Verified suppliers quotation websites or merely lead generation brokers?

If you are not paying for lunch then you are lunch!   Send me my free report button scanIt’s a new media adage that suits free offerings such as Facebook, yes it’s free for users but only free as they are the product. This audience is segmented and delivered to advertisers and your personal likes or tastes is now their big data and is incredibly valuable when sold on as targeted adverts as relevance is valuable as it reduces budget wastage.

The next level of user data exploitation is the Approved Supplier Directories, who really ought to be named as Lead Generation Brokers. Unlike Facebook who supply you with a benefits laden experience, they just ask you to upload your details, need and budget which they sell on, yes they really do. Why would you give a stranger so much commercial information? You may not have heard of the way they gather and sell data but you will have heard of the names such as Rated People, Approved Supplier Index, WebsiteDesignerPrices (with 75% saving before without even knowing what you want).

Rated people screen grab

WebsiteDesigerPrices screen grab

These Brokers appear to offer you a link to approved verified, authorised suppliers near you. However all they do is take the data that you gave them when you filled in the webform and sell it on as a red hot sales prospect to between 3-5 companies, no questions asked, other than can I have your credit card number? They do not audit, verify or check out these suppliers they just sell the data on, multiple times. So are their customers getting access to the best in the market? No the opposite in fact.

How do the Brokers get the customers from? They users through disguised websites with the devil in the detail, in the small print they will mention the word leads. But to be generate web traffic themselves they need to spend a lot on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to get their websites up the search engines rankings or by paid results via PPC (Pay Per Click). So the lead generators are paying Google to buy the attention of  unsuspecting users whose business needs are then sold on to others. It’s a kind of marketplace of the blind, as they do not even suspect they are being exploited an sold on as leads. We recently came across an Edinburgh based web design firm now in liquidation who admitted to buying £17,000 worth of leads at £50 each, that’s not a great business model.  If that lead is being sold on 3-5 times plus there in absolutely no guarantee that the end client will buy from any of the lead purchasers, or at all. So the cost of customer acquisition could be way higher than the £15-£50 prospect lead fee. Evolution has been targeted and even tried this route as it seemed to be too good to be true.  And it was, usually the actual customer interest was way over reported and the budgets were not as high as stated, nor was the urgency as imminent. So a weak cheap cool lead was sold as a red hot one of high value.

QuotationJunctionAnother Lead Generation Broker who contacted us recently is QuotationJunction, who ‘specialise’ in such diverse areas as Web Development to Franking Machines and Golf Buggies, any way to gather a lead. They spend a lot on PPC and their leads range from £15-£40 based on the project value and promise to only sell to 3 companies. 3 seems to be a common number but in such a wild west industry I’d not be 100% confident of that though. Perhaps they are even selling their own customers data on to other lead Generation companies?

Screen grab

But what if the Lead Generator is set up as some kind of industry body, how fair honest legal and decent is that? We recently joined one for the internet and after joining we were offered leads that their site had generated.  They really do look sound and act like the quality control of the internet brigade. QC for your PC, but are in fact generating leads for sale.

Promises made by these online services really need to seen to be believed.

Logo Guarantee stationAryTake LogoDesignGuarantee they offer you a guaranteed 50% discount if you sign now as the sale always ends today – recently had website adverts banned by the ASA on 5 different complaints but will that stop them? They cannot even spell stationEry on their homepage, small point but desperately worrying as it is one of their core services. Not to mention would you buy a logo from a company called LogoDesignGuarantee who do not even appear to have a logo themselves. They also sell website design, and the same question should be asked judging by their website would you buy?

Wilogo stationary screen grab

It seems to be a common error amongst online ‘designers’ here you can see WiLogo services page, would you buy stationery from them or rather stay stationary.

A mnemonic is that stationEry has an E for Envelope and stationAry has an A for Arrived.

