Friday 12 February 2016

Mix your own business cocktail with the Spirit of Scotland ingredients

"VisitScotland has today launched a new global campaign which invites people from around the world to experience the Spirit of Scotland - and it wants you to get involved!" says the press release!

Having only had a few minutes to read over what is being launched there is a sense that the concept has the potential to bind not only tourism businesses across the country but be used alongside inward investment campaigns and overseas trade missions to emphasise not only the benefits of visiting Scotland but studying, living and investing here.

It certainly seems to be good use of a strong spirit from which any size of business can mix their own powerful marketing cocktail

It is however only a platform but it is a platform that appears to have many of the tools the industry needs to build more direct business. Videos and imagery, social media hooks and strong consistent messages that if used by tourism businesses and destination management organisations across the country with their own personalised and localised messages  could provide the coherence, the glue to promote the Spirit of Scotland more widely.

And it is undoubtedly that spirit that we all need to promote. Globally it's not about Ayrshire and the south west nor East Lothian and the Golf Coast. It is about Scotland and that unique essence that this campaign is trying to build upon.

In the short term businesses should start considering how they can piggy back the whole Spirit of Scotland message. Here's a knee jerk response
  • Create your own Spirit of Scotland webpage or pages using the term in the title and content and focussing down to your area and Property. Page Title Tag example: Spirit of Scotland in Ayrshire | Celtic Links Hotel | Irvine
  • Use the media provided. The quality video will seduce you. Embed it though - don't link out. Keep your user on your site 
  • Use the words and strap lines that are being provided and used in the promo materials. You can be guaranteed they are going to go viral. Make sure you give your website a chacne of being found for them.
  • Use the message and its tone in your writing too. The reason those words have been selected is that research indicates they engage.
  • Drop the message into your social media headers, email signatures, web footers, and even your check out invoices and PDF brochures.
  • Download the Guide to using the campaign linked below
  • and even if I personally find the #scotspirit a little cheesy the benefits may outweigh the cliche so use the hashtag!
Download the ScotSpirit Guide
It is not a frequent occurrence that we will praise VS so fulsomely but this campaign has been a long time coming but for it to work needs buy in from the bottom up now; not just the top down.
The call to action from VS and the Scottish Government goes on;

"Being one of the nation’s most important tourism drivers, events have a massive part to play in the campaign and EventScotland is calling on the industry to take part in creating a new social movement, which will reverberate globally.

From today, we’re asking you to help us show the world what the Spirit of Scotland means to you.
We’re asking, simply, “Have you #ScotSpirit?” In return we want you to show us how your company or event identifies with one of seven distinct ‘Spirits’ which we think comprise the Spirit of Scotland. These are Determination, Humour, Spark, Soul, Guts, Fun and Warmth.

Whether sharing an image that relates to these, or describing the very moment that you feel #ScotSpirit, we would love for you to be a part of this new mass collaboration. All you have to do is post or tweet what #ScotSpirit means to you on social media, using the #ScotSpirit hashtag, and you will potentially be engaging with the many thousands of people we are confident will become exposed to the campaign.

As well as sharing the most imaginative content with our worldwide followers via our social media channels, we will also be highlighting the ‘Spirit of Scotland’ through TV, radio and print marketing activity in key markets around the world.

This, we are confident, will help to generate overwhelming interest in Scotland and promote the #ScotSpirit movement, encouraging more visits to Scotland, as well as our many wonderful events. By becoming involved, you can benefit from the support of this campaign and, potentially, bring your event to a wider audience than ever before."

Scotland. A Spirit of its own: Spirit Waves

Scotland. A Spirit of its own: Spirit Lights

Happy Valentine's Weekend to all

We hope that all of you are planning on a wee romantic weekend ahead. Some are clearly pushing it a little with a weekend in Cardiff with their partners and oh, yeah a ticket for the rugby!

However you spend it we hope it's a pleasant one. One of our longer term clients, Executive Golf and Leisure in Bridge of Allan have been messaging their clients this week through their ConstantContact newsletter with a slightly amended logo that Steven in the office ran up for them!

Like all lasting relationships you have to keep it personal!

Find out more about Executive Golf and Leisure

Discover how email marketing is still the best conversion tool around

Thursday 11 February 2016

Site - Keep the Landing Page Simple

Research indicates that most visitors know what they are looking for when they hit your website so the trick is ensuring that they can get to where they want to be quickly by removing frustration and preventing the visitor from leaving the site to another that’s easier to use.

Reduce Friction

It shouldn’t be complicated to design a structure that works and flows for the user. Identify the elements they are looking for and make it easy for those elements to be found and utilised.

The key is to make it easy for the guest to find what they are looking for and execute quickly. Easy to access booking buttons; promotional offers and news; easy navigation and of course strong introductory content and imagery that increases the volume of the call to action.

However can you put too much on your homepage?

Can we use Pop Ups, Lightboxes or Hovers?

One of the most requested functions when designing landing pages is the inclusion of what would commonly be called a “pop up” (although it may actually be a lightbox or Hover area.) There is no doubt that pop out or pop up boxes have a role to play and we use them frequently for functions such as newsletter sign ups or Booking engine requests.

In both of these examples however the pop up is triggered by a definite click by the user because that is what they are looking for.

The pop ups to be thought twice about are those that simply appear over the top of your homepage every time it loads. To many users they jump out like annoying adverts and for many they are annoying and in the way. We would normally advise against using them.

There may be no definitive evidence but the user is not overly fond of pop ups and there are plenty of other ways to engage the customer.

Use your header imagery

All of our sites now have fully updated header images with the ability to add Titles, sub titles and links. Use these to promote your forthcoming events rather than laying a pop up that simply obscures the original site

Use your feature Boxes

Again all of our sites come with the ability to add and update feature boxes (similar to newspaper puff boxes or “tiles”) directing the user to your featured content. You can update the graphics, title, sub title and link once again. These can provide the quick links and reduce friction for changeable content.

Link Boxes in page

We advocate calls to action at the foot of all content pages to ensure that your site visitor has somewhere to go should they be interested in what they have read – calls to cation could be Book Now, Contact Us, Download Brochure or any redirect to internal or external links.

All our sites are designed where graphic buttons are automatically created for these links giving more prominence to your calls for action.

Everything moving?

It is a personal opinion but we try to avoid too many moving parts on a homepage. Too many sites look like a Sky Sports page with main images being overlaid by two speed ticker tapes at the bottom, moving features on the right, sliders at the bottom and pop ups jumping up all over the place. The brain cannot process the overload.

Keep it clean and simple. 

Position your key calls to action where they can be seen and clicked and avoid cluttering. Just because you’ve seen something on another big name website does not mean it is always best practice. Apply your own logic and see everything from the customers’ point of view first.