unique entities

    However, it is important to remember that the level of influence links have go down in search engines if they are out of date; resources are usually an exception as they can be useful at any future date.

    Tracking Down Old Links

    With this in mind, it is essential that you find any lost, old, spam or irrelevant links before implementing your link building strategy as those links will have a damaging effect on any new links you gain.

    Google, for instance, may not trust you as much as sites filled with good, relevant, keyword rich links and will place those above yours in the rankings. Search engines even go as far as not showing your website or landing pages as a result of spam links.

    The Do’s and Don’ts of Link Building

    Before creating your link building plan, it is important you are aware of the main do’s and don’ts of link building. These change regularly so it is important to stay up-to-date and find the best strategy for you.

    The three main do’s and don’ts we’d suggest are:

    Do’s Don’ts
    Focus on distribution: this will help bring the right people to your site if you target sites of a similar nature. Their users are more likely going to find your information valuable than those gathered from unrelated sites. Excessive link exchange: spending loads of time asking every website to link back to you will negatively impact your performance as it will most likely be seen as spam.
    Link Value: if your links are of high quality they will entice the relevant users and will strengthen your position in search engines. Ask for anchor text: if you ask other sites to provide a specific anchor text, you may get carried away and cause it to lose value. Therefore, it is a good idea to let other sites post what they feel is relevant. This will also help you build a strong link profile.
    Creating guest posts: writing posts for other sites is a great way to gain links back to your website. However, it is important to remember that content should contain keywords where natural and must be a useful source for users. Use web directories: this will not provide any value to your users and can, therefore, damage your brand’s image and search engines may not show you in their rankings.

    How Can We Help?

    Ballyhoo offer a unique, catered link building strategy that will help your website fly to the top in search engines and generate more enquiries and sales. We track down any old, damaging links to your site and distribute outreach emails to websites we feel can effectively link back to yours.

    To find out more information, contact Ballyhoo on 0121 295 5352 or by email to or via the contact form on our contact page.

    Getting to Know Your Social Audience

    April 23rd, 2015 by

    The latest in my series of blog posts inspired by the Greater Birmingham Digital Summit is mostly motivated by a fantastic session in the afternoon given by Jennifer D Begg, a social marketing trainer who managed to both educate and entertain her audience (it also helped that she’s a lovely Scottish lady like myself!).

    I was so impressed with Jennifer that later on in the day I wanted to tell her personally that she inspired me, both in terms of content and as someone I could identify with. When doing so, she instantly commented on my accent and it turns out we grew up not too far away from each other in Aberdeenshire and even have a few mutual acquaintances in my home town! ‘Tis a small world indeed.

    Anyway, on with the blog…

    The internet is a truly barrierless platform. Regardless of location, age, gender, race or wealth nearly anyone can access the internet and encounter its many wonders. In fact, Google predict everyone, everywhere will be online by 2020.

    The advent of the Internet, and in particular social media, means that customers now have a way of communicating with you 24/7. Whether it’s email or Twitter, people can simply type a few lines on their phone or computer and instantly fire off a message.

    One way you can really get to know your customers is by engaging with them on social media. Here you can get instant feedback on you and your products and learn what makes people tick.

    Why use Social Media?

    Approximately 38 million people in the UK alone have active social media accounts (that’s about 59% of the entire population). Considering around the equivalent number of people are of working age (though not necessarily in work) that’s a huge number of people with spending power. So no wonder social media is now seen as a key advertising avenue for brands big and small.

    Digital natives in particular (millennials who just call a digital camera a camera – I’m showing my age here) use social like it’s going out of fashion. But older generations, arguably the decision-makers, are incredibly active too and it’s said that 57% of sales decisions are made before contact and 75% of B2B purchasers are influenced by social media.