By Neale Gilhooley  Evolution Design®

new gTLD’s – Generic Top Level Domains available to pre-register

Evolution registered our first domain name (evolution-design.co.uk) in 1996 since then we have added many permutations, such as .com, .eu .org .co with and without hyphens in an effort to ward off competitors, not always successfully, but at an ever increasing annual defensive cost. Now a new opportunity arises with the generic top level domain or gTLD such as evolution.design which we have pre-registered with a likely cost of £30 pa. These revolutionary new domains soon to be available were created by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and the full list is vast. It is a new type of web address altogether without the familiar .com or .co.uk extension instead ending in descriptive words such as .plumbing, .insurance, .booking .finance etc  If you want to pre-register your own domain start here gTLD registeration with no obligation but also no guarantee unless you own a Trademark and have it registered at the ICANN approved Trademark Clearing House for fees starting at $150 per annum plus the cost of the domain name. Over half of these new TLDs have open registration policies meaning absolutely anyone can register a new domain name without restriction. Brand owners need to react and adapt strategies to prepare for this rapidly expanding TLD landscape. Costs add up alongside your existing domain portfolio, which we recommend you hold on to as you have invested in promoting, marketing and creating customer awareness for  those domains. Registering a new gTL domain and migrating your site and traffic over is the sensible option for established websites and online businesses, at some cost – should they take of and there is no guarantee of that happening.

However this new domain ‘bonanza’ is a great opportunity for completely new brands and channels to be built. Some ought set your mind racing of the new gTLD’s: .accountants .apartments .booking .cafe .claims .cloud .credit .cruises .data .domains .download .engineering .finance .financial .fitness .flights .florist .fly .forsale .gallery .gifts .global .golf .health .healthcare .help .homes .hotel .insurance .international .investments .love .marketing .media .medical .mobile .money .mortgage .network .news .one .organic .properties .sale .software .solar .solutions .support .tax .taxi .tech .technology .tickets .training .translations .university .website .wedding  If that gave you any inspiration then start the domain pre-registration here currently on a no obligation no fee basis as part of the sunrise period. Many names are missing, of the original 1,930 new gTLD applications, 125 have been withdrawn but only two or three have been rejected such as .amazon after complaints from Brazil and Peru. Others are held by brands at a cost of $185,000 and many may choose to sell a lot of domains to re-coup that cash. It has been a messy process with some friction along the way, you can read more about it on this blog as obviously ICANN cannot keep all competing applicants happy. You can read about the new .scot domain here which has still to reveal its costs structure allegedly 4 months before it is available. So pre-register your domain(s) and then decide should you be successful.

If you want to put a cash value on your domain portfolio you could start with the websites noted towards the end of this blogpost on domains.

Using Google Analytics and other free traffic measurement tools

By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design

True story, I once phoned the Marketing Manager of a company called Stirling Stone. He was a complete stranger but I asked if he was interested in discussing the redesign of his company website and he admitted that he had been pondering that subject all week. A very fruitful conversation followed and when we met a few days later and I demonstrated how I found him through my webstats; the previous day someone from a server named Stirling Stone had found our website on Google using the search term “Edinburgh website designers”, viewing 26 pages – a very deep site visit from the proverbial needle in the haystack. So when I phoned the odds were actually pretty good and I knew which service he might be in most urgent need of. When we met I demonstrated Google Analytics to him. He had not heard of it before and at first he was shocked and scared even, then like so many other Clients he saw the use that such business information could provide to assist his marketing effort.

This introduction is aimed to help you get great value from the clear market leader. Evolution Design has been using Google Analytics for years and installing on the websites we built since 2007.  That’s a lot of data and a lot of changes most being enhancements. There is so much web usage data provided that most users ought to focus on their own key metrics to track, instead of getting lost in mounds of data.

GA logoYou can often find a quick fix or a peak of interest but the most value you will get is from watching trends develop over time. It is not just about watching your website and making tweaks and improvements based on real user behaviour, it is about evaluating your entire marketing effort as most activities ought to generate at least more web traffic and enquiries ideally leading to sales.

