The Importance of Social Media in Business

Companies and their Social Media Stats

Companies and their Social Media Stats

Many companies know that social media is a major factor for businesses to achieve success in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, and in 2014 a lot of companies who embraced the social media revolution are now reaping benefits from their investment in time and resources, producing a high number of fans/followers, high Google rankings,  successful conversions and great influence factors

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Digital Marketing delivers growth for Blarney Woollen Mills

Blarney Woollen Mills is Ireland’s largest online gift-store. Founded in Blarney, Co Cork in 1975 as a souvenir/gift shop aimed at selling to tourists visiting the village to kiss the Blarney Stone, Blarney Woollen Mills quickly developed a significant mail order business shipping gifts primarily to the USA. Their web presence, Blarney.com has a huge range of products from the most popular Aran Sweaters to Celtic Jewelry and Novelty Irish Gifts.

Following the launch of a new version of their website website,  Blarney Woollen Mills hired Granite Digital in April 2013 to support its digital marketing strategy. Online sales had previously been based on email marketing and a strong brand generating repeat & referral business. The brief was to plan and implement a search engine marketing strategy to target new business for the website and thereby increasing brand awareness, revenue and sales.

Objectives

• Increase online visibility of Blarney.com
• Increase sales from new online channels
• Increase brand awareness

Strategy

Granite Digital’s search engine marketing campaign focused on generating awareness of Blarney.com combining both SEO and Search Engine Advertising (Google AdWords) to target users searching for Irish Gifts but who expressed no preference for where they bought them.

Once awareness was achieved, the focused broadened to tap into loyalty using remarketing with online display ads. Each channel  offers unique possibilities and plays a vital part in driving brand awareness, increasing sales and increasing performance:

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
• Raises awareness of Blarney.com among people searching for products stocked by Blarney Woollen Mills
• Increase in targeted traffic to website:

SEO-traffic-growth-for-Blarney.com  Search Engine Advertising
• Highly targeted advertising guaranteeing instant awareness
• Sophisticated conversion tracking to measure return on investment

Display Remarketing
• Drives sales and increases ROI by re-targeting customers who viewed products on site but didn’t purchase.
• Ads tailored to this campaign – targeting people who have already been on website

Google to launch new Search Results page design

If you have been using Google over recent weeks then you may have noticed that the Search Engine giant has been testing various proposed layouts in the hope of making the appearance of the search results interface easier to read. They have done this by increasing the font size and removing the underlines for some of hyperlinked content.

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Granite Digital Partners with Worldchoice Travel

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Granite Digital are delighted to be recently awarded the contract to redevelop the Worlchoice Travel website and intranet. It is a very exciting project for our Web Development Team, with the goal of improving collaboration and communications between member agents and trade partners whilst most importantly using technology to deliver bigger profits for all involved.

Robert Carpenter, Director at Granite Digital, described the project as ‘very exciting’, saying it will showcase a ‘world-class digital look and feel’ to Worldchoice’s engagement with both their Irish members and their trade partners, which include Amadeus and Royal Caribbean. The goal is to bring Worldchoice’s intranet portal to life, he said, ‘reinvigorating’ their brand and profile.

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Eircom Disruption causes havoc in West Cork Areas

Business’s in the west Cork area were left stranded for almost a month and suffered serious disruptions the their daily online business proceedings due to problems with Eircom’s telephone & broadband systems, The problem was mainly within the Skibbereen area and Eircom were slow to accept responsibility.

Granite’s very own chief technical officer Ger O’Shea spent at least three weeks or more tackling the problem with Eircom and also helping some of granites many clients after receiving a constant stream of complaints from the Skibbereen area.

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Cork Software company TeamworkPM acquire Teamwork.com Domain for €550.000

Peter Coppinger & Daniel Mackey founded Digital Crew in 1998 and have made a living building websites, intranets and custom web-based solutions for clients in Cork, Ireland. At this point their company has a good reputation internationally and they sell website components online.teamworkpm-126

They spent some time reviewing and using project management software and tried several different companies and found many were very expensive, overly complex, and some were lacking basic features, they wanted something intuitive that doesn’t take time to learn and maintain. Something everybody in the company can use – not just the project manager.