    At the time of the Greater Birmingham Digital Summit the top 10 social media networks were presented as:

    1. Facebook (>40% users)
    2. Facebook Messenger
    3. Twitter
    4. Whatsapp
    5. Skype
    6. Google+
    7. LinkedIn
    8. Pinterest
    9. Instagram
    10. Snapchat (<10% users)

    Which Social Network is right for me?

    You’ll no doubt already know much about the main players in the social network sphere and may even be active on them to some degree at the moment. However, it’s all very well having accounts with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram et al, but you need to be actively engaging with the right audience. So, if none of your customers are using Facebook then there’s really not much point in spending your precious time using this social medium.

    In general terms, Facebook is more for friends and family and specific interests whereas something like Twitter is somewhat of a mixed bag where you can interact with nearly anyone across multiple interests. LinkedIn, for example, like to distance themselves from the competition by saying that, “You spend time on Facebook, you invest time on LinkedIn”.

    There are so many social networks available now, some of them quite niche, that to get the best return on your investment you need to intelligently target those which will produce results. There are a number of ways to do this:

    • If your customer base is large enough some simple market research may yield results. Sending a 30-second, incentivised online survey asking your loyal customers which social media they use could give you the best starting point from which to base your research. Various online tools exist – Survey Monkey is a popular option and just this morning I completed a survey using GetFeedback which I found to be slick and easy-to-use. You’ll notice I have highlighted the word incentivised above: something as simple as offering a discount code for your products or entering each person who completes the survey into a prize draw to thank them for their time can dramatically increase participation.
    • Perhaps social networks are already playing a part in your sales and you don’t even know it. Check your analytics package (if you don’t know what this is, please get in touch!) to see if any referrals are coming from social media. If a buzz is naturally being created you may be able to capitalise on this and increase conversions.
    • Use the advertising tools provided by individual social networks to gauge how many people you can reach in your demographic. These tools allow you to use the social network in question’s own user data to set up targeted advertising and the best thing is you can often get the info you need before you even have to enter any payment details. You can drill down through many variables, such as age, gender, education level, income, location and more, to accurately see whether your target customer profile can be effectively reached.

    Ensure that you do all of the above regularly – social is changing all the time and networks drop in and out of fashion.

    Coming back to Facebook as an example, did you know that the average age of a Facebook user is now 42? In particular, this social network is seeing a shift towards older generations. This could be attributed to Facebook being the most commonly known network and therefore acting as somewhat of a “gateway drug” for the social side of the Internet, but it could also be down to parents and grandparents wanting a way to connect with younger generations and then discovering the ability to connect with old friends and acquaintances. Either way, if your target audience is teenagers then perhaps Facebook isn’t the way forward.

    It’s very tempting to sign up to each and every social network you can lay your hands on but this “spray-and-pray” method really won’t work for you in the long-term if you don’t engage actively. In fact, spreading yourself too thinly could even have detrimental effect; it’s really quite off-putting to see a long-forgotten feed with the most recent post languishing somewhere in the middle of last year (the same applies to blogs – if you have one make sure you contribute to it regularly).

    How to engage with your audience

    1. Keep an ear to the ground by checking trending topics and following relevant feeds regularly. There are many feed aggregators available allowing you to monitor everything in one place and some can even save you time by emailing you daily digests. Opportunities may present themselves in unlikely ways and “piggy-backing” current trends could help you reach a wider audience.
    2. Your tone is really important. Keep in mind that, even though you might be representing an entire organisation, companies don’t use social media, people do. So sound like a real person and use the first-person. A bit of personality can go a long way and humour always helps too.
    3. React quickly to current events and post content that your followers will find value in. Quality content creation is key, whether you’re posting a link to an interesting blog, a product video or a photo.
    4. There is such a thing as being too active though – don’t bombard your followers with content. The Internet is a fickle place and users can easily get sick of seeing you in their timeline, especially if you’re just posting for posting’s sake. Conversely, if you can’t think of anything relevant or unique to say then consider the “trusted resource” approach – by posting links or reposting interesting, quality content from third-parties you could become a valuable resource for your followers by bringing them content they may not otherwise have found. Anything you then say about your services or products may have more weight.
    5. Closely monitor whether your content is performing for you. Google Analytics is obviously a valuable resource but individual networks often have integrated analytics data showing number of impressions and reach, with more stats often available if you sign up with a business account.
    6. Respond quickly to anyone who reaches out to you over your chosen social networks and keep the conversation flowing. If someone goes out of their way to contact you directly (even to complain!) this is an opportunity not to be missed. You have an open channel of communication with a current or potential customer, use it wisely and glean as much as you can from the interaction.
    7. Study up on social media etiquette and beware that anything you post is pretty much there forever – even if you later delete it. There are many horror stories to be read about companies reading situations wrong and making terrible faux pas that, in the worst cases, go viral. Ensure your staff are clued up in this area too as anything they publicly post on their personal accounts could come back around to you, particularly if it includes hateful language or sentiment.