Q. How does Google collect my data?  A. Sign up for free and Google issues some tracking code which we then put on the back end of each page that you want to be tracked.  Then log into your account to see your webstats this is your data that you share with us not the other way around.

Q. What does Google Analytics provide me with for free?  A. Numbers of visitors to your website broken down into:

  1. How they found your site; directly, via a referring site, via any organic search engine, via Google maps or via Google AdWords (Pay Per Click Adverts)
  2. Which keywords visitors used to find your site on Google, Bing or Yahoo
  3. How long they spent on your site (in seconds)
  4. Pages visited including the Landing Page (often not the homepage) and Exit Page
  5. Often the company name is visible if their own server is named, see below
  6. The type of device used to access the site, desktop, tablet, mobile phone, even providing make and model numbers (such as Samsung SM-N9005 Galaxy Note 3)
  7. Geography, country and city
  8. Demographics; gender, age and interests

Q. How is this data presented?  A. Like this and it is searchable, you can change the dates of your info slicing it up to a single day, or by week or month or even look at real time data. You can compare time periods to help you analyse your year on year growth.

Google Analytics overview chart

Google uses this navigation method; Acquisition – how you earned that traffic and Behaviour – where they went on the site.  The chart below splits up the traffic by source giving you a picture of where they came from at a glance. Split into Direct, E-mail, Social, Referring Sites, Paid and Organic search. If you know where your traffic comes from that helps you generate more, equally it can detect deficiencies that can be improved upon.

Acquisition overviewAlso you can use Analytics to tell you how much traffic is being generated via Twitter, Facebook and other referring websites. Turn it on its head and ask who is not delivering, who could be encouraged to send more relevant traffic.

There is also Conversions such as events triggered, particularly relating to orders and e-commerce or for example when we send traffic from one Client website to another we can track the users data and advise the Client to alert their agent that some visit & e-mail enquiries have been generated by the main site. Clever but also useful in generating revenue so we can look for it again. The navigation is split into many sub-menu’s have a free tour and see which one give you the most useful business information.  The best thing to do is to add Google Analytics to your website and start to track your own data, we can assist you with a demo or in-depth training if that would be of interest and business use.

Here are the names of some of the more familiar visitors to Evolution-Design.co.uk in 2013; erskine stewarts melville college, everton football club, johnston carmichael, northern rock plc, marathon oil uk, yellow pages, project trust, aptuit edinburgh ltd, innovation centres scotland ltd, city & wharf ltd, george watsons college, gillespie macandrew, glasgow caledonian university, hunter boot ltd, institution of civil engineers, j&m cameron properties ltd, laing the jeweller, microsoft corp, national library of Scotland, national museums of Scotland, royal botanical garden edinburgh, sapphire systems plc, scottish & newcastle ltd, stirling university innovation park, take 2 interactive software (rockstar games), teviot creative, conran group, glenmorangie, tods murray, university of the arts london.

And don’t forget to analyse other outbound media that you use such as Twitter, Pinterest etc. We will add more to this blog post. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask or make a comment in the box and we will endeavour to reply in 24 hours.

Pinterest chart

Sources/further reading:

Google Analytics Product Tour 

How to get up and running with Google Analytics in six steps

Definitions http://www.analyticsmarket.com/blog/google-analytics-definitions

 

“Guest Blogging is dead for SEO” Google Head of Webspam Team

Guest Blogging is dead for SEO purposes really means something when it is said by Google’s own Matt Cutts. Guest Blogging for SEO content promotion purposes was always open to abuse as a traffic gaining tool and the lure of evergreen articles proved too much and then a Guest Blogging industry was spawned, quickly killing it for everyone.