So Peter and Dan set about creating their own Project Management software, their mission was simple - to make the world’s most easy-to-use, fastest and best Project Management System.

Today Some 20,000 companies in 147 countries worldwide use TeamworkPM’s business software, which streamlines day-to-day operations. Around 90% of the customer base includes companies like eBay, Microsoft, Oxfam, Forbes, PayPal, Electronic Arts and NBC. The company says sales are set to exceed US$12m by the end of 2015.

Trading under the Domain name of teamworkpm.net,  Teamwork have been negotiating for the domain of “teamwork.com” for over 2 years, this is the first time that the domain teamwork.com will actually be used, having remained dormant since it was acquired by the original owner in 1999.

photo (1)The purchase of Teamwork.com was one of the biggest domain sales worldwide last year and we believe it to be one of the most expensive ever purchased by an Irish company.

Peter Coppinger said “We are 100%  confident that the investment will pay for itself in no time as we expand our product range and improve marketing under the new brand, the company aims to use the new domain name to be a kind of marketplace for its software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud-based business products, which include CRM, customer support and bookkeeping.”

Here at Granite Digital we are proud to have worked with Teamwork in the transition of their original company and clients; Digital Crew. And we wish them the very best for the future.

At Your Service!!

We were delighted to be asked by Millstreet Country Park to design and develop a new website for their amazing facility. Being honest, I never even knew the facility was there until we started working with them. The Park was featured on tonight’s “At your Service” with John & Francis Brennan on RTE. We are very proud of what we have produced and I think you’ll agree when you see the ‘Before & After’ shots below that the new site is a much better representation of the Park.  I hope we don’t have to tell you which is which :)

Best wishes for the future to Millstreet Country Park

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millstreet-after_sml

Digital Marketing Strategies in 2014

As the New Year progresses most companies a busy rethinking their digital marketing strategies for the year, as marketers read through article and article trying to figure out the latest or biggest trends for 2014. We must still focus on the main objective, Advertising.

There are three big trends to online advertising this year and we at granite have taken a detailed look into what we think will have the most effect and produce the most conversions for clients in 2014.

 1. Native Advertising / Sponsored Advertising

nativeNative advertising is the ability to tuck a brand message into the editorial experience in a seamless and responsible way, creating a story and target audience research is crucial for success. By working with influential and highly skilled individuals you can find, and sponsor content to promote your brand and product.

Native Advertising is probably the hardest style of advertising to master and it takes a lot of imagination and creativity,

To create good Native Advertising there are techniques and pointers to consider before creating a campaign -

  • Find influencers that lead not follow. There are thousands of bloggers and media personnel that don’t start the conversation, they follow it. By listening, following you gain a good understanding of what the current topics of targeted audiences are thus allowing to create your own opinion/spin on relevant subjects.You want to work with people that start the conversation not just people who amplify it. They will guide you towards connecting with their readers.
  • Create an experience. It’s not just the content. It’s about creating a user experience to draw someone in, piece with video, music, HTML 5, parallax effects, are all features to create a story and experience for the user. By creating a piece with well crafted edits, stunning images, immersive video with text overlay and innovative design to create a magical digital experience. Suddenly it’s hard not to get pulled in and feel something – in a whole new way.
  • Don’t compromise quality. Many companies clutter up space and ruin design with too much advertising thinking quantity creates higher conversion rates but this can be the complete opposite and can actually harm conversion rates, quality not quantity wins over in the Native advertising stakes and compromising quality is just as bad. Multimedia skills are what shine in this area a cross platform is essential to create that great user experience, Doesn’t your brand equity get damaged by sponsoring lame content?
  • Be transparent – and have fun with it. Work closely with you Native Ad content creator weather it be in-house or external. By fully understanding the goals quality will be produced and if it’s a great experience for the reader, everybody wins.