    Low-risk, high-reward

    With the vast majority of social accounts being free and the time needed being relatively small, the risk to your business in embracing social media is low.

    Done right, social media can be a goldmine and raise your profile. It can be incredibly rewarding to interact with customers on a personal level, especially if you’re not in a customer-facing industry and spend most of your time squirrelled away in an office or factory. What’s more, you can learn about what makes you appeal to a certain audience directly from the horse’s mouth and discover new ways to create meaningful products and services that your customers will love.

    Websites and social go hand in hand and it really can’t be one or the other so make sure you back up a great social media presence with an amazing website that performs for you. In most cases, the goal of your social media interactions will be to drive people to your website to make a purchase or trigger another conversion event. Even the most beautifully crafted Tweet can’t help you if your website is unattractive or difficult to use.

    If you need any assistance in setting up social profiles, researching which may have the most value for your business or ensuring your website is prepared for all the extra traffic you hope to bring in then please feel free to contact Ballyhoo either by telephone on 0121 295 5352 email to or by filling out the contact form on our contact page.

    Don’t forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to keep up with what we have been up-to or signup to our newsletter for regular updates.

    Mobile-friendliness as a Ranking Signal

    April 15th, 2015 by

    Recently Google announced that they will be “expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”. The proposed change to the search algorithm will be rolled out on the 21st April 2015. It is predicted it will take around a week to complete and is expected to have a significant impact on search results, ultimately providing users with only relevant, high quality content that is optimised for the device they are using.

    When an internet search is made, using any of the multiple search engines that are available, the searcher expects to be presented with a list of results that are best suited to their needs. This means that not only does the website they eventually arrive at need to contain relevant content, be easy to read and provide a well rounded user experience, it also needs to function and display correctly, regardless of the type of device they are using. Therefore the need to have a site that is fully optimised for mobile is very close to being a necessity.

    Searches from mobile devices are increasing and are expected by many to exceed desktop searches during the coming year. It is for this reason that search engines are beginning to update their algorithms in order to target mobile-friendly websites and continue providing searchers with the best possible results.

    What does this mean for the website owner?

    Google’s announcement has generated a huge response among website owners, marketers, developers and designers, with reactions ranging from sheer panic to complete nonchalance. I have even read reports of people blocking their websites from Google until they have made it mobile-optimised in fear of receiving a penalty.

    The good news is it is unlikely that any website will receive a penalty for their lack of mobile-friendliness, Google will be simply giving websites that are mobile-optimised more love. The bad news is that if your website is not mobile-friendly you are likely to lose ranking positions for mobile searches, resulting in fewer visits and ultimately fewer conversions.

    There are a number of ways to approach this update in Google’s algorithm. You may decide that the majority of your visitors are using desktop devices and therefore you don’t need to be mobile-optimised or you may be of the mindset that you need mobile, and you need it now! Either way there are a few things to think about before you make any rash decisions.