SEO Seach Engine Results Page Guest Blogging

The Guest Blogger became a distant hired gun in the same way that Advertorials carry little editorial authority or weight in magazines lacking true journalistic integrity. In his own Blog Matt says “Guest blogging is done; it got too spammy. I wouldn’t rely on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy”. There it’s been said now. However someone needs to tell these PPC Advertisers on Google as they are clearly still touting their services with ads targeting keywords for Guest Posting/Blogging from companies with names such as White Hat and HigherClick.com and ConvertWithContent.com.

This does not mean that an online article about your business written by a respected Guardian journalist will work against your SEO rankings, it is really aimed at the fake article writers.  We always advocate great content as the best way to influence your rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) You can read Matts full blog article and www.mattcutts.com/blog here is a link to a good article from e-consultancy giving deeper insights.  By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design

Greyfriars Roofing re-branding

2014 sees the introduction of a new logo across stationery, fleet livery, company website and social media campaign to rebrand long established specialist leadworking and roofing conservationist firm of Greyfriars Roofing. A fresh look was needed for this multi award winning company, well known within their industry for quality work on numerous iconic buildings in and around Edinburgh.

GRClogo

This is the new logo with an icon to show the various types of roofs undertaken to add some visual interest and to differentiate them from competitors, with the addition of the Leadwork Specialist strapline pointing out their key area of speciality.

The new website also has a new domain of www.GreyfriarsRoofing.co.uk with the inclusion of Google Analytics so we can track and evaluate the sites’ performance together with other marketing activity. More projects and case studies will be added as well as potential new services.  We wish them the best of luck for 2014 and beyond.

Which Website Design Company received an independent review from Greyfriars Roofing visible here. The comments were very favourable, it is always a joy to see satisfied Client.

1st class personal service … took a lot of time to really understand what I wanted … even now they are giving me a lot of advice and help with Facebook, Google Analytics and all matters relating to our brand and marketing tools… I would highly recommend them to any business looking to update their image or brand. 

Follow their story on Facebook.com GreyfriarsRoofingServices

Ask The Expert guest article in Business Comment magazine

Thanks to the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity of writing a guest article on Logo’s and Brands in their members magazine Business Comment, Ask The Expert feature for the December issue.  We have already had a lot of positive feedback to
Edinburgh Chamber Business Comment guest article
the article that I penned on Logo’s & Branding and how a brand can be developed from a logo and one offer of as a Guest Speaker at a business event in Spring 2014. We also noticed a small spike in our webstats around the issue date.
See full Ask The Expert article on PDF (page 32) or for more on the value of good logo design and brand development click here.  Evolution of the Logo blog post click here

Christmas & Festive e-card designs

(updated 9/01/14) E-cards are not just for Christmas, but it is the most common reason that our customers request them. We started designing & printing traditional corporate Christmas cards for Nikon back in 2002. Soon after moving to create both printed and electronic card versions for them, until they became solely e-cards. Over the years we have created many wintry variants on the festive theme using four languages and no mention of the word Christmas as Nikon have customers beyond the Christian world. Many customers want e-cards that simply inform members or customers of festive opening hours or special promotional offers or upcoming sales.

E card montage

In the last 10 years we have designed e-cards for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and SNIPEF and last year for the Don’t Freeze Up This Winter safety campaign, which linked back to the website with useful pre-cold weather tips and a local licensed Plumber search function.

Whatever your customer communication needs, there is still time to order an e-card for this Christmas and beyond.  You can also see some of our 2012 e-card designs here.

Update: we have just completed 2013 e-cards for both Nikon and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce again amongst others we will post some them here but only after the Client has sent them out of course.

Nikon Corporate  Christmas e-card 2013

Nikon Corporate Christmas e-card 2013

Nikon’s bespoke card illustration is left this year in 6 languages.

Also look at this blogpost for some campaign reports here in Perfect your own email marketing campaigns, collating info from billions of e-mails sent out in millions of campaigns to give you really robust data.

