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New blog design in progress. Excuse the scaffolding. This is just a short about section where you can describe yourself and your site. You'll want to keep it fairly long because there are some layout issues that arise if the area is below a certain width.

Marys interview with Peter Donegan

Peter met with Mary earlier this week for a chat and recorded a quick interview about Spoiltchild and what we do.

Thanks Peter.

Listen!

| | 11/03/11 01:18 PM

Happy Christmas from Spoiltchild

From a snow covered Co. Meath, we would like to wish all our clients and friends a very Happy Christmas. Thanks for your continued support over the past year, we really appreciate it.

Our office will be closed from December 23rd and will reopen on January 4th. As always we are available via email if you need any help or assistance info@spoiltchild.com

In the meantime, keep safe and warm and all the best for 2011!

Alan, Mary, Tracy and the Spoiltchild team.

| | 21/12/10 04:50 PM

Riverdance Online Launched

As the year draws to a close we are really delighted to announce the launch of the Riverdance online project. We worked with an amazing web team and the outcome as you can see is pretty stunning.

Spoiltchild were hired to revamp Riverdance’s online presence with a complete overhaul of their website, Facebook, Twitter and email marketing, to harness the phenomenal amount of traffic Riverdance.com achieves on a daily basis.

Our approach to the project focused on the User, the Brand and the Service by working through the customer journey (how a user moves through the site) and building a fantastic user experience.

The redesign had much to accomplish:
1. Finding tours and tickets easily
2. Allowing users as much interaction as possible
3. Displaying a vast amount of content in a user friendly way
4. Promotion and sales and
5. Social media and email marketing integration

Reviews of the new site have been pouring in and users love the new structure, layout and design. Watch out for a more detailed case study in the New Year. What do you think?

Riverdance Home

Riverdance Facebook

Riverdance Twitter

Mary

| | 21/12/10 03:16 PM

Big Feet Little Feet - Matching socks for Daddy and Son

Searching for inspiring Christmas gifts is often a chore. After a fruitless search for funky matching socks for my son and me, I decided to do something about it.

My 4 year old loves super heroes, Muppets, Peppa Pig and great design (ok the last one is me). So expect great, fun and funky socks with the launch of BigFeetLittleFeet in the New Year.

It may be a bit late for this Christmas but we will be ready for the next one! Sign up for launch news here!

| | 20/12/10 02:42 PM

weigh2live mobile weight tracker launched

Keeping fit and healthy during the cold winter months is often a challenge. For help managing your weight and fitness we have just launched a mobile app for weigh2live. weigh2live.eu is an independent website, developed by nutritionists from safefood and dietitians from the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.

Our handy mobile app allows you to keep track of your diet and fitness, your daily activities and your weight and fitness goals. It is extremly user friendly, with an inviting user interface and quirky, welcoming design.

We have loved working with safefood on the weigh2live project, developing their new site and now the mobile app.

Sign up here to keep motivated or use the handy mobile app on the go. Why not get involved by joining a group and find support and advice on Facebook.

| | 23/11/10 09:13 AM

Cheesed Off.

In honour of the wonderful and innovative solution to the recession announced by the Government today. Cheese!

Click for larger.

Feel free to post it on your own site but a link back would be nice :)

We Won! Irish Web Awards 2010

The Irish Web Awards never disappoint and this year was no different; Mulley and his band of organizers out done themselves again. The Mansion House was the perfect setting. Throw in a brass band to set the scene, plenty of yummy cup cakes and a late night visit from an ice-cream van and the ingredients for a most special event is complete.

To win an award at the Irish Web Awards is very special, 700 entries, 105 judges and lots of great competition. We are delighted to win Best Microsite for our safefood Christmas campaign.

The project consisted an integrated Christmas campaign featuring a Microsite, Facebook and Twitter integration and an email marketing campaign to tie it all together. The site features lots of fantastic Christmas content, recipes and a cool competition. We had lots of fun developing the concept through to final launch. We even found a way to make the most of that leftover turkey with the “I still love turkey” campaign on Twitter and Facebook! See it here.

Our second safefood project, Weigh2Live.eu was a finalist in four categories so we are absolutely chuffed. Great work comes from from great partnerships and our work with safefood over the years really demonstrates this.

Big thank you to Deirdre and Fiona and all the team at safefood; Damien Mulley and his brilliant team; the judges; Realex Payments and the sponsors, Made in Hollywood for the beautiful trophy and all our colleagues and friends who help us out each day.