    More good news, this update is going to be what’s known as a live algorithm, which means that if your website is not currently mobile-friendly all is not lost. As soon as your website is mobile ready Google will notice and almost instantly reconsider your ranking positions in mobile search.

    Something else to consider is that this will be a page by page update, meaning that if some of your site isn’t mobile-optimised then the whole site won’t suffer and only the pages that are not mobile-friendly will be affected.

    How do I tell if my site is mobile-friendly?

    First of all, if you are not sure if your site is considered mobile-friendly the quickest way to find out is to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test will analyse the URL of your website and report on whether or not you have a mobile-friendly design. Remember that this tool will only tell you if the specific page that you have entered is mobile-friendly, other pages of your site may not be so it is worth checking a few of your pages, including your homepage, just to make sure. If you’re still not sure then contact your developer or give us a shout and we’ll have a look for you.

    What if it is?

    If your site is already mobile-friendly then congratulations, you are one step ahead of the game and ready to take on the next phase of Google’s search algorithm. You can skip the rest of this article and celebrate with a cold beer.

    What if it isn’t?

    If your site isn’t mobile-optimised and you already receive good traffic from mobile search then this will change within a couple of weeks following 21st April. As I mentioned earlier, don’t panic, there is still time to organise a responsive design and develop your site to be mobile-friendly. The last thing you want to do is rush it and end up with poorly implemented designs that will need to be changed again before too long – remember, this is a live algorithm and Google will start to share the love as soon as you’re ready.

    However, I would still highly recommend that you make your site mobile-friendly as soon as possible. Get in touch with your developer, or give us a call at Ballyhoo, to discuss what can be done to make your site responsive and ensure that you maintain your rankings in mobile search.

    What if I don’t want my site to be mobile-friendly?

    You may feel that you won’t be affected by this change, your traffic might be mainly from desktop devices, either directly or through referrals and you are of the opinion that mobile traffic isn’t important. If this is the case, and you can’t be convinced that making your site mobile-friendly is one of the most important things you could do for your business this year, then all is not lost.

    As I mentioned earlier – this is a live algorithm, your website is not going to be condemned to the fiery depths of Google hell. When you start to notice a drop in traffic, decide to bring your site up to modern standards or realise that this update has also had an effect on your desktop searches (there are few theories rattling around about whether this will be the case but nothing solid as yet) then there will still be a chance to redevelop your site to be mobile-friendly and hopefully regain any lost ranking positions.

    Something else to consider – someone finds your website, through search on their desktop machine and decides to share a link with their friends on social media, in an email or in a text message. What devices are the recipients of the shared link using to view your website?

    My thoughts

    Regardless of whether or not you think you will be affected by this change in Google’s search algorithm my advice would be to implement a fully responsive design as soon as possible. As I mentioned earlier mobile devices are becoming widely used as the main web browsing tool and mobile search will overtake desktop search in the not-so-distant future.

    Google’s decision to consider mobile-friendliness in its search results was not made on a whim and it’s not likely to be just another update from Google that falls by the wayside.

    Despite all this, the fact of the matter is people use their smartphones, tablets, iPods, iPads and iPhones to browse the Internet and fewer households own desktop computers. If you want your website to remain a valuable resource and/or make sales and conversions, then it needs to operate well, function well and look good regardless of the device that is being used to view it on!

    My final piece of advice would be to take advantage of this update. If your competitors decide that they don’t need to be mobile-friendly then optimising your own website could make the difference in who pips it to the post on the first page of Google mobile search. This could be your opportunity to overtake them!

    Take a look at some of Ballyhoo’s recent projects that we have built to be fully responsive and tested across a huge range of devices.

    If you need any help in checking your website or would like to discuss how we can help you to make sure you are not affected by Google’s changes to mobile search then please feel free to contact Ballyhoo either by telephone on 021 288 1100 email to or by filling out the contact form on our contact page.

    Don’t forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to keep up with what we have been up-to or signup to our newsletter for regular updates.