By Neale Gilhooley Evolution Design

When is a logo a Coat of Arms? Ask the Court of Lord Lyon (1592)

By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design (updated 15/11/13)

Many companies create badges, crests and logos using shields and heraldic devices including various elements taken from a full Coat of Arms; a shield, helmet, mantling, wreath, crest, motto, supporters and decorations to create the perception of authenticity or nobility, an aristocratic premium product. Some create a full Coat of Arms and go through the full legal process of registering these, not as trademarks but by petitioning the Court of Lord Lyon which has existed in its current form since the 14th Century.

Companies such as the Donald Trump Organisation inadvertently fail to go through the mandatory legally procedure when used by a Scottish based company and find themselves in front of the Lord Lyon himself.

CoLL homeThe Lord Lyon is the sole King of Arms in Scotland, an Act of the Scottish Parliament of 1592 gave the Lord Lyon responsibility for prosecuting as a criminal offence anyone who uses unauthorised Arms. A further Act of the Scottish Parliament in 1672 created the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, which is maintained by the Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records and contains an official copy of every Coat of Arms granted in Scotland since 1672. Any coat of arms – or logo designed to look like one that is not in the Public Register, if used for companies based in Scotland is not legal.

When does a logo/badge/crest become a Coat of Arms? Best to find out as early in the process as possible and logo designers or brand developers or the client can enquire directly at the Court of Lord Lyon to assist by visiting HM New Register House, West Register Street in Edinburgh. The staff are remarkably helpful and keen to consult with designers and companies to ensure that a Coat of Arms or designs incorporating a shield or other heraldic device are used legally, often for the protection of the real owner. Even logo designers aware of trademark and copyright law may be lacking the experience of brand development and of the research and legal verification needed before publishing a logo or using a home-made Coat of Arms, if your head office is in Scotland.

We know this from our own experience as Evolution Design has been through this process when working with the marketing department at the Royal College of Surgeons (inc 1505). In a productive meeting with Court staff who were most helpful in indicating which elements could be extracted and used alone. It is important for a commercially focussed organisation to be able to depict the shield alone without the full Coat of Arms when space does not allow, or when not appropriate.  Also to ensure that they do not use elements in isolation that could be confused with other bodies. In this case we were advised by the Court that two other Scottish hospitals used a visually similar heraldic device, but both had been absorbed by the NHS and one had even closed altogether, so no conflict arose. This input and assistance along the way helped to save the College money. We saved our own creative time.

Rhetorical homeWe have also worked with Clients wishing to make more use of their Coat of Arms as an asset. In 2009 the Rhetorical Company asked Evolution to redesign their website using elements from their Coat of Arms to explain their relevance with the aims and objectives of their service. Left is the full Coat of Arms and then below extracts of it explained: Two Barrulets Wavy Parted per Pale Argent and Or

Rhetorical comms

The wavy lines represent the reciprocal use of sound that is the basis of conversation. The colours remind us that “Speech is Silver but Silence is Golden”.  Hence Rhetorical teach the most valuable lesson that communication is also about developing listening skills.

Our initial meeting with the Directors of the Rhetorical Company also taught us the dangers of using Lorem Ipsum the designers’ favourite specimen typeface used since the 1500′s with a client fluent in Latin. Mea cupla from Evolution Design. Having worked previously with the Court of Lord Lyon we have experience of the process also in the past we have been hit by a copyright troll and take stringent efforts to ensure that cannot ever happen again. We even went to the trouble of Trademarking our own name and logo, so IP ownership and defence of your digital assets is in our minds too.

It is worth noting that Donald Trump’s Scottish company also had to be taken to task by the Procurator Fiscal to Lyon Court in 2008 after inadvertently using his own ‘unregistered coat of arms‘ but they did remove all offending marketing material promptly and went through the due process, although either he or his PR people seemed to need to claim this as a victory, perhaps they needed a PR ‘win’ or an ego boost, legitimacy even, when Arms were granted in 2012, visible here.