Looking forward to IWA 2011 already.

Mary

| | 18/10/10 10:51 AM

STOP. Put the money down and step back from the designer.

When designing your website for the first time or working on an overall redesign make a list of your most important goals. Then make a list of the most important content that supports these goals. The rest of the design flows from these two lists. The order of priority and the visual presentation of information on your site should always follow these three simple but crucial steps.

1. Clearly state what you do and the benefits to the user
2. Follow that with an impressive client list and client testimonials
3. Have a clear call to action to contact with you now

If a user is not ready to engage with you now, find a way to capture their details to continue the conversation and for future marketing opportunities by:

1. Include an email subscribe
2. Give a great reason why the user should subscribe
3. Give something away, a chapter of a book, eBook, or an article to encourage sign ups and build trust.
4. Remove the captcha on the sign up form. The few spam sign ups are worth the hassle compared to the leads you will lose.

Anything not on the above list should be removed or reduced in importance. Tighten up all spacing. Make sure the overall design is clean and clear, make it scanable and easy to find key information quickly.

The essence of a great redesign is “no time wasters please”. You don’t want to waste your time and money creating a site that will confuse and annoy your users. Secondly, you do not want to waste these users time. It is bad form. Nobody has time to thrawl through badly designed sites that do not give us the information we need.

Follow these few simple steps and your redesign will convert more and lead you and your user on a mutually beneficial journey.

Mary

Image thanks to StreetFly JZ

Landing Page Optimization: Sell more by spending less. Part 2

Here is part two of my landing page optimisation post. If you missed it, part one is here. I am happy to receive your comments and suggestions and thanks for your feedback so far.

To recap: A landing page is the webpage you direct traffic to from a specific email, ad or piece of marketing. Its goal is to convert that traffic into sales or sign ups.

Be Personal

When designing your landing pages the golden rule is to be personal. People like to buy from people, not computers, or websites. It’s inbuilt in all of us to relate better to other people. The more you personalise your message and offer, the more you increase the connection with your visitor. Why, because it increases their comfort and trust when buying from you. A great example is to add your phone number to your site, as Brandon Eley points out. Once a visitor realises there is a person on the other end of the phone to help, IF needed, conversions increase. The knowledge that someone is there to help is enough to reasure the user.

Likewise, if there is any way you can make your message more personal and targeted for your page visitor the better. At the most basic, you need to know where in the world they are coming from and what site or advert they are visiting from. Are they an existing customer? Do you know their name? Can you tweak your message to include these details?

Link the landing page to the advert

eircom_adwords

Here is an example of an ad for Eircom Broadband on Google. Note the wording and information contained. Yet when you click through to the landing page, pictured underneath, where is the mention of the “Value Business Bundles”?

eircom_landingpage

Repeat the Promise

You need to repeat the wording of the original ad and give a clear call to action. Repeat the wording and the graphics. It should be obvious to the visitor that they have come to the right page, with the offer they were expecting. The key point here is, you made a promise in the initial advert so you must fulfill that promise on the landing page.

Scantastic

Make sure your pages are scanable. Here is the text from the first third of an Amazon product page for Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow.

Purple cow amazon Landing Page

This amount of information should be overwhelming but Amazon didn’t become the leading online retailer by confusing and overwhelming shoppers. Here is the designed Amazon landing page for Purple Cow. What a difference.

amazon_purple_cow_design

You can see now how design and formatting of the content makes information much clearer and easier to find. This example highlights one of the misunderstandings of landing page optimisation. Your pages do not have to be short to be effective. It doesn’t even have to be that simple. Your landing page needs to be long enough, detailed enough and clear enough to make the sale. It can be 1 page or 5 pages. No one size fits all, so you will have to test what works for you.

An interesting side note regarding the addition of review on Amazon. You have probably heard how reviews increase sales. But recent data from Amazon has shown that products with both positive and negative reviews sell better then ones with positive reviews alone.

The reason attributed to this is twofold. First, we are a suspicious bunch and we don’t trust something that everyone gushes about. The second reason is that negative reviews are not necessarily bad. A bad review from a large corporate CEO might tell a small business CEO that this is the book to buy.

highrise wording1

Wording

Simple word changes can have a huge impact. 37 Signals wrote about some of the wording variations they tried on their Highrise CRM sign up page. Here are three types used with the percentage increase in conversions for each one.