2. Contextual Advertising

Contextual Advertising is more of a direct root to the source so to say, there are different theories of exactly what contextual Advertising is some say Contextual advertising is designed to align with the media property in which it appears i.e. if you are browsing for cars then the user will see adverts for tyres, oil, crash repair garages content that is related to the page. Another theory is that contextual advertising refers to user behavioural targeting, if a user browsed for a product then went onto facebook that products advert will show up in the users facebook feed.

contextual

But there is a down side to contextual advertising and it all depends on the user and what they are doing at the current time

  • If the user is in search mode then Contextual Advertising has a positive effect and will provide the user the Answer, solution or product that they are searching for.
  • If the user is in browse mode then directing paid adverts at them will not return any conversions and will simple be over looked

 3. Re-marketing

Ad words Re-marketing is an action taken by marketers to reintroduce a product or service that a user desired but didn’t take any action at the time. Re-marketing has been steadily growing over the last 12 months and is surprisingly cost effective when compared to other forms of marketing it relies heavily on cookies so be warned Whether you are already doing re-marketing or are looking to start, you need to ensure that you are compliant with the cookie law. When a user views a website or product the user is tracked by cookies as the user continues to browse adverts for the product will be directed to follow the user. This is a very good way to get undecided conversions but re-marketing must be tracked in its self, if your campaign has acquired a conversion that intended user must stop being tracked to avoid irritation with the brand and wasted promotion expenditure.

remarketing

  • All site visitors – Basic re-marketing to increase brand awareness, increase traffic all pages of a website.
  • Undecided / Almosts – Physically clicked through or placed items into shopping cart but didn’t convert, here your re-marketing efforts should be aimed at shopping cart / landing pages
  • Members -  Some websites have log in areas to find out more information on products or services, targeting re-marketing on these pages the user is guaranteed to view adverts of interest.

.Cork, The Marketing Benefits of gTLD’s

Cork Independent recently announced that The Deputy Mayor of Cork is pushing for a .cork Domain to help promote local businesses and online sales.

gTDLCurrent Online spending in Ireland is a staggering 4bn a year, but the issue with this is that 75% of it goes to overseas companies and venders. Companies with .com .co.uk, and even .ie can be from abroad, where as .cork if properly regulated can be used to assure the customer the origin of the purchase and the locality of the service.

A domain such as .com is officially known as a gTLD generic Top Level Domain. As domain names have become scarce over the years,  a new way of naming domains had to be created. There are currently 22 gTLD’s such as .com .net .gov .ie .eu. ICANN’s  (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) aim is to promote competition, branding, consumer choice, localisation,  Digital marketing and innovation while ensuring the security and stability  of the Domain name system (DNS) with the new plan for gTLD’s and people wanting to register a unique domain will have to go through an application process.

BlogThe application window recently opened on Jan 2012 and a total 1,930 applications for new gTLD’s have been received. By March 2013 we saw the initial results of the process and in Aug 2013 the public saw the new gTDL’s that were deemed “eligible”.

So what are the benefits of unique domains?

The .cork domain will greatly benefit local retail and web development business’s within the Cork area and it will improve on more specific search results. New gTDL’s will also offer the following benefits -

  • Entrepreneurship. Create your own business model and establish accessibility policies for your TLD. If your customers want tighter security, make your TLD a high-security zone.
  • Increased control. You set the rules and the price for those registering your TLD.
  • Innovative marketing opportunity. Build better brand definition, brand awareness, brand loyalty and trust by having full control over your own TLD.
  • Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). Increase market reach by making the Internet completely accessible to users whose local languages use non-Latin characters.
  • Engage your community. Create a rallying point for supporters of your cause, community or culture to unite with a community-based TLD.
  • Bring together your geographic area. Celebrate your local citizens, commerce, activities, and culture with a geographic TLD.

Overall the theory of a .cork is good within itself,  but you really have to ask the questions is this just clever P.R to grab the headlines of being on the pulse of web technologies or has this been planned out and will be a serious proposition to localise, unify and benefit the people and city of Cork.