So when developing company and brand assets it is best to check the legality as well as checking if it already is or can be trademarked before publishing. It is a discipline and part of the design process. At Evolution we always offer to assign copyright and any IP benefits to our Client as part of the project, it is even written into our proposals and as well as being the right thing to do it also established trust from the outset. Check with your designer as it is not an automactic process and a letter of assignation is needed.

I was gifted a Scottish highland estate along with a certificate entitling me to ‘style’ myself the Laird of Lochaber, my land is quite small and the company selling these ‘estates’ have registered the Lochaber Coat of Arms as a Trademark UK00002533943. Use of  this trademarked device in Scotland would be unlawful despite it being recorded as a Trade Mark by the Intellectual Property Office.  Also I would suggest that you do not buy from this source as I don’t want too many of us turning up at the House of Lords on the same day. You can read what the Court of Lord Lyon thinks of my claim in Lairds section of their website.

Neale Gilhooley, Laird of Lochaber (almost)

Further reading,

The Court of Lord Lyon website; http://www.lyon-court.com

Scotlands People; the official Scottish genealogy resource  http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/content/help/index.aspx?r=554&1283

  • Image of the illegal Trump Coat of Arms courtesy of DolceMag.com
  • Image of Donald Trump with his new company Coat of Arms courtesy TheRichTimes.com http://www.therichtimes.com/donald-trump-gets-his-own-scottish-coat-of-arms/
  • Screen shots of the Court of Lord Lyon website are used with their kind permission.
  • The Rhetorical Company website belongs to them and is used with permission.
  • The Royal College of Surgeons learned a lot from the consultancy work that we provided, choosing not use the final designs developments requested by their marketing department, so that work all remains copyright of Evolution Design Ltd.
  • Evolution® & Evolution Design® are registered trade marks of Evolution Design Limited

Perfect your own email marketing campaigns by using others data

By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design (updated 13 January 2014)

Many of us involved in sending e-mail marketing campaigns (or Christmas e-cards) are often left wondering if we are sending the right content with the best subject line at the optimum time in each e-campaign. What are the best ways to short cut how we benchmark and pick through the data provided by our sender? Sadly most of us do not have the time or luxury of being able to do AB version testing as we need to get the news out and each campaign is a unique one-off. We can learn but that’s a costly way of doing it as a bad e-mail subject line can be ignored and left in the In Box, or moved to the Junk Box and poor contact could lead to a permanent Unsubscribe. At a recent event held by E-shot the speaker valued each e-mail contact at £10 so think of it that way for each one that unsubscribes. If that customer makes significant purchases then it could lose you a lot more, so care is needed every time and haste could lead to permanent waste.

We often get conflicting reports on what and when to send, so here are some stats and tips on this infographic which give you some real statistocs rather than anecdotal reports or urban myths even. The 2013 Results are from data compiled by GetResponse (a competitor of MailChimp), they scoured 300 million e-mail messages to determine the top times for open and click-through rates in a bid to come up with the perfect email marketing send strategy. But remember that they are averages and may not suit the particular needs of your own target audience, list of members, past customers, potential Clients etc.

Of course the e-mail design and content do help and we can assist with both, but which is the best day to send? Here is their methodology in measuring client engagement on this Infographic with highlights on the right.

e-mail campaign infograhic

GetResponse 2013 Infographic

Their vast dataset yielded these email benchmarks:

  • Average Open Rate 18.58%
  • Average CTR 4.51%.
  • The business quarter with the most activity is Q4, with almost a third of the emails being sent during this time, 40% of annual retail sales occur in November & December
  • Tuesday is the most popular day for sending emails (see daily breakdown below how very close it is though!)
  • Tuesday e-mailing campaigns also have the highest Open Rate and CTR.
  • Most email Opens – 23.8% – occur during the first hour after delivery; after 24 hours an email’s chance of being opened drops below 1%.
  • Automated emails have 24% higher Open Rate and 47% higher CTR.
  • Welcome messages and confirmation emails can reach an amazing 67% Open Rate and 33% CTR.
  • Autoresponder cycles with 2-10 messages have the best results, so optimizing the length of email cycles is an important factor driving customer engagement

Autoresponder e-mails are action or time-based messages, ideal for daily deals or time-sensitive sale offers and are not part of the free subscription offers from MailChimp or others. They also include personalised auto response offers based on a recent purchase or activity.