Their original wording had the worst conversion rate “30-day Free Trial on All Accounts.” Variation no. 2 – “Sign-up takes less then 60 seconds. Pick a plan to get started!” gave a 30% better conversion rate. When you are attracting the level of traffic that 37Signal products do, 30% means a significant jump in revenue.

How to increase conversion with four amazing words.

highrise_signup_button

Jason Fried said that they tested various phrases on the Highrise homepage for the call-to-action button. They had originally used various permutations of “Free Trial” and “Sign-up for Free Trial”. Then they tested the phrase “See Plans and Pricing” this resulted in a 200% increase in sign-ups. That’s right. 200%.

Fried believes it’s because people are afraid if they click a link that says “Free Trial” then they’ll automatically sign up for something and be trapped. However, “See Plans and Pricing” encouraged them to explore, without the fear of commitment.

Euocottage Case Study

original_homeowner_signup

This landing page from Eurocottage highlights a common failing for websites where they ask for too much information upfront. Ask for the least amount of information and at each step and clearly explain why you need this information in the first place. Explain to the user what the benefits are by imparting this information.

Eurocottage_homeowner_signup

We redesigned this new landing page for Holiday Cottage search site Eurocottage.com. We simplified the process and gave users the information they needed to trust the sign up process. The new page is clearer and easier to use. It’s friendly and welcoming and is much more inviting to users. We are testing the new landing page at the moment. It will be interesting to see the performance rates for the new page. We will keep you posted.

Tools for testing

There are a few must have tools if you decide to try and measure and optimise your landing pages. Website Optimiser is a specific tool from Google for doing A/B and multivariate testing. If you use only one tool for testing this is it. Use Google analytics of course for basic numbers and tracking goal funnels.
5 Second test is an interesting site for checking what parts of your page people actually notice.

Be a pirate!

Pirate lpo

Be a pirate for your user! Sites like Amazon spend millions of Euro in usability and conversion tracking every year. Look at what the successful sites in your market are doing and copy them. No need to reinvent the wheel but try and make your own improvements. Landing page optimisation is not rocket science it is just a series of small simple tests. Devote an hour a week to it and track your progress.

Why bother?

You can spend 6 months building a level of traffic converting at 1% and to double that turnover, you can spend another 6 months.
Or you can simply test and tweak the landing page to convert up to 2% or 3% in a fraction of the time.

Recommended Reading

Seth Godin The Big Red Fez
Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug
Landing Page Optimization – Tim Ash
eConsultancy
Marketing Experiments
Google Website Optimizer
Which Test Won

Image above from Scurvy Pirates

| | 08/07/10 03:02 PM

Pimp my brand. Loose Customers.

I have been working on branding a lot over the last few weeks for clients, for Spoiltchild and for Toddle. I am intrigued with how people present themselves both personally and professionally and how great companies embody great brands.

On the other hand, there is lots of hyperbole out there. Everything and everyone is described as “ brilliant” “creative” and “innovative” to the point where I’m left feeling uneasy after reading the About sections in many Blogs and company profiles.

But more crucially, I don’t know whether I should hire you or your company as your profile does not ring true to me. So more research and find someone else. Not a good result for your business I’d say.

The question is how do you describe yourself and your company in a truthful way that gives me, the perspective client, an understanding of how good you are and makes me hire you now?
Here are my suggestions.

1. Make sure to highlight recommendations from your previous clients. They know you and what you do and can give concrete examples why I should hire you now.

2. Make sure your client testimonials are believable. Avoid words like “awesome” in the body of the recommendation. Check for the bull-o-meter before you hit publish.

3. Focus on the benefits. Did you complete the project on time? Did you bring it in under budget? Did you manage the project well? Have you worked on similar projects previously? Did you win any awards recently?

4. Be sincere. If your passion is helping people then state that. Your activities and achievements to date will back this statement up.
5. There is no problem selling yourself but be a little humble about it. We can all spot half truths a mile off.

6. Include a face. As humans we really relate to faces. Add a picture so we can see who you are and recognise you when we meet next time. It is a personal touch that builds trust.

7. It’s a conversation. Your profile speaks to your customers, colleagues and friends so why not make it a conversation starter.

8. Have a read of Brooke Green’s post “Block and Tackle” http://www.caskeyone.com/block-and-tackle/ on getting the basics right and building on good foundations.

Mary

| | 06/07/10 10:54 AM

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