You will see that there is very little appreciable difference between the first 4 days of the working week, not enough to significantly alter your strategy – depending on what works for you of course.

Monday:      17%  (16.59)

Tuesday:     18% (17.93)

Wednesday: 16% (16.08)

Thursday:    17% (17.25)

Friday:        15% (14.90)

Saturday:    9% (8.58)

Sunday:      9% (8.68)

But to be balanced it’s also worth looking at MailChimp  whose stats which inevitably do vary, but not by that much. MailChimp send around 50 million emails every day, so they’ve gathered got a mountain of data to learn from.

MailChimp days of week graph

MailChimp days of week graph

They do show how close Tues-Wed-Thursday are in this chart based on over a billion e-mails sent.  So now lets look at the optimum send timing.

MailChimp - Best Time of Day Chart

MailChimp – Best Time of Day Chart

Pinpointing the best day and time to send a campaign is difficult because ideal sending times vary between industries and lists, and may also depend on the segment of a list you’re sending to. Our own rates vary considerably from the industry standards of:

Industry Open Click Soft Bounce Hard Bounce Abuse Unsub
Creative Services/Agency 41.9% 3.5% 1.1% 1.1% 0.045% 0.253%
Evolution Design – best 32 % 1.5 % 0.9% 4.5% 0.018% 1.62%
Evolution Design – worst 21% 1% 1.4% 1.4% 0.021% 1.93%

Update: Our 2013 Christmas e-card just achieved a best result of 38.2% and a Click Rate of 3.8%, pretty good click rate for a single image e-card, but still plenty of room for improvement. We tracked the users on both MailChimp and via Google Analytics and it was an 88% new visitors rate, so our objectives achieved.

We would be the first to admit that we are learning and are keen to learn best practice if it improves our results. It is important to state that your own objectives may be to hook that one single customer or to shift perceptions and raise awareness rather than generate web traffic or direct sales. So it’s best to be aware of rather than fixated by Click rates.

It would also be of maximise your campaign evaluation and benefits if you do have Google Analytics installed on your website as we do for all web design customers. Then you can gather a lot more usage data. We would love to hear your thoughts and conclusions if your results mirror those above,  or if not why not?

Moving on to that special sales period of Christmas/Festive holiday time when e-mail activity and traffic increases exponentially. The forecast is that UK retailers are set for best Christmas sales growth since 2007. That’s quite a bold prediction. Lets look at the actual mail frequency of the big UK retailers with online sales predicted to increase by 2% on last year to £88.4bn. As you can see from this chart, many retailers don’t hold back!

We can expect British retailers to be sending more email than ever during the upcoming holiday period, this increase in volume won’t come without a cost though. Sudden increases in your volume can make you look like a spammer to some ISPs, plus your unsubscribe rates and spam complaints will undoubtedly skyrocket. For tips on how to mitigate the unsubscribe loss read these e-consultancy articles:

Christmas e-mail frequency tips and 30 E-mail tips for Christmas but do not take it literally as one e-mailer says send out as many emails as you can. And then send out a few more.  It takes so long to acquire good names it’s a tragic waste to let them go because of one poorly targeted or annoying e-mail, so take some care to survive the Christmas season.

Sources:  For full sized infographic visit GetRepsonse.com

E-Consultancy article linking to other 6 case study sources of e-mail data

MailChimp have their own resource library linked in the text above.